Terrified To Make Cakes For People/money!?

Business By holoien003 Updated 19 Aug 2008 , 10:38pm by JennaB

holoien003 Posted 15 Aug 2008 , 9:04pm
post #1 of 21

I have often thought about having a cake business...there is a ton of stuff for me to learn but at the moment I have been told that my cakes & cupcakes look good and taste great. I've been asked once to make a cake for a birthday party but I diplomatically said no (I was shocked that someone asked me and then was terrified because it was my boss who asked, what if he didn't like it?).

I am absolutely terrified to make cakes for people other than family (with family I have an excuse for the cake not to look perfect...it's just a "hobby"). Unfortunately, I am a perfectionist and heavily critique my work. Have any of you had to get over this kind of "phobia?"

20 replies
Mike1394 Posted 15 Aug 2008 , 11:29pm
post #2 of 21

Truthfully I hope I never lose that fear. That fear is what drives one to perfection. Plus it eases itself once you get paid icon_biggrin.gif


Pookie59 Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 9:29pm
post #3 of 21

It's funny how if I make a cake as a donation/freebie, I never fret over its quality, yet if someone offers to pay, suddenly the same cake seems unworthy. However, since I have no desire to work for free, I've decided that if someone wants me to bake for them, its only right that I should be compensated for my time and expense (especially my time). Usually the request comes from someone who has already seen/tasted my baked goods. I figure if they don't like it, they won't ask me again... and so far that hasn't happened.

tonia3604 Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 4:20am
post #4 of 21

Holoien003...I think we're in the same place. I just started decorating about 6 months ago. I think my cakes have been turning out pretty well, but I am still afraid to charge for them. I have only charged for one cake so far and it looked great, but I am still worried that it didn't have enough icing on it (I know the customer was happy with how it looked, but she served cupcakes and never cut the cake) I am still worried that later when she cut it she thought the cake itself tasted like crap with too little icing! icon_cry.gif Anyway, I have made cakes for some childrens birthday parties where I was asked for business cards and two different people have offered to advertise for me if I would print up a brochure, but I keep telling them I don't feel like I have enough confidence that I won't screw it up yet! And even though I have put 10 plus hours and $30 into a cake I am in fear that when I tell someone I'll charge $50 for it they are going 2 have that look of astonishment on their face like I am tryin to rip them off (with my $2 an hr. profit)!! icon_redface.gif OK...thanks for listening to my long rant...I thought I was the only one with this fear.

cakelady15 Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 12:31pm
post #5 of 21

I feel like this all the time. I just opened my business and of course it's slow getting started because I just opened. It makes me second guess what I'm doing on a constant basis though. icon_smile.gif Sometimes you just have to suck it up and do it if this is what you really want to do though, which is easier said than done icon_biggrin.gif

holoien003 Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 2:27pm
post #6 of 21

Well.....i'm glad i'm not the only one! ha ha. icon_rolleyes.gif

marmalade1687 Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 3:47pm
post #7 of 21

Nope, it never ends - just like Mike says, that is what makes you want to work harder and perfect your skills. Whenever I receive a note or email from a client letting me know they liked the cake, I feel like Sally Field at the Oscars..."You liked me...you really liked me!! (gush!!) (Okay, I'm dating myself with that one!) icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

sweetcravings Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 8:59pm
post #8 of 21
Originally Posted by marmalade1687

Whenever I receive a note or email from a client letting me know they liked the cake, I feel like Sally Field at the Oscars..."You liked me...you really liked me!! (gush!!) icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif I'm the same way when my family and friends respond to my cakes.
I can relate to this thread soooo much. For years people have asked me if i sell my cakes and cookies. I always seem to weazle myself out of it by saying, "not really, i just make them for family. I'm thinking about it in the future.". Yet in the back of my mind i'm thinking maybe i should. Ok, that line is getting really old to those who hear it all the time and getting old in my head too. icon_redface.gif Why am i sooo afraid to make the leap???? I hate that i am soo fearful of failure. I so desperately say in my thoughts daily that i want to do it, but then i run every senario in my head why it might not work or the problems i may have. Like you i make cake for my family parties and never feel this fear but when someone suggests they would pay me for one i freak out. What if they don't like it? I what if myself to death...this fear has paralyzed my personal growth..I wish i had the answer for you. I just wanted you to know you are not alone.
Perhaps i need more outside feedback. To family and friends my cake etc.. are great but are they just saying that to be nice? When i see so many great creations here i just think 'man i have along way to go, why would anyone want my cake?". I'm so critical.
If anyone wants to check out my picasa photos and give me honest feedback i'd appreicate it..good or bad. My 'cake esteem' is soo bad.


