Turn your hobby into a business.
Sue Monhait is the CEO of Gift Biz Unwrapped and The Ribbon Print Company.
Recently, Sue identified the need within the gifting, baking, crafting, and designing spaces, for a leader to help entrepreneurs set up their businesses to become profitable and sustainable entities. Pulling from her vast experience, she has started coaching and speaking to guide entrepreneurs who have a hobby or creative passion that they want to turn into a business. She also works with existing business owners who have gotten stuck or are looking for that one thing that’s needed for them to gain traction and move ahead.
Learn more about how Gift Biz Unwrapped could turn your hobby into a business by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.
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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, where I'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go. Well, Sue Monhait, you are the CEO of Gift Biz Unwrapped and the Ribbon Print Company. Thank you so much for joining us. I'm thrilled to be here, Josh. So So let's start by talking about so the kind of you've been a podcast for how many years now?
Amazingly, and surprisingly, four and a half years. I don't know where the time has gone.
Yeah, that that makes you legendary in the podcasting world.
You keep going when you're having fun has the Yeah,
yeah, for sure, for sure. And tell me Give me the origin story for ribbon print.
So the Ribbon Printing Company started actually as a spin off of another company that I had used to work in corporate left corporate to stay home with the kids for a little bit started a gift basket business because I thought that would be a great way to stay at home, found a new product that was just coming on the market, but was terrible in terms of customer service, product delivery, knowing how to market etc. So I decided I could see a big hole in the market and I decided to jump in and fill it. And that was, which is custom ribbon printing systems.
So explain explain that a little bit. So for someone who doesn't know what that is,
um, so these are custom, what it does is it allows our customers to have the ability to custom print ribbon for their customers. So it's another profit center for small medium, each Some big name businesses that you would know because you can custom print just one ribbon that has your name on it Josh like what if you got a box of chocolates that said Happy Birthday Josh and some like crazy little saying that nobody else knows but you and the recipient land a ribbon that's so different
than what oh my gosh yeah if if it's really personalized and it was done like on demand that is that is that's very very cool. Yeah definitely. Yeah, yeah. It's that I forget what the book is, you know, those moments of delight you know, where you know, there's those little flourishes, those little details that make all the difference in the world.
Right. Right. So what we always tell our customers there is that you know, you can get more money out of the existing your existing customer base in a second you know, when they walk in the door, they see you have this service, if it's a gift in particular, it's awesome. Our other customers they are will use it to brand their own product. Think of like Godiva chocolate boxes with their logo that's around it. Do also the same type of thing. logos, photos, all different types of things. So multiple uses.
Yeah. So talk about who So who would be some examples of aside from a gift basket company? What are some, I guess you know who has Who else has purchased? The so you actually so if you go to the ribbon print company, com, you sell the ribbon printers,
we sell the systems to enable our customers to be able to custom print on ribbon, right, so they're able to provide the services so it's small gift shops because they can have it right behind the counter when people are checking out. jewelers, chocolate makers, event planners, schools, because you can do like homecoming sashes like big four inch sashes. You can see the ribbon here, right behind us. We're swamped with ribbon, our offices all the rooms are very colorful because they're all lying. With ribbon because we sell not only the system but then also the consumables.
Oh my gosh and and so again for someone if you go to the ribbonprintcompany.com you can actually see there are like I see a about eight different systems on the homepage there that that you can kind of review. And so now part of this then, of course, is that you started a podcast, Sue, and anyone can subscribe right now. And the name of the podcast is Gift Biz Unwrapped. And so kind of talk about what someone would hear when they listen to Gift Biz Unwrapped.
