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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now, I've been thinking and re-thinking and maybe re-re-thinking too much about starting my own t-shirt line. Me and my gf have planned everything from start to finisg and I'm going to start-out the best I can. No fulfillment services to "test the market with an inferior product"... I'm going screen-printing and buying in sets of 18 shirts with the same design -- and get maybe 2 or 3 designs to start with.

My problem is: I'm scared. I know a lot of people might have this problem so I'm letting it all spill here and now. What if my shirts don't sell? What if I spend $400-$500 and I go nowhere? What if my marketing strategies won't work? Or maybe my designs appeal to me but not others :S

Did everyone pass through this phase? I've been planning so much that I don't want to stop right now! On the other hand, I'm afraid of starting!
 

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Re: Where you afraid?

Why don't you post a few designs for Forum members to look at. I've seen your artwork and think it's excellent. Who are you targeting with your garments and how are you going to let them know about your product?
You are only human everyone fears failure! Believe in yourself, you are going to make mistakes we all do. Get feedback that will help you minimise risk. I'm going through the same thing as you but all my T-shirt will be made and printed in China so I have to get it right. Some guys on these Forums have been extremly helpful with their design advice.
If everything was so certain it would be boring, Go for it I'm sure many of the members here will back me up and say they have experienced what you are going through. If you aren't sure about anything just ask. Good luck we are 100% with you!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Re: Where you afraid?

Absolutely normal to be afraid. I'm just getting started too on the grass roots level. I went a little bigger I sank $1700 in first batch of shirts. Went the credit card route as many have here. We're going to our first event this coming weekend where we paid a vendor fee for 3 days, lodging, gas, food, BEER, etc. I really can't afford to do it but I'm going for it.

I'm afraid if it doesn't go well but excited if it does. You know what they say you have to make spend money to make money. The best thing to do is believe in it. I second guessed our ideas a lot. But got good feedback with small sales and consignment shop deals so I'm more confident.

You will always have the experience of going thru with it and just doing it. Put an effort forward and be proud of that!

Also don't think it can happen overnite - reading these boards we know it takes time.

Good Luck
 

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Re: Where you afraid?

fear is natural, but you have to accept a certain amount of risk for real success.

believing in your idea 200% is the only way to go. even if the business is slow to start, don't lose the drive and passion that made you take the chance. that what will sustain you :)
 

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Re: Where you afraid?

Perhaps you have heard that f.e.a.r. stands for "False expectations appearing real' in that your mind can create some pretty horrible scenarios (I will lose all my money, people will laugh at me, it will never work, etc.) that SEEM real but are just mind movies.

I prefer to spell it differently to remember the steps in overcoming these mind movies:

F.E.A.R.r.

F = Face it. We are all afraid of something -- spiders, flying, failure, success, clowns, etc. You have a choice though... you can choose to continue to live a diminished life by living in fear (c'mon... a spider is just a spider, LOTS of people fly every day, you didn't ride your bike on the first attempt, success is FUN and clowns can make us laugh). Or, you can face your fear and reclaim this portion of your life. And, don't worry... you can face it a little bit at a time.

E = Easy does it. When we are afraid, our breathing becomes faster and more shallow, our muscles tighten, our hearts beat faster. This is the effects of adrenaline. This comes from our cave person days of "fight or flight" when we needed to be ready at all times. These days, we don't have any sabre-tooth tigers to deal. We call that queesy feeling "fear" and react to it when in reality it's adrenaline which we can use to our advantage. So, take some deep, slow breaths; drink some ice-cold water; take a walk; stretch. All of these things will help relax you.

A = Analyze it. What is the WORST that could happen. Write it down in as much detail as possible -- get it ALL out. How will it feel? What will happen next? Now, what is the BEST thing that could come from your action? Again, write it down in as much detail as possible. Consider all the possible outcomes.

R = Replace it. Realistically speaking, the worst possible outcome has a very small chance of happening. And, even if it does, you can still recover from it. If it doesn't kill you then you can learn from it and be better prepared next time. Furthermore, the best possible outcome may not happen -- at least, not right away. What will probably happen is something between the two extremes, probably leaning more to the positive than the negative. Is that out come acceptable? If so, then do it. If not (and you still want to do it), find ways to reduce your risk. Now, replace your negative mind movie with a more positive one. It's all pretend anyway... why not enjoy what's playing in your head?? Besides, if you are more positive when you act, your chances of succeeding are much better. Think about it, would you buy a car from some guy that was complaining about his boss, his wife, his job, the environment, his neighbor, the aweful coffee and was miserable or would you prefer to buy a car from someone who was happy to help you, found you the answers you needed, had good information about the car and was a pleasure to work with?

r = Repeat. You may have to follow these five steps again and again. The first time you confront your fear, you might still be afraid. The next time, you might be able to really see what's going on. The third time, you might even begin you enjoy yourself. Then, you might actually start to look forward to this experience... Shampoos companies even use this technique to sell twice as much shampoo -- have you ever noticed that the instructions say to was, rinse and repeat? You don't really need to repeat -- your hair is clean after the first application!


Does this help you?
 

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Re: Where you afraid?

m4nti said:
Did everyone pass through this phase? I've been planning so much that I don't want to stop right now! On the other hand, I'm afraid of starting!
I did and I didn't. I was too foolish to be scared at first. In fact, I was so convinced I'd sell out that I kept upping my order for my first shirt design. I was going to print 48 shirts, but ended up printing 244 thinking that I would sell out in a weekend. I sold 4 that weekend. I still have about 170 shirts from that run in my garage.

