tsal Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 1:00am
post #1 of

I have been toying with the idea of going into business on a part-time basis (taking orders here and there while my kids are still little). I'm not looking to jump into anything full-time at this point.

The past 6 or 7 weeks, I have been averaging a cake a weekend. This usually entails my working on appliques/details a few nights in a row prior to the date the cake is due which means that while I'm working after the kids go to bed, dh is sitting in the living room all by himself.

Then the day the cake is due rolls around. I usually ask dh to watch the kids while I finish up the cake. I find I average about 10 - 14 hrs per cake (from start to finish including baking). Dh says I'm too slow to be profitable and it would not be worth it for me to sell cakes. I don't know if I am slow, but I do tend to re-do things if I don't like the way they look, and I never rush as I find that rushing shows in a cake.

I spent friday night baking 4 layers and making 3 batches of SMBC (this took about 4 hours total since I only have one oven, and only had one 5" pan and so had to wait for one layer to cool a little before putting the other in. Then, Saturday morning, I worked on the butterflies (this was for the 'Dora the the Explorer cake in my profile pics), and the flowers. I stopped at about 1pm and then had to whip up a batch of cupcakes for MILs holiday party, and a batch of icing. I didnt get to touch my Dora cake again until 10pm after the party. I worked on it until 3:30 a.m., and then went to bed after being so tired I felt a little drunk and was afraid I would botch something up. I *always* clean my kitchen before heading to bed, but I knew that if I spent an hour cleaning, I would lose that sleep time so I made the decision that sleep was more important.

I had to stack, and finish applying a few appliques and the fondant ribbon at the base of the tiers the next day.

My kids wake up at about 5:30 and dh asked me what time I went to bed. I said, 3:30, and by the way, the kitchen is a mess because I was just too tired, and he got upset and told me that he doesnt want me making cakes anymore and that I had a good run with this whole thing but that the Dora cake would be my last since its costing us a fortune to be providing free cakes to people and its cutting into family time. Did I mention he hates messes? He says that I have to find a way to do this during the day, but I have 3 kids under the age of 6 and can never start anything before 8pm.

Im taking a few weeks off for his sake because I know that he is spending more time alone on the couch while Im baking/decorating. Im discouraged to say the least and I agree with him to a certain extent (Im probably too slow to be profitable and it has cut into our time as a couple).

How do you balance work/home? How do you know if you're too slow to be profitable?

97 replies
Ursula40 Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 1:17am
post #2 of

I bake from home, but I have 2 ovens, 2 mixers etc. Only one child, who is in school till 4 pm every day. I make most of my decos if possible during the week, never take on more cakes than I need to and can finish before 11 am, which is pick up time for my clients, after that, it's weekend. I get up early on Saturday (6 - 7 am and have 3 cakes done by 11 am) I am slow as well, but most of my icing is ready the day before, so it really is slapping on icing, smoothing etc on the Saturday. I crumbcoat all cakes, then smooth the crumbcoat and put on final layer on each, then go back and finish them one by one
My husband had a problem with my cakes, so I started to streamline and cut down on orders, but if one cake already makes you lose that much sleep and takes so long, then you have to either compromise or take a hiatus, until your kids are older and in school.

My husband and I agrred on no nights, and finished cakes by 11 am, so the maximum I take on is 6 cakes per weekend (3/day) What happens during the week doesn't concern him, as he is at work anyway. I do have a dedicated cake room and the kitchen is clean by 11 am as well, what the cakeroom looks like doesn't matter, it has a door

pattigunter Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 1:21am
post #3 of

I dont have any little ones at home either but I get up and work while hubby is at work. No working on cakes at night when he's home. That way I'm happy and so is he. I cant imagine trying to do this while taking care of little ones. The little bit of money you can make as a hobby baker just isnt worth the sacrifice.

NerdyGirl Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 1:23am
post #4 of

There are ways to compromise.

There are ways to manage your time, too.

If this is something you REALLY want to do, it's time to sit hubby down for a heart to heart about it. Why can't hubby help you clean? I never understood that. And "he works outside the home" isn't an excuse.

