Feeling Blue

Business By CakeInfatuation Updated 3 Aug 2010 , 2:34am by KoryAK

CakeInfatuation Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 4:29am
post #1 of 22

I shouldn't be feeling blue at all but I am. I launched my licensed home business in November. I really shouldn't have a thing to complain about. Business is great, support is great, clients are great.

But I'm already exhausted.

I shop on Monday, bake on Tuesday, Prep/Decorate on Wed - Thurs - Fri - Sat... Plus Deliveries.

It's late nights, long days, hugely simple meals (I love to cook), less play dates, stress all the time.

I'm home with my kids and bringing in extra income that we need. Right now I'm in first place in a local "best of" cake shop "popularity" contest. The voting ends in September and I've got a 14% lead over 2nd place. A caterer contacted me and wants to exclusively offer my cakes to his clients. CC magazine contacted me to submit a cake... I've been interviewed by 3 local bloggers/online magazines.

From the outside it looks like all my dreams are coming true and I should be dancing on clouds.

But I'm so tired, stressed, and worn out. Add to that my parents moving more than an hour away, PMS, and this horrible guilty feeling every time I have to tell someone I can't do their cake because I'm booked... I feel like word is going to get around that I'm never available... then I think, what would I care... I'm so tired anyway... and then I remember that we desperately need the money.

I try to only take 2-3 cakes a week and inevitably something gets crazy and I get 2 or 3 deposits from quotes all at the same time and have to add everyone instead of just 1...

How do you guys do this? How do you balance elementary school children, business, burn out, dinners, social life, bills, etc. without wanting to crawl in a hole and hide from the whole world?

21 replies
kansaslaura Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 4:43am
post #2 of 22

Honestly, if I were you I'd raise my prices. If that doesn't weed out a few orders at least you could hire someone to help.

step0nmi Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 5:02am
post #3 of 22

i hate to say this...but it's probably the PMS icon_surprised.gifpps: I know I ALWAYS have more self doubt around this time than usual...but it's probably your gut telling you to do something about it! I agree with Laura, you probably need to raise your prices already icon_wink.gif

good luck!

cakesbycathy Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 7:07am
post #4 of 22

I know this is easier said than done but try anyway:
Schedule a day off. Right now. Take your kids and do something FUN. Let them skip school for a day. It's okay. On that day you are only to focus on your kids and yourself and having fun. Do not do any of the business stuff and the house stuff can wait.

Then come home and raise your prices.

See if you can afford to hire some help. If not at your shop then a cleaning lady/service for your house so that's one less thing you can stop stressing about.

How old are your kids? Old enough to earn an allowance by doing things around the house - laundry, dishes, etc.
Take another day off and spend it making meals that can go in the freezer so that you are pulling out an actual meal instead of doing the "hugely simple" thing

Next, take everything I just said with a grain of salt since I had 5 cake orders this weekend. My kids watched tv all day and ate cereal for meals for 3 days in a row. Well, I did pick up a pizza for dinner after today's cake delivery, but whatever. I feel your pain and I'm doing the guilt trip, exhausted thing with ya icon_wink.gif

stacey71 Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 4:19pm
post #5 of 22

If your that booked up then your prices are too low. Give yourself a raise and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

dawncr Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 6:59pm
post #6 of 22

Just touching on one thing you said:

You're not obligated to do someone's cake just because you provide them with a quote. You become obligated when they make the deposit.

Your customers should know that the sooner they decide and make the deposit, the more likely it is that you'll be able to schedule a spot for them. If they make that decision too late, and you're already booked, then that's their loss.

Apologies if I've misunderstood your current procedures.
Edited to add: I went back and re-read your post, and I think I did misunderstand. You're getting in 2-3 deposits on the same day, so you have to take all of them versus the 1st one if it had come in by itself. In that case, I'd say to choose which ones you want to do.

PS I also agree with everyone else that this a big sign for you to raise your prices.

