Career Yak

Running a Business with Your Spouse - Scott Polston of Garment Graphics and Promotional Products

March 02, 2020 Christopher Goodwillie
Running a Business with Your Spouse - Scott Polston of Garment Graphics and Promotional Products
Career Yak
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Career Yak
Running a Business with Your Spouse - Scott Polston of Garment Graphics and Promotional Products
Mar 02, 2020
Christopher Goodwillie

Scott Polston shares his story of leaving a financially stable but demanding job in order to have more time for his wife and kids. Where did he go? To work alongside his wife in the business she was already running. Listen as Scott shares this career shift and entrepreneurship story. Highlights:- Christian faith in the workplace- Working with your spouse- Making time for your family- Building a sustainable businessFind Scott and Holly Polston's business online at: https://garmentgraphics.netFind the book Start with Why: the book The Greatest Generation: our Facebook Page! our website: https://careeryak.comMusic by Scandinavianz, song Wonderland (instrumental),

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Scott Polston shares his story of leaving a financially stable but demanding job in order to have more time for his wife and kids. Where did he go? To work alongside his wife in the business she was already running. Listen as Scott shares this career shift and entrepreneurship story. Highlights:- Christian faith in the workplace- Working with your spouse- Making time for your family- Building a sustainable businessFind Scott and Holly Polston's business online at: https://garmentgraphics.netFind the book Start with Why: the book The Greatest Generation: our Facebook Page! our website: https://careeryak.comMusic by Scandinavianz, song Wonderland (instrumental),

Support the Show.

Get our most downloaded freebie, our house renovation template that my wife and I used to track costs and that you can use on your own projects.

Check out our new affiliate Lone Birch to get some handmade high quality wood products for your home or public office. Based in NH, USA… use coupon code career to get 10% off.

Check out our other New England affiliate Vermont Flannel.

Don't forget to join our email list to get access to more Career Yak content.

Also don't forget to check out our other podcast Sales Yak if you want to dig more into whether a sales career is right for you.

Start your own podcast with Buzzsprout.

Music by Scandinavianz, song Wonderland (instrumental).

spk_0:   0:00
huh? It's growing up, and it's very demanding business, and I was just gonna be the dead that worked too much. And so that was her motivation to get me out of the auto business. Um, and Garment Graphics was profitable, but karma graphics would never counted on to pay the household bills. Way career cast the show where we seek to learn about the jobs in industries that are actually available out there and also learn valuable career lessons along the way. I'm your host, Chris Good Willie, and I've always made it a habit to ask my co workers, my customers, my vendors, people I work with and people I interact with about their jobs about their careers, how they got to where they're at today and working in outside sales. I've had the privilege of meeting a lot of different people from a lot of different industries. There's so many different career pass. I want to expose you to what is out there and help you learn valuable work lessons along the way. Today's show I have Scott Polston. He is the co owner, together with his wife, Holly, of a promotional products and graphics company in Tucson, Arizona, which is my hometown, where I grew up, where I went to middle school. High school. The name of the company is garment graphics and promotional products, and you can find them online at garment graphics dot net check amount. I will put a link to their website in the show notes, and I know Scott. I actually went to high school and graduated with his son, a friend of mine. So I knew Scott in his family grown up. Ah, highlight of today's conversation and you heard a little bit in the beginning clip. But, you know, essentially, Scott was in a demanding job and he was looking for a way out. You know, he wanted to prioritize his family, and he knew he had to make a change in his career. So he ended up joining his wife in the company that she was already running. And, you know, at the time it wasn't even a sure thing that the company would be able to support both of them and their kids financially. So scary times, stressful times for them. But you know, years later, they're successful in here, there. Today, my super appreciate you joining us today. Enjoy the show. Whole garment graphics idea. Come for permission,

spk_1:   3:02
Holly? Uh, Hollywood's in sorority. You have a she ran for, uh, I have familiar you with the fraternity sorority.

spk_0:   3:14
I mean, I used to, you know, I went to Northern Arizona. You still, like referee a lot of their intramural game, so I mean vague, you know, kind of from a distance. But

spk_1:   3:24
the ah, the basic structure is you have individual chapters that usually are members of national fraternities and sororities. And then on, uh, each campus, you'll have a ah, fraternity story. Governmental organization for fraternities. It's called Inter Fraternity Council. And for sureties, it's called Panel n Ick. And they have national organizations as well. So Holly is Alfa Chi Azan, Alfa Kind member ran for panel Lennox and one. And so she was the vice president of Panhellenic and then president of Panhellenic at the U of A. And when she was, uh, in those roles, one of the things the Panhellenic Organization does Is it overseas recruitment of new members back then, they called it rush. Now, that's politically incorrect term. Um, I don't know why, but

spk_0:   4:21
really Yeah. I mean, rush is what I always heard. Jesse,

spk_1:   4:26
I'm Nobody's ever told me why. It's politically incorrect, but they

spk_0:   4:29
call, you know,

spk_1:   4:31
And, uh, I hope it's a good reason as to why they got rid of Rush.

