Owner of Rush Order Tee's, Michael Nemeroff, shares the highs and lows of starting a family business as a teenager when they had nothing else to lose. He walks us through what it was like to get his business off the ground and where he is today.

Mentioned in this episode:
Rush Order Tee's

John Meese 0:24
Michael, thank you so much for joining me. How are you doing today?

Michael Nemeroff 0:27
I'm good. How you doing, John? Thanks for having me. I'm doing well.

John Meese 0:30
Thank you for being here. So, you know, we've only recently made an acquaintance but party enjoy just getting to know a little bit about you and who you are. But for those listening in who haven't had the pleasure of getting to know, your, who you are and what you do, would you mind sharing with us a little bit about? Who are you, Michael, who are you? Who are you? What do you do? And specifically, I want to know what gets you out of bed in the morning?

Michael Nemeroff 0:52
Yes, sure. So Michael Nemeroff, born and raised in Philadelphia, on to my my parents are what my mom is a Taiwanese national. And my father is Jewish of Russian descent. And, you know, basically a computer nerd, Video game player turned entrepreneur when I was really young. What, what gets me excited to get out of bed in the morning, I get really excited. I barely sleep just because I'm so excited for the next day to get to work. Tto make some changes in the business. I mean, there's always a long list of things. You can't do them all at once. But to go in and work with the team, create, innovate. And then I'm also day trading. And I want to see how my stocks are doing around 4am.

John Meese 1:45
Oh, yes, I've had a friend refer to that, to me is like, it's coming back to the video gaming. It's like, it's like grown up video gaming where the stakes a little bit higher. It's a little more fun, right? The day trading part. You know, it's there's a there's an element of winning, there's an element of not winning.

Michael Nemeroff 1:58
Yeah, it's fun when you're winning. It's really not fun when you're not.

John Meese 2:01
That's true. That's true. So you mentioned the business. So why don't you tell us a little bit into that? What is your business?

Michael Nemeroff 2:08
So the business is rushordertees.com. It's an online e commerce custom t shirt company, and custom apparel company that specializes in screen printing, embroidery or digital printing of your logo, or design for your group, your team, your event, your business, your school, any type of organization. And even more specifically, we do it quickly. And even more specifically, we can hit any deadlines. So if you went on a Monday, and you needed tomorrow, we're one of probably one of the only companies in the country that can actually get 100 piece or 1000 piece order the next day because we we built that into our capacity in our facility.

John Meese 2:55
For a rush order, you could say,

Michael Nemeroff 2:58
Yeah, it's a custom. It's something that you can come up with literally right now. And you can send me 200 shirts, and I need it tomorrow. And we actually have capacity on the floor, and we'll get it out before EPN.

John Meese 3:08
Wow, that's pretty cool. So how long have you been running that business?

Michael Nemeroff 3:12
So we started in high school. I started when I was around 16 and started Rush Order Tees at my brother, my sister, my parents were helping out but

John Meese 3:23
how, what year was that? or How long ago?

Michael Nemeroff 3:25
That was? 2002.

John Meese 3:26
Okay. So and this is so you started it was and then you said your brother sister and your parents were involved? Was this your Genesis? Or was this a family business from the start?

Michael Nemeroff 3:35
Yeah, so the business, I wouldn't have been in business if it wasn't for what happened to us as a as a family. When, when I was sending it occurred to me when when we were young, but my parents had probably been going through for a while, but my parents had a really successful clothing business. They were clothing designers. And that's actually how my dad met my mom, because he was in the clothing business. He had his goods manufactured overseas. My mom was what you call an agent. And she which is someone who oversees the production in the factory overseas. So one time, you know, he went over there that my mom they had kids, became successful, he had a business partner. His name was Marty my dad's name Allen, my mom is Melinda. And, you know, that was going well for a long time. And they made a product called Men's Banded Bottoms, which were basically sweatshirts with polo collars. And you if you see them and they had, you know, kind of geometric designs on them. And you usually see them in mobster movies or like gangster movies, because that's usually the mobsters where these movies and my dad my dad funny that if he said, Michael, the stuff that I sold can never go out of style, because it was never in style. He was very creative sales guys, desinger, very entrepreneurial. And you know, when we were five, we moved from small apartment to a really big house I didn't understand at the time. But when that by the time I was eight or nine, my mom sat me down and said, Michael, you know, we don't know, you know, the business isn't doing well, we don't know where that's gonna go, we're probably going to declare bankruptcy, we're probably we don't know where you're gonna live, we don't know if you're going to go to the same school.

John Meese 5:24

Michael Nemeroff 5:26
So there's a lot of search. And I don't know why she sat me down at that age. When I was eight or nine. And all I all I knew was that my mom looked really scared. And she was really sad. And she definitely didn't know, you know what was going to happen next, I can see a lot of uncertainty in her face. And it made me very aware, from that time on. So I started paying attention to what was going on around the house from my parents, not, you know, they used to take me to baseball games, basketball games, and then they weren't able to do that anymore. And then, you know, that I started helping in the warehouse, but when I would go to the warehouse, their employees weren't really even working. And I was I was, I was going around the warehouse, cutting down cardboard boxes and picking and packing the orders. And I learned how to ship. And I was probably like, 10, or 11, my brother was gung ho. And he was like, we're gonna save the family, but I never believed we actually would.

John Meese 6:27
Your brother is... older?

Michael Nemeroff 6:29
Yeah, he was four years older than me.

John Meese 6:31
So he was like, 15/16, year 10/11. You guys are in there. You know, breaking out boxes and shipping things out and getting to work?

Michael Nemeroff 6:37
Yeah. Yeah, we were getting the work and it was hot. And it was warehouse. And I really didn't understand the purpose. It was so disorganized. And I remember thinking that even back then I'm like, and what are these people who look at me? Do like who are just watching me work? Like what do they do? And they were older. And they're, you know, 20, 30, 40 years old, and I didn't understand it. And then so I stopped going my my brother is kind of set and I kind of, I was very introverted at the time. So I just got back to just playing on the computer. And I thought typing was the coolest thing. And I thought, turning out clipart. And word doc was the coolest thing. And Carter was great at AOL, punting, you know, everything. I thought everything was so cool. So I was obsessed with that. And then one day, my brother came home with homework from a teacher who just started the high school. And he my brother says the first website design course at the high school. And he didn't feel like doing his homework. And the homework was to type something up. And he knew I was a fast typer. So he gave me his homework to do. I said, I type up his homework for him. I'm 13. At the time, he's probably like, 16/17, 17 years old. Sorry. And but when I'm done, I said, Jordan, what did I just do? And he said, Oh, you made a website, save it as dot html. And at that time, you made HTML sites in Notepad.

John Meese 7:58
I remember those days. I remember those days. That wasn't too far too long before MySpace came along, and we're all HTML coding our own social media profiles.

Michael Nemeroff 8:07
Exactly, exactly. All done by hand in Notepad, and this HTML language and, you know, style of style sheets and stuff like that. But it's, I mean, no style sheets are out yet that came later for me. But I did that. And I was like, once I launched the website, I was like, wow, this is the coolest thing. I'm 13. I made a website. I knew what a website was. So I was like, Well, I can publish things. I can code. I don't know what I'm going to do with this. But I became, as I was obsessed with just computers in general, I became obsessed with making websites. Everything I did was a website. my homework was a website, I would even ask my brother to do his homework for him, because I loved it so much. And his teacher said, Jordan, if your brother is going to do your homework, at least give him the credit. Have him put his name on the website, you know, the teacher knew. And I would have to go into you know, trying to work undercover to understand more about websites, but and he kind of mentored me. And he was really excited that I was I was so good and excited about it. So anyway, that started then I started getting into like ICTU and talking to webmasters and I launched, I started getting into affiliate marketing. And I didn't know that's what it was called back then. All I knew is that I signed up for a website, and they would pay me if I sent traffic to them, or they would pay me if I sent if I could convert them into leads on a per per signup basis, or they would pay me on a revenue share. And I picked each program and I would figure out which one worked best with different companies. And I basically started trading traffic, getting them to a landing page and then trying to convert them. And I basically, I started learning how to be a conversion rate optimizer, again, not even knowing what that was. And I was doing it. I was doing it to the point where within the time I was 14 years old, I was focused on doing making money, by the way, because there's so much uncertainty in the family. So when I had enough money with $5,000, saved up from doing that, I gave it to my mom, I gave her the first $5,000 I made. And when I gave it to her, I was really excited. And then, when she got in her hand, she started crying. Once she started crying, I was like, wow, this is the most, This is really, really important. And my mom didn't want to take it from me. And I said, Just take it, I can, I think I can keep doing this. And I did that for a few more months. And I was able to continue to generate five to 10,000 a month and eventually got up to 15, I think at one point 20,000. And I told my mom at one point, and because I knew the $5,000 was enough to pay the mortgage and pay for cost of living. And I said we were at one probably like, for so much and it's in my I'm not going to pay for this anymore. You're going through bankruptcy in the foreclosure process. Just let that happen. We'll continue to live in this house for free. Because if you're going through bankruptcy and foreclosure, you can delay the process of actually getting removed from the home. So that was, so we saved up as much money as we could. And that gave me the

John Meese 11:18
at this point period. Is your family all going through this together at this point?

Michael Nemeroff 11:23
Yeah, but it was all it was a different experience for all of us. all in the same house, though, right? Parents were working and I could see like they were exhausted, or in a typical home. APM. My brother was selling stuff on eBay in his room that was connected to mine. And my sister was she was just trying to be a kid. She's a year younger than me. And she was having a hard time with that because she couldn't afford to do anything her friends, could we live in a fairly wealthy community. And all of her friends were extremely wealthy. So she was just having a hard time getting along, she can invite, quote, you know, show, she was just trying her best to be a kid. And that's where I guess the skill set was learned. And as I continue to do that, for the next few years, you know, it started drying up for me in terms of trading traffic and converting. And my dad was at a point in the business where, you know, I learned this around eight or nine. So by the time I was 16, it was probably eight, eight or so years, since I got that message from my mom about them have struggling, but it was he was probably struggling for a good 10 or so years. So is the end of the road of them turning down the business bank, you know, going through bankruptcy and foreclosing on the home either the home getting foreclosed on. And he was not in a great state of mind. So, he was basically in the house just kind of moseying around, he wasn't going to work anymore. And his friend came into the house. And his friend, Steve said, is the one who taught us the business. And he said, Alan, I have this business. He does about $400,000 a year, it's a door to door business. I go to small businesses locally to restaurants, car washes, etc. You're a great sales guy, why don't you come on the road with me, and I'll show you exactly how to get into this business as quick as tomorrow. And I'll show you where to get the shirts printed, and where you know where you buy them and how to price everything. And let's get started. And initially he was just was in the mindset to do so my brother actually forced him in the car, probably within the week to go do it. And within the first two days of them going out on the road, my dad closed three, three local businesses. And he made around $1,500. And wow, I was like, That's amazing. Yeah. And it was a whole different business to me, because I was I was a kid behind a computer trading fast with people that I would never meet selling products or services to people that I never knew. And then this was somebody who was face to face local with a real product and service that you actually had to deliver on. So it was interesting. It was also a good time for me to transition.

John Meese 13:54
Well, and just to pause real quick. So it sounds like that. I don't want to jump the gun here. But it sounds like that may have been a little inspirational there that essentially the business model was go to businesses and get them to get custom apparel, and then go get the T shirts, get them printed and come back and just have some kind of margin built in. You're just kind of you're just kind of like the middleman or even the advocate for the middleman or the salesman for the effort.

Michael Nemeroff 14:18
Even just the middleman. It's a anyone who there's there's the business back then was Yeah, it was it was a restaurant that needs it a middleman who worked for himself and then a printer who didn't sell anything he just printed. That was that was the way it worked back then.

John Meese 14:37
So and you're running online businesses and you're thinking or this, you know, this affiliate marketing empire of sorts on the internet. So what next?

Michael Nemeroff 14:47
So, at this point, I was just kind of watching on the sidelines, I was trying to make the best of what I had going on with affiliate marketing and there's also this other thing where there's a vulnerability in AOL that allowed you to send messages through this thing called messenger service, which I also set, which I served on a program to send messages to that to that was very good. But AOL put a patch out, updated that and shut down messenger service. And I don't mean AOL Instant Messenger. I mean, this old thing that network admins used to use called messenger service that said, Show you're never done in five minutes. And if you can imagine, send messages through, they're pretty targeted. But once that stopped, and that's what I meant it was drying up. I was watching my dad on the sidelines, saying like, Alright, cool he was doing in two months into it. He said, Michael, I said, how's it going? He said, Michael, when I go to revisit the customers that I originally sold, about half of them aren't going to do business with us anymore. And I asked him, Why is that? And he said, because someone came in and undercut my price. And I said, Okay, so why, why are they able to do that? He said, they just give him the stores, just give him the T shirt. Give the new guy that comes in a T shirt. And he just says, What do you pay less time and then they get the new guy just prices lower. I said, Okay, that that's not scalable. And if and I and if Philly, is this price sensitive? Why don't we just take it online? And I'd from there, I launched the first Rush Order Tee's website, probably within that week, with a Blinky phone number, new chairs, quick call us. And I think a phone number to the house. And I started an ad campaign with yellowpages.com.

John Meese 16:30
So that's, that's, that's pretty scrappy. But that was also the age of that's kind of what the internet was. So what, How'd that go, how the elephant does that go.

Michael Nemeroff 16:39
So Yellow Pages was I had saved some money. And I was used to paying for things to drive traffic. This was about $3,000 a month. So that was essentially the risk. Obviously, my time to make the website and everything was free. And it was within the first week, we started getting phone calls. And that was probably the most nerve wracking thing for me because I was introverted. I was afraid to talk on the phone in front of my family. So I every time the phone ring, I would either be at dinner. I'm a computer and I would, I would make sure that I was taking you privately. But that was that was the first time which was not that big you want to get over. But we got a huge order within the first week for like a $10,000 technical school. And then we started getting some more orders not as not at that size, but that that kind of validated the idea.

John Meese 18:09
So how long was that that kind of the phone call version of Rush Order Tee's?

Michael Nemeroff 18:14
That was August of 2002.

John Meese 18:18
So that was 2002 so that was a right. So now all we did, we just made it up to the. So now we're talking 18 years later, a few things have changed, you know, and grown. But that business so you've run that business this entire time. Is that fair to say?

Michael Nemeroff 18:33
Yeah, it's been our brainchild since then

John Meese 18:36
That's great. So what does that look like today? I mean, we I would love to retrace every step along the way. But just kind of if you could jump ahead a little bit to modern day. You know, although I enjoyed reminiscing about AOL Instant Messenger and Notepad, HTML websites, because I think you and I are about the same age. And so we had a lot of shared shared experiences there. jumping ahead to today. What does that what does that look like? I mean, what does

Michael Nemeroff 18:58
What started as a business with me my family, in a house, in our house and starting on the garage, and all over the house is now a 250 person company and a 60,000 square foot facility in Philadelphia, Northeast Philadelphia, and shipping probably over 30,000 shirts a day, printed customized from orders of one to you know, hundreds of 1000s to orders all the way up to the Sixers because we sponsor them. So it's very, like it's a custom business and a custom industry, nothing that we everything that we had to build. There's nothing built for our industry that we could take off the shelf and just plug in especially not back then. And you know, we had to build all the technology for the design studio where you can self serve, upload your logo online and our order management system. We create a lot of efficiencies and a lot of you know a good customer experience because of that.

John Meese 19:56
so if I'm a customer and I go to Rush Order Tee's.com right now, I always upload me logo and I pick a T, is it still just t shirts or do other apparel as well?

Michael Nemeroff 20:06
T-shirts polos, hats. It just it's just in the name, but anything custom apparel, Really.

