Start where you are and use what you have

Justin Lawrence, Oklahoma Shirt Company

A huge percentage of small businesses fail. That’s heartbreaking for me, as my business has been so significant and life-changing for me and my family. I’m not sure what goes wrong with all those businesses, but I think too many people get stuck planning.

I’ve run several businesses of varying sizes throughout my life. Currently, I run a multi-million dollar graphic design and screen printing company. But when I started it, I had no idea what I was doing.

About the time my son was born, I was in medical school, but I was trying to do too many things at a time. I ended up having to quit my job. I still needed to provide for my family, but I needed more control over my schedule.

A buddy of mine needed some graphic design work done for some t-shirts for a church camp. I had experience in graphic design, so I did it for him. Then he asked me, “Who should I have screen print this?”

Not knowing anyone, I immediately responded, “I’ll do it.”

I knew nothing about screen printing at the time. But my buddy paid me up front! So I went to YouTube to learn, bought the equipment that I needed, and I was committed.

A lot of people feel like they need infrastructure and preparation to build a business. They need to get a website, file an LLC, build a book of business, all before starting. They say things like, “Once I have an office and hang my sign up, I can open for business.”

That’s the wrong way to look at it! If you wait until you’ve done all that to find your first client or customer, you’re going to be in for a bad time.

Instead, start where you are and use what you have. I think that’s a really easy concept. Don’t wait! Everyone has 24 hours in a day. Do something. Don’t wait for something great to happen, make it happen!

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