Easy To Make Money??

Business By Motta Updated 9 Jul 2009 , 12:33pm by Dizzymaiden

Motta Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 4:04am
post #1 of 57

I just got into cake decorating 3 months ago and love it, love it, love it! I would love to get into this as a career but I would be doing this on the side for the next few years while we paid down some bills.

My question is this: It seems like once word of mouth gets around, there's no lack of requests. Is it really that easy to get started? Just tell people? Take a cake to work?

I don't want to enter into this business venture naively because there's a bit of an expense for me. My area doesn't allow cakes to be sold unless you have a separate kitchen and a food handling permit. I'm confident in my abilities but just wondering if the market is as "hungry" for decorated cakes as it sounds to be. Just looking for your experience.

56 replies
FromScratch Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 5:51am
post #2 of 57

No... it's not easy... not easy at all. It's hard work, late nights, listening to people say you are WAY too expensive for "just a cake", time spent away from your family, delivering a cake when you should be at a t-ball game, filing taxes, general accounting, keeping your license up to date, paying for insurance, marketing yourself, putting your game face on for tastings and shows, your heart sinking when things don't go 100% to plan... the list goes on and on (and on and on and on and on).

It's not as simple as bringing a cake to work and word of mouth... not if you want to actually make money. You have to be relentless at tooting your own horn and putting your name out there... all things you can't really do unless you are legal so if you wanted to do this under the radar, this will be a serious hurdle (not saying you are wanting to fly under the radar, but just for the sake of putting it out there). Co-workers and friends are not going to be your money making clients.

Is it do-able?? Oh most certainly yes, but not without a sound business plan and a business mind-set. Rose colored glasses have no place in any business.

Mensch Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 6:15am
post #3 of 57

I second Jeanne.

miny Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 6:54am
post #4 of 57

Oh yes, you won't lack requests.......as long as your cakes are free or at cost, but this way you are not going to make money! I only bake for friends and family so I don't know exactly how much money you can make but my way is very expensive!!! icon_sad.gif
Happy 4th everyone!!!!! usaribbon.gif

Nchanted1 Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 11:48am
post #5 of 57

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. I STRONGLY recommend that you get the book "The EMyth". Doing the actual cakes is only about half of the skill set you need to be successful. Also, you need to to promote your business all the time. Even after you get enough of a client base that you have steady work, people move away, they stop eating carbs, their kids grow up, there's a million reasons why they stop calling. You are always needing to get new customers. It's can be tiring and discouraging.

I don't know of anyone who just started and Boom! they were doing well. It's a long slow slog.

That said, if you wake up thinking about cakes, if you get joy out of finishing a beautiful cake, if you'd rather bake than shop, well, you're a cake artist. Go for it! Just be in it for the long haul. Good luck!

cfao Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 11:54am
post #6 of 57

I agree with Jeanne and wanted to add you will have NO weekends. Over the years of doing this, we consider our "weekend" as Monday & Tuesday. 99% of the events you decorate cakes for are Fri-Sat-Sun. You get Sunday late afternoon to yourself when the last wedding has been delivered. If you have a wedding to go to yourself, chances are you will do their cake - I do them for close friends/family as their gift. I haven't been to a wedding in 20 years. I've been to the reception before everyone else setting up the cake, but not to an actual wedding ceremony.

leah_s Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 2:40pm
post #7 of 57

Easy? ::falls on floor laughing:: As long as you don't mind working 80 hours a week, all the time on your feet, give up all weekends and don't need sleep, you're golden.

And you said you can't bake and sell out of your home? Well, then you will HAVE to rent space and that begins to cut into your profits, so you have to be working in volume - not a part-time thing.

You must be LEGAL to sell food to the public.

PinkLisa Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 3:11pm
post #8 of 57

Can anyone think of ANY easy way to make money? I cannot.....

1nanette Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 3:15pm
post #9 of 57

Due to the ease of this business I missed my favorite uncles 60th brthday party this year...made the cake though...but I had to sent it with my family to Georgia while I stayed here in Detroit in the middle of March I had a wedding that weekend plus a couple of baby showers. I have been hospitalized due to a combo of anxiety and exhaustion. I never get to see my nieces dance recitals all the way through. Only their parts then it is off to finish or deliver a cake. etc...etc...etc.

This is truly a labor of love. You spend all your time and the majority of your money. You bleed sometimes and cry a lot. You dont get to sleep for days in summer months and your back and feet ache all the time. And I wont even mention the clients who watch the food network and think they are pastry chefs because they can pronuonce fondant.

