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Teacher turned start-up founder, Katherine Sabbath

Teacher turned start-up founder, Katherine Sabbath

In the start-up phase? Here are 6 tips you should know from teacher turned entrepreneur

H&R Block has partnered with Home Baker and Author, Katherine Sabbath to launch their Grants for Growth initiative – offering support to budding entrepreneurs who need an extra boost to transform a dream from ideation or start-up phase to mainstream.

Katherine was a high school history and geography teacher by trade, but turned her big dream into a successful career; she’s now a professional cake-maker and now a best-selling cookbook author.

Here, Katherine Sabbath shares her top tips for budding entrepreneurs in the start-up phase.

  • Hone your skills and seek constructive feedback: I made sure I had years of cake-making practice and tonnes of feedback from people I respect before I started offering my services to a bigger market. I’m also constantly on the lookout for new techniques I can learn or new ingredients to work with. I really do believe that a passion for learning needs to be a part of your personality in order to continue moving a business forward.
  • Set yourself up financially for success: Passion, authenticity and uniqueness are three areas I celebrate in my craft, but knowing how to navigate the world of money so that it supports these areas is what makes it a viable business. If you’re like me and not a professional when it comes to managing tax, budgeting, financial forecasts etc., connect yourself with those who are!
  • Ask for help! You absolutely deserve to surround yourself with a supportive network. There are so many complementary businesses and people who can collaborate with your brand, or help you to achieve your dreams. Not only can they motivate you, they can give you experienced advice, and save you precious time in the long run. I find these important connections at networking events, cake classes, expos, through mutual friends, social media, and through internet searches.

Reflect: Are you REALLY enjoying what you do?

Overall, if you’re not enjoying the ins and outs of your daily life as a business owner, it may be time to reassess its direction and focus on strengthening aspects of the business that enrich your happiness. This sentiment has come to me in various interpretations but I will always remember that success comes when you work to achieve goals that are aligned to your personal values. I reassess the direction of my business all of the time, and I think that’s a natural part of building a strong and authentic brand.

Focus on growing strong slowly (rather than big quickly): It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day challenges of running a business, and feeling like a failure when things don’t go quite to plan or take longer than expected. There are LOADS of things I would have liked to achieve in my business by now, but I’m glad I’ve spent time on my own training, community engagement, and capital development, before I make the next big step (you’ll have to follow along with me to see how I go!)

Prioritise your physical and mental health: These two fundamental areas for the success of your business cannot be considered separate from each other, nor should they take a backseat to your daily agenda. You bet I learned this the hard way! When I first started out in my business, I had absolutely no work-life balance, and ‘forgot’ to make time for exercise and ‘switching off’. I didn’t realise, but sheer stress was making me sick for weeks on end (we’re talking doctors referring me to the “Infectious Diseases Unit” kind of sick).

It’s kind of embarrassing, but it turned out that I was running on stress and adrenaline for extended periods of time, which created an over-reactive immune system. I’ve now made it a habit to exercise regularly, sleep as much as I can, and use my work hours more wisely (work smarter, not harder). As a result, I haven’t been sick in over three years and funnily enough, business has never been better. Health is wealth, as they say!


H&R Block are offering small business and start-up’s a helping hand with the initiative; ’Grants for Growth’.

Now in its second year, the grant offers support to budding entrepreneurs who need an extra boost to transform a dream from ideation or start-up phase to mainstream.

The ‘Grants for Growth’ competition is open to small businesses and sole traders operating in Australia that have less than 20 employees. There will be 12 lucky winners of the grant who will receive $5,000 in cash and $5,000 towards H&R Block Business and/or Bookkeeping services.

Budding entrepreneurs and small businesses can enter via hrblock.com.au/grants-for-growth 

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Katherine Sabbath

Katherine Sabbath

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