This Episode

Mark Stephenson & Marc Vila

You Will Learn

  • How to make 75k a year in custom tees

Resources & Links

Episode 152 – How To Make 75K In Custom Tees

Show Notes

But here’s where we got the $75K number:

What’s the average American income in 2021:

Why $75,000?

Because according to the article “how much is enough” and the Princeton study they reference there, for most people $75K/year is enough to be worry free. They surveyed people at different income levels and by and large, the people that made less reported to be less happy and happiness didn’t increase much at larger amounts.

Depending on almost everything of course – location, family size, etc.

And the $75K is also right in the middle of what is typically considered “middle class” in America.

These articles are talking about top line income – and we’ll do that too, but we’ll also talk about how much PROFIT you’ll make at various sales levels.

Because I think that knowing these numbers will help you figure out your own.

So – if you buy into all this – what do you have to do in the customization business to make $75K?

First – we’ll run a few scenarios for you – having to do with sale price, cost of goods sold, et.

Most of our digital t-shirt makers make $12 or MORE for every shirt they sell. Here’s how the numbers work to get you to $75,000 per year!

Average profit per shirt $12.00

$75,000/$12 = 6,250 shirts

365 Days/6,250 = 17.12 shirts per day

or 2 week vacation and 5 day work week = 25 Shirts a day

Is making 25 shirts a day realistic?

Doing it alone, it’s realistic to break up 2 shirts a day into this:

Production – 2 hours

Sales – 2 hours

Marketing – 2 hours

Paperwork – 2 hours

How do you get to 25 shirts a day?


  1. Get your google / facebook / bing info set up for searches
  2. Join groups / clubs
  3. Up-sell customers
  4. Sell through ebay / etsy (if you have good ideas)
  5. Be sure you have some niche markets to sell to
  6. 90% of our custom t-shirt business customers make ALL their money through word of mouth
  7. Ask for referrals


  1. Get in the car with samples
  2. Make phone calls
  3. Talk to people / socialize
  4. Ask for business
  5. Be sure people know what you do
  6. Wear what you do


  1. Build into business costs to have a CPA
  2. Learn how to do it yourself (if you are good at that thing)
  3. Don’t let it pile up
  4. Do things legally (if not sure hire someone – build that into cost of business)
  5. Know your numbers!


  1. Make your room work for you
  2. Practice makes perfect
  3. Don’t give up
  4. Stop chasing crazy ideas and focus on a few things you can do well
  5. Up-sell more prints on a shirt or item, more money… less garments
  6. Sell things that are easy to do. e.g. can coolers, mugs vs a hat with 4 locations of logos for $12

Remember to get to 75k… you have to do these simple things:

  1. Leverage YOUR social network to build a business that YOU control.
  2. Work hard on sales and marketing… don’t just sit there
  3. Get production down to a science
  4. Do the paperwork right and know your numbers



Mark Stephenson:            Hey everyone and welcome to episode 152 of the Custom Apparel Startups podcast. My name is Mark Stephenson-

Marc Vila:                          And this is Marc Vila and today, we’re here to talk about how to make $75,000 in custom tees.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah, I mean like just how to make $75,000 a year. I mean we’re going to talk about custom tees but almost anyway that you can do that is a good thing.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, I was going to say just sell one tee for $75,000-

Mark Stephenson:            For $75,000?

Marc Vila:                          How to do that, yeah. You need to get a prince or something-

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah, I got to say, you say that like it couldn’t happen.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, yeah, Bill Gates might.

Mark Stephenson:            I’ve seen … We’ve got somebody on our Custom Apparel Startups Facebook group that does these amazing custom denim jackets and I don’t know how much he sells them for but I’m thinking $2500.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah.

Mark Stephenson:            I mean they’re pretty amazing.

Marc Vila:                          Kudos to those denim jackets then. I love it.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah, there you go.

Marc Vila:                          Well, this episode was … It was Mark had an inspiration about this number and I guess why don’t you tell us about the inspiration [inaudible 00:01:13]

Mark Stephenson:            Sure. And I’ll put a link to it in the podcast notes. I read this article about being middle class in America and what middle class is and it’s a huge range and things like that but as part of it, they referenced this Princeton University study on happiness and income and what they found was is that that you are generally happier when you don’t have enough money not to worry and that point for most Americans, of course, it depends on your situation and if you have 57 kids and if you live in Manhattan and all that stuff but for most Americans, that $75,000 is the inflection point that once you hit that amount of money, then most people have enough so they are … They’re not worried about money all the time and that if you have more than that, you’re not necessarily any happier. Does that make sense?

Marc Vila:                          Yeah. So, at $75,000, you have a lot of in the hierarchy of needs, which a person wrote those-

Mark Stephenson:            Maslow.

Marc Vila:                          Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you eat, shelter, I mean those are the two that I remember right now.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah.

Marc Vila:                          But food, shelter, comfort, these are some certain thing that you desire in life that keep you on a baseline happy just kind of being human and I see what you mean. At $75,000, you’re definitely going to be paying rent and/or a mortgage-

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah.

Marc Vila:                          You’ve got enough money to do that. You’ve got plenty of money to enjoy food and not just … Not eat just to live but enjoy food probably, right?

Mark Stephenson:            Yup.

Marc Vila:                          And you probably have some money to do things that would bring you happiness on different levels, like buy a bicycle to go biking or be able to do a painting as a hobby or go fishing or whatever.

Mark Stephenson:            Or even just not have to worry, just not have to worry about-

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Actually, I like this topic. I like the inspiration behind the topic because happiness has been something that’s fascinated me probably since I was 21 years old or 20, so I’ve read numerous books on it. The Art of Happiness is one that I’ve read that I found was pretty-

Mark Stephenson:            The Dalai Lama.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, and there’s-

Mark Stephenson:            I’m friends with him on Facebook. I just want to put that out there.

Marc Vila:                          Are you? I think I was too for a little while. He unfriended me. No. I think there’s a documentary called Happy that I’d seen before but there’re numerous ones and that … And a lot of the concepts that I’ve learned, not to get too deep into it but once your basic needs are met as a human, you have a relative good level of happiness and then anything beyond that doesn’t necessarily make you more happy. It might bring you different levels of pleasure or satisfaction but also, mo’ money, mo’ problems too-

Mark Stephenson:            That’s great.

Marc Vila:                          … from Biggie [crosstalk 00:04:32]

Mark Stephenson:            I love the range of your quotes, Biggie and the Dalai Lama. So, the other reason I like this $75,000 number is people ask us all the time, how much money can I make? How much money am I going to make? And we’ve had a couple of conversation recently on the last two podcasts, one with Vik Patel from Sawgrass, which was a great podcast. I think that was episode 150 and then the last time, when we talked about the best T-shirt printer and that one in particular, you start with a plan of who your niche market is and what you’re going to sell and things like that and a lot of people would suggest that you should start with how much money you intend to make and work backwards through all that stuff.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, yeah, that’s true. I had read … I just recently … I mentioned this to you a while ago. I started to read again, Think and Grow Rich-

Mark Stephenson:            Oh yeah.

Marc Vila:                          … which it’s a cool story. It’s a good book. I like it. It entertains me. It’s entertaining and it’s motivational. I think it’s a good read but one of the things that … The chapter I just finished recently, he was talking about if you want to have money, you need to visualize how much money you want to have in how much time and then once you have that goal, then you start figuring out how can you get there and what things can you do to get there.

Mark Stephenson:            Right.

