Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Remember, things don't always go to plan.

Hello again, I hope you are all well. I am in the throws of a nasty cold or flu, never quite sure how to tell which is which. Whichever one it is has had me feeling very unwell at all for the past few days. This started me thinking of some of the pitfalls than you can fall into when you work for yourself. These depend on whether your business is a small part of your life or your main income and obviously the more you rely on your craft business income the bigger things like illness will affect you.
For instance, when you work for yourself, especially as a sole trader, there is no one to take the reigns when life gets in the way of work. Orders will still be coming in and need processing, the phone still rings and the emails still need answering. You may well be lucky like me and have a husband that will take care of the order deliveries for you, or perhaps friends and family members that will lend a hand.

There is no sick pay when you are ill and you work for yourself either, unless of course you have taken out a specific insurance policy for this. If you have young children you may need to make provision for when they are on school holidays or indeed sick themselves. You might have other commitments that take up some of your time and need to be factored into your working week. On the plus side you don't need to stick to the usual 9 to 5 and can often fit your work duties around your home life. Perhaps that's one of the reasons you decided to strike out on your own in the first place.
If you sell online it is also worth taking into account these possibilities when setting your delivery details on your website, Etsy shop, Facebook page etc. It is great if you can say 'despatched the same day' as long as you can fulfil that promise. Yes your regular customers will most likely forgive you if you take a little longer than planned once in a while but if you repeatedly fail to deliver then it could potentially affect your reputation. I am sure I have mentioned before that your reputation is one of the most important things in business, if not the most important. It is much better to over-estimate delivery times and get things out to customers quicker than they are expecting than it is to keep them waiting even a day longer than stated. We always say that 'we aim to deliver within 2 working days' when it comes to supplies and this allows us time for anything unexpected. For instance we live in rural Ireland and don't have the best broadband so the internet connection could go down, and often does, meaning we might not have access to the details unless we have already printed off the order. This could mean that we miss the post office that day and have to wait until the next working day, but by allowing the extra day on our delivery details page we are still keeping our word.

It might be that you only sell handmade goods in which case your lead time could be anything from a hour to a few weeks depending on your product and how long it takes to make. Just make sure your customer is always aware how long they will have to wait, making sure to allow for life's mishaps in your calculations.

I hope you have found this useful and I look forward to chatting to you again soon.

Until next time....happy crafting

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