Welcome to the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview with Amy Shifflette
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Introducing Amy Shifflette
Today’s guest, joining us on the Join Up Dots Podcast is a lady who found her thing in life, it seems to me by chance…..Amy Shifflette
But it was a chance occurrence that like so many people who come onto Join Up Dots, she grasped with both hands and ran with it.
The founder of Solamente55.com a company that specialises in making unique and boutique t-shirts highlighting the niche areas of your life and town or city has been a great success.
So if you want a funky, t-shirt that probably none of your mates are wearing then this is the place to come.
But Amy,s story isn’t just about marketing products, as since starting on her professional life she has literally submerged herself in cultures across the globe.
Working in Croatia, Holland, Africa and the United States, she has become multicultural and has an outlook that can only take her to the very top of her game.
But what is her game?
Where does Amy Shifflette see her future and unique self to be heading?
Is it into corporate land, where she has so much experience, or to take her clothing company into every shopping mall, and high street across the globe.
Well let’s bring onto the show to start joining up dots, as we discuss the words of Steve Jobs with the one and only Amy Shifflette.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Amy Shifflette such as:
How I think Eurovision is rubbish, and Amy believes its the highest form of kitsch!
How the quirky things that happen daily in Europe still inspire her!
How you only see the highlights of a persons life not the struggles that make up that life!
How building a T-Shirt business is not a new idea, but you don’t have to have the new big thing to be a success
We discussed Episode 21….with the lovely Karen Yankovich
How To Connect With Amy Shifflette Interview
Or if you prefer just pop over to our podcast archive for thousands of amazing episodes to choose from.
Audio Transcription Of Amy Shifflette
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK, David, Ralph.
David Ralph [0:24]
Good morning, everybody out there in internet land. Welcome to another episode of Join Up Dots. Yes, it’s the Daily Show, where I will be having the most motivational, inspirational, and fingers crossed conversational conversations out there today where the real movers and shakers and the zig and zag is. And I’ve got a lady today who certainly falls into that category of somebody who knows to Zig when others zag, and she moves and shakes with the best of them. She was actually introduced to me by a lady that I had on the show back on episode 21, over 30 episodes ago, called Carrey new qubit, who was the linked in guru, the Queen from New York. If you haven’t listened to that show, I put the show notes on and you can link back after this one. Because she certainly is a powerhouse in her own way. At the end of the show. She said to me, David, you need to have a friend of mine on who is really doing some great stuff. And that’s why this lady’s on the show today. So let me introduce to you a lady who really has found her thing in life, it seems to me by chance, but it was a chance to Cohen’s, but like so many people who come on to Join Up Dots, she grasped with both hands and ran with it. The founder of Solomon t 55 dot com, a company that specialises in making unique and boutique t shirts highlighting the niche areas of your life and town or city has been a great success. If you want a funky t shirt that probably none of your mates are wearing, then this is the place to come. But her storey isn’t just about marketing products as since starting on a professional life. She’s literally submerged herself cultures across the globe working in Croatia, Holland, Africa, and the United States. She has become multicultural and has an outlook that can only take her to the very top of her game. But what is her game? Where does she see a future and unique self to be heading into corporate land where she has so much experience? Or to take a clothing company into every shopping mall and high street across the globe? Well, let’s find out as we start Join Up Dots with the one and only Amy. She fled. How are you today? Amy?
Amy Shifflette [2:31]
Oh, well, David, how are you? I’m always on the show.
David Ralph [2:36]
No, it’s good. It’s absolute delight to have you on the show. And because you are somebody that has we were talking in the in the sort of pre chat that we have just before we go recording when we all get a bit flirty, don’t we only I won’t tell anyway. It Oh, don’t tell your wife David. I won’t tell her why. But it all kicks off before the show. You were saying about your company and I have I have a sort of memory or hearing the name Solomon t 55 dot com can’t quite remember where it came from. But give us a bit of information because I’m going to sort of delve into it a little bit more. But But what where does the word come from? Why is it Solomon t 55. First of all,
Amy Shifflette [3:15]
Solomon 55 It’s my baby. I’m so thrilled that you have possibly heard of it in the past because on a day to day basis, I just think it’s just me my laptop and my little office where I have shelves of T shirts but the name started because I wanted something a real European word and Solomon they really fit the bill. It’s it’s an Italian to Spanish word that means only or. And it’s it’s just got a soul to it, which is what I hope that the brand brings, which so many other brands aren’t doing is something soulful. And 55 is 55 as a special number it’s it’s the number of countries that are in Europe, not not the boring EU as we know at the 28 countries of the EU but but Europe as a continent as a as a whole as a whole from what you see on on Eurovision you know you’ve got Azerbaijan, you’ve got Israel do you think are those Europe? But but they are they’re all part of the they’re all part of this mishmash of the continent that we call Europe. And that’s that’s kind of what I wanted to bring to the brand. So a soul of Europe is what we’re all about.
David Ralph [4:31]
I’m amazed if that makes any sense. No, it does. It makes total sense. I’m amazed that there are 55 countries when I was a kid growing up in the 70s I could pretty much name all of Europe. Now it’s so much more difficult. And what I want to just sort of explain in your little chat there was you you mentioned you a vision now a lot of our sort of worldwide listeners will probably not know what your vision is. But every year in Europe on might be every two years probably probably every year feels like every year.
