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The “Dough” Raising Mom

FINDING YOUR VOICE
with Joel Boggess

“The ‘Dough’ Raising Mom” with Grace Becker

Podcast #100 on February 20, 2012

Link to podcast

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>>JOEL:    Hi, it’s me, Joel; and you’re listening to Finding Your Voice.  And joining us on the show is The ‘Dough’ Raising Mom, Grace Becker.  And I have been looking forward to having you on the show, Grace, and we have finally made it happen.  So thanks so much for joining us.

>>GRACE:    Oh, Joel, thanks so much for asking me.  I think this is going to be fun.

>>JOEL:    this will be a lot of fun, Grace.  And it’s always good to talk to you.

>>GRACE:    well, I agree.

>>JOEL:    I just love the name of your business, Dough Raising Mom, and it’s actually a pretty accurate description of what it is that you do.  You coach stay-at-home moms how to make money out of their own kitchen.

And I look forward to hearing about some of the exciting things that you’re doing with your moms, but before we get into that, Grace, what gave you the idea of starting a business right there out of your own kitchen?

>>GRACE:    Well, Joel, we have a large family.  We have 12 kids and I am a stay-at-home mom, obviously, for, you know, for obvious reasons.  And our kids have been in parochial school the whole time.  And if you’ve ever been involved in, you know, a parochial school, you know that every other word is fundraising.  And so our children were going to school and they needed to build a new gym and, you know, they sent us a letter and said gee, your, you know, your portion of helping with this project is X amount of dollars.  And we were like seriously?  We did not know how we were going to do that.

>>JOEL:    And that happened at least 12 times?

>>GRACE:     That—yeah, yeah, and that was a long time ago.  So anyway we came up with this crazy idea of making cinnamon rolls and selling them after the church services and just donating all the money to church.  And so we went to the committee and said this is what we would do.  We’re using time talent treasure and they came and looked at us and kind of, you know, just oh I don’t know this skeptical—we certainly had the impression that they were pretty skeptical about it, but they said okay give it a try; and so we did.

And the very first time that we did it we sold, sold out immediately.  I mean with one church service we were done; handed in the money and from there on, from there it just grew.  And we paid off a five-year pledge in, I don’t know, something like a year and a half.

>> JOEL:    Wow.

>>GRACE:    And, and then my children never played a basketball game at that gym because we moved, but as a result of that my kids then became involved in other things.  You know, other groups that they were involved in and they needed to raise money and, and different kids kept coming back and saying, Mom, can you make rolls for this?  Could we do a cinnamon roll for that?  And we kept doing that.

And then I started doing it for other churches, for other groups, and it was all this because my kids new somebody that we were helping them.  And people kept saying all along the way, why don’t you do this for a business?  And I would look at them and think do you have any idea how much work this is?  You must be crazy.  But, you know that seed was planted and eventually I—we started looking at it, seriously.

And so I started out by going to our church because we had a licensed commercial kitchen and at that time in our state you could not bake and sell food to the public without working in a licensed commercial kitchen.  And so I went and I asked if there was any way I could use the kitchen.  And we just struck a deal and I agreed to do some cinnamon rolls sales for them.  I made sure that the kitchen was kept clean.  I met the health department when they would come out to expect it; so I had some duties related with it, but certainly it was a way for me to get started with no cost at all.

And, so, I mean, no cost, I would have to take in everything.  I mean all the flour, all the sugar, you know everything that I was baking, and I would drag it all up there; every single night at two in the morning and I would stay till seven in the morning, but—and I would have things cleaned up and I would be out because I had to get back home for my kids to go to school and then my husband would take all of the deliveries.  We were doing breakfast, corporate breakfast catering at that time, and he would take those on his way to work and deliver them.

And so, you know, I did that—we did that for almost a year, I think, but that’s got really tiring because the busier I got the more I began to realize I wasn’t going to be able to keep that up, you know, just physically caring all that stuff in and out.  And so we started looking at the possibility of adding—well first we thought about renting space and that’s a whole another story; we looked at it and decided not to.  And then we decided we were going to try and put a licensed commercial kitchen in our home.

