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Story Tuesday: Coal for Xmas

Changes can be good and changes can be bad. Some people love and thrive with changes and then there are some people that dread having to make the slightest change to their mundane schedule. I personally enjoy sticking to a schedule especially if that schedule includes doing absolutely nothing.

There’s  not “An idiot’s guide to becoming an entrepreneur” book that we could have read to prepare us for what  happened next. Yet we adapted and adjusted to all the other obstacles that came our way. We’ve learnt that the best way to handle a difficult situation is facing head on.

Part 6: Coal for Xmas

At this point we’re in November of 2014 and we’ve reached our first 1000 likes and we’re doing what any other business owner would do, exploiting every avenue there is to make money. So we realized that in order to get more people to see our posts we had to tag people. Tagging people would allow facebook to show the tagged photo on that person’s timeline and in turn that person’s friends would be able to see it on their newsfeed. So we began to tag 50 people per post including ourselves. It was a tedious process but it worked. We were gaining a lot more attention that we were before doing so.

We would have to take our own pictures so we used our phones (we still use only our phones to take pictures) and we began learning a few things in photoshop to make minor edits. Like any good millennial, we learnt our photoshopping skills from youtube and we’ve relied on it ever since. We also used it to learn how to use Facebook Page Manager and eventually Facebook Ad Manager. We now use more organic ways of exploiting Facebook like adding more live videos, using blogs to get more content and using little to no words on our pictures.

As Facebook developed their features for business pages, it became more easier for us to grow dependent on it. Initially we would require customers to send their pictures through email because it would help to reduce the compression Facebook added to it. But with time they added features that allowed us to save customer’s information, label, and keep track of conversations. Just as we were getting prepared for our first christmas something went wrong.

We all know that christmas is a time that everyone spends big. We drop the big bucks without even thinking twice. So as any business would, we prepared for a large wave of sales. We posted a big sale encouraging people to buy and it was working for the first two weeks of december until the unexpected happen.

We were printing and printing and getting orders out and suddenly the printer decided to die on us. Remember how we had made a BIG mistake using regular ink in our printer then trying to remove it to use the specialty ink? Well that came back to haunt us. Turns out the umteen amounts of cleaning the printhead caused the ink pads (pads that absorbs excess ink) to reach their limits. Naturally it would take long for those ink pads to need changing (we didn't even know about ink pads needing to be changed) but because we were printing excessively to clean the head made us come across that bridge sooner than we should have.

Armando tried hard to see if he could get a code to bypass the error message preventing us to print. We posted on Facebook looking for a technician to service it. I took it to work and begged my coworker who is a technician to look at it. We tried everything but nothing worked. Finally we surrendered. We had to inform our customers who had ordered and some that had already paid that we would be unable to make their order before Christmas. It was the hardest “i'm sorry” we've made to date.

We were sad, angry, confused, everything all at once. It was our first Christmas and we expected an outrageous number of sales, but in a good way not bad like this. So we ended up waiting until after Christmas to order the ink pads being that the US still had their Christmas rush. We didn’t talk about the printer for weeks. Armando just secluded himself and tried to distract himself with anything to keep the incident out of his mind and I pretty much did the same. Sometimes you just need to let your mind rest and get the negativity out of your system.

How does one get back from such a lost? With your head held high! We were determined to make up for those last two weeks we lost before christmas by having the same sale in late January when we got the ink pads. And that was our motivation to make 2015 a great year. Next week’s post will be about how we survived 2015.

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