Amy Shifflette [5:03]
David Ralph [5:05]
it’s the most mind numbing, but now competition that we’ve had in Europe, and I’m going to get hate mail here because I know people that like Eurovision absolutely adore Eurovision. But what happens is every single country in Europe creates a song and then they have a single where people vote and over sort of local countries that the Greeks vote for the Cypriots and the Cypriots vote for the Turkey and the United Kingdom hardly ever wins or will be bitter about it. But it’s it’s it’s pure the rubbish isn’t it?
Amy Shifflette [5:44]
I don’t think so. I think it’s one of those those kitschy, soulful things that only Europe can pull off. I know when I was when I was based as a volunteer in Croatia. It was still in the you know, what they call the the post war period where, you know, on paper, it looked like Croatia and Bosnia and Serbia they all hated each other. But when it came time for Eurovision, those those countries had each other’s backs, you know, Croatia was voting for Bosnia and Bosnia was rooting for Serbia and vice versa. It’s such a, it brings it brings kids to a whole new level, but in the very, very best way it’s so endearing and and this year, I think we’re coming up in a couple weeks now on Eurovision which will be in mobile in Sweden, and I have friends in Brussels here who have bought their tickets a year in advance because they’re so excited about about your own vision. It’s how it’s how ABA got their start. Let’s start on your vision.
David Ralph [6:44]
Yeah. 1973 I think it was Oh, yeah. I think it was 73. In in Brighton, actually. I know the venue muscle.
Amy Shifflette [6:51]
David Ralph [6:55]
We’re not going to get into that. But that’s not what I do on here. So yes, 7055. So we understand it’s, it’s only it’s soulful. It’s the 55 countries in Europe. But give us a little bit of information about the start of it. Because I I was reading about it online. And I was fascinated how it was just a one off idea. Which kind of just just run away with you slightly didn’t know you created one t shirt. You tell us a storey.
Amy Shifflette [7:28]
Yeah, it all started by mistake as I think most most things do. good things and bad things, I think start by what if what if, what if I, it started with a T shirt that was falling apart. And it was a T shirt, I had an America and it had the words word to your mother, which was, which was a funny was supposed to be a funny t shirt using iron on letters of vanilla ice song. And they were iron on letters that were falling off. So I decided that need needed to, to put on new letters. So I went to the craft shop. And I bought new iron on letters. And I decided to pay to pay homage to to my to my little area of Brussels, in which I live which is a place called Starbuck. And I thought well, wouldn’t it be funny if we took the Virginia is for lovers slogan and I just put car back, which is a funny word in itself. And I just made a T shirt that said scarab records for lovers. So I did it. And I started wearing it out, you know at the gym running around town.
Unknown Speaker [8:36]
People loved it.
Amy Shifflette [8:40]
Really you guys, this T shirt just cost me about a year and a half to make with the iron on letters and and then I started getting the wheels turning a bit about Wait a second. I’m seeing all these shirts around that I say absolutely nothing and are so popular. You know, shirts that say varsity sports 1963 champions. And I think, you know, what does that mean? And so I started thinking, well, maybe I’m onto something. Maybe if I just put real storeys on T shirts, I could get the same kind of reaction from people. So I decided to give it a try.
David Ralph [9:20]
And Can people keep you bad storeys? Can you make him bespoke?
Amy Shifflette [9:25]
Absolutely, absolutely. I think I think those are the ones you know, I’ve only been in business now a little bit more than a year. And I’ve experimented with several concepts, things that are more mainstream. So for example, the Liverpool Football Club, you know, you’ll never walk alone that slogan, I think there’s there’s so much to that. But of course, you know, Liverpool Football Club is is huge. And actually that shirt hasn’t had as much play as the little tiny storeys that our kind of niche that nobody knows about. And I think that there’s there might be something to that. I don’t know, I think Only time will tell. But I think if you go on the Solomon 55 website, half of the shirts, you’ll say, Well, what the hell is that about? But that’s kind of the point. And I think people like wearing unique pieces that that you don’t see on High Street. And that people kind of have to dig a little bit deeper to say, Well, what are you wearing on your torso?
David Ralph [10:23]
So so I could get older Croatia wearing a Join Up Dots shirt?
Amy Shifflette [10:28]
I think I think you might be onto something, David.
design that let the right vintage motif. Soft COTTON BLEND. People be all over that. I think I
David Ralph [10:43]
actually have one about bedspreads. You could lay under a Join Up Dots bedspread with a picture of my face. So when you know that that’s gonna be that’s gonna be a bit strange. I like where you’re going with this. I like it. My brain operates in the storey ways. I don’t know as I said to you before, I’m not really sure what what’s going to come out but I’m gonna make me I’m pillow. And so I can lay there looking at myself.
Amy Shifflette [11:09]
I think you can find buyers for that.
