Wow.. three years.
It feels like yesterday when the first LIVE A GREAT STORY went up underneath Mopac in Austin, just a few pillars down from where the current Reminder stands and has stood for about two years now.
It feels like yesterday when I ordered the first 100 buttons and the first batch stickers.
It’s all gone by really quickly.. It’s ALL gone by really quickly. So much has happened in the last couple years that it’s crazy to stop and think back to all the little details, the small obstacles, the small victories, the “Oh Shit!” moments.. All of it.
Now three years later it still feels really early. LIVE is still a very young idea, movement, brand, “thing”. It’s still one foot in front of the other, day after day, sometimes moving forward by inches, other times leaps and bounds. But through this process we’ve learned a lot about… all sorts of things.
1) Stickers are the BEST marketing.
Seriously. Order a couple hundred, pass them out like candy and stick them up everywhere. Giving someone a well-branded sticker is way cooler than a business card. They’ll put it on their computer, water bottle or stick it up somewhere in the city. And if it’s a good sticker, people will notice it.
2) Put a backprint on your stickers
This only took two years for us to figure out but it’s so clutch. A backprint means they print on the back which is huge for additional branding like your website, social media and tag line. It’s so simple but massively effective.
3) Business fees rack up quickly so stay below the radar as long as possible
Filing for a permit / Starting a Bank Account / PayPal Fees / Trademark filings / Legal Fees / Taxes / Google Apps / Insurance / Website fees / everything else is so much $$$$$
4) Things happen quickly but very slowly
LIVE has grown pretty quickly in three years but we’re still very young. Building a business or a brand just takes a bunch of time so move quickly but understand that it will take years.
5) Automated shipping is huge
This took us two and a half years to figure out. TWO AND A HALF YEARS. We had one false start that ended up being a really expensive mistake. Just earlier this year we transitioned to a full-service fulfillment center that has been a game changer. Going from shipping everything out of a living room and making daily trips to the post office and then forgetting something at home and then back to the post office is a grind. Making the transition to automated shipping has opened up so much opportunity to scale the Reminder section of LIVE.
6) You need help
There is no solo. Nobody makes it anywhere alone. NOBODY.
7) It’s cheap when your friends help out but as soon as you start really paying people it gets expensive real quick
That’s awesome that you’re friend is a videographer and will help you shoot a video! But what happens when you have to pay someone $2,000+ dollars for that same video? What happens when you need a real designer with years of experience? What happens when you have to pay for a website design and build instead of Squarespace-ing it yourself?
8) Production is tricky
At one point our stickers, buttons, shirts, hats, flags and everything came from different people. We’d constantly run out of two inch white stickers but have too many buttons, but somehow a month later we ran out of buttons but had too many stickers. It takes time to get it all figured out.
9) Everyday. Put in work every single day
If you don’t love what you’re doing you’re not going to make it. If you’re a writer, write everyday. If you are a painter, paint everyday. Whatever you want to do full time, do full time, all the time.
10) Learn to love the journey
This goes with ^ : don’t do it for the money. Do it because you love doing it. Love the ups and the downs. Love the successes and love the failures. Don’t do it because you’re trying to get somewhere, do it because you love the journey.
11) Fail quickly
Fast fast fast. Try it, if it doesn’t work, stop doing it and do something else. Fail forward. Move quickly, ship the idea and do it better next time.
12) Stickers are the BEST (worth repeating)
Seriously go buy some stickers right now
13) Digital Marketing is key (and it’s a deep hole)
LIVE is just now tapping into digital marketing. It took about three years but finally getting into it. I wish I would have taken control of this in the beginning instead of trying to outsource it. Either do it yourself or find someone to do it as soon as possible.
14) There’s no route / path / map : make your own
This goes for you, your business, your life and for literally everything. No one is going to hold your hand and show you the way, you have to blaze your own path.
15) Trust and believe in yourself
Trust and believe in yourself that you CAN blaze your own path. You are the only you and you can do what no one else can do so go do it! Start by taking small actions to develop trust that you can do it.. then slowly take bigger steps once you’re more confident… you can totally do it 😉
16) Chronicle the journey
Journal. Take pictures. Record videos. You can’t really do this enough. Down the road when you’ve blown up you’ll need all the footage for a documentary!
17) Keep it fast, light, agile
Move quickly, don’t over commit, take a bunch of small steps instead of a few big ones.
18) FINANCES ARE HUGE!
This is a lesson learned the hard way (and we’re still learning it)… the numbers are really important. Like really really important. Find a good accountant and bookkeeper and keep track of it all. Not only in your business but your personal life.
Why tf don’t they teach us accounting in middle school?!
19) Shipping is expensiveeeeee
You have no idea. Everyone thinks it should be so cheap because you order from Amazon Prime but shipping anything is really expensive. Like, really expensive. And confusing. And time intensive.
20) Listen to advice (but don’t always apply it)
Everyone will have an opinion on what you should or shouldn’t do. Listen to them but make your own decision (because you’re confident in yourself, remember?!)
21) Don’t quite your day job until you absolutely have to
Burn the midnight oil and work as long as possible at your day job while building your side business. The more money you make NOT in your business the more you can invest IN your business.
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