Accepting Different Forms of Payment to Reach More Customers for Your Small Business

I went to get my nails done over the weekend and as I went to the register, I was told there was a 10% cash discount. As a small business owner, I can empathize with the lofty expenses of offering credit cards as a payment option, but as a millennial consumer, I am unforgiving of it.

There is a basic psychological understanding necessary to selling:  Do your customers need or want your product?  Most small businesses are not selling necessities.  Small businesses, especially pop-up/vendor businesses, are usually offering luxuries.  If you’re in the business of luxury, you do not want to put your customers in the position to have to think about their purchase compared to necessities.  If you are forcing a consumer to physically count cash, you are psychologically asking that person to trade off your luxury product versus worrying about groceries.  Even small percentages I’ve seen, such as 3%-5% “cash discounts,” forces your customer to take an extra minute to theorize whether or not your product or service is worth the overall cost.

It’s 2019 – the expanse of digital payment systems is exponential in growth and ease compared to stagnant and untraceable cash.  In this system, the expenses of offering multiple payment systems can add up, but the psychological solution is simple: Raise the prices of your goods to accommodate the rising cost.   The psychology is the same as “free shipping.”  The AOV (Average Order Value) increases when a customer has a threshold for free shipping.  The point is simple:

People spend more money if they can use a credit card or digital payment system (Forbes).

These are some fantastic sources to help you bring your business to the next level by offering multiple payment systems:

  1. SQUARE – Low processing fees (usually around 3%), really easy to set-up, free online marketplace, and super easy point-of-sale.  Use this referral link to get FREE PROCESSING for up to $1000 of sales!
  2. SHOPIFY – Low processing fees (ranges between 2%-3%, depending on level), easy to set-up, beautiful website (see my Scents the Moment store as an example), unmatched customer service, and awesome app for point-of-sale. Use this referral link to get a FREE month of service!
  3. BIG COMMERCE – Low processing fees (ranges around 3% and under), easy to set-up, lots of app integration on gorgeous websites, and great customer service. Use this referral link to get a FREE month of service!
  4. AFTERPAY – Afterpay is higher on the processing fees at 6%, but it allows your customers to buy now and pay later, with all of the liability falling on Afterpay to collect payments.
  5. VENMO – This is SO easy to use and there are literally NO charges for bank-to-bank transfers (so it’s as good as cash) and only minimal charges on the customer’s end if they want to link it to their card.
  6. APPLE PAY – Super easy for anyone who has an iTunes account and relatively minimal processing fees.
  7. GOOGLE PAY – Easy to set up AND free for both the business and customers!

Remember that your Millennial and Gen Z markets are hardly ever carrying cash around with them. Remember that a customer’s average order/purchase value increases significantly with the option of digital payment.  Bring your business into the market of today by making it as easy as possible for your customers to shop with you.

Copy of Kristen Fusaro-Pizzo

 

Social-Emotional Intelligence in Your Business

A smart business owner should know her numbers. She should know her COGS (Cost of Goods Sold), her supply and demand, her target market, her profit margin, her margin of error, the cost of advertising versus marketing.  A successful business owner will know her numbers and the five core aspects of social-emotional intelligence.

The Why
Why should a business owner have social-emotional intelligence? Chiefly because the top five soft skills of all major businesses are regarding social-emotional intelligence. This means that the biggest and most powerful businesses on the planet are mainly looking for employees who have the ability to navigate people.  While certain hard skills are in demand, most hard skills (which are specific tasks) can be taught; however, soft skills (the way you do those specific tasks) would cost far too much time and money to try and train.

Think about it as if you’re going to a fancy restaurant with someone you have never met. This person knows exactly which meats are aged to perfection,  which vegetables are in season, can pair the perfect wine and order it in French, but when the food comes, uses her hands, chews with her mouth open, doesn’t use a napkin… you get the picture. The content knowledge is the “hard skill,” while the process is the “soft skill.”  Anyone could learn how to pair a good wine with a simple Google search, but etiquette and decorum take actual practice.

