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Have a business idea that just won’t leave you alone?
You always say you’ll start it someday, but never quite get around to it, right?
During the first 6 days, I set my goals, brainstormed some ideas, and came up with the projected profit for the most promising one.
This week I’ll really be putting my t-shirt printing idea to the test as I tackle days 7 to 10.
I’ll move on from simply brainstorming to actually setting my idea in stone and working on making it a reality.
I’ll be accomplishing the following tasks:
- researching successful businesses similar to my hustle,
- imagining my ideal customer,
- determining what my hustle offers, and
- creating my origin story.
Day 7: Research the successes of others
This is an important step.
You need to know who your competition is, what their price points are, and what type of services and/or products they offer.
You'll need to find something to offer that they don’t. You have to be better, different, or both. There has to be a reason for people to want to go to your business, blog, show, etc. over the competition.
Side Hustle has a variety of examples that will help you do exactly this.
What I found out about my competition
Generally speaking, here are a few steps to follow to research your competition:
- Look at what other successful people are doing.
- Look for people with similar business ideas to yours.
- Find out what’s giving them success.
- Find a way to use their ideas, improve and be a bit different.
I found that there are a few custom shirt businesses in my area. They offer good quality, some of them quite impressive.
For example, not only is PrintWorks very modern, but they:
- have a great website,
- have a storefront to sell to tourists, and
- offer a variety of styles and logos.
There’s also Design Atlantic, which is owned by Chandler, a part of J.D. Irving, which means they have:
- great price points and
- a website to custom design shirts.
There’s no way I can touch either of them. Not without help.
But I might be able to get shirts from a discount wholesaler in order to be able to compete with their price.
The biggest question is...
What do I need to do to be different and better than my competition?
In order to set myself apart from my competition, I have to be super approachable and able to customize for people.
If I provide an in-depth and hands-on design process where my customers can have exactly what they want, on any kind of shirt they like, then I'll be different.
Want your logo on a spaghetti-strap tank-top? No problem! How about a deep v-neck? Sure! Workout apparel? We can do that too! And in any colour you want.
That will be my selling point.
Day 8: Imagine your ideal customer
If I'm being honest, imagining my ideal customer seems a little mystical to me, but I've read about this sort of thing from other business leaders and I can appreciate the value in it.
It’s important to know who your target audience is, whether you’re writing – like I am now – or launching a business.
No matter where your audience is – online, at a farmers market, or in brick and mortar stores – you need to have an idea of who that person is you’re planning to help.
I know exactly who that is for me.
Related: Canadian Stores With Free Shipping
My ideal customer
This person exists. They have an idea for a t-shirt they want to own, a t-shirt they want to buy – or even better – a t-shirt they want to sell.
They don’t want stiff, scratchy cotton t-shirts that you get from a lot of t-shirt printing places.
My ideal customer wants to have a shirt made for them that feels good to wear. It’s soft and flattering.
They want a great design. And it will be! They can help create it. They can even create it themselves.
Mostly, my ideal customer doesn’t want to pay a lot for all of this.
In one sentence...My ideal customer is me!
Day 9: What does your hustle offer?
Today I have the task of turning my idea into an offer, complete with 3 things:
- A promise: A benefit that my service offers.
- A pitch: A bold, flashy offer, with a call to action.
- A price: What’s included in my service, and how much I'm charging for it.
Honestly, the pitch part feels hokey to me.
When I’m buying something, I always feel salespeople are trying to get the upper hand on me and there’s a certain amount of dishonesty that goes with selling something like appliances or cars.
In this way, coming up with a pitch feels a bit dishonest. I feel like the lesson for today is how to embellish the truth to make people want your product.
That’s why I tried to be as real and honest as possible in my offer, all while still informing my readers that my product is worth buying.
Chris Guillebeau offers the following tips for writing your offer:
- Write to a person, not a group. Think of your ideal customer.
- Each word must be focused and purposeful.
- Use numbers throughout your pitch.
- Use words that make people feel happy. Elicit joy!
- People should feel like they’re part of the story.
- Action verbs are crucial, so throw some into your offer.
- Be excited! Be exciting!
Keeping all this in mind, here’s how my offer came out:
Great quality, custom shirts, done your way! Get the shirts you want for your business, band, event, or let us print a shirt just for you! We will keep costs low, with a $25 design/setup fee, and $8/shirt after that in printing and materials costs. Discounts available for bulk orders. Send us an email with your design ideas, image files, or questions, and let us get to work for you!
Day 10: The Origin Story
Of all the things I’ve had to do the last few days, this step feels the most natural.
It was a 5-page chapter that teaches a lesson most of us already know: We like a company with a quaint story. We like the mom-and-pop shop that started with love.
So when you go to tell your origin, you need to be the superhero of your story and highlight the inspirational reasons behind your hustle – not the financial reason.
Do you want to help people afford something?
Will part of the proceeds go to some important charity?
Highlight that! Philanthropy goes a long way.
Here’s my origin story:
I wanted shirts for the band I’m in. I wanted them to be comfortable, and I wanted them to be affordable.
Either I could get shirts for less than $10 and hate them, or I could pay $12-25 and love them.
Then I started thinking...
What if I made the shirts myself?
So I did some research, bought some materials, and started on this ride.
My first shirts came out a little blurry. But after a while, they looked great.
The craziest thing happened after that! A friend in another band asked me where I got my shirts printed. When I told him I did it myself, he asked if I could print some for his band.
It was amazing to be able to help someone who was in a similar situation as me. Because of that experience, I decided that I wanted to start a t-shirt company that would help people get the best possible shirts at the best possible price, while helping them through the process every step of the way.
This may not be the best origin story, but it’s mine, and I love it.
The good news is that Side Hustle has a variety of stories and examples that will help you do a better job than I have.
The first 10 days: A reflection
These last few days have brought me closer to getting my side hustle up and running.
Honestly, I can’t wait to start getting my site and social media accounts set up. All this planning is making me anxious to start.
Hopefully, next week will quench my thirst for the concrete.
Have you been following along my journey to becoming a side hustler?
How has the process been for you? Are you itching to start just like I am?
Let me know in the comments below.