What I've Learned After Running My Own Business For Three Years

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

My t-shirt shop is celebrating three years this week. I never thought I'd be a "T-Shirt Lady," yet here I am. But when I look back,  I have to admit it makes sense. The writing was always on the wall. I was the one who demanded to be in charge of making shirts for my friends in middle school, then my basketball team in high school, keg race shirts in college...

SHOP
So like I said, I suppose it was always my destiny.

Three years ago when I printed my first shirt, my goal was to sell twenty. Then fifty. Then a hundred. I wanted to "ride this t-shirt thing out" for at least three months. Wouldn't that be fun, I remember thinking to myself. I could really be my own boss finally!

Never did I imagine it would carry me for this long. Second only to my blog (and being Harlow's dog walker) it's the longest I've held a job before... (I have authority problems, remember?)

I've learned over the years that a lot of people want to sell t-shirts. I say this because they tend to email me, asking how to do it. At least four times a week I get the email that says, "I've got this great idea for a shirt, but don't know where to start..."

So here's my advice. You just do. Go out on that limb and do it. We live in the days of the internet, so any info you want is available. Figure out a printing service (by googling.) Then figure out what kind of shirt you want to print on (by looking in your closet.) I looked at the soft cozy shirts I already owned and went from there. My advice is don't go cheap on the quality of shirts. I hate when I order online and the shirt comes in and it feels like a free shirt you'd get at a football game for signing up for a new credit card. Don't do that, stay away from the cheap shit.

click here for shirt.

When you know what brand of shirt you'd like to use, then you just have to pull the trigger and do it. My first order was for twenty shirts. I put all of them on my credit card because I couldn't afford to do it any other way. I was nervous as hell I'd end up with 20 shirts sitting in a box in my closet no one wanted to buy.

Luckily, that didn't happen. However three years later, I have far more than 20 shirts sitting in my closet...

Which brings me to some of the struggles of being a tshirt lady: INVENTORY. Managing inventory is so hard for me. Ordering it every Monday makes my stomach drop. Am I over-ordering? Under-ordering? It's never easy for me. Every time I think I have a system down something seems to pop up out of nowhere and throw me off completely. I am not an organized person and that does not bid well for this job.

Struggle number two, (the biggest struggle of all for me,) is the nature of the t-shirt business in general- which means people take whatever they want. I give myself a pat on the back about this one because I've really mellowed in this area. (Or have tried to at least.) I don't take things as personal, or go ape shit when I see something I created being used by someone who isn't me, I just know it's the business.

Simply because I choose to come up with my own designs, doesn't mean everyone else does. Of course I'd like them to... But sadly I don't get to make the rules for every single t-shirt business that exists. Bummer, I know.

*However I do go ape shit when people not only steal my ideas, but also my photos, that's too much for me.* Like for example the leg pic you see above, it's been used nearly 100 times on other sites to sell products that aren't mine. I stopped keeping track at 100. It got tiresome and filled me with too much negative energy. My only small victory is the fact that pic has a blatant stain on that specific shirt, which brings me a chuckle. (It's to the left of the AF.) So nice job stealing that pic, idiots.

I'm not bitter. I'm not bitter. I'm not bitter.

I simply know that when I release a new shirt and spend a lot of time and money to market the hell out of it, it will only be mine for a matter of weeks. (Sometimes days. Sometimes even just hours.) It's unfortunate, but it is what it is. My only solution is to constantly come up with new stuff and hope it takes.

Admittedly, I got really lucky being the first to slap "MARRIED AF"on a shirt. And yes, it hurts to look at my sales last year compared to this year for those specific tops since a million other stores sell it now, but what can you do. I can't rest on only having "that one great shirt," or my business would never survive.

*That said, please buy 100 Married AF tops for all of your friends getting married because it pains my heart.*

Moving right along...

Just like with blogging, or writing, really anything in life, there's no "secret to success," or "that one thing you have to do," to create your own business that lasts for three years rather three months. From what I've learned, there's a shit ton things you have to do. And you have to do them over and over and over.

You have to hustle. And grind. And handle the anxiety of the unknown and what-ifs. You have to stay up late, get up early, do your research, see what the others are doing and do it better. Spend money on ads and marketing and collabs. Watch tutorials. Read articles. Try new things. Don't be afraid of failure because it's going to happen a lot. (More than you want.) But after all of the failure will come the success.

I know that's not what most people want to hear when they ask me about my business, and maybe there is a better way or "that one thing you have to do," and I simply don't know it.

All I can tell you is what I've done. And keep in mind I never took a single business class in college, I didn't get any of my info from a "tshirt lady," I've simply figured it out as I've gone along. Trial and error. Lots of it.

