The Cake Life – Why You Want To Quit and Why You Shouldn’t

Posted by on May 9, 2016 in A Piece of Cake- Blog | 6 comments

Fave Caker Problems Collage

Lately my social media feeds have been full of posts like these:

” I’m burned out. I don’t want to make cakes anymore”
“I am tired of giving up my weekends”
“I am tired of not making a profit”

Sound familiar? Is that you? Then let’s talk!

The number one reason cake artists feel burned out is because they have TOO MUCH WORK. This isn’t necessarily a great thing. Let me tell you why. Ready?

There is a huge difference between making cakes for fun and making cakes for a living. The biggest mistake bakers make is under-pricing their work. They do this for a plethora of reasons: they feel insecure about their work, they say there isn’t a market for higher prices, or they just want to be jerks and steal all the customers for themselves without a care in the world as to how they’re cheapening the value of custom cakes (I know a business like that in Los Angeles ­čÖé I won’t be a total ass and name it though haha! ) Ok so back to my original statement of you having too much work. I don’t have a doubt that your work is good enough to sell, but WHY are you swamped? Are you that amazing that everyone wants your cakes, or are you too affordable? Think about that one long and hard.

When I started my business I quit a very lucrative career to be poor for X amount of years as my business grew and developed. I too started selling my cakes for nothing (my first 100 person cake sold for $60, I made a total of -$120 on that one after my materials were purchased haha) and I slowly raised my prices from $3 to my current $7. I┬ádrafted a rough 5 year plan and told myself that┬áI never wanted a high QUANTITY of cakes, I wanted high QUALITY of orders. What does this mean? It means that I’d rather have one $500 order for the weekend instead of 5 $100 cakes. This is why I set minimums and strictly stick to them. Your TIME is more valuable than anything and you need to learn to set boundaries with your customers and yourself.

I see people post 6-8 cake orders per weekend and although that’s awesome, wouldn’t it feel better to make the same amount of money by selling 2 cakes? Maybe 3? Unless you live smack in the middle of nowhere there will always be a market for high quality prices. If it’s true that there is NOT, then either change careers or move or figure out a way to diversify your income.

Another reason why you feel burned out is because of scheduling. Without a proper schedule this business will rule your life 24/7. When I started off I took phone calls at any hour because I didn’t want to lose customers. I eventually set a boundary by adhering to my store hours (yes, even home based businesses have store hours. That’s part of setting boundaries). Any phone calls that come once my store is closed go straight to voicemail. Speaking of phone calls, a wise idea is getting a business number.I use Google Voice and can screen all of my calls through my cell phone. BOUNDARIES are VERY important. At the end of the day we are selling cake so any late night phone calls aren’t going to be life and death situations…

But back to scheduling- you NEED to have a schedule. It’s a fallacy that entrepreneurs and business owners thrive on lack of structure. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! It’s all about structure! Once you have a schedule you have the freedom to do what you want with your free time. I know what I am doing Tuesday- Saturday and I am CLOSED Mondays. I don’t answer e-mails or phone calls those days. I bake Wednesdays and Thursdays, work on cakes Thursday and Friday and I am DONE by Friday evening just like the rest of the world. This requires being very organized with your orders and prepping things on Tuesdays and Wednesdays so that assembly goes by faster on your work days.

If you don’t feel like your customers appreciate your work, it’s because you are doing a poor job showing confidence. Confidence isn’t shown only by sharing cake pictures of your work, it’s shown by your prices and by the limits you set in contracts. Contracts are so very important!!! I sell my contract template for cake artists to use. You can watch my youtube commercial here:

and you can buy them here: www.shakarbakery.com/shop

I bet if you were making great income and had a schedule that freed up your Friday evenings you wouldn’t feel as burned out. You don’t need to make a cake every weekend to make good profit. You don’t need to make 4-5 cakes every weekend to feel successful!

There are so many ways to diversify income… with the knowledge you have in this artistic world you can open new avenues of revenue. I will talk more about that in my next blog!

Did this blog help? Am I right? Am I wrong? I want to hear from you! Why do you feel burned out???

 

6 Comments

  1. I would love to know more about this Google Voice. My home/shop phone and cell phone rings all the time…text messaging and email included. Would you care to share more about it?

    • Hi!

      Google Voice is awesome!! You’ll need a gmail account to create one. Just Google “google voice” and it’ll have all of the instructions for you! It’s free!

  2. All of this, yes! I need to be better at sprading,out my schedule. I get to busy with other things,and before you know it I’m just getting started thursday night! It creates burn out real quick!

  3. This speaks to me. Unfortunately I am losing to underpricers and am being basically forced out of business. I have always valued my work and that makes me lose out to folks who price like grocery stores.

  4. I stopped making cakes and cookies (other then for my own children) about a year and a half ago because of all of the reasons you just listed above. I have been missing it a lot lately and been trying to weigh out the pro’s and cons of taking orders again. I’m glad to hear I’m not alone and the advice you gave to those problems is SO helpful! Thank-you for the great advice and encouragement!

    • you’re very welcome!!

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