Turning an opportunity into a business
What began as a hobby has inevitably evolved into something much larger than that. I always knew that I wanted to be in business for myself, but I didn’t exactly know what I wanted to do or how to go about it. There’s an old saying that says knowledge is power. That being said, I really didn’t have anyone to take me under their wing and mentor me. I didn’t have any real on hand experience in order to launch myself into the St. Louis screen printing business. I also didn’t have any financial backing.
I can remember many years ago, hanging out at a local shopping mall and just killing time. This was in the winter and I owned an asphalt paving company. It was very hard work and the fact that I actually had a shut down for three or four months because it was too cold to operate. What this meant for me was that I had to be able to earn a years worth of income in just eight months time. What even complicated the situation more is that I was just a 23-year-old kid going on two years of marriage and the father of a brand-new baby girl. It was one of the greatest times of my entire life but at the same time one of the most challenging and intimidating. That’s a whole lot of responsibility and pressure for a young man.
So like I was saying earlier, I’m just killing time at a mall people watching and I noticed about every third individual that walked by was wearing some type of apparel in the way of a custom T-shirt or embroidery on a hat or jacket.
At that point I got an epiphany. Even though I didn’t know the first thing about that type of application. I realize that I could sell it. I also knew that I wouldn’t have to look very hard for potential customers as it was something that everybody was already familiar with and used every day of their lives. I went to the store and got some business cards made up and just started knocking on various doors looking for someone who needed what I was selling at that particular moment. I soon came to realize that even though everyone used digital T-shirt printing they didn’t necessarily need it at that very moment in time. The overwhelming majority would just tell me to leave a business card and they would give me a call eventually when they were ready. I also quickly became aware of the fact that just talking to the receptionist was a complete waste of time. No matter how smooth my presentation was and how excited I made her, she had no authority to make a decision of any kind.
So after all that time and effort, it all came down to the fact that I would have to come back when the owner was available. Well that’s all that I have time for right now , but we will speak later and I will fill you in on how I eventually transitioned into the leader of the St. Louis screen printing and custom embroidery firms in this city of ours.
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