Ask in response: Will you sign a contract? Who is organizing and editing this article? Do I get final edit rights before it goes to press? That will stop any random parties who want to get lots of stuff for their show for free.
Toba Garrett has revised this recipe in he new book "Master Class" to say that the ganache should be at room temperature but it should have hardened up before you add it to the buttercream. You could use chilled ganache as long as you let it come to room temperature before you add it. And for those who are looking, creme de cacao is a generic chocolate liqueur that tastes just fine in this recipe. So does Irish Mist or Glayva or any sweet Scotch/whisky based...
If you are busy then you are busy. Your family would have to reserve their cake ahead of time just like the paying customers even if you do give it to them for free. So you can see that there are two separate issues: discount, and timing. NOBODY can invent extra time...least of all family. If they have not reserved a cake ahead of time then they cannot expect one even if they wanted to pay you double...right?
I always called customers. Then an evening appointment only if necessary (for a wedding cake).
But please remember that Cottage Food states permit "inspection" of kitchen. So you need to post your EVENING hours on your website, that may help.
That is for making piped decorations NOT for covering a cake. Add as much butter as you used shortening. Add 2X as much sugar as you used the first time. Then beat in some heavy cream or liquid coffee creamer. Add about 1/2 cup per pound of fat, or until you have a smooth consistency icing for covering cake or six... And next time test with a half recipe.
Beg or borrow or buy hte book Professional Baking by Wayne Gisslen.
Most of your questions are answered with the professional terminology there.
Some of us do work with TQM, but it would take several hours to write down how this works in a baking business...
Lots of European sponge cake recipes that use eggs, sugar, almond flour.
Use google for "almond torte" or "almond sponge" or "almond cake" you will find more recipes there than you can shakl a stick at.
How about you stripe the icing bag.
I would lay down a layer of green and fill with yellow to make a subtle green edge. Both shades will show.
Better that than alternating columns of green and yellow ruffles...
Use the cardboard. Stick that down on the separator plate with a good quarter-cup gob of buttercream. The board protects the cake plate from scratching. The cardboard base also permits you to take the plate home from the event and give the leftovers to the party on something that they can stick into their fridge.