Ursula40 Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 1:34am
post #5 of

Wanted to add, that I love making cakes and I explained to my hubby, that I NEEDED that outlet, either that or I turn into one of those shopping wives, because sitting at home just waiting for my family to come home every day is not something I am good at. I live in China and shopping is a bane of many marriages here, loads of junk, but it's all there is.

I also showed him, that with what I make I can pay all our utilities, our daughter's ballett classes and still have some left over. We agreed on the fact, that I would limit cakes to when my family is out or untill 11 am on weekend, what time I get up doesn't factor in, but evenings is family/couple time, you really need that otherwise you grow apart.

You need to get faster or come up with designs that take less time, especially if you plan to open up shop. A cake that takes 10 hrs to make would have to be extremely expensive to be profitable (at 10 $ per hour, already 80$ just for the time, not including other costs or profit margin)

LilaLoa Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 1:45am
post #6 of

Compromise. Don't give up cakes if you like making them.
Is there a way to negotiate? Perhaps you could limit your cakes to 1 or 2 a month. You WILL get faster as you make more cakes. It used to take me FOREVER to make a cake. But now it doesn't. Could you ask people to help you pay for the supplies even if you are unwilling/unable to charge them for the cake?

I have 2 small children, and I know how impossible it is to get cake things done with them! I try to set my oldest up with a stack of books or puzzles and get my youngest taking a nap and then I have at least an hour every day to work on cakes. But if my husband wasn't supportive on the weekends... most cakes just wouldn't happen.

I love cakes. I will be sad for you if you quit. Good luck!

Apti Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 1:53am
post #7 of

Sounds to me like you already know the answer and just don't want to face it. We don't know you or your husband or your family/income situation and none of us on CC can present an answer for your dilemma. Are cakes filling a need that is not filled by your role in your family?

I am a hobby baker, but was in a real business environment for 35 years as a medical equipment consultant. It became very, very clear that cake decorating is an expensive HOBBY, not an income. You cannot make a true profit with hobby baking--period. Hobby bakers may make more than the ingredients/supplies, but they do not pay themselves an hourly wage. Would anyone who "makes cakes part-time at home" work at a real job for 50 cents an hour? You could make more money babysitting.

cakeinthebox4U Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 1:56am
post #8 of

Your set up sounds very similar to mine. I home with two kids 4 & 2 and I can only work on cakes in the evenings after they`ve gone to bed and it does mean some late nights so I feel ya. I guess I should consider myself very lucky because my DH knows that I enjoy this and it is an outlet for me. What we have done is he has set up his computer close to the kitchen where he plays games (his outlet) and if there is gumpaste figures or little things I can make by using a tv table I sit on the couch beside him and make them there so we are together. That way its more just the night of assembling the cake and putting it all together that I am in the kitchen and he is on the couch. It works for us and all is well. I have also started baking the cakes and making the icing during the day when the kids are home, they have just learned that I do this and not to go near the oven. This has helped a lot and cut down on the late nights...something you may try. Hope he comes around for you and starts supporting you as a hubby should. thumbs_up.gif

tokazodo Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 1:57am
post #9 of

You really make beautiful cakes. I would hate to see you give up something you like doing. Your cakes are spot on.

My children are grown, 24 & 17 .
It was very difficult to get anything accomplished when my children were your children's age.
They grow so fast and before you know it, they are grown and married.

To everything, there is a season. We don't have to do it all in this season.

I don't have an answer for you, only you can find the correct answer.
I can tell you, you will never regret spending too much time with your children/family.

I wish you luck!

cakes4ck Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 1:57am

I am in a similar boat as you. I know I am slow as I like to try new things and play with fondant. I'm not real good at it yet either as I have pretty much self taught. However, everyone around me thinks I need to go into a business of doing it. Most of my cakes are gifts for friends or family. The one I just finished today was about 10-12 hours with baking and making icing/fondant. I figured I had $35-$40 in supplies. Not many people in rural Illinois would pay $100-$150 for a baby shower cake.
I work a full-time job as a teacher and athletic director so I am gone a lot of nights. I also have 2 kids in grade school. My husband doesn't want me doing cakes as a business on the side as it is very stressful. He doesn't mind if it is on Sun. when he is watching football. He isn't a clean freak, but really doesn't like the mess either as I use the whole bar and table. If it is a gift he doesn't really mind too much. So for now, I am just doing it as a hobby and not doing more than 1 a week. Gives me some creative time.

