I often get asked by cake decorators why I stopped such a successful business and chose to become a blogger instead. Often times my response is that I had to prioritize.
The simple truth is that I decided to make my life easier! Yes, stopping my cake business was a decision I made to make my life easier. To be able to spend more time with my kids. So, I could have more 'Me time" and also so I could do other things like cooking, and baking, other than just decorate cakes.
Don't get me wrong cake decorating is my passion and I loved being part of people's special days. I spent hours baking, frosting, decorating, and then, of course, receiving all those wonderful compliments from my customers. I even got published in so many international websites. I traveled to teach cake decorating.
However, there is so much to think about, for example,
- Cake decorating is very time-consuming. From the time you take the order to the time you deliver the cake, it takes hours if not days. And, in some cases, weeks if you include sugar flowers, laces, etc.
- Cakes and tools use a lot of space. We have a 3 bedroom apartment. Believe it or not, my living room looked like my cake studio. My dining table was my work surface and my kids never got to eat their meals on the table.
- You are always on the clock - I didn't use make-a-head or frozen cakes for my orders. I baked fresh cakes for my orders. So, this means I would be busy for hours leaving me no time to do other household things for my family.
- A cake business is a big investment - Whether you do cakes from a home business or a commercial kitchen you still need the right tools and the equipment necessary for decorating cakes. And, these can all add up.
- The weekends are busy - which means when the kids are home from school I was busy with cakes.
- It is not the best-paid job - this is the honest truth! Despite that, I charged more than most local cake decorators I don't think was paid enough for the time I spent on my cakes. This is an art and it is time-consuming but people only see it as cake. So, there is only that much you can charge.
While all these are of course things most cake decorators believe they are ready to overcome it often becomes a bit much at the moment of truth.
I spent hours on my cakes and the more orders I took, the longer I was unable to my family. It is no nine-to-five job, so often there was no end because I'd be working on multiple cakes at the same time.
I never got time to cook for my family and this bothered me the most because cooking was my second passion after cake decorating and pastry. I'd love to cook a hot meal for my kids when they got back from school instead we'd have to make sandwiches or order takeaway.
The test of time
My husband got sick with a back injury and was in bed for almost 7 months. I have a daughter who is a child with special needs so my husband's injury really took a toll on me. Managing them with my cake business was exhausting, to say the least.
There were times when I'd finish the cake just in time for customer pickup. A few cakes were taken by customers without me being able to take a picture for my blog or portfolio. I was so tired it didn't bother me.
It was just a break
It's true! When my husband got better, I decided to stop taking any more cake orders for the next six months. I decided I needed a break. Guess what? when the six months were up I decided to extend it to another 6 months. By the end of the year, I felt like I had got my life back.
- I was cooking every day for my kids after school.
- We were eating at the dining table and there were no sugar flowers or gum paste toppers to worry about.
- I could watch movies over the weekend with my kids.
- I could make plans - dinners, lunches, meeting with friends. I even had time to go and get my nails done.
- and I wasn't exhausted when I went to bed! (yes, even my sex life got better)
- Most importantly, I was not stressed. I didn't have to worry about my cakes, scheduling, or baking. Will I get it done on time? Hope I make an on-time delivery.
- Also, I could finally write all the cake tutorials and recipes that I had footage ready but never had time to write on the blog.
And, that's it, just like that I started refusing cake orders and found myself enjoying life.
The best thing
During this time away from cakes, I found my passion for cooking. It was like mummy's girl was back in the kitchen and having fun. My kids were in the kitchen with me too. They loved homecooked meals and I loved watching them feast over them.
The other thing that I got back to was my blogs. People always enjoyed my recipes and cake tutorials so my pageviews were going up. Once I monetized my blog and calculated my affiliate income I realized that I was making almost the same amount of money as my cakes. Today, I make more than I ever did with my cakes.
In fact, I even had time to create a few free masterclasses for anyone that wants to learn and improve their skills.
Not really. I love my passion for cakes but I love spending time with my kids even more. I still do cakes but for family and special occasions.
I am so excited. Like you, I like to challenge myself as well. Always looking for new recipes, new challenges. Some work out better than others, others not so much. I love trying recipes from different cultures/ different countries. Thanks Veena for sharing so much of you.
Thank you so much Diane.