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This Episode

Mark Stephenson & Marc Vila

You Will Learn

  • What are the most important CAS Podcast episodes
  • Why you should listen to the listed episodes

Resources & Links

Episode 100 – Best Episodes

Show Notes

Top 10 CAS Podcast episodes:

1. Episode 76 – How to Build Your Online Store – The Right Way!

2. Episode 87 – What to Do When Bad Things Happen

3. Episode 83 – Insights From The Apparel Geek – Monty Mims From Sanmar

4. Episode 86 – What Success Looks Like in DTG Printing and More!

5. Episode 85 – 12 Steps to Grow Your Home Based Business

6. Episode 73 – Copyrights and Trademarks in the Custom T-Shirt Business

7. Episode 81 – Today’s Best Marketing Opportunity FACEBOOK With Manuel Suarez [Facebook Blueprint Certified]

8. Episode 84 – Good Better Best (Sales Strategy)

9. Episode 82 – Lessons Your Kids Can Teach You About Owning a Business

10. Episode 90 – Your Cricut Based Business Next Steps

We’ve got over what the most popular of our previous 99 episodes have been – but here are the ones that we thing are the most IMPORTANT. The ones that are most valuable and we wish all of you would listen too.

Mark S.’s most important episodes:

Episode 67 – How to Add $$ to Every Sale

Episode 68 – Re-Upselling | Making the Most of Current Customers

Episode 69 – The Science of Upselling | The Best Ways to Talk to Your Customers

Episode 29 – Make More Money Next Month – Creating Active Word of Mouth

Episode 30 – Make More Money Next Month – Small Business Phone Skills

Episode 31 – Make More Money Next Month – Using Email for Profit

Episode 86 – What Success Looks Like in DTG Printing and More!

Episode 73 – Copyrights and Trademarks in the Custom T-Shirt Business

Episode 96 – Beat The Competition: Evaluating The Competitor

Episode 97 – Beat The Competition: Rebranding, Restructuring or Reinvesting

Episode 98 – Beat The Competition: Turn Competitors To Partners

Episode 82 – Lessons Your Kids Can Teach You About Owning a Business

Episode 78 – 4 Steps to Hiring Your First Salesperson

Episode 72 – Profit FIRST! Interview With Mike Michalowicz

Transcript

Welcome to the Custom Apparel Startups podcast, your best source for information, news, tips and tricks to get you off the ground running, and earn success with your custom apparel decorating business. So, get ready to soak up some knowledge!

Now, here are your hosts, Mark and Marc!

Mark S: Hey, everyone! Welcome to a milestone here at the Custom Apparel Startups podcast! This is episode 100!

Marc V: A century!

Mark S: We’re now a century old! This is Mark Stephenson, from ColDesi.

Marc V: And this is Marc Vila, from Colman and Company. Today, we’re going to do Best Episodes and Why. We’re just going to talk about things you need to catch up on. We’re going to go down Memory Lane a little bit. We’re going to do a lot of the fading out, where we do a memory, where it goes into like a dream.

Mark S: Oh, the dream sequence!

Marc V: The dream sequence.

Mark S: The hard part is going to be like, I used to have a full beard and Marc Vila used to be cleanshaven.

Marc V: The first thing we’re going to do is we’ll talk about the best episodes from the top.

Mark S: Yeah, the top episodes. We’re going to go through the top episodes that you guys seem to have enjoyed the most, because you downloaded them. It could be just they have the best titles, because that happens, too. Right? We have some amazing episodes that nobody ever listened to, because we gave them ridiculous titles.

Marc V: Yeah. Then, we’ll go ahead and we’ll pick out some really good ones that are either, if you’ve heard them once before, you should maybe go back and listen again. And if you’ve never listened to them, because there’s a lot of episodes – we’re at 100.

Mark S: There’s almost 100 episodes.

Marc V: Now, there will be 100.

Mark S: Now, there will be 100.

Marc V: I know what I do with podcasts is, say if I just jump into a podcast, and they’ve already done 70 episodes, I usually will kind of scroll through and “Oh, that one? Let me try them out. Episode 52 looks interesting.”

I like it, and then now I want to hear the new stuff. Sometimes, I’ve gone back and started at one, and gone through. But a lot of times, you’re busy.

Mark S: I’m almost always disappointed when I do that.

Marc V: Well, you don’t do that with ours.

Mark S: You should start it with at least episode two. Episode one was a waste of time.

Marc V: The purpose of this one is you listen to this, we’ll go down Memory Lane a little bit. We’ll talk about it, and then if you are that listener where you’re just kind of new, or you’re just picking and choosing, boom! Here’s the list. Take out a piece of paper real quick, or favorite the episodes in your app. Put them on your listen list, however it would be, and these are the important ones to go through.

After there, you can decide if you want to take the journey, and start at one.

Mark S: Yeah. We’re going to make some personal appeals here, because I think Marc Vila and I both have episodes that we really think you should be listening to, and that you should follow. So, we’re going to get to those, too.

Let’s start with the ones that you liked best, the top ten, from number ten. We’ll kind of build up.

Marc V: I really don’t like a top ten list where they start with one.

Mark S: No, because then it’s really just the top. I just leave. So, I like this one, because this was your idea, Marc. We’ve got tons of customers that come to us, that have a Cricut. They’ve got a home-based cutter. They’re using it for hobby work, or like a new burgeoning t-shirt business, and episode 90 was Your Cricut-Based Business Next Steps.

Marc V: Yep. If you’re listening to this now, and you have a Cricut or a little hobby cutter, and really, this episode is the same for if you have a little hobby embroidery machine.

Mark S: True. A home embroidery machine.

Marc V: Yeah. A home embroidery machine, or if you’ve got a hobby style screen print setup, whatever it is. If you’ve got a small little one that you got from a craft store, and you want to go to pro, that’s the episode to listen to. It’s just the steps on how to do it.

Mark S: Yeah. And really, I think we did a great job on laying that out. And that is the newest episode on our list.