Jayde Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 1:59am

I agree, if you like making cakes he has no right to ask that you give that up. Talk to him and set some definite limits as far as scheduling goes. Consider hiring a part time babysitter (and then raising your prices thumbs_up.gif ) for your kids in the mornings or afternoons where you can get your caking done before he comes home from work. You can also see if you have a reasonable preschool program in your area, you might be able to put your kids in a morning or afternoon program for a couple of hours a couple of days a week to give him and yourself some time for your business.

Other than that, tell hubby to suck it up because this is what you are doing to bring in an income. He would have to pick up the slack were you working a part time or full time job, tell him to consider this your part time job, complete with income.

JackiesCreations Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 2:01am

I have three sons, one goes to school, and two are barely 22months and did I mention they're twins? icon_smile.gif My dh doesn't like the mess either (but neither do I) and is concerned that some days I go without sleep. I find that, like you, I can only give my cakes their undivided attention after everyone is in bed... which sadly means I am sacrificing my much needed sleep. One cake I made just this weekend required a lot of intricate work, and because it was my first time to make this particular design I had to plan and make my own templates, and learn-as-you-go. (It's Bumblebee from transformers, which I will upload into my album soon). My dh is however encouraging me to do this as a sideline because he is convinced that there's potential there, but I do need to work out my time more efficiently so that I can get some sleep, too. Otherwise I'm like a zombie!

And Prettymarysunlight, I concur! Apparently we're supposed to be wonder women who never tires and can cook, clean, raise kids, and work on cakes to make extra $... and still put on a smile without complaints icon_smile.gif hehe, oh if only they could walk in our shoes for a day! icon_smile.gif

Anyway, before I get sidetracked, tsal - you need to have a good talk with your dh about this if you would like to pursue this as a career, then go from there. All the best and hope everything works out for the best of both you and your family.

xo

RafaelLogrono Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 2:07am

You CAN find a balance. I am still in high school and taking on wedding, birthday and other celebration cakes. I have a lot on my plate since I am in school Monday thru Friday. I still manage to pull thru with some pretty nice cakes... You can do it. There are a few basic things that you can do that would really help the process. Here are some of the things I do, and don't do, but that can help you: bake in advance and freeze cakes. Make SMBC in advanced. Cover your base before hand. Work step by step, cleaning after each step so you can avoid a HUGE mess (been there a lot of times). Don't be afraid to say no.

You will have to prioritize a lot of times, and it will get difficult, but hopefully your passion is strong enough and it can help you find a balance; and you'll be able to prove your hubby wrong too. icon_wink.gif

I hope things work out for you! If you need a pep talk we are here!

Ursula40 Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 2:16am

Wow Rafael, you are still in high school?????

Your cakes are amazing, you are looking to become the next Alan Dunn or Alan Tetreault, they started really early as well

NerdyGirl Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 2:19am

Jackies, darling, thank you! No wonder women are so stressed out. We're expected to be everything - to everyone else. Sometimes, it's okay to put our needs first and say, "Hey...you can help too." In fact, it's healthy!

Hobbies are expensive, regardless of what they are. I spent 13 years fencing competitively. Did it get me any money? No. Not a bit. Did it COST me any money? You'd shudder at the amount! Did I love it? Yes. Greatly. Same thing with acting...until I started doing it professionally. I learned that you've got to prioritize, plan well and find ways to cut prep time. It can be done.

Crazboutcakes Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 2:20am

tsal... your cakes are very cute... and I had problems years ago with the same situation of dh thinking he worked & didn't have to take care of the kids when he came home yada yada yada... and we compromised did I mention dh #1 isn't here any more...lol...being a mom with lil ones you need to have your time to do what ever helps you release and if baking a cake is it than he should be grateful your not asking for a girls night out. Every one starts out slow with cake pans etc and builds their inventories and the more inventory tips/pans/etc it gets easier but still takes some time... tell dh that the more he helps you the quicker it gets done (children/cleaning etc) than the more time you can spend with him icon_smile.gif DH # 2 love's to watch me be creative and get dusted with PS. icon_smile.gif Best of luck and just from expereince just because your married with kids doesn't mean you can't enjoy what you love.

