Advice Needed (Burnout)

Decorating By SpecialtyCakesbyKelli Updated 14 Apr 2010 , 4:25pm by Bfisher2

SpecialtyCakesbyKelli Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 4:22pm
post #1 of 27

Okay, I need some advice from those of you who have been doing this for a long time. I'm seriously getting burned out! It's strange though, when I'm working, I wish I had a break...but when I'm off for the day, I feel like I SHOULD be working icon_confused.gif
I've been booking about 12-13 cakes per week...and after staying up all night a few times to get them finished, I finally said enough! So I went back to booking only about 9 per week (less if I have a wedding cake). But I'm still working all the time! I have 3 kids, my oldest son is easy...no prob there, but my oldest daughter is playing softball (with 3 practices a week) so that takes time out of my day... then the youngest is 3 and she has gotten to where she will ask me to come snuggle with her and watch tv... when I really need to be at work! I'm so torn right now.... I would love to back off some to give myself a breather...but the thing is I'm booked SOLID for the next 2 months! I don't want to get burned out, I love my job....but I just need to figure out how to balance this. My initial plan was to set a goal for $$$ brought in each week.... so I've booked according to that (thought it was a great idea at the time) but I didn't take into consideration that I would eat, drink, sleep, and ____ CAKES! Don't get me wrong, I still love doing them.......I'm just tired!
Please give me some advice on what I need to do....I'm sure all of you have felt this same way before.
Thanks for letting me vent!
Love y'all (yes I'm from the South icon_biggrin.gif)

26 replies
TexasSugar Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 4:28pm
post #2 of 27

Okay, I'm not in the business so take my thoughts how you want. But...

You said you set a goal to take in so much a week, question is how is your pricing? Can you raise your prices so you do less work for the same about of money?

There was another post on this not to long ago in the business section that had some advice, such as take some time off, or learn try something different.

tirechic Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 4:29pm
post #3 of 27

Well, Im still new to this career, but, I am familiar with the burnout. Just push thru the next few months and then take alittle break, then ease back into it. If you need the income, then maybe you can only take the higher end cakes, or 3D ones, that might help a little. When this happened to me, i had to take a break, my sanity was at stake, and besides, kids come first, and they will appreciate a little time with Momma, and so will you. Take a deep breathe, it will get better, we here on CC are here for ya.

pish Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 4:30pm
post #4 of 27

It's been my experience that when I start to feel overwhelmed that's when I need to start saying no to orders and to seriously consider raising my prices. When I raise them, I make the same amount per week with less cakes. You don't even need to raise them that much to feel the difference.

Hope that helps!

cakeaddictunite Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 4:30pm
post #5 of 27

maybe after the 2 months you should slow down a lil. spend a lil more time with your kids and then slowly start to pick up the caking when you feel less tired. Sometimes I feel as if I would love to make cakes all the time and then sometimes I feel like if I ever see another one I'm gonna scream!!! HTH icon_rolleyes.gificon_rolleyes.gif

SpecialtyCakesbyKelli Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 4:38pm
post #6 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

Okay, I'm not in the business so take my thoughts how you want. But...

You said you set a goal to take in so much a week, question is how is your pricing? Can you raise your prices so you do less work for the same about of money?

There was another post on this not to long ago in the business section that had some advice, such as take some time off, or learn try something different.



Thanks for the advice. I set this goal because I just work better like that... I'm one of those people who HAS to have a sense of accomplishment....it's not as much that I must have the income, just sat down when I started this full time and said "okay, what do I want to make each week" LOL
I'm already charging about $3.00 per serving for bday cakes, and my wedding cake start at $3.50 per serving for simple designs ( which is about the going rate around here). I'm just not really sure about how much more I could raise my prices and still be competitive.

tootie0809 Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 4:40pm
post #7 of 27

I agree that the best thing would be to raise your prices, place a minimum order amount, and cut back on the amount of cakes you are doing. Are you doing 12-13 cakes every week by yourself? If so, holy cow girl, how do you do it? I have 5 wedding cakes booked for the last week of this month and I'm already stressed about how I'm going to get them all done. If you're doing that many cakes a week, it's no wonder you're burned out.

mamawrobin Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 4:44pm
post #8 of 27

Sorry that you are going thru this. I agree with Texas_Sugar. What about raising your prices? If your prices are too low that could be why you're having burnout by having too many cake orders to make the money you need to make. I don't know how much you charge but you can definetely charge max because your work is flawless. By raising your prices you could do 3-6 cakes a week and still bring in the same amount of money.

