Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Little Advice

Today I thought I would share a lesson that took far too long to set in for me. When you get a question about an item, it is not the same as an order. When you are asked if something can be made in a different color or length, it is not the same as an order. A compliment with a side comment about a future order, is not a order. When someone orders something and does not pay for it, it is not an order. Repeated correspondence in regards to a future order or custom piece is not the same as an order. I think you get the point here. Until actual money changes hand it is all speculation and an over eager seller can get themselves in a heap of trouble here.

What you must endeavor to remember is that you are under no obligation to work until you have been paid, so don't. Do not order supplies, do not work out design elements, do not celebrate, do not pre-spend your profit, do not do a single thing until the sale goes through. Don't trust in someones perceived enthusiasm and make a custom order before listing and getting paid in advance for it. These are hard lessons to learn. We all get excited at the prospect of a large order or a custom client, but to get all proverbial, we mustn't count our eggs before they've hatched.

I've had a lot of unhatched eggs lately and this has me thinking back to some of my first duds. I got over excited and worse than the physical time and energy that I expended was the mental energy wasted on creating, worrying and ultimately feeling disappointed. If only I had know how much simpler it would have been to not get invested in every potential and simply wait for the actual sale before reacting.

I am not an expert or a huge seller of handcrafted goods, so feel free to ignore my advice here. Go ahead, get excited every time someone looks in your direction, but some time from now, when you are tired of getting disappointed, you'll remember that I told you to wait and see. Sure, it seems like an awfully pessimistic approach to life, but it makes every real sale that much better. Thus ends my dispersion of wisdom for the day.


Sandy said...

I totally agree, but I think it can be really hard for new sellers to understand, especially when potential clients will say things like, "well, I want to see what it's going to look like before I agree to buy it from you". So many buyers don't really understand how buying custom is supposed to work that it's easy for eager to please new sellers to get caught in that trap.

Diana said...

That's great advice, Pam. As usual you get it and aren't intimidated to put it out there unabashed.

I have been guilty of talking about an order without placing it (yet). My motive is to purchase, but sadly lack the freedom to spend as selfishly as I'd like (you've no idea how expensive diapers are for three small bums).

Fortunately I don't do custom orders right now. I got burned a few times professionally as a graphic designer, and then stopped taking new clients.


AJ said...

This is so true, and I had to learn it the hard way, too! I've not just been burned by random people out there in the world, but by people who were supposedly my friends. As such, the only person now who gets custom orders without a deposit is my mother-in-law, who is my best customer and totally good for it.

Tom Banwell said...

Great advice. I have to keep remembering it myself. Today someone enquired about my $595 helmet. Yes, I got excited. And no, they haven't written back.

Waterrose said...

What wise advice. The heartbreak and disappointment can have an awful affect on your attitude. Then you come to a point that you doubt things when people ask you questions...can make you crazy!