spk_0:   4:35

spk_1:   4:36
the part of putting on, uh, the recruitment was purchasing promotional items that were given out to all the women that were being recruited for. Ah, Sordi. Uh, we're pregnant. And so that's what got her into interested in the industry because she purchased items. So right after school and the company she purchased him from recruited her to come and work for them.

spk_0:   5:06
Oh, really?

spk_1:   5:07
So yeah, so they write it, you know, the owner of the company said A When you finish up school, come see me, I want to hire you. So she took him up on that. So that's when she started in promotional marketing. And then we wanted to have kids. Uh, and the good news is we were financially in a situation where she didn't need to work, so she we started having our family. Then, as the kids got a little bit older, uh, she decided that she wanted to open up her own promotional marketing company and started it out of the house. She started out of the kitchen and it's just grown from there, Uh, kind of sometimes of controlled growth are slower growth and then other times of vastly accelerated growth. And then it it allowed me an opportunity to get out of the auto business, which I was in for 17 years.

spk_0:   6:06
I got your note described, like the transition process from I mean, kitchen toe actual, you know, legitimate, time consuming business. How did how did you grow in the beginning stages?

spk_1:   6:21
The growth initially happened because both kids were in school, so that freed up some of,

spk_0:   6:28
oh time

spk_1:   6:29
that she was willing to take on more clients. Once she took on more clients, she reached a kind of a point where she needed some some help. She probably could have continued to do it all herself. But there's there's tasks that, uh, you know, as a business on, and I think you probably see it with a lot of entrepreneurs that they're really good at some things and they're not so good at others. Well, she, um she was perfectly fine at it, I guess. But she really didn't enjoy the bookkeeping.

spk_0:   7:03
Okay, Things.

spk_1:   7:04
And, um so that was probably her first big need was that she wanted to have somebody else handled the bookkeeping, and so she had a choice to be the farm it out to a bookkeeping firm for you. Hire a part time bookkeeper. And so she knew a friend that their kids went to school with our kids and s so she hired her. And that also kind of facilitated the idea that a Maybe it shouldn't be in the house and should go get an office. So growth really kind of started, you know, getting an office. And, um so she had, like, a 800 square foot office, I think two or three rooms and had our first employee. And then she hired, uh, another a person that she knew. Ah, another mom. Ah, as an additional sales person. And then the business kind of continued along those lines until, uh, our kids went to a school that they had school uniforms. The, uh, school uniform vendor was not, I guess doing a very good job in generating a lot of complaints

spk_0:   8:20

spk_1:   8:20
parents. Holly did some things for the school administration on a promotional aspect. And then that put them on a path that they asked her to, uh, handle the school uniforms. Um, and probably the biggest decision on considering taking on that, uh, area businesses. Exactly what you just asked me about is was she willing to commit to the additional time and energy? Ah, to havea, because at that particular point handle, school uniforms should need to have a retail location, as opposed to just in office, The office that she had a very nice office. But, you know, she could kind of come and go as she pleased she. You know, she worked. She enjoyed her work. But you know, she if their stuff to volunteer at the school or other things, then she would go and do that. And really, even though it's an office, it really didn't have to have specific business hours and all that. Once she got into actually retailing school uniforms, that all changed. And so that was her first decision as to hey, am I willing to do that than a An additional school was opening up. Now the two schools got together and said, Hey, let's both approach this business and ask them to handle our school uniforms. So then it wasn't just one school. It was two schools, and that made it even more attractive to her. So she jumped off the bridge, so to speak, and went ahead and said Yes. Um uh, I want to do this. And that's when she went to 1700 square feet and then a pretty darn regular schedule. Well, then the various schools all talk to each other. The principles talk and meet, and they all have similar pain points. And any of them that had school uniforms were asking howling schools. Who do they use? So then, next thing that turned into a bunch of referrals,

spk_0:   10:30
yeah, no.

spk_1:   10:32
And continue to grow the business.

spk_0:   10:35
Wow. So and so I know you mentioned beginning you're still would you say schools and educational institutions is the bulk of your business today?

spk_1:   10:46
No, it's, um it's kind of, uh, schools have never reached more than probably think the highest it's ever reaches. Maybe a 30% component of our business. Okay. And, uh, but when you were asking, what was the transition to kind of going from, ah, part time business out of the house to be in more of, ah, full time business. That was really a driver was getting into the school business. Otherwise, we have four what we call areas of funnels. We call him funnel corporate clientele, handling corporate promotions, schools K through 12 collegiate market and then, uh, the Greek market, which is the fraternities and sororities. Those of the four areas and the largest component is the corporate end of things.

spk_0:   11:46
Okay, so I know you. I know you guys do a lot with shirts and everything, but would you say it's just all kinds of promotional products?

spk_1:   11:54
Yeah, the, uh the industry's kind of, uh they have hard goods and soft, good soft goods Clothing, hard goods is, uh, you know, pens, uh,

spk_0:   12:06
Malone's things like they

spk_1:   12:08
did at something. That's, uh, not a peril that you put your Logan. There's a 800,000 regular production items plus over that,

spk_0:   12:17
uh, you think Source.

