Just Give Up???? Or Work For Hardly Nothing??

Business By Krista512 Updated 25 Mar 2012 , 12:46pm by johnson6ofus

Krista512 Posted 17 Mar 2012 , 4:26pm
post #1 of 21

I am a stay at home mom and now opperate under the texas cottage food law. I have made cakes mostly for family and friends and have been working on making a home business out of it. BUT with this cottage food law I cant really advertise much at all.
I had been advertising on craigslist. and once i put the bee cupcakes i made on my add im all of a sudden having my ads flagged and removed ( im assuming from one or more of the other home bakers there are atleast 10 of them that post on there in the area.) since im getting flagged for the reason im un sure of, and none of the other ones are being removed my website views have gone down to 10-30 a day from over a 100 a day. I have no orders coming in.
friends order cakes from me but they dont need cakes every week.
I cant go and give away product to local businesses, I have been told from people on here that I cant do the fire fighter donation that I was going to do. I have a doctor office that wants samples to possibly do a contract deal for 300 cupcakes and cookies a week. but i cant take it cause the cottage food law says the products must be picked up at my house. they have to have them delivered daily.

All the people on craigslist have a 6 inch cake at $25-$30 and a 8 inch at $30-35 I cant compete with that. I use high quality chocolates and other ingredients. People love my cakes when they taste them but I cant get people to order to taste them and not being able to give to dr offices since they have to be transfered from my home under the law is just making things so hard.

I dont know what else to do. I need to be able to make a profit.
But between paying for my website, buy business cards, paying for insurance when i get it. I wouldnt have profit but maybe $5 a week from what i calculated. I cant charge more than I do now I am already over priced for the area though im making $5 on a 2 tier 6 and 8 inch fondant covered and decorated cake. I cant take on wedding cakes now with two kids so i cant do the wedding cakes for big money

also i couldnt do weddings if i even wanted to now since by the law I cant do wedding events that have all the people offering services. cause I cant hand out items if they are not from my home.

im so irritated. I need an income even 300 a month would make a huge help but i cant get customers. I dont have friends and family to help get business. my husbands employees love my cupcakes but they can no way afford them.

any advice? I cant afford ads in papers that would get out to people.
\\my only other thought is putting my info on the back window of my van with the vinal letters so people driving by and while im at stores people see it.

20 replies
kelleym Posted 17 Mar 2012 , 5:10pm
post #2 of 21
Quote:
Quote:

BUT with this cottage food law I cant really advertise much at all.



Krista, I've seen you say this a few times, and I don't understand why. The law contains ZERO restrictions on advertising.

Quote:
Quote:

I have a doctor office that wants samples to possibly do a contract deal for 300 cupcakes and cookies a week. but i cant take it cause the cottage food law says the products must be picked up at my house. they have to have them delivered daily.



The sale must take place at your home. Delivery is allowed as long as the customer either orders or pays for the food at your home. I have gotten a definitive legal opinion on this. Delivery IS allowed. http://farmandranchfreedom.org/sff/Ltr-williamson-cottage-foods-110826.pdf

Quote:
Quote:

also i couldnt do weddings if i even wanted to now since by the law I cant do wedding events that have all the people offering services. cause I cant hand out items if they are not from my home



Again, I don't understand why you think you can't do weddings because you can't hand out samples at wedding shows. If you think the wedding show would be that much of a boost for your business, then find a commercial kitchen to for a one-time use, get a temporary food permit, and make your samples there so you can hand them out at the show.

It's possible that you may be expecting too much, too soon. A car sign is great. Optimizing your web site is better. My business comes from my web site and word of mouth referrals. It takes time to build a clientele.

Here are the FAQ's for the law. This site also contains the text of the law and many other resources. http://texascottagefoodlaw.com/FAQ.aspx

jason_kraft Posted 17 Mar 2012 , 6:29pm
post #3 of 21

I think the issue is that OP can't afford to pay for advertising and is running her business on basically a nonexistent budget.

It does take a good amount of upfront money to build a successful and profitable business, even in CFL states. Anyone can give their work away for slave labor prices on Craigslist, but if you really want to make money you need to put together a marketing strategy that targets a different audience than the CL bakers, preferably in a more affluent area. This will involve spending money on hiring someone to help you with the strategy if you don't already have the business expertise, not to mention spending money on the advertising itself.