John Meese 20:09
Yeah. So I upload my logo, I pick out a couple things that like, and I order 10 or 100 of those, you know, for my team or my customers, and they get shipped to my address. Is that right?

Michael Nemeroff 20:21
Yeah, wherever your home, your business your conference that you're going to.

John Meese 20:25
So at this point, I mean, I know the beginning. You know, when your dad first started tiptoeing into this, you were sharing that he was really the middleman. But at this point, it sounds like you're actually moved beyond that. You're not just the middleman anymore. You're also the production house. Is that fair to say?

Michael Nemeroff 20:37
Yeah, we have about over 100 presses operating here.

John Meese 20:40
Wow. That's great. So as your family's involved in the business?

Michael Nemeroff 20:45
My parents are retired, and my brother and sister moved on to different things.

John Meese 20:50
Sure. Okay. Well, what has been your experience running an online business really, from since the beginning of online businesses? You know, like, what's that been? Like kind of watching what I would love to know, from your vantage point, I think one thing that sticks out to me is, I'd love to know, what you've seen has been? I mean, it's easy to talk about what's changed. And that's a lot. But I'm curious what you've seen that's really remained true throughout that time, you know, throughout 18 years of running an online business and scaling that. I mean, of course, there are a lot of business principles, but just on the online, or the e commerce aspect, I'm curious, what sticks out to you is notable lessons you've learned along the way that still remain true in the brave new world we live in now. I put you on the spot. So no pressure?

Michael Nemeroff 21:32
Yeah. So. So I was I was talking to a friend last week about entrepreneurship. And it's, you know, are you talking about just the dynamic of like, the online space or entrepreneurship? Or were you talking about?

John Meese 21:47
Well, I'm curious about both. So why don't you just go with whatever comes to mind first, and we'll go from there.

Michael Nemeroff 21:52
Yeah, look, this business has been more than half my life. So this is my, you know, this is really my real business experience. I started making money when I was 13/14. But I worked for myself by myself. Today, you know, as an entrepreneur, and in all those cases, I mean, I guess, I always wanted and, and this this soap, I always want as much information as I can get, and I want to make the final decision. And yet, you know, as an entrepreneur, you have to be really open minded to, you know, something that could work at a carwash could work in your business, you like something that works when you go fishing could work in your business. So you have to be very creative as an entrepreneur, especially when the road isn't clearly paved in your industry, or you feel like it could be done much better. So as I said, like, when I got into this business, it was, it was a very, it was a very localized business. It was a back of the line business, meaning like, if you wanted an order, you probably were a restaurant that could go to the shop locally. And if you wanted it tomorrow, it's kind of too bad. You get it, you're in the back of the line you get in two weeks. So, you know, when we started, it was very, it was difficult because we went online, it was no longer localized. And then the request came in is, I need it by Friday, and it's Tuesday. And I'm like, and then I'm in California, they would say and I'm like, Okay, well, I'm in Philadelphia. So I don't know how I'm going to do that. But I'm gonna figure it out. So you have to be very flexible as an entrepreneur. Because you don't you know, the way that you think about the business when you start. It definitely isn't how it lines up like 99% of the time. So you have to be very flexible, dynamic, creative, resourceful, open minded, humble. And you just have to you have to wake up every day and work very, very hard. That's what I would. I don't know if that answers your question.

John Meese 23:41
No, that's phenomenal. I love that. So have you ever had a job?

Michael Nemeroff 23:45
Yeah, I did, I worked at Hollister for a day.

John Meese 23:51
You worked at Hollister for a day.

Michael Nemeroff 23:53
I thought it was gonna be fun. When I was making money, aas a 15 year old kid, I thought it was gonna be fun that summer, but the manager wouldn't let me sit down for a break, and I quit.

Unknown Speaker 24:06
So you have been employeed, you're not completely unemployable. You lasted most of the day?

Michael Nemeroff 24:10
So I didn't get a check. So I don't know if it even counst.