Marc V: And actually, that one soon will overtake, probably, number one eventually, just from the time. Because that’s episode 90, right?

Mark S: Right.

Marc V: So, it’s fairly new. It’s only ten episodes ago.

Mark S: Also, one thing that we’re doing with all of these episodes is we’re putting transcripts in, and we’re going back historically and putting transcripts in all of the episodes up until now. Episode 90 is one that we’ve got a long transcript there, so you can pick through it and find the good stuff, if you want to.

Marc V: Awesome! The next one, number nine.

Mark S: Yep. This one is yours, as well. You’ve got the top episodes.

Marc V: Lessons Your Kids Can Teach You About Owning a Business. I love that episode.

Mark S: Me, too. It’s all about the tantrums, and begging for food, skipping homework.

Marc V: Actually, I’m going to give everyone a little insight. I put that one on the ones you should listen to, so we don’t have to talk too much about them. We’ll talk more, when we get into those.

Mark S: I remember that Ella was the inspiration for that recording.

Marc V: So, number seven?

Mark S: Number seven is episode 84. By the way, you can go to CustomApparelStartups.com or CASPodcasts.com, go to the Podcasts page, and just type in the episode number, and they’ll pop right up, so you can listen to them there.

Marc V: Yeah, if you hit Search. Right on the website, hit the little Search on the top right, and just type in the number and it will pop up.

Mark S: Episode 84 is Good-Better-Best Pricing Sales Strategy. This is one of those things we talk a lot about. We’re both going to go into kind of our favorite episodes, but part of what we’re trying to do here is make your existing business better. And that good-better-best strategy, the idea is that you present your potential customers with those three different options.

Say “This is a good option. I don’t do the cheap stuff, so here’s a good option. This is a better option, that most people pick. But if you really want to think outside the box and go with something great, here is the Nike polo with the 3D puff embroidery on the shoulder and the collar tag,” and all of that stuff.

It’s really like offering them the Cadillac of what you can do.

Marc V: That episode could have also been named How to Start Making More Money Right Now, With Your Existing Business.

Mark S: I think we’ve got like five other episodes that are named that!

Marc V: Yeah. That’s what it could have been, as well, which I like about that. If you’re listening to this for the first time, which you might be, part of the reason you’re probably listening to this is because you want to make more money. That is one of the biggest struggles that we read about in the Facebook group, and when we talk to customers on the phone, and when we meet people who are purchasing new equipment.

They’re trying to figure out how do they get more money out of these sales? They don’t want to be undercut anymore. Nobody wants to be undercut on price. That episode is about how to do that.

Mark S: I have to tell you that, just so we sound smart, is that episode was inspired because we read an article in the Harvard Business Review.

Marc V: Oh, yeah. That was your episode, actually.

Mark S: No, actually it was Scott Colman’s episode, because he came in and said “Here. Read this and do a podcast about it,” I think.

Marc V: Great, then. So, number six.

Mark S: Number six. You’re going to have to keep track of that, is episode 81, Today’s Best Marketing Opportunity.

Marc V: It’s actually seven. We’re out of order here.

Mark S: Ten, nine, eight, seven. They’re not listening, anyway. Episode 81 is basically all about Facebook opportunities. It’s our guest episode, with Manuel Suarez.

Marc V: Yeah. Actually, I listened to some of his podcasts about Facebook marketing, when I was really trying to learn some new things. I just wanted a new perspective, and the guy, he talks fast, he’s got a million things to say.

Mark S: He’s a dynamic guy, yeah.

Marc V: I listened to his podcast, and I was like “Man, this guy is an interesting character, and he knows a lot. Let’s have him on.” He was very gracious to come on and just fill us up. I would say he put 90 minutes worth of information in like a 50 minute podcast.

Mark S: Yeah. If you’re an avid podcast listener, you’re using an app, a lot of people will listen at one and a half times or 2X speed. You cannot. You need to listen at .5 speed in Manuel’s episode. That was a really good one.

Facebook marketing is really important. It’s really a very important and effective option for you to look into. That’s the episode to do that with. That is episode 81.

Marc V: Alright. Number six on the list of most popular?

Mark S: Is episode 73, Copyrights and Trademarks in the Custom T-Shirt Business.

Marc V: I think both of us agreed that this is an episode from our pick.

Mark S: Absolutely. Seth Gardenswartz is an attorney, a patent and copyright attorney. He specializes in IP, intellectual property. He came on and participated in that episode with us, and just laid down all kinds of great information.

Honestly, I see pirates on the Custom Apparel Facebook group all of the time.

Marc V: Yes, and I’ll tell you what. We have had some customers that just growing, growing, growing, growing, and then boom! Gone, because -.

Mark S: Millions of dollars of business just evaporating.

Marc V: Because of not doing things the right way, and it’s important. We’ve talked about it. You make a shirt for your friend for fun, versus putting something online that’s just a blatant – you’re not allowed to do it. And guess what? “I didn’t know” never works as an excuse. So, it’s a good one to listen to.

Mark S: And “Mickie Mouse” with an M-I-C-K-I-E, is not – that’s not going to work.

Marc V: Number five – we’re halfway through the list – 12 Steps to Grow Your Home-Based Business.

Mark S: That is episode 85.

Marc V: Yeah.

Mark S: Did we do that right around the time of the -? Yeah. We know that a lot of you out there are starting a home-based business, or you’re in one. We’ve got customers that have been in business for five or ten years, and it’s still a home-based business, because that’s the way they want it.

So, these are literally 12 steps. I think Marc Vila is responsible for ten, and I did two. These are 12 great steps to kind of walk you through that growth.

Marc V: This one goes alongside with that Cricut-based business next steps. They’re different episodes, but they’re a similar theme. And I think that I remember just going back and reading some notes on that episode. It’s just great for growing your business in general.

So, if you consider yourself still kind of small, even if you’ve got a little shop, go for it.