If you don't have the money to invest at this point you may be better off working for someone else until you have a nest egg for the business.

TinkerCakes Posted 17 Mar 2012 , 7:05pm
post #4 of 21

I have no knowledge of the TX Cottage food law but it must be ALOT different then Florida's Cottage food Law. They won't let you advertise? or deliver? Here we can advertise (have a website, FB page, etc) but we can not sell on the internet. I'm just wondering if maybe TX is the same but you are not fully understanding all the rules. Hopefully that is the case! Best of luck!

kelleym Posted 17 Mar 2012 , 7:40pm
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

I think the issue is that OP can't afford to pay for advertising and is running her business on basically a nonexistent budget.



I understand that, but she is phrasing her problems in a way that lay the blame at the foot of the law. And now that this is on the internets, people are going to find this on a search and it's eventually going to come back to me with people saying "I read somewhere that I can't advertise". That is why I'm trying to nip this in the bud.

Quote:
Quote:


I have no knowledge of the TX Cottage food law but it must be ALOT different then Florida's Cottage food Law. They won't let you advertise? or deliver?



That is not true. I explained in the second post in this thread why it is not true.

mcaulir Posted 17 Mar 2012 , 8:59pm
post #6 of 21

From all your posts, I really think you need to postpone this idea for a while.

Some of your posts ask flat out for every recipe under the sun, and you don't have any money to develop recipes. You really should have some idea of recipes before selling the products of them.

You don't have any money or a plan to advertise, or any idea really, that businesses rarely make any money for a year or two. You need money before you start a business, it doesn't make you money immediately.

It actually seems from many of your posts that you haven't read any of this forum at all, which would answer a lot of your questions.

And then every so often, you throw one of these, 'woe is me, I think I'll have to quit' posts. Well, lots of us don't have businesses because we can't afford them, or don't want the hassles of recipe development, or don't want to deal with the legalitiies. Some of us have very expensive hobbies instead. It seems to me that you might be better off finding a job that pays $300/month, and putting a bit more thought a research into the whole cake idea before giving it another try.

915tanya Posted 17 Mar 2012 , 9:08pm
post #7 of 21

I make cakes for friends, & co workers. I get business though word of mouth. I have a facebook page that has pictures of my cakes.

metria Posted 17 Mar 2012 , 10:14pm
post #8 of 21

there's also the option of NOT using high quality ingredients. it sounds like you are in the position where you have a choice between tasting good and making profit, and you can't have both. once you build up clientele and/or find a way to reduce your product costs, you can then work back up to higher end ingredients.

cakegrandma Posted 18 Mar 2012 , 12:37am
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcaulir

From all your posts, I really think you need to postpone this idea for a while.

Some of your posts ask flat out for every recipe under the sun, and you don't have any money to develop recipes. You really should have some idea of recipes before selling the products of them.

You don't have any money or a plan to advertise, or any idea really, that businesses rarely make any money for a year or two. You need money before you start a business, it doesn't make you money immediately.

It actually seems from many of your posts that you haven't read any of this forum at all, which would answer a lot of your questions.

And then every so often, you throw one of these, 'woe is me, I think I'll have to quit' posts. Well, lots of us don't have businesses because we can't afford them, or don't want the hassles of recipe development, or don't want to deal with the legalitiies. Some of us have very expensive hobbies instead. It seems to me that you might be better off finding a job that pays $300/month, and putting a bit more thought a research into the whole cake idea before giving it another try.




I agree with mcaulir wholeheartedly. We all start out at the beginning of a baking business and go through the steps of becoming a full fledged business that supports us in many ways. It may be monetarily, emotionally and mental fulfillment but we all work at the various phases.
If we do not understand the rules we research them to get clarification. Delivery, purchases and advertising are easily researched and hopefully your findings will enable you to go onto the next step.
As far as recipes are concerned, search the internet, check the ones on this site and research. Buying the best is great but, just starting out get quality ingredients and later when your business is going, get the best.
good luck,
evelyn

FromScratchSF Posted 18 Mar 2012 , 2:08am
post #10 of 21

I have seen a lot of your posts. I don't like to see or hear anyone fail, but so many people think that making and selling cake is easy and profitable. Well, all I can say is you really, really really need to start doing your own research and actually reading the answers people have given to you, and you especially need to read the law in your state. Stop relying on forum posts of CC. Read the links kindly provided to you on the State of Texas' website given to you by Kelleym. At a certain point you need to figure this out for yourself.

