The early days of BC were totally different from today. NOTHING was made in-house. I was a freelance artist who would get you shirts. Technically, it wasn't BC yet. I wasn't incorporated, I was just a "designer" <--- in quotes because I had no idea what I was doing. Very new to photoshop, using 5% of what the program offered. Taking hours to create simple designs I can now complete in minutes. But I liked it, so I kept at it and I took every opportunity to learn. I scoured Youtube for tutorials, I edited famous photos and added unique effects. I took photos of my friends and added NSFW effects for some group chat laughs. And slowly I got better and better.
To most people, it didn't make sense how much time I was spending or "wasting" on frivolous photoshop experimenting. "How is this helping you?", "how is this going to make you money?", "don't you want to start a business?". I didn't have a great answer, but recently, I listened to a Gary Vaynerchuck podcast where he brought up the concept of doing little things that don't necessarily have the greatest ROI for you or your company, but you do it because it makes you happy. In the long run, it's better for your business. And that's exactly what happened.
But to me the "playing around" made sense. I knew I wanted to start a business and I knew the core tenets of my business were going to be:
- based on something I like to do
- minimum upfront money (to minimize risk)
- focus on teaching
I settled on t-shirts because I always liked drawing as a kid. And Google said it was one of the easiest businesses to start. Obviously, I was a very uneducated entrepreneur, so I wanted to minimize my risk. Zero money upfront sounded good to me. As for the teaching, I don't really know why I was so focused on that. But for some reason it was a key point for me.
I wasn't exactly a real business yet but I began getting customers. Now all my design work/play was a differentiator for me. It enabled me to provide better service than the "bigger" companies. They charged $50/ hour fees for subpar work. I was FREE. I had an IN. All I needed was that foot in the door and I could close the deal.
- Tags: linked in
- Nick James