Brendabeeper Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 2:22am

did you write this or was it all comming from my own head? This is almost exactly what happens to me except I have two kids and 1 is in college , the other is a 14 yr old disabled son who has the ability of a 1 yr old. So he is very much so 100 % hands on. I go to bed usually no earlier then 2:30 when I do a cake and as late as 4am Many times I feel so bad the next day because my son gets up no later then 7am I have to try to be peppy and make sure I still do all I normally do and not get snappy beacause Im tired because then he yells : it's because the cake,I ususally take between 10-12 hrs with baking and cleaning too. My saving grace is that my kitchen has a double wide door way that leads to the family room so he can see me an I can still "talk" to him as I do my cakes. I do think if my hubby had a hobby he would be better off too. Good luck with your hubby and keeping up with your cakes. I know I dont charge alot for my cakes either .. but I finally said no cake made for under $40.00 unless it is for a family member event and it is a gift. I keep trying to get faster but I to will redo things if I dont like them

mommynana Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 2:30am

i agree u should talk to ur dh and come to an agrement my 3 kids are out of the house but i watch 4 grandkids ages 4 yrs, 23 mon. 22 mon 19 mon, the 4 year old goes to school for a half day i only bake as a hobby also but i try to get things done when they nap, my dh helps a lot like takes them in the play room and play with them if he knows that i really want to get something done then i pick up again when they leave not till about 7 at night and i get them a 7 in the morning my dh loves the coast guard which hes in and i support him and he does the same, maybe ur husband could find a hobby that he likes to do and u could support each other good luck ur cakes r great BTY

Unlimited Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 2:33am
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsal

...the Dora cake would be my last since its costing us a fortune to be providing free cakes to people and its cutting into family time.
He says that I have to find a way to do this during the day, but I have 3 kids under the age of 6 and can never start anything before 8pm.
How do you know if you're too slow to be profitable?




How can you be profitable when you're providing free cakes? You need to charge for your time, make it well worth it, and then your hubby has no complaint about it costing a fortune.

Sounds like he isn't positively sure that he wants you to quit... he "asked" you to hang up your apron, he "told" you the Dora cake would be your last, but he'll "allow" you to continue if you find a way to do it during the day. I don't know if he's a control freak, but he sounds like he's just being selfish or lazy so he doesn't have to help out with the kids or cleaning the kitchen. I think the "cutting into family time" could be an excuse to make you feel guilty for asking for his help. If you were making a hefty profit from your business/hobby, he'd soon forget about the "family time" and step up to help you out when he's available. You'd have more family time and fewer cakes to do if you were truly charging what they're worth instead of letting people take advantage of you for free cakes.

You need to have your creative outlet and find a way to make it work (without it cutting into your family budget), or else you'll regret letting anyone persuade you into quitting. You need to do what makes you happy and not allow anyone to tell you what you can or cannot do. You get to decide when it's no longer fun, profitable, or fits into your lifestyle. If you truly love it, you'll find a way to make it work, or agree to a compromise with your husband. It will be a lot more fun when you're getting paid for your work!

Crazboutcakes Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 2:49am

but he'll "allow" you to continue if you find a way to do it during the day. I don't know if he's a control freak, but he sounds like he's just being selfish or lazy so he doesn't have to help out with the kids or cleaning the kitchen. I think the "cutting into family time" could be an excuse to make you feel guilty for asking for his help.

this was also my thought but didn't want to say it becasue it sounds like if he can't control what your doing he's not going to be happy icon_mad.gif and my X was even jealous icon_twisted.gif over the children! Plese be careful icon_eek.gif

Mary0321 Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 2:49am

wow. How is he able to tell you this is your last cake? seriously.. if he hates messes he could help you clean up a little. My husband even helps bake.. You have every right to bake.. charge at least to cover ingredients... dont go into debt over someone else party. when you fel confidnt enough charge for your time.. but dont stop. That is just sad to me that you would consider it and ive up on something you enjoy.

