How We Sold $1M in 3 years with $0 in ads

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8 years ago my best friend and I accidentally started a business…

It’s a long story but honestly that just about sums the whole thing up. I could tell you all about the small details (and if you keep reading eventually I will tell you everything I know!) but for now I’m going to focus on a few basic yet essential ways of being, that brought us from $11,000 in sales our first year to over $1,000,000 in the following three.

We then sold $1,000,00 worth of tee shirts in 3 years, with $0 in advertising.


Please understand that I am not bragging, in fact far from it. We sold $1M and made far more than $1M worth of mistakes. I am writing this with the intent to help you in whatever area you are “accidental business-ing” and hopefully I can help you make fewer mistakes than we did along the way.

I sat down with Joel for lunch today and we came up with 3 of the most basic principals that we implemented to consistently convert sales where tests, data, and professionals said we couldn’t.

  • Be Authentic
  • Develop Relationships
  • Attention To Detail

1. Authenticity

Mosts products come from a place of need. The marketer identifies a market and then creates a product to fill the need. This method is usually easy to sell but the product has no soul.

Our approach was to create a product we loved and fully believed in however, we had essentially no market.

As accidental as this method was at first we learned quickly that the buyer catches on almost immediately to the personality behind a product and that If you create an passionate, authentic product, not only will it sell, but you can create a community around it. That is way more valuable than dollars.

2. Develop Relationships

A good relationship is built on trust, mutual respect, and (often) mutual benefit. There is a fine line between helping each other out and asking for a hand out. (see more on that here: Marketing Is Not A Sport) Be open, friendly, and willing to help others out and you will start to see others doing the same for you and your business. This is FREE advertising! Plus conversion rates on word of mouth will always be higher than PPC ads.

3. Attention To Detail

A.T.D. Ay Tee Freakin Dee. If you have ever had a conversation with me you’ve heard me say these three letters and nothing is more important. Attention to detail is what makes a purchase an experience and not just a transaction. Once you understand this, there is no stopping you.

Have a question? Want to know more? Curious about why purple is Joels favorite color? Leave us a comment, I would love to hear from you!

sign up for “Tee Tubes” HERE! and have a limited edition tee shipped automatically once a month.

-@TimTrad

6 Comments
  1. Benny 2 years ago

    Hey Tim, great article! I like the simplicity. What kinds of details are you referring to under point 3? Can you give some examples, please? Thanks!

    • Profile photo of Tim Author
      Tim 2 years ago

      Hey Benny! Thanks for the kind words.

      Attention to detail will vary and depends on what value it is that you are providing.

      Basically provide the product or service that you would want and never cut corners to save a little money. Quality and authenticity go a long way and will keep your customers coming back.

  2. Dario Payamps 2 years ago

    Hey guys nice post, i like the way you’re seeing the bussiness and your product. I am trying to start my own bussiness but i am just starting if you are looking for sublimated stuff this is what doing for now

    • Profile photo of Tim Author
      Tim 2 years ago

      Thanks Dario!

  3. Yanmos 2 years ago

    Nice article, i really love what have you done with your project!!!

  4. Profile photo of Tim Author
    Tim 2 years ago

    Thank you! We are still learning every day!

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