Your Wisdom/experiences Please...long

Business By mom42ws Updated 1 May 2008 , 7:03pm by mom42ws

mom42ws Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 5:13pm
post #1 of 37

Hi all! I'm in need of some advice. I've recently started my business, Simple and Sweet, a cake company! ( - a work in progress icon_smile.gif ). Business continues to grow which is fantastic and exciting but it's also giving me a lot to think about....

I'm a stay at homer with a 2 and 4 year old. I do have childcare help sometimes but not all the time. I'm having a difficult time balancing my home - keeping it clean, laundry and your typical stuff when I have outstanding orders. When I'm baking everything falls by the waste side (is that the expression?). I love being a business owner and my mind is on my business 24-7. I'm obsessed with it. I go to bed thinking about it, waking in the night with visions of cakes and marketing. It's worse than a teenager in love!

I am trying to find my "flow" when it comes to keeping things tidy in the kitchen while baking/decorating. I know this is necessary but I feel like my kitchen is already getting too small and we have a big kitchen! There isn't enough work space, I need another oven. And on that note, the county says we can't have a commercial oven in our home but I can get a Deluxe cheaper than I can get a double wall oven. How do I know when it's time to make that next move to another oven???

How do you know when you need extra help? With the kids or just a second pair of hands in the kitchen? I'm currently taking a business plan writing class to get some $$ and am trying to figure out what I should do with my kids if things continue to be busy. Do I put them in daycare?? If I do that then I really need to pe producing so that I can make up for the expenses with childcare and that means I have to be bigger and probably have other help and I'm not ready for any of that.

Okay, I know I'm completely ahead of myself here. I've had a busy week with orders and still have 100 cupcakes to make today. I guess I'm just feeling overwhelmed a bit. This week is not the norm as far as the amount of baking I have to do....Admin. Prof. day and a couple of other orders....BUT, I have had $600 in sales this week icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif ! I don't know. What has worked for you?? How did you do things when you first started out and business was picking up??


36 replies
mom42ws Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 10:02pm
post #2 of 37

Okay, I'm figuring that because my post was so long (or uninteresting) that no one wanted to give any advice. I did just want to clarify that it's not that my house isn't "clean" but it's not tidy. Didn't want to give the impression that my house falling to pieces around me or is dirty.

I guess I was trying to express my inability to have a balance between baking business and SAHM duties...and thinking ahead to a hopeful successful future. As you can see, I clearly have no one to talk about all this with except for you guys icon_smile.gif


Erdica Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 10:20pm
post #3 of 37

I am almost in exactly the same situation. I have an 8 yr old, a 2 yr old and a 1 yr old. I stay home and work from my house.

My kids know I'm baking. Yes the house work falls to the side. Some weeks are worse then others. I'm going to have a helper this falls when things are going to get really busy. And around the Holidays. I don't work enough to have to put them in daycare or anything like that. My 8 yr old is in school and my 2 yr old starts preschool this fall. So that is going to free up some time as well. My goal is to have a shop or close to have a shop by the time they start elementary school.

I keep up on cleaning during the day like the dishes. I do my big cleaning on the weekends when DH is home and the kids can help out. That help too. My husband really pitches in and helps with the kids and cleaning too. When I do cakes, I'll have my Mother in law come over and sit with the girls while I concentrate on cakes.

korkyo Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 10:30pm
post #4 of 37

You are not alone. We all strugle with trying to find the balance. I do all that and have a part time job and am a scout leader for two troops.

On sunday night I sit and map out the whole week and decide what is not going to get done. My list is ongoing all the time. All I can do is decide what is more importatnt than the other stuff. It gets me crazy some days but that is what I want to do.

Lenette Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 10:32pm
post #5 of 37

I have 3 children too. I have found it to be a big relief when my two younger ones went to preschool/daycare this school year. It has helped a lot to just have a block of time to work in peace.

When I am busy my house is insane (I have a separate kitchen at my home), nothing gets done and they eat take out. We get through it, catch up the house and well, that's life. The benefits far out weigh the negatives. I don't think it would be much different if I was working outside my home.