tracycakes Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 9:08pm
post #9 of 21

Been there, am there, completely understand. icon_biggrin.gif But, as it has been said hundred's of times, we are our own worst critics. Think about what people are paying a retail store (like Wal-Mart) for a cake and what you can do.... you do much better, right? thumbs_up.gif

I started decorating in 1990 and made a lot of cakes for about 2 years, then burnt out. Just last night, I found pictures of the cakes I did in that time frame. I remember them being HORRIBLE but you know, they aren't half bad! icon_surprised.gificon_lol.gif Much better than I remember.

I've been getting more people asking me to make cakes and once again, I feel the fear that I can't do it but then I remember, most people don't ever see the awesome cakes on this site so they don't compare mine to them. icon_lol.gif

Teenequeene Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 9:15pm
post #10 of 21

I started cake decorating in Oct of last year. I started out just making them for friends birthdays and holidays and everyone started asking me to make them a cake. So I started selling them about 6 months ago. I was terrified at first but if they are asking you to make them one they must like your work. Ive had a couple friends of friends ask for cakes and that still makes me nervous. But so far everyone has been extremely happy. I love their reactions when they see the cake. Thats the best part of it all. And we are our own worst critics. I see all kinds of mistakes on my cakes that the average person would never see or care about. You shouldnt worry so much about it and just take the leap. You'll be surprised.

summernoelle Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 9:18pm
post #11 of 21

It's funny because everytime I make a cake, I am thinking to myself "what if they hate it?" "what if they are unhappy with it?" "what if they think it is ugly?" "what if it tastes bad?"
Honestly, I've only had two complaints, and both of them were a little ify. One person hated my Mermaid cake because she said it was lopsided (it wasn't-look at the photo) and the other hated my Spiderman cake, because she ordered it for 15 but didn't understand why it didn't feed 30 (idiot).
The point of this is that most people are happy when you put your whole heart into something. Just pay attention to the details, from baking to putting on the final pieces, and you will be suprised how much people will love your cakes!

MacsMom Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 9:19pm
post #12 of 21
Originally Posted by marmalade1687

Nope, it never ends - just like Mike says, that is what makes you want to work harder and perfect your skills. Whenever I receive a note or email from a client letting me know they liked the cake, I feel like Sally Field at the Oscars..."You liked me...you really liked me!! (gush!!) (Okay, I'm dating myself with that one!) icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

DITTO!!! I sometimes think, "Oh good, an easy cake." But I still find myself stressing over it.

I've never even tasted a red velvet cake before and I was asked to make one. Like an idiot, I made it anyway and I know I put too much cocoa powder in it because it was more of a "purple" velvet. The lighting was dim in the restaurant, thank God, and I got an email from the bride to be (it was her shower) that it was the best she's ever had and she really liked the filling (white chocolate cheesecake). I wanted to do cartwheels!

MacsMom Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 9:23pm
post #13 of 21

Summernoelle, I LOVE your cakes!!

vagostino Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 9:42pm
post #14 of 21

I'm the same way too! I'm getting ready to get licenced to start my business and I'm wondering...what if all those people that said "you should do this as a business" don;t order from me once they have to pay???. Oh well...you have to do what you love and just start slow and be confident!

Marcelita Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 9:54pm
post #15 of 21

I SO understand you...i am so insecure and also a perfectionist (horrible combination) that i have never found the courage to even post pictures of my cakes.

BUT someday i will...

