For a lot of kids, entrepreneurship starts with selling glasses of cold lemonade on a warm day. Given Canada ranks as one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world, it’s not surprising that kids and teens are starting their own business.
We spoke with 12-year-old Augie Balcers, owner of Sweet August about baking, business, how he began, and the lessons Augie has learned as a young entrepreneur.
What’s the story behind why you began your business?
I’ve been running a baking business in the GTHA for a year-and-a-half and I offer custom baked goods—including vegan, low-fat, and halal. My first paying job was a carrot cake with cream cheese icing. I began during COVID-19 because I enjoyed baking and I thought I might as well make some money. I took some online baking classes through Outschool and LeDolci Bakery, such as French baking, macarons, and chocolate masters class. We also had some family baking competitions during the pandemic, which were fun.
Did anyone or anything inspire you to start your own business?
No one inspired me to start my own business, but I enjoyed watching baking shows on Netflix and on TV like The Great Canadian Baking Show, Zumbo’s Just Desserts and Worst Baker in America. Also I’ve been baking since I was young with my parents and grandmother.
What’s the one thing you’ve learned from running your own business?
When people place an order, it needs to be on time, so I learned about time management. I also have a ledger and keep track of my expenses, so I have learned about money management as well. I’ve also learned to invest in my business and after my first order I put a quarter of it back into the business to pay for supplies.
What do you love about what you do?
I like baking and I like making my own money. It gives me spending money. I’ve used some of the money I made to contribute towards my ice skates and to buy Christmas presents for friends.
What’s the one thing that surprised you about starting your own business?
Not many things really surprised me, because my parents advised me about some things, like investing in my business, but I was surprised at how expensive cake and pie boxes and business labels were. The boxes were $100, and the labels were about $20.
How did you manage the money side of running your business?
My parents made me invest a certain amount of my earnings back into my business, but now that I’ve had a steady income, I’ve been able to keep more of the money and make a better profit. Once I had a job where I only made 49 cents profit, and that opened my eyes to realize that I had to price orders fairly so that they are not too expensive but that I can also make a decent profit.
How do you promote your business?
Word of mouth and Instagram. I first set up my Instagram account because I was doing charity baking with The People’s Pantry, and they asked me if I had an Instagram account so they could tag me.
What advice would you give to other kids who want to start their own business?
My advice would be to manage your money well, and know that you won’t make a lot of money at the start in my type of business. To help manage my expenses, I get supplies from the Buy Nothing Project or use gift cards I’ve been given.
Craving a sweet treat? Sweet August’s specialties include Oreo cheesecake and freshly baked zucchini bread. Contact Sweet August by email to order or check out his baked goods on Instagram.
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This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.
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