Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

Hi all,

I currently work from 8am-2pm in Journal publishing, then I have my cake business almost 2 years ago. I am trying to get the cake business going to eventually do this full time. The cakes are starting to become really busy that I am battling to cope with the two, but not yet bringing in enough to quite my day job and sustain it.

I have a 2 and a half year old which I try to spend some time with in the afternoon, and bake the cakes with her then, so I tend to start decorating the cakes after she sleeps and end up working till 2-4am Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays.

This is starting to affect my day job, so I tried several times to get someone to bake the cakes for me to relieve the stress and lack of sleep. All 4 times they have royally stuffed all the cakes up, and caused me soo much more stress, as I had to end up re doing everything, costing me so much money and instead of working till the early hours, I didn't get to sleep and even had to delay pick up of customers.

A friend who made wedding cakes years ago started to work for me. I gave her a very simple premix cupcake mix which just needed 4 eggs and 200ml water. She used up all 3 packets I gave her and she kept on using 2 cups instead of 200ml water. When I got there she told me my baking mix is rubbish. I had to go buy all the ingredients all over and bake them myself; I ended up giving the client a inferior product.

I am starting to feel that this was the last straw and Gods way of telling me that I should be doing something else. Depression is starting to set in and feel I will never get to quit my day job...

 

 

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At the end of the day, what is your cake decorating worth to you?? I had a similar dilemma when my children were little and cake decorating was getting in the way of my peace and being available to my children - I throttled back on orders etc because nobody else appreciates your work and all the time and effort enough to make up for the stress and loss of time with your children to make it worthwhile, and no amount of money was worth the angst, so I still carried on decorating but at a lesser level till they were a bit older and I could cope. I still enjoy decorating and have peace of mind that my family didn't suffer because of my interest.  It's your own decision, but really when decorating becomes a chore and an anxiety inducing thing to do, it is not worth it and in any case stifles your natural creativity! (I think that applies to any other interest as well)  Just my opinon and experience, but if you go on the way you are, you will kill your interest in decorating and possibly yourself from stress. Good luck with your decision.

Have you considered asking your boss to work from home? alot of what you do involves sitting in front  of a computer anyway....

Never give up the things in life you love. Cake decorating is a gift from God. Be patient and it will work out. Can you cut down and do part time day job to give you more time to do the cakes? Your5 business is taking off. We are in hard times financially in the world. So starting anew  business is alot of risk but follow the passions of your heart and it will come together. I will be praying for you.

Have you spent time with any of these helpers and trained them personally or dropped off supplies and recipes and ran?  It may be worth your time to hire a newbie that has to be trained and not ruined by experience or others.  My best employees are actually the ones with absolutely no previous experience.  You may have to go through a couple to find one with the knack.  But it will be worth it in the long run.
It is time to put your cake business on the back burner, just until your little one starts school and you have more quilt free time during the day.  Right now you are spreading yourself so thin, no one is getting the best of you.  Work your day job, enjoy your child and when you save some money come back to your dream with a fresh outlook and more help/employees.  At the pace you are working right now, the stress is going to shorten your life.  Your time with your child is much more important, than a happy customer.

I am right there with you and know EXACTLY what you feel like. I work full time 8-5 m-f and I also do cakes on the side. I do have a cake partner that does the cakes with me.  We really started to build the business and it has been steady but I am still at that point that I can not yet afford to leave my full time job.    My kids are a little older but still pretty dependant so I run home after the first job, get dinner ready for them then run to work on cakes, and like you I spend many nights working really late (like last night i got home at 3:30 am only to get to bed, wake up at 7:00 and come to work).   It is exhausting and I am on that fence.  I feel like the only way I will get the cake business there is to quit my job and dive into the business head first but I am afraid to do that because my family can not go without my income "if" it doesnt work out.  Believe me when I say we have made many cut backs to try to get there. The ridiculous hours also put a huge strain on my marriage. 

 

People say "Find what you love to do and make a living doing it. " But I often get upset and ask my husband "what if what you love to do just isnt enough to support your family?"

 

So in the mean time what I have decided to do is scale back my # of cakes.  Continue to enjoy my dream and watching my children growing up, and my marriage and then when the time is right and they are a little less dependant then I can jump back in head first.  I also pray alot that God will just help me make the right decisions.

Are you baking fresh - like the same day you decorate?  You can b ake ahead and freeze them to have on hand.

CupCakes too. 

Your family/child *needs* YOU - not a zombie.  I can say that because I didn't get into cakes until my 40s long after my kids were past the 'little' stage:) 

Try baking ahead to see if that helps cut down on the stress.  Another thing is you might not be pricing your product well enough so you are getting all that stress for very little $$s.  Raise you prices, bake and prep (make icing, decorations, cover boards etc, ) ahead and see if that helps.  If not, then you do need to put the cake business aside until the little one is in school.