David Ralph [11:11]
Definitely, yes. In mental hospitals and stuff now. Now. Well, what fascinates me about yourself is you obviously come from America. First of all, you’ve still got the sort of American accent bear. But you seem to really have submerge yourself in European culture talking about Liverpool Football Club, not Liverpool soccer club, and Eurovision and what what is it about being in Europe that has seemed to have taken ahold of you?
Amy Shifflette [11:43]
I think that I come from a country where everything is relatively new. We have a lot of traditions in America, a lot of which, which I miss and I really love. But the really new and it wasn’t until I arrived in Europe and started just talking to everyday people on the street that you know, these these very European sports that exists like Potok in, in France or, or festivals that go on like La Tomatina in in Spain, where they’ve been throwing tomatoes at each other for you know, more than 100 years, or just as a little quirky things that, that you you, you catch on to and you know, they’re good for pop quizzes. Sure, but I think that there’s a lot of storeys out there that are, that are so, so cool. So So need to latch onto from, from Sports to pop culture to, to anything, really and, and I’ve had the pleasure of living in different parts of Europe, and the, the similarities are striking with just the European outlook on life. You know, how, how Europeans, you know, you can make some generalisations, but, but the little tiny things of everyday life and the little quirks, that’s what I love. That’s what I love about learning languages or, or travelling and, and pay homage to these things is what I want to limit it 55 to do, and I hope people can relate to that, in some way,
David Ralph [13:20]
was a part of a master plan, because the thing about Join Up Dots, which I’ve been trying to get, when I started it, it was an idea that I had, but now I’m into it, I think No, it is not an idea. This is almost a truth that most people in life don’t really have a plan. They just kind of react, they try things. They do things. They have successes, they have failures. And I’m really trying to get it across to the listeners that the worst part about starting is starting once you actually start and you build up some momentum, you kind of think why didn’t I do this before I still, you know, I’m your Episode 52 I still haven’t got a clue what I’m doing To be honest, I’m recording. Now. I know how to get them out in the world, but all the other things like social media and all that kind of stuff. I’m just kind of bumbling around trying to find my way. But that’s the sort of excitement, isn’t it? So did you have a plan right at the beginning? Or have you just kind of in the nicest way? bumbled around,
Amy Shifflette [14:18]
I bumbled and I am Bub bumbling. I continue to Bumble I
I’m hoping that in five years time, I look back on this conversation that we’re having today and think, Oh, you know, they’re there last year? You know, you boy, did you have no idea what you were saying? And I think if I would look at the Amy from a year ago, I mean, there are things that I didn’t know, then that I know now that I think, you know, how could I have gotten started not knowing, not knowing about wholesaling, or not knowing about how to reach people via social media. And I still don’t really know those things as an expert. But you know, you just have to, you have to take the little successes as a sign that you’re that you’re onto something. I think that when I started sola mentally 55, I didn’t have any t shirts, I just had a Facebook page. And just from the description of the Facebook page about what I was intending to do. I got like 1000 page likes, and I didn’t even have a business yet. And so it just it gave me a little bit of hope that I wasn’t, I wasn’t a complete idiot. But I am a partial idiot, there are certain things that that I don’t know, still Joey gonna have to catch up, I’m gonna have to catch on to if I ever want to take takes all the mentally out of my, my little office with shelves and turn it into a full time job, which, unfortunately, it’s not yet. So
David Ralph [15:49]
my next pot join up idiots.
Unknown Speaker [15:53]
David Ralph [15:55]
the more that I speak to people, even the most successful people of colour, often they have become a very good at one little thing. And all the rest of it, all the things that bulk you down at the beginning because you feel you need to do everything, base or outsource. And they’re quite happy to say no, I haven’t got a clue about WordPress, I haven’t got a clue about social media, I haven’t got a clue that I just hand out and I play to my strengths. And I think you’re playing to your strengths. I can see that from you. And your strength is a passion and a belief in the brain that you’re building.
Amy Shifflette [16:30]
I think so i think so i think you know, t shirts is not a novel idea. I’m not trying to sell something that nobody’s ever seen before. But, but the focus of the brand. I really can’t believe nobody had caught on to it before because, you know, it seems even in Europe, people are stuck on this American vintage sort of cool factor. You know, first there was the Abercrombie of the world, the I think that’s kind of tailored, tapering off a little bit. Now. It’s the Hollister, you know, right, surf waves type of thing. But if Hollister in America can make us, you know, the surfing culture popular in Europe, then why can’t Why can’t Portugal you know, where they have the home of the of the biggest wave in on the continent? I just think that I just think that there is something to it. And I don’t think I fully exploited it. And I hope I hope that your listeners as well as as, as customers will will, will talk to me about their storeys about what rings true for them. Because I think that will bring up the authenticity to the brands that that maybe it’s lacking now.
So we’re going to keep going with it. So until we find the sweet spot.
