Am I The Only One???

Business By Winter1979 Updated 13 Jul 2008 , 3:40pm by sweettoothmom

Winter1979 Posted 7 Jul 2008 , 5:31pm
post #1 of 27

That has opened up their own business and then hated it? I don't know what the heck happened? I have been baking pretty much constantly (even through college) since I was 8 and have loved every minute of it, even when it was for other people. Even when I was baking 40+ items at Christmas time. For the first time in my life I hate baking and this is so frustrating. I never once imagined this would happen after I opened up my own place. In over 20 years, I have never not wanted to bake.

I would feel like such a fool and loser to quit after less than a year, but I despise it. And it then makes me in a bad mood around my family too. I am so lost as to what to do. I am so disappointed and frustrated in myself for feeling this way.

Any words of wisdom out there??

26 replies
poshcakedesigns Posted 7 Jul 2008 , 5:34pm
post #2 of 27

I sometimes get that feeling, so your not alone.

Can you possibly take a break or mini vacation? Sometimes just breaking away helps.

snarkybaker Posted 7 Jul 2008 , 5:40pm
post #3 of 27

Well, I would say the first reason you must hate it is because with your prices, you can't possibly be making any money. You would have to work almost round the clock to make ends meet. That can make a person pretty cranky.

If you can afford it, take a few weeks where you don't work at ll. Don't take any orders. See if you miss the work. If you don't, you should probably move on. If you do miss it, then seriously think about raising your prices by at least 30-40%. You'll have fewer customers, but make the same amount of money. That should help your mood a lot.

Doug Posted 7 Jul 2008 , 5:42pm
post #4 of 27

when a avocation becomes a vocation...things can go sour really fast.

doing it for fun and self is a whole lot different than doing it for profit and the customer.

better to recognize that it's better as a hobby than a career and quit now while you can still rediscover the fun and joy, while you find some other work that pays the bills and doesn't drive you crazy

loriemoms Posted 7 Jul 2008 , 5:55pm
post #5 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug

when a avocation becomes a vocation...things can go sour really fast.

doing it for fun and self is a whole lot different than doing it for profit and the customer.

better to recognize that it's better as a hobby than a career and quit now while you can still rediscover the fun and joy, while you find some other work that pays the bills and doesn't drive you crazy




I agree with Doug. You eat, live, sleep and dream this job. You have to love it. Passionately. Yes, we all have our bad weeks, but if you are hating it after such a short time, its time to think about doing something else. Before you invest more money and time and you into it.

Another thing if its jsut the baking part you hate and not the decorating part, then perhaps hire someone to do the baking and take those days off...

littlecake Posted 7 Jul 2008 , 6:27pm
post #6 of 27

we just came out of may and june....the busiest cake months.

it's natural to feel burned out now.

moxey2000 Posted 7 Jul 2008 , 6:40pm
post #7 of 27

How old are you? I hate to say this, but it could be hormonal. I'm peri-menopausal and I can't believe how that has affected my life, my work, my hobbies, my attitude. It has changed everything. I talked to my doc and my blood tests are normal, so he believes it's just the hormones. My kids are 8 and 12 and sometimes they look at me like I have 2 heads icon_confused.gif . My poor husband doesn't know whether to scratch his watch or wind his butt! I'm a different person from one day to the next. Recognizing it has helped though, as well as getting extra rest (I find it easier to just say No these days), taking my vitamins every day and also just letting stuff go that doesn't matter. If I didn't I'd be a crazy woman icon_cry.gif . Good luck. I agree, it's sad you feel this way and I hope you feel better about things soon. I agree with the other's that a vacation away from things may help you to understand your feelings and to feel better about things.

cakesbyamym Posted 7 Jul 2008 , 7:33pm
post #8 of 27

It's only natural to feel a little questionable about your career from time-to-time. One thing with the industry that we're in, when it's wedding season...there is no such thing as a set schedule or set hours. It's a constant moving train. The good thing about being self-employed is that if you need a break, simply work it into your schedule. Take additional work on the week prior to the week that you're taking off to supplement the income for the vacation week. It will be a little harder on you the week before, but at least you have the down time to look forward to.

