Thinking About Quitting...

Business By puddles_gal Updated 19 Jan 2015 , 11:30pm by cakebaby2

puddles_gal Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 5:57am
post #1 of 41

ACall me crazy, but after 6 years in the cake business, I am thinking about calling it quits. My business has continued to grow each year, but for some reason, my enthusiasm for cake decorating has dwindled, and I've come to start dreading each order. I bake from home, and it's something I do in addition to my regular Mon-Fri job. I'm typically booked with 1-2 cakes every week, sometimes more, and I feel I just have no time to myself anymore or the other things I used to enjoy. It's something I've had in the back of my mind for a while, so as a way to test whether or not my head was still in the game, I did not take a single order for the month of December. As I was thinking about this last night, I realized that I did not miss it- I didn't miss having to be in the kitchen for a few hours after work every day and only getting to sit down for a few minutes to eat dinner, doing all the endless amounts of dishes, kneading fondant, responding to client emails, designing cakes, stressful deliveries, or having to get up early Saturday morning for pickups, etc. So does this mean I am ready to throw in the towel? I decided to bring my feelings up about all of this to my hubby, and his reaction was not what I expected. Instead of supporting me and seeing this from my point of view, he was quick to point out the extra money it brings in, and then suggested that I cut back on orders and only take on the ones I want to do. I understand that I can do that, but after building a business and what I believe is a good reputation for so long, how do you turn down potential clients? You can't just say "sorry, I'm not doing your cake b/c I don't feel like it." And you can't lie to them, b/c you can only be "booked" for so long until people catch on. I realize I have a hard time saying "no" and that I do often take on more than I should, but as I pointed out to my hubby, I feel like if I am to be in this business (even though it is part time), things need to be done right, and what's the point in running a business if you turn people away? I used to do this for fun, to be creative, and to learn new skills. Living in a small town, I have always been realistic, and knew that opening a storefront would never be an option, as small independent businesses usually don't survive here. I thought maybe I could eventually branch out and try new things though, like cookie platters or dessert tables, and despite having tried, my "thinking outside the box" hasn't caught on. People here watch the usual cake shows on TV, then get the idea that they want a 3 tiered topsy turvy with all the bells and whistles, but only for $50. It just seems like my ideas are too big for such a small town, so I feel I am stuck making the same cookie cutter cakes (hello Minnie Mouse and plain jane wedding cakes!), hating the fact that I am giving up my free time for others, with the little bit of profit I do get being the only reason I took the order to begin with! Like a lot of my fellow decorators on here, I know I'm not charging what I am worth, and I am really resenting that. Even though I have raised my prices, I am never going to be able to have higher pricing like the bigger surrounding cities, so I feel like I am inevitably stuck working my a** off for not a lot in return, compromising my sense of creativity, self-worth, and overall being, not to mention my sanity! My question is, is it really worth it all in the end, or should I just pack everything up and move on to another adventure?

40 replies
Pastrybaglady Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 6:46am
post #2 of 41

No, you're not crazy for wanting to have some down time and a life you enjoy!  You chose to do it and you can certainly unchose it.  I suppose the big question is are you really DONE - like you just can't stand the thought of making another cake or are you just wanting to make less cakes for more money?  If it's the latter then it's the perfect time to raise your prices again because it's a new year.  If you raise them to what you really want to make you'll lose a lot of customers but that's what you want, right?  Only the people who truly value what you do will place orders and you won't be resentful.  If you find all your customers go away then you'll know it's time for a change.  Another option is to give yourself a sabbatical and just tell everyone you won't be taking any orders until the Spring or Summer or Leap Year...  Good luck with whatever you decide!

Apti Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 8:10am
post #3 of 41

Double your prices for all orders received in 2015.

 

(Do NOT tell them your prices are "doubled", just double them.)

 

You will have zero customers or "fewer" customers.   Either way you win.

 

Write this down on a card by your telephone and say these EXACT WORDS to every customer:

In 2015, prices will be higher to compensate for increased supply and ingredient costs.

 

 

petitecat Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 9:34am
post #4 of 41

I'm with everyone else, before you pack everything in, just simply raise your prices- and I mean give your cakes the price they deserve (probably double, like Apti said). That would automatically reduce the number of customers. It would give you more of a break, and give you the job satisfaction that you need. Expect a lot of anger and surprise from returning customers, so if you want to keep them happy offer a 10% discount on your new prices, and after that the new pricing structure applies. 

