So, this has been my first year of being a legit home cake biz. I have a partner, and I work my butt off on the weekends. I'm burned out. I dont want to do it anymore. Its not enjoyable, is more work than fun, and I miss hanging out with my husband and toddler and not worrying about what cakes are due, what cookies have to be done, when someone is coming to pick up their cakes, wedding cosults, ect. I never bake for them anymore, and I feel like I am neglecting my family for this stuff.
So, thats my vent. I am thinking of calling it quits, and its hard because we are booming with business, enough to turn people away at times, and have built a good stock of clientele and have great word of mouth.
I feel your pain girl! Maybe if you scheduled a week or two off then closed your calendar say every 6th week or something of that nature, you'd be able to rest. Or maybe hire someone part time (girl after school) to do dishes, clean up etc. These are the things I have thought of for myself but have not had the time to implement yet. Hang in there!
Where is (was?) your business located? If you're anywhere near me, I would be glad to take some of the weight off your hands!
and, my biz partner does the baking - but she doesnt decorate, although I have asked her ot take a class or two so at least she can help out with the basic stuff. She doesnt know that much about cake constuction to do the consults, and she doesnt have internet access at her home, so she cant answer the zillion emails. So basically, she bakes everything (cakes, cookies, cake for the cake pops) and brings it over for me to finish.
Hang in there! I feel your pain. I do it all myself. Bake, Decorate, clean up, e-mails. I work till all hours of the morning. But I still enjoy it. I don't enjoy all of it, like making the BC or the cleaning LOL. I also have 2 kids and a husband that sometimes get pushed aside. Plus I take care of 3 other kids. I know I am crazy and as soon as its back to school I am going to concentrate on cakes only.
I agree with Tracy7953, hire someone for the stuff that can be a pain like the cleaning.
I also agree with you that maybe your parner should take some classes so she can help out more. Maybe she can take cake of some of the e-mails and organize them for you from your computer when she is not baking. This might help a bit too.
Good Luck! We are here to listen!
Okay - all easier said than done but here are some thoughts for you...
Try raising your prices and set a minimum order amount. Also, limit the number of orders you will take. Take one day off per week that you do not do any business related stuff.
If you're getting too much business and want to slow things down for a while, raise your prices and impose a limit on orders per week. When you reach your limit, post on your web site that you are booked for that week.
Maybe you can draft your husband to help with some of the customer service...my wife takes care of all the baking and decorating for our bakery, while I run the business side and handle the customers in my spare time.
Hire someone to clean. No experince necessary. I am opening in about six weeks and my housekeeper is going to pick up extra hours cleaning my baking mess. She has already been doing it for a year while I practiced. Craig's List is full of people wanting housekeeping jobs. If you raise your prices as suggested, you may have a little money to pay someone to do what we all hate... there's more free time for you!
oh yes, my dear, I am there with you. I have missed my daughter's summer, and it does burn me. (no pun intended). And I bake, decorate, consult, clean, write bills, and invoice by myself. I'm a quick decorator and baker, but there are days that "if I see ONE MORE EMAIL about needing a cake I am going to cry!" Burned out, man, real bad.
This summer I took WAY too many weddings, so next summer, I am limiting myself to up to three a weekend. The money is nice, but totally not worth it until my girl is a little older.
If your business partner is an equal partner, then she needs to do equal work. She can write off the internet at her house, and she can come over and learn to decorate while watching you and cleaning up after you. Baking takes me one full day per week. Decorating sometimes takes me the other 6.
Raising prices is always a good idea, but if you don't work out your partnership a little better, then it won't completely solve your problem.
You've received a lot of good advice and I may repeat some of it buttt...I'll say it anyway Definitely pick a day or 2 where you don't work so you can spend some family time. Probably not Saturdays because there are a lot of weddings, but maybe Sunday and Monday? Also, take a week off every so often if you can afford it.
Set a limit on the number of cakes you will do in a week and after that, just tell people that you are booked. They don't have to know how many you're doing. For me, since I also have a FT job, it's only 2/week. (I made the mistake of taking a 3rd this week - bad idea and I'll never break my rule again. I will be up all night tonight).
I would ask your partner, again, if she wouldn't mind taking a class or even having you show her a few things. It's not that hard to do the basic frosting and cake construction, at the very least. It takes practice, but it isn't hard.
Also, if you can afford it, hire help for house cleaning (either your baking mess or your regular housekeeping). You can usually find someone affordable, even if it's just a college student who can only come for a couple of hours.