Mark S: Plus it’s got the word “steps” in it, and people love that.

Marc V: People love steps.

Mark S: We love steps. We’re going to use “stairs” a lot.

Marc V: Number four on the list of the top ten most listened to?

Mark S: Episode 86. That is What Success Looks Like in DTG Printing and More. That is our friend Mark Biletnikoff, we actually had. A long-time customer, he’s got a DTG print shop in Erie, PA. He’s the owner and operator of Contract-DTG.com.

Basically, he’s what a lot of our startup customers want to be. Right? He started years ago, with a direct-to-garment printer. Now he’s got a big business, and does corporate level fulfillment for a lot of big names in the industry.

Marc V: He really gives away, not secrets, but it’s very honest.

Mark S: It’s a lot. The pros and cons.

Marc V: It’s very honest, and just like what you’ve got to do. He says how you’ve got to fail in the beginning, and how you’ve got to learn your craft. That’s something we always preach about, is that – learn the use of the dang printer! Learn to use your embroidery machine!

Mark S: He was very blunt. If you want good advice that will probably hurt your feelings, call Mark.

Marc V: Yeah. But that was probably my favorite part in that episode, was him talking about that, because really, it’s so relatable to what we deal with all of the time. And how he said “You’ve got to learn how to use a DTG printer. You’ve got to be a pro.”

He said he took months, just trying to learn it.

Mark S: Before he took his first job. Also, you get the added benefit of – I think it’s one of either two or three episodes when there’s three Marks on the podcast. It’s pretty impressive. That’s probably why it’s so successful.

Marc V: We’re in the top three right now.

Mark S: It’s getting good, here. So, episode 83 is another guest post.

Marc V: Yeah. This was Insights From the Apparel Geek. Monty Mims, from SanMar, another good friend of ours from the industry. We’re very fortunate for him to live not far away from ColDesi, and he knows a ton about apparel.

Every time I think I know a lot about apparel, I ask him a question.

Mark S: He lives and breathes blank t-shirts, basically. We learned so much from that episode, about like the difference between even wash instructions for performance wear and cottons. You know, the state of the blanks industry, how to handle an inventory of blanks, just kind of that deep knowledge.

He represents SanMar very well, because they’re our key blanks supplier. We work with them because they’re so smart. They really are. They’re smarter than us, in materials and tees.

Marc V: One of the things I liked about that episode is he took apart a little bit of the classic mistakes or thought process or misnomers people do, like “It’s 100% polyester and white. I can sublimate on it.” It’s like, well, kind of, yeah. But it’s not meant for that, and that’s why it doesn’t work in this way.

And so many mistakes from people who have been in the industry forever, and still using the wrong apparel, and dealing with a lot of frustrations. And they’ve figured out ways to get around things not working for them, when really, it’s just if they would have switched apparel, you’d be much better off.

Mark S: Pick a different shirt, yeah. So, we’re going to put Monty’s home phone number in the show notes.

Number two is episode 87. Apparently, just like me, the 80s were an awesome decade! Episode 87, number two, What to do When Bad Things Happen. I’m also seeing another theme here, that these are all your episodes.

Marc V: I thought that was your episode!

Mark S: No, no. Definitely not.

Marc V: Oh, I thought that was yours. I like this one. I thought this was a good one, because we talk about it in a lot of episodes, but this episode was just about that.

Mark S: Yeah. And the theme of the episode is bad things are going to happen.

Marc V: 100%.

Mark S: Deliveries aren’t going to come in, the wrong color shirt, the wrong fabric shirt, your printer or your embroidery machine is going to bust, your kid’s going to get sick, there’s going to be a flood or a tornado. If you are in the business, if you’re in any business, bad things are going to happen.

Marc V: Yes, and I think we even go into some life lessons in there, because bad things are just going to happen in life. You know? You’re going to get sick. You’re going to break your hand, and then you’re going to have to figure out a way to deal with your heat press for a while. So, it’s What to do When Bad Things Happen. I’m glad it’s on the top, that people are paying attention to that.

Mark S: Me, too. I mean, they don’t happen to me. I just want to clear that up. But they do happen to a lot of people.

Marc V: They happen to people around you.

Mark S: They do.

Marc V: Which says something about you.

Mark S: I’m usually the cause. Alright, so number one is episode 76, How to Build Your Online Store the Right Way.

Marc V: Yeah. The right way. Good episode.

Mark S: It was a good episode.

Marc V: Yeah, good episode. So, we run an online store here.

Mark S: Yes, a big one. I’ve just got to say – how many products is it? Is it 5,000 yet?

Marc V: Something like that, yeah.

Mark S: It’s about to be a lot more.

Marc V: Yeah. It was there. Actually, we took out some product lines that we no longer carry, just because the number was so big, and things weren’t moving. So yeah, if you want to sell t-shirts online, there’s a million ways to do things wrong and make mistakes, and give yourself more work.

I’ll tell you what. We’ve learned so much here, doing things one way forever, and then realizing “You know, if we switched this, -.” So hopefully, this can help you learn some lessons right away.

Mark S: Yeah. If you want to be in the online space, then I’d definitely listen to this episode, because we do have a lot of experience in this area. This episode is going to be a great source of information, versus polling the people in any given room you might walk into. Which is usually how it happens.

You know, you poll your friends. You go into the group. You ask strangers in a Starbucks. “Does anybody know how to run an ecommerce store? What do you use? Do you use Shopify or WooCommerce?” Everybody’s got an opinion.

What we do in this episode is kind of lay out some ways that you can make a good decision.

Marc V: Yeah, and that episode was over two years ago.

Mark S: It was?

Marc V: Yeah.

Mark S: It seems like it was yesterday!

Marc V: Oh, no. I’m sorry. One year ago, episode 76. I’ll tell you what. If I went back and listened to it, I’d bet in this past year we’ve learned so much more. So, I think we could do another one like that.

Mark S: We will, since it’s our most popular. Since you guys liked this episode the best, maybe we will do more. Only next time, we’ll say How to Build an Online Store the Right Way Now.

