Mark Dyck





The blog is my Whole Self Home Base,
where all the aspects of my life come together through my writing.

It’s like a bread recipe - bring a wide variety of ingredients together and create something way better than the individual parts.

You’ll find riffs on community and connection, musings on baking and fermentation, reflections on travel experiences and much more.


Posts in Working
Getting Unstuck

It takes real effort to see that you are stuck. Effort and time. To break out of the cycle of stuckness, I need to continually remind myself of three things. Write-them-on-paper-and-stick-it-by-the-keyboard things:

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Fire, Ready, Aim

New team members, potential spouses and business partners need to take the time to listen, to give context, to understand each other. The time spend is an investment that will pay back again and again, as the team works in the same direction.

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Bakernomics: You have choices

Over the past several posts I've laid out a way of thinking of bakery economics, so that you can think critically about what is blocking you from building a business that works for you over the long term. A way to make the change that you desperately want but can't seem to afford.

This is not an easy road, but then again, neither was opening a bakery. You've already done some extremely hard work. You can do this too.

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An Introduction to Bakernomics

One of the common discussions I've had with bakery owners, especially small bakery owners, is how to make their businesses sustainable. And by sustainable, they usually mean 'able to stay open even if I take a day off.' There must be some general principles that all bakeries follow that can transfer from place to place. That's what I want to work through with you. I'll build out a framework here and you can build on it, make it better, point out my flawed assumptions and so on in the comments.

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There are no mistakes. Only puzzles to solve.

There's an endless variety of ways we live in fear of making mistakes. The circumstances and magnitude changes but the fear is always there at some level or the other.

You can't let fear of mistakes stop you from bringing the good stuff to Your People.

Put on a white lab coat and grab a clipboard if it helps, but start solving puzzles and get back to shipping.

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WorkingMark Dyck
The Daybook: Get those ideas out of your head and into the world

So often we waste all kinds of time worrying about which idea to start, without ever defining what the ideas really are. Should I work with appliance repair people or filmmakers? Should I do graphic design or copywriting?

How about answering Yes to all of the above, but one at a time? Keeping a daybook will help you keep your ideas fresh and in order.

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WorkingMark Dyck
The Business Owner's Lament

There’s a repeating pattern with small, local, independent bakeries. Around year 4 or 5 a common refrain is they're stuck in limbo where they aren't totally failing but they aren't feeling safe either.

When this feeling strikes, it's worth forcing yourself to take some quiet time and take a calm, objective look at the foundations of your business. Some questions to consider:

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Working, BakingMark Dyck
In The Style Of...

There’s no problem learning a new skill by copying the masters. I learned watercolour painting by trying to copy the techniques of famous painters, for example.

But once you start creating your own work, it’s time to find your own voice and tell your own stories.

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Stories, WorkingMark Dyck
Use a Project Scan to Fight The Darkness

"The Darkness" is what I call the sense of overwhelm and hopelessness that comes from time to time. Everything is impossible and, even if it were possible, is futile anyway.

The Darkness usually hits me when I have too many projects on the go and no clear path forward on any of them. It used to knock me down for a day or more, but lately I can kick it out in an hour or two.

My secret (taught to me by Cindy of course) is to do a Project Scan.

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Moving Day

If I've done a good job as a dad, Ben knows he has many more options available to him than I thought I had 30 years ago. Both real, tangible options along with the mental freedom to pursue a variety of things. When I was 23, I was told the goal was to get a job with a pension plan (any job with a pension will do) and stay there until retirement. Ben would find that idea laughable.

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Connection, Working, StoriesMark Dyck
Signals and Worldviews

From the price you set to the metaphors you employ to the typeface you use in your newsletters, every item you send out in the world sends a signal. However, each signal runs through a filter before it is received. And that filter is the worldview of the receiver.

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Working, ConnectionMark Dyck