Each weekend, I read posts from overworked decorators. They cannot finish their orders in a normal work day and end up going without sleep for a day or two. Sometimes, it is because they have CHAOS.
CHAOS is normally defined as Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome. The house is a wreck and you would always rather meet anywhere but your place. In the cake world, I’ve decided it means Can’t Handle Another Order Syndrome.
When I first opened my bakery, I never cut off orders. I worked a record 42 hours straight to make sure I filled all the orders. After I nearly face planted into the open oven when I started to fall asleep, it finally hit me that I had to set some boundaries.
For months I always said yes. One day, with a huge arm twist from my manager/sister-in-law, I said No. I nearly threw up after I hung up from my first disappointed customer. But I survived.
I set rules for my shop. I started letting customers “save a spot” for a cake. Much like a reservation, they just held a place on my calendar. And they followed my rules. The shop started running more smoothly.
You might not be working in the volume that I was, but you still need to be realistic on what you can handle without burning out. We lose too many talented decorators simply because they work the fun out of the job.