Shrimp Farming Updates. Page 1.
I'll be adding useful information here from time to time so check in often, If you have any questions on shrimp farming me and I'll post the answers here as I get time. Have I mentioned that I have expanded to crayfish along with the shrimp I've added. Stay tuned for more info on that. I've also ordered a bunch of new tropical water lilies, I may write an article about raising lilies to sell if there is an interest. If you sell them small like starter lilies you can do this in a very small area also, but they will need to be outside for natural sun light. The good thing is that you only buy them one time and just keep dividing them to sell. Page 1. Cool Pack DIY, Bad Customer, Advertising 101. Page 2. Money Without Sales, More Products. Click Here.
I'll be adding useful information here from time to time so check in often, If you have any questions on shrimp farming me and I'll post the answers here as I get time. Have I mentioned that I have expanded to crayfish along with the shrimp I've added. Stay tuned for more info on that. I've also ordered a bunch of new tropical water lilies, I may write an article about raising lilies to sell if there is an interest. If you sell them small like starter lilies you can do this in a very small area also, but they will need to be outside for natural sun light. The good thing is that you only buy them one time and just keep dividing them to sell.
Page 1. Cool Pack DIY, Bad Customer, Advertising 101.
Page 2. Money Without Sales, More Products. Click Here.
Page 3. Free Places To List Your Ads. Click Here.
Page 4. Upgrading your website for more profit. Click Here.
Cool Packs, Do It Yourself For Almost Free!
This page was intended for shipping shrimp but with little thought you can adapt it to any size cool pack you might ever need. Since all my larger orders for fish are sent in a flat rate box I don't have any problem with weight and double the larger cool pack, just in case.
It's getting hot and even with the insulated boxes you are going to need cool packs. You can buy these but the shipping is high due to the weight or you could just freeze some water in a plastic bag to use, but there is a better way that is much more efficient. You may not need them yet, but you can start collecting the junk you'll need for this project.
First stop is the local drug store, they have high quality large cool packs that they get deliveries with. Most will just give you these gel cool packs if you ask for them, candy stores are another good place to hunt down some free cool packs, there are probably a lot more places if you give it some thought, ask where ever you do business, they are easy to come by. You might already know someone that can bring these to you from where they work, ask everyone. You want the gel ones not the real runny ones, you'll be able to tell when you pick up the bag. Depending on how much you ship a few of the large bags will probably last for a season of shipping, but they don't go bad so get'em when you can.
Next you'll need some very small zip lock bags, I use the 2" X 3" bags. They are very cheap if you go to ebay and buy a thousand at a time, but there is probably no reason to get that many. So stop off at Radio Shack and pick up what you need or I have them in the online store for $3 per hundred. Pick up is welcome.
I just use paper plates to put the gel on when I open the large bag. You'll want some paper towel to wipe this stuff off the bags and your hands. Then just a spoon to put it into the smaller bags, I just use the postal scale to put 7/10 of an oz in each bag and just zip'em up. You'll have to make adjustments to the amount of water you put in the breather bag for shipping but it will be minimal about 2 - 3 tablespoons of water. Make sure you weigh each cool pack you make so you don't have to weigh each package on shipping day.
One large gel bag from the drug store will make a little over 100 cool packs for you. I make up the whole bag at one time so I don't have to mess with this crap very often. I wrap these in a 1/4 sheet of newspaper when I insert them into the package and even if the worst happened there is enough packing paper in your shipping box to soak up any spills, the gel never does get real thin and I have never had a problem. I keep a bunch of these in the freezer ready to use.
I leave my shipping water amount the same year round and just include a sample of the shrimp wafers when I don't need the cool pack, customer can become very loyal so offer a free sample if you can and you may get a lot of return orders. The wafers are a great extra and if you buy in bulk the return is worth the effort. I sell bulk wholesale, 3 pound for $25, you'll have to repackage this but I just use zip lock snack bags for 1/4 pound orders and no one seems to have a problem with that. Smaller order are more profit if you don't mind weighing them all out. They are very expensive at the pet store in a fancy box.
Don't consider heat packs if you are here in S. Florida, they are heavy, add to the shipping cost, will cook the shrimp and you don't need them. I don't use a heat pack for shrimp and have never lost any shrimp due to the cold. Red Cherry Shrimp are not tropical. One last thing, if you include a cool pack you'll want to tell your customer either on the instruction page or the invoice (always include one of the two in the order) that it is a cool pack other wise you are going to get a lot of emails asking what to do with the jelly in the small bag. You could also write it on the cool pack with a sharpie marker, but you'll need to do this before you fill the bag.
Are all your sales going to run smooth? Actually probably 98% will go through without a hitch, but there is that small % that will have a real problem, others will complain about anything and even worse the few that live to just cheat everyone. Sometimes shipping or weather can ruin a smooth deal, not your fault but it's certainly not your customers fault.
Remember things go wrong in life, that's just the way it is. Give the benefit of doubt to your customer, sometimes a problem can turn into a great return customer and leave top of the line feed back about your guarantee. No one wants to order something and be disappointed, put yourself in their place and think about what you would expect. At the very worst it will only be a few bucks and then back to good business.
If or when you get a customer that is demanding their money back there are a few things you can do to protect yourself.
First of all have a guarantee page that makes it very clear what they the customer will have to do to receive a refund. Here is mine, it will give you some idea of what you should have, http://www.aquabid.com/cgi-bin/auction/auction.cgi?justdisp&Tadege I use this same page at the auctions and my website.
When this fails and the customer sends a charge back to paypal or a credit card, explain that they will have to follow the instructions for the refund guarantee, by this time they will not do that, so offer a complete refund for returned merchandise in the original insulated box, this will give you a chance with the credit card company or PayPal. I find that the few times I have had a problem go this far they just drop the refund request.
