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Tell me about MiGoals?
We began MiGoals in 2010. Personally it was something I started because I couldn’t actually find a product that I could set my goals in or track my day to day budgeting; at the time I was writing on three separate notebooks.
A close friend who was a designer helped me put it together and got it bound at the university bindery. It cost about $150 for one copy and I just used it for myself. I started approaching some key boutique style book stores, and to my surprise about 90 per cent of them said they’d love to try it.
How did you grow the business?
We’ve actually kept our production in Melbourne for the last five or so years so it’s always been printed in Melbourne. Each year, the more we’ve increased in volume, the cost has become better so we’ve been able to scale it.
The first year it was just 800 of the MiGoals diary, and each year just started adding to it so we added goals books, new colours, new SKUs and from there slowly grew it. Essentially what we do now is we create products that help people become better.
Do you do this full time now?
Yep, I’d been doing it on the side just until last year and then made the switch over to full time. I started this journey when I was 26, I got married, I had a mortgage for my first property so I had all these things going on. So going into it full time after all these years was exciting; it felt like all the hard work was worth it.
How did you fund it?
It’s all self-funded in terms of the savings. We invested all of the profits because the bigger we grow, the more we have to outlay for print. So it’s just been bootstrapped with my savings at the start and now reinvesting back into it.
Are you the sole business owner?
No I’ve got a business partner, Alec. We went to high school together and the second or third year in, I offered him a percentage of the business. We’ve been best mates for a while now so it’s sort of like win win.
How do you compete with some of the bigger players?
I think for us it’s devoting our core – we’ve got to create products that make people become better. We’re not just creating notebooks for the sake of creating notebooks. Our products are based around getting shit done. It’s the design quality as well, plus it’s not just female orientated, I think there’s a bit of masculinity around it. We’ve got two guys running it and I think there’s a certain brashness to it too.
The cover on lots of your products is ‘get shit done.’ Has that brashness resonated with your audience?
Yeah totally. I think we keep talking in the office saying Instagram is getting flatter with a lot of messaging and people are just looking for that realness. Everyone sees those covers, picks it up, and has a slight chuckle. It’s a trigger point.
What have been some of your biggest challenges so far?
I think scaling resources, freight and operations. Just growing and scaling in terms of getting the resources on board and getting the right people.
What’s your best advice for other entrepreneurs?
Be passionate about it. Don’t do it just for the money because it’s really tough and there’s times you doubt yourself. So believe in yourself and be ready to work at it day in, day out.
Every day, KBB’s Dannie Doughan chats with an entrepreneur and features their story on our website. If your business wants a ‘Date with Dannie’, email us a quick bit about your biz!