Christmas finally died last Tuesday after a long illness. It will not be missed. After a second consecutive December decline, I’d love to hibernate until Valentines Day…but when the self-employed rest, we lose. I am already pondering how to better cash in on next year’s spending orgy.
Since my past few posts were so number-heavy, and since I'll have the year-end wrap-up next week, and since I’m currently suffering yet another lousy week, I’ll spare you the nitty-gritty today.
I only lost one Christmas shipment this year, sending a $10 item to West instead of East (Whatever) Street in NYC. UPS apparently lost a 2nd-Day Air shipment this week, although I haven’t confirmed that yet because the customer fell silent after her initial complaint (she’s traveling). Otherwise everybody’s packages got where they were supposed to go. That’s 235 packages in November and 410 (so far) in December. With one more crappy week left in this crappy month, I should end up very close to LY’s 705 shipments – the monetary decline reflects the Curse of the Small Orders that I identified a couple of weeks ago, not an absence of customers. (I’m sorry, I said I was going to skip the statistics!)
The three thefts and two cellar floods that washed more than $1,000 off my bottom line were this year’s lows. New fraud control will prevent those scams from being repeated, albeit at the cost of rejecting some legitimate sales – APO addresses in particular usually fail the metrics (sorry, soldiers). Pray to Neptune that global warming won’t raise the waters again next year.
At the beginning of 2010 I had set myself the goal of acquiring 100 Facebook “fans” by the end of the year. As of today I’m at 112. FB changed “become a fan” to “Like” midway through the year because “liking” something is a lesser commitment than “becoming a fan” of it. The effect is the same, but the goal was easier to reach. FB seems to be spreading of its own accord now – not that I don’t still need the active support of my FB “likers”.
Other items on my 2010 agenda were:
Drop international shipping: Nope, didn’t do it. I was sorely tempted after this year’s thefts (all of them by foreigners), but I’m still reluctant to cut 1-2% off my top line. I'll reconsider if sales recover beyond expectations.
Drop Google Checkout: Nope. In fact, my GC business grew slightly last year. That’s fine; their processing fees are slightly lower than the competition. I hate to see so many of those customers drastically overpay for shipping because of Sunshop's flawed GC integration, but I’m not going to lose sleep if it doesn’t bother them.
Drop Giftwrapping: Nope. In fact, I sold $8 more worth of giftwrap this year than last despite lowering the fee and removing the option from many products. The $124.50 that it brought in is trivial when merged into general sales…less so when committed directly to payroll. Unfortunately, the floods forced me to replace $94 worth of destroyed paper, so the company barely broke even on the deal. I am dropping it from everything that’s bulky or odd-shaped, though.
Cosmetic Facelift: Nope, the unexpected expenses torpedoed that. It's probably for the best, since Turnkey seems to have abandoned the Sunshop template that I was going to adopt. It’s still on my wishlist for next year.
Discontinue Greeting Cards: Yup, wrote those suckers off and folded the department. I might not have done so if I’d known about the other losses 2010 had in store…but I’m glad they’re gone.
Another Raise: Yup, I increased payroll in two steps from 19 to 20% of net. That’s why my paycheck set a record this year despite lackluster sales.
In a couple of weeks I’ll publish a similar punch list for 2011.
Although I don’t celebrate Christmas myself, neither do I fight it like I used to. Why try to harsh everybody else’s buzz? In observance of the holiday (and the impossibility of accomplishing anything this weekend anyway) I’m taking this afternoon off. I’m finally going to finish moving into the new computer that arrived just before Thanksgiving. I might even treat myself to a new game next week...it would be my first in years.
Next week: Counting the money and planning the plan.
Welcome to Curious Business
Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.