Bunniefluf Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 9:58pm
post #16 of 21

HA HA HA!! This thread has to make me chuckle cause this is SO ME!!! I haven't been making cakes for long either and I didn't get into it to make $$; really I took the classes out of boredom...I wanted something to do and thought the skills would be useful someday when I have kids. Even when I was in the classes, I started getting requests for cakes. I've made some for compensation (a tip of course icon_wink.gif ) and EVERY time I fret over accepting the job!! I'm a perfectionist too and am always up for a challenge so the fear totally takes over when I agree to do something that 'looks' easy! LOL!! icon_lol.gif So far, I've always been able to deliver what the customer wanted and gotten rave reviews...on both the cake/filling and the decorating! Lucky for me, cause throughout the whole process of making and decorating, not only do I suffer from anxiety over whether they'll like it or think it's too sweet, but I also experience anxiety over price. I feel really inexperienced so I obviously don't want to charge as much as someone else who has years of experience. Not to mention, let's face it, with the state of the economy today, unless the customer orders something completely custom, I worry about them questioning the value. I mean, the people who usually order from me have a general idea of what they want and simply want me to use my 'creative juices' to come up with something awesome! I get the sense that they would be just as content running down to Publix (grocery store bakery) or WalMart and grabbing a ready made cake...that's about as important as it seems to them. So, even though it cuts into my profit, I'll typically match the price at the grocery store for cakes that don't require much 'custom' decorating ability. Even then, I worry that the customers think they're not getting a good value. Somehow it just seems like since it's a hobby for me, they think I should charge less or something! Certainly no one has ever questioned my charges, and I always feel like I deliver far better results than they would've gotten from any grocery store bakery or Wal-Mart, but at the end of the day...I really fret over their consideration of price versus quality! (in addition to all the worries that everyone has already documented in this thread!! LOL!!) icon_lol.gif

Okay, so who's thinking "K-razy!" now?!?!?! LMAO!!! icon_lol.gif

kello Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 10:04pm
post #17 of 21

I was just asked to do a cake for a co-worker of my husband's!! I have only made cakes for family and friends and they tell me all the time, I should start a business.....I just think they are being nice, because they know me. I finally said I would, and I'm freaking out now. I have never accepted money for a cake.
But on the other end, I was recently dissappointed ....when my SIL was having a surprise party and her husband (who organized it) didn't ask me to do the cake.....he went with a slab from Costco! It had me second guessing myself.....maybe my cakes really do taste bad.

calivettie Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 10:17pm
post #18 of 21

LOL. I really did think I was the only one who was not confident in my ability to charge, especially after seeing all the fabulous cakes on CC. I too have made cakes for family and friends and once asked to make something for money freaked out. I guess one was because when I told my friend I would charge 30$ for a 7 inch round and 4 inch high cake she made a face and said I would not pay more than 20$ bucks- and this is my friend!!!!

Everyone offers to buy a cake or cupcakes, but will they freak out when I give them the price? I don't want to undercharge as baking isn't that cheap and it is labor intensive.
AGGGHGHGHHGH... that is why I don't charge.

playingwithsugar Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 10:26pm
post #19 of 21

It is wise that you realized this before investing in a cake business.

I am a member of several cake forums, and have read, all too often, about how disillusioned people are, thinking that they can make a fortune doing cakes, only to find out, after spending so much money, that it has burned out their passion, or it wasn't all they dreamed it would be.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

fairycupcakes Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 10:30pm
post #20 of 21

I am pretty much the same as the rest...
Scared to death to charge. But my reasoning is a little different. In Florida it is against the law to "sell" any food items that were made in a home. Even if I were able to convert my garage that's not good enough. There can be no connection to the house whatsoever. Blah.

So, I've always been afraid that I'll charge someone and they'll freak out and go tell the department of agriculture on me or something. But as time has gone on and I've gotten more comfortable, I've noticed something. People aren't going to go turn you in as long as you try your hardest and they can really see that. I've only had one complaint and that woman was just evil and psycho. I've gotten a little better about charging, but almost always end up under charging.

The thing to try to remember (that I often forget myself) is that baking and decorating is a science/art form. Yay, Jane Doe can make a box mix cake, but can she level fill and ice to make it look professional? Probably not.

JennaB Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 10:38pm
post #21 of 21

I'm right there with you all. When I started taking $$ for cakes I was scarred and honestly, I still am. Most of my customers only give me a general idea of what they want and let me be creative from there. I like that because I try to keep their expectations low and then force myself to over achieve. I find it helps to push me to try new things. I usually get around $125 for my cakes and when I don't meet any resistance on my price, then I worry that I am undercharging. Just remember that we are all our own worst critics, what we see wrong in the cake, most others never notice because they are focused on the beauty of what you made.

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