Since March, baking has had a bit of a revival. From the Great British Bake Off to live cook-alongs, it seems like everyone is trying their hand at banana bread, scones and so much more.
But for one Strangford woman, baking provided not only a welcome pastime, it also helped her to start a brand new business during lockdown.
We caught up with legal professional Beth Gill, to find out more about how she turned her passion into a thriving side project and got involved with the Boost Drinks Hustle Hub events!
Turning a negative into a positive
Like thousands of people across Northern Ireland, Beth found herself without a job when the first wave of Covid-19 hit back in March.
“In February this year, I left Allen & Overy to finish off exams so I could start my job in Dublin,” Beth explains. “Obviously, that was the worst possible time to leave a job. The pandemic hit in March and everything was postponed for a year so that’s why I started baking to keep myself sane.
“It was a very difficult time but baking levelled me out a bit. It gave me peace of mind. I had all this time off but I didn’t want it, I wanted to be working. That’s how it all started.
A thriving side hustle
While Beth had always baked with her mother growing up, lockdown gave her a chance to try new recipes and perfect her craft.
“My mum and I would have baked a lot when I was younger. She would always joke about how messy I am,” Beth laughs. “I’ve always made birthday cakes for people and things like that but during lockdown I have had a lot more time so I’ve gotten much better at it. I’ve never done any courses, I’m still an amateur but I am able to bake.
“I do cakes every now and then but it’s not my main thing. There are a lot of people who do cakes better than me so I try to leave it to them. I got a really good recipe book and in it was the best recipe I have ever tried for cookies. I started doing that and people started to say they would love to buy them. It’s all sort of grown from there.”
Balancing her two passions
While Beth is now back working as a legal professional, she still finds time to bake in the evenings and at the weekends.
“It’s great that I can do things on my own terms,” she explains. “When you bake, you’re using your brain just enough to keep it ticking along but you can still sort of tune out. It’s the same way your brain works when you’re doodling and doing things like that. It gives your brain a breather and you stop overthinking.”
“I would never give up my career in law. I would never change that. I have worked really hard to get to this stage but it’s still nice to be able to bake on the side. It’s my creative outlet. It’s just something that I really enjoy.”
This month, Beth will be sharing her inspiring story as part of leading functional drinks company, Boost’s Virtual Hustle Hub Series.
Boost Hustle Hub
The Boost Hustle Hub is a series of exclusive, virtual, Northern Ireland events hosted by local radio presenter, Kat Walker, showcasing some of our fantastic local talent and giving the wider public the chance to hear first-hand from local people who juggle their day jobs with exciting and demanding side hustles.
Through these events, Boost aim to inspire even more local people to follow their passions and take their hustle to the next level. You can register for the next virtual event, ‘Baking with Beth’, for free here.
Sharing her story
Beth’s story, which is taking place at 6.30pm on Wednesday, December 19, will focus on how she has turned her passion into a thriving side-business and will even include a short baking demo.
Beth hopes that it will help ‘boost’ people who are looking to turn their sport or hobby into a successful side hustle.
“It’s really good fun and I’ve really enjoyed the experience,” she states. “We made profiteroles. I didn’t want to do cupcakes or cakes because lots of other people do that. I wanted to do something different and something a little bit Christmassy.
“This time last year we were having people around and I went to the Supermarket to buy profiteroles and now I am making them myself. I’ve gotten a lot better.
“Baking is the type of thing that anyone can do it if they love it enough to keep trying when things go wrong. Whenever I first made profiteroles out of choux pastry they came out like little pancakes. I’ve made about 70 batches, maybe more. It’s only now that I can get reliable results. It’s something that people should try and have fun with.”
Earn a share of £5000
In addition to the Hustle Hub series, Boost are giving away £5000 in Hustle Hub grants, to people like Beth who have an interesting side hustle that they would like to take to the next level.
“Whenever people are starting off that money would make such a big difference,” Beth explains. “It’s a really big decision to launch anything like this. There are certain things that I have only been able to do recently like get a logo made or order in boxes in case anyone makes an order. So, a cash grant, which Boost are offering, would definitely help people a lot.”
So, if you’re thinking about taking the first step or next step in making your side hustle bigger and better, visit the Boost website to find out how you could earn a share of £5k. You’ll have to be quick, applications close on December 31.
If you would like to hear from Paralegal turned Baker, Beth from Strangford, on how she took her side hustle to the next level as well as how to make the perfect profiteroles this Christmas and how you could get your hands on a share of £5k, register today for this free virtual event on Wednesday 16th December 2020 at 6.30pm.