Marc Vila:                          Right, so a billion dollars tomorrow seems kind of silly but making $75,000 next year, using $75,000 as the number we’re going to talk about today, seems pretty realistic. That’s not unattainable for almost anybody especially when you’re talking about what we’re talking about, starting your own business.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah, we’re going to break down the numbers for you. I do want to point out two important things.

Marc Vila:                          Sure.

Mark Stephenson:            And the first one is that when these articles about income, when they talk about your income, they’re talking about like if you make a certain number of dollars an hour, if you have a salary that adds up to $75,000 a year. That’s not how much is in your paycheck, right? So that’s how much you would make and you’ve got to subtract taxes and expenses and all of that stuff. So, the approach that we’re going to take, helping you figure this out in the custom T-shirt business, is actually more handicapped because we’re going to talk about making $75,000 in profit and the math and what you would need to do to do that and the other thing I want to point out is that it’s not all about making that magic number.

Mark Stephenson:            If you’re doing this as a side hustle, if you want to get into the custom T-shirt business, let’s say, for example, you are the really extremely well-paid director of marketing for a big ecommerce brand in the custom apparel space.

Marc Vila:                          You’re trying to get me to leave this job, Mark.

Mark Stephenson:            Like Colman and Company, let’s say that was you but you wanted to add that extra $20,000 a year or $25,000 a year or 50 or if you are a teacher and you want to hit a bigger number or have something to do for the summer and you want to give yourself a financial goal, you can use what we’re talking about or what we’re going to talk about to figure out the math and the process of how you might get there regardless of your goal. We’re just going to use $75,000 as a great target.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, and all these numbers are arbitrary and somebody who might be looking at this might have a job where they make $75,000 a year but they would prefer to be independent, not necessarily have that paycheck and what’s leftover in the paycheck and work for somebody else but have your own gig, your control, control yourself, your own future. A couple other quotes for you, let’s see, we’ve got “The gatekeeper of your own destiny.”

Mark Stephenson:            Okay, [crosstalk 00:09:03].

Marc Vila:                          That is … Yeah. No, it’s Jack Black, he had said that in Nacho Libre.

Mark Stephenson:            Okay, that’s a good one.

Marc Vila:                          “The gatekeeper of your own destiny,” so, I think that that’s what’s great about this is that people can become the gatekeeper of their own destiny, making that money and that also, you mentioned profits before, made me think of another quote, Chris Rock, when he was talking about when he got his paycheck and how much taxes they took out and he said he got “check jacked.”

Mark Stephenson:            Okay. Got you.

Marc Vila:                          He didn’t pay taxes, they took taxes.

Mark Stephenson:            Right, so I think what I’ve got to recommend here is that instead of a gate, you install a slide.

Marc Vila:                          Okay.

Mark Stephenson:            I think there’s no gate, it’s just a runway up to a slide, that’s all.

Marc Vila:                          But yeah, but anyway, we’re going to talk about a bunch of different numbers here and how to get there and things you can do and like Mark said, we’re going to use these numbers as a goal. We’re going to talk about T-shirts because that’s the topic we chose to talk about but you might have different numbers, you might have different profit levels, you might have different goals and you might be selling something different. You might be talking about selling mugs or mouse pads or whatever it might be, canvas prints, but whatever it is, we’re going to talk about T-shirts. We’re going to talk about $75,000.

Marc Vila:                          I think we should just get right into it and start talking about something, Mark. So how many … Let’s talk about shirts. How many shirts do you have to sell? What are you going to sell them for?

Mark Stephenson:            Well, I mean, first of all, we talk about this all the time. We do surveys in our Custom Apparel Startups Facebook group. We’ve got almost 11,000 members in there. We’ve got, I don’t know, a couple of 100,000 people in our database for ColDesi and Colman and Company. We do surveys there and over the years, we’ve identified that many of our digital printing customers, for example, profit about $12 a shirt and the way that works out is maybe you are … You’re using a DigitalHeat FX transfer and you’re using a decent quality shirt and you’re total cost on the end product is $8 and you’re selling it for $20 or maybe you’re doing multi-placement vinyl with DigitalHeat FX or with embroidery and your cost is up to $15 and you’re selling it for $30 but the average that people talk to us about when they answer the surveys is $12 in profit a shirt.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, and what’s interesting also is it’s not only … I’ve done the math a lot of different ways. It’s not only the average but it’s also, I believe, the median and the mean as well.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah, the [crosstalk 00:11:54]

Marc Vila:                          So, the middle number [crosstalk 00:11:54]

Mark Stephenson:            The largest number of people are making-

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, so the largest number of people are saying that they are doing about that.

Mark Stephenson:            Yup.

Marc Vila:                          The middle number of people are kind of doing that and the conglomerate average are doing that. So it’s a very, very realistic number. You are very, very likely to be in this scenario. Now, that doesn’t mean everybody is. So, we’re going to talk about a very common number.

Mark Stephenson:            Right and so let’s just go, if you did the simple math, which was $75,000 divided by $12 in profit, then you would need to sell 6250 shirts in a year to make that amount of profit. Now, the math is different if you are looking at the revenues or the sale price. Remember, I kind of … I pointed out that we’re going to be talking about profit, which is not quite but closer to your take home pay where $75,000, if that was your salary, that would be the retail of what you’re selling your time for.

Mark Stephenson:            So, if you were selling your time for … If you were selling shirts for $20 a piece, $75,000 divided by $20 would be 3750 shirts. So that would be like you’re taking in $75,000 a year total, that’s how many shirts you would have to sell. I want to point out again, we’re talking about the profit, the gross profit-

Marc Vila:                          Not the revenue.

Mark Stephenson:            Right, not the revenue.

Marc Vila:                          So, to state that differently, if we’re talking about $20 T-shirts times, I’m just going to say 6000 to keep it simple, it’s $120-something thousand dollars in revenue, $130,000 in revenue, whatever the math exactly works out to and what you’re taking back in profit on that is the $75,000 maybe.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah, it kind of goes to the question, how much money do you want to make? Well, I’m making $75,000 now. Okay, that’s great, that’s not what’s in your bank. Uncle Sam takes some money off the top, your insurance, all that stuff. If you make $75,000 a year, you don’t put that in the bank. So that’s why we figured we’d go for $75,000 in profit.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, that’s great. That’s great. So, yeah, dive deeper.

Mark Stephenson:            Continue to do some math there. If you divide that by 365 days a year, then you’re making a little over 17 shirts a day. That’s what you have to sell, 17 shirts a day. And if you decide to give yourself a vacation for two weeks in a year, which seems sad but very common, then you’ve got to make 25 shirts a day. So a regular life, an eight-hour, you’ve bought yourself a job by going into the custom T-shirt business. You need to sell, make and deliver about 25 shirts a day to get to that $75,000 happy mark.

Marc Vila:                          Yup, yup and I like that concept because yeah, originally we had put notes in there, 17 shirts a day and then I said, I don’t want to work 365 days a year, so we just redo the math to a vacation to five days a week, so you have weekends off or whatever, your Tuesdays off, Monday and Tuesday off, Sunday/Monday off and you have a couple weeks that you take completely off and you’re making 25 shirts a day.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah.

Marc Vila:                          So, then that made me think of is making 25 shirts a day realistic?

Mark Stephenson:            Okay [inaudible 00:15:31]

Marc Vila:                          I don’t mean making 25 shirts because that is clearly not hard to do and when I say-

Mark Stephenson:            Is it?

Marc Vila:                          … making, I mean customize, customize. I mean unless you’re hand painting them-

Mark Stephenson:            Okay.

Marc Vila:                          But if you’re using some sort of technology, a DTG printer, how many prints can you do on a DTG printer in an hour?

