How Do You Know When You Are "burned Out"

Decorating By ChunkkeeMunkkee Updated 12 Jan 2011 , 1:36pm by ChunkkeeMunkkee

ChunkkeeMunkkee Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 11:17pm
post #1 of 13

I have been decorating for a year now. I've sunk every dime I can find into cake supplies. My DVR is recording every cake show I can find and at this point in the game I can now see that even the Pro's perfect cakes, are NOT PERFECT. I have dummies and things I would like to learn but I just can't find the will to do it. My friends call me NON stop for cakes, and I am up to 2-3 custom pieces of so called art (for my skill set) per weekend, but no one pays over $75. It's barely covering my material and paying me for my time is a foreign concept at this point. I don't wanna give up because I have thousands invested (and my hubby will kill me) but I think I am burned out??? How do you folks deal with it?? any coping mechanisms I can try???

12 replies
bobwonderbuns Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 11:31pm
post #2 of 13

Set boundaries!!! Don't take on any more than you can chew (so to speak.) I'm sorry, I have a cake due the day before and I cannot devote enough time to give your cake the care it deserves. Believe me, it's OKAY to say NO! And watch the friends/family/coworker gang -- they have it in their heads that your cakes are their entitlement!

Now about the dreaded "P" word (perfect). Repeat after me: (Ahem) "THERE ARE NO (REPEAT "NO") PERFECT CAKES, NO NOT ONE!" The difference between the pros and the amateurs is simply A) The pros know how to cover their faux pas and B) Neatness counts triple!! So don't worry about perfection, you are NOT the Borg!! icon_biggrin.gif

And remember the golden rule of cakes -- if you are NOT having fun, you are doing it WRONG!!! So lighten up and have some fun!! It's sugar, not brain surgery! icon_biggrin.gif

Tacy09 Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 11:33pm
post #3 of 13

I hear ya!!! I'v been caking for about a year now as well and while Im usually busy (things have slowed a bit now) Im not making a lot of money....I live in a small town and even though there is nobody within an hours drive who does cakes like I do im competeing with walmarts $20.00 cake! Theres no way I can even give myself minnimum wage for my time on top of the cake because people just wont pay it...I have tried several times and every time people tell me that Im way to over priced and ridiculious....I need to find a way to let people know this is a job and you have to pay me for my services like you would any other service, but Im scared that I'll go from barley making a profit to nothing at all......If you can figure this out you would be my hero!

Corrie76 Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 11:44pm
post #4 of 13

I hear ya, and can totally sympathize. Just like Bobwonderbuns said, set some boundaries. I had to do that for myself. now I only do one or two cakes per week and if anyone else calls,"I'm sorry I only do one cake a week and I'm booked" Also, go ahead and raise the prices- that will weed out the bargain hunters and you won't be stressing out over too many orders that aren't paying out in the end.
(((((Hugs)))))))
And as always suggested here on the forums.....take a "cake vacation" walk away from it for a few weeks and then come back when you are ready. icon_smile.gif

MissLisa Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 11:49pm
post #5 of 13

First things first.........Hubby should NEVER know what we actually pay for supplies! icon_smile.gif

I took a few minutes to look at your work. Fo someone who is only been decorating for a year you have some mighty fine talent!

Pricing is always the biggest issue for us when we are starting out......and even when we have been at it for 30+ years (speaking from experience here) Sit down with the pen and paper or the calculator and figure out EXACTLY what your expenses are. You can't even begin to properly price out a cake unless you know that information. Don't forget to figure in utilities when figuring costs. Figure out how long you think it will take you to complete the cake and decide what you would like for an hourly rate.....that's your price.

If you're not even close with your pricing now compared to what it really should be, then maybe you need to split the difference now and then make another adjustment in 6 months.

Don't make excuses for your prices, they are what they are and YOU ARE WORTH IT!

If you continue to take 2-3 cakes a weekend putting in untold numbers of hours and not getting paid enough you will burn out quickly. Start saying no to a few orders to give yourself a break. Plan for a weekend a month that you take NO orders.

By all means, find some time for you. My cake room and I are not friends right now. I spent so many hours in there the week before Christmas that I don't even want to look at the door now. Hoping that feeling ends by tomorrow morning though. I had one cake for this weekend as of this past Sunday and now I have 5! It's not like this every weekend though and I personally have no room to complain. I have been unemployed for the last 2+ years and this is helping to keep me sane and it does bring in a little bit that helps with bills. Still most of my cakes are small birthday cakes.

Another way to keep yourself from burning out is to hang out with other Sugar Artist! We make pretty good company, you can chat, vent, take classes, share ideas and have some good play time.

Keep in mind too that what you watch on TV just adds to the stress. I can't stand all the drama just seems to add to my blood pressure numbers.

Good luck to you for some stress free decorating,

Lisa

cownsj Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 11:51pm
post #6 of 13

I think you are burned out when you have to ask the question, "how do you know when you are burned out.". It's ok to take a break, it doesn't mean you're quitting or you give up, it just means you are regrouping and taking a needed rest.

bobwonderbuns Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 12:03am
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissLisa

First things first.........Hubby should NEVER know what we actually pay for supplies! icon_smile.gif





AMEN Sista!! icon_lol.gif

cownsj Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 12:17am
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobwonderbuns

Quote:
Originally Posted by MissLisa

First things first.........Hubby should NEVER know what we actually pay for supplies! icon_smile.gif





AMEN Sista!! icon_lol.gif




Mine knows, then again, he's been the instigator for getting most of the stuff we have........ lol (he's the better decorator; shhhhhhh, and he only took the classes with me so I'd have company - go figure)

Crazboutcakes Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 6:19am
post #9 of 13

[quote=\\"MissLisa\\"]First things first.........Hubby should NEVER know what we actually pay for supplies! icon_smile.gif

I took a few minutes to look at your work. Fo someone who is only been decorating for a year you have some mighty fine talent!