Finally, if you really, really hate it, you should consider quitting. I'm not trying to be a pessimist so please don't take it the wrong way...I'm just saying, if you had another job and you hated it, you would probably quit, right? I've just started my business so it's not really fair for me to say "I love it" but at this point I do. I want to have the job that I enjoy. I don't want to wake up every morning and dread going to work. Good luck to you with whatever you decide!
I think this relates...I was a hairdresser for 20 years. When you get overwhelmed with customers it is time to increase your prices. We always had someone to do those things that could be done without a license (shampoos, sweeping, cleaning, phones, email, etc). Really customers don't know if you are really booked or if you are just taking the day off. Be good to yourself.
Take an empty glass, fill it with sand, then try to put larger marbles in it. It won't hold much. But take the same empty glass, put the marbles in first, then the sand and it holds a lot more. Moral, do the big things and fill in with the little stuff. Kids and dh are the big things.
i was in your shoes last summer. I felt that I was losing control of it all b/c it was so busy and everyone wanted a piece of me. I quit. Re-evaluted. Then restarted-alone. My family is number one. My busines is number two. When the lines were getting blurred and the kids were more in the way...that's not life, that's not why I wanted to be a mom, that's not why I wanted to even start a business. I wanted my business as a way to be creative, make a some shopping money and eventually make it bigger for me to open a store front. My kids need me now, they are 4 and almost 3. My business will always be there. I only take 2-3 orders per weekend plus the cupcakes I do for a store. That's it. If I have a wedding, then that's all I do that weekend. An unhappy mommy-makes for an unhappy family.
Sit down, figure out what's important and schedule your time accordingly. If it means hiring someone to clean-then do it. Maybe unloading that chore in your time will give you more freedom.
Oh wow. 3 wedding/weekend? I'm getting burnt out just doing 1 party cake/week. I've been thinking of limiting myself to one cake/month. But, then again, I'm not in business. But 1/week just overwhelms me sometimes. It's almost not fun anymore. I'm grudgingly working on the cake I have for Sunday.
First, raise your prices. That will weed out a lot of low-payers but the higher prices will probably offset some of the lost business. Work less for the same amount of $$$.
No offense to all the people who said "take a couple of days off for yourself", but if I did that I'd be so behind on the days that I did work, I'd go crazy. I find that it works better to have certain days dedicated to routine tasks, so that if some new contracts come in, for example, I know that I take care of those on Sunday, and I put them in a basket and don't worry about them until then. Return phone calls between 4 and 5, because people tend to want to go home if they're at work so they keep it shorter than they would if you call inthe morning. Only check email at lunch and one other time during the day. Basically, figure out how you can streamline and group tasks to save time.
The biggest factor is going to be reducing your workload, though, if you want to climb out of the burnout rut. Everyone feels like that sometimes, so you're not alone, but you also need to remember that you have the power to say the word "no" to orders. "No" will set you free!
I was thinking less about taking a day off during a busy week than just not scheduling cakes for a week do some work ahead and take it easy for the week.
I just recently started decorating cakes from home so that I could stay home with my 2 children (3 1/2 years and 10 months) while making some cash. In the beginning I kept my prices low so that I could get orders and I took whatever came my way. After a couple months of working non-stop I decided to make some changes. Now that I've got steady business here's what I did: (1) I increased my prices - although for close friend/family and a few really good clients I give discounts. This weeds out the people who want a custom cake for grocery store prices, because let's face it we're not competing with them! (2) I limit the orders I'll take per week and STICK TO IT! Hey that's why I tell everyone that they need to let me know ASAP... if you don't get your date I'm sorry, but next time get your deposit in early! (3) I will take last minute orders (those placed with less than 2 weeks notice, but there is a $50 rush charge! It's my way of paying myself OT! (4) I imposed minimum orders on things! I'm not going to make just a couple cookies or cupcakes! (5) I use the auto response on my email system and let people know that I will respond to them within 72 hours... that way they hear from me right away and I don't have to feel pressured to write them back right away! I hope this helps!!
I could write your exact post very often. I get discouraged alot and frustrated alot and I hate feeling that way. When those feeligs creep up, I have to remind myself that it is stressful, it is time consuming, and it takes away from my family, but I love being creative. I love being a part of people's special events, I love the customers I have made along the way. I have to remind myself of this often and also remind myself that my frustrations just come with the business!