BlueBurd Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 7:07pm
post #7 of 22

I'm sorry you are feeling blue. I'm trying to start my own business, but work FT outside the home, plus have a 2 year old. I don't know how you do it! Take cakesbycathy's advice - I think you've earned a day to rest on your laurels and enjoy the kids. Congratulations on the success of your business - although stressful and tiring, less so that not being able to pay the bills at all I imagine. (Sorry, I'm an incurable optimist - not what you want to hear when you have PMS! LOL) We'll be looking for you in CC magazine!!!!

kelleym Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 7:13pm
post #8 of 22

Raise your prices before you book another order.

DeeDelightful Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 7:23pm
post #9 of 22

One thing i learned when i was selling a popular brand of makeup: when you start making enough money to hire help, you hire help. If not quite to that point yet, pick a day, maybe Sunday, and cook enough for the week for your family. I'm a spiritual person and believe in the power of prayer. Anything, even things you love, can become an awesome task. I'd pray for the motivation to keep pushing, because you have been blessed with something many of us would love to have. You can make money for your family doing something you love and working for yourself. I think you will find the energy to keep going and find a way to satisfy your family also. It's probably something MOST entrepreneurs go through.

JennasNonna Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 7:52pm
post #10 of 22

So sorry to hear you are feeling so down. I hear from your story that you are tired and I can understand why. Have you had a medical physical lately? Such fatigue could be a sign of a medical problem. Why not schedule an appointment to make sure.

CakeInfatuation Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 8:09pm
post #11 of 22

ha ha ha Could be... I haven't even been to the lady doctor in over 3 years. I make sure everyone else goes... Call it lazy, call it cheap, who knows... Haven't had a hair cut in 2 years. My husband likes it long so I guess it works. Appointments always end up getting in the way. I keep them for the kids. But just can't be bothered when it comes to myself.

JennasNonna Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 8:46pm
post #12 of 22
Originally Posted by CakeInfatuation

ha ha ha Could be... I haven't even been to the lady doctor in over 3 years. I make sure everyone else goes... Call it lazy, call it cheap, who knows... Haven't had a hair cut in 2 years. My husband likes it long so I guess it works. Appointments always end up getting in the way. I keep them for the kids. But just can't be bothered when it comes to myself.

Oh dear... rule number 1.... you have to take care of yourself first so you have the energy and strength to be able to take care of everything else. Please, at least take some time to visit the doctor.

dawncr Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 9:11pm
post #13 of 22

I just visited your website--You do fabulous work!

You are seriously undercharging. You're located in a geographic location (Bucks County PA) that will support high-end cake design. That's what you do. However, you're charging like you are beginner in a depressed area.

Prices start at $4.00/serving for Standard Tiered Cakes. This includes both buttercream & fondant.

Cupcakes start at $3.50/serving. A 3 tiered Cupcake Stand is $17.00 and will be added to your quote if you purchase a Cupcake Tree with a decorated top cake.

Cookies are $4.00/cookie with a minimum of 1 dozen decorated cookies per order.

And you Truly Custom Crunch is way underpriced, too.

I'll leave it to the wise cake businesspersons here to suggest the increase you might consider. However, there's no question that you need to do this.

Kiddiekakes Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 9:13pm
post #14 of 22

Yup...everyone is right...take time for yourself...learn to say "No"..or "Booked" without feeling guilty and RAISE your prices..If you are that in demand...you need to make them want you more....Then you can pick and choose what orders you take for more money and a little less work..Maybe icon_wink.gif

jenmat Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 9:56pm
post #15 of 22

boy do I EVER feel you right now. I began this as a side thing (although fully licensed, insured etc.) to help out the family, and because it was something I loved and people were willing to pay.
Fast forward 2 years, and I am seriously burned out. I have 50 weddings this year, and although that may not seem like a lot, almost every single one is for over 200 people. And I'm working by myself and have a 3 year old on the verge of starting homeschooling.
We have already set a minimum $$$ on weddings for next year, and my DH has made me promise to say "no" more often.
PMS or not, when you're tired and can't get time off, it doesn't matter! I've had one weekend off since Memorial Day, and that was my 10th wedding anniversary. Haven't had a haircut either in forever, and my poor legs don't get shaved very often either!
Time to set some priorities and decide how many orders is your limit and STICK to IT! Raising prices is good too, but you still have to set boundaries so you don't miss the rest of your life!