 

Good luck :)

julia1812 Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 10:56am
post #5 of 41

AWhy do you do slavery with yourself? Ask the money YOU want for your time etc. If you still can't enjoy standing in your kitchen baking cakes, quit. It's very simple. Yes, extra money is nice. BUT extra quality time too! Maybe you can find another niche? Baking classes, cake decorating, even cooking. Do you know how many people have asked me already to offer a class? There is a high interest, at least where I live...

-K8memphis Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 12:50pm
post #6 of 41

you're burnt out and you can recover but going forward the smell of smoke will never be far away -- i'd recommend packing it in for a while -- move on and come back when/if you want -- it's still fun to do when the conditions are right like if you were doing for something you can get enthusiastic about -- or getting a big fat paycheck -- but no you don't have to do this -- your husband will come around --

 

best of the best of the best to you -- giant hug too

cakesbycathy Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 2:08pm
post #7 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apti 
 

Double your prices for all orders received in 2015.

 

(Do NOT tell them your prices are "doubled", just double them.)

 

You will have zero customers or "fewer" customers.   Either way you win.

 

Write this down on a card by your telephone and say these EXACT WORDS to every customer:

In 2015, prices will be higher to compensate for increased supply and ingredient costs.

 

 

 


THIS!!

 

Maybe your husband was not as supportive as you thought he'd be because he's only looking at it from a financial aspect.  He sees all the money you've invested in supplies and feels like you are not recouping your expenses.  Or maybe you used to ask him for spending money but once you started the cake business you stopped (I have no idea if that's true, just know that happens for many at-home cakers).

 

I suspect your husband will be more supportive once he stops just looking at just the money side of it and sees that you are no longer stressed out and happier.

Apti Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 4:37pm
post #8 of 41

Quote:

Originally Posted by petitecat 

Expect a lot of anger and surprise from returning customers, so if you want to keep them happy offer a 10% discount on your new prices, and after that the new pricing structure applies. 

Well said and great idea, petitecat!

leah_s Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 5:18pm
post #9 of 41

I spent 12 years as a wedding cake designer.  It was 3 - 7 cakes every weekend.  I burned out.  I can tell you that if you're asking if its time to put down the spatula, it is.

puddles_gal Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 6:10pm
post #10 of 41

AThank you everyone for your insight! You have certainly given me a lot to think about! I just wish my hubby could see past the money and realize that compromising everything else isn't worth it anymore...

leah_s Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 6:32pm
post #11 of 41

I (read my husband and me) never had two consecutive Saturdays off during the summer for a DECADE.  It was hard to quit, because I liked the $$, but I went cold turkey.  I now have a food truck and I only work when and if I want to.  I still do some pastry work, but I make what I want to make.

costumeczar Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 7:46pm
post #12 of 41

Quote:

Originally Posted by leah_s 
 

I spent 12 years as a wedding cake designer.  It was 3 - 7 cakes every weekend.  I burned out.  I can tell you that if you're asking if its time to put down the spatula, it is.


Yep...

MimiFix Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 8:04pm
post #13 of 41

Your post shows concern for what people think about you, concern for your husband, and bitterness towards the demands of your life. But you run this business, not your customers and not your husband. 

 

Ask yourself why you are in business. To enjoy cake decorating? To pay the bills? To satisfy your customers' needs for lower-priced cakes? To make your husband happy? It often happens that our business decisions become twisted up with non-business issues. Until you can sort out the difference between your personal needs and the demands of customers, your judgement and decision-making ability will stay muddled.

 

Life is a series of compromises, but you only have one pass through life. Don't let others make the decision for how you live your life.

remnant3333 Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 8:10pm
post #14 of 41

If you husband insists on you to keep baking tell him that he needs to get into the kitchen and help you every time you need to make cakes. He may not be able to decorate but he can surely get in there and wash all dishes for you. He can also learn how to make frosting for you. With both of you in kitchen maybe having help it would not stress you out as badly.

