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Anyone Baking on the Side - And want it to be full time??

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I have been making cakes for 2.5 years - I do have my own shop that is open by appointment - and I do it mainly alone with some help from my boyfriend as needed. We are busy and there have been times when I have had to turn orders away as I can only take on so much.

I still work at my "Regular" job Monday - Thursday 9-5 and I work on cakes in the evenings, and Friday - Sunday as needed depending on our orders.

It's a lot! There is not much downtime doing this especially incorporating meeting with potential clients, sketching ideas, answering emails, doing my ordering, going shopping, etc...- and I love caking - but once I see the sun going down I start thinking to myself - if I was here all day - I would be able to have a nice life and go home at a reasonable hour - actually make dinner and relax a little in the evenings - not go home at midnight - go home to bed just to get up and do it all over again!

Then there is the staff/hiring an assistant thing I could do - but that scares me!! What if I don't get enough orders to pay them? But if I had more help, I could take on more cakes and make more $$ - What would there hours be? Can they be there when I am not - do I trust someone with a key to my shop? OMG! lol!

I want so badly to leave my other job and really focus on this full time - but it's scary!! The main issue I have is health insurance - I get full coverage at my job now and I need that! I feel I could make up my pay in being able to take on extra cakes - but health insurance is expensive and I need it!

Anyone out there have any advice? Anyone in a similar situation, or know someone who is - I would love to hear anyone's thoughts for me! Thank you for reading this! icon_smile.gif
Bianca
B & B Specialty Cakes
Cranston, RI
www.BBSpecialtyCakes.com
Reply
Bianca
B & B Specialty Cakes
Cranston, RI
www.BBSpecialtyCakes.com
Reply
post #2 of 15
My advice is to put together a business plan to see what your various options are. With your full-time job and the cake shop on the side I don't see how you'll have time to do this, so you may want to suspend your cake business while you work on this.

Your business plan would need to include the cost of private health insurance so you should definitely start by getting some quotes. (When the Affordable Care Act takes effect in a couple years this cost should drop so that will only help you.) If you're not sure how to put together a business plan you can contact a local SCORE chapter for some free mentoring: http://www.score.org/chapters-map/

Depending on how serious things are with your boyfriend (and assuming he has health insurance) you may want to look at domestic partnership coverage. Before my wife and I were married she was covered under my health insurance policy as a domestic partner because we were cohabiting, the cost is usually the same as for a spouse.
post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by BBSpecialtyCakes

I have been making cakes for 2.5 years - I do have my own shop that is open by appointment - and I do it mainly alone with some help from my boyfriend as needed. We are busy and there have been times when I have had to turn orders away as I can only take on so much.

I still work at my "Regular" job Monday - Thursday 9-5 and I work on cakes in the evenings, and Friday - Sunday as needed depending on our orders.

It's a lot! There is not much downtime doing this especially incorporating meeting with potential clients, sketching ideas, answering emails, doing my ordering, going shopping, etc...- and I love caking - but once I see the sun going down I start thinking to myself - if I was here all day - I would be able to have a nice life and go home at a reasonable hour - actually make dinner and relax a little in the evenings - not go home at midnight - go home to bed just to get up and do it all over again!

Then there is the staff/hiring an assistant thing I could do - but that scares me!! What if I don't get enough orders to pay them? But if I had more help, I could take on more cakes and make more $$ - What would there hours be? Can they be there when I am not - do I trust someone with a key to my shop? OMG! lol!

I want so badly to leave my other job and really focus on this full time - but it's scary!! The main issue I have is health insurance - I get full coverage at my job now and I need that! I feel I could make up my pay in being able to take on extra cakes - but health insurance is expensive and I need it!