Marc V: The correct way.

Mark S: The correct way. I like that.

Marc V: So, that’s what other people liked. If you haven’t listened to stuff, those are the episodes that other people liked. They liked them for a reason, probably because of the titles.

Mark S: Yes. Sad, but true.

Marc V: I agree, this is good stuff. So now, we handpicked some episodes. These are the ones that we both think – we both picked some – these are going to make you more money. These are going to make your business better. So, let’s go right into them.

Mark S: We’ve got a couple that are sets. I think there’s a theme there. If we think a topic is very important, and we have a lot to say about it and a lot to tell about it, then we’ll break it up into separate episodes. Or one episode will lead to another.

One of the series that I like is, we’ve got a series on upselling. That starts with episode 67, which is How to Add Dollars to Every Sale. Most people don’t get into the custom t-shirt business or the embroidery business or the promotional products business because they like to sell stuff. Right? You guys are all – most of you are makers.

You really enjoy the process of making a custom shirt, making somebody happy, and I love that. So, what you can do, so you don’t have to spend as much time finding new customers – you know, hitting the road, thinking up new designs that might catch somebody’s attention. It’s ways to help your customers see the reasons why they want to spend more with you, which we call upselling.

Marc V: Yeah. Sometimes, it’s just so simple as they were going to spend this money elsewhere, on a product that you could have sold them. That’s like the easiest stuff, right there.

Mark S: I have to give you, though, like the classic example. Because the first ones to do this ever, was McDonald’s, which is they taught all of their employees at the cash register to say “Large? Super-size it?” So, every order that they took, the average sale price went up, to the tune of billions of dollars across the world, just because their people asked an extra little question.

Marc V: Yeah, and I think they started with offering fries with everything.

Mark S: Yeah. “Do you want fries with that?”

Marc V: Then, I think they turned it into a meal. So, they just made an assumption, like “Well, you definitely want fries and a drink.”

Mark S: Then it was super-size.

Marc V: Then it was upselling. They’re always thinking of a different way. Now they might do – I’ve seen the signs, like “Add the apple pie.” So, they continue to add more things. They know you’re going to eat. They know that if you just have a small cheeseburger, you’re probably not very full.

Mark S: Yeah. You’re going to regret it.

Marc V: You’re going to want more food sooner than later, so they sell you the fries, too. And you were going to buy that food elsewhere.

Mark S: And notice how attractively they put it. They just say “More cholesterol?” No, they don’t say that. So, there are three episodes in this upselling series. I highly recommend it. How to Add Dollars to Every Sale, which is more about when you make that initial sale.

Then there is Re-Upselling – Making the Most of Current Customers. That’s ways to sell more to clients that you’ve already got on the books. And there is The Science of Upselling, which was a 100% Marc Vila episode, because you read a book.

Marc V: I did!

Mark S: I remember that. You read a book.

Marc V: I’m trying to remember what book I read.

Mark S: I think it was called “The Science of Upselling.”

Marc V: I might have been, actually. It was good. It’s been a little while. I think I listened to that book, though, actually. I listen to a lot of books.

Alright, the upselling; 67, 68, 69. A great combo of episodes to listen to, especially if you’re not upselling right now. If you’re taking orders -.

Mark S: Which most of you probably are not upselling.

Marc V: Yeah, and if you are upselling, not enough. Not well enough. And I’ll say why it’s not enough, is because you’ve got to reach like that breaking point. You’ve got to do like what McDonald’s did. At first, they’re just trying to add fries. Then they want you to make it a bigger order. Then they want you to add the apple pie.

They’re offering everybody, they’re getting to levels. They’re also training their customers.

Mark S: That’s a great point.

Marc V: First, they’re just adding the fries. Then it’s making it a meal. Then it’s commonplace that when you order at these fast food restaurants, they want you to order a number. Everyone does it. Get a number six, number five.

Plenty of restaurants do that. Chinese restaurants do that.

Mark S: And there’s a reason.

Marc V: Yeah. There’s a reason for that. So, when you upsell more often, you’re going to train your customers, actually, to normally come to you, “I want the shirts and the hats.” Then you’ll also train them, “What else have you got?” They’ll start asking you.

Mark S: I love that.

Marc V: Another one, it’s really about making more money, too. It’s Make More Money Next Month.

Mark S: Yeah. I think this is the set that I steer people to most, inside the Facebook group.

Marc V: And this is you. These episodes are you. These are yours.

Mark S: It’s true. I really love this.

Marc V: I love them, too.

Mark S: I really loved doing this. It was a long time ago, the last time I had a good idea. Episode 29, 30 and 31.

Marc V: Yeah. That was a great combo, because every episode had multiple actions steps that it’s like you do this, do this and do this, and then you’re going to make more money next month.

Mark S: Right. And that’s in response to – so, there’s a lot of different ways that you can look at your business. But most of the things that you do to change your business – you change your marketing or advertising, or you plan to go to another show – that’s all marketing stuff that will help eventually, and over time.

This is more urgent. Like “I need to make more money next month.” So, these are the most useful podcasts, if you need to get something done right now.

Marc V: It’s different than, say, how to build an online store the right way. Because building an online store is gradual growth. You build it, you get things right, you start advertising it, etc., etc. Then, you’ve got this nice chart that goes like that.

Mark S: Which is awesome.

Marc V: Down, then slowly, gradually up, and then it starts spiking, and then you’re winning. But the Make More Money Next Month is like grassroots type of stuff. It’s like taking some business cards and a sample, and meeting people, and going and doing things.

Mark S: Yeah, and in a non-threatening way. We carefully named these episodes, so you would not be scared away.

Episode 29 is Creating Active Word of Mouth. Because most of you make your money from word of mouth, referrals, this is an active role in that. Small Business Phone Skills – we’re not talking about dialing for dollars. We’re talking about answering the phone appropriately.

