Business Lessons I've Learned - Or, Why Cinco de Mayo Almost Killed Me This Year
When you first open your business, or even if you've been doing it for a while, you're bound to make some dumb mistakes. In the occasional series "Business Lessons I've Learned," I'm sharing some of the business mistakes I've made so that you don't make the same ones!
The product side of my business has become a veritable source of passive income - after six years of hard work!
I'm grateful that it's going so well - but I'm not done learning yet! I recently learned a huge lesson thanks to the margarita-and-taco-fueled holiday of Cinco de Mayo.
I always thought it would be a good idea to hop on the bandwagon of minor holidays like Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Cinco de Mayo, Fourth of July, etc. If I have cute products for those holidays, I can sell a lot in the lead up, right?
Well, yes. Right. But here's what I've learned - for these holidays, everyone seems to forget that they need something for their office Cinco de Mayo party or bestie's Memorial Day party until like, three days beforehand.
What does that mean for me?
It means that get a deluge of last-minute orders for holiday-specific products that people need by the day before the holiday, and don't want AFTER the holiday... and to be honest, not everyone reads the fine print on my lead times. To rush production costs me a ton of money, and overnight or two-day shipping is even more expensive. I go above and beyond for my customers, but I can't afford to cover rush production and overnight shipping for everyone!
So, last week, I was drowning in last-minute Cinco de Mayo orders and trying my best to manage them all while keeping my customers happy. It was basically the worst. And I learned my lesson!
No more promoting/developing holiday-specific items for holidays except for Christmas - the way my production is set up, I'm unable to offer an Amazon-Prime-style situation where I can ship the same day and get it there within 1-2 business days for no extra money. And after doing this for so long, I know that customers wait until the last minute to order things for the smaller holidays.
If I do develop holiday-specific products in the future, they need to be in limited quantities, pre-packaged, ready to go, with priority shipping built into the price. I literally cannot deal with the stress of another Cinco de Mayo situation!