The Painted Square


Episode 13: Leaving A Good Paying Job To Bake - Interview With Becky Hess

What I love about Becky is her CREATIVE ENERGY. You can ask any one of her close friends, and I'm sure they would tell you that Becky just overflows with creativity and energy. Becky started baking custom cookies about two years ago. About a year ago, Donny and I (Jessica) took note of Becky's cookies, and approached her about turning it into a viable, sustainable business. I think Becky was toying with the idea, but we wanted to know if she planned to keep it a hobby or pursue it as a business. 

We scheduled a lunch date with Becky at a local bagel shop to talk about where she was at in her hobby/business venture. It opened up her mind to the possibilities of running her own business in order that she could be flexible with her schedule and still bring income to support her family.

Becky Hess of Country Charm Cookies

So Becky and her husband Steve decided to jump in and see where this journey would lead.

It all started with sitting down with Becky and asking her lots of questions. We worked with her on pricing and packaging and organization. We gave ideas and feedback about her logo. We created a simple website and set up a custom, official-looking email address.

Becky talks about how it feels to start her own business. She explains, "If you LOVE something, it's not difficult...  it's [more of] a climb." She would agree that her biggest obstacle is herself being unorganized. She is absolutely creative! But she does recognize she has blind spots. And she's smart for reaching out and asking for help.

We wanted to help her be more efficient with her time because time is money.  It's more sustainable being more efficient.  

Donny helped Becky to recognize that she was running a long distance journey each day as each ingredient was in a different spot all over the kitchen. He suggested getting a cart where she could place all of her baking ingredients and tools she needed for quick and easy access. That would save a lot of time and energy if she didn't have to run across the kitchen to get her sugar and flour each time she needed it... although Becky has chalked it up to getting some good exercise.

Country Charm Cookies

In the show, Dave points out, "Your kitchen is small now, but the more you can put systems in place earlier, the better you can scale your business."

And talking about scaling her business, Becky talks about the importance of patience. There are so many lessons to be learned, and if she would have rushed into things, her business would have been a mess.

What keeps Becky going? She wants to be available for her growing family. She needed her job to be more flexible.  That's why she bakes; that's her motivation.

“There are many times I get overwhelmed.... and I go online and someone is doing something a thousand times better.... but I’ve learned to just keep my head down and keep baking.”

— Becky Hess

We held Becky's hand through the process of starting up. We kept asking her if it was a hobby or a business. Becky exclaimed, "I just want to bake. Let someone else worry about making it a business." So we asked if she wanted to give part of her business away and let someone else run it, or if she wanted to learn how to run it herself. She chose to keep it hers and was ready for the learning curve.

Becky gives advice: "It's not easy. Either we turn our back on me going back to being a nurse -- or we just DO THIS."

"Now we're doing this. I've prayed about this - and we're excited."

“I jumped in... the shallow end.”

— Becky Hess

Donny kept reminding Becky that we wanted her to succeed. We presented two or three choices and then asked her what direction she needed to go. We'd ask, "Are you willing to step into that? What are the risks?" Everyone is on a journey, but asking the right questions can help you step through that.

Becky confirmed that consulting helped her realize that not everyone has the gifts and talents that she has. She kept telling us, "Oh, anybody can bake cookies!" But we had to convince her that she was offering a GREAT product, not just an okay one.

“I love when I deliver my cookies to somebody and they are so excited! And I think “wow - it’s just a cookie” ... but it’s not. It’s a part of their day, whatever is going on, and they’re excited about it.”

— Becky


What about YOU? What gifts and talents can you bring to the table? Get out a notepad or open up a google document. Think about your past experiences. Write down any gift or talent you have (or think you have), and then write down some memories of how it has helped someone. Start the journey of discovering what you can bring to the table and how you can serve others through those gifts and talents.