The American dream is to strike it rich as a self made millionaire. While in theory this is a fantastic idea, the truth is that there are few industries left where people can start from scratch and make themselves a millionaire through nothing but their own perseverance and skills. Furthering this dilemma is the fact that a lot of those jobs require a very high level of education and more importantly the years spent obtaining that education. I’ll let you in on a secret, I have a bachelor’s degree, and although I do not down play the importance of education for the vast majority of people (especially my children, who already think they know everything), I did not need that degree. I could just as easily started doing what I do now with nothing more than a GED. The wholesale T-Shirt industry is truly a way where a hardworking, motivated, and personable individual can make hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.
How? I started out selling T-Shirts as a part time job to supplement what can only be considered a dismal income. I was actually turned on to the idea from a good friend of mine who makes as much as I do now. All it took to start from scratch was a small amount of money; remember at this point I was living from paycheck to paycheck. I used this money to buy some business cards and register the name of my company. I then sat down and started calling local businesses in the phonebook. A few of these companies went on to be my first customers and many of them continue to do business with me to this day.
With a base of customers, I needed suppliers. I needed suppliers, textile manufactures. This wasn’t hard. They’re in business to sell you their clothing, and they make high quality products. From there it was a matter of getting a contract screen printer to do the printing for me.
That is the long and short of how my business began. I bought t-shirts and paid a contract printer to do the screen printing. I then sold this product to my costumers. I came to think of myself as adding value to the t-shirts and bringing buyers and sellers together; all the while I was making more than I would have thought possible years earlier. I needed very little cash because I didn’t buy anything until my customers had committed to buying the custom t-shirts. If they wanted to pay with credit card it worked even better because I knew I already had the money. There was never very much risk and the potential for reward was fantastic.
Eventually my company was making enough money and taking enough time that I left my previous job as a trader to do it full time. I hired a secretary as soon as I could financially justify it and this freed up my time to seek and meet with customers. My company allowed me to make enough to grow the business and still never worry about my financial situation. The most beautiful thing about doing it the way I did in terms of growth is that I never felt like I was risking anything I couldn’t afford to lose.
About fifteen years after I started I got to a point where I was making enough money to try another expansion. I decided I would move into the screen printing myself. I currently own my own screen printing equipment and have a full time staff to do the contract printing for others that I used to have done for my own customers. I currently am in the process of setting up other companies that do what I started to do. I sell these companies to other ambition individuals and work as their screen printer. They go and get the customers for themselves, and I offer advice and the contract screen printing. We set up the new companies with their own website that offers pricing and quotes built in to it. We do the screen printing at special prices because of the special nature of the relationship that we have with these companies. Our websites allow the companies to decide what price they want to sell the shirts. This relationship benefits everyone because they don’t need to go thru the hoops of finding the printer and setting up the company and website, and it generates business for our company too.
This is where I currently am in my own business. I have attempted to show you the evolution of my business. I have made more than enough money to live comfortably, help put my children thru college, and save for retirement. The best part is how much I enjoy my job. I have woken up every day for the past ten years and known that I am my own boss. My destiny is my own hand and I answer to no one. I firmly believe getting into this industry was one of the best choices I ever made. Think about that all of this the next time that you wake up dreading going to work or the next time your boss is any four letter word you’d like.