Also Using Email for Profit. Really, the point behind that last one was a lot of people don’t want to bother their customers with emails. We spent basically 59 minutes, telling you to stop that.

Marc V: Yeah, stop that. If they don’t want your email, they’ll hit delete.

Mark S: They won’t open it! They won’t read it!

Marc V: Yeah. They’ll hit Unsubscribe.

Mark S: They won’t accost you at the mall.

Marc V: They might!

Mark S: They might, but probably not.

Marc V: “You emailed me twice!”

Mark S: In the tri-state area, it could happen. But not here.

Marc V: Let’s see. The next one we’ve got on the list here, episode 86.

Mark S: We already talked about episode 86, because it was one of – so, let’s talk about it some more.

Marc V: Yeah. Let’s talk about it. This is What Does Success Look Like?, with Mark Biletnikoff. It’s important to listen to episodes like this. And really, if you’re in the group, the Facebook group, and you interact in there, to listen and pay attention to what people who have made it, do right.

One of the things to do, one of the things that is hard to do, oftentimes, is you started this small business. You feel great, because you’ve made it somewhere. Right? You actually own commercial equipment. Maybe you have a little storefront, or you’re making profit.

You’ve built this thing, now. You’ve got a lot of pride in it. It’s really hard to stop yourself, and look and see that you might be still doing some things wrong. Especially if you haven’t reached what your dreams are yet, then there’s something you could do better.

Mark S: And there are definitely levels of business. Like you may be satisfied where you are, and that’s fine. But if you want to grow to be big, or to get to the next level, then you’re not going to do that by listening to people that are at your level, or have just started.

A lot of those people are very vocal with their advice and their input, which is great. They mean well, and you can learn some things. But listening to a guy like Mark, or hearing the three of us talk about the business itself, go through a Q&A, man, there’s some gems in there that could really make a difference for you.

Marc V: You know how I think about it, is I’m not interested in a lot of, say like cooking advice. I love to cook. I cook tons of things. This weekend, I made homemade pasta, homemade pasta sauce, and chicken parmesan. It was amazing.

Mark S: Nice! You didn’t bring me any, but that’s okay. Don’t feel bad.

Marc V: Next time I will. But I love to cook. I watch cooking shows on TV, to kind of learn what they’re doing differently.

Mark S: Okay. I like that.

Marc V: And sometimes, you’ll have friends and neighbors kind of give some advice. Although I appreciate it and I kind of listen to that stuff, that’s not really where I want to get my advice from.

Mark S: Yeah. “I’ve had your macaroni and cheese, Steve, and putting ketchup on the Kraft box is not – you know.”

Marc V: It’s also just when they give you some advice, and if you listen to pros, if you listen to episodes like this and you read articles online, and all of this stuff, and you listen and you hear what the pro is doing, and then you have somebody that’s on your level or below, or you don’t know where they are is another thing, say something that’s directly opposite of what the pros say.

So, somebody will just say “Oh, yeah. When you’re going to cook, do this.” And I’m like “Well, I’ve heard two or three chefs say not to do that.”

Mark S: “So I’m not going to do that.”

Marc V: So, listen to the pros. And don’t let somebody give you some like confirmation bias, by telling you something that you do. Like “Oh! He or she, they do it, too, so it’s good. I’ll continue to do that. I know Mark Biletnikoff said to do this.”

Mark S: If three people who don’t really have a clue think you’re doing it perfectly, that’s not nearly as valuable as one guy that does know. Right?

Marc V: Yeah. It’s an important episode to listen to, because you’re going to take some things away that are going to change the way you do business. He talked about the flow of his business, of how shirts go in one way, and come out another. That’s something that he learned in his career, in a different career, and he brought it into this one.

I see all the time, things online, you see pictures of peoples’ shops and things, where everything is all over the place. There was no purposed thought. It was “I’ve got room to put this here. I’m going to put it here.”

Mark S: Yeah, and the impact on your business is huge. That is episode 86. That’s the second time we’ve recommended that one, so I’d definitely listen to it.

The next one is episode 73, which is again, it’s a repeat; Copyrights and Trademarks, with Seth Gardenswartz. In spite of having a slightly difficult last name to pronounce, it’s a great episode, from a utility standpoint. He will tell you the variety of ways that you could probably get in trouble. And you don’t want that, because it’s a deal-breaker.

If you are subject to some kind of a legal action, because of copyright or trademark infringement, you can’t win. Even if you don’t have to stop making the shirt, or your design is okay because it’s different enough, then you still lose, because you had to spend the money defending it.

Marc V: Oh, yeah.

Mark S: It’s never worth it.

Marc V: I like how we went into how everything, it’s a gray area. Really, he knows it, that the ones who win in this situation are the attorneys. The attorneys win. So, having this type of knowledge at least puts you in, I consider it like a risk/reward type of situation, where you say “Okay, I’m not 100% sure here. Is it worth paying an attorney to look into it? No. How much money will I actually make from it?”

Mark S: Yeah. Not a lot.

Marc V: “Probably not worth it, because am I going to get busted, in trouble, whatever? It seems unlikely, but if I do, it’s going to be totally not worth it.”

Mark S: Here’s my favorite conclusion from that whole episode, is that if you ask someone if something is trademark or copyright infringement, even on our Facebook group or anywhere, and they give you an answer, they’re wrong. Okay? There’s no way.

If somebody says “I’ve been making shirts for 20 years, and I know this,” no, he doesn’t. He may have gotten lucky, or maybe somebody saw it and just didn’t care, or he may be operating on knowledge that’s 20 years old. So, if someone tells you what the percentages are for change and all of this stuff, they are 100% incorrect.

Marc V: Yeah. Definitely wrong on that. An example of something like this is, we purchased some music from a company that sells music for background, for videos.

Mark S: Oh, yeah.

Marc V: So, we purchased it in the right way. We ran them on YouTube forever, a couple of years. Then one day, some ads are popping up over our videos. We’re like “How are ads here?”