Since then I have hit the fear phase. I basically jumped into the deep end without first testing the waters. I thought that all I needed was knowledge of Illustrator and I could get into business for myself. I am learning that there are a lot of skills involved in running a small-time t-shirt operation: web design, business management, money skills, communication skills, and nerves of steel. I had none of these skills at the outset and I am developing all of them simultaneously. It’s scary stuff. By the end of 2006 I should have ten different shirts in print, with each print run costing a minimum of $200. That’s a very scary thought. My security blanket is the thought that I haven’t even begun to start any serious marketing and already sales are reasonable. Once I start pushing my site harder and trying to wedge my way into the mom and pop stores I can only see sales getting better.
 

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Re: Where you afraid?

I think I heard that the average millionaire fails 2-3 times before succeeding. And they all seem to say, "NEVER give up."

I sometimes get frustrated, but never discouraged.
 

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Re: Where you afraid?

Tgraphics said:
Why don't you post a few designs for Forum members to look at. I've seen your artwork and think it's excellent. Who are you targeting with your garments and how are you going to let them know about your product?
I agree with Paul, you should post your designs here and elsewhere to get some feedback. If possible, try to get feedback directly from the people in your target market. Market research can really help take a lot of the "what ifs" off your mind.

I wouldn't worry too much about "spending $400-$500 and getting nowhere". In the end, even if your t-shirt business is a complete failure, for $500 you will have gained something utterly priceless: Experience. If you decide to start another business in the future, you will have a better understanding of what to do, and what not to do in order to be successful.

Once you have everything prepared, just get started. Once you try to do something, failure is always a possibility. But if you never get started, and you never give your idea a real chance, you have already failed.

Good luck and please keep us updated as to your progress. :)
 

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Re: Where you afraid?

What if I spend $400-$500 and I go nowhere?
I have already done that several times :) Usually I think about the times when I've wasted a similar amount of money with almost NO chance of making money (a couple nice dinner's with the wife at Ruth's Chris, superbowl party, buying too many t-shirts in a year, trip to reno/vegas, a few poker nights with friends, a year's worth of pizzas, shoes I didn't need, you get the idea).

I think usually my only fear now is a fear that I will regret NOT trying.

The big "what if" you should be thinking about is "what if you don't try it and miss out on a great opportunity to change your life".

Sounds a bit cheesy, but you'd be suprised how even small decisions you make can turn out to go on to something much bigger.
 

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Re: Where you afraid?

You gotta chance it. That is, with a leavening of sense. If you don't take some chances like this, I always figure regret will be haunting you for the rest of your life. I took a big plunge on money outlay with my site, but I figured might as well try it big if I'm going to do it. Seems to be slowly working out. In for the long haul...
 

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Re: Where you afraid?

For each sucessful business, I'm sure there are hundred of others that failed. I see business as a changing battlefield. You have to relocate your resources and rethink your battle plan based on the constantly changing situation. If $400-500 is a big investment to you, I highly suggest that start out much smaller.

Just my 2 copper pennies. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Re: Where you afraid?

Hmmm... lots of replies here. Thanks to all for the great tips on how to manage my fearz. I've read through them all and I'm thankful forums like this exist. If only there were more like it, the world would be a better place :D

bodhigear said:
have you ever noticed that the instructions say to was, rinse and repeat? You don't really need to repeat -- your hair is clean after the first application!

Does this help you?
ye it did help me :p it even made me laugh ^^
 

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My only advise would be to start small and make a name for yourself first. Stickers and word of mouth can be your best promotional tools. I went into my first season with 5 different designs and I printed 6 of each size (6 small, 6 med...etc. of each design) Some designs I sold out of and had to re-print twice. Some designs (seems to be the ones I rushed on) are still sitting on my shelfs. Now that summer is over, the retail shops I deal with are stocking winter clothes. Where does that leave me? With a box full of t-shirts that Im selling to the public for $5-7 just to get rid of them. Be prepared to give away alot too. Its better to have your shirt worn than have it sitting in a box. Even if it means losing a few bucks.

Oh and Im working on my second season now and its even scarier than the first.
 

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Re: Where you afraid?

Rodney said:
I have already done that several times :) Usually I think about the times when I've wasted a similar amount of money with almost NO chance of making money (a couple nice dinner's with the wife at Ruth's Chris, superbowl party, buying too many t-shirts in a year, trip to reno/vegas, a few poker nights with friends, a year's worth of pizzas, shoes I didn't need, you get the idea).

I think usually my only fear now is a fear that I will regret NOT trying.

The big "what if" you should be thinking about is "what if you don't try it and miss out on a great opportunity to change your life".

Sounds a bit cheesy, but you'd be suprised how even small decisions you make can turn out to go on to something much bigger.
That's a good post, Rodney.


Besides, if the worst happens and you do fail utterly - it's a tax deductable business expense ;)
 

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m4nti said:
My problem is: I'm scared. I know a lot of people might have this problem so I'm letting it all spill here and now.
What you also are is honest with yourself, which is great. Some people start this business with delusions, some people start it with fear. Both can hold you back, but fear is less likely to have you throwing good money after bad if things aren't working out.

m4nti said:
What if my shirts don't sell? What if I spend $400-$500 and I go nowhere?
That partly depends on what $400-500 means to you. I'm not rich, but I can certainly afford to lose $400-500, so I'd be happy to gamble on myself and go for it. For some people $400-500 is a lot of money they can't afford to lose, and in that case it might be worth considering things a bit more so that you are sure. You can definitely second guess yourself too much though, and you don't want to let fear get in the way of you doing something you should be doing.

To answer the question in your thread title: yes I was/am afraid (I'm hoping it'll go away when I'm rich and famous ;)).
 
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