8 min 21 sec

Social Worker Bakes Cupcakes for The Walking Dead

After a stressful divorce, this social worker and mom needs to make money. She begins by selling cupcakes at the local market, then goes on to establish a sustainable business.
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What It's About

A sweet side hustle with pinup appeal!

Business Model
Social Media
Skills Required
Baking & Experimentation
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

What we’re seeing now is Carrie thinking even smarter and asking herself how she can go from baking more cupcakes (which is ultimately not sustainable, at least not on its own and with her doing much of the baking) to those side-side hustles that allow her to reach more people

That’s the path you need to follow if you want to grow. And as always, it’s also okay to just make cupcakes and sell them at the market. On this Boxing Day and every day, your next steps are your own!

Fun Fact

Carrie is a third generation hustler. Her dad had a letterpress side business he ran from the basement. Her grandparents were holocaust survivors that came to America with no education. They began working out of their own home offering sewing and wallpapering services.

Notes from Chris

Episode 725

Carrie Buchanan has a demanding—and might I say selfless—day job. As a social worker in her hometown of Canton, Ohio, she provides support to people with disabilities. But, sometime a few years ago Carrie found herself needing some support of her own.

She was going through a stressful divorce. After the separation, she moved into a small condo with her two teenage daughters. A few close friends helped pack her things on moving day. To thank them, Carrie couldn’t buy expensive gifts, so she turned to her creative side instead.

While shopping at a local craft store, she came across a large muffin baking tray and an idea struck. She could use the muffin tray to bake extra large cupcakes for her friends. What’s better than cupcakes? Extra large cupcakes! She whipped up a batch, and all her friends loved them. During the next year, she received several requests to bake the extra large cupcakes again. Gradually she modified them, adding creamy flavored icing and topping it off with an extra treat like a peanut butter cup or s'more.

The cakes became Carrie's signature dish. She’d often bake them for special occasions or for friends and family. It was a fun hobby that made people smile. But, while the cupcakes solved her original thank you gift problem. They couldn’t eliminate all of life’s stressors.

As the next year rolled around, Carrie was still stressed and fantasized about packing everything up and escaping in a trailer. In her fantasy, she’d sell homemade french fries out the back of the trailer while traveling around the country. The idea was so appealing that she even went to a local carnival to ask the workers about life on the road. It sounded so freeing!

But this particular fantasy wasn’t meant to be. She couldn’t just drop everything and run away. She had commitments at home and two teenage daughters to care for. But the idea didn’t go away entirely. Carrie soon began dating someone new and told him about her ‘life on the road’ dream. He suggested she could do something similar, but keep things closer to home. Instead of running away, she could bake and sell some of her giant cupcakes at a local market called First Friday.

Initially, she dismissed the idea, saying, "What do I really know about baking? I still use canned icing to decorate the cakes!" Even so, he assured her it was worth trying and even suggested a business name, Bombshell Cupcakes!* Carrie was a fan of pinup culture so it fit perfectly.

*[producer note: since the airing of this original episode, the name has now changed to Bombshell Baking Company] For a couple more years Bombshell Cupcakes continued to drop Bombshells at the market. Carrie was still baking out of her home kitchen all while still working full-time.

But then she introduced iced cookies. These turned out to be even more popular. People would request custom orders for parties, or with their favorite characters or corporate colors. Over time, this part of the business became so popular that Carrie added it to the name. It was now called Bombshell Cupcakes & Cookies!

Carrie continued with both her day job and side hustle. She’d work all day and then come home at night and bake cookies and cupcakes. It was time to bring on a little help in the form of her first and only employee. Although the employee only worked part-time, she allowed Carrie to increase the volume of her operation while still working a full-time job.

Over the last year, Carrie was able to take home close to $20,000 profit from the business. This is made all the more impressive by the fact that each order is just $35 - $50. That’s a lot of orders! She’s also been able to expand to include a few side-side hustles.

Carrie has even bigger plans for Bombshell Cupcakes in 2019. She understands you can only bake and decorate so many cookies by hand. It’s not a business that scales well. Just recently she began offering live streamed baking courses which has opened up another source of income. Next up is a Youtube channel so that she can share her knowledge. The goal of all that will be to create a paid video tutorial course to generate income in a more passive way.

But what she is most proud of, is that this side hustle has enabled her to purchase her own home. Those bombshell cupcakes have had extra-large benefits.



Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"First things first, you must love what you are doing, and you must love to learn and be patient. It takes a lot of time and practice to get good. But hang in there!"
—Carrie Buchanan #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau