Exhausted And Burnt Out

Business By loriemoms Updated 23 Apr 2008 , 9:38am by loriemoms

loriemoms Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 11:40am
post #1 of 18

Here is only April and I am already exhausted. Every week, I barely get any sleep working on wedding cakes and then we spend the entire Saturday running around doing deliveries. The price of everything is going up and up and I have to sit down and probably raise my prices (which sounds simple enough but its scary!) This morning I sat down and went over my schedule for this week. I am debating decorating cakes on Wednesdays for Saturday deliveries just so I can get them done and they look nice. (it seems like when you are tired, you work slower?) Does anyone do them that far ahead?

I need some advice on how to handle the exhaustion. I love decorating cakes, but when you find your entire life is consumed by it, it gets harder.

17 replies
grama_j Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 12:07pm
post #2 of 18

I ususally do mine on Thursday for Sat. events, just in case something would go wrong. The money is nice and all, but you still have to think of your family.... maybe it is time to cut back a little...... Once it isn't
"FUN" anymore, it starts to be a drain..... not just with cakes, with anything...... Sounds like you are about there........

DoniB Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 12:07pm
post #3 of 18

I don't sell them yet, but it seems like when I need to do cakes for specific reasons, I need to do three or four in one weekend. I bake on Wednesday, make all the frosting and fondant on thursday (and go ahead and crumb-coat and possibly frost or fondant the cakes, if I have time. This helps keep them moist), do any make-aheads that I can then, as well. Then friday, I decorate. If I have to, I stay up Very Late! icon_razz.gif (Don't we all!) Saturday morning is panic time, in which I hope that

Sounds like you're successful, if stressed!

sunlover00 Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 12:11pm
post #4 of 18

I can totally relate to what you've said! Just yesterday, I'd finally completed all of my orders (including 3 for pickup Sunday am) and DH and I went to dinner and a movie. He asked me "what's wrong?" and I was just burnt out...mentally and physcally.

Sometimes I do bring it on myself...>I say Yes when I should say NO....I procrastinate when I could be making icing and wrapping boards on Monday for the following week, etc. I can't seem to reject orders. I underestimate the time it will take to decorate, and I sometimes undercharge because of that too!

I am going to increase my prices by $5 on sheet cakes and such. The price of milk is right up there with gas!

So, hang in there, you are not alone. Start cutting back for a while. Schedule a weekend where there are no cake orders at all. It seems though, that even when I am super crazy busy, it all comes down to the customer's reaction when they see their cake. That makes it worth while and makes me keep doing it. That's my addition. thumbs_up.gif

kakeladi Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 12:24pm
post #5 of 18

Oh hon: (((((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))))))))
We all know what you are going thru. We all feel your pain.

It time to raise your prices!

If you are *that* busy you need to be charging more. You also need to be learning "NO" to some of the nonscense the I know comes along.
I haven't looked at your pix (can only see thumbnail anyway - yuck) so can't say how 'good you are' but I bet you are right up there the likes of Colette, Brownan(sp?), & Duff etc etc and charging pennies for your talent! icon_smile.gif

vickster Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 1:16pm
post #6 of 18

What about a helper? I've started teaching my 13 year old son some things. He's learning how to mix the buttercream, wrap cake boards, that type of stuff. I'm not that busy yet, but I plan to have a helper ready when I need him.

Kiddiekakes Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 1:59pm
post #7 of 18

I can totally relate....up until Easter I have had 6-7 cakes every weekend!! THen ontop of that I had a lot of cookie orders.I was starting to not like cake decorating anymore.I have since quit all the cookies and I am only taking on about 4-5 cakes a weekend now and no more..I hoping this will respark my love for my passion!!!

loriemoms Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 2:01pm
post #8 of 18

Thanks everyone! That does help to know I am not alone!!

