How to co-run a small t-shirt business when one of you doesn’t have business experience and didn’t even go to college…
Steve and I have been running our screen print shop for almost 4 years now. Running a business together is very different from running our family together. We got married young. I was 16 when we met and almost 19 when we got married. We played music for a while and I worked as a waitress and in retail off and on. When we found out that we were expecting our first child Steve went back to school and graduated when our second baby was 10 months old. I, on the other hand, loved being a stay at home mom and running our home. It was fulfilling to me and our lives have benefitted from my being at home.
Here we are starting a business together. Steve has a degree in advertising and is an amazing web developer, I can bake a mean loaf of bread and talk a teenager down from an emotional ledge. I have felt so intimidated by my “lack of knowledge” in the business arena. More often than not I have shrunk back from really digging into the business because I have felt afraid of failing.
“I’m just a stay at home mom, I never even went to college! I don’t know anything about business!”
It’s true that I don’t know a ton about “business” but I do know people. I love people and people are what make a t-shirt business successful. Below I’m going to lay out some things I have learned that have really helped me on this road to entrepreneurship.
Things that I have learned as a stay at home mom that transfers to the business world.
- I know how to manage a lot of people with different personalities
- Because I am a discerning shopper I know what people are looking for in their purchase and their vendor. Value, reliability etc..
- Living only on Steve’s income I have learned how to budget and because we have made unwise financial decisions I have learned to research and budget correctly.
- Raising and training children has helped with forming our t-shirt business “policies and procedures”. We have had to train our own children and have seen what works and what doesn’t
- I am a homemaker. I know how to make people feel at home and comfortable. I have spent the last 18 years learning the art of hospitality and that means something.
I’ve listed only 5 things but they are important. We live in a world where the art of hospitality is overlooked in business. When I meet a client I want to make them feel at home. I want them to know that their needs will be taken care of and that I’m not just out to make a sale. We have to remember that it is about building relationships with people, not money. It is those good business relationships that will bring people back through your doors every time.
Do I want to make sales? Yes, of course but I don’t want to badger, annoy or use people for my own personal gain. The reason I have repeat customers is because they aren’t “customers” they have become actual business colleagues and dare I say, friends!
Being a Stay at home mom all these years has taught me the importance of anticipating needs and being willing to go the extra mile not because I am so important but because other people are important too.
Of course, what do I know… I never went to college 😉