As a business owner, you are responsible for your own hard AND soft skills. The great point about exercising your own social-emotional muscles is that when you do grow your business, it’s always easier to hire someone with hard skills if you’re already skilled at the soft skills.

The What
So, what are the five aspects of social-emotional intelligence?

  1. Self-Management: Managing emotions and behaviors to achieve one’s goals.
  2. Self-Awareness: Recognizing one’s emotions and values as well as one’s strengths and challenges.
  3. Responsible Decision-Making: Making ethical, constructive choices about personal and social behavior.
  4. Relationship Skills: Forming positive relationships, working in teams, dealing effectively with conflict.
  5. Social Awareness: Showing understanding, empathy, and compassion for others.

The How
If the list above seems daunting to you, pick one where you already feel some level of confidence and build that particular skill through practice. Ask a trusted friend, advisor, network leader, coach, or mentor to help you run-through the different scenarios. Once you feel confident in an area, choose another area to begin working on.

I find journaling and working with a fellow network leader most fruitful for personal growth. I write down different situations that happen to me and reflect on how I responded – I go down the list and check-off the different aspects of social-emotional intelligence to see if they tie into the advice I would have given to one of my business clients. This keeps me married and present in the work.

Be Patient with Yourself
Remember that obtaining these particular skills is a marathon. Real change takes real time. You may not be where you want to be, but you’re better than where you were!

Copy of Kristen Fusaro-Pizzo

Finding Work-Life Balance in Your Small Business

I have spent the last month sick. I kept trying to stave off illness for work with supplements, hydration, and over-the-counter medications – what I didn’t allow myself was rest… until I crashed. I hit 102 fever, I passed out from dizziness, and finally had to go the doctor and stay home from work. You know what I could finally get done? Nothing.   I’m perfectly knowledgeable about self-care, but putting it into practice is so much harder than understanding it.

In the world of the solo-preneur, we just don’t have the time for any hiccups, but the reality is that we, as entrepreneurs who are also balancing a full-time job, need to master flexibility better than anyone else.  We need to embrace the unexpected, plan for the indomitable, and welcome the aggravation.

But HOW do we become Jedis of our life when our lives have become so complicated?

While I don’t have all the answers (sorry, still a Yoda-in-training), I can share with you how I have managed to balance a full time career as a teacher, plus owning and running Scents the Moment and the Vine Vendor Network.