I honestly think you need to take a break from this and find another way to earn your income, while working out a business plan, learning how to run a business, perfecting your recipes and practicing decorating. Frankly, if you NEED to start turning a $300 profit RIGHT NOW making cake at the pricepoints you are talking about, (and you don't have any money of your own to invest), it ain't gonna happen. It's a fact that very few businesses turn profits in the first year, and the businesses that DO turn immediate profits are businesses selling something unique and are ran by people that know what they are doing and how to run a business right out of the gates. You have been relying on a bunch of strangers on an internet forum to give you product to sell (making it NOT unique), tell you how to run your business (laws, pricing etc.), and how to turn an immediate profit because you need the money now. Your situation has all kinds of fail written all over it.

Sorry icon_sad.gif

ptanyer Posted 18 Mar 2012 , 2:45am
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

I have seen a lot of your posts. I don't like to see or hear anyone fail, but so many people think that making and selling cake is easy and profitable. Well, all I can say is you really, really really need to start doing your own research and actually reading the answers people have given to you, and you especially need to read the law in your state. Stop relying on forum posts of CC. Read the links kindly provided to you on the State of Texas' website given to you by Kelleym. At a certain point you need to figure this out for yourself.

I honestly think you need to take a break from this and find another way to earn your income, while working out a business plan, learning how to run a business, perfecting your recipes and practicing decorating. Frankly, if you NEED to start turning a $300 profit RIGHT NOW making cake at the pricepoints you are talking about, (and you don't have any money of your own to invest), it ain't gonna happen. It's a fact that very few businesses turn profits in the first year, and the businesses that DO turn immediate profits are businesses selling something unique and are ran by people that know what they are doing and how to run a business right out of the gates. You have been relying on a bunch of strangers on an internet forum to give you product to sell (making it NOT unique), tell you how to run your business (laws, pricing etc.), and how to turn an immediate profit because you need the money now. Your situation has all kinds of fail written all over it.

Sorry icon_sad.gif




thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

I work a full time job and make cakes at nights and on weekends as I grow my cake business. I am inspected and approved as a NC home baker and have business cards, a Facebook site, and just placed my very first ad in a wedding publication in our local newspaper. This ad got me: a 1/4 page ad in print, the same ad in their online wedding edition, and a print ad once a month for a year, all for $176. I think it was worth the $ because of the exposure it will give me.

When I have orders, I put aside the actual costs for that cake toward the purchase of future supplies, and then I can invest the remainder in tools, educational materials, etc. I know that since I decorate part-time vs full-time, that it will take longer to grow to full-time business. But I am fine with that because if everything goes as planned, I will be able to go full-time about the time I retire from my regular job.

I don't advertise on Craig's List as I charge more for my cakes and it takes a more educated client to understand that custom cakes don't come cheap and not at grocery store prices.

As previously mentioned, you might want to consider a job to supplement your income, and give you time to educate yourself about this business and to grow your client base.

The_Sugar_Fairy Posted 18 Mar 2012 , 3:06am
post #12 of 21

I live in Canada, but I was curious so I looked up Texas Cottage Food Law. It says right there on the website that you can advertise.

mcaulir Posted 18 Mar 2012 , 9:40am
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krista512


I cant go and give away product to local businesses, I have been told from people on here that I cant do the fire fighter donation that I was going to do. .




I just went and read that thread - I don't think anyone told you you couldn't do it. They said that it wouldn't be good advertising, and one said to check laws for the legality of donating.

QTCakes1 Posted 18 Mar 2012 , 2:30pm
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcaulir

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krista512


I cant go and give away product to local businesses, I have been told from people on here that I cant do the fire fighter donation that I was going to do. .