David Ralph [17:47]
Well, yeah, you should, because you can feel that you’re onto something. And it doesn’t mean, you know, the thing that I sort of wrote down as you as saying those words is t shirts is not a new idea. And nor is podcasting. And nor is creating a car noise. There’s not many new ideas out there. But people are just improving or finding their own little niche their niche and creating something. And I certainly wasn’t in a frame of mind for many, many years. But unless I come out with an absolute belter, Facebook for something, then what was the point? It’s been done previously. And when when I started doing this podcast, I almost had to convince myself that no one else was doing one out there because thousands of millions of people out there listening and downloading and creating content. But I as you are just decided what I’m going to do it and I’m going to try and do it in my own way. And if that resonates with people, right, and if it doesn’t, Ben, I’ll deal with that. And we’ll see, you know, and can we build the audience? Fortunately, it’s going great guns, and I really do passionately and I’m not sort of blowing my own trumpet. I feel like I’m touching on something. But exactly the same way as you. I don’t know what it is. And people are coming back to me and said, Oh, no, I really love this. I like the conversations. And I like that. And I kind of think, isn’t that what other people are doing? It must be but there’s got to be something.
Amy Shifflette [19:22]
Yeah, yeah, there is. And I think by Episode 51, you you know that by now because otherwise, you would be still at Episode Five. And now, I think, I think you have to hold on to that belief that, that you are putting a new spin on something that that that somebody somewhere is latching on to and wants more of, and I you know, if I get if I just get one happy message a week from a customer, it’s like it makes my life they have absolutely no idea I’m sitting there beaming, almost crying that because I you know, I made somebody happy with this, with this cotton poly Ray on blend. You know
David Ralph [20:04]
how to make someone happy with a T shirt. And I’m not being dismissive. But I couldn’t imagine how I could even write an email saying, I’m so happy about a T shirt. So even that must be touching into something bigger than a clothing range for somebody to want to write that to you.
Amy Shifflette [20:24]
I think so because those those emails were obviously unsolicited. It’s not like, you know, I send a T shirt to somebody and I expect them to write me a thank you note. But but some people do, I there was a woman in America who’s who was born during the 1984 variable Olympics in and she was born in sorry, April. And I don’t know how she came upon that shirt. But it It struck something in her you know, there was there was a T shirt of, of the of the serial games that that that did something to her and she was really happy to, to have that there have been people who eat my favourite word ever. And I’m going to say it wrong and your Hungarian listeners will probably persecute me, but the word for Cheers. And Hungarian is associated dragon. And it’s the most fun word to say. The dragon egg shake a dagger is that
I think you’ve got it. I think that was a good accent too.
David Ralph [21:27]
I’m gonna pass it on. Now. I’m really gonna enjoy my Eastern European listeners. So this is my Eastern.
Amy Shifflette [21:38]
I can shake it.
And I mean, do you know of a better word to say cheers or actually deal with a better word at anywhere. And
people have really latched on to that shirt. And
I I think it’s great. And I haven’t sold it at all in Hungary. But I’ve sold it to two Hungarians or people probably who’ve studied in Hungary or people who just love that word. It’s been great. I love
David Ralph [22:11]
that word. Now, that’s that’s all I want to say for the rest of the episode. I just want to say that in. Yes. It’s perfect. Um, so your your? Well, your life basically hasn’t just been focused on building a T shirt brand has it? Because what what struck me looking down your profile is you have crossed the world, you’ve been to Croatia, Holland, Africa and the United States. But even now You seem to be working full time for another company. Is that right? The Solomon t 55 is a part time gig Have I Got that? Right?
Amy Shifflette [22:49]
It is most definitely a part time gig I am. I was working on Solomon’s and 55 last year for two solid days a week and then on my weekends. And then you’re not going to believe this. But I I was actually deported from Belgium and November of 2013, because of an administrative work permit issue. And so when I came back to Belgium, after having been kind of deported from the country, and my morale was was pretty low. At that point, I came back and I had to work full time as an employee at my at my present company. And so Solomon’s a 55 is now my, my evening and weekend and holiday work. which is which is okay. Because if you love something, you find the time for it. And you have to you just you just have to do it. And if you don’t have the love for it, then it’s it can be been pretty easily i think but you keep going
David Ralph [23:55]
to the course you do. And you know the best laid plans Of Mice and Men and they say, and this is the thing that I also want to get across. But when you are building something, or you’re listening to storeys of success, if you listen to the Richard Branson’s, if you listen to the Donald Trump’s, you only see about highlights, and you don’t see the Richard Branson not going down the pub because he hasn’t got any money in his wallet and sitting at home just planning and trying to work things and finding an angle. And that’s what you’re doing. You’re putting in the time you’re putting in the energy, you’re burning the candle when you know other people might be leaving the office and having a social life or leaving the office and sitting there watching a box set with their their partner on the sofa. But that extra effort when it is driven by passion, passion, will take you somewhere it’s got to take you somewhere resonant?