Anyone out there have any advice? Anyone in a similar situation, or know someone who is - I would love to hear anyone's thoughts for me! Thank you for reading this! icon_smile.gif




icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif No.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you Jason!! I am looking into Score right now!!
Bianca
B & B Specialty Cakes
Cranston, RI
www.BBSpecialtyCakes.com
Reply
Bianca
B & B Specialty Cakes
Cranston, RI
www.BBSpecialtyCakes.com
Reply
post #5 of 15
I really didn't mean that to sound snotty. icon_smile.gif It's just that if you did it full time, you'd be doing it FULL TIME. When you depend on your own business for all your income, the hours increase and the pay decreases - at least for the first year or so.

Would it be possible for you to go part-time at your job and increase the number of days you do cakes? At least for a short period of time. That way, you could get an idea of how many more cakes a week you'd have to do to make up the difference.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
I completely understand what you are saying - and I am a lover of working! Don't get me wrong there - it's just I don't care for the job I have now and my mind is always wandering thinking about cakes all day!

I have thought about part time and have actually discussed that with my employer, but that defeats the purpose of staying there, because there are no full benefits with a part time position there.

I am going to put a business plan together and take a closer look at my books to see if this can all work out - I want to work for myself - My Dad actually has his own business along with his brother, my uncle, so I have seen what it takes and the hours and that you are "always on." I rather be working constantly doing something I love to do than wasting away in this office!! lol!! icon_smile.gif

Thank you very much for your comments - I appreciate your honesty and that is what I am looking for - I want to look at this from all angles! icon_smile.gif
Bianca
B & B Specialty Cakes
Cranston, RI
www.BBSpecialtyCakes.com
Reply
Bianca
B & B Specialty Cakes
Cranston, RI
www.BBSpecialtyCakes.com
Reply
post #7 of 15
I understand. I recently accepted a promotion and transfer, and as a result had to put my cake business on hold. I'm in the process of redoing my business plan to see if it's viable to leave all this wonderfulness behind and open a shop. So far, it looks like getting to my target market will be the key.

Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best of luck. thumbs_up.gif
post #8 of 15
I am in the exact same boat as you!! Reading that was like looking at all my thoughts! I work full time and I do have a lot of orders but I'm not sure I could support myself on cake income. And, like you, my health insurance is fully paid for at my full time job which is a huge help! My plan is to eventually go part time and see how I do financially with taking on more cakes then I can see from there about just doing cakes full time. And I've thought about hiring someone, but I just keep thinking why pay someone else for what I could be doing?? And I wouldn't want them there without me....and I'm wayyy to particular about how my cakes are made to trust someone else. I feel like I'm in a catch - I can't just do my cakes full time because I'm not sure I'll be able to afford it, but I keep turning down orders and I don't want to loose customers because of it.
post #9 of 15
Tracey, just something you may want to consider....

Two of the things you said, and others said it too, is that you don't want to consider an employee. With this way of thinking, chances are that you may not achieve your goal.

The other though is, "why pay someone when I could be doing it?". An entrepreneur would think, "Why do it myself when I could pay someone to do it?".

Employees, with a correct business plan, make you money. You should never be worse off because of one. For example, let's do some math. You have a bookkeeper doing your books. You pay her $20/hr for 10 hours a month. You know how to do them, but can't find the time. A solution would be to hire a cleaning person for minimum wage 10 hours a month to do the job you are currently doing and you do your own books, a gross savings of about $120 per month.

A person who does not use employees cannot grow her business at all. You are stuck in a rut of what you can do until you drop. If that amount is not enough to allow you to quit your job with benefits, the business will never happen for you.

If you are turning down orders and cannot hire because you, yourself, are not making a minimum income, you do not have a viable business. You are just killing yourself for sub-minimum wage. A hard look at your business financial plan is desperately needed. These owners are the ones who work themselves to death, thinking they are so successful because they are busy, when in fact, they are skewing the market prices with unrealistic wages. Of course you are busy. You do not have a real business and it affects your market negatively. Proper pricing must include a realistic wage.

