July 24th Show Notes – “Wish Someone Told Me That Before Starting My Business” Ideas

Starting a Business TipsJuly 24th Show Audio

Please find some links and notes from the 2 Regular Guys Podcast. Starting a business is both exciting and frightening. On this week’s 2 Regular Guys podcast, we’ll talk about all the advice we and our listeners would like to have heard before getting involved in our own business opportunities. Tune in and share your own advice this week when we discuss, “What I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Business” and provide you with Starting a Business Tips.

Sponsored by: EnMart

Our regular listeners know this, but 2 Regular Guys is all about garment decorating, a bit of fun, and no rants or lectures or selling. We are not doing this for our employers, but rather for our industry. For the past two years, 2 Regular Guys has been the first and the most listened to garment decorating industry podcast on this planet! We are humbled by all of you tuning in each week. We work hard to bring you information that will make your business better, and our industry better. Take a look at our incredible weekly guest list and you’ll understand where this industry goes for news, interviews and the heartbeat of garment decorating. Thanks for listening!!

Starting a Business Tips

When we came up with this topic for the show, our friend Greg Kitson with Minds Eye Graphics had already given this a lot of thought and even has a list he shares with new decorators.

Greg’s 10 Rules for Success

  1. Money is your most important tool!
  2. Time is your most important asset!
  3. If you don’t write it down it’s not real!
  4. You must be honest with yourself…
  5. …Before you can be honest with Greg Kitson.
  6. PROFIT is not a dirty word!
  7. Work SMARTER not HARDER!
  8. Work ON your business, not in your business!
  9. Have fun doing what you choose to do!
  10. Hire someone to do what you don’t want to!

Greg Kitson, Mind’s Eye Graphics, Inc., www.mindseyeg.com, training@mindseyeg.com

Write a Business Plan

#1 – Know your Target Market – Selling shirts to nudists

If you say you want to sell to everybody, I’m going to roll up a newspaper and wrap you on the nose. Have an idea of who you want to sell to. Who’s your competition? Try to be as realistic as possible with your projections and rate of growth. How much will the equipment cost? How much is my rent, utilities? Where am I going to buy my garments or whatever product I’m going to decorate?

I’m an Excel spreadsheet guy too. I’m all about layout out a budget and then plugging in different revenue amounts to see how the numbers end up.

Be careful not to go to the opposite extreme. I had a former student call me up and say she was getting out of the business after being in my class three years earlier. She wanted me to help her sell her shop. As we talked, she mentioned that none of the equipment had ever been used. When I asked what she had been doing for the last three years, she said, “Market research mostly.”

Greatest T-Shirt Idea Ever!!!

Every time I have students in my classes introduce themselves, one of them will say, “I don’t know if I should say my plans yet, because I have the greatest t-shirt idea ever!!” I appreciate  your enthusiasm and you should go at it like that, but in a nutshell, you don’t.


If you’re used to working for someone else, punching the clock as it were, starting your own business requires an enormous commitment of time. I often tell new entrepreneurs, “Owning your own business gives you the freedom to work all the hours in the day.” But, hopefully  it will be a labor of love. In a seminar recently someone was asking about starting a direct-to-garment business and gave the example of, “What happens if I take a two week vacation and…” I interrupted and said, “If you own a business, you won’t be taking a two week vacation.”


#2 – Know your True Costs – Not making money, you have an expensive hobby…

I have cringed many times over the years when a customer or a student says they’ve spent every penny of their savings on this piece of equipment or that. I tell them, “Be sure to have money for shirts, supplies, rent, etc., and of course repairs, parts, service and the unexpected as well. Because you should absolutely expect the unexpected!”

It’s pretty inexpensive to get setup in a business in our industry. Screen printing for $15,000, Direct-to-garment for a similar price. How about sublimation Aaron? I think this is one of the problems. Someone can take a small amount of savings, or even max out a credit card or two, and start a business. And it’s just as easy to sink all your capital into that business without any reserve.

If you’re starting this business to get a paycheck, you may have to wait for a bit. And when you have employees, you get paid last.


