After Only 3 Years Of Caking, I'm Ready To Call It Quits!

Decorating By suesweet Updated 26 Mar 2010 , 5:30pm by designer3941

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suesweet Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 3:11pm
post #1 of 19

So, I have been decorating for about 3 years and I'm am already burnt out. I don't know how you all do it. I feel like I have no life and wonder if it's all really worth it. Maybe this is just not my calling. I used to be excited about doing cakes, but now I just feel dread and anxiety when called for an order. I think part of the problem is that I just don't think it is worth my time. You all know the amount of time and energy that goes into one cake, and at the end of the day, I am not making enough money to justify it. Especially since it's just me baking, making icing, decorating, cleaning up, etc. It is sooooo much work. Really, how do you all do it?

18 replies
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cricket0616 Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 3:17pm
post #2 of 19

I am sorry to hear your frustration. Do you do this on a full time basis or on the side?

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sadsmile Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 3:26pm
post #3 of 19

Yup and if you're running a business... as one of my friends said, "Decorating is only about 15% of my work week." She is sooo right! It's not just about pretty icing and decorations.

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suesweet Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 3:28pm
post #4 of 19
Originally Posted by cricket0616

I am sorry to hear your frustration. Do you do this on a full time basis or on the side?

I do it on the side. I work 30 hrs during the week elsewhere.

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KHalstead Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 3:30pm
post #5 of 19

suesweet I am SO WITH YOU on this right now...............I find myself dreading every cake order!!! Sometimes I wish I'd never started this whole cake thing!!

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jhay Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 3:37pm
post #6 of 19

If it's just a side gig, I'd suggest that you do one or two every now and then that you really want to do and de-stress! See if the passion comes back. If it does...AWESOME! If not, you can do family and friends birthdays and call it done.

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sillywabbitz Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 3:40pm
post #7 of 19

Raise your pricesicon_smile.gif Seriously this will have two effects. You will filter out some of the orders (that's good so you're not so swamped) and the cakes you do will be more worth while. There was a great thread on this somewhere and the woman said if you are taking every cake order you get, you're doing something wrong. She said you should be turning down I think at least 25% of requests. Fewer bigger orders is better than lots of small orders. Just a way or the other you should probably take a breakicon_smile.gif

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cricket0616 Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 3:45pm
post #8 of 19

Could you start limiting the amount of orders you take? Maybe no more than 2 a week and make sure to leave at least one weekend open a month where you have nothing. Sounds like you need time for you.

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Kitagrl Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 3:45pm
post #9 of 19

Yes raising prices helps ALOT.

I agree there are some days that I'm like "WOW I just wanna be a housemom again and not have to worry about this extra stuff."

On the other hand, my prices are raised enough that I'm making enough income to truly be helpful..and truly, if I quit, we would really lose out! Its not a ton of money, but its enough to be very helpful for those "extras" that make the regular budget super tight. And we want to be paying off some old bills as well and I think, judging by last year's tax figures, I should be able to help some with that this year.

So yeah I still have the stress of having a "job" besides being "mom" and other responsibilities with church and all...but on the other hand I feel that I'm being paid enough that its not really "burnout".

If I'm up at night grumbling under my breath about a cake...I didn't charge enough. icon_smile.gif

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suesweet Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 3:48pm
post #10 of 19
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

If I'm up at night grumbling under my breath about a cake...I didn't charge enough. icon_smile.gif

icon_sad.gif I'm always grumbling under my breath, usually until 2 or 3 in the morning. And then up by 6 to get ready for my day job.

I will raise my prices and see how that goes. Thanks.

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dalis4joe Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 3:49pm
post #11 of 19

I agree with ^^^ them.... you can do 23 things...

1. Raise your prices (ingredients went up... ecomony is high.. etc...
2. Take less orders...

Maybe try to put more effort on booking wedding cakes... they are more profitable and in my opinion easier to do...

Good Luck and I hope all turns out well for you... cause once you don't anjoy what you are doing... then it's downhill from there...