I will freely admit that April, May and June have been enormously busy for me. With the kids out of school for the summer, too, there's been the additional stress, because I'm torn between running my business and spending time with my children.

Just know that you're not alone... We all hit the dips from time to time. Hang in there!

melodyscakes Posted 8 Jul 2008 , 3:11am
post #9 of 27

I totally agree with Txkat.......good grief! your doing a lot of work for not a lot of money! decorated sugar cookies for $1.00 each? I'd like to order those from you and then sell them in my shop for $2.50 each.
I'd hate to bake too, for such little profit....
RAISE your prices!!!!!!

and good luck!

melody

Cruz Posted 8 Jul 2008 , 4:01am
post #10 of 27

Maybe you should take a break and possibly review your menu. You could remove some things off the menu. That way you could spend time making the stuff your more passionate about. Just because your a bakery doesn't means you have to make every bakery item under the sun.

Remember life's too short to not be doing something you love or at least like!

indydebi Posted 8 Jul 2008 , 4:29am
post #11 of 27

Going from hobby at-home baker to legal store-front bakery is like going from night to day. You're not doing this for fun anymore ... suddenly it's a serious busines and you HAVE to make the rent, whether you have any cake orders or not. That's stressful for anyone.

Agree on the pricing. Sheet cakes for less than $1/serving? (11x15 serves 35 for $30?)

You also have some inconsistencies on your serving chart that is losing you money. A 10" round and a 10" square do not both serve 30. The 10" square is a bigger cake (place a 10" round pan on top of a 10" square pan ... see those corners sticking out? That's the extra batter you have to use and the extra cake the customer is getting ... for the same price as the smaller 10" round).

I go by the wilton wedding chart and a 10" round serves 35 (in round numbers) and the 10" square serves 50. Even if you go by a different serving chart, this illustrates that the 10" square gives over 40% more cake than the round.

You're selling the 14" square for less than the 14" round ... and it's a bigger cake. By the wilton chart, a 14" round serves 78 ... a 14" square serves 98 ... 25% more cake for less money.

I understand your serving sizes differ from the chart I use, but take a look at it to clear up the inconsistencies.

And yes, I think all or at least most of us hit a time period where we wonder "what made me think I could do this?" .... then we keep pluggin' on because it's our passion! thumbs_up.gif

MichelleM77 Posted 8 Jul 2008 , 12:58pm
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruz

Maybe you should take a break and possibly review your menu. You could remove some things off the menu. That way you could spend time making the stuff your more passionate about. Just because your a bakery doesn't means you have to make every bakery item under the sun.




I, for one, am overwhelmed by your menu. Lots of choices works for some people, but I find it difficult to make a decision, so I don't, and move on to someone/something else.

Do you have all of those things available every day or are they special order? Take a look at what are good sellers and maybe remove the others. It would make your life easier I think.

Winter1979 Posted 8 Jul 2008 , 4:40pm
post #13 of 27

Okay I read all of the responses and tried to have time to absorb them all as I value everyones opinion here on CC very much. To give you a good idea of how I work...I am a SAHM full-time, the baking is part-time with the bulk of my work being done at night (which is fine because I don't sleep well anyway) or days that my DH has off from work. I am almost 30 so I don't believe I have any hormonal inbalances yet (my DH may disagree icon_lol.gif )

I have been taking orders since October, but became legal in April. I am not at this time accepting any wedding orders as I am just not that brave (I am doing two for friends in July so I can see if I have the nerve to do them for strangers). The specialty cake thing is very new to the area that I live in, they are used to the grocery store or Wal-Mart where you don't get anything but a 8 inch round cake or sheet cake unless it is for a wedding. I have people call to see what XX cake would cost, I give them the cost and they say "Oh that's too much I'll just do a sheet cake" I then give them the sheet cake price and they say your are way more than the grocery stores. I try my best to explain that I cannot compete with them because everything is made per order, no frozen cakes or pre-made frosting here. They either get a cheap sheet cake or go elsewhere.