And most importantly, I'm not ignorant to the fact 95% of the success I've found is because of this blog. Because of people like you, who choose to buy from me, when there's millions of other choices out there. So there's that. (And that's a big one.)
SHOP

That's all I've got for today. Thank you for three years of support! Seriously, thank you! Which also means three years of shameless plugs on this site you've graciously allowed.

Like clear bags for game days, AMIRIGHT? The clear bag policy in stadiums this year is a big thing, but I've got you covered!

To read a more in-depth post about starting a tshirt business click here.

16 comments:

  1. My boyfriend is actually looking into a t-shirt business right now - definitely sharing this with him. Thank you for sharing!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

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  2. Darn it! I just ordered the red day drink shirt but am SO IN LOVE with the yellow!!! I may be exchanging...

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  3. ive been a long long long time reader of your blog and im ashamed i havent boughta s hirt yet. So i just bought Married AF so i can wear it after I get married AF this october lol! :) I know what it feels like to have your own thing like this. I wrote a book about fixing your finances last February. It's very empowering :)

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  4. I love the just do it attitude, it is definitely easier said than done. Rather a life worth living than sitting on the sidelines! Thanks for the motivation!

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  5. Yes!! When someone asked me (online) the other day how to get a job as a virtual assistant, I just thought man if you can't figure that out (Google it) then what are you doing? Congrats to you on 3 years!! My business just turned 1 and I can't believe I'm doing it either. It's awesome and scary all at the same time!

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  6. Get it girl. Congrats on three years!

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  7. I just ordered the Clear is the New Black tote, mainly because it describes my feelings on clear bag policy. Love it and sending it to all my lady friend.

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  8. The clear bag policy at stadiums I think is overreaction, just like all other security theatre operations.

    Nevertheless, it's a great idea, and I like the hashtag on it too. Though I am a huge sports fan, as you know...

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  9. My boyfriend broke up with me exactly three weeks ago. We had dated very seriously for almost 8 months. We had even discussed marriage and our lives together in the future. I'm feeling confident in myself and happy but I still miss him and want him back. I'm worried that if I wait too long, he will move on to someone else. I've been doing a lot of things to change my life including working out, working on selling my car, changing my career, not playing video games, etc. he broke up with me and removed me from ALL social media platforms, so I know she is trying to move on. I guess my biggest mistake of letting him go away i really love him and i will by any chance do any thing to get him back coz he mean the whole world to me. so one day going through the internet i came across a wonderful testimony comment on how to get ex back, win a lotto game, how to get pregnant and so on i was so excited coz i have be waiting so long to have my boyfriend back so i email this man, not just a man but a real spell caster who i explain all my problem and situation to, and he gave me his full reassurance that my boyfriend will be back just 48 hours after his spell i never believe him coz i have fall so many victim of fake spell caster who took all my money so i said to me self if you love some one and there and desperate to have him or her back, them you will be ready to face any challenges that comes your way, to short my story as he promise me, my boyfriend who never take my calls or reply my message call me up, apology, and beg for all he done to me and also pleased for me to accept him back and i was so very much happy to have my boyfriend back and now we are planing on how to get married soon thank to you Dr happy you made my year and my dream life come through if you need help plz contact Dr happy on http://happyspelltemple.webs.com/ for more details email.....happylovespell2@gmail.com or add him on whats-app +2348133873774

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  10. Congratulations on three years and screw the copycats. The clear bag is GENIUS!

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  11. I've gotten back with my ex husband, you can also fix your broken relationship & get your ex-lover back fast. I'm Angel Wesley from the United States. My husband and i have been married for about 6yrs now. We were happily married with two kids, a boy and a girl. 1 months ago, I started to notice some strange behavior from him and a few weeks later, I found out that my husband is seeing someone else. He started coming home late from work, he hardly care about me or the kids anymore, Sometimes he goes out and doesn't even come back home for about 2-3 days. I did all I could to rectify this problem but all to no avail. I became very worried and needed help. so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested Dr Unity can help get ex back fast, restore broken relationships and stop a divorce. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and told him my problems and he told me what to do and i did it and he did a {love spell} for me. 28 hours later, my husband came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. Thank you Dr Unity for saving my broken Marriage and brought my husband back to me!".. I and my family are living together happily again. Dr.Unity is the best online spell caster that is powerful and genuine. If you have any problem contact him and i guarantee you that he will help you. Here’s his contact..Email him at: Unityspelltemple@gmail.com ,you can also call him or add him on whats-app:+2348071622464.