spk_1:   12:19
Ah, the typical promotional marketing company. Like us. They are according to the industry, 60 percent area, um, is hard goods and 40% is soft goods. And we're just the opposite. We do? Um, a little more than half is apparel and a little less than half is hard goods.

spk_0:   12:44
Do you attribute that to just kind of how you started giving the school uniforms?

spk_1:   12:50
Holly's always had an affinity for apparel and likes, you know, fashion styles and a pound custom T shirts. And I don't know. It's been about, I think, 13 years. When I retired from the car business, I asked her what her biggest headache. Waas. And she said that it was always her screen printer. So at that point we added screen printing in house to our capabilities. And then shortly after that, we added embroidery in the House. So most promotional marketing companies are strictly middle men, and they contract out, you know. So if you did an order of promotional pens, we would have, ah, supplier of pens and they would do the decorating, and it would just be farmed out and screen. Printing, embroidery and other decorating would be similar. We, you know, order the shirts from ah, shirt supplier and send him over to the screen printer on this friend. Um and then they go over the customer. Well, the only thing we changes, the items come to us, and we decorate him, especially at soft goods. And then that's built our reputation and capability on soft on apparel. And our name is garment graphics and promotional products. So garments come before promotional products.

spk_0:   14:14
And would you say, bringing this service

spk_1:   14:16
game like posted?

spk_0:   14:20
She wanted something more specific. I like it. It's a good name. So did bring those service those capabilities in house. Did that help with costs or what was kind of your timeline to recoup your investment on that?

spk_1:   14:36
A SZ faras, uh, recouping our investment. It was kind of a no brainer. Were ableto the return on investment the, you know, covering costs of the investment was less than a year?

spk_0:   14:47
No. Okay,

spk_1:   14:48
because the we were already farming out movie, you know, annually more than the cost of the equipment,

spk_0:   14:58
right? You had the business too, to justify it.

spk_1:   15:02
And it was, uh, you know, there's a learning curve, everything for somebody getting into this business. The learning curve is not only learning how to decorate and, uh, and handle the business aspects, but the other learning curve is selling. Whoa. You already had the selling learning curves handled

spk_0:   15:26
right? Right? So you're not you know, learning everything. All the ones,

spk_1:   15:30
right? Yeah. There's people that they decide that A I'm gonna start selling screen printed T shirts where they have to learn how to screen print. They have to learn how to run a business, and they have to learn how to sell their product,

spk_0:   15:42

spk_1:   15:43
know? So we're you know, we once we added it in house, we did have a learning curve to go through for decorating. And there is some specific kind of trade knowledge that you you gain. Ah, but then as you you know, it actually makes your selling. It strengthens your selling, because now you have firsthand knowledge on how things are done as opposed Thio constantly calling your supplier and saying, Hey, how does this get done

spk_0:   16:10
and right, Right? No, that's a good point. So technically, you guys started in 92 right? And then when was the point where Holly started to get the request from the schools and they're kind of jumping off for you?

spk_1:   16:25
Um, probably 2002.

spk_0:   16:31
Okay. You have no,

spk_1:   16:34
not prior that she took she, you know, because promotional marketing is a marketing business that you're helping folks. Ah, either promote their brand or motivate someone with promotional items. Um, it's ah. It's a niche in the marketing business. So she had close clients, and she only took clients that she wanted.

spk_0:   16:58

spk_1:   16:58
Um, uh, and ran our business. And it had grown to, Ah, the big jumping off point of adding school uniforms. You know, you were making We're making a commitment to inventory to ours, too. Um, you know, customer service and retail, too, because you sign the agreements with schools. But the key customer you have to make happy is the parent.

spk_0:   17:23
You know her child, right? So then when was it that you joined? You were your sales manager with the automobile industry. Correct?

spk_1:   17:33
Yeah. 2007.

spk_0:   17:37
Okay. And what Ah, was that scary for you guys, or was it a no brainer?

spk_1:   17:44
Um, it was, uh it was scary. The, uh I made a pretty good living in the auto business, huh. Wasn't getting out of the auto business for any other reason than, uh, my kids were growing up, and it's a very demanding business. And I was just going to be the dad that worked too much. Um and so that was our motivation to get me out of the auto business. Um, and garment graphics was profitable, but Garma graphics was never counted on to Hey, the household bills go. It was, uh, Skid. And, um, I was theoretically the guy that worked too much. Um, but I was also the husband that worked. Why?

spk_0:   18:30
So we

spk_1:   18:31
went from being the husband that worked a lot. Thio the husband that was working with you. I had other jobs lined up, just in case it didn't work out.

spk_0:   18:41

spk_1:   18:43
so that way because either way, I was gonna get out of the auto business and get into something that would allow me to see my kid play football are

spk_0:   18:51

spk_1:   18:52
Or see some kidney Chris Goodwillie

spk_0:   18:54
place. Yeah, good times. Yeah, man.