I agree with everything others have said. Have you thought about a 'minimum' order? If you are trying to increase your business but are overwhelmed you might want to be more selective about the orders you are taking. Bigger/more involved cakes are more stressful but are you looking for quality or quantity? I bake at home, have young kids (now 6 and 8) and I've worked full time. My husband and I are currently running a seperate business from home and now my kids are in school. I definitely empathize with you and having to juggle all of it and then be wife and caretaker of the house. I felt the exact same way. So I stopped taking every order that I got. Simple cakes, sheet cakes or other uninspiring (boring) cakes I quoted higher, even though my prices are very reasonable...Either they wouldn't place the order or they did and made it worth my while. If someone is balking about prices move on. You've got to up your prices, make peace with longer hours or manage your time differently. There is nothing wrong with baking and freezing IMHO. If you have orders on Fri or Sat why not bake on Sunday and freeze? Then Monday-Thursday you can get decorations made *if applicable* and even make your fillings or frostings ahead of time. Mise en place makes it sooo much easier and more enjoyable if you're proactive and ahead of the game. Your cakes look amazing and very time consuming. Are all the orders like that? Your cakes would absolutely support a minimum order price. If I were you I would say hit the brakes a bit on the cakes and only take orders that are bringing in good money. You wont be overwhelmed, you'll still be keeping up with cake skills and you can be mommy, honey and employee and feel peace with all of it!! Just my 10 cents ;) Good luck!

Well, if you can stand another 2 cents worth of advice. The women who got me into cake decorarting, God rest her soul, said to me if  I wanted to go into business I better develop a thick skin, and be prepared that cake decorating wouldn't be fun anymore, but just another "job". She did it on her own for 15 yrs., but her boys were in elementary school at the time, plus they weren't involved in any other extra activities...sports, boy scots, camera club..like that.  She eventually tired of the stress and went into a career in homecare, doing a few cakes on the side when asked, until she developed breast cancer and died. I do miss her.

Now I just turned 60, and I finally have the time to do cakes as a hobby business. But I worked for 30 yrs., in homecare the last 20 yrs., just retired.  Was at home with my children for 11 yrs. before I went back to work, and took some decorating lessons & dabbled.  Both my children were involved in sports. Daughter in Soccer.  My son played Rep Hockey & Lacrosse. He went to a American University on a Lacrosse scholarship. There was way too much on my plate with school/sports, family & household, so cake decorating took a back seat.  But I wouldn't trade those years for anything. I trained a lot of girls/women in homecare  & I will tell you what I told them. Your family should ALWAYS come 1st.  Your children are only young once,  when the time is gone, you can't get it back.  They aren't going to remember the wonderful cakes you made for customers, they will remember the memories you create with them.

My advice....like a few have already said.  Scale back your orders...you are the boss, you control how busy you want to be.  Being sleep deprived & miserable & having it affect your other day job are not good signs to me.

God give us season's in life, this season now for you is to be a great wife & mother.  Not too worry, there will come a day when those demands deminish, and as they do, you can devote more time to cake decorating, and developing a business.  But if you are determined to do both,  #1 my hats off to you, but I would take Dawn's advice.  You HAVE to have a well trained partner/employee, one you trained yourself,  who you can trust to do the baking, cleaning up, and perhaps do some of the crumb coating of cakes and other similar tasks.

Final advice, if you are a praying person, Trust that if this is meant to be, you will have that "gut" feeling knowing what you have decided to do is the "right thing". I believe if it is meant to be, there shouldn't be strife & worry, and that your decision won't cause stress in the family.

God Bless you know matter what you decide.

Hi Ladies, Thank you for your valuable advice and wisdom.

You really made me feel better and is always good know others are going through the same thing.

Unfortunately, for financial reasons, I do have to continue with my cake business. BUT I have deleted all my adverts and promotions and have decided to scale down by only making for existing clients and refferals. As advised by only doing 2 orders a week and thanks Jen, will mainly accept cakes that are profitable. Lynn, I have been working my tail off for peanuts.

I was making wedding cakes which are much more profitable, but I just couldn't do them because they were causing me to neglect my child, so I stopped and only make the small simple wedding cakes every now and again. Also do really get a kick out of making a child so happy with their birthday cakes.

I do bake and prepare beforehand, but the reason for starting so late is that I try to spend time with my toddler in the afternoons, and undertake my wife duties, so my husband does not feel out either. Essentially I am pleasing everyone else and not myself. I tend to suffer from insomnia, so working late is easier for me than others, but physically and emotionally exhausting.

I have been praying very hard, and everytime I do, more and more orders stream in. All in His time, will trust what He has planned for me. 

Did try find someone to mentor and train, but they all flaked on me. I am not the type of person to give up so easily, so I will continue to pray and know that God will send the right person to me at the right time.

In the meantime, I have slowed down drastically and also making quite a few figurines instead while I site with my husband watching movies, which is our favourite way of relaxing. 

Wendy

 

ladies, its soooo lovely to hear you all say the same thing that is going on in my life too.  I work full time as a childminder and this year started baking and since may, i have slowly bn baking in the evenings and weekendfor friends.  For a while there, i burned myself out, between childminding and baking.  So had about a week off, then took it up again, but set myself reasonable deadlines, learning to say no to people.  I still have a passion to learn, but still love my job.  Friends say they think i'll give up my job for baking.  But can't see me doing that 'yet' lol.  I am the firm believer that whats meant to be, will happen and like to what a few of the above women say, God has a plan for me and if i take time to listen, i will be shown the way.

I have 2 full time jobs, with my cake hobby. I like to simplify things to make it easier. I buy my sheet cakes frozen in cases. I also dont offer too much by way of fillings, I found a baverian cream that doesnt need refridgeration. Once in a while I may do other fillings, if I'm not doing an extreme cake. I just like doing extreme cakes right now and most people dont care about the taste, but I do get alot of compliments on the taste anyway.

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