Mark S: Wait. When you purchase music or images from a reputable service, you get the license to use it in specific ways, or in any ways that you want.

Marc V: Yeah, similar to buying fonts or art. They tell you “You’re allowed to do this, and not this.” So, we went and looked it up, and we were like “No, it says you can use it for a YouTube, to advertise a product,” or whatever it was. We were like “We’re doing it the right way.”

Well, it just happened to be that one day, YouTube caught onto it. Some software found it, or a person who watches and checks these things, who knows, and then they said “This is a song we’re allowed to put an ad on over, playing in this video.” So, boom! Ads pop up.

It had been a year. We could have just said “Oh, no. I’ve been doing that a year. It doesn’t matter.” But one day, it caught up. Then, it just happened to be that the company we purchased from wasn’t obtaining their license correctly. So, we swapped out some songs, and bought them from somewhere else.

Mark S: But in the meantime, we could have been running competitors’ ads on our video. So, there you go.

Marc V: Yeah. So, just because it’s always been that way doesn’t mean that it won’t change, or it doesn’t mean, one day you could get busted. Just like the folks who were selling tons of t-shirts, and all of a sudden get sued, and they’re out of business. They were doing it forever. They were doing it for years, I think. I don’t remember how long, but they got in trouble.

Mark S: Here we go. We’re back to the favorite episodes. These were in the 90s, which was clearly your decade. So, tell us about the Beat the Competition trilogy.

Marc V: These were like just last week, but we put a good amount of thought into these. They’re very current, and I like them. It’s a bit of, to me, it reminds me a lot of the Making More Money Next Month. It’s these things that there’s purpose to each episode.

It’s about dealing with the same type of issue, that you’re concerned about your business going out of business, or about not making as much money, or never being able to break a threshold, because you’ve got competition out there. We broke it down into three.

One is evaluating your competitors. That’s episode 96. It’s really important to understand. Are they actually your competition?

Mark S: Right. If you drive down the street, and you see a sign every day on your way to the shop, that says “Custom T-Shirts from $7,” they may still not be your competition. Don’t get psyched out.

Marc V: It’s like McDonald’s and Outback Steakhouse.

Mark S: They both sell meaty stuff.

Marc V: They both sell meat foods, or what they’re famous for are selling meat foods. A lot of people eat at those places. They’re very famous restaurants. But realistically, the conversation isn’t usually “Hon, what do you want tonight? Do you want to drive through McDonald’s, or go to Outback?” They’re different experiences.

Mark S: We should have used that example, because that’s like it’s two different demographics for the people that consume them at different times, too. If it’s date night, McDonald’s customers might go to McDonald’s for a nice date night out, a nice break from things. And Outback customers are going to go to a nice restaurant, and have that for date night.

There’s no value judgement there. It’s just it’s a different market. It’s the $7 t-shirt or it’s the $25 t-shirt.

Marc V: Yeah. For some, it’s a matter of preference for some people. It’s a matter of time.

Mark S: Budget.

Marc V: Yeah. You get out of McDonald’s for $12, and Outback Steakhouse, you could spend $50.

Mark S: Or McDonald’s may be the only restaurant within 15 miles of your house.

Marc V: Yeah. So, there’s a distance factor. Outback Steakhouse is going to sell alcohol. Maybe you want to go out and want to have wine or beer with your meat food.

Mark S: I’m going to have to move!

So really, because I’m getting hungry, Beat the Competition, evaluating your competitors to find out if they’re not competitors, I think that was a really valuable episode, because we spend a lot of time talking to people that are afraid, because they see something for cheaper. And it’s hard to convince you guys that they’re not competition, unless one of your customers buys from them, instead.

Marc V: Yeah.

Mark S: So, listen to that episode. It’s a good one.

Marc V: Then, 97 is Rebranding, Restructuring, Reinvesting. It’s kind of do you need to change something in your business, after you’ve evaluated your competition? And how to do that. This could be an exercise that you go through maybe annually. You know, you always look at your business. You look at your competition, and you say “Okay, my competition is changing. Should I?”

We talked about a lot of things.

Mark S: Yes. We used Walmart moves into your town, and you run a convenience store. It’s that kind. There are a lot of things that happen. What I like is the idea of being systematic, and being prepared for the consequences. Not panicking, not changing things, before you know they need changed.

Marc V: And then, the last one in that was episode 98, Turn Your Competitors into Partners. That’s just a fantastic little move you can make, where your competitors now become your friends and your colleagues, whether you outsource to each other or you refer to each other. At least you’re friendly.

Mark S: I wish I could remember the stats, but I think we did the survey in the Custom Apparel Startups Facebook group, which by the way, hit 10,000 members recently!

Marc V: Congratulations! That was you!

Mark S: No. Okay, yeah, it was.

Marc V: You did start it, though.

Mark S: It was great, yeah. So, we did a poll, and asked people if they worked with competitors, worked with other vendors. And it was something like 86%. It was a really high number. So, you guys are probably doing this already. But this idea of doing it on purpose, in advance of needing someone.

Marc V: Yeah. My father was a general manager for a radio station, for a while, for a Spanish radio station. It’s a very small station, and they oftentimes would partner with other stations when they were going to do events, because the events were maybe particularly expense or bulky to do.

So, they would partner with another station that you would think is your competition, because you can easily flip the dial. Right? But they had a completely different show, for a different demographic, for a different person. Maybe some people would overlap, but for the most part, it was two different shows for two different types of people.

So, they could do an event together, and have two DJs there that were competing time, and going live at the same time. And they were boosting and helping each other out, when in fact, you would think that they should be mortal enemies, because they have the same time slot type of a thing.

Great little Beat the Competition. It just think it’s so valuable. You should know how to do that.

Mark S: Yeah. Really, we’ve got three trilogies that are our favorites.

Marc V: We like the trilogies.

Mark S: Lord of the Rings. We’ve got Upselling, Making More Money Next Month, and the Beat the Competition, are all three sets of episodes that I think are a big win for you guys, if you listen to it more than once.