>>JOEL:    I’m surprised you didn’t already have one because you do have 12 kids.

>>GRACE:    Yes, I do and so I mean I was used to baking like this and everything, but anyway, we—it was, it was a long road to get the approval for the kitchen, but we did.  And so then we added a licensed commercial kitchen to our home and I was able to stay home and work at home from then on.  And that was just, that was, that was such a blessing that I could get up at, you know, two in the morning and I went downstairs to my commercial kitchen and I would just be able to be working, but I would be—I was at home.

And that just worked wonderfully for me for a lot of years.  And part of the, you know, we continued to do the cinnamon roll fundraising and I just want to tell you a story about one of my sons who asked me if I would help him do a cinnamon roll sale.

>>JOEL:    Yeah, what happened?

>>GRACE:    Well, he had been chosen to be an apostle for—it was the eighth grade year and those we’re supposed to be the leaders, you know, the example kids and all of that stuff.  And at Christmas time our pastor said—he took the 12 kids and he divided them into three groups and he gave each group $300.  And he said now I would like you guys to go out and bless someone in the community with this money.  And then I want you to come back and tell the story of what you did with it.

And so these kids sat around and they thought, well, you know, how would they go out and hand out hundred dollar bills.  That was what one of the groups was going to do or, you know, they, they had all these ideas of what they would do with this $300.

And then, Daniel, my son, came and said mom if we took $300 how much four and sugar could we buy and would you do a cinnamon roll sale for us?  And so I said that I would and we did that because, you know, he said mom, you know, $300 in the grand scheme of things giving that away isn’t going to help that many people.  So the kids came over.  We baked all night.  We did the cinnamon roll sale and they turned their $300 into $3600.

And so then they couldn’t, they could decide what to do with it so it kind of sat in a bank account at church for a while.  And that the kids were eighth-graders and toward the end of the year they were having an eighth grade retreat…

>>JOEL:    Wait a minute, eighth-graders…

>>GRACE:    Eighth-graders.

>>JOEL:    With your help.

>>GRACE:    Yeah.

>>JOEL:    I can’t even do the math, that’s like 100 times of what they started with, but, yeah, okay, eighth-graders.

>>GRACE:    Yeah, they did real well.  And so then they were at the end of their year they were going for their eighth grade retreat; the kind of final sum up your whole eight years of education kinds of things and just before that we had a minister who came and he was someone who worked in Third World countries.

And he was talking to church and he was just talking about the living conditions and the fact that people don’t, you know, they might only eat every third day and they live in little cardboard shacks or those kinds of things.  And he said, you know, in Honduras for $2500 you can build a house for somebody.  And if we have a donor who will donate $2500 we have bank who will match it and will build a house twice as big.

And so we were driving to this retreat and one of the eighth grade boys said Mrs. Becker did you hear what, you know, what the minister said yesterday about that building a house?  And I said, yeah.  And the kid said, you know, if we did a cinnamon roll sale we could build a house.

And so, I mean, it was very, I mean it was the beginning of May and I think two weeks later was, or maybe at the end of April, a couple of weeks later was Mother’s Day.  And the kids said could we do one on Mother’s Day?  And so we made things happen really fast.

Long story short the kids came over, we made cinnamon rolls, again.  They made another 35 or $3600

>>JOEL:    Okay, they, basically, duplicated their efforts

>>GRACE:    Yes, they did.  So then they had to spend all the money.  Now this was where it got really fun because the kids were sitting there counting their money and they’re counting out $2500 and they put the sack of money down on the floor; there’s our house.  And then they’re looking through the list of other things they could buy and they’re going, wow we’ve got enough left we could buy two water pumps; there’s our water pump and that will be water pumps for two villages.  And we still have money left, so now we could buy—oh they could buy a goat for a family or maybe it was a pair of goats for a family so they could start a goatherd.