  1. You have to be anally organized. I have a 3-year planner and I write every single thing down. Whether it’s a quick phone chat, or a bill that’s due, a birthday, an event, I write it all down. Looking at this calendar from a monthly perspective allows me to prioritize what needs to get done versus what I would like to get done. For example, I go to the dentist every three months for a cleaning – this is a non-negotiable, so everything else that may be happening that week will have to work around that. Obviously, I need to go to my day job every day – non-negotiable. Hanging out with my friends, a negotiable, so I make sure to plan it on a weekend, or a day when I’m less likely to have major obligations. I write all of my bills in a colored pen and spend two days a month scheduling payments, then check them off my list. Take 30-60 minutes one day just working on your calendar. Make that the only task you have for the day so you don’t waste all of your mental energy trying to prioritize when you’re exhausted.
  2. I am sure to schedule time for me. In my planning, I have decided to become far more diligent about my self-care.  This looks different for everyone.  For me, I like getting my nails done, food shopping, cooking and food prepping, and (sometimes) exercise.  I schedule my nails for twice a month, and I squeeze a little food shopping in a couple of times per week; this works for me because I like to grab fresh veggies and cook them within a couple of days. For exercise, I try to plan it around times when I know I will be extra stressed so I look to it as an outlet for my stress.  It may seem counterproductive to plan activities around your joy, but the reality is that you cannot possibly give your best self to any work that you have to do if you never do anything you want to do.
  3. I quit multi-tasking (sorta). Yup, again, it seems counterintuitive, but after reading Your Brain at Work by David Brock , I have learned that the reason we can become so exhausted when we try to multi-task is because we only have a limited capability of managing complex tasks in our pre-frontal cortex, so that if we try to do too many at once, we get overwhelmed, fatigued, and seeking sugar. However, if we are able to complete the task with our basal ganglia (our lizard brain – think autopilot), then we can do multiple things at once. So, I said “sorta” because I will plan my meals and clothing for the day while I shower because the act of showering takes 0 brain power (autopilot), but I will not try to answer emails and write lessons at the same time since both require complex thinking. To focus, we need to pick the tasks we want/need to work on and stop trying to do them all at the same time.
  4. I learned to say no. This is something all entrepreneurs seem to struggle with. We, for whatever reason, seem to associate our need to not be involved with a task as some sort of loss, defeat, or settling.  As I have come to learn, this is simply untrue.  To acquire true respect, admiration, and sanity, we must limit what we allow ourselves to commit to. If it doesn’t serve you, help you grow, or better you in some way, then why waste your precious time and energy on it?
  5. I started to outsource things I no longer want to do. It all started with cleaning my house. If I was to manage a full-time career, two businesses, healthy cooking, taking care of my dog, etc., then something had to give, and I chose cleaning my house. I now have someone clean my home every other week. Yes, it costs me money, but the amount of time, sanity, and work I gain by not having to concern myself with those chores far surpasses the cost.  You have to consider your own life and what you could outsource – maybe that means a nanny service, meal prep, delivered groceries, a dog-walker, anything that can help you accomplish everything you need. If you’re concerned about funds, think about teaming up with friends – for example, maybe a parent ride-share where you all take turns driving the kids to school, or trading some free goods for help.

It all becomes about maximizing the time you do have with clear intent and deconstruction of goals:

  • What goal do you want to accomplish?
  • How can you accomplish that goal?
  • What are the steps needed to get you from the start of your goal to the completion of your goal?

What are some tips you have for managing a positive work-life balance?

Copy of Kristen Fusaro-Pizzo.png

How Partnerships Can Serve Your Business

I did my undergraduate work at Binghamton University. I was an English literature major and Russian language minor, and in my senior year, I was tired of all of my English and Russian courses, so I took (what was in 2005 a new) biology course by Dr. David Sloan Wilson called “Evolution for Everyone.” One of the most fascinating points I learned was about how species approach survival.  Essentially, different animals functioned as either “Selfish,” “Altruistic,” or “Cooperative.” The animals who were solely selfish survived, but did not thrive; the animals who were solely altruistic did not survive; as no shock, the animals who were cooperative survived and thrived.

When was the last time you accomplished a major goal completely on your own?

No help. No guidance. No coaching, mentoring, sponsorship, advice. No partnership. 100% on your own.

I bet you find this challenging.  The very nature of our existence is based on partnerships and collaboration.

As an educator by training and trade, I approach business structure through the unique lens of a teacher.  Teaching students in the 21st century comes with a unique list of skills, which always includes collaboration. To collaborate effectively, there must be a high level of emotional intelligence, empathy, and the construction of a partnership.

Bringing this same understanding to building small business, why do small business owners compete with one another?

There seems to be an underlying belief system that if someone else succeeds in the same small business field as another, then there is no room for both of their success.  This idea is not only wrong, it can be detrimental to your business.

Partnerships help businesses survive and thrive.   It may seem counter-intuitive to partner with a competing business, but there are multiple reasons why two businesses who are competitive would do better by partnering.