Marc V: Great! We’ve got three more, and then we close off on our 100th episode here.

The next one that I put in there was Lessons Your Kids Can Teach You About Owning a Business.

Mark S: Tell the story about why we did that one.

Marc V: Actually, can you remind me of the story about that?

Mark S: I think it was you brought Ella in, to spend the day with us, and ended up making some shirts together. She was just like, it kind of gave us a simple look at the business, and at the processes behind it.

Marc V: Yeah. I feel like this is one that we could list. There’s only a few things to list. You have to listen to the episode, to get the summary of them all. But things that your kids can teach you; they’re relentless, they’re creatures of habit, they resist change, but then adapt quickly, they know how to be cute, they get over things, they can make a best friend in five minutes, and they’re extremely curious.

Mark S: And they hate to brush their teeth, for some reason. I don’t know what it is.

Marc V: Just like your business hates to brush its teeth.

Mark S: It’s true.

Marc V: These are things that are really, they’re so -.

Mark S: It’s the basics.

Marc V: Yeah. It’s just the basics. Going through these, I think this episode is a fun one to listen to, because we’ve got a bunch of great little analogies and metaphors, and stuff like that.

Mark S: It’s one of those “I knew that, but I’m still not doing it. I should probably start doing those things.”

Marc V: It was like getting a Communications degree. I knew everything that I learned.

Mark S: But now I know.

Marc V: Yeah. But now, I see the reason behind it. I think this is a fun one to listen to. It’s nice and simple. Then really, what I think the best part about this episode is after you listen to it, and if you start thinking in a way where you start looking at things, like at the basics. You start looking at things from that simple mind of a child.

Then, when you’re looking at problems with your business, or different things that you want to do to improve your business, “What’s the simple answer? What would a kid do, in this situation?” You just kind of think of that simple stuff, and it helps to guide you in the right direction, rather than being guided by stress and anxiety and fear.

You can be guided by forward thinking, the forward-thinking mind of a child.

Mark S: We’re going to have to do another episode, Lessons You Learn of Things Not to do, From Your Teenage Child.

Marc V: Okay.

Mark S: We’ll do that. So, that was episode 82, another good episode. Tell us about episode 78, Mr. Vila; Hiring Your First Salesperson.

Marc V: I think that this episode is something that’s – I’m going to bring it up, too – it’s like it’s scary to hire your first employee, when you’re a small business owner. “Are they going to represent my business right? Can I afford it? How do I pick the right person? How do I interview them? Should I just try to get a referral? Should I ask for resumes?”

There’s all of these things that you’re trying to figure out, and there’s a risk. It’s almost like it’s more likely to fail, the first time, than it is to be successful, if you just consider job statistics and how many jobs people have. So, I think it’s a good episode to kind of help pump you up, get you ready to actually make this decision properly.

Mark S: It’s a good episode, because when you folks out there are about to grow to the next step, or you’re looking around, and you’re looking at your business and thinking “I need to spend all of my time making t-shirts or doing designs,” then one of the first things that people like to offload to somebody else is that sales function.

So, a lot of you are going to be interested, if you’re not now, in hiring a salesperson, and that’s where episode 78 comes in.

Marc V: Yeah, and if you watch this episode in YouTube, I think it’s the episode with my longest beard.

Mark S: Okay. That’s the scary one. It was the scary beard.

Marc V: I’m just going to read. We had four steps to hiring your first salesperson. Step one is you being the first one, kind of knowing how to sell your own product, and being confident in it and all of that. Knowing some of the skills. Then, finding your critical mass. When is the time? When do you make the decision to hire somebody, if that’s something you want to do?

Then, preparing for it. Step three is actually preparing for that. You need to have some certain things in order. You know, documentation or flyers or brochures.

Mark S: You’re going to have to tell them what to do. You’re going to have to give them stuff to take with them.

Marc V: Comp plan. Step four is making the move, actually doing it. The most important part of hiring your first salesperson is actually doing it, so we talk about that. And the notes on this episode are really good. There’s a lot of notes with this.

Mark S: They are. I like that a lot. And that is kind of a terrifying beard. That’s really, I mean, luxurious.

Okay, so yeah. That was a good episode, episode 78, Hiring the First Salesperson. The last of our favorites here was episode 72, which is Profit First.

Marc V: Yeah.

Mark S: With Michael Machalowicz, our only published author so far, on the podcast. You can look for his book called Profit First.

Marc V: He’s a good guy, too, to talk to.

Mark S: He was a lot of fun. He’s one of these guys that got rich, and then went broke. He started his own business, and basically succeeded himself into bankruptcy. That’s because he was not managing his money. He had an Accountant that was speaking accountant-ese, which he didn’t really understand.

So, the conversation would go “Good news! It looks like you made $100,000 last year.” Mike would look at his bank account and see nothing, and ask “Where is it?” Well, the Accountant doesn’t know. So, he developed a system of having different bank accounts for different purposes.

Really, what he did was he took Accounting, and then he scratched that, and went into the mind of an entrepreneur, to figure out what’s the best way to organize incoming and outgoing money.

Marc V: What’s great about this, and we’re all guilty of it in our personal lives, and all business owners are guilty of it, too, but if you manage things correctly and you kind of know where your money sits, you get to take advantage of doing things to save your money.

Like if I were to manage everything of mine perfectly, I have a Costco membership. I shop at Costco. I could just buy everything in bulk, if I store it correctly, and probably save 10%-15%, across the board, on all of the food that I buy at the grocery store.

But it’s not always convenient to do that. It’s hard to manage that. It’s hard to manage the supply of paper towels and chicken.

Mark S: You may not like that brand of hummus that they carry.

Marc V: Yeah. There’s a challenge to doing this. I think when you listen to this and you read this book, and you listen to this episode, you’re going to get a feeling and a plan of how you can actually attack the financial issues of your business, and prepare yourself to take advantage of that situation.

