Sweet Business Lessons: Unwrapping Success Through Dessert Challenge

Sweet Business Lessons: Unwrapping Success Through Dessert Challenge

You may be wondering why I’m writing about desserts. After all, they have nothing in common with marketing, business ownership, or professional development.

Which is totally true.
Or do they?

Part 1: The Dessert Challenge

In December 2022, my husband challenged me to make a weekly dessert for the entire year of 2023. So even though I’m not a dessert fan, I accepted the challenge. I made everything from cookies to panna cotta to fancy cakes and more. While most of the desserts were a hit, there were a couple that didn’t turn out as planned.

During the challenge, we went on a 5-week RV camping trip to New England, so I had to improvise during that time. I had to get very creative during the trip, and experienced two minor fails (the frozen lemonade pie and crockpot cobbler did not turn out as planned).

I found myself thinking about dessert far too often. As I mentioned, dessert is not my favorite, so the challenge was real! As the months passed, I became weary of the challenge and started looking forward to the end. I felt compelled to the point that making dessert became a chore. I considered taking shortcuts. And I felt disappointed that dessert, which by its nature should be fun, was an obligation.

Regardless of my conflicting feelings, I decided to wrap up the challenge with a month of grand finale desserts, which included a pavlova Christmas tree dessert and a classic Buche de Noel for the holidays. I had never made either of these desserts before, so making them for a houseful of guests was nerve-wracking. The results: perfection!

Near the end of the challenge, I had a conversation with my business coach. She casually mentioned my discipline to complete something that was SO outside of my comfort zone. And this is when I had my light-bulb moments.

dessert challenge berry fool

Part 2: The Marketing & Business Connections

Here’s the connections I realized after completing this challenge.

I have to make a weekly dessert = CONSISTENCY. Consistency is a vital component to a successful business and successful marketing campaigns. Want to improve your brand awareness? Get visible regularly. Want to increase team loyalty? Set goals and offer regular feedback. Want to get more leads for your business? Launch regular lead generation campaigns. With only a few exceptions, dessert was on Sundays.

I have to make a different dessert = CREATIVITY. At first glance, this can feel overwhelming, like “where do I start?” First: start where you are with what you have. Hint: create content based on questions you are frequently asked! You already know those answers. My first dessert was pineapple cookies because I had the ingredients on hand. They weren’t a huge hit but at least I got started.

Next, check out what others are doing, and doing well. While your content and campaigns {should} never look like anyone else’s, they can be inspired by others. I poured through so many recipes that inspired me and nearly 99% of the time I tweaked the recipe based on either my preferences or what was available to me. My ice cream nachos were inspired by something I found on Pinterest but I adjusted it according to what I could find and dietary considerations (no nuts for my tasters!)

Finally, get outside of your comfort zone and try something completely new. Never gone live on Facebook or created an Instagram reel? Been collecting email addresses but never emailed your list? What are you waiting for? You won’t know the results if you hold back. My pavlova tree and Buche de Noel were nerve-wracking but I didn’t let that stop me! I asked for help and then I did it!

I need to cater to my people = ENGAGEMENT. In marketing, one of the metrics we measure is engagement, whether it’s social media, website traffic, email campaigns, list growth, sales, inquiries, etc. Knowing how your audience responds to the campaigns you launch helps you determine your next steps: what worked, what needs tweaked, and so on. Every week, I asked my taste testers to rate the dessert, to make a comparison to previous desserts, and to offer feedback. Spoiler alert: my people love all kinds of dessert!

dessert challenge chocolate kahlua cake

Part 3: The Lessons

The lesson was this. I can do the hard things. I can do things that are meaningful to others. I can do important things for my business and my clients. And I can do things for myself. When we look at the hard things, the best approach is to take it one step at a time. Eat the frog. Stay in our lane. Focus on the task at hand, remembering the end result but focusing on today, without overthinking.

Final Thoughts

In the midst of all the trials and triumphs, I’m honestly grateful for the challenge. The joy it brought to my dessert tasters was a gift, and the lessons? They’re now valuable tools in my professional and personal toolkit.