Mark Stephenson:            I knew you were going to ask me that. I knew. So let’s say you’re going to spend about … On a white shirt, maybe four minutes.

Marc Vila:                          Okay, four minutes, so, what does that come out to?

Mark Stephenson:            15 shirts.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, a dozen, 15 an hour.

Mark Stephenson:            Right. We’ll call it 15 or 20 shirts an hour.

Marc Vila:                          15-20 shirts an hour, okay. DigitalHeat FX, probably close to that, maybe a bit more depending on the size of your image and how many times you have to marry, blah, blah, blah.

Mark Stephenson:            Yup.

Marc Vila:                          Close to that. Vinyl … All of them are probably pretty close to that number, give or take.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah.

Marc Vila:                          It all depends, right? So I’m not going to try to … This left chest logo here I do way more of these, I’m pointing to my shirt if you’re not watching-

Mark Stephenson:            Right.

Marc Vila:                          I can do way more of these per hour than a giant print on a full front of a T-shirt.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah, again, tons of variables.

Marc Vila:                          Too many variables.

Mark Stephenson:            Tons of variables.

Marc Vila:                          But let’s just say that 15, 20, up to 30-ish, in that range is realistic for almost no matter what you do.

Mark Stephenson:            Yup.

Marc Vila:                          From what we have to offer. So, 25 shirts a day then is obviously very realistic because-

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah, two hours of production time.

Marc Vila:                          Two hours of production time, right? And of course, roughly. So now you’ve got two hours of production time, so now we’re very realistic that if I’m going to work a full-time job and I’m going to make $75,000 in profit a year, I need to dedicate a couple hours a day to production.

Mark Stephenson:            So, I mean think about that this way and this is the illusionary math, this is the optimal math is that two hours a day, that’s 10 hours a week. If you had just the phone was ringing and you didn’t have to do anything, you didn’t have to stop for anything else, if all you had to do was make the shirt, two hours a day, five days a week, you’re at $75,000 a year in profit, which is pretty remarkable.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, yeah and for the production but you’ve got to sell shirts.

Mark Stephenson:            You do.

Marc Vila:                          You’ve got to talk to people.

Mark Stephenson:            Yes.

Marc Vila:                          And you’ve got to take orders, so you have to physically make the sales.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah.

Marc Vila:                          So, when we looked at this, we just kind of quartered out your day. So a quarter of the day, eight hours, let’s pretend like we can do this in eight hours for the sake of this … Of speaking about this. So, production two hours and we can put two hours into sales.

Mark Stephenson:            Yup.

Marc Vila:                          Right, so this would be the conversation leading to somebody being interested, the conversation of them saying yes and you taking the order, the conversation of taking the payment, delivery and saying thank you.

Mark Stephenson:            Okay.

Marc Vila:                          For all these orders, two hours, I think, is pretty realistic for that. Somebody has a 25 short order, you could probably spend two hours talking to this customer, wooing them, selling them, closing them, taking payment.

Mark Stephenson:            I’ll give it to you. I think it’s high.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, it’s high but we have to pick a number.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah, got to pick a number.

Marc Vila:                          You got to pick a number, right? And this isn’t one customer by the way. You might have three customers who buy whatever 25 divided by three is.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah, or you could talk to 15 customers and only those three customers buy.

Marc Vila:                          Yes, so yes, so that’s kind of where part of it leads into the realistic, you’re going to have customer complaints, you’re going to have customer service issues. You’re going to have things. You’re going to spend a quarter of your day selling/customer service.

Mark Stephenson:            Dealing with that, yeah.

Marc Vila:                          Selling and customer service, all right. Now, I think marketing is just as important as selling.

Mark Stephenson:            I do too and I got to say this is I think that if you are doing two hours a day of marketing, you’re selling a crap load more T-shirts.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, yeah.

Mark Stephenson:            I mean no one is doing that. No one that starts a custom T-shirt business really is doing 10 hours a week of marketing activities, but aspirationally, since we would love for you to do that and it would greatly contribute to your longterm success, I like the idea that it’s in there.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, and also we can factor in a lot of different things that you might not consider as marketing activities that you should do if you’re new in business, which would be participating in Facebook groups, attending any type of chamber of commerce events or lunches or Zoom meetings or online chats or whatever might be happening in your area, attending a party you wouldn’t have gone to or participating in an activity online you wouldn’t have done before but you’re doing it to kind of network and market.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah, and the difference between that and sales is with marketing, you’re not necessarily talking to somebody about a specific order or trying to get a specific order. Sales would be I’m in my car and I’m calling on all of the hair salons in my city to try to get them to buy something.

Marc Vila:                          Yes, and marketing might be writing an article about how to pick an order, a customized apparel for a hair salon, so when somebody google searches your city searching for hair salon customization stuff, they find you.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah.

Marc Vila:                          All right, so we’ve got two hours in production, two hours in sales, two hours in marketing and then the last one we put is two hours in paperwork.

Mark Stephenson:            Right, and there is possibly two hours in paperwork.

Marc Vila:                          Well, you’ve got to order supplies, order T-shirts, type up invoices, answer some emails and paperwork could be customer service related, maybe do something for Uncle Sam, some taxes.

Mark Stephenson:            I feel like we need … I feel like it’s time in 2021 to start leaving the word type behind.

Marc Vila:                          What do you do then?

Mark Stephenson:            I think you enter them in. Like you just said it, for some reason, I pictured myself on a typewriter in high school.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, no.

Mark Stephenson:            Or using the little whiteout liquid and you’re doing a lot of “paperwork” air quotes, you’re not using paper.

Marc Vila:                          You might not be using very much paper.

Mark Stephenson:            Or a typewriter.

Marc Vila:                          Electronic work.

Mark Stephenson:            Yes, you’re doing administrative stuff.

Marc Vila:                          Okay, all right, so we want it to mean-

Mark Stephenson:            Administrative stuff.

Marc Vila:                          We want to change paperwork to administrative things, okay.

Mark Stephenson:            Yes.

Marc Vila:                          You know what, you’ve sold me on it.

Mark Stephenson:            Okay, good.

Marc Vila:                          I’m on board.

Mark Stephenson:            Now, let’s include figuring out your taxes.

Marc Vila:                          Okay, mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mark Stephenson:            Working with an accountant, working with a bookkeeper, anything having to do with QuickBooks or FreshBooks or whatever you’re using, just the parts to be good at in a business or to devote yourself to in a business are getting your art down, which is learning how to do the production, learning how to do the sales, learning how to do the marketing and getting really good at all of the stuff that it takes to run an actual business, licensing, taxes, permits, along with all of the day-to-day stuff.

Marc Vila:                          Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mark Stephenson:            So, I like that you’ve got two hours set aside for that.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, and I think two hours is fair for administrative work. If you’re doing this by yourself, you’ve got to do everything, right? So you’ve got to do administrative work, marketing, sales and production. So you’re doing kind of all of it and if you’re going to do 25 shirts a day, I think that it’s hyper-realistic to spend all of your time doing this and I would also say that it’s important to say that custom apparel, custom T-shirts is a snowball business.

Mark Stephenson:            Okay.

Marc Vila:                          So, in your first year, you might spend all of this time just to make 25 shirts a day. So we’re talking how to get started making $75,000, right?

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah, you won’t do that your first month.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, you’re not going to do it your first month and you’re also not going to do that in four years.

Mark Stephenson:            Right.

Marc Vila:                          Because all of that marketing and sales is cumulative time, so where you’re getting more referral orders, so you’re having to spend less time selling those people but you’re still selling maybe that 25% of your time anyway to get orders that just fall in your lap, referral repeats and then new orders-

Mark Stephenson:            It does happen.