This life we've chosen is not for the faint of heart. If you are tough and detemined and strong like bull you can do it. But dont for a minute think it is an easy way to make money. You dont make near the money you should doing this.

leah_s Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 3:18pm
post #10 of 57

Well . . . Pink, I've heard about an easy way to make money, but it involves street corners . . .

littlecake Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 3:25pm
post #11 of 57

you make pretty good money....too bad sooooooo much goes back into the overhead.

i haven't had a weekend off since the early 90's.

and it can be hard on your hands and wrists.

don't do it unless you've got a passion for it, i've come home many saturdays hardly able to walk from standing 12-14 hours

majormichel Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 3:25pm
post #12 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by leahs

Well . . . Pink, I've heard about an easy way to make money, but it involves street corners . . .




lol

majormichel Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 3:28pm
post #13 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by leahs

Well . . . Pink, I've heard about an easy way to make money, but it involves street corners . . .




lol

Debluvs2bake Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 3:28pm
post #14 of 57

There is NO easy money in cakes! Making a great cake is the easy part, making money off it is the difficult part.

aligotmatt Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 3:29pm
post #15 of 57

I agree with everyone! I have not really struggled to GET business, I'm pretty good at marketing myself. But sending my kids and husband to the beach while I stay home and work, sending them to the parades, airshows, birthday parties, ballet classes... because I can't leave.

April, May and June are exhausting months for me, I just work and work, sleep 5 or so hours a night and then work some more. In those months I don't get my monday off because I spend it doing meetings, shopping, catching up my books... because there is no other time in the week for it. This May I was so exhausted I couldn't see straight, I was tingling from exhaustion. By the end of May I thought I was going to die and went to the doctor, turned out I had worked the whole month with pneumonia! I didn't even know, because the exhaustion and general soreness are part of the job. I had to go into the hospital on a Tuesday, they wanted to keep me in to rest and do breathing treatments but I told them I HAD to be released because I had 2 weddings and a grooms cake. And I left and got back to work. They told me to rest 12-15 hours a day to recover, I was like, yeah... I think I have some time to do that at the end of July...

It's not easy. I don't think it's easy...

PinkLisa Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 3:37pm
post #16 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by leahs

Well . . . Pink, I've heard about an easy way to make money, but it involves street corners . . .




Ha ha...... I don't think that would be very easyicon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 3:38pm
post #17 of 57

Agree with all. No weekends and holidays is the big one. Remember, we're in the 'celebration' business and when everyone else is off of work and celebrating, that's when we have to work. My granddaughter was on a soccer team for the first time and I got to go to ONE of her games.

When my sister died a couple of years ago, you have no idea how tacky I felt when I told the sister who was doing the bulk of the arrangements, "This is SO tacky, but if we can do the funeral on Friday, that will SO help me because I have a wedding/catering on Saturday."

Geesh, I asked my family to arrange our sister's FUNERAL around my business/catering schedule! icon_redface.gif

Sell, sell, sell, constantly. I've seen threads where folks comment that they just hate talking to people and pushing/promoting themselves. Then get a job at a grocery store bakery where you can just decorate because selling is Job One. If you're not selling, you're not baking.

And double ditto on the book "EMyth". BIG eye opener for anyone contemplating starting or even those already in business. Go to Amazon NOW and get it. Yes, NOW.

Family and friends? They are the WORST to put in the "Customer" columns. Yeah, you WILL get lots of requests for cakes if you're free or cheap (shall we say, iin the spirit of leahs comments), if you're "cheap and easy!" icon_lol.gif

Is it worth it? Absoutely! Do I love it? More than you know! Would I make the same decisions and do it over again? You betcha! Is it way more work and harder than I thought? No question about it!

leah_s Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 4:43pm
post #18 of 57

Ya'll have dirty minds. I was talking about selling flowers out of a cart on a street corner.

icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 5:07pm
post #19 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by leahs

Ya'll have dirty minds. I was talking about selling flowers out of a cart on a street corner.

icon_smile.gif




icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif Can't stop laughing at this one!

Point and match to leahs!!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

littlecake Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 5:13pm
post #20 of 57

my flowers are too old and droopy to sell for very much.....the cart's pretty rickety too....

Brujalita Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 5:18pm
post #21 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlecake

my flowers are too old and droopy to sell for very much.....the cart's pretty rickety too....




icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_razz.gificon_eek.gifthumbs_up.gificon_surprised.gificon_lol.gif

jimandmollie Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 5:19pm
post #22 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlecake

my flowers are too old and droopy to sell for very much.....the cart's pretty rickety too....




My flowers are supersized! Can I charge extra for that? icon_lol.gif

littlecake Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 5:23pm
post #23 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimandmollie

Quote:
Originally Posted by littlecake

my flowers are too old and droopy to sell for very much.....the cart's pretty rickety too....



My flowers are supersized! Can I charge extra for that? icon_lol.gif




sure!...charge per serving! icon_redface.gif

Kay_NL Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 5:36pm
post #24 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by leahs

Well . . . Pink, I've heard about an easy way to make money, but it involves street corners . . .




LMAO!!!

The reasons that everybody have stated are the reasons that cake decorating is only a side job for me, and I pick and choose my available dates carefully.

My children are only 3 and 5, I refuse to miss dance recitals, stay inside baking and decorating on sunny days, and missing them growing up. It is HARD to make money even with a stable client base. You have to charge a lot to make up for the prices you pay for supplies, ingredients, licensing, insurance, etc, and not to mention renting kitchen space if that applies.

