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Becoming too big too fast

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I LOVE cake decorating and pastry making in general. My dream is to have my own storefront one day. I know exactly what it would look like. In August of last year I made a cake for a friend's graduation and I started, like many of you, getting asked to make cakes for other friends and family. Until this summer it was going sort of slow (may be 1-2 cakes a month if that.) Starting in June it all exploded. I have had 5-6 cake weeks and orders every single week. I have trouble saying no and I get so obsessed with every cake order that this is mostly what I think about. I have two kids and a day job. I stay up all hours of the night to get the cakes done and honestly I feel overwhelmed.
How do you balance family and job with cake decorating and still maintain some degree of sanity? I am ready to quit cake decorating but I feel like I am giving up on a big part of myself. My family comes first!! But is there a way to have it all? Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
post #2 of 10
Raise your prices significantly! That will weed out some of the orders and you still make the same amount with less work icon_smile.gif
post #3 of 10
Great planning is key to success. I write tons of list and check off things to stay on track. Based on your order volume you could consider doing the following in in advance: making large batches of your frosting, making gumpaste accents/flowers and measuring out cake ingredients for cakes too.

However, unless people are paid in full or have a non-refundable deposit this may not work for you if you have ever experienced any last minute cancellations.
post #4 of 10
Great planning is key to success. I write tons of list and check off things to stay on track. Based on your order volume you could consider doing the following in in advance: making large batches of your frosting, making gumpaste accents/flowers and measuring out cake ingredients for cakes too.

However, unless people are paid in full or have a non-refundable deposit this may not work for you if you have ever experienced any last minute cancellations.
post #5 of 10
Decide if cake decorating is truly your passion. If so, quit your day job and put 100% of your 'working brain' and effort into building a viable business.

Before you do THAT however, spend weeks/months/ as long as it takes crunching the numbers, searching your soul and above all, writing a business plan.

Good luck!!!

Life's too short to make cake pops.
___________________________________
www.sweetperfection.com.au

www.sweetperfectioncakes.blogspot.com.au/
www.facebook.com/sweetperfectioncakes (come visit sometime!)

Reply

Life's too short to make cake pops.
___________________________________
www.sweetperfection.com.au

www.sweetperfectioncakes.blogspot.com.au/
www.facebook.com/sweetperfectioncakes (come visit sometime!)

Reply
post #6 of 10
Or if you want to take it slow take cakesdivine's advise, raise your prices and only do 1 or 2 orders a month. June is extremely busy for me all of our families birthdays fall around that time, I was getting overwhelmed and when one of my customers asked me to do a cake for her I had to tell her not at this time I've had to many cakes and need to spend time with my family ( and not get burnt out on cake, it was starting to get not fun). I work full time and she was sad but understood completley also.
post #7 of 10
I know Exactly how you feel. I was also going to post something last night about how busy, overwhelmed, tired and desprite for my family time. I have raised my prices alot and I still have been getting tons of orders. Im very disorganized so it's really difficult for me to manage EVERYTHING, not only business but my kids, home, house and my sleep. I have been invited to the chamber of commerce expo to promote myself their is supposed to be between 1000 & 2500 business, and I just got a free add in a local upcomming magazine... I'm only imagining what the amount of orders to come and I'm scared, im a one man show and i'm getting burned out but at the moment I'm honestly only doing 3 or 4 cakes a week. Although I have been getting alot of 5 tier cakes which I love. Some part of me doesn't want to spend the rest of my life exhausted never getting a free moment for myself or being so worn out that I don't give my kids all the time and patients they deserve. I feel like I need to decide what I want to do but it's not that easy. For now considering having a $135 minimum on my cakes 6" & 10" tiers. I think that will help some. all in all I am torn as to which direction to go. My boys are only 5 and some I think I should take it easy for a few years til their like 13 old and don't need or want me so desperately,
Anyway, I feel your pain.
post #8 of 10
Wow you took some of the words right out of my mouth. I love making cakes and the plan was to start out slow, have my kids and then years from now make my business fulltime once all the kids were in school. It's gotten alittle busy at times, but actually not too bad. I think the suggestion about raising you prices is a good one. Do many customers change their mind when they hear the price? Since I have set my prices last year (quite fair I think) I give out many quotes that I don't hear back from or they say no. I know I am higher than many of the other home bakers in the county, but sometimes it is nice when you give out a quote for a cake when you are already really busy and then the customer says no icon_wink.gif

I don't know how you do it with a fulltime job and 5-6 cakes. I don't have experience with that aspect, but I hope others will tell you that you certainly (like you stated) start to burn out and not enjoy decorating anymore. Maybe you are just going to have to commit to limiting the number of cakes each week. I am going to have to figure out how to do this too next year. We plan on having our 3rd child next year, plus selling our house and then my husband will be building our new home. So with all that going on the idea trying to makes cakes too seems silly and extremely stressful. But it would be nice to still be able to do the odd wedding cake.

I hope you can find your balance. Maybe spend some time researching if this is a business you could start sooner than you thought. And definately raise your prices. I have been doing some soul searching lately and have come to realize how much more important my kids and all the future kids I want to have are than cakes. I already have a fulltime job raising my kids maybe I'll just have to put off making cakes until much later.

You on the other hand are working 3 fulltime jobs. Think about that.
post #9 of 10
I truly hope you find it in you to raise your prices and by doing that you wont have to say no, quite so often. I work just shy of parttime and have a special needs child at home too, I do most my work after dinners and after they are all asleep. 5-6 a week while working. I cant even imagine. I try to limit myself to no more then 2 a week and try to stick to one a week. not much but keeps me up on skills and gives me a challenge. I recently raised prices, still should go higher, but honestly I have single moms ,friends ,neighbors and coworkers. So they get a good deal on a cake, and I get about double the cost to make it. In no way could I quit my job on that. I truly love doing the cakes, but it becomes a dreaded chore when I accept too many, I finally told everyone that next year my prices will go up , I know I wont be making as many but I hope they keep me in mind for their special occasions and the bigger birthdays. I still have some orders coming in, and look forward to doing better cakes with less dread.
Good luck with your decisions
post #10 of 10
I agree with raising your prices! You'll still book cakes, and you'll be making the same amount of money even if as many people don't hire you.
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