Ann Reardon had been thinking about setting up a website where she could post cooking tips and cake recipes, but in a strange twist of fate it wasn’t until her newborn son suffered a health complication that she decided to take the plunge into the online world.
At just four weeks of age, her third son had to be rushed to hospital for emergency surgery. Weighing less than he did at birth, Ann was instructed to breastfeed him every three hours – for seven months. Rather than mourn the loss of sleep, or spend her nights worrying about her son’s health, Ann decided to turn the situation into a positive. She set up a laptop next to her feeding chair and began typing out recipes.
With only a very basic knowledge of blogging, Ann established her own site How To Cook That. When she wasn’t uploading new blogs, she was Googling topics like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and monetisation of websites. She says that creating an online business was much less of a financial risk than some of her other ideas.
Originally Ann had looked into starting up her own bakery but after taking into consideration rent, electricity and ingredients – she realised she wouldn’t be earning more than $2.00/hour. That’s when she began researching online business opportunities.
With a background in Food Science and qualifications as a Dietitian, Ann has always been passionate about food. As a little girl she’d often bake with her mother – and as an adult she loves nothing more than inviting friends around for coffee and freshly baked goodies.
“My husband and I had been doing a lot of entertaining. Guests would come around for cake after dinner and they kept asking me for my recipes. I got sick of writing out the same recipe again and again, which is where the idea for the blog began. It was a way of sharing my recipes with my friends and family,” she said.
Her YouTube channel, where she uploads regular baking videos, now receives millions of views every month. As Deborah discovered, it’s her flair for creativity that has allowed Ann to develop such a cult following online.
Her intricate Instagram Cake video went viral – resulting in more than 3.6 million views. Made from rainbow jelly, chocolate mousse and chocolate glaze – the cake has been featured by The Huffington Post and hundreds of other websites. Ann says people want to impress their guests with restaurant-quality desserts.
“Those courses on how to make 3D cakes are really expensive whereas I’m just putting it on YouTube for free – so people are loving the fact they can follow it step by step. Just on Sunday someone said to me that her daughter had made the Princess Cake and never could have done it without my video,” she said.
When asked about her success, Ann admits that sometimes she can’t quite believe she has been able to build a highly profitable business out of something she absolutely loves to do.
She’s able to be at home for her three beautiful sons…to watch them grow and thrive…and to treat them to some pretty mouth-watering creations!
To see some of Ann’s YouTube cooking videos, click here.