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Can I come over and learn everything you know for free?

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
How many of you get this question from complete strangers? I finally bothered to answer it in a blog today and figured I'd share a copy with my CC friends.

So you wanna start a cake business.........
Ok, bear with me this is going to start off as a rant. My five minutes on the soap box, but I will give some sound advice in the end. And I really don't mean to sound unhelpful, I don't mind giving out some tips, but.....

I've been avoiding this, but it keeps coming up. People I have NEVER met call and email me and they say something like "I love making cakes and I want to start a business, can I come over and you show me how to _____ (a-z of the business)?" for free. HAHAHAHAHA, right.

I paid (am still paying on the loans!) for my Baking and Pastry degree, then a few thousand more to study with Colette Peters and Nicholas Lodge. Not to mention enduring some hell on wheels Chefs that I worked for in resorts and country clubs, but you come on by and I'll teach you everything I know for FREE, you just happen to be the lucky caller who has won the prize.

And the recipes which are considered trade secrets? - sure I'll throw those in too. Right after I win the powerball myself.

While I am truly flattered that some people look up to me enough to want to learn from me (which is a great compliment, especially when there are zillions of talented cake decorators out there), I am also still surprised by the amount of people who think this is a realistic request to come over here and learn tons of info. for nothing in exchange.

That's not to say I would not like to teach some cake decorating classes in the future. I was a teacher's assistant at my college and love teaching. But this is my career, it is a business not a hobby and I would charge for the classes as I have in the past when I taught.

When we each decide to embark in the direction of a cake business we all seek guidance. So the problem lies in the question being asked, not in the need for some advice. I too seek advice on specific issues as my business grows and needed some pointers when I started out.

Luckily, there are two really fantastic online resources. Before I started doing anything I read the business of cake articles by Earlene Moore (Who is AMAZING, I still aspire to do some of the decorating feats she does..... someday maybe when I can afford to fly to Texas and take her class!) her business of cake articles are a WEALTH of information, in my opinion you should read every drop of information she gives before you do anything.... here is her website:

http://www.earlenescakes.com/Index2.html

these are the articles:
part 1:
http://www.earlenescakes.com/business01.htm
part 2:
http://www.earlenescakes.com/business02.htm
part 3:
http://www.earlenescakes.com/business03.htm
part 4:
http://www.earlenescakes.com/business04.htm
part 5:
http://www.earlenescakes.com/business05.htm
she skipped #6 who knows why.
part 7:
http://www.earlenescakes.com/business07.htm
part 8:
http://www.earlenescakes.com/business08.htm
part 9"
http://www.earlenescakes.com/business09.htm
part 10:
http://www.earlenescakes.com/business10.htm

I gave each link for a reason. I can not emphasize enough how informative these articles are.
this is a quote from her website

"As of 2005 we took a sabatical away from the custom order cakes. As a matter of trying to cut down on some of the stress in my life something had to go. Sorry but for right now doing the cakes is the choice. Maintaining the web site, shopping cart, writing articles for magazines, teaching classes and etc is enough to keep me busy and with less stress.
I hope you enjoy the photos and how to articles and new designs will be added occasionally as inspiration comes."

So as you can see she is not really doing cakes as a business anymore, she is doing cake classes and cake decorating product sales. Which is one reason she can take the time to give out so much information, (which also helps market her classes). Oh, and her classes for four days are $600.00 not including whatever you have to spend on airfare, hotel and food!!!

Did you read her articles??? If not GO READ THEM! Seriously! They are filled with everything you need to think about and know before continuing forward. I am thankful she took the time and effort to write all this and offer it for FREE to everyone. It's a great gift to all the aspiring cake decorators dreaming of a business. It helped me think over some details when I started down this path. And her cakes??? WOW. If those aren't inspiration I don't know what is.

Now on to my next favorite place www.cakecentral.com I am addicted to it and find answers to my questions through the very talented cake decorating community @ cakecentral. It too is a wealth of information which will help you as you move into a more serious phase with your business venture.

If you have read Earlene's articles and are going to move forward seriously consider getting the cakeboss software (or at least some sort of accounting software) which will help you figure out where to set your prices and help you keep track of everything. You need to realize what your expenses are and how many labor hours you are spending on the order are vs. what you are charging.