I have a bunch of consultations over the next couple of weeks for fall weddings and I am going to just learn to give out higher numbers for the price of cakes. I HATE that part of the whole buisness! As far as if my stuff is worth it...well I know I am not alone in that I see ALL the faults in my cakes, and go Oh, I could have made the fondant alittle smoother here, or made that line straighter...How do you stop being so picky?

I love the idea of a helper...My DH tried to do some baking but all his cakes fell or were burnt..(he forgot to set the oven for convection for some set and we had to throw away a ton of cake because one was burnt and the other was raw) I keep encouraging him to keep trying, but he doesn't feel he is a baker. I have set him doing business end of things, so that has helped..(he puts in orders for me for materials and even has done some invoicing) But I think you are all correct, I need to raise my prices and then take in less orders.

chutzpah Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 2:07pm
post #9 of 18

You should never be afraid to raise your prices, ever. Yeah, some customers won't order, but so what? Most will. You'll be making less cake for more money.

Learn how to say no. Just because they want a cake from you does absolutely NOT mean you have to accomodate them.

I would so rather make one cake for $200 that ten cakes for $20.

I hired a gal part-time (about 16-18 hours/week). She fills and covers the cakes with either frosting or RF, and is learning how to decorate. I hope to be able to afford to hire her 75% in the fall, and full time in about a year.



About a month ago I was really exhausted and burnt out. I told myself that for the next three weeks I am 'fully booked' if anyone wants a cake. I did those few orders that were already on the books, and told everyone else that I was fully booked. I had three great weeks where I had a halfway normal work week, and rested up and now I'm ready to go again.

You really have to learn your limit. I figure, yeah, I can make ALL the cakes they want, but what good is all that money when I'm in the hospital from exhaustion?

ccr03 Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 4:16pm
post #10 of 18

I'm not doing nearly as many ckaes as you, but one thing I've done to ease mine 'pain is to plan everything out. I'll wrap boards while I'm baking. I use foam boards so I'll cut out various sizes I know I'll end up using (thanks my mom for that tip!). And I'll stop to take in a movie whatever BEFORE I get burned out. We all work better when we are in a better mood!

littlecake Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 6:23pm
post #11 of 18

I was feeling like this too....i went up on prices prices across the board...no one even noticed.

i've been turning more people down too...i'm getting a little older so these 12-14 hour days are gonna be history now.

i gotta say, i'm liking life a lot better now.

soon i may actually look into "getting a life"!

cakesondemand Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 9:57pm
post #12 of 18

I hear ya! I just finished with one of those weekends I'm exastusted too 12hr days no day off for the last 3 weeks I just raised my prices 2 months ago and they are higher than any bakery in town (pretty soon I'll be at Vancouver prices $7+ per serving) and there still booking thinking of doing it again I have 6 weddings every weekend right up to Sept I just convinced my daughter to finally put her notice at work for a casual shifts so she can work at the shop. I was in tears last night just from being so tired and wondering if I made a mistake the bright side is maybe I needed this to get my daughter to make her decision we are both scared since she is the money earner in her home but I should be able to pay her with all these weddings booked, the occassion cakes and cookies.

loriemoms Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 11:35am
post #13 of 18

It is sure nice to know I am not alone! I think my biggest problem is that my typical wedding cake is no longer a nice butter cream cake with little swiss dots on it. I get these orders where brides want all this STUFF on the cake...quilting, dragees, special things. I am not complaining about that, because I would be completely bored with the butter cream cakes and the little swiss dots. But these cakes are much more time consuming (it will take me half a day to decorate them, not counting the prep work of making bows and making other things for the cake. I have a hard time convincing brides how time consuming this is to, and they have to pay accordingly. Last night, I got on my web site and raised prices, but I have to tell you, I am scared to death that now nobody is going to call!! How do you get to the point where you feel you are worth the prices they have to pay? I see every little mistake in all my cakes! I am sure that is adding to my stress as well as I am too much of a perfectionist?

I also am constantly turning down celebration cakes. I have found they are more work sometimes then wedding cakes! My DH says I should figure at least 60 dollars an hour (when you add up materials, electric, water, your time, that really is not that much!) At this point, there are some weeks where I would make more money working at Walmart decorating cakes! (which I do NOT want to do!)