Cut yourself a break, you're working. You will find your stride and everything will balance out. Kudos to you on getting such a good amount of orders. thumbs_up.gif

yummymummy Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 10:37pm
post #6 of 37

You're not alone! I have 5 children..son (9), boy/girl twins (7), son (2), and daughter (6months). My house is by no means tidy...but with children it's nearly impossible to keep it that way, especially when you have cake orders to fill. I keep up w/ the important stuff, like dishes, vacumming etc. Laundry is always an issue cause between all of us, I have like 3-4 loads /day! I'm never caught up with that, and I learned a long time ago that I can't be super woman. I do my best and the rest waits until tomorrow.

I have quick clean ups...and laundry baskets are great for that! I throw everything in a basket and tuck it in a closet when unexpected company drops by. I deal with the overflowing basket later!

So just take one thing at a time and don't forget to take a little time (even 10 min) for yourself. Breath deep and don't worry about the stuff you haven't any control over. Hope that helps! thumbs_up.gificon_smile.gif

foxymomma521 Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 10:41pm
post #7 of 37

Can you hire Merry Maids one day a week? Maybe they could help with the big stuff while you keep up with the other stuff...

peacockplace Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 10:56pm
post #8 of 37

My goal is to make enough money to justify a house cleaner coming once in a while! I have three kids 7,5,2... all boys. My cake shop is at my house and most of the time I work late nights out there. When I have a large order my house falls apart too! I have to say that my separate kitchen is my saving grace! When I was just making cakes for friends and family I did it in our kitchen. I could never do that now. The wedding cakes have taken over and they'd never fit in my kitchen any more.

I think the biggest thing is to try and find a balance. I know what you mean about thinking about cakes 24/7. I think about cakes constantly. I even saw a four tier cake appear out of a pottery barn kids pillowcase design. I think you are on the right track. You just have to find what works best for your family. Right now I limit my orders to one wedding per weekend. After all of the boys are in school I may go bigger who knows!

Jayde Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 11:32pm
post #9 of 37

Is there a teenager or pre-teen in the neighborhood who would be willing to watch your kids for a couple of hours maybe after school? I am a SAHM, and my housework also falls by the way side. I limit myself to 2-3 cakes a weekend strictly first come, first serve, and when I am working on them, the 14 year old across the street will take my kids outside, or over to her house to play. I pay her hourly for her help, but its amazing what I can get done in 3 hours, without the kids.

Also I have adopted the method of baking one day, making fondant the next, making the board one day, filling one day, and then decorating one day. Space things out, that way I find it a little easier to get things done. Same with the housework, one room a day.

cakedout Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 12:42am
post #10 of 37

I was in your shoes 20 years ago! I started out in our kitchen, but was soon expanding to the dining room.... icon_lol.gif I used to actually make a barricade of chairs to keep my 1 year old son out of the kitchen! icon_lol.gif Once both daughters were in school, I put my son in pre-school, so I had a bit of time 3 days a week free of kids. It was hard trying to find that balance, but eventually I got into the groove. I am so glad I was able to have an in-home business. True, most weekends were taken with cake deliveries, and most Friday nites i was up til 2am....but I was available for my kids. I could help with scouts and church youth group, drive them to lessons and birthday parties and eventually the daily trips to private school and after-school activities. Looking back, it was all worth it.

Later we remodeled and built a cake kitchen for my business. I opted for two regular ovens (wall ovens weren't big enough and the amount of business I had couldn't justify a commercial oven- eventually, but not then). I also had to make a regular schedule of my week. Keeps you sane and on track with orders. For a while I also had a cleaning lady.

Another thing I had to do was block out at least one weekend a month for family time only! No cakes! It was hard to say no to orders, but family should be more important than another dollar.

After a few years I made another decision: I stopped doing occasion cakes and went strictly to wedding cakes. You may need to make similar choices in your business- find the things you do well and stick to those. You don't have to do 'everything'.

OK, sorry this got so long...your post brought back alot of memories!
Good luck with the business!

Swede-cakes Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 1:52am
post #11 of 37

Oh, yeah, same here! You're certainly in good company by the look of these responses! I have three; my son is 8, daughter 6 and daughter 3.

I'm in the process of becoming licensed, but even when I'm working on a cake for a friend, holiday, or a bake sale donation, my kids are so ENTHRALLED by the sight of frosting that the three of them line up like beggars at the kitchen island and discuss who gets to lick what spoon when I'm all done. I'm hoping the novelty will wear off for them eventually!

