Lots of people have asked (thank you) about how I organize Chatty Cafe.
Does it take a lot of work? yes and no. Is it worth it? yes and no.
The baking is sometimes a chore especially since I am sewing such a lot these days. However today I baked muffins which only take about half an hour from start to finish. Pikelets (mini hotcakes) or scones can also be baked on the day. I guess it needn't be homemade but that's both a selling point and a talking point with my cafe lessons. I've looked into freeze-ahead items but so far I haven't had the time, energy or space in my freezer to do this.
Cleaning - a big part of the organization. I host the cafe in my home so I need to clean up at least half the house. My kitchen is in full view. Occasionally people need to use the bathroom. I try to do all this the day before. Unfortunately sewing and a dark maroon carpet don't combine well for keeping the house clean. I have to vacuum everyday. That's both a plus and a negative! I may not clean as much if I didn't have to :)
Clothes and makeup - I like to look the part = tidy and professional. This means I have to stay on top of my laundry so I always have something to wear. Of course I wear jeans but I like to make a bit more of an effort for the top. My makeup often comes under scrutiny. Today the topic of skincare came up (not for the first time) so I was glad I had nice makeup on. Plus and negative?
Parking - I'm lucky to have parking at home. It's something that needs to be considered especially if you live in the city. We live out of town so we have a bit more space.
Topics - it really depends on the crowd. Sometimes I struggle to keep the conversation going and other times it just flows. Most of my Chatters (students) are housewives but I have been amazed to learn their stories. Just I lead a secret life as a blogger who sews, they too have interesting lives. I've enjoyed hearing tales of travels, child raising and about family issues. Varied careers and fascinating hobbies. We've swapped recipes and compared meal plans. I've learned a lot actually.
I enjoy meeting new people. Right now I have about thirty people on my books and each one seems to like to come about once a month. I encourage them to introduce a friend so my roll is growing. It takes quite a lot of scheduling. I am tapering off a little bit since mum has gone, little Guy is not napping in the morning and Mee a Bee has taken off. As I mentioned in the earlier posts I have taken on two babysitters. Even with these arrangements in place I don't want Chatty Cafe to get too much larger since I am committed to being at home with Little Guy while he is still a pre-schooler. It might be a good idea to cap your roll.
So is it worth it? The extra money is good. It could be a cash cow if I devoted more time to it. For now it's just a little on the side. My costs are covered but I don't make a huge profit or anything. It can be tiring. But it's stimulating since being a stay at home mum can be isolating.
I have a lovely group of Chatters who I enjoy seeing occasionally. I think I am providing a good service that is filling a gap in the language school market. I am also gaining a place in the community. People know me and would help me if I ever needed help. I like to think they'd look out for my kids if there was ever any trouble too.
Running this type of class is definitely not for everyone. It's a good fit for me though. I am happy to help anyone who is keen to give it a go! You can read more about how I came up with the idea in this post.