Marc Vila:                          So there’s new orders coming through. So the $75,000 spent, well, oh, I’m going to spend two hours selling, two hours marketing and I’m only going to make $75,000, I mean maybe year one or year two but if you’re doing that consistently, this 25, 25, 25, and 25 of those tasks are going to change over time. We’re only picking numbers to pick numbers but this is very realistic in being able to do any of this stuff. It only takes two hours to make 25 things. We can agree on that.

Mark Stephenson:            Yes, that’s true.

Marc Vila:                          And two hours a day driving and showing up to places or selling on the phone or whatever it is, you can sell 25 shirts a day literally-

Mark Stephenson:            You’re [inaudible 00:25:35]

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, not literally. You might sell one order of 200 shirts and then sell none the rest of the week but … And the same thing with marketing. If you’re spending … If you’re writing articles and participating in online forums every day for a couple hours, you will get customers and then of course, yeah, paperwork. You’re going to have to spend 25% of your time doing administrative work.

Mark Stephenson:            Yes, administrative work.

Marc Vila:                          [inaudible 00:26:01] apologize for that.

Mark Stephenson:            So let’s break it down. I think everyone out there understands that, again, if your goals are flexible, if they’re more modest or if they’re more modest, it’s going to be easier. You just start fractioning out that time that we just talked about, right? If you want to make … If your goal was half of $75,000 a year, divide everything by two. Now, if your goal is twice of $75,000 a year, then you’re probably going to have to do a little bit more engineering here to get to those numbers because you’ve got to look at your production time and your marketing time and your paperwork time differently.

Mark Stephenson:            Some of those will increase, some of them may stay the same or similarly, you might need to spend more time on marketing, less time on sales or you might need to just devote yourself for production and hire somebody else to do everything else.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, and that’s what I was going to say too. If you’re not doing it alone, then that’s a big part of it too. So if you’re a husband/wife combo and you’re both willing to dedicate more hours than this or less hours than this combined, all the math can work out. So, maybe we break down some of these categories. How do you get to 25 shirts a day? Because we talked about it arbitrarily in this splitting up your time into four different categories. So let’s break some of those down and here is your pen and paper ideas of realistically how folks who are our customers and folks who are not our customers that are in different lines of business, this is how they do marketing, this is how you make money.

Mark Stephenson:            Because everyone that’s in the custom T-shirt business is one of our customers.

Marc Vila:                          Yes, okay. Well, I was merely referring to people who do other things-

Mark Stephenson:            I get it. We have a lot of customers that do other things now too. So we try to remind ourselves of that also.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, so this could be the same if you detail cars for a living or if you do lawn maintenance or anything like that.

Mark Stephenson:            If you sell signs-

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, you sell signs, if you sell stickers, there’s a million different things this works for but today, we’re talking about 25 shirts. So, [inaudible 00:28:14]

Mark Stephenson:            So, I love that you put marketing down first in our notes.

Marc Vila:                          Thanks.

Mark Stephenson:            I love that I mean because that’s basically what we do, so I do think it’s the most important thing.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, yeah. I think that if you don’t mind, I’ll tell you why.

Mark Stephenson:            Sure.

Marc Vila:                          Sure, so the basic things that you will do in marketing are going to be the ways that you get free business without having to sell and are not really complicated. So, in the scheme of everything that you’re going to do, I would sit down and do some of the basic marketing things first and then let those live in the universe and we’ll talk about some of those because they live there and one day, the phone’s going to ring and somebody’s going to see one of the marketing things you did and you’re going to get money while you’re out there selling or while you’re producing. So, I think it’s good to kind of focus on this idea first.

Mark Stephenson:            I like it. It happens to ColDesi all the time, like we will get leads on a monthly basis for things that we haven’t sold in eight years.

Marc Vila:                          Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mark Stephenson:            Somebody finds a random article or post or social media event that we did or a webinar recording or something like that about a 75-head embroidery machine or some short-lived supply product that the company went out of business, something like that, people find that and they still call us wanting to buy it and that’s a response to work that we did years ago.

Marc Vila:                          Which made me think on changing the order of what we wrote for marketing.

Mark Stephenson:            Okay.

Marc Vila:                          Something like that. All right, so because of what I said when I [inaudible 00:29:58], so the first thing is for marketing is just get your Google and Facebook and Bing stuff all setup so people can find you online.

Mark Stephenson:            Google my business. I’ve done at least one podcast about that.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, we have a podcast, how to get found on Google, for sure. We have got some social media podcasts, some of them are new, some are old. Listen to those, something you do. So this is how you’re going to sell 25 shirts a day, how you’re going to make $75,000. First step, get yourself on Google, Facebook and Bing so if somebody jumps on their phone and searches for custom T-shirt near me, you’ll be there because you are theoretically, there’s not a custom T-shirt person that lives immediately nextdoor to you, probably not. There’s probably a range where you are the closest person to make custom T-shirts for a group of people.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah.

Marc Vila:                          So, they’re going to search. They’re going to search custom T-shirts near me and you are literally the closest one, so boom, you got to do that first. I’m going to change orders a little bit again but the second one I want to say here is join some groups and clubs, right?

Mark Stephenson:            Online or in the real world?

Marc Vila:                          Both, both.

Mark Stephenson:            Both?

Marc Vila:                          Both, I mean, yeah, I’d put it all together. So, join like chamber of commerce, a small business association, a small business luncheon group, a Saturday morning Zoom chat for small business owners-

Mark Stephenson:            You know what, I’m going to go farther, honestly, join anything.

Marc Vila:                          Join any … Well, okay, joining [inaudible 00:31:43] anything, these are just random ideas I have but yeah, join anything.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah, because if you standup in the middle of a bus station and say I make custom T-shirts for a living, people will walk up to you with money. This is what I’m saying is like I was … Like I joined a podcast group, Marc Vila and I went to a couple of these events in Orlando and they’ve got a local one here in Tampa, I joined that and I’ve referred two or three of those podcasters to people that make custom T-shirts. Why? Because they ask what do you do? Oh, I sell equipment that makes custom T-shirts. Says cool, I’d like to order some. Well, I don’t make them.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah.

Mark Stephenson:            You guys make them though. So, really, chamber of commerce, bus station attendants association, wherever you can get into a group of more than a hundred people, I think you’ll be good.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, the school my daughter goes to, they have like a dad’s club.

Mark Stephenson:            Okay.

Marc Vila:                          And it’s just there’s an email list and they do some little Zoom chats. I think they used to do breakfasts. They probably will again one day, I don’t know. Yeah, and it was just a bunch of dads and they were just talking about how to make their kid’s school life better. That’s the goal. But on the flip side, one of the things I’m always curious about and maybe it comes from having a background in sales or maybe not, but I’m curious, I find that what somebody does for a living is a great way to have conversation. I find it’s telling and interesting and it also kind of lets me get a little bit of an insight into what kind of conversation I can have with this person.

Marc Vila:                          So, are they a plumber or an investment banker? And then okay, here’s some things I know I can talk about. So, whenever you’re in any of these groups, I’m going to find out what people do. I start asking what they do and then I tell them what I do and then-

Mark Stephenson:            Okay, can I give you another random example that happened to me today?

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, sure.

Mark Stephenson:            Okay. So, I have a marketing client in the boating industry, in the marine industry. I help him out with his website and things like that. I went to a chiropractor today and we’re talking while I’m getting my head spun around and how’s it going? How’s your business? It’s great. How’s yours? I’m like, oh, good. This client of mine does this and they’re doing great. He said, “Oh really, my husband, who is also a chiropractor, installs marine electronics on the weekends for boats, GPSs and things like that.” Completely random example. This was a group of one and all I did was say what I did and it inspired some kind of business related reaction.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah.