Unlimited Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 2:50am
Quote:
Originally Posted by tokazodo

To everything, there is a season. We don't have to do it all in this season.




Well said! Just remember that YOU get to be the one that decides which season and not have anyone else choose it for you.

Mary0321 Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 2:55am

just looked at your cakes... DO NOT GIVE THIS UP> you are really awesome. You have a talent. charge no less than $50 for any cake.

sullymel13 Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 3:07am

I didn't read all the replies, but had to pipe in with my opinion. No hobby is worth your marriage! There is room to compromise, but for your sanity, it sounds like a break could be the best thing. Get caught up on your sleep, show your husband that he is more important than cake, and then start working out some compromises. Maybe less cakes, higher prices, a babysitter, something. I love making cakes, but I have been doing less and less, since I decided to put my family first, and indulging myself in cake making later.

Good luck!

sullymel13 Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 3:07am

I didn't read all the replies, but had to pipe in with my opinion. No hobby is worth your marriage! There is room to compromise, but for your sanity, it sounds like a break could be the best thing. Get caught up on your sleep, show your husband that he is more important than cake, and then start working out some compromises. Maybe less cakes, higher prices, a babysitter, something. I love making cakes, but I have been doing less and less, since I decided to put my family first, and indulging myself in cake making later.

Good luck!

mbark Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 3:19am

yeah, can't say I agree that hubby is selfish & lazy for wanting to spend some time with his wife. OP should be happy he wants to be with her.

tinygoose Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 3:28am

I take on very few cakes, turn down a lot. Since I'm not looking for business, I tend to do a fair amount of charity event cakes. This works out well because they always offer to advertise for me.

Instead of advertising myself, I print up a nice 8x11 sheet on cardstock, I make it really nice and have the colors of the ad match the cake. I put on it. "Cake Courtesy of Rick ____, Realtor." Then also hand them a bunch of my husbands business cards. It's been a really nice system so far. He's happy to get the free advertisements, I can write it off my cake supplies, and he doesn't complain when I'm doing a cake for him... Oh and if he gets one deal out of it, it's worth 20 of my cakes, so totally worth it on that end.

Mary0321 Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 3:34am

I don't think he is protesting not getting enough wife time... anyone married a few years knows hobbies are good for the soul and no one wants to give up something they love and are good at.. I guess what pokes at me from this post are the words he used..." hang it up.. allow if..." as if she is a child. I am a partner in my marriage and I spend way to much time cutting little things out of fondant in the evening when the kids are in bed. My husband is wathing sports... I have zero interest in sitting there with him. Conversations that are about compromise.. don't use the word .. allow.
Sorry I just feel she decides her passions and interests and there is room to " compromise" on both sides without hanging it up.

NerdyGirl Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 3:53am

Gotta agree with you, Mary. That's the big thing that bothered me, too. "Allow."

cakesbycathy Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 3:57am
Quote:
Originally Posted by sullymel13

I didn't read all the replies, but had to pipe in with my opinion. No hobby is worth your marriage! There is room to compromise, but for your sanity, it sounds like a break could be the best thing. Get caught up on your sleep, show your husband that he is more important than cake, and then start working out some compromises. Maybe less cakes, higher prices, a babysitter, something. I love making cakes, but I have been doing less and less, since I decided to put my family first, and indulging myself in cake making later.

Good luck!




It looks this is a minority opinion here but I share it.

What if the OP was telling us this:
My Dh just loves to build stuff in his garage. He has tools everywhere. Every night after dinner he goes out there and uses his tools and holy cow the mess. I'm so sick of seeing it.

And then he spends the entire weekend building furniture for all our friends. For FREE!! I can't even tell you how much money he's spent and I'm spending all my time watching the kids and he can't ever seem to find the time to help me with them or the stuff around the house because he's too busy building while I sit and watch tv alone.


How many of us would be all over her about getting her DH to cut back on the woodworking and get his butt in the house and help and she shouldn't have to put up with his behavior?

To the OP:
I'm not saying you should give up caking, but really - is your marriage worth it? Is it worth it to miss out on the time with your small kids? Together the two of you need to come to some sort of compromise. He shouldn't make you give up your hobby, but it's not okay for it to interfere with your household either. JMO

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