And then they had enough left over that they could buy meals for a family for a month or something like that.  And, then, they still had their initial money from the first sale so then they went around our town and they gave money to an organization called Operation Breakthrough where they have—they care for single moms who are living at poverty level and they gave money to a reading program and they gave money to a church that was in an impoverished part of town and helped start a Dave Ramsey program there; but it was just really fun to watch those kids get…

>>JOEL:    Right.

>>GRACE:    So involved.  I overheard one of the boys—and these were all boys—and I overheard one of the boys that night.  They—part of their job was wrapping the rolls in Saran wrap to get them ready to take and one of the boys was ripping off the Saran wrap and he said every time I put one of these pieces of Saran wrap on, I feel like I’m putting a nail on the house.

>>JOEL:     Wow.

>>GRACE:    It was really a very neat experience.

>>JOEL:    Yeah, tell me about that.  You, as a mom, seeing that go on in the mind of an eight-year-old—or, not an eight-year-old, an eighth grader—seeing how they’re putting together pieces of, gosh I can take this and then I can help with this project to just, yeah.

>>GRACE:    It’s very, very rewarding to see your kids get that involved.  And my other kids have done the same kinds of things where they’ve done cinnamon roll sales so they could go on mission trips and build habitat houses and…

>>JOEL:    You know what that is?

>>GRACE:    Hmm?

>>JOEL:    Now that is real education.

>>GRACE:    Yeah, yeah.  It’s been really cool to have the kids go and see the different phases of construction when they’re doing these habitat houses.  You know I think some of them—because they did that several times and I believe that at least one of the kids was able to be involved in the part where they handed the keys over to the family that took over the house.

I mean, it’s really, it’s so much bigger than just, you know, doing something to make money.  It was very—it’s been very cool.

And, so anyway, that part of it was something that I’m—I wasn’t doing the cinnamon rolls to make money for myself; I was doing it for, for these different groups, but then, Joel, I was—more and more churches came and started asking me would I do cinnamon rolls.  And, you know, as it spread I was getting churches that I had no connection to at all.  And then one day, one of the, you know, one of these people, one of the churches called me and said we did do the cinnamon roll sale for us and I was really kind of busy and I was thinking gosh I just don’t know if…

>>JOEL:    Wait a minute, a mother of 12 busy?

>>GRACE:    Yeah, really, and so they called and they said would you do this and I said to let you know I can’t say no; that’s a big part of my problem so I said well I guess so.  And they said okay, well now how much do we pay you for this?  And I was like pay me?  You want to pay me for this?

And to make a long story short they just said well we were just thinking if we could just split it with you.  Would that work for you?  And I was just really dumbfounded, but in that weekend I made $1500 and I started on a, you know, a Saturday morning.

And I didn’t do that very often, but as I started to think about, you know, all of my life one thing that had been so important to me was being a stay-at-home mom and so when I started thinking about where can I go from here?  Well part of it was I joined Free Agent Academy and that’s where you and I met.  And in the brainstorming groups as I was, you know, we were talking about things we had done in the past, that idea came up of why don’t you teach other stay-at-home moms to do this?

>>JOEL:    I remember that.

>>GRACE:    And that’s, that’s where the idea for doing this came from.

>> JOEL:    Right.  Coaching, single mom—or I’m sorry, no single moms, but stay at home moms…

>>GRACE:    Stay-at-home moms, yes.

>>JOEL:    To do, basically, what it is that you do.

>>GRACE:    Right.

>>JOEL:    You know, make money right out of their own kitchen.

>>GRACE:    Right and at the same time, usually you’re, you know, your best customer’s going to be things like youth groups or church groups or, you know, groups wanting to make money in 4-H groups, whatever and…

>>JOEL:    Yeah to…

>>GRACE:  They’re…

>>JOEL:    Go ahead

>>GRACE:    You know it’s a, it’s such a natural fit that, you know, you’re not only are you helping the kids raise the money—I had this kind of revelation one morning, Joel, when I was making cinnamon rolls the days that my son Daniel and his friends were going to go out and start distributing this money.

