Why I’m Thankful Despite The Recent Chaos With My Online Businesses

Thanksgiving has finally arrived and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Why? It’s because the Thanksgiving holiday always forces me to sit down, assess my priorities and remind myself what is truly important in my life.

And this year, the timing is impeccable because I’ve had a tough month of November in terms of running my online businesses.



While most entrepreneurs mostly talk about their successes and their triumphs, I thought that I’d switch things up a bit and share with you some of the hardships that I’ve had to deal with these past few weeks with all of my businesses.

First off, I just want to reiterate that running a business is not always smooth. Even though my wife and I have been doing what we’ve been doing for quite a while now, bad things still creep up from time to time.

The Customs Fiasco

The holiday season is the time of year where we stock up on a lot of our goods because sales tend to skyrocket. Lately, we’ve been selling an especially large quantity of a specific style of handkerchief so we were running quite low on inventory.

In order to replenish our stock and to account for the increased holiday demand, we decided to place a larger order than usual because we wanted to avoid having to import goods again the following year. Naturally, ordering in larger quantities yields a few advantages.

For one thing, the price is usually cheaper. But most importantly, the cost of shipping overseas is amortized across the entire order which makes it less of a factor in terms of price.

In any case, we placed our large bulk order well ahead of the holiday season and everything seemed to be kosher until the shipment hit customs. Usually, our shipments clear customs within the first couple of days. But this time, it was stuck for over a week. We kept calling and calling to find out what the heck was going on but we couldn’t get a straight answer.

Finally after another 3-4 days, we received a notice indicating that our goods did NOT pass customs and would be shipped back to the manufacturer. WTF!!! We desperately needed this shipment otherwise we could potentially run out of goods to sell during one of our peak periods!

Unfortunately, there was nothing we could do about it. By chance, we got a really strict customs person who went through all of the goods and demanded that each individual piece be labelled completely by the book. This has never happened before and we’ve been importing goods for years!

The upshot of all this is that our large shipment got sent back to China and we still have not received our goods yet. But because we have such a good relationship with our vendors, they have agreed to send us a small emergency stash of linens to tide us over until this whole mess gets sorted out.

Needless to say, dealing with this fiasco was a major headache. But hopefully, we won’t run out of goods before the big shipment arrives.

The Server Fiasco

To make matters worse, my servers also went down a few weeks ago which I’ll talk about in more depth in a future blog post. But basically, all of my money making sites went down for over a day and we easily lost 4 figures during this period.

So for the past week, I’ve been frantically trying to migrate all of my sites over to a brand new webhost because I didn’t like the way my old host handled customer service during the downtime.

Unfortunately, this was the worst possible time for this to happen because it’s one of our peak sales periods. As a result, I’ve been a bit apprehensive about moving over the online store because any small mistake could result in further losses of income.

So for now, I’ve left the ecommerce store as is and moved over MyWifeQuitHerJob.com first to test the waters. So far so good.

USPS Has Been Flaky

Finally to top everything off, the United States Postal Service has been extremely flaky with their deliveries. I’m not sure if it’s because they are going bankrupt or what but their level of service has gotten exponentially worse this entire year. As a result, we’ve been giving out a lot of refunds and dealing with a larger volume of customers receiving their shipments late.

I’m not sure how the situation with USPS is going to pan out. But if their service continues to be this poor, businesses will no longer want to use them which will make their profitability problem worse.

At some point, we will have to seriously consider moving all of our shipping over to FedEx or UPS.

It’s All Good

Anyways, welcome to my world! That in a nutshell is what has been going on with my glamorous online businesses this past month. Fortunately however, I have photos like the one above to remind me how good I have it. I have a loving wife, 2 great kids, a decent house and lots of good friends nearby. I have everything to be thankful for which makes dealing with these business problems that much easier.

In the grand scheme of things, all of my problems are pretty trivial. What’s important is that my family is taken care of and that we enjoy the time we have together.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you enjoy your turkey and realize how lucky you are to be where you are today!

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24 thoughts on “Why I’m Thankful Despite The Recent Chaos With My Online Businesses”

  1. I appreciate your positive outlook Steve! Life’s 10% what happens to us and 90% how we choose to deal with it.

    1. Agreed Chris! What I forgot to mention about these fiascos is that we’ve now made adjustments already so hopefully these things will not happen again. It’s all part of the learning process.

