Ditto to all the wonderful advice submitted by Liz at Sugar, vgcea, AZ Couture, deb2013, cupadeecakes, etc.
If your geographic area/clientele will NOT profitably support the amount of work and resulting customized perfection, scale down your time and perfectionism and sell gorgeous, profitable, NON-3D cakes. Put your 3D cakes in a totally separate pricing arena.
Quote from cupadeecakes:
"When I took Mike McCarey's Big Bird class, we asked him how much he would charge his customers for it (it might have fed 30 people). He said that he would charge about $900 for it, but that no one in his area had ever been willing to pay that much for it. Lots of people loved it and wanted it, but they just wouldn't fork over the money to make it profitable for him."
1. Reserve your awesome 3D skills for cake show entries. Contact your local ICES representative to see what cake shows may be in your area. Exhibit at County Fairs. Collect awards for your resume/portfolio.
2. Identify high profile society charity events in your area. Submit a charity cake for auction. Make sure you tell the local newspapers and news stations about your cakes for each charity auction. Submit a press release blurb with a photo and description. You may get mentioned as a "fluff piece" of news.
3. Identify high profile professional or collegiate sports teams in your area and donate a cake with their mascot.