Look Before You Leap

I just had an idea. I wanted to create a seasonal, limited edition of my Capture Cards. I envisioned selling a short-run of packs of cards that were a new color every quarter. It sounded cool, but I don’t jump on new ideas — cool or not — without some thought. So I did what I always do: I grabbed my notebook and pen, and started scribbling numbers. I checked with my printer on the cost of various runs of the cards. Do I go with 25 packs, or 50? What would 100 cost me? Those numbers gave me the cost-per-pack, and that told me what size batch of cards would allow me to earn a profit.

The bad news, though, is that if I wanted to turn a profit large enough to pay me an hourly rate equal to my design services, I would need to sell a lot. More than I think is reasonable to expect based on past sales and the risk, in fact.

I didn’t learn anything earth-shattering, really. But I did prevent myself from making a decision or a commitment that would cost me too much of my time and energy for very little financial return. Sometimes an idea’s worth and the financial gain it could offer are very different from each other.

Sometimes it pays to look before you leap.