I'm Getting Discouraged...

Lounge By SweetBees Updated 19 Nov 2013 , 3:27pm by NurseDolly

SweetBees Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:01pm
post #1 of 72

Hey guys. I need some advice. I have this "friend" who insists on trolling every cake picture I post on my personal facebook page. I finally confronted him last night, and he told me I was doing horribly and should just quit. Thing is, I don't want to quit, I love doing this and I didn't think I was doing too bad, being as I've only been doing this for two months. I'm learning as I go, and I tell everyone I do cakes for that I'm no professional decorator yet. I'm self-taught and he has a culinary degree, so that makes me feel like I should listen, but at the same time I'm getting positive feedback from the people I've made cakes for. Has anyone else gone through anything like this? Do you guys think I'm doing as horribly as he says? I'd really like some unbiased, sound advice from experienced decorators. I can take constructive criticism, but when someone insists on being hateful about things it tends to discourage me. 

71 replies
SweetBees Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:02pm
post #2 of 72

And to clarify, I'm not fishing for compliments at all. I want some honest feedback from folks who aren't just trying to be hateful.

AZCouture Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:13pm
post #3 of 72

So are you selling these cakes and representing yourself as a business? What are your prices like? Who makes up the majority of your customers? Friends and family?

stefkovic Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:15pm
post #4 of 72

They look really nice to me, sounds to me like someone is just a little jealous

SweetBees Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:18pm
post #5 of 72

Thank you so much. I've weighed that in my head, but the type of person he is makes it hard to believe that he'd be jealous of anything. I thought I was really doing something wrong. They always stay intact and are really delicious, and I know that I'm still an amatuer. I hope he's just being a jerk for the sake of being a jerk... icon_surprised.gif

Norasmom Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:18pm
post #6 of 72

You should ban that "friend" from your facebook page.  Your cakes look fine to me.  You should also believe in yourself enough not to listen to nay-sayers!

CakeGeekUk Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:19pm
post #7 of 72

Hi Becca, what a jerk!  Those pics looks fantastic! You should totally continue with cake decorating if you've managed to produce these kind of cakes in such a short space of time since to started decorating.  That guy is a nasty piece of work trying to mess with your head and make you question your own ability.  Sounds like he totally resents your success and that you're self-taught after all the work he's put into his culinary studies... ..a case of sour grapes definitely. And a nasty individual too.  Steer well clear of this guy.  You're definitely a cake star!

SweetBees Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:20pm
post #8 of 72

I'm selling them under the name Sweet B's, but I'm only charging what it costs the make the cake. Everyone is aware before they order that I'm still learning as I go, and I've never had a complaint yet. There are tons of people that are getting cakes from me, friends, family, and friends of friends. 

BatterUpCake Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:21pm
post #9 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture 

So are you selling these cakes and representing yourself as a business?

yes...

"Becca, owner and operator of Sweet B's"

Love the avatar and name I think your cakes are very good. He is not your friend.

SweetBees Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:21pm
post #10 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeGeekUk 

Hi Becca, what a jerk!  Those pics looks fantastic! You should totally continue with cake decorating if you've managed to produce these kind of cakes in such a short space of time since to started decorating.  That guy is a nasty piece of work trying to mess with your head and make you question your own ability.  Sounds like he totally resents your success and that you're self-taught after all the work he's put into his culinary studies... ..a case of sour grapes definitely. And a nasty individual too.  Steer well clear of this guy.  You're definitely a cake star!

Thank you so much! You just pegged him... lol

SweetBees Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:22pm
post #11 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by BatterUpCake 

Love the avatar and name I think your cakes are very good. He is not your friend.

Thank you! I designed the avatar and would love for it to be a logo if I'm ever able to open my own bakery. :)

jason_kraft Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:24pm
post #12 of 72

A

Original message sent by SweetBees

I'm selling them under the name Sweet B's, but I'm only charging what it costs the make the cake. Everyone is aware before they order that I'm still learning as I go, and I've never had a complaint yet. There are tons of people that are getting cakes from me, friends, family, and friends of friends. 

