The Trouble With Notgetting Paid (Besides Not Getting Paid;)

Decorating By emiyeric Updated 27 Sep 2010 , 11:51am by Evoir

emiyeric Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 10:00pm
post #1 of 14

So I'm a hobbyist, and usually am the one to bring the cake as my present to my family or friends' celebrations. I love doing it, and since running a cake business is certainly not an option for me at this point, it's the only way for me to get my cakin' fix and learn more stuff.

Trouble is, people have little imagination. Since everybody knows everybody, they usually say something like "Can I have a cake like little Susie's?", or "Remember what you did for Jimmy's birthday? That's what I want!".

While I realize this is all very flattering, I simply don't have the budget to bake other people cakes AND do practice cakes for myself so I can learn new things. So it's kind of easy to get stuck in a decorating rut, and I'm always having to bend over backwards to try to get people to let me do something different than what they've already seen.

I did a huge dragon cake for my own son's birthday party back in May, and had a blast with about four completely new techniques! But now I'm completely burned out on dragons ... and of course, my friend asks for a dragon for her daughter's birthday ("but without the gelatin in the wings", so I'm not even trying the funner part of it).

Ah, well! That's why I love my own kids' parties icon_smile.gif.

13 replies
lollyponpon Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 10:09pm
post #2 of 14

oh!! amen to this!!

I only do a cake every few months because i work full time and study, so i am in the exact same position as you! I would love to try new skillls and techniques when there is a celebration, because i don't have the time or funds to do it for dummy cakes, but like you, a lot of people ask for a repeat cake!

I have found just telling them in a nice way, that i'd prefer to make something more unique for them works most of the time!!
anyway best of luck, you are not alone on this one!

bobwonderbuns Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 10:09pm
post #3 of 14

I feel your pain!! I get the same thing all the time -- can I have the cake you made so and so? Ah, NO!! How about we do this instead... People just don't know how to think outside the box. icon_rolleyes.gif

Coral3 Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 10:16pm
post #4 of 14

Well, if you're not charging then tell anyone who asks for a cake that you'll make it on the condition that they're happy to leave the design completely up to you. They cant expect pick and choose what they want on a free cake! If they're not happy with that then they can feel free to order what they want from a professional cake decorator (and pay for it).

I don't sell my cakes either, and get requests from family for cakes & this is my policy. They might give me a general idea on what they would like (ie something with a purple colour scheme, or something with a train theme) but I always make it clear to them that I'll do it on the condition that they don't mind me making whatever I see fit.

sulia Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 10:27pm
post #5 of 14

you are so right! - i too am a hobbyist with limited time, so i would love to try something new whenever i decorate. i would surely become bored repeating the same design and frustrated at being'told what to do' . perhaps you can say that you will be happy to provide the cake, on condition that they provide the theme and leave the design details to you. tell them you will surprise them with a unique cake. i've looked at your awesome pics and you are certainly not lacking in creativity and producing the 'wow factor' in your cakes. good luck. sulia

indydebi Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 11:34pm
post #6 of 14

I agree with the above. Apply the Golden Rule: Those with the gold (or who are spending the gold) get to make the rules.

It could be very true about lack of imagination. They see an awesome cake and all they know is they want an awesome cake. But their only point of reference is that cake they saw at suzy's party. It may be that they don't particularly want THAT cake ..... they want a cake that is just as AWESOME but they don't know what else that could be.

Walk 'em Talk 'em thru it. "Oh that cake was pretty cool but why not let me make something even MORE spectacular for your party? I've an idea I've been wanting to try so let's use your party as a chance to REALLY wow everyone!"

the above conversation can feed into their ego .... as grand as Suzy's cake was, they now have the chance to have one even BETTER! icon_twisted.gifthumbs_up.gif

emiyeric Posted 26 Sep 2010 , 3:20pm
post #7 of 14

Thanks, guys! Yes, I do try to "nudge" them in the direction I want when designing a cake ... perhaps I'll have to be a bit more forceful icon_wink.gif. For now, the exact same friend who wanted the boring dragon, is doing her son's birthday with a Star Wars theme in another month or so. "We can't decide if we want your Darth Vader cake, or your Yoda cake." ARGH! There are about a bajillion things I could do with a Star Wars theme ... I'll have to let you know how that one goes come November icon_smile.gif.

Here's a posted picture of the dragon book cake, if anybody's wondering ...

Thanks for the sympathy! icon_wink.gif

cakeythings1961 Posted 26 Sep 2010 , 4:07pm
post #8 of 14
Originally Posted by Coral3

I don't sell my cakes either, and get requests from family for cakes & this is my policy. They might give me a general idea on what they would like (ie something with a purple colour scheme, or something with a train theme) but I always make it clear to them that I'll do it on the condition that they don't mind me making whatever I see fit.

My sentiments exactly! Indydebi had some great ideas about guiding them in the direction you wish to take. Remember, you're in the driver's seat!!!!!!! thumbs_up.gif

emiyeric Posted 26 Sep 2010 , 4:16pm
post #9 of 14

By the way, thanks sulia, you're very sweet icon_smile.gif. I love your kitchen cake, personally!
Also just realized that this dragon/star wars friend was the one that asked me for the fairy cake from hell last year ... I'm going to end up committing some terrible crime involving a clay extruded and tylose icon_wink.gif.

LKing12 Posted 26 Sep 2010 , 4:18pm
post #10 of 14

I had a friend ask me to do the cake for her daughter's baby shower. As we were talking I knew how plain it would be. I simply told her that I do not do WalMart cakes! I asked for the theme and colors and she and her guests were wowed!

emiyeric Posted 26 Sep 2010 , 6:48pm
post #11 of 14

LKing 12, is that your ducky cake? Very cute! Well done!

pinkjacs Posted 26 Sep 2010 , 7:33pm
post #12 of 14

I feel the same I get all excited at thought of making new cakes and when people ask me to make a cake like I have already done then i am gutted. Yeah I can improve but I want new challenges. I made a retirement cake for a teacher at my sons school and I had a great idea in my board..class room apple etc. and all they wanted was flowers so i did not enjoy making the cake. I also dont like coping pictures I dont mind getting ideas from them but hate when people what that exactly!!!

emiyeric Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 10:41am
post #13 of 14

My husband jokes that that's the reason why we have three kids: so I can get my kicks doing what I want with three parties (he also says they're strategically placed two months apart each on the year, and their birthdays end just before the holidays kick in so I have enough time to recuperate an launch into holiday mode afterwards). Ha! icon_smile.gif All coolly calculated icon_wink.gif.

Evoir Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 11:51am
post #14 of 14

I have to concur with Debi that it stems from a lack of imagination from the client/friends point of view. I absolutely LOVE it when a client is open to new designs and ideas, especially brides icon_wink.gif

I think if someone is getting a free cake they should get what they are given. As soon as someone seeking a freebie starts making demands on me my hackles go right up. But then its different when its your business rather than a hobby I guess??

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