I have been self-employed for the majority of my entire adult life. I’ve done a lot of different things. When I was a young man, I owned an asphalt company and made a living sealing driveways. It was a tough way to make money, but I was young enough and strong enough to be able to deal with it. It gave the illusion that you are actually getting ahead, but then winter would come around early November and you wouldn’t go back to work again for at least four months. It was extremely frustrating because what took 12 months to accumulate would be depleted in less than four.
As the years passed, I prayed to God to bring me something better and I eventually broke into the St. Louis T-shirt printing industry. Now keep in mind that this was before people owned home computers and there was no such thing as Internet marketing. I used to go down the street knocking on doors making cold calls. I had a pretty good idea that the people who I was calling on actually used custom embroidery, but I just had no idea when the next time they were going to be needing more of it. I would introduce myself and told him that I started a St. Louis screen printing company and would ask them when the next time they eventually needed some more custom embroidery on hats or jackets, if I could simply just have a chance to give them a quote? Most of them would say sure, do you have a business card that you could leave and I would oblige them. Most of the time they would either throw that card right in the trash can or they would put it in their desk with a stack of other cards that was 3 inches thick. Unless it just happened to be on the very top, they would forget that it was even in there. I will give them the benefit of the doubt that they were sincere when they said it, but the old cliché that reads out of sight out of mind proved itself to be true. I would have to ask them the right questions, such as when do you think the next time you’re going to be needing anymore? I would also have to take very good notes and then at the end of the day find a way to organize them in a database that reminded me to call them at that particular time in the future.
I quickly was made aware of the fact that I could have the best sales presentation in the St. Louis T-shirt printing industry, but if they don’t happen to need any product right now that I was just wasting my time and effort. These days instead of me having to make cold calls in finding someone that just happens to be needing it when I happen to be selling it. They simply get on a major search engine and do a search for St. Louis digital T-shirt printing and we show up. All I have to do is convince them that they’re getting the best overall value they can for every dollar they spend. Experience has taught us that if we do our job well, the repeat orders are simply going to take care of themselves.