As some of you know I retire from the military on Sep 30th. I am starting to freak out. I will be going to school full time in the evenings (baking and pastry). The last 2 weeks have been slow with the cake biz...only 1 order per week. I have fibromyalgia and carpal tunnel in both hands. This has caused me to not be able to work a schedule that would be required of me in the civilian sector. The Navy is very good about giving time for physical therapy, doctors appointments (which I usually have about 3 a week). I am afraid that if I cannot be self supportive in a career where I can work at my own pace that I will lose my house and everything I have worked so hard to attain. With my GI bill, retirement check and savings I can make it for awhile...but I am nervous, as can be expected I suppose. I am not having a pity party...just wanted to get that off of my chest. And maybe advise on how I can drum up more business. The people that do get my cakes rave about the taste and design(not just friends and family and I know there is a lot of room for improvement). I just found out yesterday that Twisted Sister's cupcakes drives around in a food truck selling giant gourmet cupcakes for $4 each...how do they afford it? I can't compete with that! My designs have definitely improved since I started here...I don't know. Maybe I am just having a pity party. Poor me, poor me, pour me another drink...lol. can't remember who always used to say that around me..
You're going through a huge change right now, and that can be quite unnerving. But you do have a plan to help guide you. I hope your physical issues get better and don't present any problems when you're in school.
We all know about the saturated cake market. I wonder if you can increase business by adding another line of products. Perhaps dessert or party trays; or corporate/office accounts. Are you allowed to do prepared foods such as box lunches?
Best of luck, BatterUp, I went through a major change, too, so I understand how you feel. Twelve years ago I had to give up my career because my hands were unable to keep up with the heavy demands of commercial baking. It took me a while but eventually I found a way to create a new path. You'll get there. Someone with your drive and personality wouldn't have it any other way :)
I bake from a commercial kitchen so I have to look and see exactly what I am allowed to do...But it is also limited because it is my daughter's restaurant and they do box lunches for pharmaceutical reps and salesman, so I cannot compete with them. It seems the cake stand thing is going well, but I cannot really do much cheaper for real wood stands than Sara's because that kind of work costs. I am trying to come up with a line for the average baker..because they can easily find stands up to 12" but not bigger. Just not sure it is feasible with solid wood. Unless they are plateau stands, paint grade...It is a huge change. And I am feeling really nostalgic for my career. Didn't think I would miss it..and I won't miss it the way it is today. I feel like one of those 100 yr old vets sitting at the VFW talkin about the good ol days
BatterUpCake: Any 100 year old vet who served his country with honor and can still get up on that bar stool is doing AOK.
For you, It's going to be just like driving your car. Map out your future, Look where your going, step on the gas and get moving, focus on your goal, occasionally look in the rear view mirror, and don't drink & drive. You'll be fine.
Thank you for your service.
BatterUp...are you eligible for any military disability? Those outprocessing retirement physicals are so important...make sure if you are eligible, you have it annotated.
I have already submitted all of my medical records to the VA. We will see what they say.
DD...My skill level and lack of seriously expensive equipment prevents me from making the cake stands. Even the paint grade stands is a lot of money out of pocket...not to mention there is more work involved with the painting, sanding and applying a clear coat. So those I don't have much flexibility on the price...
The plateau ones that I am able to build will be cheaper (except the really grand ones). Like the leaf design on the other one....you can't buy carved wood that large around here...it has to be special ordered. That was a pvc composite built around a wood box. Much sturdier than wood, but people don't seem to want that. Anyhow...that's where it sits right now.
Alaska...I wasn't sitting on a bar stool! lol..just a comparison....no worries about me drinking and driving. Drinking gives me unbearable hot flashes these days..
It's a huge change going from military to civilian life. I know a lot of people who have retired and medically retired and they all say the same thing...they miss it. Even after every second was a countdown to when they were getting out, lol.
I would suggest being more aggressive with the disability/VA issue. Just turning in your paperwork is not enough. Find someone who can be your advocate there. Seriously. Visit, call, find someone to help.
AThe DAV is my advocate. It's a long process. Just turned it in and it will be a minimum of 3 months
BatterUpCake, Did you ever have the carpal tunnel surgery? I had it done on my left hand 7 years ago.(it was very bad - pain went into my shoulder and couldn't sleep). It was the best thing I did for it. I played softball at the time and was back on the field in 2 weeks. Never had a problem since.
Yes I had it 3 months ago. It didn't heal up right. The numbness has stopped but the pain increased and I lost some range of motion. I am back in physical therapy and wear splints from time to time.
today was a good day. I felt well enough to take the bike out,,,
and bugs in your teeth! lol. Yes I have an 09 Harley Road Glide
it certainly is a stress reliever when I am physically well enough to ride.