Want to start an in-person or online class teaching students about baking or even cake decorating? Today’s guest Michelle Green has done both successfully for years and will teach you to transform your baking expertise into a class in today’s lesson.

Best of all you can adapt Michelle’s approach to teach in any setting from your home kitchen to online using nothing more than a Facebook Live and iPhone. The basic process for teaching a successful course is the same whether you’re online or off.

Michelle Green, a chef, cake decorator, and teacher.

What I love about Michelle is that she doesn’t hold anything back and makes the entire process of organizing and selling a class seem simple to do. Michelle proves you don’t need tech knowledge, fancy video production skills, or expensive software to launch your first successful class or course.

If you want to learn more about Michelle, check out TheBizofBaking.com. Michelle has a podcast, a book called The Business of Baking, and about 20 online classes you can explore. Click play on the audio lesson to learn what it takes to start start, create, and sell a baking class. This podcast is brought to you by our awesome sponsor Gusto.

Table of Contents:

Intro: Will Classes Work For You?

Michell Green: Your Business, Your Rules

Is doing some type of food class right for you? If you’re reading right now it’s obviously something you’re thinking about. Before diving straight into the tips here are some guidelines you should keep in mind to make sure your expectations are in check.

Teaching Isn’t Easy: It may seem fun to teach a class about a topic you’re passionate about. You’re spot on about this expectation because it can be both exciting and rewarding. But keep in mind that there’s more that goes into an in-person or online class than showing up for the presentation and going home.

For one, you’ll need to field student questions and support them throughout the course. If you’re not someone that has a lot of patience or enjoys multiple ways of explaining the same concept this might not be the right choice for you.

Related Reading: How I Started an $1,800/Month Booze-Infused Baking Business

You’ll have class students emailing you multiple times about the time of a course or cancel at the last minute because they’ve got a sudden trip to France scheduled. No matter how good you are there will be people that think they know more than you or leave bad reviews about a class experience. This is something you’ll need to be mentally prepared for.

Prep Time: According to the OECD, high-school teachers spend between 3 – 6 hours per work day actually teaching. This stat might seem alarming at first, but makes sense when you stop to think about it.

There’s a whole lot more that goes into the typical teachers day than instruction. Lesson planning, responding to email by email, offering office hours for questions, and (hopefully in your case) setting up a way to accept payments. All of these little time sucks add up over the period of a week or month.

Are You Only Doing it for the Money? Money is fantastic and makes life easier. Make no mistake about that. But is the dream of making easy money the primary motivation for putting on a class? Then you might want to try something else.

You can make good money with low expenses by doing a course. But it’s not as easy as it seems when you watch a YouTube video. It will require days if not weeks to create a course outline, dive into the specifics of what you specifically plan to teach in each class, creating materials (written content, video, audio), and of course marketing the course. Believe it or not, many successful class creators spend more time selling the course than teaching it.

Unless you have a strong motivation to help others learn a particular subject that goes beyond making a few bucks there other strategies that will get you there faster than doing a class.

Will People Pay for Your Class? Good news! People will pay for cake decorating and general baking classes (beginner, intermediate, advanced). People will also pay for things like BBQ or other cooking classes. There’s a proven market for these kinds of courses so you’re on the right track here.

But you won’t be able to sell every class idea possible. In the past, I spoke with an entrepreneur trying to create and sell a class on how to make artisan popsicles. But this person was struggling to get anyone in the class and couldn’t figure out why.

The main problem (in my opinion) is there was no market for that particular type of class. In other words, no students wanted to learn how to make gourmet popsicles! It doesn’t matter how good you are at marketing or how terrific your course is. It’s really hard to sell something people don’t already want or realize they have a need for.

Don’t beat yourself up too bad if your first or second class idea isn’t a winner though. Anyone with a full class has probably had a half-dozen planned trainings that no one attended outside of close family. It’s frustrating, but it happens to everyone.

The Art of Listening for Winning Class Ideas

Build Your Profitable Cake Business DIY. An Online Course from Michelle Green.

The funny thing about coming up with a winning class idea is that you actually don’t need to come up with something unique or even on your own. Instead of brain-storming class topics, you should stop, listen, and think of ways to solve other people’s current problems with your class.

