I was listening to some awesome 80's rock the other day, and some Billy Squier came on. (I was never a real fan, but I have to say that "Everybody Wants You" does rock.) I started wondering if the mental image I had of what he looked like was right, since I had a vague idea but I wasn't sure. When I got home I looked his picture up online, and he did look pretty much like what I thought.
I noticed that he was from the Boston area, and since I used to live there I clicked on his bio, which mentioned that his video for "Rock Me Tonight" was pretty much considered to be one of the worst videos ever made, and that he has said that it ruined his career. Naturally, I couldn't pass THAT up, and sure enough, it's pretty horrifying. I can't believe that someone pitched the idea, someone else choreographed it, and they convinced poor old Billy to dance around a bedroom in a pink tank top.
You may wonder why I'm bringing this up on a cake blog, but I think that it illustrates a point about your business. When you lower your standards (and this had to be a lowering of someone's standards), bad things can happen. If you're in business for yourself and a client comes to you with a request that you don't think reflects your value as a professional, there's no reason that you have to take that client on. Even if it's someone who's already booked you, if a request that they make is so bizarre that you don't want to do it, you shouldn't.
Some people go by the idea that a client should always get what they want, and I do believe that to a certain extent. However, if someone is requesting something that isn't going to reflect the quality of your work, you'll be doing everyone a favor by saying that you can't do it. You can do this in a diplomatic way if they're a current client, or by just turning the job down if they haven't hired you yet. You'll be protecting the reputation of your business, and will also be preventing yourself from ending up dancing around in a pink tank top (metaphorically, of course).
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond, VA.