So look at the scenario that you are clearing a good wage but don't want to hire. Suppose your decorating skills are some of the best in your area and because you got a great deal on a commercial kitchen, your income is good, but not enough to quit your day job, let's say $20/hr. So you hire an assistant who prepares pans, bakes, times, cools, and wraps your cakes for decorating. She cleans and preps for the next day. You pay her $8.00. Now you have 10 more hours a week to make $20/hr. So it costs you $80/wk to net $120/wk. If you did that one more time with another part-time employee, You would net another $120/wk. That is an extra $12,000/yr... plenty to afford health insurance and devote more time to what you do best.

In marketing, there is a term, "highest and best use". It can refer to many things such as whether to put "Cars" or "Dora" eye level with a kid in Walmart or whether you should look for a commercial buyer for grandma's house you just inherited on a busy intersection instead of a home buyer. When I would interview business owners when I had my marketing company, I would ask them, personally, what is their highest and best use in their company, in order to help maximize their growth. It wasn't doing the mundane jobs anyone could do.

Eventually, there will come a time in business growth that you must hire someone to do the same thing you do or you will not grow. That may mean baking or decorating. This is when you do your best to find the right person. You won't always get it right, but sometimes you will. Being a good employer with better than average wages will go a long way to getting the right person.

So yes, I put you to sleep, but I have seen this on CC so many times and I have heard it all my life. I suggest you get some top rated books on entrepreneurship and get a good feeling about employees and their place in the workforce.
post #10 of 15
Many years ago when I started a home-based baking business, I did everything. Two years later I moved into a small neighborhood retail space and still tried to do everything all by my lonesome. No one could attend to the baking details the way I could. (Sound familiar?)

Susan is right about hiring employees. It didn't take me long to realize I could not sustain that pace and sell enough products to pay myself a living wage. I hired counter and cleaning help, and eventually moved to a larger space. Later still, I bought a building for a bakery and cafe. Without employees, I could not have grown my business. But having a larger business is not for everyone. Keeping it small may work for some people. Decide what you want to do. But if you hope to make a living and afford health insurance and have a "paid" vacation, you will need to either hire help or significantly raise your prices. That's the way it is in this business.

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post #11 of 15
That makes a lot of sense, SCP! My mom helps me out a lot with baking and she'll come when I'm decorating and help clean and she even helps me decorate with little things. This is my second year with my business and last year the winter was pretty slow for me so I'm also waiting to see how it goes this year. I live in a really small town where the only bakery is Walmart so I'm still trying to get a feel on how my business would survive here. It's growing faster than I expected it to so that's good! But you're right..a book on entrepreneurship sounds like a great idea!
post #12 of 15
This is some of the best business advice I have read since I joined CC.
post #13 of 15
Thank you Susan and Mimi. Your wisdom is so appreciated.
post #14 of 15
I think that when what you do changes from, "I do this because I want to -to I do this because I have to." your focus changes. I have a commercial kitchen and take only the orders that I want to do, when I want to do them. This is my business, not my life. That being said, my husband's job provides the medical benefits so that is not a focus when I take an order.
I do know people who work long, hard hours, even with employees and it just becomes a matter of what you want to focus on. Me, I don't mind having a week that I have blocked off and have a chance for enjoying the pool or a trip to visit family. Take time to gather all the information that you can, because having your eyes wide open when you make your decision is the only thing that will keep you from regrets.
Making life sweet!

Lindas Just Desserts

Inspected and licensed commercial kitchen
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Making life sweet!

Lindas Just Desserts

Inspected and licensed commercial kitchen
Reply
post #15 of 15
I don't know if there are laws or requirements that must be met... But have you thought about volunteers or interns? There are so many people out there who would love to volunteer at a bakery either to learn new skills, meet school requirements or as a hobby. If you find someone you really like & want to keep then you can always offer them a paid position at that time.
Piece of Cake Bakery
www.MyCakeBakery.com
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Piece of Cake Bakery
www.MyCakeBakery.com
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