SpecialtyCakesbyKelli Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 4:50pm
post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by tootie0809

I agree that the best thing would be to raise your prices, place a minimum order amount, and cut back on the amount of cakes you are doing. Are you doing 12-13 cakes every week by yourself? If so, holy cow girl, how do you do it? I have 5 wedding cakes booked for the last week of this month and I'm already stressed about how I'm going to get them all done. If you're doing that many cakes a week, it's no wonder you're burned out.



Yeah, that's by myself. My husband has started cooking for me this week, which takes a little off me.. I'm paying him though icon_confused.gif LOL
There is NO way I could do 5 wedding cakes in one week! icon_eek.gif
I limit weddings to 1 a week....they stress me out.... everything has to be perfect or bride will go all bridezilla on you.
I started last week with a minimum order of $75. Trying to cut out those small sheet cakes. Really, they don't take too long, but they're just not my thing... I need to be challenged and be able to be proud of what I have done, and sheet cakes just don't do it for me..ya know?

SpecialtyCakesbyKelli Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 4:55pm
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamawrobin

Sorry that you are going thru this. I agree with Texas_Sugar. What about raising your prices? If your prices are too low that could be why you're having burnout by having too many cake orders to make the money you need to make. I don't know how much you charge but you can definetely charge max because your work is flawless. By raising your prices you could do 3-6 cakes a week and still bring in the same amount of money.



Wow...flawless?, you really think so? Thanks so much for the vote of confidence! Right now I'm charging around $3.00 per serving for most bday cakes (unless there are 3D figures, or a 3D cake) And my wedding cakes start at $3.50 per serving for simple designs. Which is about the going rate around here...

mamawrobin Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 5:01pm
post #11 of 27

icon_lol.gif Yes they look flawless to me and I have several of your cakes saved to my favorites thumbs_up.gif Raise your prices girl....things will start to get better for you soon.

TexasSugar Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 5:48pm
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpecialtyCakesbyKelli

I'm just not really sure about how much more I could raise my prices and still be competitive.




Don't be competitive, be exclusive. icon_smile.gif

If you can offer custom cakes that others can't, then you can charge more, no matter what their prices are.

I wouldn't say go from $3 to $10, but you don't have to stay at $3 just because the rest are. You may get a few less orders because of the price, but at the same time you will make more on the orders you get, so it balances out in the end.

EatSomeCake Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 10:21pm
post #13 of 27

Kids first, cake second first of all...your kids need you more than cake does and there will always be cake. Your children will only be children for a short while....

I agree with the other posters. Try raising your prices at least a bit to decrease your work load and not feel it in the money sense....your work merits it....

newbaker55 Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 11:03pm
post #14 of 27

Not in the business, either, but in an extremely high-stress field of work...I don't see anywhere in your post that you have done anything for yourself other than eat, drink, sleep (it seems little of the latter).

As a working family woman, you must remember that you won't be able to take care of anyone or anything if you don't take care of yourself first icon_smile.gif

Here's a thought...until you get to exhale from being booked solid for the next 2 months, DELEGATE easy, but time consuming tasks (help with the trash take-out, clean-up et al) to those in your family who benefit from your hard work. Even your 3-year-old will reap the rewards of 'helping mommy' (time spent with you and praise for a job well done).

costumeczar Posted 1 Apr 2010 , 11:46pm
post #15 of 27

Raise your prices and don't worry about being competitive. If you're that busy now it won't hurt much to raise your prices.

If you don't have this already , post a calendar on your website with a note that you book up very quickly, so people need to get their orders in. It never hurts for people to see that you're busy. Then decide how much work you want to do and close out the week when you reach that point.

Also learn to say this word: NO. "No" will set you free.

spring Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 12:01am
post #16 of 27

Another vote for raise your price. You can also set a min. order dollar amount. Believe me people will pay for quality.

Set boundaries. Set aside 1 week per month and don't take any orders.

Learn to say "NO." Gets easier the more you say it!

Good luck.

Minette

PinkZiab Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 12:11am
post #17 of 27

In addition to the other suggestions given here, I recommend sitting down with a calendar and block out one week EVERY month for a few months that you will NOT take any bookings--those weeks are for YOU to relax and recuperate and to give extra time to the family. Mark them in BOLD marker on your calendar and don't book ANYTHING those weeks, no matter who begs and pleads... you simply tell them "sorry I am all booked up that week." I don't necessarily mean you should do this forever, but for a few months, at least, to give yourself a break (since you feel you are at risk of burn out). In the meantime you can implement some of the other changes and hopefully find a good balance for your business and your life.

tarheelgirl Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 12:24am
post #18 of 27

I too was getting burned out! I have 2 kids who keep me busy busy. I set a minimum amount and raised my pricing! Trust me it helps and I have extra time to spend with my kiddos. icon_biggrin.gif TexasSugar had it right!!!

