It's the start of a new year. And I've been thinking about the new year for the past 2-3 months. I love looking back and seeing what I can improve in the following year. There are some things that went really well last year. And some things that I'm disappointed with. I'm writing them here so I can hold myself accountable and I hope you can get something out of them too.
Black Friday is the day where you're make so many sales your store goes from in the red (owing money) to in the black (making money). To do that you need to make a lot of profit. The keyword there is profit not revenue. If you aren't making enough profit on each sale you could still be losing money.
Getting people in the door is easier said than done. To draw the crowds you have to offer discounts and those discounts start eating away at your profit. So it's a balancing act to offer the right discount to draw people in and still make enough profit.
The good news is that you don't have to run a Black Friday promotion like everyone else. You can give tiny discounts, freebies, or you don't have to run a promotion at all if you don't want.
Learn how to schedule a USPS pickup at your house or business.
When I'm talking about WooCommerce, Shopify, or some other eCommerce platform one of the most challenging aspects is fulfillment. Store owners always want to know how you can efficiently and affordably ship products.
USPS is one of cheaper options, and with both WooCommerce & Shopify you can get live shipping rates during checkout. And you can print out the shipping labels on your home printer. This automates a lot of the boring work.
The last step is scheduling USPS to come by to your house (or business) to pickup the packages. And the best news is that it's easy, free, & you don't even have to get out of your PJs.
I talk about the features about eCommerce platforms all the time. But I don't often talk about related but important concepts. Every store owner has thought about security and how to keep their store safe both for their customers and so they don't get sued. When it comes to security there are two things you need to worry about.
- The security of your site
- The security of payment information
I wanted to name this article How to Change Your Shopify Order Numbers. Unfortunately it just isn't possible. I'll show you what you can change, how to do it, and why you'd want to make that change.
Now that the wrap up post for WooConf is out the door I can finally relax. WooConf was the latest event I worked on this year and by far the most intense. Working on three different events – all at different levels of complexity – taught me a few things about running events.
I'm going to share some lessons but first let me give a little context:
1. Lift Off Summit – I designed this summit to help people develop a marketing strategy for their online store. It's a virtual summit so you can tune in and watch ~20 hours of content for free and you can pay to watch the sessions whenever you want.
Event cost: free to stream / $97 for recordings
2. WordCamp Denver – I've always loved helping my local WordPress scene. I've helped organize several meetups and WordCamps in the past. This is my third year organizing this particular conference and it was one of the best we've done.
Event cost: $40
3. WooConf – I've been heavily involved with WooCommerce for years as a customer, developer, product manager, and now educator. So when they asked me to help them plan the content I couldn't say no.
Event cost: $500 early bird / $700 regular
In 2011 Netflix made an announcement that they’d be splitting into two companies:
- Netflix would focus on streaming &
- Qwikster (the new company) would focus on DVD rentals.
Netflix claimed they wanted to make it easier for customers and doing this gives both companies the best chance for success. The feedback was instantaneous & almost uniformly bad.
- There were nearly 10,000 comments on the announcement post (now taken down)
- Qwikster From Netflix: The Worst Product Launch Since New Coke?
- Netflix's Qwikster Debacle
There were numerous reasons this separation didn’t work (it didn’t add any value for customers, costed more, required more work, was rushed, terrible name, etc. They made a mistake and that mistake cost them nearly 800,000 customers.
The most important part of the story is that two months later they reversed their position. They could have continued down the path of “I know best” but they didn't. They stopped all plans for Qwikster and haven't looked back. They started earning back the trust of their customers and they went on to dominate online streaming.
I'm starting to plan next year's Lift Off Summit so I've been talking to customers as well as looking at what other summits are doing. And what's interesting is that they paint two different stories. So I thought I'd take you through my though process as I decide how I can make this summit valuable for attendees and myself.
The other day a friend asked if I could hang out. So I pulled out my phone and started looking through my calendar.
scroll past a week
scroll past another week
scroll past yet another week
Well I can hang out with you next month how does that sound?
Does this sound familiar to you?
I've been spending a lot of time at conferences over the last year and I wanted to do a little digging and see how I could optimize my time so I'm still learning & networking and I can also spend time at home with my friends & family.
I've been using this blog as a place to record my own thoughts. A place to document so that I learn and also so that others learn. And today I want to document a feeling.
I feel guilty.
I feel guilty about my job organizing WordCamp Denver. This past year I was speaker wrangler. That means I set up the procedures so the organizing team and myself can pick speakers and add them to the schedule.
And this is the 3rd year doing this for WordCamp Denver and 4th overall. So I have a good idea what I'm doing. The reasons they didn't go smoothly don't matter too much. But in short we tried a different schedule and that led to a lot more work.
What is so strange about me feeling guilty is that I'm used to projects going sideways and encountering obstacles. I'm okay with “failure” because I know I can improve and do better next time. So why do I feel different this time?