Entrepreneur: Grace Gaylord

Biz: The Graceful Baker

Tilt: Cookie content business, not cookies for sale

Primary Channel: Instagram (274K) 

Other Channels: TikTok (771K), YouTube (67.6K)

Rev Streams: Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, affiliate sales

Our Favorite Actionable Advice: 

  • Stay strong: Posting publicly means the public can comment. Some will be harsh and attack. To handle that, you first must be proud of what you’re doing and know you’re doing the right thing.
  • Set realistic expectations: Don’t overestimate what you can get done. It’s better to overdeliver than underdeliver to your audience.
  • Make it sweeter: Find a friend or mentor who has a similar content tilt and/or business model you want to achieve. They can help guide and inspire you. 

The Story

Grace Gaylord is a cookie content business queen. Her Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok are filled with gorgeous, soothing videos of the most delicious-looking cookies. However, despite all appearances, Grace is not in the business of making cookies. She is in the business of making content. (Grace Gaylord is not to be confused with another Grace who has a website of the same name.)

“I’ve known from almost day one of my cookie journey that I wanted to be a content creator,” she says. “I didn’t want to sell my cookies. I wanted to make content. And for the longest time, I didn’t really think that was possible.” Yet here she is, with over a million followers on three major platforms and earning real money doing it. Here is what she has learned along the way with her cookie content business. 

I've known from almost day one of my cookie journey that I wanted to be a content creator, says Instagrammer The Graceful Baker. #contententrepreneur #creatoreconomy Click To Tweet

Handling criticism

While Grace’s content tilt is cookies, she also uses her platform for social good. “Six months ago, I started to tackle topics that are not just unicorns and rainbows. I’m now tackling topics that I know nothing about and tackling very controversial topics like racism, things that aren’t normally addressed with cookies,” she says. 

This content expansion has led to harsher responses from some in her audience. “The criticism used to be ‘That was ugly’ or ‘You don’t decorate well.’ And now I get more criticism that attacks my character, and things that are much more personal,” she says. 

“(What) I learned can be simplified by the phrase, ‘Hurt people hurt people.’ Someone’s criticism of you is a reflection of themselves. And so, if you can, learn to separate yourself from people’s criticism.”

To survive harsh comments and attacks on social media, separate yourself from people's criticism, says The Graceful Baker on Instagram. #social #creatoreconomy #contententrepreneur Click To Tweet

When the criticism comes in the form of a public comment, how – or if – to address it isn’t an easy decision. “I’m still trying to figure out how to handle it publicly. There are going to be people who don’t want you to say anything, and they’re also going to be the people who think you’re a coward if you don’t address it. They’re both going to be vocal, and they’re both going to leave comments,” she says. 

At the end of the day, Grace tries to strike a happy medium of saying just enough. “You’ll learn that you’re never ever going to make everyone happy. Figure out what you’re happy with and put that out there because you’re inevitably going to get criticism. As long as you feel good about what you’ve done, no matter what comes your way, you can say, ‘I hear you, and I’m proud of myself,’ and I’m happy with the way I’ve handled it,” she says. 

Setting realistic expectations

Grace learned working too much on her content seems to come with the territory. “Burnout has been one of my biggest challenges in my 3.5 years as a content creator. I’ve experienced my fair share of burnout, ranging from needing to take days-long to months-long breaks,” she shares. 

“Do your best to establish realistic expectations for yourself and your audience from day one. I think it’s really easy to do too much as a content creator, but if you can set realistic expectations for output, you can help minimize burnout,” Grace says. 

“Each time, I’ve had to go back to the drawing board and revisit what are realistic expectations for output and what is it about content creation that makes ME happy. It can be all too easy to get sucked into what makes other people happy. While it may be exciting in the short term, it may not be sustainable in the long term.”

For example, she now creates cookies that educate her audience about topics such as lesser-known holidays. This netted her a unique set of followers who clamor for more, even asking for specific holiday cookie sets. “I have had to learn how to navigate the demands in particular, and that can be challenging. I can’t do everything. As a creator, I have to establish realistic expectations of myself because it all starts with me,” she says.  “And then, I have to stand by those expectations and communicate them in an effective and respectful manner to my audience.”

Find a mentor

Grace encourages content creators who want to be content entrepreneurs to find someone who’s doing something similar to act as a mentor. She found her mentor in Chelsey White of Chelsweets when Grace went viral for the first time on Instagram.

Instagrammer The Graceful Baker says creators who want to be content entrepreneurs should find someone doing something similar to act as a #mentor. #creatoreconomy Click To Tweet

“She has the exact business model that I wanted. When I exploded on Instagram and thought, ‘Maybe I can do this content creation thing,’ I saw that she lived in New York City. I live in New York City too, so I reached out to her. We got lunch, and now we are very good friends. She’s also a mentor to me. 

“In her, I have found someone who’s doing what I want to do and doing it really well. When people ask, ‘Grace, can you pay rent? Can you make a living doing this?’ I’m like, Chelsea is. This is what she’s doing. She’s proving that it’s possible.”

About the author

Kimmy Gustafson is a freelance writer with a passion for sharing stories of bravery. Her love for world traveling began when her family moved to Spain when she was 6 and since then, she has lived overseas extensively, visited six continents, and traveled to over 26 countries. She is fluent in Spanish and conversational in French. Currently, she is based on Maui and, when not writing or parenting, she can be found kiteboarding, hiking, or cooking.