  1. Healthy competition fuels innovation.  Forging partnerships with competing businesses gives you the opportunity to discuss different areas of focus, allowing innovation and growth in your particular specialty area.
  2. Collaboration can function as an opportunity to learn from each other. The sharing of ideas, processes, and systems can enhance both businesses to help each other fill in the gaps.  Giving knowledge in a partnership creates a bond where one can also ask for help freely.
  3. Partnerships create a space of mutual understanding where there can be freedom to express and discuss, sharing frustrations and accomplishments.  From these discussions there is often enlightenment and different perspective that can be offered by an outside party.
  4. Partnerships can also create a place to share customers.  Forging the relationship with another business with a mutual understanding that you will both refer your customers to each other’s businesses.  As an example, the supermarket Stop & Shop partners with Shell Oil to offer “gas points” when you shop at their supermarket. You can use these “gas points” to get discounts on gasoline. This partnership is mutually beneficial, encouraging the customer to shop in both places.
  5. Forging partnerships with other businesses is a wise networking tool which also enhances professionalism. The presentation of a business who works well with other businesses gives the perception of a business who cares about community structures and organizations. Customers appreciate these partnerships because it creates trust. For perspective, how likely are you to shop from a small business owner who is always admonishing or bashing another small business owner? How much more likely are you to shop from someone who exhibits professional decorum and positivity?

I recommend evaluating your business model to include partnerships.  These relationships do not have to be with your direct competition, but do work with other small businesses who complement your products and business philosophy.  The beginning of a beautiful partnership will certainly include growth for both of your businesses.

Kristen Fusaro-Pizzo, CEO, Vine Vendor Network

How Has the Vine Vendor Network Served Our Members

The Vine Vendor Network is quickly approaching its third birthday (March 1st) and we are incredibly proud of the amazing progress we have made. Aside from hosting wonderful events in new, fresh, and exciting vendor spaces, our greatest accomplishment has been serving the needs of our members. Here are just a few voluntary testimonials (without being edited) from our members:

“I have been part of the vine since the beginning. I love Vine events because I get to see many vendors/and people that I usually don’t get to see and get to say hi and so on. Plus Vine events are very professionally ran which is a huge plus since many events I do are not run great. Buzz buzz.” – Igor Yakolev, Beezy Beez Honey 

“Being a part of the Vine has given our business a great opportunity to connect with other vendors and to participate in vending events that we would have not found on our own. The Vine events attract a customer base that our business is looking for. The bottom line is we make money at Vine events and increase our customer acquisition metrics.” – Jahmel Rivera, LuLaRoe by Jenn Rivera
 @lularoebyjennrivera #lularoejennrivera
Text f roeingwjenninsi to 40404 and get all of the latest news and prizes.


“Being a part of the Vine has been really a wonderful experience. I have met some amazing vendors and made some great friends! I am very excited to be working my first Vine event at the SI mall on 2/9. While I will be working my 1st event I have attended many and everything from the vendors to the organization is nothing short of amazing. Being part of the Vine has also helped to grow awareness about my business and for that I am truly grateful! I plan on being part of this wonderful group for many years to come 💗.” – Danielle Manetti DiPietro, Glam N Dazzle Paparazzi Accessories
www.paparazziaccessories.com/222395
www.facebook.com/paparazzibydanielled

“I love being part of the vine. I love the community feel and how we help each other. I’ve met and become friends with other vendors too.
I love how it’s a one stop shop for fairs. I love how honest everyone is about what fairs to do and not do.
Just doing the Holiday at the Hilton last year gave me a ton of leads.” – Caren Cooper, Isagenix

“Participating in the Staten Island Mall events has been one of my best experiences as a Vine member. It not only gave me the opportunity to meet many of my current customers in person but it has allowed me to expand my customer base and my team. I have also met many other Vine business owners that were very welcoming and even though we all have different businesses and products we were able to help each other with ideas on improving, motivating and empowering each other to continue to grow.” – Melissa Hickey, All That Glam Paparazzi Accessories

These are the Reasons Why Vendors Will Never Vend at Your Event

It’s the busiest time of year for small businesses who work the vendor circuit.  We’re often doing full weekends and even weekdays to try and make our money during the holiday season. Key phrase: We’re trying to make money.  As much as there are fantastic event organizers who recognize this fact, there are so many more who seem to fail to understand that this is how we support ourselves and our families. It is these organizers who lose good vendors.