My full time job has benefits including a pension plan, insurance for health, dental and life, 20 paid vacation days a year, sick leave, and are very accomodating to my busy and demanding schedule as a Mom. My cake business had none of these things and is not very nice to my time with children.

I've taken cakes to work but have never had a cake order from somebody at my workplace. I have donated cakes and gift certificates to our school but haven't got orders besides the freebies from the certificates. NO, it is not that simple.

I took exactly 4 cake orders for the months of June to August and limit my rest-of-the-year orders to a maximum of 2 every second weekend. I am enjoying my summer with my family and am not inside on my feet and up all hours while the summer slips away. If it is really really really something you want to do and want to do as a life career, then I would weigh all these things.

Some times I dream of pursuing this full time when I retire from from my real job and my kids will be (presumably) out on their own, but for now life is good the way it is.

That's my two cents worth!! icon_smile.gif

__Jamie__ Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 5:44pm
post #25 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratch

No... it's not easy... not easy at all. It's hard work, late nights, listening to people say you are WAY too expensive for "just a cake", time spent away from your family, delivering a cake when you should be at a t-ball game, filing taxes, general accounting, keeping your license up to date, paying for insurance, marketing yourself, putting your game face on for tastings and shows, your heart sinking when things don't go 100% to plan... the list goes on and on (and on and on and on and on).

It's not as simple as bringing a cake to work and word of mouth... not if you want to actually make money. You have to be relentless at tooting your own horn and putting your name out there... all things you can't really do unless you are legal so if you wanted to do this under the radar, this will be a serious hurdle (not saying you are wanting to fly under the radar, but just for the sake of putting it out there). Co-workers and friends are not going to be your money making clients.

Is it do-able?? Oh most certainly yes, but not without a sound business plan and a business mind-set. Rose colored glasses have no place in any business.





TOOOOOOT Away! Yep....I'm pretty tooty. You have to make sure people know why you are different from so and so down the street. If you are. icon_smile.gif

__Jamie__ Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 5:47pm
post #26 of 57

Wait...I disagree. There is easy money. When you don't market to the masses, and you stick to your prices. Which means fewer cakes, but all high paying ones when you do book an order.

And the money in the pocket is certainly after considerable expenses. Pans, ovens, tools, etc.

JaimeAnn Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 6:15pm
post #27 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Motta



My question is this: It seems like once word of mouth gets around, there's no lack of requests. Is it really that easy to get started? Just tell people? Take a cake to work?




Until you give them a price! Then those people would rather go to the grocery store and pick up a $20 cake. Unless you are only charging $20 and if you are you aren't making any money! And as Leahs pointed out you can't do it legally from your home. A lot of people think , "whatever I won't get caught" but what if someone gets sick even if it is from something else they ate , You are the easy target to blame it on! Not worth the chance for the little bit of money you are gonna get. People definitely will not pay big bucks for cake that someone is illegally doing from home , the reason people go to illegal home bakers is because they think they can get CHEAP cake...

PinkLisa Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 9:34pm
post #28 of 57

I completely hear all the downsides of making cakes as a profession but there are lots of upsides also. I am considering a career shift after being laid off after a 20 year career on Wall Street -- where the money is good (okay great) but the hours stink -- 18 hour days six days a week for those who move ahead the fastest. I slowed down from this pace after I had kids but you cannot excel on Wall Street unless you are willing to be a slave to the company. You miss a lot of things with your kids when you have other types of careers also. I love the difference of designing cakes and have my eyes wide open to the difficulties. My sister has built a sucessful wedding cake design business during the past 20 years I was pursuing finance so I have a wonderful mentor. No one is sucessful at a profession unless they work hard. I agree with pricing the product right though. Who wants to slave away for next to no money. Not me!

costumeczar Posted 4 Jul 2009 , 10:49pm
post #29 of 57

[quote="indydebi"]Agree with all. No weekends and holidays is the big one. Remember, we're in the 'celebration' business and when everyone else is off of work and celebrating, that's when we have to work. My granddaughter was on a soccer team for the first time and I got to go to ONE of her games.

When my sister died a couple of years ago, you have no idea how tacky I felt when I told the sister who was doing the bulk of the arrangements, "This is SO tacky, but if we can do the funeral on Friday, that will SO help me because I have a wedding/catering on Saturday."

Geesh, I asked my family to arrange our sister's FUNERAL around my business/catering schedule! icon_redface.gif

![/quote

You're not the only one! My mother was in the hospital on morphine and I had to fly home to do a weekend of wedding cakes. I flew back down, then had to fly home again for more cakes, then flew down for the funeral that I had to arrange for a Tuesday so that it wouldn't interfere with the weekend. Maybe tacky, but my mother would have smacked me if I'd cancelled a commitment, so I did it. No, it's not easy at all.

miny Posted 5 Jul 2009 , 6:48am
post #30 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimandmollie

My flowers are supersized! Can I charge extra for that? icon_lol.gif




See? Now you are just bragging, there are people who would buy stickers of flowers if the cart is nice! LMAO icon_lol.gif and let me tell you, they're big spenders too!! Hahaha icon_wink.gif

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%