  2. Mark says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Steve. No doubt if you run a business for long you’ll run into some rough patches…it’s just part of the package…and of course, more than anything it’s how you handle each one…learn from each one…and move forward a bit wiser. Brighter days are surely ahead!

    1. Well said Mark. Bad things always happen to pop up at the worst possible times:)

  3. Happy Thanksgiving Steve – that is one awesome picture. Even without the businesses, you are a rich man.

    1. Thanks Tracey! Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  4. Cassie Wilkerson says:

    Have a great Thanksgiving, hope you have a slamming Cyber Monday…..I’m hopeful sales projected up additional $123 this year in buying. :)

    Enjoy the girls while their still young wish was self-employed then killing myself for a paycheck – grown out of college with PHD this May and thanks to eCommerce her loan paid off! Take care.

    1. Thanks Cassie. This is definitely a fun age! Good luck on Cyber Monday for you too.

  5. Jen says:

    Certainly enjoyed reading this article, this is just another bump in the road moving you forward to even more success. I have to agree that USPS has become increasingly unreliable. There customer service is awful, and it gets worst if you happen to lose a package. Nice picture with the kids, pretty soon they’ll be grown and on their own. Enjoy them to the fullest!!

    1. Yeah, if a package gets lost or delayed, there’s no way to get any information about it. Actually what has really annoyed me lately is that they’ve been marking packages as “delivered” when they haven’t been. That is especially frustrating.

  6. Excellent post Steve and great pic with the kids! Really enjoyed reading this one. It motivates you to push harder against obstacles that come in your way.
    Happy Thanks Giving.

    TA

  7. Wishing you many more blessings! Happy Thanksgiving!! Bettie and Nuch

    1. THanks Bettie, but we aren’t going to be having any more children….OH wait you meant THanksgiving right:)?

  8. Thomas Bartone says:

    Steve – For about seventy-five cents you can have a tracking number on your package, then follow it’s progress online.

    When a customer calls about a delivery date, all you have to do is enter their tracking number and tell them the exact status of their package, including delivery date and time.

    I have found USPS to be extremely efficient (I hear those boos in the backround!) and easy to work with. Hint: Try to get a personal working relationship with someone at your local post office.

    Showing a postal worker a little respect and politeness can go a long way to helping you with any delivery problems!

    Tom Bartone

    1. Hey Tom,

      Naturally, we have delivery tracking on all of our packages. In addition, we are on a first name basis with our local post office. But none of that helps when a package is lost at the destination. I don’t believe they have the infrastructure in place to track packages that accurately. What is your shipping volume? I find it hard to believe that you haven’t had any issues in the past year.

  9. Dee says:

    Steve,

    I have also had flaky service from USPS this past couple of months. Mostly with international packages-in one month 4 packages lost in the mail? (They didn’t even make it through US Customs)

  10. Hi Steve,
    Though it’s never much fun, it’s true that we often learn more from failures than from success. I often think that bumps in the road make us more versatile as trouble shooters, and maybe that’s what we need to take away from such experiences. Thanks for opening a window into your world.

  11. This is such a great post and you are absolutely right and you have some great reasons to smile for sure. I feel your pain with USPS. I grew up in Miami and when I moved to another area, it was night and day. I didn’t get a stitch of mail for 2 months and when I complained twice, the second time I got the mail I should have gotten. It was in a stack wrapped in rubber bands. So USPS is just getting worse and you’re right.
    In any case, in the grand scheme, mere annoyances. Best wishes

  12. Sorry to hear about your troubles this month but thanks for saring it with us. It is something we all can learn from. It seems USPS situation is only getting worse much to the delight of the big two – Fedex and UPS.

    Hope all works well for December.

  13. That’s making lemonade out of lemons for sure. I hear you about the shipping; I ordered some business supplies that were supposed to be here in two days. One took 4 days, the other hasn’t arrived yet, and I paid extra for each. Yet, I was smart enough to order way in advance to give them more time, so I’m keeping it all in a positive perspective.

  14. Well done…again. Steve I hope you keep writing more blogs like this one. Thank you for the info Steve.

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