Mission First or Profit First: Mission-Driven Clothing Retailer Thrives

Having a strong community is a powerful way to build your business. If your business is more than just “products”, but a “community” it’s much more powerful. Having a customer is nice, in fact, it’s essential. AND having an energized community means you’ll always have customers.

In my book “Celebrity CEO“, I write about the power of personal branding. It’s about building a community of fans. As you educate them, you build up the “know, like, trust” factor and nurture them to a sale.

I spoke about the power of community, faith, and mission-driven businesses with Kenya and Craig Linton who started Hustling Spirit in 2009. Hustling Spirit is an e-commerce business that sells Christian-themed clothing and accessories.

Hustling Spirit sells clothing and other accessories, it’s much more than an eCommerce company.  It’s a movement, said the founders.

The shirts and bracelets and other items Hustling Spirit sells, all with Christian themes, are to uplift and empower other people.

Moment of Despair

God gave Craig a vision for the business, during a valley moment of despair, in his life. He was going through bankruptcy and had challenges “flipping houses” And Kenya was pregnant at the same time.

God directed him to apply for a full-time job, which he got. This job gave them the funds, the runway, the breathing room to launch Hustling Spirit.

If you have a side hustle, be grateful. Don’t leave it for a full-time job until you’re ready.

Hustling Spirit leverages the power of outsourcing. They use Printful to fulfill their orders.

This is one way to build an e-commerce business. You nurture the community and focus on marketing and work with a partner who can fulfill your orders. 

By leveraging a partner like Printful, they can print on demand, buy the quantity of products they need, and rely on Pintful for direct shipping of their products and services.

You can partner with a company that creates the products you need while you focus on the vision of what the products should be and how to serve the community.

The business has grown so much that they also do custom printing for other businesses.

Your Business Should be Profitable

Your business should pay YOU and the business.

You should not be in business to have another revenue stream pay for your business to operate.

If you’re funding your business from a full-time job, something’s wrong.

Be sure you’re in BUSINESS and not running a hobby.

Facebook Advertising

Hustling Spirit uses Facebook advertising to generate demand for their Christian-themed products.

They took classes to learn how to properly leverage the power of Facebook advertising. Advertising to create demand for your products absolutely works. It’s important to do it right.

Who is the customer you desire? What’s the cost of reaching that customer? Are you able to use Facebook to find more customers like that? Are you using Facebook to retarget your customers and keep your message in front of them? Are you measuring how successful your advertising is?

Don’t just rely on Facebook advertising.

But also build your email list and text list so you can market to customers who already trust you and have purchased from you.

Focus. No Distractions.

Craig and Kenya believe that FOCUS is essential to a successful business. It’s so easy to get distracted. It’s easy to work on parts of your business that are not beneficial to its success. This doesn’t mean you have to say NO to everything. But you need to know when to do something and when not to do something.

IMPACT is important for Craig and Kenya.

They want to be sure that they’re making as much of an impact to their customers, their community and the world!

Yes, we want profit. Yes, we measure our cash flow.

However, for mission-driven businesses, we also ask, AM I MAKING AN IMPACT?

To help generate more awareness for the business and engage the community, Hustling Spirit hosts regular mixers.

At these mixers, they invite customers, local vendors, and others who want to be a part of Hustling Spirits’ mission.

In-person events bring together your community and give you a chance to connect with them deeper.

The Power of Testing

It’s ok to experiment and try things. If you don’t try, you won’t know what works and what doesn’t work.

Part of testing is to quickly do more of what’s working and quickly STOP what’s not working.

What’s working, keep doing it. What’s not working – stop doing it.

Your Mission vs Your Money

Mission-driven businesses have a passion to change the world. Does this conflict with being in business and making money?

In order to make an impact and “save the world”, you need resources to do that. Your business needs to make money.

Yes, we want to impact lives and change the world. Yes, we need our businesses to generate profits so we can have the resources we need to make this impact and make the world a better place.

Family and Business

How do Craig and Kenya work together – as business partners and as husband and wife?

If they don’t agree they don’t move forward. It’s as simple as that.

It’s so important, as you work with a partner in your business to trust them and work together.

Recognize what you do well and where your partner can help the business, better than you can.

Recognize what your partner does well and where you can help the business.

Ramon Ray is a small business expert, motivational keynote speaker and founder of SmartHustle.com. He’s a global speaker, best-selling author and works with tech brands to help them better reach small business owners. 

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