I was in a state of overwhelm yesterday (Friday). Sarah and I had met for over 2 hours in the morning re: the website design. At the end of the time we were looking at how to do the shopping cart for the site. She’s not done this before nor have I. I did have a shopping cart on my first website (pegconley.com) for t-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags and old cards. That website was created 6 years ago. Robert, the graphic designer in Seattle I had worked with, had been able to implement it without much of a hitch. Or at least that is what I recalled. Though I didn’t sell much of anything, because I didn’t promote the site, I did have a merchant account and was ready to accept Visa/Mastercard. I didn’t recall it being too expensive to have the merchant account either. Overwhelm set in yesterday as I explained to Sarah that I had a merchant account already established with Wells Fargo (my business bank). I had already questioned my business banker about the, what I thought were costly fees, the other week. She was going to look into it. I had set up the merchant account prior to going to the Denver New Age Trade Show in June as I thought I would be taking lots of orders and accepting credit cards. I didn’t take any orders with credit cards then. As it is, I did accept credit cards for 3 orders I processed from the LA Gift Show but that has been it. It appeared that I could use PayPal for free, when Sarah and I were trying to acquaint ourselves with the various options yesterday. There would be transaction fees but no monthly service fees. What to do?? Yesterday afternoon I called Start Logic, the hosting domain, and asked about their “shopsite” for building a shopping cart (there’s a fee attached). I wanted to know if I had a merchant account already established, how I would interface the two. There has got to be a way to do this easier than it now appears, I think to myself. The person I talked with seemed to be located in India and didn’t know what I was asking (maybe I wasn’t making myself clear). I also called my banker again and thankfully she did look into the charges and is trying to lower them but I wanted to know if I could get out of the contract altogether and just use the PayPal site. It’s confusing at best and more research and work needs to go into this before I solve it.
Overwhelm continued as I realize that I am the only one to do everything. I’d be happiest if I were out painting a picture or calling and talking to potential buyers. Dealing with the details has never been my strong suit but I can see that I will have to get comfortable with learning all sorts of things (Quickbooks, Salesforce.com, how shopping carts work on websites etc….). Will I ever make this a viable business that can support me, I wonder? My mind flips the worry switch on and I fall into the worry trap of I’m spending waaaay too much money setting this up and don’t know if a return will ever be there? I can’t afford to keep doing this forever?? How am I going to make a living?? I begin to spin and don’t like the downward spiral I find myself in. I realize starting a business is not for the faint of heart. I know that an entrepreneur, by virtue of being an entrepreneur, must also be a risk taker and have an overwhelming positive attitude and belief in their product/service. I’ve done many risky things in my life (marrying at the age of 52 and moving to San Francisco!) but yet I strive for security. I have to admit that security is not an option currently and I just have to continue to move forward. As Mark says, take one step at a time. I do what I know best. I call Bassignani Nursery in Sebastopol. I had popped in one day two weeks ago as I was driving back from another Sales Call. Thankfully, the conversation went how I wanted/needed it to go. They agreed to try a small order of my cards. They are happy with me because I’ll let them do a small order and I’m happy to hear positive remarks and know I’m building my business (one small order at a time). I feel better about things and turn to my laptop to enter their info into the new Salesforce.com CRM site I recently signed up for to help me manage my contacts and sales efforts. Whew….what a day.
To end on a positive note. I did visit Seattle last week. Though I did not participate in the Gift Show. My rep there did have a display of my cards in her showroom. She did pass out my catalog to people but no orders. I drove around one afternoon popping into stores that I thought might be interested in my cards. Left my catalog and often a sample card and collected the name of who I needed to talk to…more follow up for me to do. I like that kind of work!
The best part of visiting Seattle was hanging with my kids and friends and running up Admiral Hill with my running buddy Liese. We conquered that Hill (it’s a mile and a 1/2 of upward road with twists and turns to it) easily. I used that as a metaphor for how I will be able to conquer the challenges of growing my business. It was picture perfect, summer weather in Seattle when I visited. I’ll post 2 pics of the Seattle skyline as taken from West Seattle and my kids and I having fun at our impromptu dance/sing along party Saturday night! It was a great visit as I realized that I was no longer a resident but a visitor. In the past when I’ve visited I felt like I was in some limbo land as I didn’t feel like San Francisco was home yet and I felt like I should be back in West Seattle as I drove down the familiar streets. This time, I knew I was visiting.