Monday, 17 July 2017

Experiences That Online Home-Bakers May Face | Monice Bakes

Every job has its ups and downs, and as of this moment, I am still thankful that I chose the unconventional path of running my own online baking business. It's not always a smooth sailing perfect journey and here are some struggles that online bakers may face, with a couple of positive experiences that makes it all worth it.

These are collated from my personal experiences and may not represent all online bakers.

1. The unwillingness to reject orders 

I really dislike the idea to reject my customer's orders and I always try to squeeze in as much as I can, including the most last minute orders unless I really have no time or energy. I believe it's not just about the extra profits I earned but I also value every customer. I can't bring myself to disappoint them, especially if they really trust me to bake for their important event. I also trust brand loyalty, and believe that they will come back for more if they genuinely like my service and cakes.

2. One-man lady show 

There's a never-ending bucket list to expand on my business. There are so many different types of desserts, flavours and designs to experiment. I haven't got time to try on cake pops, steamed cakes and so much more. The list just goes on forever. Not forgetting that I am actually keen on trying out dessert table services. But there's only one of ME. Most home bakers manage the business themselves, at most with minimal help from family members. Sometimes I wish I can do more.

3. Repeated Designs

Sometimes I get repeated requests over the week. I think Tsum Tsum is a very good example. As much as I enjoy baking, I do wish that I can work on newer designs. I'm definitely not complaining. It's natural for people to order designs that are available on your portfolio since they have some samples to refer to. But I really love it when customers trust me to design anything for them! Sometimes spontaneous creativity works even better! 

4. Copyright Issues

This is such a common issue and I'm quite sure other bakers face this struggle of customers sending an design request taken straight from another baker's photo. Sometimes you can even see the name of the bakery. I understand from a customer's point of view that it's only possible for them to use photos found online as a reference since they may not be able to describe or draw out their design in mind. Unless the design is very straightforward and commonly made (such as a normal ombre cake with rosettes), I will usually tell them that I can do a similar design to their photo.

5. Running Out of Storage Space

Space is never enough, especially my fridge space even though I already have 2 fridges at home. I have cabinets filled with ingredients and I'm so guilty of over-shopping on Taobao for decorations and prop supplies. It's an online shopping heaven that helped to improve on my cake photos. I'm glad that I still have leftover space in my room drawers and cabinets for cake boxes and decorations. Sometimes I have a difficult time tracking my stock inventory and I just can't stop buying!

6. Competition

With convenient platforms rising such as Carousell and also the perception of making easy money, there is a rising trend of home-bakers. This is surely unavoidable as it happens in any industry. The only way is to stand out from the rest and also maintain high quality standards from every aspect of the business. Ultimately, customers will return if they like what you sell. 

But then there is also this fear that the bubble might burst anytime since trends change overtime.

7. Unfortunate Hiccups

There are bound to be minor hiccups whenever you bake, especially when cakes are so delicate that any small miscalculation or error may ruin the cake easily. I'm no baking goddess and I make mistakes at times, causing me to redo the whole cake. This is also a reason why I buffer time for my baking orders and ensure that I do not overcommit. Sometimes, you also have to work your creativity to save the cake if it's only slight design mishap. In fact, some spontaneous changes actually turn out looking better than before!

8. Receiving Challenging Requests

I can usually judge if I am able to handle the order based on the requests sent in from the customer. And if I am not confident with the complex design, I will speak the truth and reject the order. It is quite demoralizing to admit that you're not good enough in some ways but it's always better than overcommitment, leading to angry and dissatisfied customers. Sometimes losing a few orders is better than losing your reputation.

9. Passion and Joy

Despite the above struggles that I face as an online baker, nothing makes me happier than to know that everything I am fighting for is worth it at the end of the day. Not many are lucky enough to find a job that they sincerely love after all. I receive a huge deal of satisfaction despite some hiccups along the way, and having appreciative and grateful customers really make my day. On top of that, I also get to escape from the mundane 9 to 6 working hours.

10. Never-ending Desserts to Munch On

It's also a plus point that I get to eat some extra desserts when I have leftovers! (I'm becoming a glutton!) But oh wells..

Let me know if you have the same or different experience from me!

Visit my page for more cakes and desserts!

Monice Bakes is collaborating with My Cozy Room for a spa-themed cupcakes giveaway. There will be a total of 3 winners! HURRY! Giveaway ends on 27 July. 


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