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The Tale of the Sixty Mile Hat

Follow the Trends in your Business to Find its Weaknesses


There came a point in time, long long ago, almost in another universe, where I decided to make children’s hats. Not just designing and manufacturing them somewhere, I was making each individual hat all by my lonesome.

I made some fantastic children’s hats and so I took them to a local children’s boutique. They were more than happy to buy them on the condition that I did not sell them within a 50 mile radius.

I thought that was pretty reasonable because what that meant was that these hats were going to be selling exclusively in this boutique, making them special and unique.

However, I did need to make more money than that one boutique could provide.

So one day I got in my car with my selection of sample hats and I drove 60 miles out of town, found a phone book, because this was when phonebooks were thing and there was no such thing as the Internet, and I looked up a children’s boutique.

I went into that boutique and I sold more hats.

That same day, I drove another 60 miles, stopped at a phone booth, yes there were phone booths (ask your mom if you don’t know what a phone booth is), and I looked up another children’s boutique.

I sold more hats.

I spent the entire day doing this, until I could go no further and I had sold hundreds of hats that I now had to go home and make before I shipped them off to my newfound friends.

All of which were 60 miles from one another with a guarantee that no one within 50 miles would be selling those hats.

These were all cold calls where I was highly successful in selling my hats that day – long before the convenience of email and sitting at home to make relationships with vendors was possible.

I have to admit I got a little cocky and I sent a selection of my hats to the merchandising department of the Walt Disney World Resort – don’t ask me why I did that I was pretty young – and they gladly sent me a letter stating that I could never make enough hats to keep up with their demand. Although, they also said they liked the hats

I was thrilled

I did kind of know that they would never order from me, but I just wanted to be able to say that I had sent a sample selection of my hats to the Walt Disney World Resort.

Sometimes you just have to do things that make no sense to make your world just a little more interesting.

Okay, maybe sometimes I have to do things that make no sense to make my world just a little more interesting.

The point is, I noticed a trend that I could exploit by driving 60 miles and selling more hats. If I had not had much luck in the first 60 mile drive that I had taken, I probably would not have gone farther than 60 miles.

However, that first store outside of the 50 mile radius bought hats, and then the second, and the third. I came from the middle of Illinois and I was all away to Hannibal, Missouri before I decided to stop and go home for the day.

Of course, the one thing I never did was pursue that any further. I can’t say I understand why, because I probably could have done very well if I kept skipping and jumping 60 miles to find different boutiques, but I suppose the intensity of that first day was just enough for me at that particular moment in time. I was in my early 20s and quite frankly I never cared a whole lot about money at the time.

Can you imagine? Not caring about money?

Even repeating hats can be tedious. It’s still not about making one and having that one thing sell multiple times. I even tried at one point to sell children’s wear that I had made in flea markets. But again, in order to make a living I had to work four days making clothing, sell for three days, and likely have to keep working in the evenings of those three weekend days that I had worked the flea market, to keep up with making a reasonable living.

As you can see, this was a trend that lasted for decades for me where I made one offs so that there was a 1:1 ratio for making products and selling them to customers.

There is a moral to this story.

Work efficiently, not harder. Working harder does not make you richer, and only tires you out.

The key is to use your strengths in a way that maximizes your return.

Driving at 60 mile intervals does not accomplish that goal.

Identifying your trends will revolutionize what you are doing to make money.

I highly recommend finding a passive income to round out your work, even if you have found a way to Become a Working Artist. Yep, that is called a product insert – enjoy. That is a trend I saw in someone else’s e-book, and I snapped it right up.

Also look for trends in what other people are doing - then copy it. If it works, it works!

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