Tell us about yourself: an intro to you, your business, family, fur-family etc. Where do live? And what is your business name (IG handle), the products you sell & services you provide, + your target market?
Hi, I'm Cinquanta and I've been in the Print on Demand industry for 12 years, and I like to help others start their own POD business. I'm a Military Spouse and Veteran. My husband Shawn has been in the Army for 16 years. We have 2 kids Kyree & Sharye and a dog ChuChu. We are currently stationed in Fort Hood, Texas. My business @coinsandconnections consists of fun apparel for small business owners, and a podcast to share and help others in the industry. My target audience is beginners looking to start a business with no inventory with just a computer and internet connection. I have lots of tutorials on my YouTube channel - from account creation, product upload, and reviewing samples of POD companies.
How long ago did you start your business? And what (or who) inspired you to become an entrepreneur? (ie. life changing event, mompreneur, the pandemic?)
My business Coins and Connections started in 2017. I got my start in POD by mistake in 2009 when I wanted to create a shirt for myself with the viral Kanye & Taylor swift incident. My father has always led us to dream big. He often held down the homefront while my mom worked overnight. He was the first entrepreneur that I met and he inspired me to always turn my passion into a passive income. After I left the military in 2007 I was lost and confused. I went to college but realized that wasn't for me. I've done everything from home made tshirts, to cell phone cases and even jewelry. Until I realized that I enjoyed teaching others how to make money. That's what drives me and where my business name Coins and Connections came from.
How did you come to learn what you do? (self-taught, education, classes, books, mentors etc.)
Mainly self taught. There weren't a lot of videos when I first started so trial and error was huge. I'm a researcher so I would type things into google and read numerous articles. I always take notes so my notebook would have steps and guides to do many things, and websites to refer back to. I believe research is essential in anything you do.
What has been the most rewarding phase of your career / entrepreneurship? (ie. sold out stock, testimonials, IG following?)
Longevity. I don't have a huge following, but I've been able to reach thousands of people. I've also successfully created brands that I'm not the face of with little to no social media. Although my main brand may not be huge. My other POD brands are very successful. I feel like it's a gift to be able to create a brand from scratch without being visible and succeed.
What is the most challenging part about being an entrepreneur? (ie. time management, asking for help, juggling life, paying the bills?)
Wanting to be paid in peace, but still having to be semi visible to continue to grow. I would retire right now and just run my brands that don't have my face attached to me. I just feel like my consistency helps others stay motivated. In the beginning the most challenging part was deciding if I really wanted to be a full time entrepreneur. With all the uncertainty it needed to make sense for me and my family.
What do you do for inspiration? Do you ever hit creative roadblocks and how do you overcome them?
I take a shower. All of my really good ideas come from a nice hot shower. I have a shower pad that helps me to jot down ideas so I don't forget by the time I dry off. I often feel uninspired or like my brain isn't working. So I'll go outside and look at the clouds and play some R&B while remembering the creation that God made with is me.
What’s the secret to your success (personally/professionally/spiritually)?
I believe in being transparent. I'm honest with myself and the people around me. I believe in mental health, and being healthy. Taking care of yourself is important. None of the sacrifice will be worth it if you're not around long enough to enjoy it. So inner healing, inner gut health, and love. My family keeps me grounded and I have praying parents.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs just starting out? Do you have any tips or tricks you learned along the way that you’d like to share?
You have to just go for it. I know everyone says that, but it's the truth. Hesitation leads to procrastination and then you end up accomplishing nothing. Everyone wants support as soon as they start, but you'll learn that you'll have to really clap for yourself most days, and always remember why you started. Research is important. Yes Google, YouTube, and Reddit are great resources. So learn something and test it. If it doesn't work, find a new route or solution and keep going.
What do you think the #girlboss / creative female community needs right now?
More #girlboss’ who tell the real story about entrepreneurship. People who are unapologetically themselves. Everyone is polished like social media wants you to believe. Find your tribe and be you..
What are you working on now and what’s in store for your business this year? Or do you have anything extra you want to share with us - business or personal related?
I'm currently working with different POD brands to bring more content to my YouTube channel and also theirs. I'm testing out new POD sites that are popping up everyday to let people know of the options. I am also in Season 7 of my podcast Coins and Connections. I'm looking to help at least 1000 more people start a Print On Demand business.