Mark Stephenson:            And what I do is not nearly as interesting as making custom T-shirts.

Marc Vila:                          Always. I joined a group chat with some old college friends, it’s like a thousand guys in there and so I made a Facebook comment in the group. Some of the guys recognized me, said, “Oh my gosh, we haven’t talked to you in forever. We just started a group chat, join us.” So, I said, “Sure. Here’s my phone number.” I joined in. I’m in there for like … So, then they start off, “Hey, tell us what you’re doing.” I say what I’m doing. Immediately get a direct message from one of the guys, “Actually, I have a custom card business where we do card swapping, baseball card swap business. Should get a bunch of T-shirts and hats made. I was going to order them online but now that I know you do it, how much would it cost?”

Marc Vila:                          And I get that all the … Everyone thinks … Nobody can get past, by the way, this idea that we sell equipment.

Mark Stephenson:            Right.

Marc Vila:                          This is like it’s an impossible thing. Like nobody understands that there are people who sell things that don’t make that.

Mark Stephenson:            Yes.

Marc Vila:                          That don’t make the finished product, right? So it’s like I couldn’t imagine trying to explain to somebody if I worked for a company that made like motherboards for AC units or something like that.

Mark Stephenson:            Oh yeah, no.

Marc Vila:                          They’d be like, “Oh, I need my air conditioning unit fixed. Can you come by my house?” Like I just imagine [inaudible 00:36:10]

Mark Stephenson:            No, can’t, can’t.

Marc Vila:                          We’re going really far off here.

Mark Stephenson:            I know. We should get back to marketing.

Marc Vila:                          The point was-

Mark Stephenson:            But you get the idea.

Marc Vila:                          … join clubs, talk to people about it and you will get business that way. Next is you’re going to get customers, how do you market to them? You upsell them. There’s a little bit of sales but it’s a little bit of marketing too. You do an order, you throw a free koozie in there and stick a card in there, you can buy these for X many bucks a piece.

Mark Stephenson:            You’re making sure that you let people know, even the ones in the buying process, all the other great things that you do.

Marc Vila:                          Yup and you email them to remind them that you’re around.

Mark Stephenson:            Yup.

Marc Vila:                          You do like mass emails, let everybody know, hey, I got this new shirt in. I got this new idea, whatever it might be. So upselling customers, let them know what you do. Sell through eBay and Etsy.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah.

Marc Vila:                          It is a marketing thing. It’s a little more passive. You’ll put an ad online. Assuming you have a good idea of something somebody would want to buy, a cool fishing shirt idea or a cool car [inaudible 00:37:18]

Mark Stephenson:            Noodling shirt.

Marc Vila:                          A noodling shirt or maybe you’re a good artist and you create a piece of art that you’ve done and then you can just put it on eBay and Etsy, maybe people will buy it. That’s something. I think probably the most important one that somehow ended up in the middle of the list, you have to make sure that you have a niche market to sell to.

Mark Stephenson:            Oh yeah. Listen to the 100 of the 150 podcast episodes we’ve done so far to learn more about picking niche markets. Basically, you’ve got to pick somebody to sell to.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah.

Mark Stephenson:            You’re not going to sell to everybody. You got to pick who you’re going to sell to.

Marc Vila:                          Pick a specific group of people to sell to. It could be cheerleaders. It could be baseball people. It could be small business owners. It could be sports fanatics, whatever it might be.

Mark Stephenson:            Have a specialty.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, have a specialty. That’s going to help you learn to speak a language that’ll help you to sell and it’ll help you get that 25 shirts, honestly because that focus, all your emails can sound the same, all your marketing can sound the same, all your sales pitches can sound the same. You get to say cool things when you sell and market.

Mark Stephenson:            And that kind of leads in, are we going to do sales next?

Marc Vila:                          Almost.

Mark Stephenson:            Okay.

Marc Vila:                          Almost. I think this is marketing but you had done some information, a study, and you said that of the survey asked, 90% of our customers who have T-shirt businesses make almost all of their money through word of mouth sales.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah.

Marc Vila:                          So, I think that [crosstalk 00:38:55]

Mark Stephenson:            I mean I used to do classes on marketing when we would hold trade shows at ColDesi.

Marc Vila:                          Oh yeah, mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mark Stephenson:            I would do that and I’d have a room full of apparel decorators that were in the business and I’d ask them where they got their customers, nine out of 10 of them would say word of mouth.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, yeah. So I think that’s … It’s a bit of sales and marketing but I kind of tied it to asking for referrals. Ask for referrals. Make sure people know that to tell other people about you, ask them if there’s anyone else they might know. So of your daily activities, if you’re spending 25% of your time making sure you’re online and good, interacting in different groups, letting your customers know what you do, maybe putting some random items for sale online, eBay, Etsy every once in a while until you find some gold ones, working on your niche market, who you’re going to sell to and making sure you’re getting referrals and you have a way for people to refer business to you and you’re thinking about that.

Marc Vila:                          If you’re spending 25% of your time and doing this, you’re going to reach your goal.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah, yeah, that’s very true.

Marc Vila:                          So, now, we can talk about sales.

Mark Stephenson:            Okay, good, because I had a thought, niche markets make sales easier because imagine the conversation that if you are … If part of your marketing … If your niche market is fisher people, fishermen and women, people that fish, people that boat, if this is your niche market, than imagine how much easier the conversation is if you go from one … If you’re talking to one company that sells fishing supplies about shirts to another company that sells boating supplies about shirts. Imagine how easy that conversation is because you can say things like one of my biggest customers is in the next city over and they do custom fishing rods. I do shirts for them. It’s great.

Mark Stephenson:            So, you immediately have something to talk about and it’s a simple conversation versus I just got off the phone with Big John from Big John’s Fish Camp and now I’m talking to Shirley’s Dance Studio.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, yeah, okay.

Mark Stephenson:            You’re not going to go, hey, I just got off the phone with Big John and I got him some [inaudible 00:41:27] XL T-shirts, do you want to talk about rhinestone dance shoes now?

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, yeah.

Mark Stephenson:            That’s a hard transition. So the sales part starts with that marketing part, how to figure in what you want to say and who you want to say it to in marketing and then sales, you’re just figuring out ways to get in front of people to say it.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, yeah, no, that’s a great point and speaking about the niches and stuff, since you mentioned it, you can have more than one. So you might sell to small business owners without necessarily a massive niche, just businesses that are less than 10 people and restaurants.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah, you can’t have 10. You can’t have 10 niche markets.

Marc Vila:                          You don’t want to try … But you can have a couple. You can have a couple faces you wear, especially as opportunities come knocking on your door. So you see an opportunity to sell in cheer and dance but you also see an opportunity to sell in restaurants in your area. So those are the two things that you work on. Now, Mark’s kind of always said, one of the best ways to sell T-shirts is you get in your car with some samples and some business cards and you walk around and give them to people, right?

Mark Stephenson:            I think it’s … I don’t know if it’s the best way, but it’s certainly a way that you can do … Something you can do right now.

Marc Vila:                          Okay, there we go. I take that back. It’s an immediate way to get … To have probably the highest potential of making some money today.

Mark Stephenson:            Get in the car for two hours, you’re going to get yeses or nos.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah and if you do it every day, five days a week for two hours and you are going to sell something and that plus your marketing, you’re going to get to you can sell 25 shirts a day.

Mark Stephenson:            Same with phone calls.