Pricing is always the biggest issue for us when we are starting out......and even when we have been at it for 30+ years (speaking from experience here) Sit down with the pen and paper or the calculator and figure out EXACTLY what your expenses are. You can\\'t even begin to properly price out a cake unless you know that information. Don\\'t forget to figure in utilities when figuring costs. Figure out how long you think it will take you to complete the cake and decide what you would like for an hourly rate.....that\\'s your price.

If you\\'re not even close with your pricing now compared to what it really should be, then maybe you need to split the difference now and then make another adjustment in 6 months.

Don\\'t make excuses for your prices, they are what they are and YOU ARE WORTH IT!

If you continue to take 2-3 cakes a weekend putting in untold numbers of hours and not getting paid enough you will burn out quickly. Start saying no to a few orders to give yourself a break. Plan for a weekend a month that you take NO orders.

By all means, find some time for you. My cake room and I are not friends right now. I spent so many hours in there the week before Christmas that I don\\'t even want to look at the door now. Hoping that feeling ends by tomorrow morning though. I had one cake for this weekend as of this past Sunday and now I have 5! It\\'s not like this every weekend though and I personally have no room to complain. I have been unemployed for the last 2+ years and this is helping to keep me sane and it does bring in a little bit that helps with bills. Still most of my cakes are small birthday cakes.

Another way to keep yourself from burning out is to hang out with other Sugar Artist! We make pretty good company, you can chat, vent, take classes, share ideas and have some good play time.

Keep in mind too that what you watch on TV just adds to the stress. I can\\'t stand all the drama just seems to add to my blood pressure numbers.

Good luck to you for some stress free decorating,

Lisa[/quote]

I totally agree with MissLisa, it\\'s not free time or free cake! Pick a price that you are worth and stick to your piping bag! I usually have sevearl people that love my cakes and they want to order and until they see the price and than I never here from them , I fugure it\\'s there loss let them go to Wally World! One less cake to stress ove. icon_razz.gif

cupcakeparty Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 7:40am
post #10 of 13

I was in this situation a few months ago... and still a little now... ok this is what you need to do... Look at what other places around you are charging for cakes... Now you must match this, maybe take away 10%... for family and friends if they respect you they will understand that mates rates are never mates rates as you always will end up feeling like \\"what is the point\\" fine they are friends, so take off 10% no more for them... You must value yourself... and $75 for a beautiful hand made cake is only ripping your self off...

Set a limit (minimum $100/$200/$300 on all orders this is not unexpected these days)

AND YOU MUST VALUE AND PRICE YOUR TIME INVESTED TO EACH CAKE...

Perfection is an unrealistic goal and will only burden you with stress and heartache... nothing in life is perfect, no man, no child, no woman, no building, no park, no CAKE!

Imperfection is what makes us perfect icon_smile.gif

Sandysdream Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 9:18am
post #11 of 13

I am so glad I am not the only one feeling burnt out! Here in SA the schools started today, end of a 6 week holiday - what holiday. We stayed home, and as I have a problem saying NO I baked throughout the holiday, a bit less than usual, but still baked. I am doing everything, from the baking to the final product - and I must admit I love putting the cake together, but HATE making the 3d figures. I started 2 years ago and I am really blessed, the first year were slow, but last year was great, I made about 250 cakes for the year. I ordered some goodies from Global Sugar Art and I am very exicited.
Enough feeling sorry for ourselves - COME ON GIRLS, PUT ON YOUR APRONS AND LET\\'S START BAKING!

tokazodo Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 11:24am
post #12 of 13

I think MissLisa posted some very good advice. After 30 years of marriage, I would re-state, you don\\'t have to tell honey everything.

It\\'s okay to say no. I\\'ve actually started using the calendar in my cell phone to save important dates so I can have a life.

I\\'ve also learned that there are basically two types of cakes. There are \\'Custom Cakes\\', and there are \\'Just Cakes\\'.
\\'Custom Cakes are the cakes which take 2 hours to make.
\\'Just Cakes\\', are just that, just your basic buttercream, maybe some mmf accents that help with the celebration. These are the kind of cakes you make for \\'friends\\', that just have to have one of your cakes and can whipped out rather quickly. They are also the cakes you want to make for those people you want to help out at the last minute.

Lastly I would say pace yourself. Burn-out happens because we don\\'t pace ourselves, don\\'t know how to say know, and don\\'t allow time for fun.
If we as woman (okay, both men and woman) don\\'t take care of ourselves, we are of little use to others around us.
*insert highly motivational speech about diet, exercise, rest, prayer, playtime here*

Okay, Lastly again: I personally find that If I am stressed, overworked, I\\'m not as creative as I can be.

ChunkkeeMunkkee Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 1:36pm
post #13 of 13

Thanks so much you guys!! I appreciate the words of wisdom! We are on a one income here (His) which is why he knows what I spend. That and he is one of those Hubbies that is eternally GLUED to my side. UNTIL I start caking hat is... he scatters at that point LOL. I am very frugal w/spending HIS $ lol. I really do think I need to learn how to say NO. I think you gals are spot on!!!! I do need to get out of the house more too. My entire world for the past 3 months has been in my kitchen. Time for a much needed break so I can get back to me and maybe something will inspire me. Happy Baking to all (hugs)

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