June 2019: We invoiced our first customer.
We sent our first invoice using Wave. We typically use TransferWise when sending money abroad for personal trips and had planned to take receipt of customer payments to our US bank and then use TransferWise to get what was needed to Thailand. Due to the email issue I wrote about last month with our first customer, we needed to get the money to Thailand as fast as possible to pay our suppliers. We asked the customer if they would use TransferWise themselves and they agreed.
Wave worked fine as an invoicing tool, but failed completely when it came to keeping track of multiple currencies. It won’t allow you to invoice in one currency and record the transaction in another, which in this instance is what we needed. It also won’t allow you to split an invoice to account for banking fees, which seems like accounting 101 to me. We decided to bail on Wave for accounting and use a spreadsheet since there doesn’t seem to be any better solution. We will keep Wave for invoicing, they do seem to have that figured out.
Business Credit Card
We finally got a business credit card so we can pay for the services that will accept payment via credit card. One of our biggest concerns is domestic air tickets changing price or flights becoming full. By the time the client approves our proposal, pays their invoice, we get the money to our US bank, then get that money transferred overseas, it could be a week or more.
Building a Fixer List
We discussed creating some type of database to list guides, drivers, hotels, and other service providers. Since I have a web development background, I built it so we can access it from anywhere. Here’s what a single listing looks like for a guide:
Trying One-Day Tours
My mother is on the board of the National Education Association. NEA sends people to the Education International World Congress every four years, which happens to be this year. And this Congress is being held in Bangkok. We never intended on offering one-day tours but figured this was a great opportunity to get our name known to a large group. We figured most of the attendees would have a couple of days on either end of the conference and would be looking for a tour of Bangkok. I setup a landing page offering general tourist information and added an email sign-up box. I sent cards with my mother to the next board meeting. We got a whole four people on the list. We still weren’t deterred and created two very different one-day tours. It took a few weeks to sort the logistics of each trip and price them but once those things were known, I sent an email with links to the offerings. Nobody replied. Nobody booked.
It wasn’t a complete waste since we now have a few new offerings we can include in our full-service tours. And we already know exactly how much fulfilling those days will cost us. But, man, it’s disheartening to put in that much work and not getting a single email about it.