Marc Vila:                          Yup, phone calls are next, soliciting people on the internet, cold emails as well, all of these things combined together. You have to figure out what strategies work for you, where you live, what makes the most sense for you in your area and combining all these things together, reaching out. Reach out and touch someone, that’s another quote. I think that was AT&T in the 90s.

Mark Stephenson:            I think it’s some political figures that we’ve had over the past few years too. So we’re not going to be able to edit that out, I’m sorry. And again, this is where the niche market thing comes in handy. If you are making phone calls, if you’re talking to people, if you’re wearing what you do then it’s easier if you call a hair salon or you visit a hair salon about custom aprons and T-shirts for the people that work there if you can say, if you go to all the hair salons. They all speak the same language. You can say, “I was just over at Bonnie’s Hair Salon and I think we’re going to do some business. I thought you might be interested too.”

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, and I would carry around a pair of scissors and wear an apron and then walk into hair salons.

Mark Stephenson:            Yes. Not good, maybe head shears. I think you’ve got head shears.

Marc Vila:                          A machete, machete.

Mark Stephenson:            Machete? I mean I do that anyway, but sure, I can wear an apron too.

Marc Vila:                          So, back to reality, you get in your car and you sell in person. You hand out some samples. You talk to people about what you do. You share what you do. You make some phone calls. You let people know what you do. You let them know you’re in the area, specifically if you’re working with a niche market. You call every restaurant and you ask to speak to the manager and say, “Hey, I’m a local T-shirt shop, by the way. I can do this and this. If I can ever help you, maybe I can email you my information.” These are all … “Or maybe I can stop by and come by and have lunch one day and talk about what I do,” all these-

Mark Stephenson:            And if this all terrifies you then that’s okay. It’s very common. We’ve got podcasts to help.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, yeah. [inaudible 00:45:37], right? So just go out to lunch, just go out to lunch a bunch and then while you’re there, just find out the person who looks like they’re in charge and hand him your business card and run away.

Mark Stephenson:            Throw your business card at them.

Marc Vila:                          But no, but all that stuff’s in seriousness, you get used to it too. So reach out and touch people whether it’s physically or electronically, get out there and make sure you talk to people, socialize, that’s another part of selling and then asking for business. So we talked about it, if you’re in a bus station and you just stand up and say you make custom T-shirts, somebody will walk up to you and ask you about it, right? And then you can just ask for that business. Oh yeah, okay, yeah, sometimes we do custom T-shirts. Great, I’d love to do them for you. Let’s talk about it. Let’s write it up. So make sure you ask for business from people or just ask them, hey, you’re at a birthday party for a kid, you run into a dad, “What do you do?” “Oh, we own a landscaping company.” “Okay, I should do your T-shirts for you then. We’re friends now. We just met. Our kids are best friends. We should be best friends. Let me do your T-shirts.”

Mark Stephenson:            “Your child told me that he hates the T-shirts you wear now.” All right.

Marc Vila:                          So, sales is a bit of marketing too, just make sure people know what you do. There’s no reason if you’re talking to somebody and you just met them and you don’t know or whatever it is that everybody shouldn’t just know what you do, especially as you’re meeting people. If you have an opportunity to talk to a stranger for a few minutes, ask them what they do, tell them what you do.

Mark Stephenson:            You should only wear custom T-shirts that say I make custom T-shirts.

Marc Vila:                          Okay.

Mark Stephenson:            Ask me about custom T-shirts.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah.

Mark Stephenson:            I’m on my way to 75K, buy a custom T-shirt.

Marc Vila:                          Have a name of a business that explains what you do. See, our name is ColDesi on purpose, because I don’t want people to ask me to make a shirt for them. But if we did make shirts, I would say, ColDesi Custom Tees, right? Under my logo, on my shirt, custom tees and embroidery. That doesn’t have to be your business name but put it somewhere on your shirt. Oh, I just kicked my laptop. Sorry for the earthquake. So, wear what you do, say what you do and that’ll help you sell.

Marc Vila:                          So now, we’ve got marketing and sales down. If you’re doing this stuff for 50% of your time, all the activities we talked about, there’s no doubt you can get to 25 shirts a day. No doubt. Because so many people don’t do this for 50% of their time and get there.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah.

Marc Vila:                          So many people don’t. They fall into it. They accidentally get sales. So many of them do.

Mark Stephenson:            It happens all the time.

Marc Vila:                          It happens all the time. They talk to somebody at a party, “Oh yeah, my dad actually owns this company.” “Oh really?” “Yeah, I should introduce you.” Next thing, “Can you do us a hundred shirts a week.” Whoa, what just happened? I just started. And we hear those stories all the time. So a lot of people just fall into it. So if you’re spending 50% of your time doing the sales and marketing, you’re going to get to that 75K but now, you actually have to make some things and handle some administrative stuff.

Mark Stephenson:            Right, because you’re going to have to not just sell the 25 shirts that you need, you got to make them.

Marc Vila:                          You have to fulfill. So, next we have … We can do production next, I think that makes sense. So, production. So here are some tips on how to produce to actually make this work. So the first one I said is actually make your room, your production space, work for you. Think about where you’re putting things. Think about where your heat press is and where your printer is. Think about where you’re keeping your shirts, where they’re going to start, where they’re going to finish and make it kind of be comfortable. Don’t run around like a chicken with your head cut off making stuff. Make a nice production environment for yourself.

Mark Stephenson:            If you don’t do that, then you’ll be annoyed a lot and you won’t really be able to identify the reason.

Marc Vila:                          Yes.

Mark Stephenson:            It’s really just like I find that when we’re doing demonstrations and things like that and after we’ve been working on a video or something for 25 minutes, I finally pull the table from the other side of the room next to the printer, I’ve been walking back and forth to get blank T-shirts or to put stuff down or to peel transfers to the other side of the room, why? No reason.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah.

Mark Stephenson:            But I just get annoyed and then oh, okay, we need to rearrange this because we’re going to be doing this for an hour.

Marc Vila:                          Yup.

Mark Stephenson:            Same thing in your production life at home.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, we had one of our support technicians said that he had a gentleman that was struggling making T-shirts and when they got on video to video chat, his heat press was backed up all the way in the corner of a room. So he didn’t have room to work, didn’t have room to [inaudible 00:50:47] banging in. He said, flip your heat press around and get it facing where you have space and immediately, he was doing things better. He had the room to breathe, room to work. He wasn’t stuck in a hot corner. So have your space work for you.

Marc Vila:                          Practice makes perfect. Keep going forward, don’t give up. Keep trying. You’re never going to get to making 25 shirts a day if you say it’s too hard, I can’t do it.

Mark Stephenson:            And you’ll never get there, frankly, if you don’t make a certain number of mistakes every day or every week.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, you’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to have to make 26 or 28 or 30 shirts a day to sell 25 because you’re going to make-

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah, you will.

Marc Vila:                          I promise you, no matter who you are, there is somebody less skilled, less measurably intelligent who has less life skills than you who is doing this.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah.

Marc Vila:                          So, you don’t have to be any magical person to be able to get to that 25 shirts a day but if you practice and you don’t give up, you’ll do it. So practice makes perfect and don’t give up is the next one. Don’t give up on the marketing. Don’t give up on the sales. [inaudible 00:52:00] too but also don’t give up on the production because so many people, they just give up. It’s too hard to do. It’s not too hard to do. I can run all the machines that we sell pretty much. I don’t do any production. I spend a bit of time learning them, spend a bit of time practicing, spend a bit of time throwing shirts away and now I can run them all. None of them are that hard to do. I just didn’t give up because I knew it was my job to know how to do it and demonstrate them and show people how to do it, so I learned.

