From whipping up cupcakes to teaching kids’ cooking classes to leading restaurant tours, these foodies have turned their culinary adventures into serious cash. Read on to learn their secrets so you can start earning too!
“I make $75,000 a year baking cupcakes!”
“I worked in real estate for 10 years, and although I was successful, I wasn’t passionate about it. I’ve always been a foodie and I love cupcakes, so I started reading cookbooks, creating recipes, and baking at home with the intention of opening a home-based dessert catering business.
“Most of my first clients were word-of-mouth referrals who wanted cupcakes for birthday parties, baby showers, and small gatherings. To grow the business, I brought samples to corporate offices and event planners and posted photos of my cupcakes on social media.
“As the business grew, I needed more space to bake, so I took a workshop at the San Francisco Baking Institute to learn how to work in a commercial kitchen. I started renting space in one, then I opened my first retail location, Cupcakin’ Bake Shop, in 2014. And now I’m about to open two more locations!
“I offer a variety of cupcakes and flavors, but the most popular are Key lime pie, cookies-and-cream, and red velvet. I also offer vegan and gluten-free cupcakes.
“I market the business on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I also run in-store promotions for people who sign up for our newsletter.
“Running a cupcake business is so much fun, especially because the customers are always happy when they walk into the store!
“Last year, the business brought in $500,000 in revenue, and I take about $75,000 a year as a salary. The money I make allows me to travel and take backpacking trips through Europe.”
“I earn a full-time salary leading food tours!”
“A few years ago, I went on a food tour with my family in New York City. We explored several restaurants and all their great cuisine. Although my husband and I own a coffee shop, I was looking for another way to make money. Since the California town we live in didn’t have a food-tour company, I realized it could be a fun business to open, so I launched Catalina Food Tours.
“Since I knew nothing about food tours, I took a workshop to learn how to launch the business. I built a website with a template and hired someone to help me write scripts for the tour.
“We offer daily food walking tours, a happy-hour tour, private tours, and corporate tours. We also offer one we call Santa’s Catalina Happy Hour for the holidays and invite people to dress up. On the tour, people learn about the history and culture of Catalina Island and get to sample different cuisines around town. We visit six restaurants and spend 20 minutes at each one.
“We look for restaurants that are unique, have a historical relevance, offer a unique cuisine or showcase the local flavor. The restaurants love to be a part of the tours because it brings in business for them.
“The tours cost between $69 and $121 per person. We pay the restaurants for food and beverages and tip the servers and bartenders. I hire guides to run the tours, but sometimes I also head up the happy-hour tour.
“I love running this business because it’s so fun and flexible. I make a full-time salary working about 25 to 30 hours a week!”
“I make six figures helping kids learn to cook!”
“When I became a stay-at-home mom, I needed to find a way to earn money. As I cooked for my family, I became passionate about food and nutrition. I realized a lot of my friends wanted to cook healthy meals too, but didn’t know how, so I started a blog Kitchen Stewardship to share healthy eating and cooking tips. Then when my oldest child had to do a cooking demonstration in school, I realized the only thing he knew how to make was guacamole, and I decided to teach all of my kids how to cook. I wanted to teach other kids too, so I created Kids Cook Real Food, a video e-course.
“I launched a campaign on the funding platform Kickstarter.com asking for donations and raised $8,000. I then created the curriculum and hired a video crew. It was important that families complete the course together, so we shot videos of my children, their friends, and me cooking together.
“The course has three levels: one for preschoolers to learn skills such as how to use a butter knife; intermediate for elementary-age kids to learn how to read a recipe and use sharp knives; and another for older kids to learn advanced chef knife skills and how to cook without a recipe. I market the course on my blog and social media.
“With this business, I feel that I’m making a difference and empowering moms to help their kids eat healthy and gain lifelong skills. Last year the course brought in $184,000 — money that pays the bills, goes back into the business, and is saved for college!”
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.