Actual friends; one of them being my former boss at the bakery I first started at :) Another being a young girl who bought out a bakery going out of business (retiring - not due to lack of sales). I've also spoken with a few other bakery owners back in the other town I lived in just to see what they had to say, and most of them wouldn't recommend it, either. So unfortunate :/ Cheesy as it is, the motto "do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life" has been about 90% accurate working from home, it just sucks having to turn customers away because it feels like I'm outgrowing my kitchen when I'm super busy, like during wedding season. There are no commercial kitchens here for rent, either. So theres no middle, here.
I totally get what you're saying, part of our reasoning for opening the storefront was because we were outgrowing where we were, getting more orders than we had the capacity to take.
Renting a commercial kitchen would be a nice middle ground (there's not much of that available where we are either), I think the biggest issue with a retail shop is how much you have to be there at the shop, and then because you are the owner, even when you go home you are still never really "off"- there is always shopping to do, emails, quotes, accounting, etc. At one point we actually considered if it would be feasible to turn it into a custom cake studio only, and maybe have retail hours only 2-3 days a week, but it wouldn't have been sustainable for us, our overhead required us to have the storefront sales in addition to cakes.
I have heard of people doing that with success though. Or they just have a studio, no retail. But the only reason I could see doing that is if you really feel it would be worth it and it would help you expand your capacity. Otherwise you're better off just baking from home in that situation, and not adding extra overhead in the form of rent, possible build out, permits, licenses, higher utilities, and so on.
As far as if it is "worth it", unfortunately that's something you have to answer for yourself. You have to reeeaaalllyyy love it and be committed to it as a lifestyle, and find joy in what you do enough to overcome the drudgery parts. For us, we just realized that it ultimately was not the kind of life we wanted.