I got up early this morning. It was one of those days where you just wake up and feel good and get moving. I suppose that there is a lot on my mind, but that is usually the case and I don’t see today as being much different from every other days. There is always lots to do.
It’s still raining (it has been for several days now) and it has been misty and kind of dreary. I am kind of waiting for it to dry up a little bit so I can take a walk in the woods. The trees are starting to look like they are turning and I don’t want to miss seeing the colors. Blissfully it has cooled off a bit and it doesn’t seem as humid. That really makes a difference for me and is probably why I feel so good. Winter is coming . . .
Yesterday was one of those day where I accomplished so much, yet so little. Even though I am tallying in my mind what I got done and still need to do, I don’t know whether to be proud of myself or disappointed. I worked on things all day long and didn’t fool around much in between and at the end of the day (around 9pm) I still had a long list of things to work on. Rome wasn’t built in a day I suppose.
One of the things I did was make a call to the magnet company to inquire about their other products. I was very pleased with the response I received. For those of you who may not have read, I had found some printable magnet sheeting on Ebay and ordered up a package of 50 sheets. The price was good and it was a nice opportunity for me to look into other possibilities for surfaces for my customers to use. I found the magnets to be great for painting, although I thought that if they were slightly thicker that they would be more functional. These thin sheets that I ordered were fine for holding maybe a sheet of paper, but for the most part they were self-supporting and mainly decorative. Something that would have slightly more holding power would possibly be better.
When I received the order, there was a business card enclosed (a magnetic one, of course!) with the name of a customer service representative. I called the number and inquired about what other products they carried that would fit my need. I found the rep to be very nice and helpful and after a pleasant conversation, she told me she would send me a sample package of some of the different types of magnetic sheets that may suit my needs. After a quick email to her with my shipping information, I received a confirmation that the package would go out that day.
Now that is the way to do business. It is also a great example of how using Ebay to market your company and products can work well for you. By offering a decent price and good service on a large forum such as Ebay, it attracted me as a customer not only for the basic product that was for sale, but also for other products and future sales. Some of you who are selling your items may want to try this on a sample item. If you have something that you could afford to sell at a somewhat lower cost in order to attract new customers, perhaps you should give it a try. I found the ink system for my printer this way too. (I talked about the ink system that I use in this blog entry) Once I started using it and saw the good service I received from this vendor, they earned a good customer.
The other thing that I did that took up most of the rest of the day was that I updated the site and wrote the newsletter. The update wasn’t big (thankfully!) but my host company upgraded their software and I had the challenge of picking through the new interface and trying to figure out how to do everything all over again. I had stated last week that they made this change and for the most part it is for the better, but after actually working with it for a while I have come to the conclusion that they could have done some better testing and refining before forcing it on their customers. I needed to go to online chat with them three times in the course of the day to figure out how to do some things that I regularly do.
I am not a stupid woman (I don’t think I am anyway) but I found that the online help files were incomplete and not very helpful For example, when I was getting ready to send out my newsletter, there was no ‘send’ button that was evident. I went to the help files and in them it was explained how to construct the bulk email and message, but it stopped abruptly when it came to the sending part. I felt confused and somewhat stupid.
I got onto the online chat and the rep that was helping me had to check. Apparently she didn’t know either. After a few minutes, she returned and told me that there was a flyout from a small symbol on the bottom right corner of the page and sure enough there was. But how was I to know that? I asked her why it wasn’t pointed out in the online help and she said they were ‘working on completing the instructions and making them clearer.’ Forgive me if I seem short-sighted but you would think that they would be completed and updated BEFORE the software was implemented and forced on their customers. Seriously.
There were other things too, like you had to hand-code some of the links and such in order to make them function properly. Then, when you switched back from the HTML screen, there was all kinds of extra code thrown into the text that you needed to hand clear or it would show up as random gibberish in the text. And finally, there was no preview for the newsletter, so I needed to repeatedly send a copy to my own email to see how it worked. For some reason, after it was cued for sending, it took up to an hour for me to receive in my email. At first I thought it was being filtered out as spam, but eventually it all showed up and then I had trouble keeping the versions of corrections straight.
It made my brain hurt.
Yes – it was quite buggy. I do know basic HTML (and I mean basic!) but being the teacher that I am I always think of things in terms of those who are brand new to things. Yes, it was a struggle for me but eventually the newsletter got out and all was well, but I feel for the poor person that doesn’t have a clue about coding and is stuck with buggy software. Not good, I would imagine.
I like doing the newsletter and try not to do more than two a month. I don’t like to bother people, but things seem to move so fast on the site and there are always updates so I like people to be aware of them. I put a new coupon offer for my mailing list customers which gives them a 15% discount on their orders with the code. I like doing this because I like to reward people for their support and loyalty and encourage them to join the list. The list is growing every day and I believe that is what is helping my business grow, even in these difficult times.
So it was a full day and today will be back to the drawing board for me. It will be a pleasure to be able to do some ‘mindless drawing’ and hopefully I can get to the saw by tomorrow. I need to get that new project to the magazine as soon as I can.
So early I am and it seems I burned some of that extra time rambling on here a bit. But that is OK. I still accomplished a bit before I started writing this morning and I am only on my first cup of coffee. The day is young and there is more adventure to be had I am sure.
I wish you all a good day today. Have fun and enjoy the season. Remember to do something fun and creative too.
(here’s a nice picture for you to enjoy!)
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"