Today's featured guest is Andrea Lake. Back when she was 18, she decided to skip college and just go straight into building a business. Her first business started as small as a business can start, but it still grew pretty quick, especially for someone right out of high school.
A few years later, Andrea decided to give clothing a chance and built her first apparel business. I'll let her explain all the various things she did with the clothing lines, but this was also around the time when she had some stickers printed too.
In the late 90's, she ended up starting a whole business around just stickers. At the time of this recording, she actually started 14 companies!
More recently, she has a new company called Lessons.biz where she teaches others exactly how to build a tshirt empire along side her business partner Dan Caldwell. Dan was a co-founder of the huge clothing brand Tapout, so obviously you know they are more than qualified to be teaching on this topic.
Anyways, we talk about various ways to hyper-accelerate a brand, why stickers are like minting money, when to hire people, why competition is a good thing, and how you can easily prove if your business idea is a viable concept or not.
There are so many great takeaways from this episode and I've been eagerly waiting to get this one out to you. So without further adieu, here's my conversation with Andrea Lake. Enjoy!
I hope you enjoy this episode and be sure to subscribe to the podcast here!
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I will never be poor. I will never be short of money again. I know that I can just make something and go sell it now.
I had very recently quit smoking pot, which made me far more productive.
One night, I got a 6-pack of Sierra Nevada, invited over one of my best friends, and sat down and came up with like 200 slogans. And then I chose 98 of them and launched the line with 98 slogans, which is ridiculous, it's way too many, but it worked out well.
We had a connection with Blink 182, but they saw my stuff at Warped Tour when they were not famous yet, and they were like, "We love your stuff." And I'm like, "Here's a bag full of stuff, just wear it on stage today." And they felt this loyalty to my brand.
Every entrepreneur has this moment where you just feel like your company is gonna fail. And the people that make it in life, and certainly in business, are the people that just keep trying something else and will pivot with it and will not stick really strongly to the concept that they think should work.
It's like the Craigslist model, where you don't have to have the most beautiful thing, but you do have to have something that is very functional.
Stickers are like magic, it's like minting money. People buy them, you print them for them, they get the stickers, they give them away for free, and then they order more.
I created lessons.biz because I was so tired of seeing people on the internet that were making 100% of their money from selling products that just teach people how to make money. Like these people literally don't know how to make money, they know how to con people into giving them money.
There is actually a formula on how to run most companies.
I think that for me, working on one thing solely is ineffective because I will choke it to death, I will worry about it, I'll obsess on it. Whereas, if I have multiple things going, I can work on whatever feels best in whichever company, and I don't worry as much.
I think worrying is a really damaging thing. I think it's underrated because people see it as normal, but I think it's super problematic to spend your time worrying.
In general, when you're starting out, until you have a company that's supporting you, obviously you shouldn't spread yourself too thin.
If somebody isn't competing against you, there's probably a good reason why it's an ineffective space to be in. If you have something that a million people are doing, it means that a million people want whatever that product is. So you just have to do it better than them, or market better than them.
You can pack boxes better than anybody else at your business, but is that how you want to be spending your time today?
Put a dollar figure on your time.
If it's not something that is making my company money, or something that I truly must do, or something that I love, somebody else should be doing it.
If you can't make your business work with a few thousand dollars starting out, it's probably not going to work, and more money isn't the answer.
Make money first. If you can make money first, then you know you have a viable concept.
You have to prove your concept first. And you have to know that your concept is something that people will actually pick up their wallet out of their pocket and take money out of it and hand it to you. Not just tell you that they'll buy something, but actually physically buy something.
I knew nothing when I started out, and I went about it the really hard way.
You will hyper accelerate the growth of any company if you're surrounded by like-minded people that are entrepreneurs, even if they have really diverse business backgrounds compared to you.
I think every entrepreneur should have a really good filter between what they're thinking and what they actually say.
The day that you launch your website is the worst it's ever gonna look, because you're going to improve upon it from there. And then we extended that out and said, the day that you launch any business is the worst that that business is every going to be. So stop waiting until everything is perfect.
Just launch something and start making money and then correct from there.
Don't be good, don't be great, it is your job to be extraordinary and become irreplaceable.
I self-financed all of my companies which is possibly the biggest risk and I ended up severely in debt because of it.
Be sure to subscribe to the podcast here and I can't wait to share the next episode with you soon! And feel free to leave a comment below with your feedback and any questions you have.