Amy Shifflette [24:48]
Yes, I’m banking on it. Because I think you’re right I you know, when you look to successful entrepreneurs, all you see is where they are, when when you actually live, they actually become a household name, or you really know their products or their services. And you don’t see any of the stuff that I’m I’m immersed in now, which is taking a business and, and really getting it out there to the masses. And, and it’s going to take me, I think it’s going to take me several years, but I’m confident that it can be done. Because I think it’s a good idea. I know it’s a good idea. And so I’m just going to take with it, take it and keep going keep going,
David Ralph [25:32]
I hope you will, because I’m gonna buy one of your shirts, I am. And I’m going to wear it with pride. And I’m all the listeners out there. I’m gonna I’m going to sort this out with me afterwards. And I’m gonna get a branded one. And we’re put on the website, and I’ll put it on my Facebook page linking back to Solomon t 55. Which I like to say, that’s my second favourite word of the
Unknown Speaker [25:56]
day. Yeah, it
David Ralph [25:58]
was. And yeah, so I’m going to sort that out with you. And we’re going to do a bit of cross branding. And so I’m we’re, we’re sort of play that back. But I do think you need to have those passions, I do think you need to have those drives, because otherwise, you know, you’re not going to achieve anything. And what I’m going to do now I’m going to play Steve Jobs, iconic speech of 2005, which I think the size is really well what we’re talking about here, that it’s just having faith and keep on working within that, that sort of that zone of faith when you don’t know if it’s going to work, but you keep on going forward going forward going forward. So I’m just gonna play this now. Amen, amen. I’m going to ask you about your your feelings about these words.
Steve Jobs [26:38]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards, 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [27:13]
What do you think? Is that true or not?
Amy Shifflette [27:17]
I think that it is true. I think that it is true. I mean, I I was 22 years old. And I have just graduated from from uni when I when I left to come to Europe, I had $200 in my checking account, and a volunteer assignment in Croatia. And looking back on it now I could never imagine doing something like that. I mean, if I had a friend in the same situation, I would say what are you crazy. But leaps of faith is is how I’ve defined my life. And I don’t think that you can always say if you jump, the safety net will just appear. I think you really have to work hard. But I with the work and with with believing in in exactly what Steve Jobs says there and is is so important to to connect the dots. And he can’t You can’t know the future. But you just have to believe that with a little bit of passion and a lot of hard work. The dots will connect.
David Ralph [28:24]
Because I know some way I call it. Did you remember Dumbo as a child watching the film Dumbo?
Amy Shifflette [28:32]
Oh, yeah, most definitely.
David Ralph [28:33]
Did you remember he had a magic feather but he used to hold in his trunk. And when he used to sort of if he had the February could floppy his ears and everything was good. And there was this dramatic part in it when he was in the circus. And he was flying around the tent, and he drops his magic feather. And suddenly, oh my god, I’m going to plummet to death. And he he plummets and he comes flying down. And the little mouse whatever his name was, is shouting, Dumbo, Dumbo, it doesn’t matter. It’s not the fabric. It’s you. It’s you. It’s your efforts. It’s or whatever he was saying. And suddenly at the last minute Dumbo sort of goes, yes, I think I can do this. And he puts his wings out his out. And he sort of flies off. And everyone goes, Yeah, brilliant. And I feel like that at the moment, but I feel like I’m holding a feather in my hand. And as long as I’ve got that, I feel that I can do this. And I feel that I’m going to develop something. And is it faith? Is it trust? Is it belief? I don’t know. But there’s got to come a time when I’m going to let that go. And I’m going to flap my ears and being bloody Yeah, well, I’m actually doing this, I’ve developed enough to be able to proceed forward and fly over those leaps of faith that I was having before and actually see momentum and go off into the, into the sky with my large floppy ears.
Amy Shifflette [29:55]
I think you’re onto something there. I remember the moment where I was sitting on a on the couch talking with my partner. And he said, we keep talking about this, why not? Just Why don’t you just do it? And there’s a lot to be said for that, you know, everybody works with with people sometime in their life who always have all the answers, you know, they say, Oh, you know, if, if this company would just do it this way, or, you know, my life would be so much better if and then they don’t they don’t do anything. They just they just sit there and they complain or, or they see they seemingly have all the answers, but they never act on anything. And I didn’t I didn’t want to, I didn’t want to be that person that one time I wanted to say okay, you know, I have the money to invest a little bit of money in this and, and we’ll see what happens. And that’s I think that’s the way to live life is to take those moments and say, Okay, I have the means I’m actually I’m just going to try this out. And you know, maybe in the end, I won’t be known for Solomon to 55. Maybe it’ll be the next business venture that I’m already thinking of. But I think if the next business venture is what I’m known for, I’m still sure so I’m going to keep selling these t shirts, because it’s, it’s fun. Well,
David Ralph [31:18]
you’ve now got the Join Up Dots market, you’ve cornered, you’ve cornered the podcasting market and the movies and the pillows up the world. I think that’s true, what you’re saying, you know, because that the belief that you can build something, I think is the first challenge. And when you look at all these famous people, most of them weren’t successful on their first go, some of them might have been but majority, the first ones were failures, the second one was failures. But what they were learning through those failures, takes them to the next level. That’s when the successes come. So the fact that you’re already getting an idea that or there’s another business opportunity around the corner, you’re only going to get that by developing your hustle muscle and your your confidence in yourself. And when you first start, and you first click the on button on your computer and you look at a blank screen and you haven’t even got a URL and Solomon t 55 hasn’t existed and stuff. You couldn’t possibly have fault. Why I’m going to be a two company owner. It’s all those tiny little things that you do those tiny little bite sized chunks that just move you on, isn’t it?
Amy Shifflette [32:31]
Yeah, exactly, it.