And so I was making rolls so that we could just take rolls to each group that we were going to and, you know, just kind of make a little, just kind of a little ceremony out of it everywhere we went.  And I was making those rolls and it just kind of hit me where I was looking at what I was using: the flour and the sugar and the yeast and eggs and, and I thought, you know, these are, simple, simple ingredients; this is something I took for granted my whole life that I was taking these ingredients and turning them into a product that could then be sold.

But it’s more than that because it’s, it generates us money to help, you know, these different missions or good causes, and I realized that each and every one of us has those same—the same potential within us and you can be using it every day and be totally blind to something that you take for granted that is something very simple.  It could be right in front of your face that those are the ingredients of how you can make your impact on the world.

>>JOEL:    Right.

>>GRACE:    How you can build a business that you can be passionate about.

>>JOEL:    Yes.

>>GRACE:    But we’re often so blind to that that we just don’t even see it.

>>JOEL:    What a revelation that was.

>>GRACE:    Yeah, it really was.

>>JOEL:    And what a wonderful story.  Thank you for sharing that with…

>>GRACE:    Oh, you’re welcome.

>>JOEL:    Indeed.  Tell me about some of the real moments that you’ve had with some of your clients, some of your moms.  You know, working in your kitchen, working in their kitchen, you know, what have been some of the revelations or the ah-ha moments that you’ve seen moms kind of come to in just in your work, together?

>>GRACE:    Well, I’ve had moms who come and they’ve never baked all and they have no idea what baking with yeast is like.  They’ve heard horror stories and they’re, they’re very hesitant.  They don’t, they don’t really think that they can, you know, they’re going to be able to be successful at making cinnamon rolls and being a baker and things like that.

And so the very first moms that I worked with at the very end I kind of did, we kind—I did a little video of them and they were going on my goodness we couldn’t believe how, you know, the different phases of the rolls where, you know, they rise and then you frost them and then you wrap them and—and we made 100 pans of rolls.

And just, you know, and as we went through that it was wow this is really neat.  I had no idea this was, you know, that this is how it all works and how it all comes together.  And so they were able to walk through the entire process of, you know, starting out with hot water and ending up delivering, you know, 100 pans of rolls to a church that’s going to sell them.  And that it’s, it is not rocket science; it’s a method that you just follow the steps and you, you just consistently repeat, repeat, repeat.

And so that has been, that has been a lot of fun because I don’t know that I’ve worked with anybody who has baked with yeast before

>> JOEL:    Okay.

>>GRACE:    Most of them have no experience, at all.  And by the end of the weekend—or I’ve also taught some bread baking classes and things like that—nd by the end of the time they feel very confident that they can go off and, and do what we learned over the weekend or do what we learned in the class.  And it’s been really, you know, it’s just this…

>>JOEL:    Well, what’s the most rewarding thing for you, Grace, when you see one of your moms?  You’ve got a great video up on your website, right now, at doughrasingmom.com.  What’s the most rewarding part for you?

>>GRACE:    Well, the most rewarding part, I think, would be, oh gosh, kind of when, when the light comes on and the disbelief and the lack of self-confidence they have in themselves turns from that, that real doubt to I can do this.  You know, that I didn’t think I could do this when we started and now I know I can do this.  And that’s, that’s very cool.

I mean, when you, when you feel like when they leave and they feel like I can’t wait to go back and start baking for my friends or my family, you know, because they’re going to be my test market here.  They’re going to be, they’re going to be the people I’m going to practice on kind of thing.  And, you know, I’m—I haven’t yet had received a bill for many of the families that had to enroll their family in Weight Watchers after that happened, but I did hear from one that they were concerned that there was going to be that kind of issue.

But anyway that, that has been, I guess, it’s been probably one of the most rewarding things.

