I started my tee shirt business for many reasons—one of the reasons was to have something to do with my time after graduating. I crafted for friends and family, who encouraged me to make things for them to buy. They shared it with their friends, and it took off. Towards the end of my first full calendar year in "business," I found Paper + Spark. I purchased The Goal-Getting Guidebook. I inputted my numbers and came to the shocking discovery that I had made $300 in profit... $300 after generating nearly $18K in revenue. 😟
I thought about all the events I declined, the long hours in the office, the handful of stressful situations with customers, and all the trial-and-error products. All of that for $300??? I gave myself the excuse, "well, this is just for fun. I don't need the money." Then, it hit me... all this "fun," but at what cost? I am watching my life pass me by. I realized something had to change. After working through the Goal-Getting Guidebook, there was one thing that was clear that needed to change: my mindset!
Janet's guidebook walks you through recording your business numbers, analyzing them, setting a plan to improve, and projecting out for the future. Below is an excerpt from her product description:
- Reviewing what happened in the past 12 months from both a financial and non-financial standpoint
- Uncovering valuable lessons from what worked and didn't work last year
- Beginning the goal-setting process for the next 12 months by setting a goal for your take-home pay
- Working backward to set goals for your business's net income and sales for the year
- Establishing a spending budget for your business
- Figuring out how many orders and sales it will take to reach your goals each month
- Analyzing and tweaking your product mix and profit margins to meet your goals more efficiently
- Breaking all your big goals down to a monthly plan of action
- Creating a big picture guide map for the year to keep you on track
- Tracking your progress from month to month
Instead of thinking I needed to generate more income, I learned I needed to be a better steward of the money I made and not spend it immediately. This action would allow me to increase my profit margin. What this looked like for me included:
- Not buying new poly mailers when I wanted a new pattern, but I still had a ton left
- Not stockpiling fillers, buying one time a month if my inventory was low
- Not hoarding screen prints. I changed my business model to weekly runs and placed a screen print order after the customer ordered from me
- Limiting the number of subscriptions and business expenses I currently had
- Ensuring the total project margin of my business stayed at 40% and above
I also learned about conversion rate, average order value, and traffic from Janet. So often, traffic is the revenue-generating activity everyone tends to focus on. But what if I could optimize my website to increase the number of people placing an order? Or what if I could get those customers who are already shopping to spend just a little more?
Over time, I realized that…
running a shirt business went beyond finding cute screen prints and fun packaging. In addition, I could teach myself how to be a successful business owner by investing in tools and education. The Goal-Getting Guidebook is what caused my business to take off. In June the following year, I reached my total sales from the year prior with still 7 months left to go in the year. Instead of spending everything I made, I budgeted my business money like I do my personal money.
From then on, the turn down the hustle mentality was born in me. Instead of trying to hustle to sell more, I needed to learn to manage what I had already made and strategically grow my business beyond bringing in more traffic. I needed to shift my mindset from thinking of myself as just a hobby and treat my time like I was running a real business. And wa-la… A real business I became. ❣️