“The rule with side gigs is be true to yourself, know what you want and work towards your goal. If you still need your main job, act like you still need it. Give it the time you are being paid for,” Annah Nyanjura says.
Her day job is journalism. She works with Capital FM as a digital manager. She is a hobby baker, as her side gig.
She is lucky her boss is one of those who continuously encourages her team to do something extra to supplement their salary, cautioning them to give everything its due time.
It may seem difficult but only when you don’t plan well. Nyanjura plans hers in the morning. If need be, she will forego lunch so as to use the break to make deliveries or bake.
The other thing she has learned is not to take an order if she won’t have the time and manpower to pull it off. “I have a friend with whom we always exchange orders in case one of us is fully booked or for some reason can’t bake,” she says.
She bakes from home with her sisters. The enterprise is Annah’s Cakey House. Her motivation is personal testimony and passion. She loves cake and eating good cake.
“Generally I love food. I also hate poverty! I love being able to provide for my household without having to strain my parents or friends about my situation. My initial stage towards starting up was the thought of what I could do to eat as much cake as I want without having to pay too much for it.”
She went online, Googled some recipes, bought a small electronic oven at Shs300,000 from her salary savings that year. She began baking and tried to sell her products.
“I made huge losses in terms of ingredients because I didn’t know what to do. I looked at those losses as fees for a school I didn’t enrol into. If I had enrolled into a baking school I would spend less or more,” says Nyanjura.
She started investing, an item after another. If she realised she needed something, she would plan, save and acquire it. And some of the utility bills served both domestic and business purposes. She sold small cakes to friends and neighbours first.
“When I started making some money off the cakes, I got so motivated and begun baking bigger cakes,” she says.
“I also researched on pastry decorations and designs and started creating unique cake designs that attracted more customers,” she adds.
“I consider baking to be my paying hobby so I haven’t woken to differentiate business and personal stuff.” Her first client is a close friend and workmate, Patricia Osman.
“Every time she eats my cakes she remembers how heavy the very first one was. She never stops reminding me of how far we have come. At least her sisters and brothers order all their cakes from me for whatever occasion. She is always putting it in people’s faces how she knows a personal person who bakes delicious cakes. That to me is so inspiring,” Nyanjura testifies about how a friend doubles as marketer and supporter of her start-up.
“Patricia is happy with my cakes. She finds it convenient to buy them from within the newsroom, saving her the trouble of ordering from town,” she says.
She can bake anything as long as she has a recipe. She usually follows the recipe for two consecutive times and will adjust it to hers or the customer’s preference. Cake remains her main item though.
The pricing of the cakes and pastries largely depends on the client’s needs given that some would want extras on their cake. They also come in different sizes.
“If you order for black forest or red velvet cake, I am not the kind who will stock whipped cream or cream cheese waiting for such an order. I buy when an order is made.”
She receives orders from mostly people who know her personally. Some of those are clients who have enjoyed her cake and want to have it again. She adds, “The other category of customers, are those who simply love things made from home because home is where the love is.”
She markets her products through social media platforms as well as word of mouth to friends and family. She works towards maintaining quality and uniqueness of her cake and pastries.
“I am a hobby baker. I do not bake when I don’t feel like. It is more of a heart issue. I put my entirety in a cake; my heart and my brains. Most days are perfect. Often times, my sisters will see me icing cake with a beaming smile. I am always excited about the final product. If home is where your heart is, then you need to taste a home-made cake. It always comes with a slice of love,” she elatedly explains.
Nyanjura has also maintained the quality of her baking, which earned her customer loyalty. From the low of Shs20,000 a cake when she first started, her products now cost as much as Shs100,000, depending on the size of the cake.
The digital manager says that so far, the feedback has generally been good. She is thankful to friends for the continuous encouragement. Some of them have muted the idea of her going bigger than she is, going full throttle with baking business.
“I have had very few human errors but I usually replace with a full cake if the person wills to take it. On my wish list is to take my daughter to baking school at 10. I know deep in my spirit that God is working a way for the fire on the inside of me. I know what my kitchen will look like five years from now,” she spells out her aspirations.
To her, the world can accommodate all of us at our best. There is simply no limit. Besides baking and cooking, Nyanjura is passionate about her country and environment. She is also part time writer and a mother.
Nyanjura dreams of opening a big cake shop and a baking school in the next five years.
She wants to be the most sought after baker in the country. It is a dream she says will come true due to hard work and great sacrifice.
She explains that young people have a chance of turning a bad situation into lucrative endeavours. Wallowing in misery due to lack of fees is not a solution.
“Do not give yourself time to self-sabotage, think of things that you love doing that can help you earn money. Do not be in a hurry to seek employment, take time and think about the things you are passionate about and find out how you can make money from that.”