I am so frustrated with not having the desire to bake anymore and I think it may be because nobody has ordered anything but decorated cakes and cookies. I have yet to make anything else. I hate to give up so quick as I would love to be able to continue working from home as I do not want to be tied down to monthly rent, but working from my home - I am not able to hire any employees (city rules).

Sorry, this is getting long - to you veteran business owners I have a few questions:
1) To increase my prices, should I put a notice on my website that prices will be reevaluated on such a date or just do it
2) To decrease the options on my menu, again give a notice on the website or not? How many things are too many?

Thank you all so much for all of your input - you are the best resource ever!

GeminiRJ Posted 8 Jul 2008 , 5:31pm
post #14 of 27

I would simply change the prices. I don't recall ever going to a store or restaurant where they announce prices going up on a specified date. I don't see anything wrong in posting the information, either. I would narrow the menu down to the items you like making the most. (You could keep some of the things you don't really like doing, and raise the prices high enough that only the people seriously wanting those items will pay for them!) I hope you're just going thru a phase, and your interest in baking returns. If it doesn't, don't stick with something you hate! I'm stuck at a job I don't like (too many reasons to get into) and I should've changed years ago. I understand what it means to forcibly drag yourself out of bed each day to go to a job that you hate. Don't do it! Don't get sucked in so far you can't turn around and run the other way!

sweettoothmom Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 9:49pm
post #15 of 27

Oh sweetie I am sorry your so upset right now.

Lets look at it this way. Twisting and torturing anything we love into something other than its true nature. The reason we fell in love with it. Changing something does take from the true joy of it..

You could possible make it better for yourself though. Look at what is distracting you from the part of the job you love. Is it the bookkeeping? hire a bookkeeper! Is it the prep? Hire a prep baker. Is it the designing aspect? Look for an intern artist. Etc... Etc....
Find what drew you to the cakeworld and then focus yourself on that. Delegating the rest to others. If you nor making enough money to hire help look for interns, look for high school students in the Home Ec department who would be interested in the experience in return for a reccomendation to a college or culinary school. Best of Luck to you!

CoutureCake Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 9:19pm
post #16 of 27

Well, if it's any idea, I was open for two years then the place I was renting decided one day they were no longer for any reason going to rent the licensed space to me.. and they were family... I'm also a SAHM who was licensed and did cakes on the side for $$$ and until last October was in business and it was taking OFF BIGTIME and except for the stress of DH not wanting to watch DD as much when I needed to work overnight hours to get the job done, it was AWESOME... I'm now working on purchasing equipment piece by piece SMARTLY to get into a new space and back up and running.

The thing to keep telling yourself is: YOU ARE NOT COMPETING WITH WALMART (or pick your big box)!!! Repeat that... I AM NOT COMPETING WITH WALMART!!! Walmart has a buying power that you can't even touch. If you value YOUR product others will as well. You aren't marketing to people who are "just going to go to walmart", you're marketing to a different sector of the population that desires a fresh custom made cake. Guess what, Walmart, Publix, etc. have all raised their rates, and you need to too (you're actually BELOW their current prices now). Unless you're purchasing their freezer boxes of cake and 5gallon tubs of frosting, you cannot afford to be charging the rates you are. There's no wonder you're resenting every order you take, you're working on wages lower than a slave's! (they get fed) Right now, you would make more money WORKING for Walmart decorating cakes, you'd get time off, and you aren't being paid to be creative, just get the job done.

At the Culinary Institute of Hard Knocks we call it another course, and that is building your self confidence and business skills. How you increase your prices is you just change them, decide that I'm going to lose a few orders, but I'm a SAHM, my Kids need their Mom too, as does my husband, my product is superior and freshly made to what the hard working decorators are allowed to make at the big box stores, and this business needs to survive, not parish and in order to do that it's time to charge what the product is worth (which includes TIME, Electricity, water, gas, etc).... If you feel obligated to put something on your website about the price increase.. "Due to commodity and fuel costs skyrocketing since our original prices were put into effect, our rates have recently increased to cover costs." The gas station doesn't sell gas for $.88 per gallon anymore, and neither should you!

