The Recipe for Building a Baking Business (2023)

Sarah Chisholm’s whole life changed when she suffered a career-ending dance injury, prompting her to leave behind her life as a ballerina. Following another passion, she enrolled in pastry school, ultimately launching her brand, Wild Rye Baking Magic, a line of premium cake, frosting, and pancake mixes. 

While Sarah’s career path has been anything but traditional, she’s proof that anyone can make the leap to entrepreneurship. Now she’s ready to take her business to the next level, using local resources to expand her reach and grow her brand.

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How to make the pivot to entrepreneurship

Ahead, Sarah shares her advice for pivoting to entrepreneurship after facing a career-changing life event. 

1. Switch your mindset 

“I spent too long being discouraged about how my life path was changing instead of being like, ‘This is cool and new, how can I adapt and be excited by the possibilities rather than overwhelmed by them?’” Sarah says. 

While transitioning from a traditional job into entrepreneurship can be jarring, it’s all about perspective. Having her own business allowed Sarah to believe in herself and her goals in a whole new way. “To be an entrepreneur, you can’t be timid,” she says. ”You have to really believe in yourself and what you do. I have had to push beyond my comfort zone to put myself out there.”

sarah chisholm holding a wild rye cake smiling.
Since becoming an entrepreneur, Sarah’s new mindset has motivated her to share her creations with the world in a way she never has before.Wild Rye Baking

2. Educate yourself 

Equipping yourself with the right knowledge will help you ease into a new role in a new industry. “Find out what the first thing you need to learn is in your industry, and start there,” Sarah says. For her, it was sitting down to research FDA regulations around selling food across state lines. 

Sarah recommends taking the business one step at a time and allowing yourself time to research and get comfortable in a new field or category. There’s a lot of background work that has to happen before you take a business to launch, and there’s no need to rush or reinvent the wheel. 

Sarah took her time researching different wrappings, papers, and packaging materials to understand different parts of the consumer packaged goods business that were newer to her.

the wild rye baking peanut butter coffee frosting, and gluten free chocolate cake mix.
Sarah took her time studying the different types of papers and materials available before creating the packaging for her Wild Rye mixes.Wild Rye Baking

3. Rely on your community 

“Nobody is going to know your local community better than you,” Sarah says. It’s vital to tap into your connections to local businesses and media, along with friends, family, and neighbors, to help you transition into your role as a business owner. 

Sarah reached out to small specialty grocery stores and retailers that she frequented and pitched her new product. “I would say, ‘I have this product. Can I share it with you?’” Sarah says. 

When Sarah needed consistent and fresh ingredients amid supply chain woes, she turned to the local purveyors for support and connections.“I asked them quite planley, ‘How many pounds of this organic sugar will you store in your warehouse for me?’” she says. “It was all about the relationships I had built and working with people I trusted.”

a wild rye cake sitting on a yellow baking rack with a knife and flowers laying around it.
Sarah wanted to source the best ingredients for her cake mixes, while also ensuring the ingredients she loved would be available for the foreseeable future.Wild Rye Baking

Transitioning from a full-time job to full-time founder can feel intimidating, but there are fundamental shifts you can make in your mindset and in the way you interact with your community to help make launching your business easier. 

Tune in to the full Shopify Masters episode to hear more of Sarah’s story and discover how she made her business work no matter what life threw her way.

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