This is the time of year when everyone goes crazy and starts promising to turn their lives around by losing weight, getting healthier, finding more "balance" in their lives, and a bunch of other resolutions that they don't intend to follow through on.
Pffft...I don't bother making resolutions because I know they generally don't work. I prefer to make to-do lists then do the things on them. I've been guilty of adding things onto the lists that I've already done and crossing them off, too. Makes me feel more productive.
Last week I wrote a series of three posts about where I think the cake industry is going in the near future. I was interested in the feedback that I received, which was overwhelmingly positive. I did hear that there were some people who didn't like my conclusions about teaching being the new consulting, but that they were the people who are trying to teach more. To that I say they missed the point. Teaching in and of itself isn't bad, but in a couple of years we're going to hit a teaching plateau the same way we've reached the custom cake plateau. When that happens I'll probably write another article about something else being the upcoming trend.
It will probably be about people who are trying to teach other people how to run classes to teach more people. Eventually everyone will be teaching and nobody will be making cakes. But for right now, at least, it's time to ignore all that nonsense and relax, because from what people told me, you're all stressed out.
You don't need to invent a new technique every five minutes.
Something that I found interesting from the feedback that I got from the people who commented and sent me messages about those posts was the level of relief that someone had finally said what a lot of people seem to be thinking. A few people (who shall remain nameless) said that they were sick of feeling inadequate because they didn't make trendy cakes. Or that they felt like other decorators didn't respect them because they weren't part of whatever cake clique of the week is going around posting peppy messages to each other online.
To that I say stop worrying about it. There are people who are so worried about "inventing" new methods and techniques all the time it's probably making them crazy. I saw one person last year post a comment on someone's cake photo, but instead of just saying "nice cake" they wrote a novel about how they had invented the technique the decorator had used. I thought that was pretty rude, especially since the technique in question was nothing new. If you start posting ads for yourself on other people's social media you need to stop that right now and relax.
In fact, everyone could probably benefit from relaxing a little.
Take a week off during busy season. Take a vacation (go to my friend Sabrina's facebook page and like it, she plans Disney vacations and she does an awesome job). Figure out what things you do that are unproductive and get rid of them. Streamline your processes. Do whatever you need to do to give yourself a little extra time.
I personally am planning on doing fewer cakes next year since that's an easy answer. Doing only one wedding cake a weekend sounds like a vacation, and I've already gone through my calendar and blocked out weeks that I don't want to do any cakes at all. Doing that will ease up on my workload as well as lessening the number of tasting appointments and the amount of marketing I have to do. Win-win.
And if you're saying "but I can't do that, I need the money!" you need to realize that if you're paying for fast food on the days you're too tired to cook, or massages to get rid of the pain that doing cakes gives you, doing fewer cakes can eliminate those types of expenses. Sometimes working more costs more and it isn't worth it in the long run (bad ROI). Figure out if that's the case for you and make your decision based on facts, not fear of being broke.
Figure out what causes you stress and what the point of not being worth it to you is. That means that if there's a facebook group that makes you feel inferior, leave the group. If it means that you get nervous when you look at all the pictures of perfect (photoshopped) cakes online, stop going on pinterest so much! Everyone has a different stress point.
For me, it's when I can't stand up at the end of the weekend because my back and legs hurt so much if I do X number of cakes. Because of that, the money that I might make from doing X number of cakes had better be REALLY good. Chances are that doing fewer than X number of cakes is the better bargain, so that's the direction I'm going in this year.
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, online cake supplies at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com