Most important don't let a few deals gone bad turn you off on business, remember all the sales that went great. When I get a complaint I just deal with it and go on with business, may be harder than it sounds, but don't let bad business ruin even 1 day for you.
If all else fails, send the refund and go on with business, Need I even say, ban them from future auctions or web store sales.
Don't forget to enjoy every day, you are all ready way ahead of those that are doing nothing but driving to work every morning...
Advertising 101, for FREE.
I'm going to assume that you are already using the basic freebies like Craigs List, one thing about Craig's is that your ads will get flagged and removed. Don't let this bum you out, in fact they are doing you a great favor, it's noon or later before these pillars of good drag their lazy ass out of bed and they have no life, nothing else to do, but keep in mind that you can only post your ad every 48 hours at Craigs, unless it is flagged and then you are welcome to repost and have it right back at the top of the page, just doesn't get any better, please flag my ads every 4 hours, lol, clowns. Also post at Penny Saver, whatever other free rags you have run across and free auction sites like AquaBid. There are an ever increasing number of online sites that offer free advertising, if you run across one give it a try but don't whip a dead horse, if there is little or no response drop them and move on, it takes time to post and one or two responses isn't worth it, at least not to me.
Business cards are a great way to get free advertising and if you include a couple in all your orders, mail or walk in, word can spread very fast. There are probably online sites where you can make free business cards, but I recommend that you us a serif program, not only can you make business cards, you can make a product list to include with your sales and fliers to post at bulletin boards. I use a very cheap old Print Master program that I have had for years for all my type setting and art work. Most of the new works programs also have these features although they lack very much clip art but there is no excuse not to do your own printing. I print everything with black ink. My printer is a black only lazer and I just use colored paper if I want a little flash, lazer printers are very fast and incredibly inexpensive per copy compared to ink jet, 6000 pages for under $30. I use the after market toner cartridges and have never had a problem, if you are even cheaper than me you can reload the toner for even less. I always write my shopping list and other things on my cards and leave them behind when I'm done shopping. They are also great for bulletin boards where ever you can find them and it's easy to carry a few in your pocket so you always have them with you. People read everything at laundromats. Leave cards everywhere, you might even want to print a small calendar on the back, but I prefer to use them as note pads when giving directions or just leaving a note or number.
Has anyone listed anything at ebay lately? They now have a free classified section, still some bugs but it's free and you can post up to 8 pictures, a lot faster loading than Craigs plus it goes by zip codes, so it should be great for your local sales, I haven't tried using non local zips for mail orders yet, but I will and get back to you. ULR links are allowed but the click link won't work so you are better off to ask them to email you for complete details, then send a link to your website back as a response. Try it now, click this link http://miami.ebayclassifieds.com/
I always have my link in my email response and on every email I send, so I just have to hit reply, you could also set up an auto responder but it may confuse people when they try to order . Check it out, email me at email@example.com and put "more info" in the subject box. On second though just ask for a blank email, when it comes in you'll know it's from ebay classified, keep it simple, if there is no question just send your link back. I would advise against using anything ebay for spam of any kind. I for one have never and will never use spam.
Blogs are another great place to pick up customers. Not only are the people there interested in what you have, they will tell others. There are a couple ways to work a blog, you can either join and post things yourself (I don't have much time for this) or you can write a few short articles for free about "do it yourself" like I have. I use a system called Clicky and it tells me where my website traffic and link backs to my site are coming from. There is seldom a day that I don't have near 50 clicks to my site from blogs. You can also offer your articles for free publication with a link back to your site, do NOT copy other peoples work, it will hit the fan. Remember these people at blogs and forums are already interested in what you have and many will cruise through your entire website and often become loyal customers, this has worked out very good for me and I am starting to get recognized at a lot of online boards, even ones I don't post at, how sweet it is.
Most of you know I'm not into phones at all, but if you can deal with it, it's probably a good idea to put your number on all your advertising and website. Why am I not into phones? I face between 200 and 400 emails every morning and there is just not the time, as your emails pick up you'll be able to spot the spam very fast without even opening them, it will sometimes account for up to a third of your incoming email. What are they and where do they come from? Every time you post anywhere that is free or forums you can bet a bot is recording your email address and someone is selling them, read a few when you first start getting them. 99% will say that if you spend a few buck you'll be in a wonderful program that will make you rich in a matter of days and all you have to do is sit on your ass and collect money sent to you, yea right. The spam ones from Craigs list posting are all the same, nothing new and these people just keep whipping that dead horse, idiots.
I have never paid for advertising nor to a search a engine for better position on a search, I don't know if it is worth while, if you try it let me know how it goes for you.
When you post at Craigslist you are going to get a lot of spam. Want to strike back? Just copy the email address and forward it to the server, like aol.com or hotmail.com or gmail.com, < they seem to be supporting the most spammers, put ABUSE in front of the address. The email address you copied from the spammer, put in the CC at the email, they will know you turned them in, just hitting the spam button does nothing..
That's about enough of this crap for 1 page, not to mention that Google will only let me post so many ads on 1 page. Unless something else comes up I'll tell you how I make money with my website even when no sales are made. I'll be posting the pages at the top of this page so you won't have to click through all of them to find what you are looking for or reading everything twice. Take care and enjoy, I'll see you with the next post. Thanks for stopping by, Tom at Tadege.
PS. This is your business, don't be afraid to try new things, one can never tell what kind of crap will catch on next. Do twitter, facebook and the rest of the junk when you have some spare time. Even if you don't have a clue, like me most of the time, people are always more than willing to help.
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