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  12. Hey! my life is devastated! I’m going through hell right now from the past one month,i broke up with my bf. we both were completely in love.But i started having some issues with myself. my mood swings were a lot to handle for him an that point i just felt the need to break up and so i did.And i hurt him to the core which i never wanted to.He kept on begging me but i didn’t hear.Later on he started avoiding me and kind of did everything as you said in your video.it felt bad.I always loved him but i had to break up.I regret breaking up so much.But after that he said no to me.He said he’ll never come back as he cannot put faith in me.I have tried my level best but he is adamant that he cannot trust me. even though after i realised what i did.I changed myself completely.I dealt with my mood swings and now i don’t get any.He cannot trust me.what should i do?I love him and he does too but he says he don’t have that much courage to come back. one day in my office going through the internet i saw a post of a lady giving testimony on how she got her husband back,i also come across a blog site on how to reunite and get your ex back with a love spell it was really amazing to see this so i copy his email id on http://happyspelltemple.webs.com/ i explain my situation to him and gave him all the details he requested from me, he give me few days assurance that my boyfriend will come back after the spell i was so overwal to hear that so i just keep calm and follow up his order coz i really love my boyfriend and want him back. on the second day after the spell as he promise me, my ex call me also show up in my office begging me to forgive him and accept him back with out no delay, i lift him up with a kiss and was so very happy to have him back all my happiness was from Dr happy he is indeed a true man a father and a god sent. plz contact Dr happy on his email id direct at happylovespell2@gmail.com or call his mobile number on +2348133873774

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  13. I've gotten back with my ex husband, you can also fix your broken relationship & get your ex-lover back fast. I'm Angel Wesley from the United States. My husband and i have been married for about 6yrs now. We were happily married with two kids, a boy and a girl. 1 months ago, I started to notice some strange behavior from him and a few weeks later, I found out that my husband is seeing someone else. He started coming home late from work, he hardly care about me or the kids anymore, Sometimes he goes out and doesn't even come back home for about 2-3 days. I did all I could to rectify this problem but all to no avail. I became very worried and needed help. so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested Dr Unity can help get ex back fast, restore broken relationships and stop a divorce. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and told him my problems and he told me what to do and i did it and he did a {love spell} for me. 28 hours later, my husband came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. Thank you Dr Unity for saving my broken Marriage and brought my husband back to me!".. I and my family are living together happily again. Dr.Unity is the best online spell caster that is powerful and genuine. If you have any problem contact him and i guarantee you that he will help you. Here’s his contact..Email him at: Unityspelltemple@gmail.com ,you can also call him or add him on whats-app:+2348071622464.

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  15. Hello Every body
    Thank you thank you Dr iayaryi for the good work you just did in my life ,
    I'm From Texas USA. I was married to my husband for two years and we were living together happily and we both love each other for this two year not until one bad evening when i came back from work late due to scares of transportation and he started queering and he said he does not trust me any more and he can continue with this marriage any more and he drove me away from his house unknowingly to him that i was carrying his two month old baby inside me i tried informing he but he won,t listen to me any more i thought i will never get him back again and i loved him so much and i promise not to rest until am able to get him back to my life so i began to look for a solution and help to get him back this was because i do not want to give birth to a fatherless child so one afternoon as i was browsing on my computer i came across a testimony shared by miss Rachael from UK how she got his ex husband back with the help of Dr iayaryi of (driayaryi2012@hotmail.com) so i decided to give him a try and to my best surprise the spell this man cast on my husband work just within two days i contacted him . and today am happily living with my husband and a bouncing baby boy , with all this help rendered to me through this Dr iayaryi OF (driayaryi2012@hotmail.com )i will always thank him forever and testify his goodness in my life for other,s to hear an see , once again thank you DR for bringing back my family And also Reach him on WhatsApp Number: +2349057915709 Thanks Dr. IyaryI

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  16. hi guys…. Amazing love spell that work fast
    I was having a great love for the past 7 months I know him for 2 yrs he had all bad habbits but wen he got interest over me he left evrythg jus for me and just to be happy he took care of me like my mother.. I was very much blessed the problem was I had three family frd (boys) I am very close to them…. my boy didn’t like me talking to those boys he didn’t tell me tht first he was always afraid that I would leave him… so he kept his fear inside his heart and was worrying a lot.. fa 4 months now wen I came to know tht he zz hving this feari decided to stop talking with everyone, but my boy is telling me tht he lost his pure love on me.. he is telling me tht he loves me but not like before I begged him very badly… for 8 days I cried and begged him….. v both are very close…. v are mutually into evrythg even sex…. now he zz telling tht he is tired of fear and he can’t be like before frdzz what should I do? what should I do to get him back? plz tell me i found online who help me to get back with my boy again he is back to me again with his real pure love all thank to Dr happy the real spell caster who help me out when i was in pain and tear plz contact him http://happyspelltemple.webs.com/ for more details email.....happylovespell2@gmail.com or add him on whats-app +2348133873774

    ReplyDelete