Is the client always right? Do we always need to respond to their demands? Isn’t this what they tell us in the retail or service industry?
Yes, they tell us this, but NO NO NO, that is not always the case!
It is correct that if you offer a good/service that you need to stand by and honor your word or contract with the client, but there are limits. Many of my SHWs compromise this in the beginning and become a victim to their clients from that point forward. Hopefully I can help stop the cycle now if you are prepared to heed my advise. if not, you will forever be a victim of your clients or your business will likely fail to thrive. (Sorry to be the negative Nancy, but evidence speaks volumes).
The vinyl decal/t-shirt industry ebbs and flows. Near the holidays many folks buy a Cricut, Silhouette, Brother, US Cutter device… and believe that their products will be unique enough that they will be able to quit their jobs and move to the Bahamas and work from their beachside home like we all watch on HGTV. For some it sits in a closet for months due to fear of the design system. For some, thousands of dollars are spent on the front side to find that you need a client base to fund these purchases before the purchases are made. Some even take orders before even knowing how to use the devices or methods to make items that they have presold. It will slow down and there will be less competition from now until around September again. Don’t lie to yourself. I did it, too! Fast Forward, now I sell vinyl and blog about lessons learned. LOL!!!!
Have you not noticed that in December and January EVERYONE offered to make $5 decals. They showed like 6 options knowing that they relied on etsy for the designs or could not do layers? Just a single color decal. Same with shirts. Look at these marketplace ads! You can spot the beginner because they have a single color decal on ALL of the images they post. I am not making fun. We ALL had to start somewhere, right?!?!
if you are the victim of delusions of grander, welcome you to the table. So how do we make this work for us?
1. Come to Splurge! and learn how to use the device you have purchased. It is a nominal fee that will at least help you learn to make stuff for the family and house to ultimately redeem your investment versus paying someone to make these items for you. I tell my clients that i can teach the purpose and functions of the design space, but cannot teach creativity. I can only hope that they come up with their own ideas...
2. If you already know how to operate the device you have, use the best quality items on the market which will set you apart from your competition. I always tell clients that I come off as pompous when I talk about the products that i sell and endorse. I better be!!! If I am not proud to sell, wear, or use it, how can I expect you to?!?! We proudly endorse Specialty Materials products (Thermoflex, Glitterflex, Fashion Prints…), Oracal, and Starcraft!
3. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER do a “last minute” project for the price that you would do a project that is a “heads up, you have plenty of time” project. The first time you do it, you have made yourself a victim of that client. They will ALWAYS call you last minute and will NEVER be willing to pay a fee for the last minute request. Your family will suffer, your friendships will suffer, and your well being will suffer. Guess what???? (you say what…) That client will not stress at all or pay you a cent more for putting you through this. Don’t believe me? Ask any of my Side Hustle Warriors or Fellow Crafters on our facebook group page, Splurge Side Hustle Warriors and Fellow Crafters.
4. They only know the color you offer them. If you are teetering back and forth on a matching color, STOP THE MADNESS! They are not there with you. Go with your gut. If it looks like the color to you, then pick it. They are obviously not with you or they would pick themselves. Photos and FaceTime do not do it justice. If you tell them it is the closest match, they have no reason not to believe you.
5. Lastly, and MOST IMPORTANT… when it is not pleasurable for you to be doing this any longer, take a break. Nothing is worse than a crummy product and crummy offerings because you are tapped out creatively. Recommend another artist that you trust to handle it. This way you do not lose clients by lack of creativity or by lack of a reliable reference. We are all in the same community together. Let’s play nice and boost each other.
I love you all for taking the time to read this. Hopefully the advise was helpful for you. If not, please share it with someone that it may help. Stay safe and always smile!