Now, for that cakeation... Schedule it! I like the phrase "Open when I'm here, Closed when I'm not"... But I had my cake business set up as "By Appointment ONLY!".. The reason: My time is too valuable to be sitting on my thumbs waiting for them. If you want time off to rearrange your underware drawer, TAKE IT! How you respond when someone asks if you can make a cake for next week Tuesday, "I'm Booked"... People learn to respect YOUR time, but it starts with YOU respecting YOUR TIME. That's not to say you aren't uneasy to work with, it's that their lack of planning does not constitute an emergency in your planning.

Get over the fear and make changes to make the business work for you, not you slaving for it. Yes, you are still going to work long hours, but I'll take long PAID hours over hours of unpaid resentment because those kiddos and your hubby are worth far more than a cake business model that is doomed from the start. Change your business model to a PROFITABLE business that you enjoy, not the "do a lot of work for less than I'm bringing in and resent every second" business model. Your only competition is YOU.

You're not in business to fail, you're in it to succeed, DO the changes that need to be made (and intuitively you already know what they are) in order for YOUR business to survive.

arosstx Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 9:34pm
post #17 of 27

I agree with whoever it was (I think txkat) who commented on your pricing. I think some is too low, and some seem inconsistant. You offer a 16" round that feeds 90 for $157.50, and then a 14" square that feeds 80 for $200. So it's gonna cost someone an extra $42.50 to get a cake that feeds 10 less people?

Not trying to offend, just pointing out what I noticed. Good luck!

hallfamily727 Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 9:55pm
post #18 of 27

I can understand how you feel. Though I'm just getting started (got legalized yesterday!) in my business, it can get frustrating. We don't live very far apart (I'm in Sioux City, IA) and I don't think that people here understand that they are getting a whole lot more quality and individuality paying XX dollars for a cake from someone of your talents than X dollars for a Walmart version. I've run into that several times.

As I said, I'm just getting started and am currently doing mostly cookies per my orders. I was told that another baker in the area gets .75/cookie and that I shouldn't be charging more than that. Much like a wedding cake I recently did for a friend (for FREE)...I was asking what I COULD have gotten for it and was told that I shouldn't charge more than $100. The cake was 3 tiers covered in MMF!

Anyway, I'm sure this isn't really helping you. I was just wanting to let you know you have a friend in the area (ME! icon_wink.gif ) that can understand your frustration.

summernoelle Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 10:03pm
post #19 of 27

I can't tell you the number of times I have wanted to quit cakes. I think it is mostly getting overwhelmed by it all. What keeps me coming back is that I can't stay away from them, and can't stop dreaming up new designs.
You are most likely in a rut. Give it a couple of weeks, and if you can afford it, take a week off.

littlecake Posted 11 Jul 2008 , 10:25pm
post #20 of 27

yeah, just raise the prices....most times they won't even notice.

i read a book called "the paradox of choice" a few months ago...

the main idea of the book is that too much choice frustrates customers and then they have a hard time making a choice....and sometimes hey won't choose at all...(no sale)...interesting read.

i like keeping things simple.

eiyapet Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 2:04am
post #21 of 27

winter - BTDT, I think we all have at some point. You wake up one day and you realize that you have done nothing more than buy yourself an 80 hour a week plus job.
I agree with everyone who said you are not charging enough. You are not Walmart, and there is a reason they charge so little - they know what they are worth and that is all that they are worth.
You may want to try and refrain from posting all of your pricing on your site. It is a little overwhelming, and it can actually cause you to loose orders. If you have a bride who is simply basing her opinion on the prices on your site compaed to others - you might loose. But what that bride does not know is how your product tastes, the cleanliness of your environment, and your personality. Instead of posting all of your prices, price standard sheet cakes and make a not for specialty and wedding orders we prefer to offer you a sit down consultation and free samples.
My mom and I have a shop together and have only been out of the home for 6 months and put the local cake decorator who had been there for 5 years out of business ( I am not saying this to brag, I am making a point). We have asked people why they have decided to go with us instead when we charge more and these are the top 3 responses. #1 - cleaner environment, #2 - better tasting product, #3 - personality, they just think we are more fun. These are all things that someone cannot determine from a website.