These are the specific reasons why vendors will never vend at your event:

  1. You make promises you don’t keep. This year, I was sent an email on August 8th that I would be the only soap vendor at an event on December 1st. I have it in writing. I arrived at the event to find three soap vendors. I have been emailing and trying to contact the organizer since December 1st and she does not respond to me.  This is terrible business practice – unprofessional, undignified, and downright fraudulent. 
  2. You ignore your own contract.  Referring to the same event from example 1, their contract promised we would have confirmation of our table placement two weeks prior to the event.  Of the five vendors I spoke to, not one of us received this promised communication. If you offer a contract, be sure to follow your own guidelines.
  3. You get involved in pettiness.  It’s no secret that some vendors can be ridiculously unprofessional and dramatic. If the event organizer gets involved in this trite and trifling nonsense, it’s a sincere put-off for those of us who are serious business-owners. My suggestion – when a dramatic vendor comes to you with their inane nonsense, smile and nod.
  4. You’re disorganized. The easiest way to turn off vendors is to be disorganized for your own event. As an event host, you, simply, have one job: Organize an Event. This means considering all of the details from the perspectives of shoppers AND vendors prior to the event.
  5. You ignore reasonable requests. As vendors, we understand that you cannot accommodate all requests; however, there should be some process to allow for reasonable accommodations to try and create a positive and uplifting environment. As an example, I applied for a December event in August. This would be the third time I was a vendor at that event. On the application, it asks if you want to stay in the same place as you were last year. I made a great emphasis that I wanted to move my space – because they offered the option. Considering I made that request four months in advance, it should have been honored; the request was timely, reasonable, and of their own terms. When organizers don’t make these small arrangements, it communicates that you don’t care about how the event is perceived.

If you’re planning on organizing an event, we, as the Vine Vendor Network, are happy to help you plan to create the best event possible.

Do you, as a vendor, have any other additions to this list of event organizer faux pas?

Vendor to Vendor Etiquette

As I write this blog, the lyric that continues to run through my mind is Carly Simon’s “You’re so vain you probably think this song is about you.”  The reality is a lot of us, as vendors, are guilty of some of these vendor-to-vendor faux pas, but may not realize it or probably have no ill intent.  Do yourself a favor and read through, not just to check your own behavior, but to share so we can put an end to vendor-to-vendor misanthropy and finally create a community of collaboration.

  1. Stop Asking Me to Buy Your Products! If I’m a vendor at the same event where you’re also vending, I am there to make money. Do not ask me to buy your products. Whether this is explicit through direct communication or implicit through passive means, it is never okay.
  2. Do Not Buy My Products Just To Make Me Feel Like I Need to Buy Yours. If you want to buy my products because you like them, that’s wonderful and thank you!  However, if you purchase from me solely for the intention of believing I will purchase from you, then please don’t bother. Do not assume I am in the position to purchase from you, do not assume I am your target market, do not assume I even like your products – so, to buy from me just to get me to buy from you— you’ll make more money by just saving yours.
  3. Do Not Ask Me For a Discount. Did you unpack your products this morning to set up and vend? Did you spend the last few days preparing all of your bins and bags?  Did you work the last few weeks to make, order, organize your inventory?  Did you market your products? Did you work hard on your business? My guess is that if you’re a small business owner, you did all of these things. So, if you know how hard we all work, then we should be on the same team – don’t ask me for a discount.
  4. Please Keep to Your Own Table. I was at an event today where one vendor had not yet shown up to set up, so the vendors next to him just decided to take it upon themselves to take up half his table. By the time he did show up (which was still on time), it took them 20 minutes to clear what they laid out on HIS table. Stay in your own lane, driver.
  5. Do Not Pilfer My Customers. I was talking to a customer at my table today when another vendor came up to my customer, tapped her on the shoulder, and pulled her to his table. Now, I understand there may have been a conversation that happened prior to the customer visiting my table, but it is incredibly rude to act as an interloper and infringe upon my time with the customer. Wait until the conversation or transaction is over, rude.
  6. Do Not Pack Up Early. I don’t care if you have to pick up your kids from soccer practice, or if you’re not making any money, you made a commitment. Because this is what happens – a customer reads that the event ends at 4, but comes at 3:30 and sees a bunch of vendors packing up and assumes – guess what – that the event is over. So, not only are you dismissing your own business, but you’re taking money out of my pocket.  If you cannot commit for the full time, then don’t commit at all.  **This also applies to folks who are late to set -up!

