Let me start by saying that I do cake decorating in my spare time. I have a full time job, but I enjoy decorating cakes and it keeps me busy most weekends.
I've recently been in contact with a "wedding coordinator" (she's an acquaintance from high school who is trying to become a wedding coordinator, IMO she has a long way to go, but thats just my perspective). I really have no issue working with a wedding coordinator, however, in this case she has become a pain in my you-know-what. She calls mulitple times to ask questions that she's already received the answer to (more than once). She leaves emails unanswered. I've already explained to her that this is NOT my main job, yet she seems to think I can just whip up a cake in a day (she once called me months in advance about a baby shower cake, and then didn't ever respond to my quote until the day before and expected me to be able to do it). She keeps asking for me to provide a wider variety of samples for her client (I've already explained I only do samples when I already have an order with that flavor..i cannot afford to whip up an entire batch for one sample!).
I know that ultimately it could bring me more business. At this point, the extra money is nice but not something I'm relying on. I'm just not sure I can work with her. Do I break ties NOW? If so, what do I tell her? Should I just grin and bear it? TIA
No. You set the rules of how you work, not her. Just like anyone starting in any business, she has a HUGE chance of failing in the first year. Why on earth would you change the way you do business just because she's new and a friend? Business is business, and the sooner you set the rules separating the two the better chance you have of doing business with her for years to come (assuming she lasts).
If she's all over the map and refuses to follow the rules, you need to sever the business relationship now while you still have a chance of saving your friendship.
I don't know what you need to tell her. That depends on whether you still want to be friends with her afterward, I guess. But you should DEFINITELY get out of that situation. The woman is too flaky to run a successful business and she'll just end up getting you involved in her screw-ups. Do you really need that? I guess you could try setting down some ground rules about how you work, but it sounds to me like she's treating you like she's doing you a favor by hiring you, which she's not - you're doing HER a favor. I doubt this strategy will work very well, but then you could tell her very specifically why you don't want to work with her anymore.
I'm definitely not changing anything about how I run my business to suit her needs. I'm more concerned about her lack of organization and her ability to write down/remember things I have told her. I'm also not worried about maintaining a personal relationship with her; I haven't talked to her since high school (at least 10 years) and even then we were just classmates. Personally, she annoys the heck outta me!
Not sure how I should word the "break-up"....
ADo you have a retail shop or inspected commercial kitchen? If not then that's one way to end the relationship, since you can't legally accept compensation for home-baked cakes in Kansas.
If you are legal, another way to deal with this would be to work with the customer directly instead of through the coordinator. If the coordinator is not happy with this and will not provide the customer's contact info you can just say you won't accept the order.
Here's a suggestion: record all the time on your next order from her. Then you send her a written memo telling her that you need to charge her the minimum wage for answering all her phone calls PLUS a fair share of your phone bill. Tell her you need make this charge separate from the cake itself.
She may raise a ruckus to which you answer WHY DOES SHE THINK YOU SHOULD WORK FOR FREE?????
The world is full of wanna-be planners. They don't know how to do the job, but they've watched a bunch of tv shows and it looks like fun, so why not! I get emails from people all the time who I've never heard of, claiming to be planners. I've worked in my town for 14 years and I know all of the reputable planners, sop when a new one emails me trying to set up appointments the first thing I do is ask for the bride's email address. If they won't give that to me I tell them that the bride is my client, not the planner, so I need to be in touch with the bride and coordinate appointments etc with them to avoid the confusion of a middleman. I've had a couple get huffy and tell me that they're the only contact, so I tell them that I won't work with them.
You have to set limits because someone who doesn't know what they're doing will make all kinds of stupid demands. Just say no!
Tell her that you appreciate her thinking of you to "partner" with but at the moment you are unable to commit to such an arrangement due to time constraints and if your situation changes in the future you will let her know. .
Seriously. You already said that you think she sucks as a planer - so why even consider partnering with her?
If she's that bad then her clients won't be satisfied, either, which will reflect badly on all her vendors.
Irrespective of your working commitments no one should force you to work in a certain way/manner/fashion unless you allow them - as the buck stops with you.
Personally, I don't believe their can be friendships working independently of a business.
Instead, you just acquire more business like minded people who become your like minded friends of which the common denominator is called Business. I hope that makes sense?
We only have one chance as fellow cake makers/decorators etc to create a good impression and first impression counts! By that I'm not only talking about the end product i.e. the finished cake...it goes way deep - from the very first point of contact, customer service etc etc.
So with knowing that your acquaintance aka "friend" has not got her head screwed on then why would you associate yourself with her??? Do you want her reputation to tarnish yours??? That is the question!
Set your standards of which you work by as others have already suggested on this thread, but to have an open mind because even the most successful business woman/man is all too willing to up his/her game i.e.learn.
Tell your "Friend" that the way on how YOU work/conduct business is not best suited to HER needs and that you wish her all the best with her future endeavors!
This forum as I'm just starting to discover as a Newbie is a playground full of learning to be had.
That's my two pennies worth! :o)
If you keep this going, it's just going to get worse on you. I think you need to break it off now, or find a compromise, if that's even possible. This woman clearly doesn't seem to care about your schedule or the hard work you put into this. You need to set it straight with her, and if she wants to still go on with this afterward, then that's great, if not, that's her loss.