We spend a lot of time on this program talking about training. It’s important for you to get training in the nuts and bolts of your new business. It’s important to get training for your new employees. I’m doing a sold out screen printing class this weekend at Workhorse Products. We’ll not only set up the press and print a few times, but we’ll talk about the business, pricing your product, marketing your product. Take advantage of every learning opportunity. Your suppliers can even come to your shop and train on one or more aspects of the business. Go to trade shows, attend the seminars.

Getting Your Name Out There

#3 – Work at selling/marketing – It’s a process and you must keep the pipeline full. At the end of the day just about anyone can produce these products, but most business fail because they can’t sell/market.

*BONUS* Dealing with Employees *Bonus*

Your life changes forever the day you hire your first employee. The key is being professional. That can be hard when you’re just starting out but it’s very difficult to change your business culture as you grow. I think the next important factor in dealing with employees is to be very clear as to what you expect from them. I took over a production at a shop on the East Coast once, and was told on my first day I needed to fire the one and only artist on staff. Apparently he wasn’t doing his job  to the expectations of the owner. So I asked, “Has anyone explained what you expect him to accomplish? Has anyone sat down this employee and explained what he is doing wrong and what he would need to do to get back on track? Does this employee have any idea his job has been on the line??” The answer was “no” to all questions. This employee was not meeting some double-secret arbitrary standard the owner had locked away in his brain. And no, I didn’t fire the employee that day. Training, training, training. What you do in your shop is no big secret and training your employees to be better at their jobs does not make them a flight risk! Sometimes, you just have to suck it up and fire employees. SGIA by the way has a great guide for wages in every aspect of the industry. Want to find the average wage of an Art Director, it’s in the guide.

See more great advice from our Social Media Friends – #2RGsAdvice

From the Chat Room:

ErichCampbell says to  (10:04:17): Good morning, folks.

2 Regular Guys Talking Decoration says (10:07:24): Morning everyone! Sorry about the technical difficulties…

ErichCampbell says to  (10:07:45): Can’t hear Steve much- really quiet.

GregKitson says to  (10:08:29): Good morning guys & gals, I’m calling in shortly and will be waiting……

ErichCampbell says to  (10:08:38): It happens, right! That’s a business tip: things are going to go wrong; resilience is key.

2 Regular Guys Talking Decoration says (10:08:52): Darn it! It doesnt give me any controls over that in this new Studio the Blog Talk Radio.

2 Regular Guys Talking Decoration says (10:09:19): Exactly Erich!

2 Regular Guys Talking Decoration says (10:17:20): OK folks we are almost ready for the meat of the show. Everyone ready to join in?

ErichCampbell says to  (10:18:11): I will certainly give it a go. 🙂 I hit a couple of #2RGsAdvice tags on Twitter already. 🙂

2 Regular Guys Talking Decoration says (10:18:43): See it!

2 Regular Guys Talking Decoration says (10:18:51): Thanks.

KristineShreve says to  (10:21:07): Good morning everyone!

2 Regular Guys Talking Decoration says (10:21:50): Morning everyone!

2 Regular Guys Talking Decoration says (10:21:56): Hi Kristine!

JohnnyKillerGraphics says to  (10:22:20): Morning All

KristineShreve says to  (10:22:25): Hi!  Did you talk about broadcasting in your pj’s yet?

ErichCampbell says to  (10:23:45): GOOD MORNING, KRISTINE! 🙂

KristineShreve says to  (10:24:02): Good morning Erich!

2 Regular Guys Talking Decoration says (10:25:09): Monring Rob!

RobKeuneke says to  (10:25:34): Good Morning to you also

ErichCampbell says to  (10:32:32): Great stuff Greg!

2 Regular Guys Talking Decoration says (10:33:25): Agreed Erich!

2 Regular Guys Talking Decoration says (10:34:09): We got a ton of great stuff from lots of people like Greg! What makes this show what it is. Very humbled to be a part of it.

KristineShreve says to  (10:39:06): Ahh,  I’m going to have to listen to this one in full later.  I’ve been catching bits and pieces.  Keep getting pulled away.

KristineShreve says to  (10:40:57): Oh, wow,  being accountable is such a bit thing,  and so many managers are so bad at it.  Either being accountable for their own responsibilities or holding employees accountable for theirs.