Spectra Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 10:09pm
post #16 of 22

I was looking at your website as well, wonderful work! But you have a price for cookies, but no pictures? I couldn't find anywhere on your site the pictures for the cookies? Or did I completely miss them?

1234me Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 10:30pm
post #17 of 22

I could write your exact some post except I do get haircuts every 6 weeks or so icon_smile.gif

Raise your prices. I hated when people used to tell me this but I have, even just by $5 but even that $5 makes me feel better.

I took a look at your website for a sec but do you have a place that lists your availability? I just recently added that to mine and it has been a lifesaver. I usually book up about a month in advance for party cakes and since I have posted my availability on my website, that saves me from having to respond to emails to state I am already booked. Also, it shows my customers that I book up quickly so if they want something, they have to reserve a spot early.

I had the local editor of the paper contact me last week to see if she could write an article about my business and I had to politely decline. I am too busy as it is to advertise myself like an article would do. I love new customers, I love new business, but I can only handle so much!

DiviniDee Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 11:35pm
post #18 of 22

I know exactly how you feel. I am in the exact same boat except I have a little help now and own a storefront. It is exhausting. I need the money too. I have lost it a little and started screaming and crying and then went to God and asked for help. Little by little it is getting more manageable and I am feeling a little better about things. Trying to involve the kids in the cakes I am working on by encouraging them to talk to me and eat crackers with frosting while I am working. Counting my blessings and being as sweet to my husband as possible so that he will be sweet back to me. It takes less then 10 seconds to go give him or the kids a hug and kiss and then get back to work and it gives me the strength to keep going. I started a one week notice policy and so at least each week I know what is in front of me and there are very little additions. Hope this helps.

JulieMN Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 11:44pm
post #19 of 22
Originally Posted by JennasNonna

Oh dear... rule number 1.... you have to take care of yourself first so you have the energy and strength to be able to take care of everything else.

Could not agree with this more!

aundrea Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 11:53pm
post #20 of 22

i peaked at your pics and website....WOW!!! awesome work.
i hope you take the advice of everyone here. definately take some time for you and your family. your children grow up so fast. dont miss out on whats really important.
i dont know the business end of cakes at all....but if the experts are telling you to raise your prices then "I" would listen!!
also-maybe add more for fondant cakes. dont keep buttercream and fondant the same price. maybe shaking things up a bit might just what you and your family need.
best of luck to you - and i hope you can you find your balance!
oh....i while i was checking out your website i noticed how kind you were to post receipes. heres a questions that you can hopefully answer:
when using pudding in your mix (cake or cookie) is it instant pudding? and is there a difference between bread and cake flour?
thanks!! if anyone is posting here and knows the answer i would really appreciate it.

CakeInfatuation Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 11:58pm
post #21 of 22

Use instant pudding in your recipes when baking.

Bread flour has a higher gluten content to make "chewy" bread. I use it for cookies I want to have a chewy consistency and breads. BUT NOT for cakes. You don't want chewy cake.

You want a light and fine textured cake. I've not used cake flour myself as all purpose is generally fine for my recipes. But someone else might be able to comment as to whether or not you should try cake flour and why.

KoryAK Posted 3 Aug 2010 , 2:34am
post #22 of 22
Originally Posted by jentreu

and my poor legs don't get shaved very often either!

aaaahahha The unspoken tragedy of the cake lady!

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