So Gift Biz Unwrapped, spun off of what I found is a need within my customers within the ribbon print community, because I would find out at trade shows people would come up and want to see the ribbon printer and they'd say, Oh my gosh, when I start a business, this is definitely something I want. or they'd say, once my business is making enough money, this is going to be my next investment. So we'd start talking about business building. And I found that a lot of people just didn't know what the next step was, or afraid to take any step at all and start a business. So that's when I said, Oh my gosh, I know all this from my old corporate days, and we don't have time to go into all of that, but there's, I have so much information and knowledge that I decided, you know what, this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to start a podcast sharing how other people have started businesses so people don't feel so scared and feel like everybody else can do it and not them. So when you go to Gift Biz Unwrapped, you hear from other business, you know, handmade business makers, mostly, I call my audience grifters, bakers, crafters and makers. Taking a handmade product maybe it's a hobby or a craft and turning it into a and this is the key word money making business. Right, right hobby if you're not making any money at it, okay. Yeah. So you hear examples of people who have done just that. You'll hear my advice overlaid on top of some of those examples. And then I also bring in service providers who provide, you know, valuable tips, information and services to the industry.
Yeah, so I bet there has got to be so many people who begin that process, and I think just stay at the hobby level, because they expect and and I'm a Michael Gerber, Dave otay that, you know, someone says, oh, my goodness, you make the most amazing cakes, you need to start a cake business and they say, by golly, I will start a cake business. And they spend, you know, they dream that they can spend all their time making cake, but that's not their reality, isn't it? So can you kind of explain? What is the reality of starting a small? Again? creative business? What would How would you describe this?
Well, here's what I would first say. And this is heartbreaking. And yes, oh my gosh, you look, you must like read my sales copy or something. Because this is exactly what I talk about. It happens all the time. Exactly what you're saying a friend says to somebody, oh my gosh, you should start a business. Your scarves are so beautiful. Your cakes are so good, whatever it is. And that person never really had that idea in the first place. But now the idea is there. It sounds really good. A dream starts forming. And mostly what happens to your point about reality in business? Most people start businesses to my way of teaching about four, three or four steps into the process. They start a business based on what we all know as a consumer. So what do you know, you know, know a company's name, you know their product, they assign a price to it and they go start selling. Right? And that seems like the obvious place to start. But that's exactly why businesses fail. They've never really thought through a whole plan. And it's devastating because then you take someone to your idea was placed with this dream decides they're going to do it invest time, money, and even worst hope and anticipation and pride. And then it doesn't work. And that I mean, I get chills when I say it every single time. It's just heartbreaking.
It is. Yeah, you know, I know that feeling of being open for business and then you're just kind of like, what he's asking me for this and what you know, I was just hoping that people would just come out of the woodwork and I think particularly in America, we love love the rags to riches thing and we feel like that how It is that we get success is that we're just discovered, and I've spoken on this quite a bit, and that is that I believe largely, discovery is a myth. It's kind of like that Jim Carrey. So you're saying there's a chance it mean, there is a chance you could get discovered, but it's like one in a million. And that's no way to run a business. And so, I guess, Sue, you would probably take the point of view that listen, like I do, if you want to be quote, unquote, discovered and really start, you know, getting your product in the hands of being able to, you know, make the world better by by, you know, sharing your creation with people is, what percentage do you think is, is just like its visibility, its discovery, it's just like, people don't know you do what you do. You know, my wife is a family therapist, for example. And, you know, that's one thing that that you know, she was working free agency, she went independent. And, you know, if she wants clients, she's exceptionally good at what she's amazing at what she does. But she won't get any clients until unless she's visible.
You know, people who are more familiar with marketing will call it discovery like that a lot of the people that I'm working with will be like, Oh, well, they were just lucky. You know, they knew somebody, they were just, you know, they were just lucky. It just kind of happened for them. And, and lucky is too intangible. And my answer to that is, they're not lucky. They've taken enough action to put themselves in Lux path, right? They've gotten you can't be lucky sitting at home behind a computer screen. You can get lucky going out to networking meetings, or going to a craft show and making yourself vulnerable and seeing if people are going to buy your product. So call it discoverability being lucky, whatever none of that happens unless you get yourself out there tonight. allow it to happen.
So specifically, let's talk about some tactics, then let's let's start with social. Hmm. Go for it. Tell me tell me what to do.