ErichCampbell says to  (10:44:56): Me too, Having to cut applique material this AM- production never stops. Loud in my office. 🙂

KristineShreve says to  (10:45:16): I knew the pajama thing was coming at some point.

KristineShreve says to  (10:45:39): So,  now I’m going to have to dress up for next weeks show.

KristineShreve says to  (10:46:51): Although I suppose I could just say I dressed up and not do it.   You guys would never know. (lol)

2 Regular Guys Talking Decoration says (10:47:08): Perisope for us!

ErichCampbell says to  (10:47:33): Niche Markets can start from your own hobbies and culture- inside knowledge can be an inside track. 🙂

ErichCampbell says to  (10:48:59): I sold tons of totes to my folk music folks when I used to play mountain dulcimer- saved me in a tough business spot.

2 Regular Guys Talking Decoration says (10:50:08): Sounds awesome Erich! Now I have to look up what mountain dulcimer is. hehe

ErichCampbell says to  (10:52:20): It’s pretty awesome. I;m so rusty- I haven’t been on stage in a LONG time, (or even picked it up) 😉

GregKitson says to  (10:54:08): Yeah I should be committed to a mental facility for doing this….

JohnnyKillerGraphics says to  (10:55:22): I already am

ErichCampbell says to  (10:56:41): It was a great list, Greg. 🙂

GregKitson says to  (10:57:47): the 10 step list is available at www.miindseyeg.com in the downloads section

JohnnyKillerGraphics says to  (10:59:27): Does not matter if you start with $5 or 1 million…cash flow makes or breaks your business

ErichCampbell says to  (11:02:23): The day you think there’s nothing more to learn, quit. The craft moves on and sometimes new perspectives bring real value.

RobKeuneke says to  (11:03:38): Absolutely correct.  If you don’t learn something new each day, you’re doing something wrong.

ErichCampbell says to  (11:04:27): Totally, Rob. Learning, playing, trying new things, and listening- so important.

JohnnyKillerGraphics says to  (11:04:39): The first day you can’t learn some thing is the day after you die

KristineShreve says to  (11:04:46): We learn new things every day.   We also actively seek out opportunities to learn.   Nobody knows everything there is to know.   Plus,  the most powerful question a business owner can ask is often “what if?”.

ErichCampbell says to  (11:05:20): Absolutely, Kristine!

RobKeuneke says to  (11:06:00): Making mistakes is all part of the LEARNING PROCESS.  Learn from them and move on to the next job.

KristineShreve says to  (11:07:26): Marketing is so important,  and so easy to forget.   If you don’t market,  you don’t sell, and if you don’t sell,  you don’t have a business.

RobKeuneke says to  (11:10:21): Create samples of what you do to show them.  Samples sell!  Especially samples with THEIR logo on something.

ErichCampbell says to  (11:10:31): Totally! Great one, Rob.

ErichCampbell says to  (11:10:48): Kristine is right- it’s hard when you get self-sustaining to remember your growth. 🙂

KristineShreve says to  (11:11:17): Yay,  can’t wait for next week !

KristineShreve says to  (11:12:25): So happy EnMart is able to support the podcast!

JohnnyKillerGraphics says to  (11:13:01): Talk about the new sub Flock transfers

ErichCampbell says to  (11:13:08): Great show!

GregKitson says to  (11:13:19): Thanks for the opportunity to share and the gift of your time this morning.

ErichCampbell says to  (11:13:33): Can’t wait to pick Kristine’s brain on marketing. 🙂

KristineShreve says to  (11:13:53): Should be a fun show Erich!

2 Regular Guys Talking Decoration says (11:14:02): Awesome stuff today everyone. Made the show. Thanks for your time Greg!

KristineShreve says to  (11:14:34): Great show!


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Terry’s Books

Screen Printing: A Practical Guide to Starting Your Own T-Shirt Business Just $4.95 as an e-book.

Direct to Garment: A Practical Guide to Starting Your Own T-Shirt Business Just $4.95 as an e-book.

Scheduling and Estimating Production Time for Garment Screen Printing Just $2.99 as an e-book

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Whether your interests lie in sublimation, embroidery, or any other garment decoration, EnMart’s knowledgeable and experienced team is here to assist in any way they can.

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