This strategy may backfire once you set realistic prices, since you will have to rebuild your customer base while at the same time shedding your existing reputation for cheap cakes. You are also helping to devalue custom cakes in general in your area, which will make it more difficult to find customers in the future.

You also may want to remove pictures of cakes that use copyrighted characters unless you have permission from the copyright owners.

SweetBees Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:27pm
post #13 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 


This strategy may backfire once you set realistic prices, since you will have to rebuild your customer base while at the same time shedding your existing reputation for cheap cakes. You are also helping to devalue custom cakes in general in your area, which will make it more difficult to find customers in the future.

I'm also letting everyone know when they get cakes that if I'm able to open my own business then the prices would go up. There is no competition at all in my area, there's only me. 

SweetBees Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:28pm
post #14 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetBees 

I'm also letting everyone know when they get cakes that if I'm able to open my own business then the prices would go up. There is no competition at all in my area, there's only me. 

And I've thought of that myself. But I don't feel right charging people for my time if I'm only practicing and learning the art. It's a double edged sword.

jason_kraft Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:30pm
post #15 of 72

A

Original message sent by SweetBees

I'm also letting everyone know when they get cakes that if I'm able to open my own business then the prices would go up. There is no competition at all in my area, there's only me. 

This makes it even more important to impress upon potential customers the true market value of what they are getting. When you issue invoices to customers (since you are already in fact running a business) I recommend clearly indicating the market value of their cake with the limited time discount applied.

AZCouture Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:31pm
post #16 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetBees 

I'm selling them under the name Sweet B's, but I'm only charging what it costs the make the cake. Everyone is aware before they order that I'm still learning as I go, and I've never had a complaint yet. There are tons of people that are getting cakes from me, friends, family, and friends of friends. 

 

This is exactly what I was afraid of. And I'll tread really lightly here. When you go into business with really basic skills and super low pricing and most of your customers are friends and family, you're not going to get a lot of honest feedback. Why would they tell you that you need to work on your skills and presentation when they are paying next to nothing? It's like looking a gift horse in the mouth. I can't say that your "friend" is doing you any favors, but he's being a lot more real than I suspect people have been with you up to this point. 

 

If you intend to keep on with sales at prices like you are, with the skills you have, and are just fine with the way they look, then disregard anything I said. If you want to really be successful in this business, and attract good paying customers, and get "real" compliments for really outstanding work, then stop selling right now. Take some classes. Clean up your presentation (smooth fondant, no bumps, no aluminum foil covered board), and figure out pricing that allows you to make some money.

SweetBees Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:35pm
post #17 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture 

 

This is exactly what I was afraid of. And I'll tread really lightly here. When you go into business with really basic skills and super low pricing and most of your customers are friends and family, you're not going to get a lot of honest feedback. Why would they tell you that you need to work on your skills and presentation when they are paying next to nothing? It's like looking a gift horse in the mouth. I can't say that your "friend" is doing you any favors, but he's being a lot more real than I suspect people have been with you up to this point. 

 

If you intend to keep on with sales at prices like you are, with the skills you have, and are just fine with the way they look, then disregard anything I said. If you want to really be successful in this business, and attract good paying customers, and get "real" compliments for really outstanding work, then stop selling right now. Take some classes. Clean up your presentation (smooth fondant, no bumps, no aluminum foil covered board), and figure out pricing that allows you to make some money.

Thank you for your honesty. There aren't any classes around here that I can take, I'd have to go to a bigger city. I'm not going to open a business until I'm completely satisfied that everything meets everyone's expectations.

AZCouture Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:35pm
post #18 of 72

Really, everything you've described so far, might as well be the handbook for how to go into debt and burn out with your cake business. You can stop it before it happens! There are too many stories in here of burnout and failure due to not preparing for what business really entails. Jason has loads of good info on that side of things, and I'm sure he'll chime in sooner or later.

