In 2005, Kelli Fusaro discovered work-at-home success with her personalized cookie business, Photo Bake Shop. With no previous business experience, and while raising two children on her own, this single mom learned the ins and outs of the cookie business. Read on to see how Kelli baked her way to home-based business success.
How did you get involved in the personalized cookie business?
In 2005 I went through a divorce. The working world was new to me because like many women, I chose to be a stay-at-home mom for ten years. I realized when I was forced to earn money, that my confidence was extremely low. Maybe I’d been outside of the work world for too long … so I had to push myself.
The first thing I did was make a list of everything I wanted in a career. My “wish list” seemed like a pipe dream while writing it, but to my surprise, it became a reality within one year.
#1 – I wanted a flexible schedule.
#2 – I wanted to work from home so that I could be available for my kids during the day.
#3 – I was used to a nice lifestyle when I was married, so I was committed to earning at least $5,000 a month.
One month later, I ran into a friend who was retiring from her cookie business. She taught me the introductory lessons of personalized cookie printing. I thought I would give it a try it. The next thing I knew, I was operating Photo Bake Shop® where I initially worked from my home kitchen and then added onto my home where the business was developed over the next ten years.
You can see my startup story in this YouTube video.
When did you know that you could really make this into a lucrative business?
My first orders were to local businesses while building an online presence. Two months after starting my business, I was surprised to have attracted my first celebrity client online with 1,000 cookies ordered for the George Lucas Star Wars Anniversary Celebration. Other recognized celebrity clients over the next few years included: Katy Perry, Mariah Carey, and other Capitol Records clients. Corporate clients have included: Ritz Carlton, Hilton Hotels, World Fuel, Pandora, T-Mobile, Disney, and NBC Universal. And just a few days ago .. we became a vendor for Disney to promote their song artists through our personalized products.
How did you fund your business?
I applied for three “no interest” credit cards and charged each of them to the max totaling, about $27,000. I paid them off over the course of three years. I had to keep track of when interest would begin, and I would transfer the balance to another “no interest” credit card. So in three years — I paid zero interest.
Photo Bake Shop trains women how to launch their own personalized cookie and pastry business — tell us about this.
We help women start their own personalized pastry printing business. Photo Bake Shop® has an established, complete business model with design templates to learn and start making money from the convenience of your own home. We save women the time of trial and error when learning from scratch. With our training and resources, you can focus on earning money with less effort.
After ten years as an accomplished businesswoman, educator, it’s rewarding to train and encourage future entrepreneurs. Our online program enables women to learn from the comfort of home and start up in 2 weeks. It saves time and the expense of travel. I aspire to work with struggling women all over the world whose confidence levels are low and help them bring their business endeavors to success. I believe it only takes a few key skills and common sense business tools, and it can be accomplished. I feel the two main keys in business are:
#1 Always maintain integrity with the people in your life including your clients.
#2 Work smarter in your daily routine – rather than harder.
How many hours do you work a week and how much time is spent in your home office?
I operate three different businesses, but I still take Fridays off. The average workweek is about 32 hours.
What has been your biggest business struggle as an entrepreneur?
I tend to be a shy person and a perfectionist, so being on the phone is still a challenge for me. I make lots of videos, and there have been lots of retakes, outtakes, and mistakes over the years.
What advice do you have for other women who want to launch their own business?
You can do anything if you visualize the result and work backward from there. You have to see yourself already having the success you want. You need to step up – to be the person it would take to achieve your goals. Persevere through negative self-talk and discouragement.
How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?
Work and play intermingle for me, so when I’m working it really doesn’t feel like “work” because I enjoy what I do. Over the years, I’ve created a schedule that allows me to plan the things I enjoy with a structure that works.
I’m also a ballroom dancer, so on the weekends I really indulge in this activity. As for the person reading this, it’s time for you to have the courage and follow your heart. Let’s create your much-deserved success!
Thanks to Kelli Fusaro for sharing her story!