Mark S: Yeah, and I’ll tell you that this works. I’ve got an outside client that we did some good stuff with the marketing. But at the end of the year, she still didn’t have the money in the bank that she wanted. Right?

So, we kind of went through it, and we talked about it a little bit. My wife is an Accountant, and kind of led her toward this Profit First system. Immediately, she got a much better sense of “Oh my God! I haven’t been setting aside money for my taxes,” and “I didn’t even realize what profit was,” which is the money left over after you pay everything else, by the way.

You pay yourself, you pay all of your expenses. The money left in the bank, and there should be money left in the bank, is called profit.

Marc V: And it doesn’t really have a job, besides being profit. It has a job one day, to do something maybe, whether it’s reinvesting it or just retiring the business and taking all of it for yourself. It’s got a job one day, but it’s job now is just to be profit.

An example of how this can help you out is you’ve got a t-shirt printer that you’ve got to put ink or paper or toner in. You should be kind of divvying out your money for profit and supplies, and things like that, that when it’s time to go ahead and buy more of this, you’ve got the money to do it.

We have a Paper Savers club, at Colman and Company. If you have Digital HeatFX, if you’ve got a toner printer, -.

Mark S: It is a smoking deal. You guys have to do that.

Marc V: You sign up for an auto-shipment, which is much easier on our staff here. It’s easier to predict how many orders are going to come in, in a day, in a month, so there’s a lot of benefits to us for having our orders. It reduces overhead, so we get to pass that back to the customer, and offer a huge savings.

Well, we have folks that whether they’re managed by fear, because they’re not sure if they’re going to have the money in the bank, or they don’t manage their money well, or for whatever reason, they’re not in there. So, they pay more money.

You only have to buy like six boxes a year, to qualify. So, we have people not in the program, don’t want to be in the program, who buy 15 boxes a year. If you add up that money, they would have saved – I’m not going to do the math – over a grand.

Mark S: Over $1,000!

Marc V: Yeah. They would have saved over $1,000, just by if you do this Profit First, then you know that money is in that account for supplies. You don’t have to worry about buying it, when it’s time to buy it. But instead, you kind of live by this fear, and then you overspend.

There’s a lot of lessons to learn in this episode. That’s just one of them.

Mark S: I agree. This is one of my favorites. Mike was a great guest. The book is good, and I think we did a good job of taking the kind of principles behind managing your money for your business, and applying it to the custom apparel business.

Marc V: Yeah. It’s very cool. I’m going to tell some more stats here, about the podcast.

Mark S: Sure, yeah, for those of you that want to geek out a little bit, for the three of you that are still listening.

Marc V: We’ve got one person in Nepal, and one person in Peru, and one person in United Arab Emirates, one person in Iceland, and one person in Kenya.

Mark S: That listen.

Marc V: Yes, so to all of you listening, thank you for being a representation of your country, because you’re doing a great job by listening to us.

Mark S: That’s right. You are probably the best educated custom t-shirt operator in your nation.

Marc V: And most people are listening to this on an Apple device. Apple makes it very easy, so if you’re listening through one of these other things, that are clunky to actually get to our episode a little bit, thank you so much for spending the time in dealing with that. We appreciate it.

Let me see if there’s anything else interesting, that we’ve read here. Most people are in the United States. Is that surprising?

Mark S: Yes, it is surprising, because we all have cable. So, you don’t have to listen. I think one of the things that I really like is just the variety of countries. We get to talk to you guys, sometimes. We get questions, we have a bunch of you that have signed up for the Custom Apparel T-shirt business course and the Gimp course.

We hear a lot from you on the group and everything, and it’s amazing, the variety of people that are in this business. Marc pulled up the map here. A surprising number of people in California. It’s probably the third largest country that listens to us, outside of the United States.

Marc V: On our map, we’ve got people everywhere. We’ve got people in Minnesota, in every state. We’ve got lots of people in every state.

Mark S: We’ve got one person in Wyoming.

Marc V: There’s one spot. That’s just one city.

Mark S: Just one spot. That’s where they get the internet.

Marc V: We appreciate it, no matter where you are. If you’re in New York City or L.A., in a big city, and you’re listening to us, or you’re in the center of the country, and downloading this took forever, because they haven’t caught up on your internet speed yet, we appreciate all of you.

The best thing you could do for us, if you feel like we’ve given you something great, is to share these episodes with other small business owners. Share them online. Give people an opportunity to get some good advice, that hopefully you’ve gotten.

You’ve listened to 100 episodes. There must be something you’re getting out of it. Right?

Mark S: Or you’ve listened to the 100th episode, anyway. That’s great!

Marc V: Also, go ahead and go on the Facebook group, and participate. Ask good questions. Ask questions that you feel would be a topic on this podcast, because you’ll inspire us to answer that, and you’ll get the good answers you want.

So many people want to ask what a font is, or where to get a shirt.

Mark S: Those will get deleted. That’s not really a conversation.

Marc V: That’s not going to help you make more money, and reach the dreams of whatever your business is, whether it’s money or independence, or all of those things.

So, that’s good! We’ve got 100 episodes done now.

Mark S: I know! It’s literally 100 hours or more.

Marc V: What do we do now?

Mark S: I think we do 101.

Marc V: 101? Okay, let’s start back at episode one, and just go through all of those topics again.

Mark S: We should just skip to episode 312. We’re publishing episode 312! We just skipped the 211.

Marc V: We skipped all of the ones and two.

Mark S: Alright, guys. I would like to say, also, thanks for listening. We appreciate it. It’s a pleasure to talk to you out there, and I hope you’re getting a lot out of the podcast. I look forward to the next 100 episodes!

Marc V: Absolutely! Thank you very much, everyone.

Mark S: This has been Mark Stephenson, from ColDesi.

Marc V: And Marc Vila, from Colman and Company.

Mark S: Have a great 100-episode business!

Marc V: Yes! Century business.

Mark S: Bye!

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