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MrCake01 Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 3:56pm
post #12 of 19

Im sorry to hear that. I work a full time job, plus teach cake decorating, and do some orders. I sometimes feel like that. I know what helps me is to do something different. For instance if you do nothing but butter cream cakes do some fondant or if you do nothing but fondant start doing airbrush just something new to spark some interest. You could always on a cake decorating supply shopping spree.
Good luck,

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Lee15 Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 4:09pm
post #13 of 19

Take a break and revamp. The worst thing is to start not liking what you do - then it becomes a chore and a bore. After your break, raise your prices so that you are making a decent profit and take in less orders to start. Plan out what you have to do and spread it over a few days so that you are not up so late trying to accomplish everything. I hope this works for you.

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Classycakes Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 4:25pm
post #14 of 19

I really hear you - burnout can be awful!! I believe that when you start taking paying orders, it's no longer a hobby - it's work!! And it's work on top of housework, kid's work, outside the home work - it's extra work!

After my first year taking whatever orders came my way, I soon realized that I was starting to resent the time away from my family time. I was used to working 9 to 5 and then all of a sudden I was working daytime, nighttime, weekends, holidays - there's no such thing as a break!

After that first year, I decided to wholly concentrate on wedding cakes. Absolutely nothing else but wedding cakes! If you're getting $400 or $600 or whatever for one cake, then that beats the hell out of making a dozen or more all occasion cakes to get that type of money. Plus, here where I live the wedding season is basically June to October so I work like a dog for those few months then the rest of the year is much easier.

When the wedding cake orders started coming in too many to handle, I just raised my prices and that adjusted everything back to my comfort level again.

I still get burnout by the end of October but then when the next June rolls around, I'm ready to go again!

This works for me but you need to find that happy balance that works for you. Whether that is placing a "minimum" dollar figure to each order you take, raising your prices, planning your schedule to allow for free time, and/or re-defining the type of work you do - you have to come up with a plan that complements your life, not one that complicates your life.

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cakemom42 Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 4:52pm
post #15 of 19

Everyone has great ideas & they all do help espeically raising prices & taking less orders.... The words "I am booked" ring true even if it's to take a day with your kids or a date w/your hubby!!
But most importantly I believe we all do not take enough time for our selves.. I block off Mondays to be just my day where I have the day to do what I want & nothing else (generally sleep)... In addition I give my self a vacaction every year where I just let my clients know I will not be doing orders for 2 weeks. In today's world having an IPhone or Palm/Blackberry makes it harder to get away but I turn it off at certain times of the day, put it down, & live my life with my family. My clients have come to know & respect when they can get a hold of me & to plan ahead if they want me to do their event.
It is important to set boundries & to be protectivve of yourself in this business because creativity can't flow if you are stressed or over worked.

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BlueBerryBaker Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 5:01pm
post #16 of 19

Just remember this, your a Mom/Wife first. I had to force myself to remember this when I was working 80+ hrs a week and getting only 4 -5 hrs of sleep a night for 2 yrs, working my tail off in Real Estate. Sure the money is good, but what I lost: time with kids, missing school plays, reading bedtime stories, cost me more than any sale I made. Those times are priceless, and once gone, they're gone. So I made a rather easy decision one day. I gave it up! Now I work when I want and my family is my 1st priority. If this is a hobby of yours, then keep it as that. You can say your not available, set your limits. It's your business, and you run it, not the other way around. You'll find what works for you. Best of Luck!

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cakesbycathy Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 5:01pm
post #17 of 19

Why not take a month off to recharge?
Then when you are ready to come back do both - raise your prices and limit the orders you take.

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Annso Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 5:28pm
post #18 of 19

I completely understand where you are coming from. There were times when I was so tempted to tell a client to come collect your money cause I can't do this right now. This buisness can be and is very tiring. I would definitely take all the advice given. I am now pregnant so I'm using this time to take a break from taking orders. After my baby is born I am going to target the wedding market and do that only..And since I'm one of the few on my little island who is willing to do fondant and gumpaste my prices will be higher.

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designer3941 Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 5:30pm
post #19 of 19

I can relate to your challenge!

I too work a full-time corporate job and caking is my creative outlet/side business. I too found myself taking on too many orders, getting no sleep and my family and household was paying the price.

After I took a step back, I have raised my prices as I quickly realized my time is valuable!!

That has helped get the customer base that I want to work with and I limit myself on how many orders I take. I just recently started blocking off one weekend a month for no orders. That helps me get the things done I need to do...household stuff, etc...even a girls weekend once in a while.

Hang in there..if you enjoy caking take a step back and determine how you can keep it enjoyable not a burden.

Best Wishes!

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