Originally Posted by heartsnsync
It is so hard to calculate how long it will take to execute a design when you have never done the design before! I just did a very elaborate birthday cake for a one year old and thought it would take me about 7 hours to complete but it took way longer than that. For the life of me I can't figure out how to get faster when just about every cake has some new crazy feature I thought up that I then have to figure out how to execute.
Any of you have any insight on how to better estimate the unknowable??
Of course the Sesame Street Cake is perfect. ALL of your work is perfect.
Suggestions from a newbie that is nowhere near your skill level and who does not sell cakes for a profit:
Study that cake. Determine WHY you came up with a "new crazy feature that you have to learn how to execute".
Did the client come up with the idea for the "new crazy feature"...or you?
Did you do it to increase your profit margin?
Did you do it to establish and/or maintain a competitive edge with your product and pricing for your geographic area?
Would the client have been just as happy with this cake if you had NOT added the "new crazy features"?
After you've studied the cake:
Was there an easier, less costly, less time-consuming design that would have made the client just as happy?
Where could you have "cut corners" without damaging the overall artistic effect?
How long would it take you to finish that same cake without the "new crazy features" and provide the client with what she ordered, expected, and paid for?
If this is your primary income, are you making a suitable profit? How much of that profit is lost because you get carried away with the artistry of each cake instead of the profitability of each cake? [If you ended up spending twice the time on the Sesame Street Cake, you may have wiped out 100% of your profitability in one swoop.]
Are you micro-managing each cake and design?
How can you streamline your decorating?
Are you using the mise en place
Maybe you just need to have a friend or family member tell you what they have observed. (Trust me, 9 year olds can be brutally honest!!!)
All of the above is sent with love. Sometimes it is really hard to step back for a moment and re-assess what we do. (Especially when it is our passion.)
Here's one of my favorite quotes:
Rudyard Kipling once said:
"Everyone is more or less mad on one point."