Join Baking Facebook Groups: Private groups in Facebook are an excellent resource for listening to other bakers challenges. Michelle recommends joining a few groups to understand the common problems that your audience has. Big problems like making cloud-like buttercream frosting could be a major struggle to this market.

Listen to People You Know: If you’ve got friends or family members trying to accomplish the same objective as a class you want to teach, listen to their struggles. The struggle is where you can uncover a winning class idea.

Research on Amazon: A simple way to confirm there’s people that want to learn what you’re teaching is to see if there’s books on the same subject being sold on Amazon. If there isn’t a book already covering the topic you want to create a course around it’s a sign there’s no market for the topic.

Once you find a book topic that’s covered on Amazon (there are plenty on baking tips) then look to the negative reviews for that piece. See what people are saying is the gap in the book or what could be improved. You can take this feedback and use it to make your home-based class even better. Michelle credits the author Ramit Sethi with this approach.

Creating a Baking Class Outline

Pistachio Lemon Wreath Cookies just seem to make sense here.

At this point, let’s say you’ve identified two classes you think people will be interested in attending. One on Beginning Cake Decorating 101 and a second on Christmas Cake Pops due to the upcoming holiday season. The next step is to create an outline for the course.

You can think of a class outline, sort of like the syllabus for the class you plan to teach. It’s easiest if you start out with a bulleted list of all the subtopics students will learn during the session.

An introductory baking class outline could be as simple as the following:

  • An overview of baking
  • The Ingredients of a Baker (Eggs, Butter, Yeast, Sugar)
  • Popular baked goods (cookies, cakes, breads)

Keep in mind that you will have serious time constraints. A two-hour class might seem long, but time flies once you get to work. There’s only so much content you can get through in each class and you’ll want to leave extra time for student questions or special help. If you have a complex topic then you’ll want to break the class into multiple weeks.

Be sure to identify who this class is for in the class description as well. You can run introductory courses for beginners and specialty courses on the art of the croissant for advanced students. This is important for expectation setting and will lead to happier students.

There are two big benefits to creating a course outline. First, you’ll be confident in knowing exactly what you plan to teach each day. Second, you can use the outline to help sell your cooking class. Feel free to publish the outline and course description on your website so prospective students know the details.

Building a List of Potential Students

The Business of Baking is available on Amazon.com.

Now that you’ve got a class outline created along with a web page or flyer that describes what people will learn in your class, it’s time to figure out who might actually want to buy it.

Related Reading: How a Culinary Student Built a $26k/Month Pastry Shop

In the ideal situation, you’ve already have ideas of who might want to enroll in your class. If you own a pastry shop, maybe you’ve got some customers that have told you they’d love to learn how to make a wedding cake like the one you did for the Johnson family. Maybe you’ve got a blog or Instagram account with a few followers interested in what you do.

Email Marketing: Sending emails to people that might want to join your class remains an effective way to get the work out. You can encourage people to join your email list by letting people know that they’ll be the first to know about your classes here. Michelle uses MailChimp to send updates and information about her classes.

Social Media: Everyone is on social media. This is a way to market your business for free with nothing more than sweat equity. Tell your followers and fans about your upcoming classes.

Guerrilla Marketing Tactics: There are all sorts of ways to get creative about getting the word out about your class. Think about where your target market hangs out. Put up flyers in community centers where other food classes are held. Tell people in Facebook groups that you have an online class for sale in a non-spammy way. Use sidewalk chalk to get the word out in a high-traffic area of your community. If you own a bakery, tell your customers about the classes.

Michelle stresses the importance of building a list of potential students before selling the course in today’s interview. This is a critical step because you can’t have a successful class without students.

How to Sell a Cake Decorating Class

If this is your first class, one of the scariest things about launching your own program is going through the process of selling it to students. This is where the rubber meets the road. The icing hits the cupcake. The cake gets baked. This is where you will soon find out if anyone wants to take the class you’re selling.

What makes Michelle’s process so great is that you don’t need a BA in computer technology to start accepting payments for a class. Michelle makes it super easy by essentially putting a buy button and writing a brief description of the class. You can see exactly how this looks at Michelle’s course directory.

Assuming you don’t want to ta