Mark Stephenson:            I like it. I like it.

Marc Vila:                          Another production thing is stop chasing crazy ideas and focus on things you can do.

Mark Stephenson:            What do you mean by that?

Marc Vila:                          What do I mean by that? All day, I’m on Custom Apparel Startups Facebook group and probably some folks listening to this are trying to figure out how to make something that you can’t make with what you own, trying to figure out-

Mark Stephenson:            Well, I do, I love that. You’re right.

Marc Vila:                          … how to do the hardest thing in the world when they’ve got blank T-shirts sitting there. They’ve got transfers sitting there just waiting to be put together and they’re trying to figure out how to put a transfer on like a 500-pound pottery thing that’s outside that’s cemented to the ground and they’re trying to figure out how to get their heat press out there to put something on it. Just say no to that and do something you can make some money with.

Marc Vila:                          So, stop chasing all your crazy ideas. That’s what happens in production is somebody wants to try to do something and they will spend their 25% of time that they were going to actually make something figuring out something that they couldn’t do.

Mark Stephenson:            You will blow that two hours.

Marc Vila:                          Blow your two hours, you don’t have time. Now you have to go do your administrative work. You blew your two hours, you didn’t produce anything. You didn’t make 25 shirts. You didn’t sell 25 shirts and you’re 25 shirts less away from getting to $75,000 a year.

Mark Stephenson:            Yes. That is great … That’s a great way to put. Hey, you know what? Make T-shirts.

Marc Vila:                          Make T-shirts.

Mark Stephenson:            Make T-shirts, make T-shirts the way that you’re taught in training to make T-shirts. Use the T-shirts that you’re taught in training to use and do it the way that you’re taught in training to do it.

Marc Vila:                          Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mark Stephenson:            And then you will have the formula. It’s not quite like this, right? I’m exaggerating.

Marc Vila:                          Okay.

Mark Stephenson:            But you walk into a McDonald’s anywhere in the country, you get the same burger.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, okay.

Mark Stephenson:            Right? So, because everybody does things the same way. The 13,000th, the 13,000,000th 16-year-old kid is not working out how to make it a little better, trying it a new way. You just go ahead and like in order to do this kind of production, let’s say you’re not doing it for five days, you just need to do 125 shirts in a day. You need to do the process so do what you practiced, make what you practiced, sell what you practiced.

Marc Vila:                          But what if you can save like 10 cents a shirt?

Mark Stephenson:            If you can save 10 cents a shirt, that’s completely different. You should do it the way you’ve always done it instead.

Marc Vila:                          So, let me tell you why. How many shirts do you have to make-

Mark Stephenson:            Did you get another call, somebody was shopping for cheaper thread?

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, yes, definitely. So, you figured out a way to cut your transfers to save 10 cents a shirt or you buy thread that’s like a dollar cheaper a cone, how many shirts do you have to make to make $75,000 based on this study?

Mark Stephenson:            What was it? 3600?

Marc Vila:                          6250, right?

Mark Stephenson:            6250.

Marc Vila:                          6250 times 10 cents.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah.

Marc Vila:                          $625.

Mark Stephenson:            Yup.

Marc Vila:                          You can spend all this time cutting corners to make $75,000 or $75,625.

Mark Stephenson:            Right.

Marc Vila:                          Worry about that $625, worry about it when it turns into $6000. Worry about it when you’re doing a hundred-plus shirts a day and you’re trying to figure out how you can afford to buy another printer this year without selling more and you start looking at your costs. If you can save 10 cents a shirt, who cares? It’s $600. If somebody says to me, you made $75,000 and the next person says, oh, I made $75,625. You’re going to get a middle finger and that’s it because nobody cares about that difference. It doesn’t change your life.

Mark Stephenson:            Listen, if you’ve listened to the podcast before, you can always recognize Marc Vila and I both have these pet peeves that we mention over and over again and as a matter of fact, one thing I’m going to add to it, because it kind of bridges between production and administration or paperwork, is make it a habit not to overpromise your delivery date.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, oh that’s great. That’s a good tip.

Mark Stephenson:            Because this is part of your production scheduling, right? If I’m going to make a 50-shirt order, I need to have the 50 shirts and you go order the 50 shirts. I need to get them in. I need to get them prepped. I need to put them … Maybe I have to do these 20 shirts first or this 100 shirts first. Don’t get into the situation where okay, I have two hours free tomorrow and I have an order of 25 shirts. I need to do them tomorrow because I told the guy I was available tomorrow. Don’t get into that trap. You’ve got to do … You’ve got to measure your time out and schedule it.

Marc Vila:                          You’re spending 25% of your time marketing and 25% of your time administrative work and 25% selling and 25% doing production in this scenario, so it’s important in your production that you are not going to quit doing all those other things so you can deliver shirts because then you could end up in a very wavy cycle for your business, you get frustrated, you’re rich, broke, rich, broke, frustrated and never see the end in sight of this being visible, so you’ve got to manage that time. That’s part of production, managing time-

Mark Stephenson:            Good way to put it.

Marc Vila:                          Before promising and under delivering, the other way around, whatever the good one is, do that. And for production and this is combining some selling and some marketing but if you’re upselling, that’s a great idea. You can upsell to do things in the same piece of apparel, so add a logo on the sleeve on the right for a couple more bucks and now you’ve got the same shirt, so you’ve got more money and less shirts to make.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah.

Marc Vila:                          You can squeeze in those little logos on the bottom of your transfer paper or do a ton of them on a larger piece of vinyl and do it quickly.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah, you could do a two-position print and add $5 or $10 to the price of the shirt and it takes you a little bit more time, not a lot more time.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah and-

Mark Stephenson:            Definitely things you can do in production.

Marc Vila:                          If they ask for front, offer front and back for a little bit more. They could just say no. So it’s part of sales but it’s part of production too because it’s nice to put a shirt on, do the front, flip it over, do the back and now you’ve done one shirt worth more money, you had to deal with less blanks, less folding, less boxing. So you’re upselling in a production friendly way is a way to look at that. Sell some things that are easy to do. This goes back to what you said, Mark. You can make some T-shirts the right way or do some can coolers or some mugs or do some things that are easy to do that you know how to do it. Don’t chase a crazy thing, especially in the beginning when you’re trying to get to that 75. Don’t chase crazy things that are hard, that are like level 10 hard things to do. Do things that are realistic and people still want that stuff. People still want T-shirts. They still want mugs.

Mark Stephenson:            Pictures of kids, pictures of somebody’s kid or their dog on anything. I’ll buy it.

Marc Vila:                          So, yeah, so there’s your four things to do and these are all some realistic ways to help you to get to that 75,000 and I think it’s time to wrap it up.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah.

Marc Vila:                          I think we’re good.

Mark Stephenson:            Do we need to talk about administration and paperwork a little bit?

Marc Vila:                          We didn’t talk about administration, oh my gosh, it’s because you renamed it paperwork.

Mark Stephenson:            So, this is kind of a good way to end because it’s everybody’s least favorite thing to pay attention to and that’s the money and the details of running your business.

Marc Vila:                          Yup.

Mark Stephenson:            So, if you’re going to get to $75,000 in profit a year, are you good with money and with figures and with accounting? Not a lot of people are. You can probably do it or do a lot of it but if you’re going to get to this goal and if you’re going to spend this time, then you should probably evaluate whether or not you want to do just the bills, do you want to do all the invoices, do you want to do the packing and shipping, do you want to hire a CPA? Do you want to hire a bookkeeper?