Quote:
Quote:

Don't be competitive, be exclusive.


That was my new philosophy!

SpecialtyCakesbyKelli Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 3:35am
post #19 of 27

Thanks for all the advice guys... I appreciate it! Ok, so with all the advice to raise my prices... I guess I need some advice there too. Right now I'm charging about $3.00 per serving for birthday cakes, which means my 2 tier cakes are around $75 for simple designs...no 3D figures. That's what I do the most. I would say 95% of my customers are birthday cakes. Just wondering what YOU guys think is a good price for a 2 tier (8" and 6"). I know the pricing issue is always a sore subject around here... but I've always felt like that was a fair price for both me and the client. I do have some people who say that I'm out of their price range, and some are bold enough to say they found someone else who would do it cheaper. It doesn't bother me anymore, because I feel like my prices are fair! So I guess my question is what do my cc friends think my work is worth LOL. My work is not perfect by any means...but there is no one else in town that does cakes like me icon_biggrin.gif

Kitagrl Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 3:38am
post #20 of 27

Your popcorn one is amazing....I live in a bigger area with higher cost of living but if that is a 30 serving cake I'd have charged around $180 for it.

SpecialtyCakesbyKelli Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 3:51am
post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

Your popcorn one is amazing....I live in a bigger area with higher cost of living but if that is a 30 serving cake I'd have charged around $180 for it.



Thanks! I forgot to mention on the description of the cake that it was a karaoke party too.... just to explain the microphone lol.

But anyway, Yes, the adverage income in my area is around $30,000 a year

VickiChicki Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 4:33am
post #22 of 27

Oh girl! Can I ever feel what you are going through! I have had a cake shop for almost 3 years now and have only alllowed myself a short time away from the business in those 3 years... of 4 days off. It was awesome, but it made me realize I needed to get to the point where I had some kind of balance in my life. My kdis are all grown and my youngest daughter (27) is helping me, but I have been doing this for 25 years...so talk about BURNOUT! I agree with the others posting here (and I am taking heed for myself) that it is a great idea to go up on pricing, set a minimum limit on pricing, as well as block out some days when you say you are booked and "booik" that time for yourself!
(Why do we do this to ourselves????) In an answer to my own question...I guess for me...it is my desire to make others happy... BUT AT WHAT COST????????
I guess that is what we need to ask ourselves!

Kitagrl Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 4:35am
post #23 of 27

I agree...I need to start blacking out a few dates I think. My 5 year old son gripes when I say "I have to do cake" because he knows I disappear into the kitchen and only emerge for air occasionally, and often get stressed and grumpy too.

He says "Mom, when will you stop doing cakes?" And I feel so badly.

I need the money...but I also need to say "NO" sometimes to, I think.

SpecialtyCakesbyKelli Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 4:41am
post #24 of 27

yeah, when the kids start hating cake......something is wrong lol. Okay, so after this 2 months is over, I'm going to take a week off each month. I can go up on my prices enough to cover that week off (I think icon_biggrin.gif) It's just so hard to keep up with this full time business, answering calls, emails, keeping up with my fan pages on social networking sites, baking, decorating, and family. But I'm such a control freak that I won't hire anyone to answer emails/calls.... afraid they will price something wrong (with the mindset that if you want something done right, do it yourself). Right now I have about 30 emails that need to be answered, and about 15 voicemails......geeezzzzz it never slows down!

costumeczar Posted 2 Apr 2010 , 11:12am
post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpecialtyCakesbyKelli

Right now I have about 30 emails that need to be answered, and about 15 voicemails......geeezzzzz it never slows down!




Then you're definitely not charging enough, and you need to learn to say no! I'd raise your prices by 50 cents now, that isn't too much of a shock for most people, and if that doesn't slow the pace down a little then go up another 25-50 cents in six months or so. Do it in increments and it won't be as much of a shock to the people who are willing to pay for your cakes, and it might cull some of the people who are willing to downgrade quality for price.

Bfisher2 Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 4:25pm
post #27 of 27

I had a look at your cakes Kelli, and your work is absolutly NOT COMMON. You should be pricing yourself out of the common market and into the higher end market.
Of course your run off your feet. People are getting exceptional work from someone with talent and creativity... and their getting it for the same price that a hobby baker would get..... raise your prices girl!!!!! Your awesome!!!!! icon_smile.gif

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