One year ago we opened the doors to Think Metal. At the time, I was a one-man show, learning the ropes of creating custom items out of steel. We now utilize the skills of 5 people!
I have created about 700 projects on our CNC table in our first year. We reached our 100th 5-star-review on Etsy a couple days ago (ALL of our reviews are 5-stars), and we’ve had 438 sales on etsy alone. I have MANY people to thank for our success and will do so in the comments below!
Limitation breeds creativity and efficiency. If you’d like to read more about business tactics/progress and our time management, follow the link for a more detailed post.
Thank you friends, family and customers for supporting this venture, supporting small business, and feeding my family during medical school. You have my sincerest gratitude.
On time management…
“How do you do all of that?” I am often asked. Between surviving medical school, maintaining business, and pretending to have a family life, my weeks never end. Most of the time, I love it. Having so many irons in the fire forces my diligence and intentionalism with my time. Every day starts at 5am. If I’m not designing new orders in the dark at the kitchen table, I’m burning steel and painting in the shop. The outlet is nice, and helps me be more focused when I am studying the intricacy of modern medicine and human anatomy.
We recently turned to Slack for help with team communications. Anyone on our team can leave me messages and I can read them and reply when I have 30 seconds to spare here and there. I approve quotes for most projects this way, and assess logos or requested designs via attached pictures. I fit in the communications throughout my day, and mix in design work when possible.
I utilize Trello to keep track of individual projects. During our finals last semester in school, we had 90 orders pending. On top of medical school, I was in the shop 30 hours per week. On the day of my final, I left campus and went to the shop to pick up 47 packaged orders. The post office was booming (Dec 19), but we survived semester one and the christmas rush. Trello allows me to have each project and it’s details in a specific list. As a project develops, it moves from New Order to Design, to Cut, to Paint, to Paint Drying, to Ship, to Done(my favorite list). I have found no better way as of yet to keep track of 90 orders, including sizing, design, paint color, due dates, and more. The benefit of these lists is obvious. If I have 30 minutes to spend, I can hop on Trello and access my design to-do list instantly. If I have 2 hours to spend in the shop, I already have a task list ready to go.
Overall, year one has been incredible. We are continuing to refine our specialties, but continuing to explore new creations as well. I am fascinated at how one product sparks inspiration for another, and how those inspirations branch off into new creations themselves. It’s never ending, and we never tire of developing the new and improved. Off into the unknown of 2017 we go!
Do what you love, love what you do. Thanks for inspiring me and keeping me going. Cheers from the Think Metal Family.
Seth @ Think Metal