That’s exactly it, there’s a there’s a quotation that I have on my refrigerator. And I’ve looked at it every day for about four years. And I’m bit embarrassed because I don’t know if I can say it verbatim, but the the quote is to the effect of if you’re building building busy building somebody else’s dream, then you know, then what’s the quote?
David Ralph [32:58]
Let me look it up. Basically, it’s it carry on talking and after going to Google
Amy Shifflette [33:05]
it’s pretty sad because it is on my refrigerator. I guess that’s how, that’s how much it’s sunk in. But on the spot, I can’t remember it. But you know, I don’t want to spend my entire career helping my employer build his dream when, when I can, when I can build my own. And I think that that’s that’s where every entrepreneur starts out is that they look at their their office environment one day and think, yeah, you know, I could, I could do something like this, what what’s stopping me and nothing stopping,
David Ralph [33:39]
nothing stopping you. Although Google stopping me, and I’m looking at some pictures now that obviously have nothing to do with what you’re just saying. And to be honest, they shouldn’t be on a family show. So I’m gonna I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna talk about them,
Amy Shifflette [33:54]
or have you been googling David?
David Ralph [33:56]
googling, I can’t see that, I’m gonna find that quote, I’m gonna look it up. And I will put that on the show notes for you. I’ve got one by the side of my bed. And I can’t quite remember it. But it’s something along the lines of I don’t need those but are willing to go farther than they thought possible can find out how far they can go. Something like that. And every morning, I get out. And as I’m putting the socks on and stuff, I look at that. And I think Yeah, okay, I have no idea what I’m doing with. And I’ll be honest with that, you know, and I’m very honest with that, because I want the listeners out there to realise that we all start from somewhere. And it’s just those actions. So I want people to know, even Episode 52, I still log on, we connect on Skype. And I think to myself, what the hell am I going to talk about today? You know, and fortunately, it just flows. And at the end of it, I think, okay, we’ve got one out of the way. And let’s go with the next one. But there’s going to come a time when you will actually think, yes, I’ve kind of mastered that. But then you’ve only mastered the area that you’re at. And then you’ve got to push on again, haven’t you. And we’ve us saying any opportunities come out of the woodwork of the extra business. That’s the thing with entrepreneurship, it’s not be what you’re doing. It’s the momentum that you’re creating. And when you’re starting, you can be as rubbish as you like, because there’s no one looking at you and you you can have the worst looking website, you can have the worst sounding voice on the mic, you can have whatever you want, because nobody notices. And I really want people to realise that at the beginning, it’s your saving grace. It would be much scarier if you were suddenly going into a business, but you’ve got customers waiting for you, then the opposite way around. But you can make mistakes and you can improve and you can develop yourself until that day when somebody goes, Oh, yeah, so the mentee 55, let’s have a look at it. And they find something that looks reasonably realised. Do You Do you agree with that?
Amy Shifflette [35:55]
I completely agree. I completely agree with that. I think that there’s a lot of there’s a lot of freedom and going into something that you were you’re not an expert, my background is is in journalism. I mean, if I was going to start a business, I probably should have started a business and something along those lines, I probably should have been a blogger or I probably should have, you know that a magazine contributor because that’s all I’ve done with my career really. Up to now I I’ve never taken a business course. formal business course at uni, I managed to weasel my way out of taking economics. But I think I think I feel confident where I am now because I because I am so in a way naive. And and I don’t think that should stop somebody from from pursuing something that’s completely out of their realm of expertise. Because they say, Oh, I don’t know anything about that. You learn, you learn, you learn along the way. So unless it’s something that’s, you know, I have no business going into something like physics related or anything like that, where I don’t know anything. But you know, t shirts is a fair compromise. It’s not rocket science. And I know that my T shirts are way better than than what you find on High Street. any city in the world. So. So there. So bear, yes,
David Ralph [37:25]
absolutely. When I quit my job, my nine to five job, I was going to be a web developer. And I thought, well, I can, I’m going to build websites for people. And I got a couple of clients. And I started working at the kitchen table. And after about three weeks, I thought to myself, I’m going to smash my head into this desk, this is doing my nuttin on it, honestly. And I just thought, oh my god, I’d quit a job that was paying me good salary, to do something bad, hopefully would pay me a better salary. And I realised I was in a worse position than I was before. I hadn’t planned out that passion, takes such a foam is such a big part of what you want to do. So when you feel tired, and when you feel rundown, or when you don’t know what to do, you need that passion to go through. And I can build web websites quite quite well. And quite quickly, not to the degree that some people can, but you know, they will write about them, and they bring in income in. But God, I made a bad mistake, I really did. And so now I’m doing this. And funnily enough, I’m not earning a penny on this in any shape or form. It’s only the sort of online work that I’ve developed in the past, but it is paying the bills, fingers crossed that passion, that enthusiasm, that commitment to the calls will pay back. But I don’t really care at the moment. And that’s the worrying thing I don’t care about. I don’t make any money out of this. It’s almost like I should be paying you, Amy to come on the show. I should pay the listeners to allow me to do this because I’m loving every second of it. But it will come to that that that point when I think Hang on, I’ve got to pay some bills here. How am I going to monetize that? And that will take us the next bit that will take us to the net next.in the Join Up Dots storey
Amy Shifflette [39:06]
