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If you happen to live in one of the 42 states that passed a cottage food law and you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you might have thought about starting your own homemade food business. If so, you should check out Homemade for Sale: How to Set Up and Market a Food Business from Your Home Kitchen by ecopreneurs Lisa Kivirist and John D. Ivanko.
This book has everything the home-based entrepreneur needs to get started with their own homemade food business. Just a few of the things you’ll learn:
- product development from name to packaging
- pricing your product
- where to sell your product
- marketing, advertising, and public relations
- zoning and licensing
- liability protection
- financial management and bookkeeping
- growing your business and scaling up
The two best things about the book are the authors’ enthusiasm for home-based businesses and their effort to make sure that entrepreneurs protect themselves legally. In response to a start-up guide that warns, “In many instances, it would be better to take the money required to start such a business and invest it in a certificate of deposit,” the authors respond:
Oh, really? Last we checked, you can earn only .99% APY on a CD for one year; for a $500 investment, you’d get back $4.95 in interest earnings. We don’t know a cottage food business on the planet that couldn’t beat that.
They also offer plenty of great advice on protecting yourself legally. For example, they suggest that you keep records of every batch of product that you make. Even though this may not be required by your local authorities for cottage food businesses, you are still responsible for the safety of the food. If someone got sick after eating something you made, a log detailing “the date, what and how much you made and what ingredients you used” could be used to show that you were not negligent.
Each chapter includes stories of entrepreneurs from all over the U.S. who have started home-based food businesses. By the time I reached the end of the book, I was ready to pull out my baking pans and get started!
Learn more about the authors on this post.
There is a newer edition of this book. Check it out on this podcast episode where I interviewed Lisa Kivirist, the co-author.