When you are a brand new business. And it is your first order. Here are 5 things I learned when I received my first order for my business and it was due the next day:
1. First, take the call! Talk with the prospective client, ask them what they are looking for, take notes so that you don't forget anything (!) and kindly tell them you will send a quote their way. Ask things like "What kind of paper were you envisioning?", "What color ink would you like?", and "Would you like your guests first and last names or just first?"...these can differ enormously depending on the job you are taking on. You CAN do it!
2. Take a deep breath because there are so many details to figure out, especially when your website isn't fully functioning yet, like mine. Ayo. My site is built with Squarespace which uses Stripe for payments and I didn't have this set up yet and saw this as an opportunity to work out the kinks so that the process would be seamless for my client. This included me going on my site as if I were a customer and seeing what would happen when I went to pay. I realized the sizing of my photo was off, that the state tax wasn't included (fixed that!), and what exactly Squarespace would have my client do. All good things to know.
3. The difficulties of pricing...I am friends with my first client and that made pricing especially difficult. You can't cut yourself, the value of your time, and your skill set short. Calculate the cost of materials, look at the market average for the goods you are curating for them, and come up with a number for your baseline. I thought about adding a percentage because of the rush factor but decided not to as this was my first job and I'd love for them to order again.
4. Think about ways that you can go above and beyond your client's expectations. Go through the place cards you create and see if any could be better centered, more cleanly calligraphed, or improved in any other way. Remember to package the goods so that they are delightful to receive and organized for ease of your client's use. I also threw in a 10% coupon for their next order!
5. Know where to source materials. With this being a rush job I did what was easiest, quickest, and cheapest: I went to Staples. The paper ended up being moderately difficult to write on and I had to tear (they were perforated) and fold each card. Oh, and my nibs were all used and not in very good shape. Hey, I still finished the job! Now I am on the lookout for place cards I can easily order and trust the quality, am ordering lots of nibs so that I never run out, and hope to be better prepared for my next rush order.
Lastly, take good photos of your work! I so often forget this and then my work is long gone and I don't have anything to show for it!
Have you had a client yet? Who were they and do you have a story to share? How do you prepare for the inevitable rush jobs that come in?