I just spent an hour e-mailing and researching a variation on one of my products for a possible custom order. That’s right—I might not even land the order.
It is not the first e-mailing session I had with the potential client and there will be one more at least. Hopefully, this was the longest email exchange. In addition to the time spent communicating with the client it will take me over an hour to make the product. The kicker – I don’t think I can charge more than $15 for it.
Why should I consider this?
I have recently decided to focus on custom and wholesale items only. I still have over 100 ready-to-ship items in my shop. I have gotten tired of sewing and sewing and sewing things that may never sell. I want to focus on a sure thing. That’s fine…or is it fine, if every single product is practically starting from scratch in product development? If I end up selling 50 of the item I just developed with the customer then the time was worth it.
If I just sell just one (or heaven forbid, she doesn’t even order it) it will be a total waste. Some waste and risk is necessary…but guess what? It wasn’t the only custom order I worked with this morning.
I want to make everyone happy, and I really want to make sales.
Some customer might even suggest something that will be the next big thing for me. I don’t want to cut that off. On the other hand, I need to quit pouring hours of time into products that don’t pay me back.
I’m brainstorming ways to improve the situation. I could become better at saying, “No, I don’t think I can help you.” I’m not holding my breath on that one. I could prepare a form with as many variations and combinations as I can think of on each product. I think this is a good idea, but it would be difficult to be exhaustive.
Do you accept custom orders? What advice do you have for streamlining the process/making it more profitable?