One-Woman Show, Can I Make This Work?

Business By ShopGrl1128 Updated 20 Mar 2008 , 1:33am by southernbelle

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ShopGrl1128 Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 4:09pm
post #1 of 11

Dear friends,

I officially started my business this year and so far Iâve sold 4 birthday cakes, I also booked 2 b-day cakes in April, a wedding cake in august and I sweet sixteen cake for September and I have a new tasting scheduled in two weeks.

The problem is that I have a full time job that doesnât allow me to even return customers calls during the day.
I could work with the exhaustion of having a full time job and get home at 6:30pm to start baking but not being able to call or meet my customers is killing me!
I recently participated in huge bridal show and I had to do everything by myself during the few hours I had available prior the show; thankfully my sweet b/f kept some brides entertained (heâs my savior!) while I talked to others but at the end of day I was dead! I could barely walk the next day.

Iâm planning to quit my job next year to run my cake business full time, but meanwhile I donât know what to doâ¦my cake business is not near big enough for me to depend on and to pay for the expenses.

I really try to manage my time in a smart way and prepare things ahead of time but it seems there not enough hours on the day for me to do all the things I have to do.

Between the job, cooking, doing laundry and cleaning my house and the cake business I feel I wonât be able to make this year.

Am I missing something? I know most of you have kids, and other jobsâ¦.how do you do it???!!!
I need serious help managing my time.

Thanks for reading.

10 replies
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deb12g Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 4:35pm
post #2 of 11

I have a full time job, also. I return customer calls during my lunch break and after work. Most of my appointments are in the late afternoon/evening, and some on weekends. My clients don't seem to mind, as most of them work, also. My regulars know that I work, so they just leave messages, knowing I'll get back to them ASAP. Most of my new clients are referrals, so they know that Ill get back to them, too. I really haven't had problems with returning calls, making appointments, etc.

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MichelleM77 Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 4:59pm
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I have a full time job also. I have on my website that phone calls will be returned between 6 and 8 p.m. That's when I start baking also. I have no other choice but to do it this way as I can't afford to quit my job as my customer base is not large enough yet. My son is 10 and is very independent and hubby does what he can to support my baking venture.

You can do it!! Manage your time as best you can, don't take on too many orders at once, and drink lots of coffee. icon_smile.gif

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ziggytarheel Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 5:09pm
post #4 of 11

I certainly don't have a business, but I am a woman who sometimes gets overextended!

I'm wondering if you are a perfectionist around your house? Does it bother you if the dusting and vacuuming have to wait?

I took a time management seminar in college which changed my life. I learned to prioritize my days and take full advantage of every hour in them. Where was I wasting time? What was I spending time on that just didn't make that much difference?

I have a chronic illness which really limits my energy. I live with an "energy budget" every day. If I over extend myself, I pay for it for the next day or two or three. So I've learned to really look at what was most important in my life and put the bulk of my energy there.

So, could it be that your standards for a clean house, etc. can't be as high if you are going to run your business too?

I guess my other suggestion to you is to take a good look at how you spend your time each day. Look for the fat and cut it out. See where you can be more efficient. Are you getting enough rest and recreation so you can work efficiently, or are you so tired it takes you longer to get things done? Are there times you can get ahead so that busy times aren't so overwhelming?

I guess from a business perspective, maybe you could look at the cakes you are taking on right now? Are all of them worth your time? Are there certain cakes you should cut out because they aren't worth the trouble? Are their certain cakes you should be really pushing because you get more profit for less time?

I know my advice has limited usefulness, since I don't have a business. But I think some of the general principles can be helpful. I hope, anyway. icon_smile.gif

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AZCakeGirl Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 5:26pm
post #5 of 11

Before I went full time with my cakes, I was doing the same thing....working a full-time job & trying to squeeze everything in between until I had a large enough client base to pay the bills - then I quit my day job! I am able to do only the cakes now & get by, but let me tell was one REALLY tough year trying to get to that point (I do not have kids either yet, so it was ALL work, work work!). It was REALLY hard to get myself to pull through sometimes. I was overworked, overexhausted and just straight out run down constantly for over an entire year trying to build my business while paying my bills at the same time. My days were spent working my other job & my evenings/ weekends were spent baking & meeting with clients. There were MANY times when I was up until 2 or 3am baking or decorating & I had to be at work by 8:00am! I completely lost my social life since there just wasn't any leftover time, but my friends seemed to have understood & are still there for me now. There was also a very high stress level that came along with thinking that you were NEVER going to get a break. Sometimes I really just wanted to say "forget it". I just kept pushing my limits though & reminded myself that I was doing this for a reason & if I just did it long enough, eventually it would pay off. Now I am happier than ever & get to do what I love - cakes and nothing else! I make my own schedule, work when I want, stay home when I want & am my own boss. Some people don't realize how hard it is & how much commitment it takes to start your own business. It is very tough trying to get through the phase you're in right now. It takes a LOT & you may decide it isn't worth the stress or wearing yourself down - but if you do go for it, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, I promise!