spk_1:   18:59
Uh, you know, So that was, uh Anyway, look at I was getting out of the car business. But whether ah, we're going to make Garma. Graphic are living well, is dependent upon our well, Holly and I got long number one in a business relationship. And when then if we could make it fly in air bills,

spk_0:   19:19
Right, Right. So I was gonna ask. I mean, how do you guys work together. And how do your roles differ?

spk_1:   19:28
Well, having the, uh, uh, pain point for Holly of having challenges with her screen printer and embroider running their businesses. Well, you know, because if you're you have clients and make promises that they're gonna have T shirts or polo shirts on a particular date. But then your vendor, um, comes up with excuses as to why they can't, you know, meet their schedule. The blessing was that those things were occurring because that was the motivation than to bring him in house. And it also gave me something specific to handle in the business. That was, uh, you know, supporting area. And, uh, that Holly really didn't wanna handle she even want Teoh. She didn't want a screen print shirt. She didn't want to manage screen printing staff members. And so and my background was perfect for, uh, jumping into that as well as then. I could just be an entrepreneur and where every possible hat and, uh, you know, also sell and that kind of stuff. So the way we kind of she continued to be the vision for the business and the direction. And, uh, and the main sales generator. And I continue. And I took a very administrative role and a secondary sales role. No.

spk_0:   20:57
Okay, So do you still kind of where those hats today or

spk_1:   21:02
Yeah, Yeah, we do.

spk_0:   21:05
That's awesome. And obviously, it seems like you guys work together, given you've done it for so many years. How do you How do you guys separate, Like, working home life, Or does it all kind of blur together sometimes,

spk_1:   21:18
um, it does all you know, Uh, that does all kind of blur together. Not uncommon. You know, I probably worked just as much as I did when I was in the auto business in the car business. Uh, but the difference is that I can take my work with me,

spk_0:   21:35

spk_1:   21:36
We're conscientious, too. Uh, not talk work all the time. We're conscientious to spend time together and that we know that the focus is that we're spending time together, and obviously there was a whole lot of time, at least early on that, um, the family life, you know, revolved around our kids as well.

spk_0:   22:00

spk_1:   22:01
it doesn't as much revolve around her kids, you know, because now they're grown. So that's how We kind of bandage.

spk_0:   22:08
Yeah, yeah. No. As Christians in the business world, How do you guys at How have you been able to, you know, be a light be ah, an example to people in a business setting.

spk_1:   22:24
Well, with our staff members were not bashful about, um, bringing up our faith. We don't, uh, push her. They found them. But we don't. We're not shy Thio, you know, bring it up in the workplace, so to speak. Yeah, is one aspect. They don't have to have our beliefs to work here, but

spk_0:   22:46

spk_1:   22:47
um But like I said, we're not shy about bringing up our faith. Holly, uh, when we are at our location, she had, Ah, a mural painted when we bought the building. And it's one generation plants. The trees of the next generation can enjoy the shade. Yeah, um, so we've never, uh, And if you think about the reason I left the car business, um, you know, we've really had, ah, focus that there's more Thio our purpose than making money.

spk_0:   23:25
All right, but there's a bigger picture out there. Yeah, No, that's cool. And I super respect your you know, prioritization of family. I think that's really cool. I I know my dad is on business. I mean, he's like, So it could be hard to give up the flexibility and go back. And like you said, you work a lot, but you take it with you, and you can do it on your own. Uh, yeah. Accord, if you will. Now, I wanted to ask you your I was picking through your website, and you're you have a quote on their says we won't be all things to all clients. What can you expound on that? I thought that was such a fascinating, uh, comment.

spk_1:   24:11
Well, there's, ah, there's other business. Uh, uh, you know, sayings out there that think I heard somebody say you can have it cheap. You can have it fast, or you can have high quality. Which two of the three would you like?

spk_0:   24:27

spk_1:   24:27
know, the were in Ah, uh, we're in a custom business. Uh, what we want to be to our clients is a marketing partner. We want talking to staff members in promotional marketing. There's two scenarios, uh, that I cite the most one is the client is on the phone or in person or what have you? And hand you a pan and says, Hey, I got this pen from somebody else. Uh, you know, I ordered 500 of them, and I This is the price. And why don't you see if you can beat the price and I'd be happy to give you the business and then and that that's quiet. A client be says, Hey, I'm I'm really trying to grow my business and I'm gonna rent a booth at the, uh, the local trade show. And can you help me with the promotional ideas as to how I'm going to impress my clients and and be top of mind and generate appointments or generate sales or generate interest and that clients asking for advice and in the promotional industry that's really our value to the client is the advice, because everything we sell is tremendously available out there. So, um, and everything we sell theirs. You know, you take a T shirt and you can find any number of either websites or places that do single T shirt orders. But we're not in the single T shirt business because, well, T shirt business is a consumer. I don't where were a promotional marketing company. So

spk_0:   26:15
I guess you really are acting as consultants on us,

spk_1:   26:18
right? And yeah, there's products that go along with the consultant consultancy because it is promotional marketing. But if we're only selling products, you know, then that really gets into well, then should I do single T shirt orders? Or and that's the idea that we're not going to be all things to all people. There's clients that, uh, you know, they think the biggest order we do have done is 26,000 T shirts. But there's clients that, you know, they order $100,000.100,000 T shirts. Well, guess what? We're probably not gonna be the best fit for them,

spk_0:   26:53
because, right,

spk_1:   26:55
um although I'd be happy to talk.

