Alright I started my wedding season in APril, from May-October I've got near 5 weddings booked every weekend... now on top of running a business, driving 2 hours to get supplies some weeks and running a house hold, and keeping up with house maintance.... I am in a hurry burning out!! (my hubby is working away on contact with his job alll summer- so i am having to do everything!!) I am ready to throw the apron and walk away!
HammIamm, first of all...stop taking on so many orders. I burned out for the same reason this year. The money is exciting and the "well-I'm-doing-three-orders-so-I-might-as-well-add-one-more" seems to make sense, but it doesn't in reality.
I know what goes through your head when that phone rings, it's the promise of a new client, of doing something different, of the payback. You don't want to decline it and risk "losing" that customer, so you take on one more thing...and another...and another.
Lemme guess, you're standing in the kitchen crying silently at 3am, cursing "all your friends and family members that get to live a normal life of sleeping and weekends off", trying to finish icing something so you can just squeeze in a few lousy hours of sleep before you set the alarm for 6am to get up, shower and finish the rest before you pack up for deliveries? I've lived that hell, truly. I did years of sleeping 4-5 hours each night. Total mental crap...and was it worth it? NO!
I thought the more orders that I took on, the more I agreed to last-minute orders, the more I delivered and the more business cards I gave out...that THAT would be success and happiness, and it truly wasn't.
I was sad, semi-depressed, irritable, lacking any form of a social life, tied to my job and commitments. If I wasn't baking I was answering emails, sketching designs, writing up invoices and filing receipts for accounting that would have to wait! My poor husband tried his best to console me and to urge me not to do so much, but the work was truly an addiction that I couldn't fathom leaving behind. Does that make any sense to you? I had heard of others in the industry suffering similar fates and hadn't understood up until that point, but in retrospect I was taking on the work of two people working 75+ hours a week.
Nothing is worth your mental and physical well-being. It took me cutting my load of orders in half and then gradually weaning myself off the temptation of taking all those orders to be able to look at myself and discover how damaging it was to push myself that hard for that long.
As a friend's mother wisely said to me when she saw me after 2 days of not sleeping..."You have to learn to work smarter, not harder." She was absolutely right.
I have to agree with antonia74 100%...Cut the number of orders that you take, and you could also try to raise your prices a little. If you have that many orders you might not be charging enough. The owner of an upscale bed and breakfast local to me told me the same thing...Charge more, work smarter not harder.
Also, when you start turning people down because you're already booked it makes you look like you're more of a value. I have people who find out who I am and tell me that they wanted to hire me for their wedding but that I was already booked practically every week. The fact that they remember that years after their weddings says a lot about customer perception!
Gosh...you don't know how many times I've been that girl that Antonia74 described. I really have been at my wits end in the last couple of months and it is because I am really trying to work on getting more wedding orders and less "special occasion" stuff. I was nearing burn out when I decided to schedule a few weekend days here and there for ME.
For instance, I do have two cakes for Sunday, but I didn't take any orders for tomorrow. My hubby and I are getting ready to go on a DATE ON A FRIDAY NIGHT!!!! YEOW!!! When's the last time THAT happened? I'm so looking forward to having a babysitter for a few hours and then spending the day with my three kids and hubby tomorrow!
Take time for yourself and I am sure you'll be a better person for it (and a better decorator...I keep telling myself that my two Sunday cakes are gonna kick butt 'cause I'll be so rested up! We'll see )
Good luck and when you're taking your break, why don't you post some of those 5 weddings a weekend cakes here for the rest of us who are just getting into that leg of the biz!!!
wow yes, that sounds like me.
I planned last week that I will not take anything else on the september long weekend... a lady called me today to ask for a wedding cake... (she called me a long time ago, and i said i was still available, but she didn't send a deposit) she got really mad with me, as i said i couldn't take any more orders...
maybe i should charge more. less work for more money. i like that idea.
thanks for the support
Have you thought about hiring someone for a little help. Maybe they can wash your dishes, color your icing and little stuff like that. It will help you get done faster. Just an idea. I would pay min wage.
I am right there with you. I have been at my shop since 8 this morning and don't forsee going home until something like tomorrow evening. I have 5 weddings tomorrow (icing the last one right now then have to get to decorating them all) and I have something like 7 next weekend. Will NEVER do that again. Whewwww
Oh yeah... I just waved good-bye to my parents who listened to me cry and rant for a good hour. Getting it all out (especially to mommy) makes me feel so better. I think I can actually handle it now
Hugs to all!!
I am of a different mind on this one. With this economy take all the orders you can get. Hire some temp help if need be but take the work.
1. add some temp help if needed
2. mail order items, your time is too valuable to leave and go get things.
3. tell the hubby and family to suck it up it is wedding season and you are busy! It is what they tell you when they are busy.
4. hire some temp help for your house even if it is paying the kids to do extra stuff while you are swamped.
5. Give up thinking you can and will do everything. And let others do for themselves.
6. Eat something other than cake!! Make sure you are getting fruits and veges and regular breaks.
7. You would not have taken on the cakes if you did not think you could do them. Just relax your need to be perfect outside of work.
Things will ease up very soon and make sure you plan a week or so off for you and hubby. Plan it and stick to it.
Congrats on being busy. Organize and think where you can make changes to ease your stress and get things done with a little help.
Pipe in some great music, eat something and pump in some extra oxygen or fresh air.
Good luck - get a good nights sleep you will be very proud when the cakes are delivered and you get the "cake high".
Ok so nobody hurt me for this.....but if you are going to be in business you have to take care of your people, right? So, if you work for yourself, YOU have to take care of you. It really will make you much happier and in turn your customers will be much happier. Ask yourself are you really turning out quality work when you have not slept in days? I feel for you all, I have ran my own business that was open 24 hours a day. I quickly discovered that just because we were open all day did not mean I had to be there all day nor could I be.
Hire a student that is just looking for a few hours a week to help you with the little stuff or a mom that is just looking for a little extra money.
You deserve a break, so take one. Be sure to post pictures of your work, I can not wait to see your cakes.