The Lifestyle of Owning a Screen Printing Side Business
Once you get the ball rolling for your screen printing side gig, it's hard not to let it seep into most aspects of your life. Don't blame ya. This is your passion. It's your me-time. A lot of other Americans feel the same way. According to Bankrate, 4 in 10 Americans have a side business and make around $8k annually. Side hustles are popular and profitable, but they can fall apart if you don't set up the time, space, and budget for it.
Whatever you got for space, it can work! This shop is About Being Seen located in San Francisco.
Set up a space for your screen printing. Whether it's in your spare room, basement, garage, or a shed, have a space dedicated for the side hustle. When you're outside of this space, you're not working on anything for your business directly (filling orders, cleaning tools, printing, etc.). Your kitchen is for cooking and storing food, your bedroom is for sleeping, and your shop space is for screen printing.
Also, it's a good idea to have "work clothes" for screen printers. As you've probably experienced, ink can get anywhere and everywhere. Dedicate the space and clothes, and you'll be off on a good start.
Cara Hibbs of Oh Little Rabbit has created her own brand.
Your nine to five job is still important. Your full-time job is how you're paying most of your bills and how you're financially jumpstarting your side hustle. Let's keep it around.
Now that we're very aware that your full time job comes first, let's create a schedule for your side business. First, audit your current schedule. Envato Tuts+ says to write down every activity from when you wake up to when you go to bed. Also note your energy levels. Are there days you're usually more tired and others where you have more energy? Pinpointing when you'll have the time and energy for your side hustle will maximize your productivity.
Once you've audited your schedule, you'll probably notice that weekdays are much busier and more tiring. That's alright. Weekdays are great for learning. Watch YouTube videos on different parts of the printing process. Take an online course for graphic design. Do market research and discover what your audience wants. Listen to entrepreneurial podcasts like The Entrepreneur Effect or Entrepreneur on Fire on your way to and from work. Don't forget to hop on social media as well. Put aside 15-30 minutes each day to post the photo for the day and put something in your story. Scroll through pages of hashtags and engage with others in order to boost your following. Every bit of knowledge you gain adds more value to your craft and business.
Let me guess... You have all the time and energy in the world on weekends? Sweet. Use the weekends to print, ship apparel, clean up your space, etc. Weekends allow you to dive deep into your passion. Take advantage of it!
Decide the times you'll work your side gig like Monday-Friday is 6:00 PM-8:00 PM and Saturday-Sunday is 10:00 AM-4:00 PM. Treat your side business schedule the same as you do with your full-time job – it's mandatory (unless you're sick, have an emergency, or take vacation time). Stick to it. Your business won't grow unless you're putting in the work.
Since you're not putting as much time in your side gig as you do for your full time job, every minute matters. For better time management practices, Entrepreneur suggests following the Pomodoro technique. For example, you decide you're going to spend 20 minutes catching up on emails. You set a timer and do the task. Once the timer is up, take a 5-10 minute break. Setting up time restrictions and shuttering distractions means you'll get more done in your day.
Restless Renegade is another entrepreneur who recently started up his own clothing line.
Obviously there'll be costs upfront. Gotta buy your press, inks, emulsion, screens, shirts, etc. According to Inc., you should only purchase items for your side business that will touch your customer. All your basic screen printing tools are necessary because without them, you wouldn't have a printed shirt. But that brand new stereo system you want to install in your shop for all your pump-up music is not necessary. It does not touch the customer. You want to take on little to no debt. Side businesses are supposed to help financially support you, not put you in the hole even more.
Inc. also suggests to open up a second bank account for your side hustle. Having another account solely for your business makes it a million times easier to track how much you're earning. It also makes it easier to not spend more than what you have made.
While taking on a side hustle does take up more time and energy, it can be hugely rewarding in the end. Use your time and money wisely, and the odds will be in your favor.