Things I Never Knew About Running My Own Business

Thursday, February 25, 2016

I hate when I miss a day of blogging. I know a lot of people like a break, but I don't. I get antsy if I don't write every day. I get itchy.

But allow me to take you through my past 24 hours. Humor me and pretend like you care.

My last t-shirt delivery was a little delayed because of one thing or another and I could start to feel the heat of my customers wanting their stuff. And rightfully so. When I order something I want it asap, so I get the urgency. Sidenote- can we all agree that everyone should have to work in customer service and/or the food service industry at least once in their life? Just so we all "get it"...

I knew there was a good chance my shipment would't make it to me on account of the blizzard rolling through Chicago, so Wednesday morning I jumped in my car at 4:30 a.m. (to beat the bad weather) and drove nine hours to get my shirts. I work with a Nebraska supplier because hometown business, ya know?

Anyway, I got to Nebraska around 2 p.m., picked up my inventory, and went straight to work until around midnight.

Living my dream life, what can I say?

Honestly, every shirt I pack - even in the wee hours of the morning, I remind myself that it beats the hell out of sitting in a cubicle working for someone else. My personality test confirmed I don't do well with rules or being told what to do, I'm pretty sure every teacher/boss I've ever had would agree to that one as well...

When I started a year ago with this shirt I had no idea it would turn into what it has.

But over the course of a year I have learned a lot about running a business. Let's breeze over a few!

*The work (and thoughts of work) never ends.
Never ever. I have to make myself stop at night because there's always one more thing I need or want to do.

*Sundays are for getting shit done.
If I don't put in at least 4-5 hours of work every Sunday my Monday will be hell. Good bye, lazy Sundays.

*Vacations are hard. 
Because when I stop working my business suffers. Customers don't care if you're on a ski trip. So I never fully disconnect. I'm always checking emails and trying to keep my head on straight. I'm worried about this for our wedding and honeymoon. I want to disconnect fully, but I also want to be able to pay rent... So.

*I care a lot.
I'll be honest, I've had cubicle jobs where I really didn't care that much. I'd do the bare minimum I had to do and get the hell out.  I know that sounds terrible, but it's true. When you run your own business it's totally different. I care about every cent, promotion, connection, email, I put out there. It's me. It's my business.

*I care too much.
I take things personally. (My personality test warned me of this, as well.) When a customer shoots me a mean email I dwell on it. When someone doesn't like something I get upset about it.

*I care a lot because I love it. 
I wake up feeling grateful (and exhausted) but mostly grateful every morning. I love that I get to start my emails each day on my couch with Harlow on my lap. And then I get to write for an hour. And then I start t-shirt time. (With about five trips to the dog park in between.)

But enough chit-chat. I have to head back into the t-shirt room. Those "Let's Day Drink" shirts aren't going to pack themselves. Also, I'm sharing an inside look at the life of a t-shirt lady today on snapchat @thedailytay.

Man, I could go for a Bloody right now.


  1. WOOHOO! YOU GO GIRL!!! This is cool to hear. I would love to get to a place one day with shirts as you are, but it's great to hear about the demanding side of it. Couldn't agree more with the customer service. Everyone should have to do it. I am the support person at our startup, and we usually have other people fill in and answer emails just to get empathy. I think it's essential for humans to build that empathy!

    Keep on rocking it, Taylor!!!

  2. Ask someone to help you out the week of your wedding and honeymoon. Have a friend that wants to give you a special wedding gift that you would trust with your business? Well there you go. Hire an intern to help out between now and then so they know your business. In the month prior to your wedding, post everywhere you will be taking a small break, but someone is there to help.

    Blog ahead of time and have some pictures ready to post on IG. Schedule as much as you can in advance.

  3. Love this. And I never stop thinking either... hence the problems sleeping at night. But I won't dare try Ambien again... shit got real weird for awhile....

  4. it's funny how we have different businesses, yet I feel the same. love this post.

  5. I totally agree that everyone should have to work in the service industry. I'm glad that you take your customers so seriously. I think that's a good thing.

  6. I think it's a very rare moment for someone to feel that gratified with their career at your age. It's such an incredible feeling. You go girl!

  7. I think it's awesome when business owners care so much. I'm sure it's tiring for you- but you are the type of person I want to support. Not someone out there just pumping shit out on the Internet to make a buck. Awesome post.

  8. I 100% agree, one of the hardest things is always how much you care!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  9. Great post! 100% agree that work never ends.
    Abbie E.

  10. I totally agree that everyone needs to work in customer service/retail/food service -- one of those jobs where people inevitably treat you like shit. I swear, people who have worked those jobs are infinitely more aware when they become customers.

    Anyway, that's really awesome that you drove out there to get the shirts. I'm sure it was stressful and exhausting, but it's really great that you're that invested in your customers. More business owners should take a page out of your book!

  11. This is soooo true! I just started my own blog design business and I obsess over it constantly!

  12. OMG, I love this post! I'm just starting my own clothing boutique and I'm a Stay At Home Mom, so it has already been a crazy ride, but I feel the same way you do!! I take things way to personally and think about it 24/7!

  13. I so agree, everyone should have to work customer service at some point!

  14. Amen. Amen. Amen. That's kind of all I have to say about this. I think every solo entrepreneur would agree that this is word-for-word "our life" and though we wouldn't change it for the world, it's not all sunshine, butterflies, and vacations :). Thanks for preaching - and encouraging everyone to work in customer service and the food industry at least once in their life.

  15. Thank you for being awesome... and honest. At least you can package t-shirts while drinking wine. Most cubicles don't allow that.

  16. You are an inspiration :) I am still looking for my niche in life.

  17. Curious if you use Image Market! It's a friend of mine from college, if so. ;) Love the shirts!

  18. That's the thing I don't think people understand about having their own business until they have their own business. All the work that gets put into it. You go girl! :)