spk_0:   26:58
Yeah, maybe you could figure something out, but no, that's good. I think that's important for people to remember. And even it's funny. I was talking about one of my former boss is even being in sales. Um, you know, and I have a lot of autonomy, so, you know, essentially kind of schedule my days and everything, and it's like you can't call on every prospect you know what I mean. And you're actually digging into valuable time with other people if you're calling on the wrong people. So, yeah, I think that's a great lesson,

spk_1:   27:30
right? You're you're taking away from someone else. Anything you're doing right now, you're you're not doing something else and

spk_0:   27:38
right, there's an opportunity cost too,

spk_1:   27:40
right? Exactly. And that opportunity cost maybe to serve somebody really well versus be of mediocre service, because it's not in your wheelhouse, you know, because everybody kind of has the wheelhouse, you know? And when I used to play baseball, I used to kid the other guy that would be battling it out for the batting average on the team. And and I'd point out to him that I had no infield hits any time I reached base, It's because the ball was on the grass on the outfield. Um, you know, it didn't matter. I was not going to steal bases, so I was not gonna be all things to the coach. But if he needed somebody hit for power, I was his guy. If he needed somebody to bunt his way on, you better

spk_0:   28:34
find somebody else. No, that's good. So how do you guys? I know you mentioned in the beginning. You know, some of it has been controlled growth or, you know, more exponential growth there would have. You How do you maintain and grow your revenue stream and your pipeline? And then can you maybe expound on a season where you guys have kind of held back a little bit?

spk_1:   29:00
Yeah. There's been business opportunities where we could, um, had a client call me up. It's a major major corporation. It's a household name. Um, and, uh, they had heard of us, and they wanted to use us, and in particular, we have some fulfillment capabilities in in it and our in house decorating that were really attractive to what they want to accomplish. Um, but the individual said right up front. But, hey, we're not gonna pay you for 120 days. And, um, you know, So And there's various, uh, whenever you look a growth, those air the you have to look at a what capital investments do I need to make versus how is the cash flow, um, going to occur? And unless you can turn around and, uh, uh, create a finance instrument to fund it all. You have to be really careful on how you get so you you know, you can go into Dad if you want to. You can. There's different ways of growing and growing very, very quickly, but the more ah, the more leverage to get the higher risk that you've turned up. And, um, year couldn't you could end up with big benefits out of it. But we've chosen on occasion too, saying no, we're not going that direction. Sorry. We really appreciate the offer, but, um, in, you know, and that that opportunity was ah, substantial opportunity, you know, 1/2 $1,000,000 opportunity. And there's been people that have said all you're not. You should have went for it,

spk_0:   30:46
but, um

spk_1:   30:48
you know, of course, they you know, it wasn't their money that they were risking so

spk_0:   30:53
Right, right? Yeah, it sounds good on paper. Right. Uh, So how how do you guys grow? Your clientele in general

spk_1:   31:02
were avid networkers. Um, and then, ah, repeat referral.

spk_0:   31:08

spk_1:   31:09
we clean. We do our absolute best to clean up a mistake. D'oh. Do right by the client. Um, and I think that general approach to business has led to a lot of referrals. You know, I'd love it if we were perfect and never made a mistake. But we do make mistakes on occasion. And, um, but we stand behind him. And even though people assume that's what's going to occur until you run into that scenario that somebody tells you a bad product and then they won't fix it, um then you learn to appreciate people that will fix the you know, we'll fix the problems are what have you. And generally we put out a really, really good product, um, and have have things under control, uh, A from high quality advice. But then knowing with Holly's 30 plus years of experience in this industry and then, um, you know, I've got a decent amount of way know how to get things done that benefits our clients. Ah, a lot of things that we do our deadline driven. And, uh so it's a complete trust relationship. Uh, you know, And if you're planning, ah, anything from, ah employees event thio any type of other activity that has a deadline attached to it. If there's promotional marketing involved, it doesn't do any good for it. Show up like,

spk_0:   32:43
Yeah, Yeah, that's for sure. Yeah. The trade show's over at that point, right?