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AZCakeGirl Posted 17 Mar 2008 , 5:37pm
post #6 of 11

Oh far as time management, the only thing I can say....EVERY 10 minutes of your day counts. No TV shows, no interent unless it's needed to pay bills, etc. I even kept food & a cooler of drinks in my car so I didn't have to waste time at drive throughs when I was "out & about" running errands. And - took my lunch to work so I could spend the time sitting in my car making calls instead of waiting in line to get food. Seriously, before you know it, all those little 10 minutes here & there add up & you've wasted an hour of your day. Which means, you're up an hour later & getting an hour less sleep - and sleep is something you're going to be needing as much as you can get! The most important thing to remember is to try & take care of yourself as much as possible.

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TheButterWench Posted 18 Mar 2008 , 12:28pm
post #7 of 11

can you make enough with your cakes to hire someone to come in once a week or even once a month or every 6 months for deep cleaning?

You can keep up with your house in that way.

Or get yourself a freezer and do all your baking one day. Make your batter and and bake and while the cakes are baking make your icing.

So that part of your work is done.

You don't have to deep freeze for months, but if you have no problem with freezing for a few days, this may work for you.

also you can make flowers ahead of time, Let them air dry and store them in containers. This leaves you free so you can take some nice custom orders in between.

You can also make pretty fondant plaques let them dry and then you have them done, you can pipe on them with icing, chocolate or even write on them with edible pens.

If you have all your components made ahead of time, it won't take you but a minute to put a cake together.

I can't tell you how many times I've sat infront of a TV watching my favorite programs with an icing bag pumping out flowers.

How many school activities I've taken my kids too and I have sat in my car making Christmas decorations for my Gingerbread houses.



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cambo Posted 18 Mar 2008 , 3:33pm
post #8 of 11

I also did the FT job thing along with my cake business...for nearly 3 years! It was exhausting work, but I managed! YOU CAN DO IT! I only decided to make my cake venture FT because they were cutting back my hours at work (due to a company buyout) and I was actually making more in cakes than I was decided to make a go of it! It's the best decision I've ever made....but not after years of late nights baking/decorating!

Chin up! You can do this!

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ShopGrl1128 Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 8:43pm
post #9 of 11

Awww you guys are so sweetâ¦I know youâd understand how I feel.
Sometimes Iâm just soooo tired!

Youâre right AZCakeGirl a minute here and there makes a huge difference.
I made flowers with some extra RI the other day that I later used on a last minute order;
I was able to decorate this one cake in just a few minutes! I couldnât believe it.

Yes, we do have a cleaning lady that comes every three months or soâ¦but that woman is booked solid for months to come!
Sheâs harder to get than the president; Iâve been looking for someone elseâ¦desperately.

To be honest and I like things to be flawless and sometimes I spend more time than necessary
to make things perfect, now Iâve realized that those little tiny errors we see on cakes nobody seems to notice!

Iâm learning slowly (and the hard way) that sometimes you just have to let things be.

Thanks all for you kind words.

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indydebi Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 10:45pm
post #10 of 11

I was there. I had a full time job and didn't get home until 6:00 and then I faced 4 hours of baking cookies every day. I didn't schedule more than 2 brides a week for samplings (and it worked out to be good marketing too .... when they called the first week of Feb and I told them, "I'm now into the 2nd week of March for appts....." it made them feel they had to book fast because I was so popular! icon_biggrin.gif ). I got by on 4 hours sleep a day for a year and a half.

I was lucky in that there was a Sam's Club just 3 minutes away from my office, so I could pick up supplies at lunch. I returned calls on my break and lunch.

My family lived on fast food and the only normal heavy-duty cleaning done was in the kitchen.

It really was hard, but I remember seeing on the food channel some show about starting your own business and the person said, "Don't expect to get any sleep when you're getting started." So whenever I'd feel like I was some big failure because I couldn't seem to get it all under control, I'd remember this comment and tell myself, "You're not a failure! You're NORMAL!" thumbs_up.gif My husband didn't have to get me flowers and presents ... he'd give me quiet time to nap on the couch on a Sunday afternoon! The best present ever!!!!

But I left that full time job 2 years ago and I now have a shop in a small strip mall.

So when you're tired and depression and frustrated, just remember ......

THAT'S NORMAL!!! thumbs_up.gif

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southernbelle Posted 20 Mar 2008 , 1:33am
post #11 of 11

Been there, done that...have the t-shirt. I too worked a full time job and did my cakes for 2 years before opening my shop. I returned calls at lunch and after work, set my tastings up in the evenings or Saturdays. It was week I worked overtime and made 6 cakes that week....I was exhausted. I finally made the decision to open my own place and quit my full time job.....found out 2 months later they were closing the office....have not regretted my decision. You will get there...keep on plugging icon_smile.gif

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