Does Anyone Have A Part-Time Legal Decorating Business?

Business By duchess1120 Updated 8 Jul 2009 , 10:37pm by Kitagrl

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duchess1120 Posted 16 Mar 2009 , 3:11pm
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How did you get started as part-time (or why did you choose part-time)? Do you have a full-time job and if so how do you balance?

I want to turn my hobby into a legal part-time business so I'm just looking for ideas.


17 replies
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cakelady15 Posted 16 Mar 2009 , 3:49pm
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I own a legal cake shop. I wouldn't call it part time though. It's more like a second full time job. I work in an office Mon - Fri and then I do my caking the rest of the time when I'm not working my day job. I'm lucky that my day job is pretty flexible with my hours so if I have a big wedding or something one weekend I can take Friday off or adjust my hours through the week when needed. I still have to get in my 40 hours though so it makes it tough to do more than a few cakes a week. The decision for me to still work another job when I opened my cake shop was easy. I live by myself and had to pay my bills and I just don't have enough orders coming in to do that so I have to have another job. If you have some more specific questions about doing caking as a second job though I would be happy to answer them if I can.

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duchess1120 Posted 16 Mar 2009 , 4:04pm
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Wow! Sounds cool.
I am single parent and I live with my family (for now). My biggest motivation is getting my own place. I work two part-time jobs (one is temporary) and want to have a legitimate part-time cake decorating business for additional income to assist with getting my own place (plus I love decorting/being creative). I can only work at night and on Saturdays (half a day).

My only concern is creating a business in my mother's home and then having to change everything once I leave (don't know when that will be). I just don't like to create things or do thing knowing it won't last.

However, I am a winner and owning a homebased cake decorting business is my desire so I know it will get done.

A question I do have is how do you determine how to run your business since you do have a fulltime job. Do you decide to make 1-2 cakes a week or to earn $X this week? Do you have set hours and do you make things at home like flowers or cover cake boards build boxes? What ways do you use to maximize your time?

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cakelady15 Posted 16 Mar 2009 , 4:26pm
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It can be a pain to get everything set up so if you live with your parents and will be moving you may want to really think about that. When you move, you will have to re-register your business, get re-inspected, and change anything that might have your address on it. Depending what state you live in, the inspection process can be pretty tough so you might not want to go through it twice. Also, when you do get ready to move, if you've already established your business, you will have to make sure you would still be allowed to have it wherever you move to. A lot of rental properties won't allow you to run a home based business out of them.

Some of the things I do to maximize my time:
1. I always have my day planner with me and I always keep it up to date so I know right off the bat if I can do a cake on a day that someone is asking me for.
2. I have a blackberry with internet access so I can check my cake e-mail when I'm away from my home office.
3. I set up a business phone line which is actually the same price as my home phone was and it has free call forwarding so I set it up to forward all my business calls to my cell when I'm not at home so that I don't spend half the night returning messages. (this also allowed me to have a free listing in the yellow pages)
4. Most people want their cakes delivered on Saturdays so that means I spend most of my nights on Thursday and Friday baking and decorating.
5. I only set up wedding cake tasting appointments for Tuesday or Wednesday nights so I can make the cakes on Monday and none of those things interferes with my weekend baking.
6. Being organized is very key. On Saturday afternoons, after all my caking for that week is done, I review my cakes for the next week and make a list of everything I will need. Then I head to the cake shop and grocery store and get anything I might be out of. I only go to the store once a week and that's very important to me. If I have to stop in the middle of a cake to get more supplies it throws off my whole schedule.
7. On Sundays, I do all my paperwork, update my books, log receipts, make out contracts for the upcoming week, and any other office stuff that I need to take care so that it doesn't pile up.
8. On Monday, I start all over again icon_biggrin.gif

I also have a very understanding boyfriend who runs his own company as well so he understands why he only gets to see me about once a weekicon_smile.gif I don't have children either so that makes it a lot easier for me to keep a schedule like this and work a regular full time job.

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cakelady15 Posted 16 Mar 2009 , 4:38pm
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Oh yeah, another thing I forgot:
I use my lunch breaks at my regular job to run errands, set up appointments, and talk to clients. I have also left on my break to deliver cakes if I have a weekday delivery or I will come into work at 5:30 in the morning so I can leave at 2 to make afternoon deliveries during the week. It definitely helps that I can be so flexible with my schedule. icon_biggrin.gif

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CakeForte Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 12:07am
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I have a full time job at 55 hours a week plus grad school full time. (My job is super flexible though. ) The cake biz is very part time..but that is changing in a couple of months since I'll be graduating.

To balance....I only do weddings or large parties. I don't take every order that comes my way and I won't do any last minute orders unless it's a pretty big order. Cookies/cupcakes, etc...I only sell those as supplemental items to a wedding cake. Anything else causes unnecessary stress for me.

