The OP said she felt attacked and hurt.
I understand the fact that laws were broken but this is in nearly every thread on this site. I joined so I could learn and better my skills. I'm a home baker, I bake for friends and family and don't accept a dime from anyone.
I'm afraid of the repercussions if I post a cake and have questions. It's like their must be a disclaimer that I don't take money.
That being said, most questions posted get turned into business. Their is a lot that could have been learned here aside from the business aspect.
Wow! The original poster, Amy, asked specific questions, she told a story: This is what happened, I charged but I bake for friends/family-this is my first wedding cake, I want to eventually run a business...
She asked: What did I do wrong? I would appreciate help, guidance, criticism all posters welcome. How do I avoid this? Granted I'm paraphrasing but she specifically asked for help and that's all we tried to give her along with comfort afterwards! She is hurting herself, she has potential and she wants to one day run a successful business. It is not always pleasant to hear to complete truth, but in order to grow and learn she (and others) need to hear it! Not everyone reads the other threads.
Many people here run (or ran) successful business', who better to offer guidance?! I run a business and I still listen to others that have been doing this longer, there is always more to learn. I encourage you to listen to these men/women if you want to advance your career/skills. It's certainly not meant to be hurtful.
Amy-You made mistakes, your embarrassed it happens to many, many people. It's hard to turn down an order, I get it! I promise we only want you to succeed if this is something you enjoy. Yes, some do get offensive, including myself because as From Scratch said we can feel it trivializes what we do. The laws in my state required me to build a separate commercial kitchen (or rent a building-which I didn't want to do) I had to save money, add on to my house, get multiple inspections, seperate insurance, make a business plan, scour auctions for commercial equipment, I could go on and on...all the while during this process and before perfecting my skills and practicing.
That's irrelevant, just an explanation of where some people are coming from, please don't take it personally! You went through this stressful process, do you really feel the stress was worth what you were compensated?! I can't imagine you do. Please ask questions, if this is something your passionate about then go for it! We just don't want you to set yourself up to fail, plain and simple.
MyCakeSchool.com is a great online school, Melissa runs it with her mother, it's like $30/year. Great place to start, they have videos, recipes, forums, etc. starting from basics like baking a cake, frosting, and covering in fondant-building tiered cakes and topsy turvy carving. LearnCakeDecoratingOnline.com has video tutorials that are a bit more advanced, they have a collection of famous cake decorators. PaulBradford has online classes and I think SugarEd is a new one, they are popping up all over. I just hope we didn't scare you away.