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Cake decorating and life dilemma!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi all,
I've built a name and a reputation for my small cake business in Austin. I love the cake world but it has not been my full time job either. I have a bachelors degree in nursing and worked as a full time RN for a couple of years and have also manage this entire cake life for about 1 1/2 years. I had originally thought that cake decorating can be a hobby and stress reliever when I first started but that took a life all on its own. I have about 5 orders a week (they are all usually detailed custom cakes) and book out 2-3 months in advance. I invest at least 20-25 hours a week on cake decorating/business management. Oh and I have two small children and a husband who works overseas. I've known for the last several years that I would be going back to school to peruse my masters in nursing and that time has now come. I found it pretty easy to quit my day job as an RN but I don't want to leave the cake world all together and I know that school will be more than a full time job. I don't know how to explain to customers that I will be closing or should I even say that. I don't want anyone to think that my business was a failure either. I'd like to take orders again during the summer so that I can keep up my skills up but I'm afraid that's going to get me caught up in the cake business thing again where it is going to be hard to let go. I'm currently booked until November and part in December/February so I'd have to stop taking orders pretty soon like NOW. I just don't know how. I have a custom commercial grade kitchen in my home that I had built specifically for my cake "hobby/business" so it's hard to let go. Thanks for listening!
Cake just happens....
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Cake just happens....
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post #2 of 12
Just post a message on your web site explaining that you are suspending new orders, and you will be on sabbatical to focus on your education and your family. No further details or explanations are necessary.

If you do decide to take orders again and want to keep volume low, increase your prices.
post #3 of 12
Jason is right on for this situation.
post #4 of 12
Yep... Just learn to say "no," the hardest word in the English language to learn, when people call to order something. You don't owe anyone an explanation.
post #5 of 12
[quote="jason_kraft"]Just post a message on your web site explaining that you are suspending new orders, and you will be on sabbatical to focus on your education and your family. No further details or explanations are necessary.

If you do decide to take orders again and want to keep volume low, increase your prices.[/quote

Wow. Like, wow. You're supermom! Seriously, you're already more than halfway to your masters. Keep going. Like I tell my little ones 'the more you learn, the more options you've got' Caking will always be around, God's willing. And so will customers. When you return...
Let me just say; I applaud you.
post #6 of 12
You can also decide that you will only be available for a specific amount of cake orders per week, for example no more than 1 or 2 orders. Once you've reached that number, then just simply let the person know that you are fully booked for that week. You can keep caking but not go crazy. Question is, can you say NO?? It's so hard to tell people no. I have the same problem. But if you stick to a number, you might be able to do it. Good luck to you!
Dina
Miami, FL

www.dinab.com
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Dina
Miami, FL

www.dinab.com
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post #7 of 12
Fedra, during the school year when I am working full time (50 hours) I only take 2-3 orders, depending on the detail, (1 if it is a wedding). During the summer, when I am only working part time, I double it. I don't give explanations, I just say if I have an opening or not. I've even had to turn down family members if I don't have an opening. I can only do so much. (yes, learning to say no in so hard) I have a husband who helps me, so that helps a ton, but we also have 4 kids that have so much going on now that school is back in. A masters will take a lot of your time but if it is a stress reliever, you may want to still do one or two to give yourself a break from studying.
post #8 of 12
Fedra, during the school year when I am working full time (50 hours) I only take 2-3 orders, depending on the detail, (1 if it is a wedding). During the summer, when I am only working part time, I double it. I don't give explanations, I just say if I have an opening or not. I've even had to turn down family members if I don't have an opening. I can only do so much. (yes, learning to say no in so hard) I have a husband who helps me, so that helps a ton, but we also have 4 kids that have so much going on now that school is back in. A masters will take a lot of your time but if it is a stress reliever, you may want to still do one or two to give yourself a break from studying.
post #9 of 12
I agree with what has been posted above. I finished my Masters while working full time and being a single mom with a part time cake business.So it is possible lol. What I did was limit the cakes to no more than one a week and no more than 3 a month so I always had one weekend completely free. I found the one cake to be such a stress reliever and it was great to focus on something else completely for a while. Raising your prices will also help, more than likely you will be making fewer cakes for more money and then enjoying it more since you are being paid adequately. The biggest complaint I see on here is people getting frustrated and feeling taken advantage of because they have set their prices too low. Best of luck in all your endeavors.
post #10 of 12
I agree with what has been posted above. I finished my Masters while working full time and being a single mom with a part time cake business.So it is possible lol. What I did was limit the cakes to no more than one a week and no more than 3 a month so I always had one weekend completely free. I found the one cake to be such a stress reliever and it was great to focus on something else completely for a while. Raising your prices will also help, more than likely you will be making fewer cakes for more money and then enjoying it more since you are being paid adequately. The biggest complaint I see on here is people getting frustrated and feeling taken advantage of because they have set their prices too low. Best of luck in all your endeavors.
post #11 of 12
I agree with what has been posted above. I finished my Masters while working full time and being a single mom with a part time cake business.So it is possible lol. What I did was limit the cakes to no more than one a week and no more than 3 a month so I always had one weekend completely free. I found the one cake to be such a stress reliever and it was great to focus on something else completely for a while. Raising your prices will also help, more than likely you will be making fewer cakes for more money and then enjoying it more since you are being paid adequately. The biggest complaint I see on here is people getting frustrated and feeling taken advantage of because they have set their prices too low. Best of luck in all your endeavors.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the replies. I will consider raising my prices (people already GAWK at my prices but still pay it) and cutting back to 2 cakes a month. I made six custom birthday cakes this past weekend which almost killed me (more time consuming than wedding cakes) because I had to somehow manage to squeeze in homework for 5 classes I'm taking! I also went to a birthday party yesterday and had 3 people ask me about booking for October and December. I feel very blessed to have a good growing client base but at the same time all this is happening at the worst possible time.
arlenej: thank you so much for your sweet comment.
luckylibra: I'm glad to know that it can be possible, even if it seems impossible!
Cake just happens....
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Cake just happens....
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