Check Out IDEA #2 in our NEW series Make Your Own Cool Job!

May 1, 2016 |

Are you happiest when you’re in a kitchen?

Do you dream of having a little shop where the regulars know you by name?

Even if your interests lie elsewhere… do you still love discovering ways to work and live outside the job box?

If so then you’ll love IDEA #2 in our NEW series Make Your Own Cool Job!

Maura Glennon didn’t set out to be her own boss.

To the contrary. For the last 15 years she’s been a music professor at Keene State College.

Somewhere along the line – or the highway as the case may be – Maura got restless.

On her daily two-hour round trip commute from her home in Florence, Massachusetts to her job in New Hampshire, Maura would dream of opening her own little pie shop.

When an old general store-turned barbershop closed down, Maura saw her chance and she grabbed it.

Today she and her husband Justin (also a professor) are the proud owners of the super quaint Florence Pie Bar.

Pie 4

pie shop 1

pie shop 3

Being close to home suits Maura’s new non-commuter lifestyle.

Even though running a brick-and-mortar operation isn’t the most family-friendly business model, the mother of two boys told a local reporter, “My son can ride his bike to the store after school and help out with the dishes, do his homework here.”

Opening any retail enterprise is a gamble. Fortunately, right out of the gate the Florence Pie Bar was turning out 75 pies a day.

But with prices starting at $4.75 a slice… once you do the math you’ll see, that’s a lot of dough!

My 84-year-old dad L-O-V-E-S pie.

So I decided to surprise him with a treat. (I couldn’t decide between the lemon chess and the chocolate malted — so I picked both for him.)

If my dad’s expert- taste test is any confirmation, this pie is worth the price!

Find Your Niche

On the opposite side of the country in Portland, Oregon is the Pacific Pie Company.

Chris Powell and Sarah Curtis, also a husband-and-wife team, came at the pie business from a very different angle.

Chris missed the savory meat pies he grew up with in his native Australia, so Sarah experimented with making them.

Apparently she got the hang of it because today, in addition to fabulous sounding breakfast and lunch fare, their restaurant specializes in Australian-style savory meat pies.

Aussie Meat Pie

They also offer other Australian pub favorites like chicken schnitzel and something called pie floaters described as, “a crazy but delicious Aussie dish” that consists of “your choice of meat pie or vegetarian pastie floating in a big bowl of our house made pea soup.”

Like many other foodie entrepreneurs, Sarah and Chris started out small by selling at farmer’s markets. Today they have two locations.

Something else that stood out to me about the Pacific Pie Company was the great use of video – unusual for a restaurant.

Instead of just telling their site visitors that they do catering, they actually show the kitchen crew prepping for a big event.

In another video, Sarah shares the history of meat pies explains how wives of British miners used to make them from meat, potatoes and other leftovers so their husbands could easily pack lunch to eat in the mine.

Teach What You Love

Sarah also teaches a class called Pie Making 101.  The three-hour class costs $100 and is limited to six people. 

Again, if you don’t have your calculator out yet…you should!


At the current twice-a-month schedule, Sarah will profit from her passion for baking and teaching to the tune of $14,400 a year!

Turns out back at the Florence Pie Bar, Maura also plans to offer evening classes.

I found this out after Maura’s husband Justin said he was surprised at the brisk sales of their branded mugs and T-shirts (seen here above glass case).

pie shop 2

Create Additional Streams of Income

That’s when a light bulb went off.

Hearing about these other product sales prompted me to tell Justin about Self-Bossing IDEA #1 in our Make Your Own Cool Job!

If you missed it, I profiled a company that’s already sold over 300,000 high-fashion aprons.

And I told you how, for as little as $200, you can apply to buy these aprons wholesale and sell them for as much $49 each.

Justin loved the idea that aprons (these or their own branded ones) could be a great product to sell to pie baking students!

Literally a day after posting about how these aprons would be a great addition to a local food shop I happened to find the PERFECT place to profit from this idea!

That’s why it’s so important that you keep learning about different business ideas.

You never know when that idea might help you… or someone who shares your passion for working and living outside the j-o-b box!

Next Step for This–and ALL–Ideas

Have you noticed how when it comes to acting on our dream that the brains of otherwise intelligent, capable people suddenly turn to mush?

All the more so if you tend to become easily overwhelmed by lots of steps.

Here’s an exercise to “trick” the part of you that’s overwhelmed or afraid or just not sure where to begin.

Imagine your boss tells you to come up with a step-by-step plan for how an individual could make money selling pies.

Oh, and your boss needs your report ASAP!

Your first response might be, “OMG, I have no idea what to do!”

Yet, even with any initial brain fog or self-doubt (or both), the fact that your boss needs a plan, you’d figure it out to do it.

Am I right?

That’s when it can help to pretend you really were given this assignment and then figure it out!

To start:

  1. List all the things you’ll need to find out in order to complete your plan. Things like:

– wholesale price of Flirty Aprons in order to do sales projections

– the cost and logistics of getting a table or booth at various venues

– how to file for a state or provincial tax ID

  1. Make a plan for how you’ll get these answers – will you look online? Start making phone calls?
  1. Next, list all things someone would need to learn or understand or do well in order to succeed in this business:

– basic bookkeeping

– customer service

– marketing

  1. Then make a plan for how someone could gain the required knowledge or skills.

If you really do want to open a brick-and-mortar business, I urge you to do what Maura did and seek free 1-1 counseling from your state’s State Business Development Center or comparable program in the province or country where you live.

      Walk a local flea market, chatting with vendors about what it’s like to sell there.

  1. Once you have all the information you need, list the steps in the order they need to be to happen.  Hint: You don’t have to do everything all at once!

Turning ideas into action isn’t complicated. All you need is a plan and the effort to carry it out!

Stay tuned for Self-Bossing IDEA #3 in our series Make Your Own Make Your Own #&*!*# Job!

Don’t want to wait?

Click here to learn everything you need to know about scheduling your personal Work at What You Love career session!

We’d Love to Hear from You!

If you had to pick just one take away from this story…

  1. What would it be?
  2. How will you use it to advance your own path to self-bossing?