It is... after all - a business! If someone offered you a job for 2.00 an hour, no medical insurance, no paid vacation, no retirement plan, would you take it?!? What would you expect a potential employer to pay you for it to be worth it to you to accept the job offered? Whatever that answer is - is the minimum you should be paying yourself, charge accordingly for your cakes.
post #2 of 53
I had a similar conversation on the phone one day with a breathless young thing who wanted to open a cake business specializing in wedding cakes. Wanted to come over here and let me teach her everything about cakes AND business.

me "Where are you planning to open this business?"
her "right here in mytown."
me "so you're expecting me to train my competition and give you all my trade secrets?"
her " yes!"
me "Think for a minute and maybe you'll understand why I'm saying no to that."
her (dejected) "oh."

People are nuts.
Answers to the most often asked questions re: SPS. SPS instructions are on Page 15 of the Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating Forum. Supplies can be ordered from Oasis Supply, Global or BakeryCrafts.
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Answers to the most often asked questions re: SPS. SPS instructions are on Page 15 of the Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating Forum. Supplies can be ordered from Oasis Supply, Global or BakeryCrafts.
Reply
post #3 of 53
But Leah---- see pouty lip and watery eyes----- "Pleeeeezeeeee?"

Yeah, amazing what people could ask for. Like a Collette cake from a magazine or book for $1.00 per serving, right?

People will continue to amaze us all..... sheesh....
post #4 of 53
I do understand where you are coming from-we spent alot of money on this career we chose and its not something we want to see someone else get for free, but I am wondering what you ladies think of interns? I've never been opposed to the idea of an intern/assistant, but really it is the same thing it seems as what you were speaking of (someone coming in and learning from us for free) and so I'm wondering if you are against that as well?
post #5 of 53
OMG...thank you so much for posting this information!!! I'm getting cakeboss right away (the scariest thing for me is costing my cakes and not doing it right...math is NOT my strong suit). I'm also going to read every word earlenescakes.

thankyouthankyouthankyou!!!
post #6 of 53
Can I follow you around with a camera! It'll just be like cakeboss! Right?
Being up to my elbows in cream sounded a lot more glamorous!
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Being up to my elbows in cream sounded a lot more glamorous!
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post #7 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysierra

I do understand where you are coming from-we spent alot of money on this career we chose and its not something we want to see someone else get for free, but I am wondering what you ladies think of interns? I've never been opposed to the idea of an intern/assistant, but really it is the same thing it seems as what you were speaking of (someone coming in and learning from us for free) and so I'm wondering if you are against that as well?



Interns also work - wash dishes, clean up, tint frosting, crumb coat cakes etc. etc. etc.
post #8 of 53
I did it once (Leahs please dont slap me!) and will NEVER do it again. It bit me in the butt in a bad way. She was supposed to be a friend of mine. She begged and pleaded and said all the nice flattery things. I was a newb, and I said yes.

I carted everything over to her house cause she couldnt come over to mine. We baked one day and then decorated the next day. She actually LEFT me at her house at one point because a friend called her and asked her to come over for a little bit. I did the whole cake myself and pretty much for nothing, even though she provided all of the ingredients. She didnt help me do squat.

Live and learn I guess, but it was a tough lesson. I will never be so nice again. And if I ever do feel the urge to be so nice I just read a couple of Debi's posts and the urge to throw fondant at someone comes back to me. She helps me find my cake balls.
post #9 of 53
Jayde, you paid well for that education. No slappin' from me. icon_smile.gif
Answers to the most often asked questions re: SPS. SPS instructions are on Page 15 of the Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating Forum. Supplies can be ordered from Oasis Supply, Global or BakeryCrafts.
Reply
Answers to the most often asked questions re: SPS. SPS instructions are on Page 15 of the Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating Forum. Supplies can be ordered from Oasis Supply, Global or BakeryCrafts.
Reply
post #10 of 53
I should preface that I wasnt out any money, everything was done at her house and with her ingredients. My time and expertise was the only thing that I gave away.

It is all too easy to get sucked into the glam world of cake decorating, until you see all of the work and time that gets dedicated to it. They have no clue that this gorgeous creation take hours and hours of work and hours and hours to clean up. If they are truely interested, I refer them to Wilton classes, or tell them to look up videos and tutorials online. I even have a couple of websites that have great info and pictures.
post #11 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by PattyT

Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysierra

I do understand where you are coming from-we spent alot of money on this career we chose and its not something we want to see someone else get for free, but I am wondering what you ladies think of interns? I've never been opposed to the idea of an intern/assistant, but really it is the same thing it seems as what you were speaking of (someone coming in and learning from us for free) and so I'm wondering if you are against that as well?