As dessert reverts to its former role in our lives, I’m embracing the “sweetness” of this experience. It’s a reminder that, indeed, we can face the challenges and find joy in the process. That you can have your cake and eat it too! Sweet endings and new beginnings – who knew they could be so closely intertwined?


PS. If you are interested in viewing more of my dessert challenge pictures and adventures, you can search #dessertchallenge2023 on Facebook. 

Your Brand…It’s More Than Just a Logo!

Your Brand…It’s More Than Just a Logo!

In my Building a Brand workshop, we dive deep into what a brand actually is, and my students are often surprised at the outcome. If I had to choose ONE concept to focus on when it comes to branding, it would be emotion. What does your ideal client think or feel when they experience your brand, whether that’s your business name or product/service?

Here’s a few examples.

The Brand as an Experience

Your vehicle needs an oil change. You immediately think of a particular service station that you’ve had a positive experience with. That’s branding.

The Brand as a Service

Someone is new to town and needs an oil change and they ask you for a recommendation. You refer them to the service station you use. That’s branding.

The Brand as a Name

You drive past the service station daily on your commute to work. You see their signage and think about how you trust the business and their team, or that you need to get that oil change. That’s branding.

I encourage you to take a moment to consider some of the bigger brands you experience in your life. Think of Apple or Amazon or Nike or Pepsi. Just reading their names has likely already triggered an emotional response. Then consider how your brand can trigger a positive emotional response with your audience so when they’re ready to buy or refer, they think of you first!
Finally, a teaser: we’re refreshing the Melanie & co brand in 2024, so keep your eyes open. It’s going to be GREAT!

Need help with your branding strategy?  Schedule a call today!  

Identifying Your Target Market

Identifying Your Target Market

Not everyone is your potential customer or client. In this session, we discuss how to identify your target market (aka Avatar) and how to create messages that they connect with and how to reach them where they are.



Building Your Brand

Building Your Brand

Your brand is not just a logo. It’s the consumer’s overall perception of your business. Small businesses often are competing against big brands with devoted customers and unlimited marketing budgets. It’s important to find ways to stand out with a solid brand-building process of your own. In this session, you will learn how to create a successful brand that is consistent in communication and experience across many applications.


Email unsubscribes and gardening … the lesson we didn’t know we needed

Email unsubscribes and gardening … the lesson we didn’t know we needed

While the idea of your garden magically weeding itself may sound appealing (because who really enjoys weeding?) it’s just not the case in reality. But when it comes to the “garden of email marketing,” email unsubscribes act as the natural pruning process, ensuring a healthier and more vibrant email list.


Stick with me here … 😉 Although weeding your garden and embracing email unsubscribes may seem unrelated at first, they actually share some surprising similarities.


Healthy Growth: In both cases, you’re nurturing healthy growth. Weeding allows your plants to thrive by removing unwanted competition, while embracing unsubscribes in email marketing helps maintain a clean and engaged subscriber list, allowing your messages to reach those genuinely interested.


Quality Over Quantity: Both practices emphasize quality over quantity. Weeding prioritizes the well-being of your chosen plants, ensuring they receive the nutrients and attention they need. Similarly, embracing unsubscribes focuses your email efforts on a genuinely interested and engaged audience.


Improved Performance: Weeding enhances the performance of your garden by reducing overcrowding and enabling each plant to flourish. Embracing unsubscribes improves email campaign performance by increasing open rates and click-through rates among subscribers who are genuinely interested in your content.


Pruning for Success: Just as you prune your garden to encourage healthier growth, embracing email unsubscribes is a form of pruning your email list. Both actions involve removing what’s not beneficial to make room for what is.


Long-Term Sustainability: Both practices lead to long-term sustainability. A well-tended garden can continue to thrive season after season, and a well-maintained email list ensures the sustainability and effectiveness of your email marketing efforts over time.


Cheers to your email campaigns flourishing as a result of some unsubscribes! 

Want to learn more about best practices for your email marketing efforts? Check out this blog post on timing and frequency!