What other vendor-to-vendor etiquette points would you add?

How to Start Conversations with Customers at Vendor Events

I find it easy to talk to anyone, but this skill did not come naturally to me.  Years of watching my father, a natural salesman, use his charisma and charm to negotiate and sell a chocolate popsicle to a woman in white gloves taught me how to pay attention to details so I would know exactly what to say.  Starting conversations with random strangers, especially when you have the objective to sell something to them, is intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.

  1. Start with the basics – “Hi! How are you today?” You really can’t go wrong with a classic greeting asking someone about his/her day. It’s generic enough that even the shiest person has had plenty of practice using this statement.
  2. Come up with a wacky statement related to your table. I love the silly statements I use because how the person responds indicates to me if that person is likely to be my customer. The reason this works for my brand, though, is because I have branded my company around whimsy and playfulness.  I sell soap and candles and usually say: “Come on down and take a sniff!,” “Free sniffs!,” “The candles are $20, but the sniffs are free!”
  3. Offer a genuine compliment. As a person approaches your table, take note of him/her and offer a compliment about some aspect that you find sincerely appealing. For example, “I absolutely love your purse!”  If you can make it work to your products, even better: “You clearly have excellent taste in jewelry.”
  4. Ask about their personal style related to your table. This approach works best if the person has already come near your table. Depending on what you sell, ask the person about his/her taste. I will usually say: “What are some of your favorite scents?” If they know, great, I start directing them to products that work. If they are unsure, I help: “Do you prefer bakery, flowers, or clean?”  Use your own product selections to ask them about their personal preferences.
  5. Thank them for coming out to the event. Appreciating someone’s efforts always goes a long way and lets this new customer know you take the time to be grateful. Once you thank them, you can draw them in for further conversation with small talk by asking about the parking situation, traffic, the weather, and then follow-up with who you are: “Thank you so much for coming today! Was it a long ride for you?” (Yes/No) “I’m so glad you took the time to get here; I’m Kristen, your neighborhood soap lady!”

In whatever approach you choose, remember that the customers who are shopping at vendor events are doing so because they’re looking for a personalized experience. Offer the warmth of your kindness and you can never go wrong.

Kristen Fusaro-PizzoPresident

How to Cancel as a Vendor at a Show, Fair, or Expo with Grace

John Lennon reminds us that “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans,” and this adage holds true even for vendor events that you have already paid for. Whatever the reason you have for not being able to attend as a vendor, there is a decorum and grace involved in canceling. There are two major goals to keep mind before you cancel: a) To not offend the event organizer, b) To get invited back.

