Tuesday, March 28, 2006

What Did I Just Do???

I kept on getting phone calls from a merchant services firm that wanted to lease me a credit card reader. I finally agreed to meet with their rep. I figured that it would accomplish two things: they'd quit calling me, and I could find out what sort of wonderful deal I might be interested in getting later down the line when I really needed their services. After all, I accept credit cards through PayPal on the website, and I'd done just fine taking cash and checks at farmer's markets and shows.

So I met with the guy, and as I was talking with him it occurred to me that I was going to need to do something like this if I ever wanted my business to be more than a time-consuming subsidized hobby. I've known for a long time that I'm going to have to do more sales volume if I ever want to bring home more than bacon bits. And being able to accept credit cards at my booth is going to be a big plus. I've had a lot of customers at the Gardeners' Market ask me if I'm going to be there next week, because they only brought enough money with them to buy the vegetables they came to get and weren't expecting to find something so cool as my merchandise at the market. Last year I could answer yes, but this year I won't be able to, and I'll miss a lot of impulse buys if I don't accept credit cards. Also, the offer includes SSL for my website, check verification, and two free three-day-two-night vacations to give away.

To tell the truth, I hadn't thought of accepting credit cards as a way to increase sales volume, but it makes perfect sense. I called Vince at work to see what he thought. I talked the guy down from the fancy plan he was offering, to a cheaper one with less whiz-bang technology. And, at the end of the day, I'm getting a merchant account, and the guy is coming tomorrow to install my card reader. Luckily (or providentially?) we have just installed a phone jack right next to the computer.

And now I'm a little dizzy: what did I just do? Did I just sign my life away for the next four years, or did I open a door to marvelous profitability and the business of my dreams? Should I be rushing into this new opportunity with heady optimism, or will I come to rue the day I signed the contract?

I signed up in part because I have this gut feeling that I'm being sent the opportunity. It all started when the AWHC called and invited me to be a vendor for Baby Animal Days. I've been praying for my business to take off so that I don't have to work outside of my home any more; maybe the Lord is bringing all the necessary pieces together. On the other hand, maybe I'm just another businesswoman, and a lot of businesspeople make mistakes.