I'm already thinking ahead to this summer, when I'm licensed (power of positive thinking!) and working on cakes and the three of them are home for SUMMER VACATION. I'll ask a teen down the street to help out for a block of time. Come the Fall though, even my youngest will be in school, and that will help alot.

To organize my kitchen, I emptied an entire lower cabinet of the island to store only cake supplies and ingredients so it's all located right where I work. Also bought a Wilton decorating box to store tips, bags etc. By baking one day, board prep while watching Oprah, crumb coat another night and finish on Friday, it doesn't get too overwhelming.

I was asked to do some cakes lately for two weekends in a row, so I do keep an eye on how much time cakes take away from time with my kids. Driving them around to lessons and school is a given each day and it can get crazy, but having a half hour at night when they all snuggle up on my bed and we read a book before they go to sleep is something that won't take a backseat to any bowl of BC. icon_smile.gif

Best of luck finding your balance! thumbs_up.gif

Mike1394 Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 9:17am
post #12 of 37

If you figure it out BOTTLE it. You'll make more $$$$, than doing cakes. My day useully satrts at 4am. I own another business, so I do computer stuff before school. I took 18 credit hrs, this semester. Mon. thru Thur. This next two weeks are finals. Then to take on, and try to do cakes, and pastries on the side, and try to start that all up. Then toss 9 Macaws into the mix. If you figure it out let me know.


mom42ws Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 12:16pm
post #13 of 37

kids and macaws! you guys are busier than me. i need to get it together!

i do have a housekeeper every other week and childcare twice a week; one evening for hubby and me to go out and one morning a week.

so what i'm hearing from everyone is that it's just difficult at times and you just have to get through it and make do. i'm guessing that every mom/dad who works from home and has little ones goes through the same thing.

i think, too, because i'm just starting i don't want to turn down busines and maybe i need to a little bit...i think the 5 and possibly 6 orders i have for this week were too much.

thanks everyone for sharing and listening to me icon_smile.gif


Erdica Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 12:21pm
post #14 of 37
Originally Posted by cakedout

Another thing I had to do was block out at least one weekend a month for family time only! No cakes! It was hard to say no to orders, but family should be more important than another dollar.

After a few years I made another decision: I stopped doing occasion cakes and went strictly to wedding cakes. You may need to make similar choices in your business- find the things you do well and stick to those. You don't have to do 'everything'.

I COMPLETELY agree! We just bought a camper and one or two weekends a month are family only time. My family comes first. Plus it's nice to have a break. Going camping is cheap but it's nice to still get away.

I am also thinking about not doing special occasion cakes as well. Or only doing ones that are going make money. No little birthday cakes. All though I still do that for close friends and family. But the amount of time it takes for me to do a little birthday cake for little money....that takes time away from my family. Before I know it, my 8 yr old will be driving and then off to college. I don't want to miss time with my kids.

I think you'll find a groove. You probably won't even know you're in a groove until you hit it. Things will fall in place. And you've got a lot of people who are in similar situations as you. And we're all just as much cake obsessed. icon_razz.gif [/u]

Amy729 Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 12:41pm
post #15 of 37


I can totally relate. I have only been doing cakes for about 10 months and business has picked up this year so much I am having a hard time balancing it all. My 4 yr old baby girl asks me every day if we HAVE to do cakes.

I am really trying not to overbook now. There have been many weekends I have taken too many orders (5 or 6) and went crazy.

I am trying to cut back to just 2 or 3 a weekend because if not I end up spending all my "extra" profit on takeout for the family.

It is really hard to turn down orders but I explain that I do these myself and can only take so many. People understand and start booking earlier.

If you come up with some magical answer, let us all know. icon_smile.gif


KHalstead Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 12:46pm
post #16 of 37

someone at my church told me they have a plaque hanging in their house that says "Cleaning house while kids are growing, is like shoveling snow when it's still snowing!" I know exactlly where you're coming from!!! And I have a DH that doesn't do a thing around the house...of course he works full time and we're starting a ministry that involves outreaches and a radio station, so I can't really say he's not busy! What you have to do is to realize that EVERYTHING can't be perfect ALL THE TIME!!! Once you get over'll be fine!

