Before: Corporate lawyer, joining her family firm and following 16 family members into law
After: Owner of Buttercream International, cupcake truck
Being a lawyer in her family's personal injury firm was what was expected of Kate Carrara. She made good money and was good at her job. Yet she was unhappy.
So unhappy that she sought the help of a psychotherapist in 2005, and two years later, figured out what she really wanted to do: make cupcakes. With encouragement from her husband, Andy, Kate started baking—tinkering with recipes, testing them out on friends. In May 2009, she read an article about a New York City truck selling cupcakes to patrons on a street corner. That's it, she thought. I have to do this. She gave notice at work.
"I knew the cupcake truck was an idea of the moment, and if I didn't get there first, someone else would," she says. She'd already built a website, and announced that she soon would be driving the streets of Philadelphia selling cupcakes.
Two months later, in a newly painted used mail truck she bought on Craigslist, Kate pulled up to Love Park in Philadelphia to sell her first cupcakes. "The line was around the block!" she says. Now, she visits different neighborhoods and uses Twitter and her website () to help customers find her. "I see people go 'Aaaahhhhh' as they bite into
my cupcakes, and it makes me happy that I've brightened their day."
Kate's Makeover Tips
Use your resources: "Always ask women what they think about your business ideas, because they'll be more realistic with you."
Don't quit your day job: "Before you jump in, ask yourself whether you have the time, money and drive to put into your business, and whether you can afford to live without a paycheck for a while."