I just went and read that thread - I don't think anyone told you you couldn't do it. They said that it wouldn't be good advertising, and one said to check laws for the legality of donating.




OMG! I just caught that. Are you seriously only basing your decisions from people on CC, some who are replying are probably not even from Texas. FromScratch is right, do your own local research. And Mcaulir is total spot on with everything she said in her first post. Let go of the "woes me" and coming to CC with it and get it together or this just may not be for you.

QTCakes1 Posted 18 Mar 2012 , 2:35pm
post #15 of 21

And just so you know there are PLENTY of stay at home moms with multiple small children at home who make their business work. They may be working until 4 in the morning, but it works. All business is hard work and sacrifice.

Krista512 Posted 19 Mar 2012 , 12:37am
post #16 of 21

ok i think i get the point. Im done doing cakes for now. I will just make my car payment money selling all my pans and tools. its easier. ill work on cakes once the kids are in school. I obviously dont have a clue and people sending me emails are making things very confusing telling me that I can have a website and i can NOT give donation cupcakes to fire fighters and such. so I am not going to put my familys current income at risk for being sued. Good luck to you all that have made it work.

KoryAK Posted 19 Mar 2012 , 1:35am
post #17 of 21

It won't be confusing if you IGNORE all the email from people who don't know what they're talking about (in regards to your specific situation) and go straight to the horse's mouth. If are you are this easily frustrated and dissuaded, maybe business isn't the right road for you.

scp1127 Posted 19 Mar 2012 , 4:51am
post #18 of 21

Krista, and everyone else.... This is not where you are supposed to get definitive answers on law, taxes, food safety, and any other similar information. Go to the HD, official websites, and legal/tax/accounting experts.

On a forum, you will get ideas, correct information, and incorrect information. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to verify public information.

vgcea Posted 19 Mar 2012 , 7:50am
post #19 of 21

Krista, I don't think you should give up so easily. Maybe slow it down a bit but don't just throw your dream away. Take all the advice here, and apply yourself to getting the knowledge you need to succeed. If possible, take a break from CC and use that time to read the Texas Cottage Food law website. Get familiar with Google, dig and search for information. The points here on CC can guide you toward making a decision, but they can only guide; definitive answers will have to come from you putting in the work to get information at the true sources.

You will be amazed at how many free resources are available if you apply yourself intelligently. I recently found out that the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts actually has a 1-800 number where you can get clarification on business taxes FREE! Their website spells out info on Sales tax for the home baker.

There is an organization called SCORE that provides FREE business advice and guidance to small business owners. You may not have that in your area but an example of applying yourself would be to dig up their information online, call and find out if they have sister organizations in your area.

If you're going to succeed, you must start by believing that you have what it takes to succeed, and then live your life in light of that. Yes some days can be hard, and that's why you have CC for encouragement and a kick in the backside if necessary.

Good luck.

cakemama22 Posted 19 Mar 2012 , 9:20pm
post #20 of 21

I think you really need to do your own research. Anyone on here could be wrong. I could say that the sky is yellow. You can take my advice and be convinced that the sky is yellow, or you can go outside and see for yourself that it is blue. If you don't know for a fact that what someone here says is true, you need to go and find the answer for yourself. Don't trust other people to do the research for you or to know the right answers off the top of your head.

Now I'm not saying that no one is right, or that everyone is wrong, I'm just saying double check and make sure you know the facts for yourself before taking someone elses word for it.

Please don't give up if this is your dream.

johnson6ofus Posted 25 Mar 2012 , 12:46pm
post #21 of 21

Kudos to all of you who offer good thoughts and had the "cake balls" to tell it like it is. Not everyone has the skills to run a business, even a small one. It is really hard to offer brutally honest, but true advice.

My sister, an MD, is going bankrupt a third time, at age 58 because she INSISTS she needs a "private practice" (her OWN business). She sucks at bookkeeping, hiring, managing, etc. If she worked for someone else, collected a paycheck, and let someone else do all the business stuff.. she would be MUCH better off...

A stay at home mom, that gets inspected for daycare, cares for ONE additional baby along with her own, may find $300 a month with little more aggravation than her life already has.... rather than a whole new business venture.

Not everyone can/ should run a business.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%