spk_1:   32:48
Yeah. Maybe you can repurpose items and use them for something else. And then, you know, there's times were uh huh. You know, our personal philosophy is we are going to, uh, if if the customer will allow us at all, we're going to give our advice on projects. And, um, there are clients that, you know, they're they're well grounded and they really don't there once in a while, they don't need our advice. And But there are clients that whether they like it or not, they get our advice. And that, I think, is added to our reputation because there's been plenty of people. I think there's no bigger compliment than I have a client out there that tells people all the time. Oh, yeah, that that he talked me out of doing stupid stuff, all

spk_0:   33:37

spk_1:   33:38
you know, and, uh, and crazily enough sometimes I was talking him out of spending money,

spk_0:   33:45
right? Right. Which does not games after looking place.

spk_1:   33:49
Yeah. Sometimes I look at myself and asked myself, Why am

spk_0:   33:52
I? But

spk_1:   33:54
if it's not gonna work, then it's not gonna be, You know, not gonna be good for him.

spk_0:   34:00
Yeah. How do you do? You guys have ah, like an outside and inside sales team to help you with. We haven't got a civilian.

spk_1:   34:10
We have a couple inside folks the You know, the outside folks were really Holly. And I

spk_0:   34:15

spk_1:   34:15
when we have our administrative and production staff,

spk_0:   34:19
So how big's your staff? We haven't. No, it doesn't include in Holland. And how do you guys? Obviously you have experience, and that's paramount. How do you continuously learn to you know, no how to advise someone on what to do and how the market

spk_1:   34:40
The industry is continually changing. So we attend the industry. Trade shows generally are our associations do a really good job of putting on educational events. So we attend those educational

spk_0:   34:55
events. No.

spk_1:   34:57
And we have a culture, you know, both holly and I've always kind of had that. I guess it's just a general approach. And then it translates into culture that you should always be learning.

spk_0:   35:08
Yeah. So absolutely. How did you do you as a professional? Read books or listen? Audiobooks air. What's you learn? Nothing. I'm,

spk_1:   35:21
uh I'm a reader. Holly's much more of a wants to attend, you know, an educational

spk_0:   35:28
center person

spk_1:   35:29
in person. We actually the various books that we read. We have, ah, bookshelf in in our show room. So that way we can also make the books available to our staff members as well as our customers.

spk_0:   35:47
So I think

spk_1:   35:48
our customers come in and CR bookshelf and, you know, come and borrow a book.

spk_0:   35:54
What's the What's the best business poking her end?

spk_1:   35:58
Um, start with why,

spk_0:   36:01
Yeah, I I listened to it. I guess I can't claim I read it, but that's a good one. I would agree.

spk_1:   36:09
Yeah, it's sustained you because we're not. Everything's not meant to be easy,

spk_0:   36:15

spk_1:   36:16
And if it if it's easy now, just wait. So you need to be grounded. And why are you doing something? Thio? Sustain yourself through trials.

spk_0:   36:29
Yeah, absolutely. How do you guys balance like the day to day grind of, you know, fulfilling orders and doing some of the daily tasks with, like, big picture thought. And, you know, I kind of like you mentioned at the beginning planning for the year head. Things like that.

spk_1:   36:46
Yeah, way we book Co working spaces. So,

spk_0:   36:50

spk_1:   36:50
know, even though we've got a nice facility here, um, and space, we go with books, we book her co working space. That way, it's on the calendar. It's a it's off site be. It's on the calendar. And see, we walked through the door and shut off your cell phones.

spk_0:   37:09
Really? That's gonna cool.

spk_1:   37:11
We don't bring any day today materials with us. It facilitates that a we're gonna talk big picture. And unless we're gonna just stare at each other,

spk_0:   37:23
how long have you has been doing that?

spk_1:   37:26
Uh, the last four or five years.

spk_0:   37:28
And didn't you find it pretty beneficial?

spk_1:   37:31
Yeah, because, um, we're in a custom industry. Um, so the day to day inside the building is very, uh, very distractive. That's a distracted. They are our typical day. Today is a very distracted day. You move, you multitask, you move from project to project you your your focus is spent on ah, making sure key details that our client details are being mad. So we have to be very specific to make sure that the client's Brandon's gonna be terrific and that the messaging is gonna be right and there were picking the right products in promotion. Otherwise, it's putting out fires. It's educating staff on techniques. It's,

spk_0:   38:23
uh, dealing with,

spk_1:   38:25
right? And there's a lot off. We do a lot of dropping everything for our clients to figure out how we can solve a problem. Well, whether that's with, uh, on apparel project or a promotional project. And so that's what the day to day it's like.

spk_0:   38:43
That's interesting. I've never thought about co working space is too much. Have to try that. Usually here

spk_1:   38:50
on, they've got some good ones you can get, you know, individual offices. Or they have. You know, where you can rent an entire conference room. They provide you some audio visual capabilities.

spk_0:   39:01
You like by the day?

spk_1:   39:03
Yeah, we'll spend the whole day there.

spk_0:   39:05
So what do you think? It takes for a small or medium sized business to be successful and last? What do you think is the key

spk_1:   39:14
cash book?

spk_0:   39:15
Yeah, Going simple.