 

Some husbands will get in there and help but others would rather be couch potatoes and make the woman do everything!!! If he helped it would also give you more free time. When someone washes dishes for you I would say that is a very big help!!!  I do agree with others that your prices should be higher!! Good luck with whatever you decide. It sounds like you are burnt out and need some time to yourself!!!

puddles_gal Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 9:06pm
post #15 of 41

AAgain, a lot of interesting points to consider. When I first started baking, it was for fun. I have a regular Mon-Fri job and my husband works shift work, so I figured the extra money would just be a bonus, and that extra income has become my "fun" money and pays for things I couldn't necessarily afford otherwise, like vacations, home decor, etc. But an argument ensued when I told my husband I was thinking about quitting cakes, as he reacted like I had just told him I was quitting my actual job. Even after explaining to him how I feel I never have time to myself, how exhausted I am when I come home from work to only have to work more, how tired I am of all the dishes (no dishwasher here!) and how I don't miss the backaches, not ONCE did he say anything to validate my feelings. There are times when I have had to get him to help me in the kitchen, and he has got nothing but frustrated, swearing and walking away, so he has had a taste of what I go through on a regular basis with baking, so I just don't understand where his head is at. All I wanted for him to say was he can understand why I would want to quit, and that he would support me no matter what.

sweettooth101 Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 9:09pm
post #16 of 41

I too quit !!!  Not that I was full fledged into a cake business, it was a hobby and from there taking orders when I felt like.

But each order is stressful until it is delivered with 3 days in the kitchen. I was not enjoying it, I figured if it's the money I could make more money going to work for 3 days at minimum pay. My  passion is gumpaste flowers.

So one day I said I'm done.

I still visit all cake sites but now I am into machine embroidery, lol. Just placed a $200 order of threads and stabilizer, these hobbies are expensive. Good luck with whatever you decide. life is short enjoy what you do.

MimiFix Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 9:26pm
post #17 of 41

I'm sorry, puddles, but we understand and validate your feelings. Maybe he just needs time to get adjusted to a change. Too bad he can't be supportive right now; sometimes husbands can be real jerks. He'll get over it. 

Jedi Knight Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 9:36pm
post #18 of 41

AI'm quitting at the end of August.

johnson6ofus Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 10:23pm
post #19 of 41

Quote:

Originally Posted by MimiFix 

 

Ask yourself why you are in business. To enjoy cake decorating? To pay the bills? To satisfy your customers' needs for lower-priced cakes? To make your husband happy? It often happens that our business decisions become twisted up with non-business issues. 

One of the MANY insightful things Mimi has said!

 

When I had 4 small children at home, hubby and discussed how many hours we "worked". We worked on adding up how many hours we each invested in " work or home " and how many hours we had "off". He actually thought going family grocery shopping (often with 2-4 kids with me) needed to be in my "fun time off column" (LOL). We agreed to invest the same number of hours into our family, home, and work. Yes, he worked long hours, and so did I. Defining what I thought was "fun" , and what was work/ chore helped in that. Although he STILL think I "like" gardening. Hate it-- but like a clean, weeded, flowering yard... you know?

Your cake JOB is a JOB, along with the home chores, primary job, etc. If hubby enjoys the extra $$, maybe HE needs a 2nd JOB. :evil: I bet your hubby is putting cake baking into a "fun time off" category for you, and not seeing the JOB part of it. 

Claire138 Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 10:32pm
post #20 of 41

Quote:

Originally Posted by Apti 
 

Double your prices for all orders received in 2015.

 

(Do NOT tell them your prices are "doubled", just double them.)

 

You will have zero customers or "fewer" customers.   Either way you win.

 

Write this down on a card by your telephone and say these EXACT WORDS to every customer:

In 2015, prices will be higher to compensate for increased supply and ingredient costs.

 

 

 

 

I agree with Apti. I see with cake decorating friends that a lot of burn out comes from not being able to charge enough for whatever reason (usually bc they live in a small town where the prices are not the same as the cities).

 

Also as this is a second job and you've invested a lot into it could you maybe give up your other job to do this full time? Like this you won't have the stress of both jobs?

 

Or just do as Leah and some of the others have suggested and put the spatula down. You never know, you might miss it in a couple of months.

 

Good luck for whatever you decide.

costumeczar Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 10:49pm
post #21 of 41

Quote:

Originally Posted by Claire138 
 

 

 

 

Also as this is a second job and you've invested a lot into it could you maybe give up your other job to do this full time? Like this you won't have the stress of both jobs?

 

 

No, no no! I know this was well-meaning advice but this is the worst thing to do! If you're going to trim something from your schedule don't let it be a secure form of income that you can leave at work at the end of the day! Running your own business is a 24/7 proposition if you want to make a living from it. Eliminating a job where you're not responsible for everything (marketing, bookkeeping, production, sales etc) isn't the way to reduce stress! I don't want to pick on @Claire138 for suggesting that, but especially now with so many people running cake businesses it's the last thing I'd ever tell anyone. These days when someone tells me they want to start selling cakes I just tell them "no, you really don't."

