Friday, August 20, 2010

Sometimes it *IS* Personal --- My George Bailey Moment

There’s an often quoted phrase in the business world of “It’s not personal …. It’s business.” I am one who uses it frequently simply because it just applies.

But sometimes we are reminded that there’s a personal side to what we do. And it’s very humbling.

Allow me to share.

I am a regular contributor to the discussion forum on, a cake decorator’s website, where I’m known as “Indydebi” (that becomes necessary to know later in this article). And when I say “regular”, I’m not kidding. I hold the record for having the most posts. Cake Central even created a new category just for me: “Forum Matriarch”.

My son was reading some of my posts and of course my blog and said to me, “Mom, what are you doing? People get PAID to give out advice like this!” I didn’t have an answer for him.

For the record, I DO get paid for my monthly column in Cake Central magazine and for other articles that I’ve written for various other publications. So I’m not totally uncompensated. And I am working on expanding my public speaking work, so that avenue is moving along.

The truth is I just like sharing my ideas, tips and experiences with others in the cake and catering world.

But once in awhile I get a “George Bailey Moment.” That’s what I call those points of realization that the gifts God gave us are not just lying dormant and that we HAVE made a difference in someone’s life.

About a year ago, I shared my business plan with a woman who wanted to open her own cake business, so she could see what a finished plan looked like and model her plan likewise. I paid a lot of money for professionals to help me construct this plan, but I’ve never hesitated to help others by sharing my plan as they work on their own business plan. The other day, I received an email from her and with her permission, I am sharing some of what she said.

I just felt moved to write you. I don't know if it's hormonal or just stress but I feel like I know you.

I am 47 and last year, you sent me your business plan as I was working on my own business plan. I am so grateful and it helped me out tremendously. I don't know how many times I've been talking to my husband as we work on some plan and I say "indydebi says..." or now, it's just "debi said...". I don't even have to put the Indy on because he knows who I'm talking about.

Your confidence is amazing. I am confident when I am in a situation where I am in control but it is so tough for me to cold call or walk into a place to sell myself. I am more the mother hen - don't mess with my chicks or I'll be all over you but if it is for me, I'm a wuss. You have been such an inspiration in your approach to selling and running your business. Through that, I have been strong in my prices and haven't cut my prices to meet someone's budget. In fact, after almost a year in business, I am raising my prices on Sept. 1.

My cake business is going great! Our local TV station is currently running a 'Best of Little Rock' competition and after only 1 wedding season, we were nominated for best wedding cake. And, we are getting wedding cakes now from being referred by other brides or bridesmaids so things are going well.

On April 1, I went part-time at my day job and unfortunately, I am still there but I will stay for probably another 6 months. It is extremely stressful and poorly managed but it is guaranteed income.

After a really frustrating morning, I took a break and ended up going to your writing blog. I was so touched by your stories. The story about Vicky was incredible. She was indeed a very special girl.

Then, I read "I thought I'd missed it". If I could write, I could write a similar story. I've had a wonderfully blessed life but at times, it's easy to forget. I always wanted children but wasn't blessed with any. But, I have lots of them. I teach 4/5 years each Sunday morning and they are wonderful kids and I love them.

I don't know why I wrote this, this isn't something I normally do. Just having a really rough morning and your writing was such a breath of fresh air. Sorry for the rambling. I just wanted to say thank you but being such an inspiration.

Tracy McCauslin
aka Tracycakes
Seasons of Love Cakes

This made me cry. I mean make-up ruining, grab the tissue cry. It is very humbling to be reminded that sometimes a little thing, a small piece of sharing, makes a difference to others, and that we have left our mark as we travel this road of life.

Thanks, Tracy, for your very kind words and a reminder that sometimes it is NOT just business; that sometimes it is just being helpful and paying it forward.

"Dear George, remember no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings, Love Clarence." ---- inscribed on a book for George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life”

1 comment:

  1. Debi,

    Can I tell you, that I think of you as sort of my "cake mom"? I mean... you are always there for support, advice, and help. I remember a year ago I e-mailed you over a situation I didn't know how to handle and you called me so we could discuss it. You aren't my "mom". But your wisdom and advice is always there for me when I need it. Your generous spirit is an amazing breath of fresh air. And it is truly appreciated. Thank You!