Kitagrl Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 1:03pm
post #17 of 37

Yes I hate housework, plus its hard to get it done, esp the MOUNTAINS of laundry! And on big cake weekends...forget it. I have to have my husband help, but even then certain jobs (like bathrooms) go to pot completely. I have four boys ages 7, 5, 3, and 9 mos. They do a great job of destroying the house. I do most of my work during naptime and mostly "after hours" at night but cleaning is hard to do while they are up too.

When they are all in school...Ohhhh yeah. haha. I'll hopefully be able to take on more orders! Right now I'm pretty limited to 4 or so cakes per weekend, or 5, just depends on how big each project is and which days they are due.

TheButterWench Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 1:07pm
post #18 of 37

if you can't hire maids, housekeepers or a Nanny you can eighter hire a neighborhood teen to keep the kids busy and do some light cleaning 3 times a week or even 5 days a week or to come in and help you bake your cakes and mix some icing for you.

you can bring in someone for about 20 hours a week, 4 hours a day for about 150 dollars a week.

Even someone from the local college would appreciate an extra 150 a week for 20 hours of work. lol

at the local High School you can even get someone that would be interested in Home Ec, Child Care, or even get extra school credit by working in their chosen field of interest.

if you hire someone to help you with the baking and icing you can even have them clean your kitchen!

If you have someone helping with the kids, they can do some light housework, like keeping the kids rooms straight and doing the children's laundry.

Even that little bit of help will be so appreciated by you when you find yourself with more free time to take the few extra cakes that it will take to pay for the help or even with the fact that you no longer have to exhaust yourself doing everything.


mom42ws Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 1:40pm
post #19 of 37

butterwench, thanks for that. i wouldn't have thought about the high school students....were you the raffle wench at the show??


mamacc Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 1:50pm
post #20 of 37

I wish I knew a good way to juggle everything!! I have three kids 7,6 and 2, and I pretty much just work at night when they are in bed. Some weeks are crazier than this week. I have three 3D cakes this week and I'm barely managing, lol.

aemcd Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 2:55pm
post #21 of 37

If ya'll haven't already, you MUST try the flylady!!!!

tastyart Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 2:59pm
post #22 of 37

I know what your mean. 3D cakes take tons of time. The most I've done is 2 in a week and that was enough to drive me crazy.

Swede-cakes Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 3:04pm
post #23 of 37

aemcd, what's "the flylady"???


TheButterWench Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 3:07pm
post #24 of 37

were you the raffle wench at the show?? What does this mean? lol

SugarBakerz Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 3:13pm
post #25 of 37

I too stay home with my 5 and 1 year old and I still am able to run a pretty lucrative home biz with my cakes. I have a separate kitchn so sometimes it gets extra attention since the HD inspects it.. but I will say this, my house is by no means a gallery or display of cleanliness. I didn't have as many orders this week so I am playing catch-up on housework. I am cleaning out dressers and listing on stuff on ebay (a lot of work in itself!).... I think you will find your balance, you have to give it some time... if you aren't NEEDING the money to support your family then control your orders... that is what I do... my goal is to make xx amount each week so I can pay for our "fun" things or by the kids clothes that they don't need, I just want for them.... I am not saying we don't need the money because we do, I think most people do with gas as high as it is... but if I don't have a cake one week I won't freak out. I tried the taking orders thing until I couldn't possibly take anymore and it caused a lot of problems in my home and my marriage... the house work was never done... and the kids were just not happy so DH started causing a riff and we actually separated for a couple of months back during the holidays. Then my kiddos got sick and I realized it was too much work causing the problems... I don't have childcare help as my family doesn't live near us, so I don't have that liberty, but I am responsible for my kids and my baking business. I just have to say to you to keep your kids and hubby 1st ... your house and cakes will find time for themselves... I hope this helps you. There are plenty of SAHM/cake baking mommies on here, so we will be happy to offer you support... off I go, gotta start the laundry icon_smile.gif

sarahnichole975 Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 3:39pm
post #26 of 37