I wish I could take a week off here and there, but no workee, no money.

Thanks again for all the great messages! and Sorry for the ranting! When it seems like weeks since you have had a day where you didn't have to think about cake, your brain turns to mush! hahaha! Everything I look at, I think about how I can make it into sugar....isnt' that sad?

indydebi Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 1:03pm
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesondemand

.....I just raised my prices 2 months ago and they are higher than any bakery in town




I did a local price check and was surprised to find I'm considered expensive .... I'm at $3/serving (bc only) and I found bakeries (not grocery store chains but bakeries) in the $2/range. Yet I just commented to hubby that I'm getting more and more cake-only orders than ever icon_confused.gif (i.e. reception is in a venue that has their own on-site caterer).

If you offer a great tasting cake (and it sounds like you do or you wouldn't be this busy!), they will be willing to pay a good price for a good cake!

francescakes Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 1:30pm
post #15 of 18

I just checked your website--you need to raise your prices. I'm from NJ and run a successful cake business BUT I travel to your area frequently (to see my brother in Fuquay- Varina)

I know that there are alot of decorators in NC, but NC median income is getting pretty high especially in the Triangle area. Unfortunately for you poor NC'ers -(LOL) you're getting ALOT of us transplanted NJ and NY'ers and we're used to higher prices, so hang in there. It's not going to stop either--seems like everyone's relocating.

That-and haven't you all noticed that customers are getting more adventurous
and specific about what they want? Thank you Food TV! The cake industry is changing.

Raise your prices--you're not getting enough money for the quality of work that you're doing!

loriemoms Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 4:02pm
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by francescakes

I just checked your website--you need to raise your prices. I'm from NJ and run a successful cake business BUT I travel to your area frequently (to see my brother in Fuquay- Varina)

I know that there are alot of decorators in NC, but NC median income is getting pretty high especially in the Triangle area. Unfortunately for you poor NC'ers -(LOL) you're getting ALOT of us transplanted NJ and NY'ers and we're used to higher prices, so hang in there. It's not going to stop either--seems like everyone's relocating.

That-and haven't you all noticed that customers are getting more adventurous
and specific about what they want? Thank you Food TV! The cake industry is changing.

Raise your prices--you're not getting enough money for the quality of work that you're doing!




Thank you! You have no idea how much that means to me!! (I live right out side of Holly Springs in cary/Apex. Next time you are in Fuquay, you have to check out a new bakery in town that sells nothing but cheesecake (Carolina Cheesecake) My DH is from NJ (Me, I am from Virginia orginally, been here forever) and he said it is TRUE New York Cheesecake. Made the cheescake factory cheesecake taste like nothing!

Anyway, I am going to start making my quotes bigger for the extras, where I was throwing them in as part of the price. I did the bridal show in January and had people tell me I had the best tasting cake there. I think a lot of it is my cake isn't reallly fancy. (I don't do the 10 layers of mousse..its good old fashion grandma cake that doesn't need syrups and fillings and such) I am getting more and more brides who are reconizing I can do unusual stuff...guess its time to start making them pay for it! haha!

ncdessertdiva Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 8:30pm
post #17 of 18

Hey Loriemoms, do you need a baker to help you out? I'd rather bake than decorate. PM me if you're interested.
Leslie

loriemoms Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 9:38am
post #18 of 18

thanks again everyone...I have to tell you what really helped me a lot this week was the mom of a bride from this weekend called me and could not stop talking about how much everyone loved the cake..we had a great talk about the wedding and how it went. It made my day, and reminded me about WHY I am doing this to begin with. This week is another hectic week, but next week we are going to the beach for a week. I have already bought a pile of magazines (none of them have anything to do with cake) My DH asked what I would like to do/go and see while there (we have a 32 foot camper) and I said "just sit on the beach and do nothing". hahaha!

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