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, and if you want to hire somebody to do that, it doesn’t need a full-time person. There’re tons of freelancers. You’re only selling 25 shirts a day. You don’t need a ton of work so it might be a handful of hours a week that you just email somebody a bunch of things and they do them for you.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah.

Marc Vila:                          You can build that into the cost of your shirts, make sure it’s profitable enough to get to your goal or you can learn how to do it yourself if you’re capable of doing those things. You can’t do everything all the time great, it’s okay. You can’t let it pile up either.

Mark Stephenson:            Oh man, you cannot realize at the end of the year that you have to pay taxes on the money that you earned.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, and you haven’t written up any formal invoices.

Mark Stephenson:            And that you “forgot”, there’s air quotes, to get permission from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to use their logo.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, okay.

Mark Stephenson:            You know what I mean? You’ve got to get all the … Get the insurance, get the money in order, figure out your bank accounts, do all that stuff up front so you can keep this paperwork down to two hours.

Marc Vila:                          Yup, yup and if you don’t let it pile up, it’s easy. I think I’ve talked about it before and we’ve talked about it before. Like I use a budgeting app.

Mark Stephenson:            Yup.

Marc Vila:                          And if I go in there, like every day, for like five minutes or less, I’m done. [inaudible 01:02:41] transactions I needed to do, done. When I skip it for like four days, now it’s like a 35-minute project.

Mark Stephenson:            Right.

Marc Vila:                          Got to get in there-

Mark Stephenson:            I like that, that’s a good analogy.

Marc Vila:                          [crosstalk 01:02:52] on that stuff. Now it’s a chore. So, I don’t do it that day because I’m too busy. Now, I’m doing it Sunday, so now Sunday morning, I’m waking up and I spend an hour doing it because it’s piled up and somehow, when you let work pile up, it actually can take longer to do than if you do it [inaudible 01:03:09]

Mark Stephenson:            That’s true. That’s true.

Marc Vila:                          That’s just the way that things happen. So, yeah, don’t let it pile up and as you mentioned, do things legally. That’s how you’re going to get to that money and that’s how you’re going to keep it. Like you said, the Buccs thing is a good thing, don’t try to do things … Don’t listen to anybody that tells you you can change a logo by 10% and you can sell it.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah.

Marc Vila:                          That’s just the worst piece of advice that’s been repeated [inaudible 01:03:35]

Mark Stephenson:            And I like this one for the end and that’s to know your numbers-

Marc Vila:                          Know your numbers.

Mark Stephenson:            … and make that … And if that’s a daily activity, it’s going to be a huge win for your business and help you get to that 75K because let’s say that you spend … Let’s say you don’t need to spend two hours a day on your … On the administrative part of the business, you only need to spend an hour. Spend that other hour tearing apart your previous orders and figuring out, okay, this is what I did well, this is what I didn’t do well. Here’s how I could’ve made more money. I realize for the past two months, I haven’t up sold anything or look at how much money I made on this one job just because I sold him a logo on the sleeve.

Marc Vila:                          Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mark Stephenson:            If I do more of that, I can do production 15 minutes a day, you know what I mean? Like knowing your numbers means not just the administrative side of things, taxes, payroll, insurance, rent, stuff like that, it also means the jobs that you do and how much more money you can make out of those.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, so it definitely falls into that administrative, you should spend time every day, every week looking over orders that you’ve done, that you plan on doing, how things look, the profile of your customers. What are some of their profiles? What’s their income bracket? What do they do for a living? What industry are they in? How did you get their business? Consider that. If you say you got it through a referral, how did you get it through a referral? Was it from a random customer? Was it from someone you met at a birthday party? Was it from the same customer that keeps referring people to you?

Marc Vila:                          So, if you learn those things, it’s going to help to get you better at everything else, from production because you can look at how long it took you to produce each order, time that, look at it and then you can start doing some math on why did this order take so long? Oh, this was the one where the customer asked for a special shirt, so I bought one somewhere off the internet and those shirts were a bear to deal with. It took me five hours to do something that should’ve taken me two. I wonder if a customer asks me next time to use a special shirt if I can just let them know what I have and why it’s great and a lot of people, you’d just be surprised, say yes.

Mark Stephenson:            That’s good.

Marc Vila:                          So, remember, to get to 75K, kind of final notes we have here, you wrote this, Mark, leverage your social network to build a business that you control.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah.

Marc Vila:                          You wrote that. I think it summarizes a lot, right? So it summarizes like you’re in control of all this stuff. You can use your social network for referrals. You can get business locally. You can get business online. So utilize what you have and you can get some money. The second one is work hard on sales and marketing. Like don’t just sit there. If the phone’s not ringing, do something to help make it ring that day or another day.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah, I mean make it a part of that … Make it that 25% of what you devote your business to.

Marc Vila:                          Mm-hmm (affirmative), yup.

Mark Stephenson:            [inaudible 01:06:57]

Marc Vila:                          Get production down to a science.

Mark Stephenson:            Yup.

Marc Vila:                          Figure out how long it took you to do something. Look at it again in a different way. What if I put … I notice that I keep tripping over this cord. What if I moved this around this way? I notice my back hurts. What if I got a stool? What if I raised this table, lowered this table? Things like that, get it down to a science. And then do the paperwork right and know your numbers.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah, I love that and I love that all these things are … This is stuff you can actually do.

Marc Vila:                          Yeah, everyone can do it.

Mark Stephenson:            We’re not telling anybody they need an economics degree or become a CPA or become an industrial engineer to make custom T-shirts. We’re saying you can make a great living in the sweet spot of the American middle class and you can do it by selling and making 25 shirts a day in any number of digital printing technologies.

Marc Vila:                          And you don’t have to know any big people in high places. You don’t have to have a massive amount of money to get started. It’s a little bit of elbow grease, a little bit of mind grease-

Mark Stephenson:            Mind grease?

Marc Vila:                          … in your brain.

Mark Stephenson:            I feel like we could sell that.

Marc Vila:                          A little bit of manpower, woman power, a little bit of work and maybe a lot of work and maybe that’s the other thing, someone to say is you’re going to have to work hard on all this stuff if you want to make it happen. If you want to make $75,000 a year, you have to put some work into it.

Mark Stephenson:            Yeah.

Marc Vila:                          And you’ll be a little tired on some days and you’re going to put in more than that five days a week for sometimes.

Mark Stephenson:            I mean it might be a deal breaker for some people but you might have to give up Netflix a few hours a day.

Marc Vila:                          Yes. If you say … If somebody says I didn’t get to make $75,000 a year but they’ve said that they’re running out of things to watch on Netflix, then you’re not trying hard enough.

Mark Stephenson:            That wasn’t really their goal.

Marc Vila:                          That wasn’t the goal, right? So, yeah, that’s good stuff. Well, I’m glad we got this one wrapped up, episode 152, How to Make $75,000 in Custom Tees. This is a … It’s the basis of the thought process of how you can actually do it if you try and if you go for it.

Mark Stephenson:            I like it. Hey, listen everybody, thanks very much for tuning in, again, to the Custom Apparel Startups podcast. This has been Mark Stephenson from ColDesi.

Marc Vila:                          And Marc Vila from ColDesi and Check us out for supplies and blanks for your custom apparel business. We’ve added this year in 2021, if you’re listening to this in 2021 in April, we’ve added probably 30,000 skews to the store. If you’re listening to this like way in the future, I don’t know how many of those skews are still there or how many more we have but there’s a lot and there’s a lot of stuff that we sell. So go to, check it out and there’ll be some cool stuff for your business.

Mark Stephenson:            I love that. Hey, good luck making $75,000 and have a great business.


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