I too can relate. I have three kiddo's myself, 9,8, & 3. The baby stays home with me while the others are in school, but on the weekend and vacation, they're all here. Luckily for me, the older two are getting pretty good about helping out. I can tell them, "living room's a mess, please pick it up for me" and they, sometimes protesting, will do it for me. I also have them help out by playing with the little one. I think the suggestion of finding a teenager who'd help is a good one. Find the right one and you'll find them invaluable. My lucky SIL has one next door. Other than that I say look to your DH for help. One of the biggest adjustments for me was learning that when this became really full time for me, that I was no longer just a stay at home mom and couldn't be expected to do it all. A couple months ago, I handed laundry responsibilities to him. Told him, "sorry, can't do it all and this is one you can handle". I've also had him help out with running my DD to dancing and KP at least a couple nights a week. Monday's are cleaning days for me. I DO NOT take orders for Monday or Tuesday anymore, unless the Tuesday order is something I can get up that morning and kick out. Before the first of the year I was finding myself so burnt out and not enjoying it as much, and had to reanalyze my situation. Decide what you want to make money wize after paying for supplies. You may need to increase prices, as I did. Then limit your orders to that many. I had been doing anywhere from 8-12 over the weekend, now I uped prices and take 4-6 on an average weekend, with the occasional weekend a bit heavier. I also agree that you should take the occasional weekend for yourself and your family. Once a month may be too much, but I at least allow myself one every couple of months. Now this means you could take no orders or just light orders, I'll usually take 2 or 3. My other suggestion is to do your tidying after you finish caking, even though it may be the wee hours in the morning. Many times I am finishing up at 3am or later and know I'll only get just a little sleep, but I will pass a broom, tidy the living room, clean up the cake mess, and sometimes even to a quick wipe down of the bathroom. You'd be surprised what you can get done in 30-45 mins if you hop to it, and then when you wake up, you'll feel a bit less overwhelmed. Try to have all your cakes done by and out of the house by noon on Sunday, this will give you the remainder of the day to spend with your family. It is a difficult balance, and I'm no pro at it, but we seem to manage to get it done. All that being said, my house is never as clean as I'd truely like it to be, but I've been reassured many times, it's not that bad. You may have to drop your standards just a bit, not to accepting that your house is dirty, but that an untidy house with small kids and a cake baking business is almost to be expected. Don't know about your mother or MIL, but my MIL has also proven herself to be an amazing help on busy weekends. Schedule a nap for yourself in the middle of the day. If the kids nap say from 1-3, do some tidying from 1-2, rest from 2-3. This will make the late nights and early mornings a bit easier to handle. Most of all, take time to take care of yourself, though I should listen to my own advice on this one. I'm very bad about finding myself dehydrated by Sunday, because I've barely taken time to eat or drink. This is bad, and I know when my legs are crampy and my tee tee is orange, I've overdone myself. I've noticed that when I consciously make a point to take breaks, and treat myself a bit better, I feel so much better by Sunday.

Other than that, REDBULL MAMA. Hang in there, you'll get the flow of things. The 4 year old will be ready for big school soon. Until then, you may seriously consider at least a part time program for the kids. Think of all you could get done if you had say Mon, Wed, and Fri without any kids in the house, even if for part of the day.

Sorry this got so long, but it's a topic close to my heart because I TRUELY feel your pain with it. There is plenty of support here, and I completely offer a shoulder to vent to if you even need one. Feel free anytime to pm me.

Good luck and it will get better.

cake-angel Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 5:13pm
post #27 of 37

I don't know exactly how to explain it. It has helped me out some but the hardest part of it is changing the way I think about things.

mom42ws Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 7:39pm
post #28 of 37
Originally Posted by TheButterWench

were you the raffle wench at the show?? What does this mean? lol

at the mid-atlantic cake show?? there was a lady who's on cc at the show selling raffle tickets and she was calling herself the raffle wench. not you, huh? icon_smile.gif


TheButterWench Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 8:13pm
post #29 of 37
Originally Posted by mom42ws

Originally Posted by TheButterWench

were you the raffle wench at the show?? What does this mean? lol

at the mid-atlantic cake show?? there was a lady who's on cc at the show selling raffle tickets and she was calling herself the raffle wench. not you, huh? icon_smile.gif


nope...just butter. lol

aemcd Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 9:38pm
post #30 of 37

Thanks for posting the link cake-angel. She helps you once and for all get a handle on the chaos of running a home. If you follow her advice it really works! I fell off the wagon but am trying to get back on top of things icon_smile.gif

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