I meet with clients on Sunday afternoons - only, because I do want to keep my social life. Also...anytime you make an exception to the causes more stress.

For family helps some, but I usually start on wednesdays and do a little bit each evening .

I --USED--- to do phone calls and such on my lunch break and/or when I got home from work....but is a waste of time to spend 10 minutes on the phone, per person. Now every inquiry is directed to my website/ email.

From the first email, I tell them I would love to work with them, and invite them to come in for an appointment. The serious ones say yes. Email needs to be your best it keeps you organized.

I have all of my preliminary info on my website. Then if someone has additional questions, they can email and I will respond via blackberry...or when I get home at night.

I also have the "automated responses" with different answers to diff subjects. That way I'm not writing the same info over and over. I just cut and paste...make a couple of changes to the person and send it off.

Everything can be set up through email, then when they come in...I can spend 1 hour, one-on-one time. That is much better than a phone call where I have to try and describe a flavor.

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suzylynn58 Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 11:58am
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I am so glad to see this topic. I work full time too and am about to open a part-time biz so it's interesting to see how others do it all.


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Cruz Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 11:03pm
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Thanks for all the input, I was just wondering if it would be possible to juggle a part-time biz and my full-time job.

Do you rent kitchen space from another biz? Do you think it would be better to rent your own kitchen space? Where do you do your tastings?

Sorry for all the questions but you guys are making a part-time biz sound possible.

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CakeForte Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 11:46pm
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I have a storefront that is not finished out I rent space from another kitchen. I use the front part of my store for tastings...since that part is complete.

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cakelady15 Posted 19 Mar 2009 , 1:17pm
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I'm in Ohio so I am allowed to bake legally out of my home. I have a separate area set up with a table and some display cakes where I do my tastings. It helps that my kitchen is really large so I have two full ovens in there and room for a bread rack (drying rack, bakery rack, whatever you want to call it) that I can use to cool cakes, store cookies, and dry flowers without taking up too much space. I can also fit a 7' stainless steel table in my kitchen so I have lots of room. I knew I was opening a cake business before I moved into my house though so I knew what I needed to look for before I moved.

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Deb_ Posted 19 Mar 2009 , 8:46pm
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Yes I own a Hair Salon, that's my "full-time" job, and I have a licensed kitchen in my home for my "part-time" baking business.

I've been doing cakes for about 25 yrs for friends and family but I was able to get licensed about 5 yrs ago. At that point I decided to expand a little and start selling.

I like to keep the baking to "part-time". Working out of my home I cannot have employees, so for me to make what I make cutting hair, I'd have to work 80 hrs a week at caking. For me, that's not an option. I enjoy doing it part-time and I know I would grow to hate it if I HAD to do it to earn a living.

So you can do both, it just takes a little planning, a LOT actually icon_lol.gif but, it is possible. Of course, I have it pretty easy since I'm my own boss at my "full-time" job also. So if I have a couple of big cake orders, I can take some time off from the salon.

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tarheelgirl Posted 19 Mar 2009 , 8:57pm
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What?? what does PART TIME mean??? icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

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cakelady15 Posted 20 Mar 2009 , 12:51pm
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Originally Posted by tarheelgirl

What?? what does PART TIME mean??? icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

LOL icon_lol.gif Yeah that's why I called it a second job and not a part time job icon_biggrin.gif

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cupcakebliss Posted 20 Mar 2009 , 3:36pm
post #14 of 18

This is a great topic that I will definetly be watching. I am in no way ready to have my own business yet, but would love to start out as a part time business one day. It is inspiring to hear posts of others who make it work for them.

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cupcakebliss Posted 20 Mar 2009 , 3:37pm
post #15 of 18

This is a great topic that I will definetly be watching. I am in no way ready to have my own business yet, but would love to start out as a part time business one day. It is inspiring to hear posts of others who make it work for them.

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muddpuppy Posted 21 Mar 2009 , 10:36pm
post #16 of 18

I've also got a full time job and a legal cake biz. Talk about busy! Juggeling work and cake and my daughter and hubby, not in that order of course, is trying.. But I love it! I rent a kitchen hourly and use a local resto-lounge for group tastings. Usually if I have the time I'll go to the clients home for tastings/consultations. I've only been in biz a few years, but I like the "seasonality" if that's a word, of weddings.. that way I have all winter to book cakes, and all summer to make 'em, and a few in between to pay the bills.. Good luck!

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cakesweetiecake Posted 8 Jul 2009 , 10:30pm
post #17 of 18

Excellent thread!

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Kitagrl Posted 8 Jul 2009 , 10:37pm
post #18 of 18

I work from home...legally...I guess it would be considered "part time" since I have four kids and can only accept a certain amount of orders each week.

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