Anon: When I was growing up in the 80s, everyone around me knew for sure what they wanted to do with their lives. My little brother who was barely a teenager at the time knew that he was going to join the army, my elder sister, a doctor, and my childhood best friend was nursing a lofty ambition of becoming a professor.
All I knew was that I was going to be a very successful person doing what I loved to do most; act. I was either going to act my way into the movie industry or act as though I had a respectable profession. For many years, this plan seemed to be working and no one knew what was going on with me. When people asked about work, I acted as though I was absolutely loving it. Sometimes I even told them I was getting promoted soon.
The charade went up in flames when I lost my parents to a ghastly fire accident. The soldier in our family couldn’t have prevented their demise, neither could the medical doctor save them. I was in my early thirties, no clear career in sight, and no parent to shower me with affection. I was lost, helpless, disgruntled, and most importantly, desperate.
I read every self-help book I could find, and they all talked about discovering yourself. Unfortunately, I didn’t want to be found, not even by myself. At one time I even attended seminars on self-development and career development. It was meant to be a joke, (I had no career, so what was going to be developed?)
The Turning Point
The year was 2015; a peak election period in my country and most of the aspirants created self-development seminars for people in the community. Even though I was one of those people who heckled the moderator and went only for the food; I couldn’t but notice a pattern; everyone talked about having a skill.
It was during this period too that my love for Bella Naija Weddings blossomed. I binged on the blog, satisfying my hunger for the beautiful dresses and the humongous cakes. Call it providence if you will; this was also the time I met someone who turned out to be a friend and a mentor; a renowned caterer who would like to remain anonymous in this narration. Let’s call her Rer.
Rer once mentioned how much she made from one of her gigs and instantly, the dots connected. I was going to make cakes for weddings alone and this would be my career.
When I started out, it was tough. Most of my friends and acquaintances were already married and they even had kids. Unless I was waiting to make cakes for their children, my hopes of getting pity-contracts were dashed.
And so, I did what no one in their right mind would’ve done; I offered to bake cakes for Rer’s events for free. But I knew I wasn’t good enough to get paid. At that time, I wouldn’t have paid me to even bake cake for me. Luckily for me, I got better fast. Really fast.
How Time Flies
Fast-forward to 2018 and thanks to Rer’s connection, I was already charging good money for my cakes. Even though I had the usual issue artisans had (People who wanted services on credit), I managed to stay afloat. This was the year I also stumbled upon people who advised me to explore the online market. A friend introduced me to a freelancing platform that did all the work of sourcing for clients and securing my funds. The holy grail, right?!
It’s been six months on TERAWORK now and I am not just charging good money; I’m making the good money. I could never have pictured that my life could take a turn this good and I’m really excited about what the future holds.
I’ll admit that I didn’t start out to bake as a hobby. My real hobby was sleeping and acting. But I thought of it as an opportunity to act as though I was a baker. My stage name was Anita Baker and I was really passionate about this craft. Maybe this story would have been more beautiful if I told you that I met the love of my life after discovering this passion, but I don’t mix business with pleasure.
I hope this inspires you.