The Family and Business Juggle . . .

Hello All, 

 

I'm on the brink of starting my business, but to be honest, I am terrified, because I'm at home with my 9 month old and 3 year old. I know that it is possible, but I would love any insight. I'm not trying to rush into anything, but I have been messing with the idea of starting up for 3 years now. The extra income would definitely help. 

 

To cut to the chase, I am just wondering if how many of you out there are doing the "juggle". How many cookies are you averaging for the week ? How do you make it work ( are you decorating at 2am....) Do you have designated decorating time? How did you begin? If you did have your babies at home while running your business, what would you have done differently (now looking back) ?

 

You obviously don't need to answer all those questions, but more or less, I would love to know how YOU did it. 

Thanks so much for your time!

Original Post

Ooh, good question. I hope you get some good answers. I don't have kids so can't help here, though Anne Yorks at Flour Box Bakery touched on the work-life balance issue more than once in her live chat with us today. If you haven't already read the transcript, you might want to skim it for those pearls of wisdom: http://cookieconnection.juliau...-of-flour-box-bakery

Hi there, 

 

I am well and truly doing the juggle! I have an 8month old and a 4yro. I also work 3 days a week doing my 'real' job and am studying.

 

Cookies are not my main income, I more enjoy the extra income so I can feed my cookie cutter addiction! So as to reach as much of a balance as I can, I limit the number of orders I take a week. When I started out that was only 2 doz a week until I was more comfortable and knew what I could do in a week with all my other commitments. 

 

I also do a few things to help me time save. I have a large baking day once or twice a month when my husband can help with watching my girls and freeze the cookies. I find it easier to be able to just pull them out and decorate, rather than having to add in a baking day as well. Also when someone orders cookies I make sure I take the time to think of all the processes needed for the cookies before I accept the order and quote the price. I have been caught out quickly saying yes sure ill do those cookies and later realising that the design is a lot more time consuming than what I first thought. Rookie mistake and I'm getting better Not that I wasn't happy to do them, but I might not have taken so many other orders that week. 

 

I tend to decorate when the girls go to bed, I've not been up to 2am yet as I usually do my deliveries on a Saturday and I start on the Monday of that week decorating, this gives me enough time for drying and if something should happen to come up. I can just do a few steps each night. Perfecting my 20second icing has also helped in a pinch my largest order was recently for a wedding of 130 brush embroidery cookies. I started these 12 days before delivery. In saying that I had a lot of support from my husband over that time and could not have done it without him. 

 

Happy if you would like to chat further. My email is belleissimocookies@bigpond.com

 

good luck!

Belle 

Oh Belle Thank you! I'm happy someone responded! hahaha... I partly thought " Uhh...no one is going to answer this question because they are in the midst of juggling and don't have time to check forums!"

Thank you so much, I didn't even think about doing a dough/freeze day. That makes a lot more sense. Also, I think I need to just learn that I am not going to be able to do everything and I need to be aware ahead of time what I can do. You are right, easy does it is what needs to happen.

I decided to rip off the band-aid and at least get inspected.  So I am in the process. Plus, I think I am feeling a little more cocky because my son has been a upstanding citizen for about 8 days now. 

Thank you once again and big props to you ( because God knows you have more on your plate)!

I am currently trying to figure out a schedule for myself too.  I have two kids, age 2 and 5.  My husband travels for work, often last minute, so I'm scared to take big orders only to find my main helper has to leave town and I have no time to finish the order except at 2am.  

Frankly, I'm still on the fence about this undertaking, and I think often about being more of a hobbyist and recipe perfecter until my youngest is in preschool.  Also, I've seen a lot of cookiers do varied things with their cookie skills: blogs, videos, teaching, small volume super fancy keepsake cookies (like 1 at a time) vs. mass orders to feed a herd - some of which sound more friendly to a household with the tough schedule of small children.  

One of my friends converted a room in her house to a separate kitchen and can now comfortable accommodate much larger orders.  A huge problem for me is having to interrupt my work so frequently to cook for the family - so I admire my friend's seperate kitchen idea a whole lot.  I went through a phase where we ate out a lot more just to accommodate my cookie schedule, but it was getting too expensive.

There's so many directions this thing can go, its hard to decide!  Another baker friend has a nifty schedule of baking cakes in the morning while her kids watch a cartoon and decorating the cakes during afternoon nap time.  My household is just not predictable enough to accommodate a schedule like that yet, but I've sure tried it on for size a lot.  So far, what works best for me (similar to above) is to have one baking blitz day a month and then thaw and decorate as I go.  Unfortunately, I'm still working out the kinks in my dough recipe, my icing consistencies, and my freezer methods.  I have definitely had half a dozen 2am crying jags in my kitchen over cookies that were taking too long to finish. 

I'm very interested to hear how others handle the schedule of running a kitchen business from a household kitchen!

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