Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Making the most of what we have ...

I'll get to something deep and meaningful in just a moment, it being the end of the year and all that, but first I'll show you some pages I made recently:

Romsey is a little town near us with the best Waitrose (expensive food store for those across the pond) for miles around. We went to get the week's shopping and noticed signs about roads being closed. So we parked in Waitrose and walked through to the square where the Christmas lights were going to be turned on. Unfortunately it took ages and we had to get back to the store before the lights went on. We took some rubbish photos. No matter, here's a page made with Raspberry Road's Christmas in the City which includes a gorgeous Bokeh Papers pack. If I'd know this earlier I might have tried to get some better Christmas shots! Click on any photo to see a bigger version in a new window.

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We had a Christmas market in Southampton town centre this year as every year. A depressing Facebook group I was in - note "was" as I now leave anything not uplifting - did nothing but moan about the market and how Southampton isn't Christmassy enough so we went to have a look and had a lovely evening. Best of all I got a Monty tote bag free in John Lewis. Yay me! I think they were for people buying iPads and I was only buying a £25 phone but the assistant was keen to get rid of me and go on her break and I don't blame her as the store was packed.

Here's the page made with Kristin Aagard's Christmas Lights:

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One thing we did learn in our Failed Christmas Lights trip to Romsey was the date of their carol singing. Again photos were rubbish but the sly cropping of a regular photo into a panorama made them less so and, hey, we were there! Kit is Melissa Bennett's Tis The Season, template is from Traci Reed's 365 Unscripted Stitched Grids 7.

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So is there a not-so-hidden point to the title of this post?

In common with many of my scrapping friends I have far too many kits and other scrapping stuff and there is no need to buy any more. I should make the most of what I have. Indeed I'm sick of everyone trying to sell me more at every opportunity, and not even timely stuff. Christmas kits were being sold in November. Correct me if I'm wrong but don't you need to take the photos before making the pages? Are we scared the internet stores will run out of kits? We had New Year kits well before Christmas. By the way, designers, "Happy New Years" doesn't even make any sense in the UK. It appears to beg for an apostrophe, needs to lose an s and/or ends mid-sentence. Don't get me started on the way you leave money on the table by not considering what other nations say.

Yes, of course I'll fall off the wagon at some point but I'll save money, save computer space and actually use the kits I already have.

Have a wonderful 2015 full of good memories and new friends!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Ignore Paypal at Your Peril!

Altogether now with the whinges:

"I can't afford to have Paypal in my store, it costs too much money"

"Poor little me I work so hard and everyone should love me and not criticise me".

Oh sorry, the general all-purpose whinge from silly designers slipped in there. We should probably take that as read.

What matters is not what your expenses are but your profit - the bottom line:

Do you want 100 sales without Paypal charges? Do you want more sales from those 100 customers and their friends? OR...

Do you want 1000 sales from around the world where the net receipts are a (small) percentage less due to Paypal charges? Do you want more sales from those 1000 customers and their friends?

If you can't see it in abstract terms - and most people can visualise the concept of "more sales" - try it out with some actual figures. If your maths isn't so good get a friend to help you.

Here's another common whinge: "The store is taking commission. It's not fair" Well, of course it's fair. Why would someone who has spent time and money building up a store sell your stuff free of charge? It's the same maths exercise:

Do you want to sell to the 100 people who might look at your website and Facebook page or do you want to sell to the tens of thousands of people who are customers of the store?

We have a whole series of articles in progress on running a digital scrapbooking business. What prompted me to write this now is a big paper scrapping company who have branched into digital. This has its own challenges as paper designs don't always transfer well to digital and digi scrappers don't necessarily make their pocket pages the way paper scrappers do. They also have a gazillion stores vying for their business. No Paypal. Lost sales.

You can't assume you will have a lot of sales so why lose sales through not offering Paypal? I can use a credit card for any purchases but the bank charges an overseas transaction free of £2.00 (about $3.00). I have another card that doesn't do that but you lose out on the exchange rate - so still a fee. Don't kid yourself it isn't! And why, pray, should I entrust my credit card details to a company I don't even know?

I fix the stupid "No Paypal" mistake on a regular basis as I'm an accountant. A British one, hence maths not math. When I prepare a business plan or bank loan application for a client Paypal has to be in there or there's no deal. It's standard business practice even for the smallest business. I offer it myself so clients can pay their fees easily. It's a courtesy to clients. The total fees just go in my own accounts along with bank charges. It brings in the fees earlier and I can move the money to my business account in seconds.

Your business will have expenses - phone, stationery, web hosting, Paypal charges. Suck it up. do the maths.  Look at the bottom line. Don't be one of the whingeing idiots. Be professional, be courteous to your customers, make more money!