  1. Check to see if your contract has a cancellation policy. Some contracts may clearly state if there is a statute of limitation on cancellation, such as the latest you can cancel and still request a refund. Try to gather as much information from your signed contract before moving on to the next steps.
  2. Let the organizer know as soon as possible. The sooner you can cancel your space, the better it is for the organizer.  Try to notify the organizer in writing, either by an email or text message, if the event is still a few days away. If you’re canceling last-minute, you should call.
  3. The further away you cancel, the fewer details you need. If you cancel at least two weeks before an event, you can simply explain that you need to cancel. If you’re canceling at the very last minute, you should be explaining what the emergency is.
  4. When canceling, offer to help rectify your cancellation.  If possible, offer to seek out a replacement. If you cannot offer to seek a replacement, don’t make another promise you will not be able to fulfill.
  5. It is best to ask for your refund (if you can) during the immediate cancellation phase. When you write your offer to rectify, politely ask if you can receive a refund if you find your own replacement. If you are unable to offer to find a replacement, ask what the protocols are to request a refund. Prepare to be rejected, even if it does not explicitly state so in your contract.
    1. Events cost a lot of money to run – from booking the venue, to marketing, to advertising, decorating, etc. – so it may not be possible to get a refund, especially if it’s very close to the event date. Accept “no” with grace.
  6. Apologize. You are canceling, so it is technically breaking a promise; a simple “I’m sorry” goes a long way.
  7. Close with thanks and an opportunity to work together again. In the conclusion of your cancellation, you should thank the organizer for the opportunity and explain that you wish to still be notified of his/her next event.

We can’t always be everywhere we plan to be, and sometimes we simply don’t have control over the circumstances; however, we always have the ability to be professional and graceful. Be tactful, polite, courteous, and offer the same respect you would hope for in return.

Kristen Fusaro-PizzoPresident

Five Tips to Make it Through a Vendor Event When You’re Just Not Feeling It

The night before a major event last year I was incredibly stuffed, my head was pounding, my ears were aching, my eyes were leaking, my throat was on fire; I felt absolutely dreadful. All I wanted to do was crawl into a hole and sleep for eternity, but I already paid the expensive table fee for the two-day event, and more importantly, I make thousands during that weekend! I prep for months for this show, I wasn’t about to let death-by-sinuses get the best of me!

While I’m all about resting when you feel sick and always suggest you go seek the help of a medical professional if you’re not feeling well, there are times when we’re not feeling quite as bad as I was and could just use a little help to make it through the event.

  1. Get a Director’s Chair.  I found this chair *on Amazon after being introduced to it from a conversation in the Indie Business Network group.  What is amazing about this chair, especially if you’re not feeling well, is that you don’t have to get up from it and you still seem approachable. Since you’re not hiding behind your table, you’re above it, you’re still able to have the conversation and make the connection with your customers.
  2. Hire Some Help. If you’re just not feeling up to a show, but you know it’s worth your time to be there, consider hiring someone on the side for some help. Are there any high school or college students in your family who could use a day’s pay? Check with your local high school and college for their Career Development Center (you may even get an awesome long-term intern!). You can even hire someone on-demand through TaskRabbit* to help you for the day.
  3. Get A Customer to Be Your Rep. Think about your absolute best customers. Consider offering free products in exchange for any customer who would be willing to come to your show and speak about your products. You can do this by the hour, by the half-day, the day, or whatever fits everyone’s schedule. In exchange for their work, you give them lots of free goodies (maybe a future gift certificate or coupon, too) and feature them all over your social media.
  4. Bring Only the Necessities. There’s so much to lug around when you’re working the vendor circuit, and the whole packing/unpacking scene is sometimes the most exhausting aspect of it. If you’re not feeling well, consider lightening your load by only bringing your absolute best-selling products. Direct customers who visit your table to your website for your full selection.  Another option would be to just bring one of everything and show customers how to order directly from your website. Offer them free shipping in exchange for placing the order (since you’re not offering cash-and-carry).
  5. Hydrate and Make Friends with Neighbors. When you’re feeling ill, hot liquids help to clear your sinuses, and liquids with caffeine will help you power through the day. Drink lots of hot tea and water (hot water with lemon is a great choice) and be sure to make friends with your vendor neighbors. Introduce yourself and be willing to cover their table if they need to run to the restroom, then don’t be afraid if you need to take them up on that same favor throughout the day.

Trying to work when you’re sick stinks, and overall, I don’t recommend it, but if you must power-through the vendor event, be sure to get plenty of rest the night before, take your vitamins, meditate, and maintain a positive outlook and attitude for the day.

*These are affiliate links.

Kristen Fusaro-PizzoPresident