exactly, I think I think you’re right on point there. Kitt, can you hear me? Ok. Ok. I think our connexion is kind of go. Okay. Very good. Yeah, I agree with you, I and I commend you for taking the great leap. I was thinking about doing it last year, and just, you know, cutting ties quitting my nine to five. But I wasn’t that brave. And sometimes I wonder if I would be in a much more advanced position in my business. If If I had, you know, the real time dedication to it. And like Steve Jobs said, you never know you can always test things looking backwards, not forwards. But I think I’m maybe a year away from from just just doing what you did and saying, Okay, let’s, let’s give this a real go and see what happens because at least then you really know, then you really know what you’re made us. I think it was a stupid,
David Ralph [40:00]
though, I’ll be honest, looking back on it, joining up my own dots. I think I I didn’t like a certain individual in the office that I was working at. And that individual was my direct manager. So on a daily basis, my life was not happy. And I think there was a big part of me that kind of went, right, okay, you guys aren’t going to quit and you’re gonna miss me. And of course, we have companies, they don’t you walk out that door and the next person, just fulfil that role you was doing and life goes on. So I wouldn’t say to anyone out there, you know, get yourself in a in a patty and put your cards in and walk out the door. And then you’re going to create the life of your dreams. If I was going to do it again, in a more sensible way. It would be doing on a Saturday doing it on a Sunday putting the hours in to try to create something that can supply you with an income as long as it’s just enough to pay your bills. Bang, you’re moving? Yeah,
Amy Shifflette [40:58]
exactly. I think. And I would say the same. I think that unless you’re you’ve got venture capital secured for you know, a certain amount of time, but it’s not, it’s not wise to just drop everything and listen to you know, there’s some online business coaches and gurus who say, you know, if you’re if you’re, if you’re going to make a goal of it, you make a go of it, and you drop everything else and dive in. I think that’s rubbish. I think that with most entrepreneurial ventures, you can ease into it a little, at least a little bit to test the waters to see, to see if it makes sense to see if you have a viable idea. If it doesn’t resonate with only you, well, then you might not want to, you know, cash and all your chips and and quit your job, you might just need to switch jobs, or, or take a part time position.
David Ralph [41:47]
And the beauty with the internet is it never sleeps, is it you can go to sleep, wake up the next morning and probably find that you’ve sold six t shirts or something. And that the market is, well it is just global, isn’t it, it’s quite an obvious thing to say. But it is global. So if anyone is thinking of starting a business, of course, you can go brick and mortar, like the old style, and we need shops, and we need retail outlets. And you know, if you’ve got a product or a belief in a product that you think would be better suited that way, Ben, you know, go for it. But I like the online route. Because it’s limited risk in many ways you can set up a company, the whole thing that I’m doing now, but I’m buying a microphone and bits and bobs and stuff, it probably cost me about 200 pounds, which to start a business which is hopefully Fingers crossed, life changing, not just for me, but everybody else, you can do that that wouldn’t even be rent for one week, in a brick and mortar place. Exactly. So you have got options. And you’ve got a market that never sleeps, all you need to do is learn not to sleep yourself so that you can put the hours in around your nine to five gig to be able to develop that passion and that niche. And if you do it well enough, and you put that down and you speak to people in a way that they want to be spoken to, then the it starts going, doesn’t it and he starts moving very, very slowly at the time. But then after a while you think oh my god, I quite like the old days when no one was listening. No. One was watching.
Amy Shifflette [43:17]
Exactly. And I think you hit the I think you hit it there when you said finding your niche. And I think that that’s that’s the downside of the internet because it’s so saturated with with companies and and you know, who are doing it better than me who have bigger budgets and to be who can put in more hours and but they don’t have my specific niche. And I think that if you find, if you find an online business you need to and that’s that’s what you’re called to do, you need to find you need to put your, your special spin on it, I think Exactly. Because there are, there are a lot of a lot of competitors, just like you are looking to do the same thing. You need to speak to your own, find your own audience and speak directly to them about how you’re different. Because I think differentiation is so hard these days. Because I tell you when you type in T shirt, so I’m at a 55 is not in the top 10 pages on Google. So you know you have to you have to find other ways to speak to people. But that doesn’t
David Ralph [44:25]
really matter, either does it? Everyone kind of goes, I got to be on page one of Google gotta be on page one of Google, you don’t, you just have to be creative, you just have to work around it. And if your if your only focus is going bang for page one on Google. But next time they do a little Google dance and change things around, then you could be dead in the water, you’ve got to sort of keep a varied approach to building that building that business.
Amy Shifflette [44:52]
And that’s that’s exactly it, it’s suddenly solo amount of 55 did show up on page one of Google, I’d still be out of business. And we because I get so many orders that I wouldn’t be able to keep up and then nobody would ever buy from me again. And so you know, mastering this curve, which I haven’t done yet about how to slowly scale up your business so that you can sell more, but still keep up is quite, it’s quite an art because you know, I need to keep it at a profitable but still reasonable level. That one day, I don’t get 1000 orders. And suddenly I’ve I’ve run out of T shirts. So sorry, dear customer, please buy for me again. But you’re going to get your shirt in four weeks. It’s it’s not a good way to do business. But when
David Ralph [45:39]
you do, you know this shows gonna go live on and I’m just looking the 19th of June. Okay, so we’re recording early, but if you’re listening to it live at the moment is the 19th of June. And they’re all sitting out there going Sunday at 55. I want one of those shirts and you suddenly get inundated with orders would you do?
