It seems that I'm pretty lucky in that I live in Ohio, which is a state that lets me bake out of my home kitchen (though only for a while, since the number of people I can serve from it is limited).
So I've decided to make a go for the cake business. Now my question is, what am I doing for my first few cakes? I mean, i can't very well start calling up wedding planners with no portfolio. I can hit up my friends and family, but that's about it. Is that a good enough start? Can I advertise without a tax ID for the business?
While taking cake decorating classes, I "advertised" with friends and made cakes for family. I told them I was still learning, but needed practice. This allowed me to build a small portfolio and teach myself some new techniques, in addition to practicing the ones from class. I did this for a few months, and I am now in the process of opening my own business. Once all my ducks are in order for that, I plan on offering two free wedding cakes on craigslist. Of course I will have certain stipulations (only certain cake flavors, certain number of servings, etc) and I will be completely in charge of the design (I will find out likes/dislikes, colors, etc). This way I can practice, build my portfolio, and get some wedding cake experience.
Can I advertise without a tax ID for the business?
Before taking advice from any of us on here I suggest you contact your local branch of your health department and see exactly what is needed from their end.
They call a tax place like H&R block. They will tell you exactly what you need to be legal in the eyes of the IRS.
Also ask your homowners insurance if you are covered or if you need to purchase liability insurance.
You can also try your local Small Business Development Center... they can help you with all you need to setup as well... or at least hopefully they can. I had an appointment with the one around here yesterday, and they didn't even know you could have a home bakery! They were able to help with the other stuff though...