Interns also work - wash dishes, clean up, tint frosting, crumb coat cakes etc. etc. etc.



I was an intern myself for a well known Chef at his Italian restaruant, it wasn't for pastry but I learned a lot.. I did get paid for what I did, even thought I would have done it for free just to work at his restaurant.... If you are choosing an intern, make sure he/she comes from a school, you can learn about their work ethics trough a chef instructor, also they work very heard b/c their deisre to learn, if you do take an intern do it because you love teaching and you want them to succeed in what they love, we've all learn something valuable from someone else, either one on one or as we do here, when we share tips and sites for other...just make sure u take someone responsible and worth passing on what you know...

Anna
post #12 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuvLyrics

Quote:
Originally Posted by PattyT

Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysierra

I do understand where you are coming from-we spent alot of money on this career we chose and its not something we want to see someone else get for free, but I am wondering what you ladies think of interns? I've never been opposed to the idea of an intern/assistant, but really it is the same thing it seems as what you were speaking of (someone coming in and learning from us for free) and so I'm wondering if you are against that as well?



Interns also work - wash dishes, clean up, tint frosting, crumb coat cakes etc. etc. etc.



I was an intern myself for a well known Chef at his Italian restaruant, it wasn't for pastry but I learned a lot.. I did get paid for what I did, even thought I would have done it for free just to work at his restaurant.... If you are choosing an intern, make sure he/she comes from a school, you can learn about their work ethics trough a chef instructor, also they work very heard b/c their deisre to learn, if you do take an intern do it because you love teaching and you want them to succeed in what they love, we've all learn something valuable from someone else, either one on one or as we do here, when we share tips and sites for other...just make sure u take someone responsible and worth passing on what you know...

Anna



The intern at our school worked HARD! He didn't get paid and he certainly didn't get the extra schooling for free. He gave twice what he got, IMO. I'm actually going to be apprenticing at the school as well. I'm also not going to be paid but Bonnie will be getting some free gumpaste sculpting work done as I get to watch her and her assistant create some amazing wedding cakes. Both of us are getting a pretty good pay off, I think.

*edit...I don't mean to put down my school when I say "he gave twice what he got". My school was awesome. I only say that because he'd already paid for some courses and he really did work very hard and was a huge help to everyone. He gained a vast amount of knowledge as well and was allowed to sit in and participate in any class that he hadn't already taken.
post #13 of 53
I get those e-mails and phone calls every single day.

I'll come work... FOR FREE!

For some reason, they think the "FOR FREE" is going to reel me in. Um, nope. My insurance doesn't cover that, and I don't think the union OR the tax authority are going to be too happy about that.

Interns. We have an extremely small space. Three people just won't fit in my bakery. I just don't have TIME to teach as I go.

If they want to learn, they can sign up for my classes.
post #14 of 53
I am innocent in this regard. The lady I wanted to learn from lives in a different town..so no competition..and I was happy to pay her her hourly fee of 50 dollars !! Plus my expense for ingredients. I showed up to find a note that said, sorry..vacationing in florida for the next 3 months. icon_surprised.gif Seriously.. she was gone. I decided to teach myself at that point.. so I did. And what i don't know.. I am finding out here..and everywhere else I can find. I am planning on taking a few wilton classes in chicago. Gumpaste kicks my ass !! icon_biggrin.gif
laughter isn't the best medicine. It's the cure.
Grabbing my bowl of faux-'nache and running from the ganache police!!
link to Jello MMF recipe: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopicp-6934662-.html#6934662
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laughter isn't the best medicine. It's the cure.
Grabbing my bowl of faux-'nache and running from the ganache police!!
link to Jello MMF recipe: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopicp-6934662-.html#6934662
Reply
post #15 of 53
I think we all run into crap like that whether were newbies or pro's, someone always wants to know what you know and wants you tro teach them everything. Thanks for that though.
You can't just eat a piece of cake, you have to eat the cake to pieces! Marilyn
http://cakemelove.blogspot.com
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You can't just eat a piece of cake, you have to eat the cake to pieces! Marilyn
http://cakemelove.blogspot.com
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