Amy Shifflette [46:03]
That’s, that’s where the network comes in. You know, I think
I think it does help to have Okay, so I’m a solo printer. This so many 55 is my business I haven’t been able to hire to hire anyone. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a troop of people behind me and spirit and and helping. And that’s played a big role. So far as people folding shirts. People be people stepping in when I when I go away on holiday or when I go to a trade show or something like that, I think you do need to have a little bit of a network because it’s inevitable that at Christmas time or at some points of the year, you’re going to get in over your head and backup backup then becomes becomes essential. So
I’m lucky to have that. I think if every one of your listeners buys a T shirt, I’m prepared.
David Ralph [47:01]
I have 15 million listeners
Amy Shifflette [47:07]
know to self not only your T
David Ralph [47:10]
shirt not only on this planet, however, I found audiences across the galaxies that are interested in buying your shirts.
Amy Shifflette [47:20]
Beyond the Milky Way
David Ralph [47:21]
further than that, I imagine at imagine at he wants a little red hoodie with some sort of a t 55.
Amy Shifflette [47:32]
He’s gonna have to wait on the hoodies those expensive. That would be great.
David Ralph [47:36]
I think really the answer that you could have come up with Yes, you came up with the right answer in a professional sense, but you would deal with it. And that’s the thing. That’s the thing with being a soda dealer. That’s the beautiful thing about being an entrepreneur. it be you know, a young parent as well. You get a baby in the house, you got no idea what a baby needs to do, but you just deal with it. And you saw him move on
Amy Shifflette [48:00]
just to learn. Just learn, right? You just said
David Ralph [48:05]
absolutely. Well, this is the part of the show me when I’m going to send you back in time to your younger self or like a young female Marty McFly. You’re going to go back in time and we’re going to put you in a room? And what kind of advice would you give young men? And what age young Amy, would you actually choose if you could have a one on one? So this is the Sermon on the mic. And when the music fades out? You have up the Sermon on the mic. Oh boy.
Unknown Speaker [48:39]
Here we go.
Unknown Speaker [48:40]
With the best bit of the show.
Amy Shifflette [48:59]
Okay, young lady, I have a few things to tell you. I’m talking to you, Amy 22 year old Amy who has just graduated from Ohio University, and is packed with a suitcase and or $250 and is off to Croatia. And this Amy at 22 years old had a vision of saving the world by working for NGOs. And are my first experience with NGOs was was a sour one I came into contact with people who are 22 year old Midwestern Ohio girl, I saw things and heard storeys that I wasn’t prepared to do and I, I became very discouraged. And so what I would say to you 22 year old Amy is to is to keep fighting through it. To know that there are other ways of saving the world than just just then just dream dreams of magically writing proposals and having things to out for the better. And I would advise her to to be more to be more active and just observing and talking to people around you and not being so scared of, of what you might hear because the world Your World Vision will change. But it’s important to to suck it suck in as much as you can of the storeys of everybody that you meet into into not be scared. And if I could go back to my 22 year old self, I think I would have come to where I am and a whole lot faster. So the kinds of everybody you meet and don’t be scared of the people that you meet, you might not speak the same language. You might not have the same worldview. But everyone has a storey to tell and don’t be afraid Don’t be afraid to talk to people to hear their storey storeys to to get different world viewpoints to learn to learn all that you can into to not worry about things like language or, or offend offending people but just to say it to listen to everything that people have to say and and you can learn from everything. And that’s it really
David Ralph [51:23]
well. I’d like to think that the young 22 year old Amy was listening as I’d like to think about all our listeners are listening as well. And they they are I know they are because we receive so much feedback for this part of the show. It is really the powerhouse. And it’s the part that I love more than all of it and I do love it. I do I do. I love every little bit of it. But this is my particular favourite. So Amy Schaeffler, it’s been absolute delight having you on the show today, you’ve been absolutely you know, a generous talker, you opened your heart, you’ve shown passion and enthusiasm for the task that you’re building. And I’ve got no no concept of you ever failing, I just think that you’re going to go on and you’re going to make whatever you do into a huge success, because you’ve got the passion behind you. So as I say to all the guests, if you are willing to come back in the future when Solomon t 55 has gone on to the next level and share with us how you have joined up those dots and carried on moving your success forward. I would love to have that because I do believe that by looking back and connecting our dots is the best way to actually build our path in life.
Amy Shifflette [52:35]
Mr. Ralph, thank you so much. It’s been a real pleasure speaking with you. And I wish you all the best in this in this podcast. It’s gonna it’s gonna catch on like wildfire, man, I think I think you’re onto something.
David Ralph [52:47]
Thank you so much. Cheers, Amy. Bye Bye.
Amy Shifflette [52:50]
Take care. Bye.
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you are wants to become so he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up Dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.