SweetBees Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:36pm
post #19 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 


This makes it even more important to impress upon potential customers the true market value of what they are getting. When you issue invoices to customers (since you are already in fact running a business) I recommend clearly indicating the market value of their cake with the limited time discount applied.

Thank you so much! 

AZCouture Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:36pm
post #20 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetBees 

Thank you for your honesty. There aren't any classes around here that I can take, I'd have to go to a bigger city. I'm not going to open a business until I'm completely satisfied that everything meets everyone's expectations.

But you are in business. You're selling. And every second that you stay open in business, you're training these people to expect cheap and mediocre. And their friends will expect cheap and mediocre. What happens when you're not mediocre anymore? You think those people are going to start paying more? No.

SweetBees Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:37pm
post #21 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture 

Really, everything you've described so far, might as well be the handbook for how to go into debt and burn out with your cake business. You can stop it before it happens! There are too many stories in here of burnout and failure due to not preparing for what business really entails. Jason has loads of good info on that side of things, and I'm sure he'll chime in sooner or later.

That's why I'm asking for advice from actual professionals. :)

AZCouture Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:38pm
post #22 of 72

Glad you're not spitting nails at me! Whew! icon_lol.gif

BatterUpCake Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:39pm
post #23 of 72

You have a business name. A business FB page. And are selling cakes. How can you justify saying you do not have a business? You ARE running a business. It may not be a well run business..or a profitable business...or maybe even a legal business. But once you accept money for a product then you are in fact running a business.

SweetBees Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:40pm
post #24 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture 

Glad you're not spitting nails at me! Whew! icon_lol.gif

Not at all! I can absolutely take criticism as long as someone isn't trying to be hurtful about it. :) I really appreciate all the feedback!

SweetBees Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 9:44pm
post #25 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by BatterUpCake 

You have a business name. A business FB page. And are selling cakes. How can you justify saying you do not have a business? You ARE running a business. It may not be a well run business..or a profitable business...or maybe even a legal business. But once you accept money for a product then you are in fact running a business.

I see what you're saying. Eventually I would like to open a profitable business. At the moment there is no profit to be had, and I'm clear on where everyone's money is going. They buy the supplies to let me practice with. This is very transparent and the people that get cakes know what they're getting. What I'm wanting to know from everyone is whether I should give up or keep pushing forward and continue honing my skills. 
kikiandkyle Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 10:00pm
post #26 of 72

AYou need to stop selling your cakes, at least stop selling them under your business name if you intend to actually have a successful business with the same name down the line. Don't start back until you are ready to sell your cakes at full market value and have found the best way to reach the kind of customers you want to sell to.

What you are doing now is only going to hurt you in the long run. You are building a client base that expects a cheap cake, no matter what you are telling them.

SweetBees Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 10:02pm
post #27 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle 

You need to stop selling your cakes, at least stop selling them under your business name if you intend to actually have a successful business with the same name down the line. Don't start back until you are ready to sell your cakes at full market value and have found the best way to reach the kind of customers you want to sell to.

What you are doing now is only going to hurt you in the long run. You are building a client base that expects a cheap cake, no matter what you are telling them.

Ok, thank you. :) 

BatterUpCake Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 10:05pm
post #28 of 72

The way you are doing things is a big nono. You wanted advice from the professionals. This is the best advice they can give you. This is a hot topic here and it happens all the time (almost everytime) with the newbies. Please use the search feature to look up pricing threads.

SweetBees Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 10:06pm
post #29 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by BatterUpCake 

The way you are doing things is a big nono. You wanted advice from the professionals. This is the best advice they can give you. This is a hot topic here and it happens all the time (almost everytime) with the newbies. Please use the search feature to look up pricing threads.

I appreciate everything you guys are telling me, very much. Thank you.

kikiandkyle Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 10:10pm
post #30 of 72

ABtw I like your cakes and I think you have talent. Check out what the skill level is amongst your local competition and you may find you can already match what is out there, and even better it. But you have to charge a real price, remember that you are not your customer, and it may be that your friends and family aren't either. Not everyone can afford a custom cake, but there are people who can and those are the customers you need to target.

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