Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Common Mistakes Theme #1 - Rushing Isn't Always Good

Are you ready for the first theme in the Mistakes Happen series? Yes? Well, then let's just get right into it.

Theme #1 - Rushing Isn't Always Good

When I first opened my business, I was afraid to say "no" to any potential customers. Lots of times people would contact me and ask for rush orders. Instead of saying no, I would always try to do it. I'd make mistakes (usually by trying to cut corners to save time) and it would always end up costing me more to make the product than I got paid for. Here's just one example:

One of the very first orders I sold on Etsy was for a time-crunched customer. I was so eager to make my first sale that I agreed to have the cards to her within a week. I used an online printer that typically delivers to me within 3 days. All was going well until a blizzard hit New York and my online printer lost power. Panicked, I found a local printer, that was willing to print overnight for me. The local printer had crappy paper, and charged me 3x the price - but I did it anyway because I didn't want to let my customer down. In the end, I had the cards to her by the end of the week, but I lost a lot of sleep and money. The day after I mailed her the cards printed at my local printer, the gorgeous ones arrived in my mail from my online printer. I had to throw them out.

Lessons learned:
  • Charge a LOT more for rushed orders (like, double the price you'd normally charge)
  • Only agree to rush an order if you're actually able to do it. If it isn't possible, just say no
  • If something happens, don't compromise the quality of your work
  • Email your customer, tell them the situation, apologize, and offer something nice in exchange for their patience. I tend to offer free note cards, a stamp, or a coupon for a future order
  • Slow and steady wins the race (this must be why I like turtles so much)
 Have you ever made any mistakes because you rushed? Would you mind sharing?

Coming up you'll hear more about Theme #2 - Test Things Out, and Theme #3 - Learning to Say No

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