spk_1:   39:20
Yeah, there was, um it depends on how everybody starts. I have. Ah, I guess he's related to me. Maybe he's 1/3 or fourth cousin or something, so I'm not a hard percent sure. The

spk_0:   39:32

spk_1:   39:33
right? But he was going to start up a business similar to ours. My first advice to him. Waas Ah, lot of folks tell, you know, talk about writing a business plan, et cetera. But it's really difficult when you're brand new to something and you've got an idea and a passion to write a business plan.

spk_0:   39:52
You know, it's interesting, and

spk_1:   39:54
especially when you have a bunch of unknown. So I told him here, with some of the big unknowns that you need to conquer I need to handle right now is which goes to your question, I told himto, Go and find some, you know, commercial facilities. Um, you know, maybe 1200 or 1800 square feet and and find out what it costs to rent. Um, figure out what the utilities are. Figure out, figure out those types of overhead expenses and he's like, Well, Scott, I'm gonna I'm gonna do this in the garage. I said, You're right, but you're not gonna do it forever in the garage. And I said, That's not your plan, right? Or are you planning on working in your said there's nothing wrong if you want to work in your garage the rest of your life. But if you're planning, if the reason you're on the phone with me is you're tryingto grow a business, Um, then at some point, you're gonna wanna have employees, And unless you just happen to have a lot of people, you really like a lot and maybe not one of them to come over to your garage and their folks that that's the way it works out. There's not wrong that. But he's like, No, no, you're right. That's what I want to do. And I said, Okay, well, then you need to find those expenses out right now. And then I'm gonna give you a pricing formula on the teacher how to price your product. And, um because now you need to price it for to cover your cover your expenses, plus create a margin. And we're going to calculate a break even as if you have overhead. Because otherwise you're gonna price your product based off of zero overhead, or you're gonna do something crazy. And you're just gonna price your product off of what you think other people are charging,

spk_0:   41:33
all right.

spk_1:   41:34
And, um, and now you're, uh, said you might even do well, but then you're gonna go ahead and get that commercial space, and you're gonna go out of business,

spk_0:   41:44

spk_1:   41:45
you're gonna You're gonna have to now throw some price increases the front that people that we're buying from me because you were the cheapest in town. Um, yeah, uh,

spk_0:   41:56
doesn't go over too,

spk_1:   41:57
right. And so I see a lot of you When you see restaurants go in and out, you know, how many times is it? Because the rent factor was too high for how quickly they could build an audience to that restaurant. I mean, that's why a restaurant have to have build an immediate audience because they need to have enough table turns And, uh, you know, meal sales Thio to cover that rent factor,

spk_0:   42:26
right? There's a ton of overhead,

spk_1:   42:28
right? And that, you know, so cash flow is a big word. You know, it's it's a really easy way of saying, Hey, out of somebody survive in business. It's all cash flow. Well, you know, you would get into kind of business friendly discussions and what have you if, ah, if to go into business in some particular town or municipality that they put you through all kinds of permit fees and to try to get a sign out in front of your place cost you a fortune And, oh, those kinds of things. You know, those air those, you know, the simple terms cash flow, all the complicated term was that a bunch of people bled your cash, you know, and you didn't have enough to get yourself over the hump of where you had enough business to cover to a break even, you know,

spk_0:   43:20
right in the real world never works quite like an excel sheet.

spk_1:   43:25
Um, no.

spk_0:   43:27
Even even like my wife. And I keep, you know, just a personal family budget every month. And it's like sometimes you look back and you're like, what happened? You know what happened that month? There's something unforeseen comes up like you said, or some things more expensive than you anticipated. So,

spk_1:   43:44
yeah, it's one thing to be, you know, intelligent, have a good plan and have a direction and the guidance that you want to go. It's another thing to think you're in control. That's the equation of telling God exactly what your plans are so that he can smile at you.

spk_0:   44:00

spk_1:   44:02
say, Well, let's see.

spk_0:   44:04
Yeah, no, that's Ah, that's a great point. Now what piece of career advice would you give to whether it's young person or someone in the middle of their career that is either looking for inspiration or looking for guidance on pursuing your career, whether it is entrepreneurship or not? What's one parting piece of career advice?

spk_1:   44:26
There's There's people out there that will tell you to do what you like and to do what you have passion on my career. Advice would be two in anything you do to find a passion for it. You know, there's cautions 3 23 as a verse that not to do things on to man, but to do among unto the Lord. And if you find passion in anything that you're doing, it doesn't necessarily mean that is what you were destined to do. But you should do it as if you were, you know, as if it is the most important thing and and then that requires an external and internal and external focus fence that I've seen way too many people that they're way too obsessed on about themselves, and then, ah, it's a ah. Study study. Two things world history and, um, and the greatest generation. As far as I'm concerned, there's, you know, you talk about various books that think there is a book called The Greatest Generation, I think is very

spk_0:   45:41
Tom Bogo.

spk_1:   45:42
Yeah, Yeah, it's stories about which probably closer to my parents or my grandparent's Probably your great grand parents. Ah, and the World War Two and Great Depression Generation. Yeah. Um uh, fighting for freedom and fighting the world wars as well as going through the Great Depression. And the story's really put in perspective a worldview perspective of, ah, that these people what they accomplished while just surviving

spk_0:   46:20

spk_1:   46:20
or, you know, those types of things.

