Throughout the early days of 'entrepreneuring' I started, (and stopped), many different business ideas.

From blogs to selling things on eBay to yard sale hunting to flipping cars, I tried a LOT of things. It took me a while to realise that success doesn't come immediately but after some time of learning the process of making money in that specific business.

Then came Teespring. 12 months of consistent profit is not too shabby for a paid marketing business, particularly one as volatile as Teespring. It was the first time I stuck to ONE thing for so long. I was amazed at the fact that I was STILL learning better ways to do things a year on in.

To think back to the days I'd start something and expect to see profit immediately makes me realise how naive I was. It also makes me realise the situation most people are in when they first start working for themselves.

We try and emulate the best and get frustrated when our results aren't the same. Well, the 'best', were once really really bad. They got to where they are now by consistently going at something until they made it work. They continued to refine their business principals till it matched the process required to see results and eventually make $$.

When I started Teespring I had NO CLUE what I was doing. FaceBook was a blur to me and it took me a while to even get over my fear of using the power editor. Everything was so intimidating and seemed it would take ages to learn. Why did I give it a shot?

Because other people were, and they were making BIG money.

I'm a very competitive person and as soon as someone else proves the viability of a business model, I know I can do the same if I wanted to. This time, I had to prove it to myself.

50 campaign later, I had my first profitable campaign. Rest all is history.

Running a Teespring business for a year straight taught me a lot. The most basic formula was,

Design -> Test -> Repeat

This done over and over and over again will give you a mixture of results. Many will flop giving no sales at all, some will show signs of potential, less then that 'some', will go on to pay your bills and more.

The Teespring model taught me the importance of testing your product with the real world and how many of your assumptions can be totally wrong.

The designs I thought would do great, did terrible.

The ones I thought would flop did exceptional.

I started to realise the importance of ALWAYS testing your assumptions no matter how bizarre they may seem. Let the world of consumers decide whether it's bizarre.

The process of continuously putting your product to the test 100s, if not 1000s of times, (I've launched over 1,500 campaigns now), completely takes your feelings out of the equation.

You're not hung up on making this particular product/design work anymore. If it gets a bad response, move on. If it gets a decent response, one worth looking into, give it some more of your energy and try again. This will always apply to business.

Too many people get hung up on a blog or product or business idea they've been thinking of for months/years. It's great to have this attitude but have you put it to the test yet? Have you spent money to acquire customers or put it out there to get some real feedback? If you want to make money with anything, there's a process of refinement every business product goes through. Whether this business product be a 'blog', an ebook, a subscription, a list you want to monetise, whatever it its, if you haven't attempted to get customers/visitors/etc, then it's the same as not doing it at all.

This is what Teespring taught me,

  • To put things to the test immediately.
  • To follow signs of success and focus on what works.
  • To not be attached to your product/creation
  • To refine your product based on what your customers want
  • To not be afraid to spend money. In fact be excited that you're going to learn something about your potential customers that can make your serious money.
  • To stick to something till you make it work
  • To ber persistent but continuously refine your approach
  • People that make more money than you just do the same thing you do except, a lot more of it.

I can go on but that's enough food for thought.

Thanks for reading,

- Mateen

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Written by Mateen