>>JOEL:     Absolutely.  You know it’s amazing when people really get in touch with what their passionate about and then they combine that with things that they know how to do really well.  And you, Grace, you know, I’ve—we’ve known each other for a few years and you, you’ve got that passion to come alongside people and, you know, stay-at-home moms, coming alongside them and helping them, you know, learn about how they can make money out of their own kitchen.  That’s one of the things, but really it’s about helping them be empowered.

>>GRACE:     Yeah, Joel, I think you have, you know, you really have a good point there because I, at this point, I have, you know, my children are now getting older and so it’s—so we’re—I am able to be kind of in a unique position because I have children that are married and have children of their own and I still have a 14-year-old and so I’ve been able to see the results.  You know, this is how we brought these kids and so at this point we have seven college graduates; we have three who have advanced degrees, doctorates or, you know, they’re an attorney and they’re just good people.  I have a couple of kids in college.  And these kids, I think what I’m most proud about with my children is that they are such good hearted kids.

And I think part of that comes from the fact that I didn’t have to take them to daycare or to a babysitter.  And I feel—my heart goes out to moms who have to do that, but I was fortunate enough to be able to be at home and enjoy them.  You know, the time I had with my kids I got to be the person who raised them and that is something that I think, now with our economy, it’s so difficult for single income families to do that.  And you see moms who are forced to go to work and it’s not really their choice, but they simply have to do that.

And if there are moms that I can—you know, who are in a position where being able to raise some part-time money will make the difference between them being able to be a stay-at-home mom or not, then if what I could teach them would help them do that that would really be a big deal to me.

>>JOEL:     Absolutely.  Well, that, that’s where your heart is, Grace.  I remember this is the part where I start crying because this is what happened between you and me.  I remember sitting down with you at that—remember at that long table, but we were the only one sitting there?

>>GRACE:     Yeah, yep, yep.

>>JOEL:     And then I said—we didn’t even know each other, but I could hear what you were saying and I could hear the words in between what you were saying when you were, you know, kind of talking to the group about some of your dreams and desires and I remember we kind of spent 10, 15 minutes and you, you really expressed your passion and how you just wanted to help stay-at-home moms.  You wanted to, you know, be that, that force in their life or that, you know, teammate to help them, you know, move forward.  I remember, I remember that conversation

>>GRACE:     Yeah, I remember the conversation, very well.

>>JOEL:    Indeed.

>>GRACE:     And that beautiful setting in mountains.

>>JOEL:    Indeed it was.  Indeed it was.  Now, there’s all kinds of free tools and things that we can get involved in on your website.  Kind of walk us through that real quick and we’ll kind of come in for landing on that, if you don’t mind.

>>GRACE:     Okay.  On my website—well for one thing I just have some, I have quite a few of the favorite recipes that I have, but the past couple of weeks I’ve been doing a series of free coaching calls for people who would like to be able to do some of, you know, raise money from things that they can make in their kitchen.

And some of the things that we’ve been talking about is, are—people have different ideas of what their expertise is; what they, you know, what they totally enjoy making and so it’s, you know, we have about cake decorating and a chocolate tier and someone who wanted to do regular catering and people who just plain don’t know; they’re just kind of interested in what the possibilities might be.

And so we spent, we spent time talking about that and then we’ve—yesterday I talked a little bit about how you actually get started if you’re going to go full-blown, start a business.  And so I went into, some of the things I had to do to, you know, to get my business started when I had the corporate catering company.  And, you know, and all just the little things that go with it.  And I’m not an attorney and I would certainly say that to anyone, but you do have to make decisions when you start a business about what—how you’re going to have to set up whether it’s LLC or, you know, sole proprietorship or an S. Corp and just so I mean in your planning process you need to set things up and you need to make some decisions.