P.S. - Take a Vacation!!!!! thumbs_up.gif

CoutureCake Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 5:02am
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by eiyapet


You may want to try and refrain from posting all of your pricing on your site. It is a little overwhelming, and it can actually cause you to loose orders. If you have a bride who is simply basing her opinion on the prices on your site compaed to others - you might loose. But what that bride does not know is how your product tastes, the cleanliness of your environment, and your personality. Instead of posting all of your prices, price standard sheet cakes and make a not for specialty and wedding orders we prefer to offer you a sit down consultation and free samples.! thumbs_up.gif




I wholeheartedly agree with this as well and was taught to me by one of my upper end business trainers (who makes a LOT more digits than I do now compared to when he taught me this stuff). Putting the prices on your site actually works AGAINST you more times than not. It not only helps weed people out who are ONLY price shopping and it also requires some face/contact time to go over what they want and how much they're going to give you the check for to do it. Use your personality as your USP (unique selling point).. If you sell the bride on how much she thinks you care about her wedding, you never are goint to have to sell the cake. In real world upper end negotiations, the rule of thumb is "The first person to mention price is the person who is going to LOSE the negotiation".

Also, don't be afraid to set a minimum purchase for your products. How much do you need to earn in order to afford to turn your oven ON.

Winter1979 Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 2:41pm
post #23 of 27

I actually like the idea of not posting all of my prices, what I think is to maybe post all other prices like for cookies, cupcakes, biscotti, etc and just not for decorated cakes (people rarely look at this anyway). Do you think it would be beneficial to leave the cake sizes I can offer or just get rid of my cake chart altogether?

TIA - you guys are truly the best!!

GeminiRJ Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 2:48pm
post #24 of 27

I could see losing the cake chart. Just state that you offer a variety of shapes and sizes, and to contact you for "personalized" service. Make them feel special! The interested people will contact you.

eiyapet Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 4:46pm
post #25 of 27

I agree. When people ask me what sizes I have I say "let's start with how many guests you are going to have and I can help you figure out the best size for your needs."

CoutureCake Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 6:23pm
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by eiyapet

I agree. When people ask me what sizes I have I say "let's start with how many guests you are going to have and I can help you figure out the best size for your needs."




With your website... remember "less is more".. You want to get their mouths salivating not their pockets aching. I wouldn't mess with posting any prices because what happens when you have cookies listed, and they see something that looks large, when in reality it's a good picture of a 2" cookie, then they complain that the cookie wasn't the 5" one shown in the picture that said it was $.60 each..

When you meet with them, instead of letting THEM focus on the size of the cakes themselves, give them an image of the slice size, and ask how many people are you needing to serve? The idea is start with the number of servings required then size the cake tiers to fit. You've got pans that can accomodate pretty much any number of guests if you use the right combination. Start by making your serving charts consistent instead of posting them (aka squares serve more than rounds). I don't use Wilton or Earlene's chart, I made up my own using my serving sizes and reality of making the cuttings quicker for the staff.

I have a saying "you worry about the number of guests you've got coming, I'll make sure they've got enough cake", and I say it in such a way that it lets brides know I'm not going to overcharge them depending on the type of cake required to meet the servings (for example, if the main cake doesn't have enough for 8 servings, I'll only charge them $3/slice for a kitchen cake compared with the $4 for the main cake slices).. When a bride knows stress is going to be taken off of her and she's going to get a delishous dessert, she's sold. Nothing more, nothing less.

sweettoothmom Posted 13 Jul 2008 , 3:40pm
post #27 of 27

I am so glad I have read this forum posting. You all gave me so much insight!

I keep telling myself you have to say I am worth the fees I charge. Charge the fees you deserve and DESERVE the fees you charge! That said I must be sure my end product is worthy and cant be questioned as to why i charge what I do. It is on my shoulders to make my clientele aware that my cakes are fresh not frozen my icing is homemade from scratch and not bought from a mass producer. That I control the quality of my ingredients by doing so and therefore the end product, thier cake or goodie, is all the better for it.
Thank you all my new CC friends!

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