 

I think @MimiFix is right when she says men can just be jerks, hahaha!

 

And @johnson6ofus proves it when she said her husband wanted to put grocery shopping into the "fun time alone" category, oh how that made me howl with laughter!

MimiFix Posted 4 Jan 2015 , 1:06am
post #22 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedi Knight 

I'm quitting at the end of August.

 

Planning your next life?  :???: 

Jedi Knight Posted 4 Jan 2015 , 8:43am
post #23 of 41

A

Original message sent by MimiFix

Planning your next life?  :?  

Oh - I'll still be in the biz - I'm just quitting caking. I'll sell all the biq equipment -fridges, freezers, bakery cases, dishwasher, etc, expand the shop to take up the kitchen, and focus on the shop and the classes. I can't wait.

FioreCakes Posted 4 Jan 2015 , 8:50am
post #24 of 41

OMG, when I started cakes I didn't have a dishwasher and I had about 4 ft of counter space. No way could I have had a business under those conditions! So, I empathize!!

FioreCakes Posted 4 Jan 2015 , 8:51am
post #25 of 41

Hi Jedi! I saw you on another thread, a pricing thread, and I liked your post! Hope you'll stick around even though you're quitting! Care to elaborate on why?

Jedi Knight Posted 4 Jan 2015 , 9:29am
post #26 of 41

AFiorecakes - yup - customers have sucked out every bit of joy I ever had for taking orders and making cakes! Been caking for 15 years. I still love sugar flowers, and teaching. I surprise myself at that - liking teaching - because I generally hate people!

I'm putting my plan into action in August instead of yesterday because my Number One is quitting then (she'll be going to real estate agent school - or whatever it's called). She's been with me for almost seven years.

810whitechoc Posted 4 Jan 2015 , 10:50am
post #27 of 41

For the first time ever (20 years) I decided to take a week off starting New Years Day, it's peak season here right now, the reason? I know myself well and knew I needed a break.  I'm not going anywhere or doing anything other than resting, reading - no cook books allowed, walking along the beach - it's summer here, sitting on my back deck watching the sun go down and catching up on some DVD's I've been meaning to watch. This is my only source of income and with extra expenses at Christmas money is tight.  And guess what?  Money is soooooo not important compared to my peace of mind, I'm loving every minute of the peace and quiet.  I'm not at a point of burn out like you are, but am aware that if I don't take care of my emotional and mental health I could very easily head that way.  I have decided to do this every year, but I will plan better for next year financially.

 

Your husband is seeing the money as the issue, not you.  As has been said very eloquently by various people, guys can be jerks.  Your emotional health is so much more important than extra "things" extra money can buy.  Stop now, the money is not worth it and your husband will get over it. His reaction was probably just a knee jerk reaction, but given time you will both be able to discuss it further and he will understand, but he's a guy it may take a few conversations to get him to hear you! (Apologies to any guys out there but all the women know what I'm saying).

810whitechoc Posted 4 Jan 2015 , 11:12am
post #28 of 41

Can I also add, I informed my customers by posting on fb, and leaving a message on the phone for a couple of weeks leading up to the 1/1 that we would be closed.  I haven't checked my email or fb since then, the mental freedom of not being dictated to by technology is lovely.  Coming on here and surfing websites that I enjoy have been my only reason I have been on my laptop.

-K8memphis Posted 4 Jan 2015 , 11:28am
post #29 of 41

Ai'm so happy for you 810wc -- it's just wonderfully refreshing to hear you enjoying your well deserved time off -- carry on

Claire138 Posted 4 Jan 2015 , 3:48pm
post #30 of 41

Quote:

Originally Posted by costumeczar 
 

No, no no! I know this was well-meaning advice but this is the worst thing to do! If you're going to trim something from your schedule don't let it be a secure form of income that you can leave at work at the end of the day! Running your own business is a 24/7 proposition if you want to make a living from it. Eliminating a job where you're not responsible for everything (marketing, bookkeeping, production, sales etc) isn't the way to reduce stress! I don't want to pick on @Claire138 for suggesting that, but especially now with so many people running cake businesses it's the last thing I'd ever tell anyone. These days when someone tells me they want to start selling cakes I just tell them "no, you really don't."

 

I think @MimiFix is right when she says men can just be jerks, hahaha!

 

And @johnson6ofus proves it when she said her husband wanted to put grocery shopping into the "fun time alone" category, oh how that made me howl with laughter!

 

No worries! I thought that the OP had a proper cake business going, I misunderstood the post!

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