But one thing that I really, especially when talking and focusing on the stay-at-home moms, is don’t go out and spend a whole lot of money; test out that market and see if you can figure out where you fit.  And, you know, for me, we—I mean we made every mistake in the book so if I’ve got—I have, I have and I’m not so proud to say this, but I have a doctorate degree from the school of hard knocks because I’ve made every mistake that you could make.  And, but I’ve learned a lot and so we, we’ve talked a little bit about, you know, how do you get started and, you know, what are those first steps.

And, oh, in—I am just finishing and I was telling you this before, you know, when we were chatting, Joel, I have, I have been doing the classes here in my home in Kansas City because I have my in-home kitchen, but there’s a lot of expense in travel involved in that and so after a lot of encouraging, I’m finally going to have an online version where I have a video that’s very step-by-step and you’re watching; you’re watching me actually make rolls.

And I purposely made this video for people who’ve never made cinnamon rolls.  And I made them by hand.  Now I don’t do that in my kitchen, normally, because I’ve got commercial equipment, but I wanted people to get a feel for if you were starting from—that’s how I started that’s exactly how I started and, you know, making it by hand and, you know, when you—it goes a lot faster when you have a big mixer and all those kinds of things, but I wanted people—I wanted people to be able to see how to do it with where they’re at most likely right now.

>>JOEL:    Okay, that’s…

>>GRACE:    And then, I have written a manual, my business manual, and I also have a book on how I put the commercial kitchen in my home.

>>JOEL:     All right.

>>GRACE:    And I think we’re going to add a piece from our CPA about just the basic business part of it.  And we’re going to—I’m going to be ready to put all of that online, probably within the next month.

>>JOEL:    Okay, that’s…

>>GRACE:    So I’ll, I’ll have some, you know, some news flashes about that soon.

>>JOEL:     And we can…

>>GRACE:    But…

>>JOEL:    Go ahead.

>>GRACE:    And that’s, that’s one of the things that I have on my website.  But another thing that as I’ve had to go through this process, I’ve realized that if you want to get the word out you’re probably going to have to have your website and you’re going to have to start to learn how to use social media and those things.

And I certainly can’t brag that I’m, I’m learning social media, but I’m certainly—don’t have the hang of it quite yet, but I do, I do feel pretty confident that I am pretty adept at using WordPress and, I talk sometimes on that website about, you know, it doesn’t cost very much to have a website and I you can just start talking to the community out there; who are your customers going to be?

And so if you’re specializing in wanting to do decorated cakes and you’re going to be in the niche of making your cake specifically profession-oriented so your cakes are cakes that would be delivered to a doctor or a nurse or a teacher or, you know, a plumber or whatever and that’s your niche in the market; how you reach those people and how can they find you?

And something that I found in my catering company was that in the later years of that catering company most of my people, most of my customers went to my website first.  And so it’s pretty critical in this day and age to have a website where people…

>>JOEL:    That’s—it is.

>>GRACE:    Can connect with you.

>>JOEL:     It is.  Your website is very easy to navigate and we can learn about your book:  Make Money Baking at Home – Legally.

>>GRACE:    Yes.   Yeah, that’s the big, that’s the big catch of the book.

>> JOEL:    Yes, and not only that, but you also—when people sign up for your newsletter and your updates, they also get your top 10 favorite ideas for making money, baking.

>> GRACE:    Yeah, yeah.

>>JOEL:    And I think that’s, that’s a neat free gift that you have there on your website.  There’s videos to look at like your commercial kitchen video and there’s just a lot of other wonderful tools.  They’re on your website doughraisingmom.com.

Wonderful, wonderful.  Well, thank you so much, Grace, this is a…

>>GRACE:    Oh, thank you, Joel.

>>JOEL:    This has been a delight to have you on and I just appreciate your time.

(  music playing  )

>>GRACE:    Well, it’s been, it’s been so fun to reconnect with you.  It’s been really good to get back in touch and find out what’s going on and thank you for having me on your podcast.  This was really fun.

>>JOEL:    All the best, Grace.

>>GRACE:    All right.  Thanks, Joel.  Bye.

( end of music  )

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