spk_0:   46:25
Yeah, actually, you, uh, not as frustrated at our little First World problems now. Yeah,

spk_1:   46:33
well, the, uh, you know, you mentioned a young person or somebody, you

spk_0:   46:38

spk_1:   46:38
but what advice? Um ah. I wish I was a smart as I was when I was younger. That was a whole lot more intelligent. I had a whole lot more answers. Um, and I was a lot smarter, and, um then I am now, and at the whatever age that you can realize that you're not that smart, is ah is a good thing.

spk_0:   47:05

spk_1:   47:06
the younger that age is the better off you. Harder. So that would be Ah, you know, kind of an advice thing, you know, then that kind of goes to, you know, because, uh, the young man I've been talking to and he wants to achieve some big things in life. But right now, he's working in the meat department at a grocery store.

spk_0:   47:25

spk_1:   47:26
they said, Well, they want to promote Sha, and he's like, Well, I don't wanna work here forever. I'm like, Well, that's your problem,

spk_0:   47:32

spk_1:   47:33
They should be wanting to promote you because you are such a hard worker. And I guess you're talking to somebody that, uh I mean, I went from the auto business. And when we added screen printing and decorating service is the best way I knew howto add that to our business was to go back there and screen print shirts,

spk_0:   47:52

spk_1:   47:54
You know, some folks would call that a low wage job, and other folks would say that I went and I wanted to put my hands on

spk_0:   48:05

spk_1:   48:05
process and learn it. The right way. And I would agree with the second folks, you know, because I wasn't going to just go buy some equipment and have somebody else. Do

spk_0:   48:14
we, Oh,

spk_1:   48:15
learn it myself. And I'm not too proud to do that.

spk_0:   48:19
No, exactly. That's I think that's the key. Yes, staying humble and the meat department story is interesting. I think it's like you said going back to the collection first. Like do Everything is unto the Lord and, um, yeah, where Whether we're sweeping floors are the president of the United States. We need to be doing our best at all that and it's I've even had. And I tell people I respect him for like, I remember I had friends in college graduate with, you know, ah, difficult engineering degree. But it took him a minute to find a job. And, you know, I had one friend that worked at, uh, pizza shop for, you know, six months or something until he found that. But he wasn't above that, and he wasn't gonna, you know, just sit around and not work. And so I told him, I'm like, That's cool. You know, I I totally respect that. Now. He does work, you know, in the engineering field. But it doesn't always work seamlessly like that.

spk_1:   49:19
Well, and yeah, and a lot of times that means something to the perspective of a lawyer.

spk_0:   49:25
That's good.

spk_1:   49:26
Bad, you know. Hey, what are you doing now? Oh, I'm hanging out with mom and Dad until I found a

spk_0:   49:31
job. Yeah,

spk_1:   49:33

spk_0:   49:35
Sitting on my degree for months on end? Yeah, exactly.

spk_1:   49:38
Yeah. Versus Hey. I'm working at a pizza shop working my tail off every night. Or and, Boy, I really enjoy it because I learned to this and I've learned that I've, you know, I've learned life skills. You can learn life skills. Um, it might not be engineering skills making pizzas. Maybe there's an engineering skill involved.

spk_0:   49:57
You have to have

spk_1:   49:58
engineer, right?

spk_0:   49:59
Yeah. No, you're right. Though. Interacting with people, you learn social interaction skills. Yeah. There's always something a big thank you to Scott for being on the show and for sharing his story and his wife story about their business and how they got to where they're at today. Again. You confined garment graphics online at garment graphics dot net. Again, I'll put a link to the website in the show notes. There's so many good takeaways I had from this conversation, and it's always good to talk to a fellow believer in Christ that is shining a light in the world of business. And it was inspiring to me when he highlighted the fact that they don't shy away from their faith in the workplace. Which reminds me to be open with others you know, in my own job and in my own work environment. If you found value in this episode, which I hope you did, then it would mean a lot if you shared it with someone and told him what you learned next month. I have guessed Eric Jakey. He has a long history in the field of recreation and higher education, and Eric is currently an associate director at the University of Wisconsin, And I actually worked for him in the campus wreck and inner Meriel department when I attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, and I actually was a referee and still have done refereeing on the side, and I can say that refering intramural collegiate games where fraternities are present definitely teaches you conflict resolution skills pretty quickly. So anyways excited for that. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to be here with me today. And we will see you next time.

How did Garment Graphics Start?
Turning a part time side hustle into a business
Outsourcing versus bringing operations in house
Leaving a high paying job to jump into entrepreneurship
Working with you spouse
Being a light for Christ in the workplace
You can't be all things to all clients
Growing your business, and saying no to opportunities
Continuous learning
Balancing the day to day with big picture thinking
Good cash flow is essential
Parting career advice
Closing remarks