Well, we could start with social, but I'd really if someone was just starting and they were thinking about it in this position, I would have them start person to person, you know, start seeing if there are people who are interested in your product. And we can't get on into it all here, but I'm a big advocate of making sure you're also pricing it at a price that will build up where you can build a business. Because a lot of people this is something else that happens in the industry is people will think of what the cost was to make that cake cupcake, right ever. And they'll sell it at that because they're feeling like at least they'll get sales if they're selling them the last. Well guess why you're not making any money at all. And even if you know that you're not making any money to reinvest in business in systems in how about a salary for you? Like, down the line are right now I advocate right at the beginning, even if it was $1 a week, or something like that. But so that's really important just to see what type of reception you get face to face with a price that works for you real business. So that's the first step and then going to social right in the beginning is more visibility play. You're talking about discovery once again. You know, I think the best thing for people to do on social in the very beginning is to show themselves who the artist is behind the product, what you do not going on and just Sally, you know, here's my stuff. Here's my price buy from me,
you know, right that's behind the scenes stuff mean turn what you do into a reality show and it doesn't have to be you know, don't don't think you need to break out the lights and the you know, the high end cameras. That's not it at all,
to turn off.
Totally, totally just happened. Your kid hold the camera while you demo something or you talk about something that's going on. And it by the way, it doesn't have to be, oh, our products are just flying off the shelves, you know, like, you don't have to do that. Just be authentic and honest. Like, you know, your product will stand on its own. And you know, don't also I would say, Don't turn it into a sob story. nobody's buying my stuff. But you know, somewhere in between there, I think is where you want to be just the realities of you know what you're doing and like, you know, why you do what you do. You know, telling stories about you know, when you do have a sale or you do, like, let's say you've you've produced a cake for a bride or for a party, and you got feedback on it and sharing that feedback and how that feedback made you feel so amazing. That is really just It's so authentic in terms of content like content that does well on social. Yeah. What do you think on that I
mean if you're a maker You're so lucky because you have a ton of content available if you just think about it a little bit just like Josh what you were saying. But the other thing is and the real value of your product when you're the artist, you're the creator of what you do is people resonate them with your product, even on a more deep level because they resonate with you. So the trick is then to introduce people to you, it could be oh my gosh, I spilled coffee all over my desk this morning. Look at this you guys. But I will overcome you know something silly like that. Or you get a shipment of beads in and the boxes opened up by accident and all the colors are mixed up or something. You know, just fun even funny. Like that. Things that show your personality. Ever wonder what I do at lunch. walk my dog, here's my dog, none of that. Yeah, back to work like all these things. You're not showing your product. You're trying to get people to learn and know and fall in love with you as the maker. And that's the trick tip for my audience Really? Well, on social and then you get into Sally and you know that I mean, I say about 20% of your posts can be promotional, because of course, you do also want to sell at some point. Yeah, but in the very beginning, it's just getting out there. Again, I'll go back to your word discovery, and getting people to know who you are and what you do. So another challenge just really quickly with the industry is because someone's creative, they can make 7000 zillion things, right. Yeah. And so they want to start a business offering everything because they think well, if someone doesn't want this, then they might want this and they might want this. When you do that you're known for nothing. So more be a baker or a candle maker or a ninja versus showing every showing everybody everything because you neutralize it all.
I love that too. I am I am known for one thing and nobody on the planet does this, like I do it. This is the only place that you can get this one thing. And there are lots of other, you know, cupcake people, I'm not a cupcake person I am, I am a and I only do this, you know, I, you know, you could charge a lot more money to when you are niche and you're specialized. And you're known for that one very, very specific thing.
That's exactly right. That's exactly right. I could
hang out and chat about this forever. You know,
I know there's so many other questions I've got but I think that someone who also is kind of geeking out on this like me, you really want to subscribe to Gift Biz Unwrapped in whatever podcast app you're listening to right now go ahead and search it Gift Biz Unwrapped. So you've done over 234 episodes as of when we're recording this, and congratulations on your longevity. And of course, you're also the Founder and CEO of theribbonprintcompany.com. Sue, thank you so much for joining us,
Josh. It has been so much fun. Thank you for having me.
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