John Meese 24:13
Oh, you didn't get a check. Oh, not sure that's legal. But Oh, well. Yes. Yeah, that's interesting. So building your team. I mean, like, you know, that's a huge deal. I mean, like to getting into manufacturing to get into software development, web development, building a team building, you know, having a warehouse cost of goods. I mean, obviously, you can do all these things at once, like, you know, from that from that kid in a room with a computer to now, a lot of things transpired. But what do you think was the first moment when I'm asking you to go back in time now a little bit, when you realize that this was going to be a big thing, not just kind of like, you know, I don't want to call it a hobby because you're making money from it from the start, but I mean, when it wasn't just when you. When was the first point we realized this wasn't just like something for you and your family to do to pay the bills, you know, or to keep your or to keep your dad, you know, in a stable position. I mean, when was the first time you realize that this had the potential to become a massive enterprise.

Michael Nemeroff 25:13
So we definitely didn't start with any intent. To make it very large. Obviously, we just wanted to pay the bills, as you said, for three years. You know, even though we were making money on an order by order basis, we weren't making money as a business for the first three years. And I was actually really, really confused by it. Because I was very tight with costs, I was very tight with selling, I was very tight with conversion rate on calls. But at the end of year three, we hadn't made like, we might have made $10,000, after year three, and we were working as much as a human possibly could, because it was for our survival. Nothing else mattered. And, you know, basically, the family mission was to save the family, from financial uncertainty, not setting those words. That

John Meese 25:56
Right, what did you have, like a mission statement, if you had a mission statement, that was it.

Michael Nemeroff 26:00
That was it. And it was like, it was even to the point where, you know, my parents use to buy, like, brand name, every every everything was brand name up until they started having financial issues. Like, I remember, I was controlling all costs in the house, and I was 17. And I was like, you're not buying Tropicana orange juice anymore. I'm sorry, I do just not doing it. You're buying minute made, or whatever it is, I even got a call from my dad's friend who said, you better buy your parents Tropicana orange juice, and I got a call. Yeah, that was so tight. Like, that's how tight I was. And I said, I'm absolutely not doing that. I was having fights with adults. And but then I brought in an accountant, because I thought I had an accounting issue. And he said, everything's good. But your costs are just enough. Like you're just covering costs, you have a revenue issue. So that's when we became more open minded. And I actually said at this point to Jordan, if this isn't working, like the next few months, I'm done. This isn't worth it. Literally, it was all our time. And by the way, when you're working in the T shirt business, it is very, very hot. It's like 400 towards a degree dryer. So it's 110 degrees in the warehouse. So from there, we made we took another risk in, in marketing, which was to go from yellowpages.com, which we retained. And then we added superpages.com. And that was actually a bigger website back then in 2005. And yellowpages.com. Was, and from there, within two weeks of launching your superpages.com campaign, we became we went from a $30,000 a month business to a $200,000 month business.

John Meese 27:29
Wow, it was it was just something different about how you approach the campaign. It was just it was a different audience.

Michael Nemeroff 27:34
It was just more traffic with people who wanted to buy. And that. And that's when I realized that from here on out marketing will drive the business for not efficiency, because efficiency is what we focused on. I mean, we as the kids and my parents, we worked for free, and we still couldn't make a profit, the only time we can make a profit when we had enough revenue.

John Meese 27:57
Hmm, that's an important lesson. So let me just restate that if I could. So what you're just saying is that you focus on efficiency for three years, trying to make sure the margins were right on each product, trying to make sure that the conversion rates were right on each sale. But at the end of the day, it wasn't working. It wasn't adding up because and the reality was it came down to the top of the funnel, there wasn't enough. There weren't enough customers coming in, there wasn't enough revenue to the efficiency didn't matter. Because if you're looking at efficiency on a percentage basis, but it's a percentage of a small pie, then That only leaves a few crumbs. But yeah. So do you think that what does that mean that I just want to kind of entertain that thought for a second? The flip side of that, does that mean that by increasing revenue so dramatically? I mean, you know, what's that, you know, almost 10x-ing it and, you know, on a monthly basis? Does that mean? Do you feel like you lost some efficiency along the way?

Michael Nemeroff 28:48

John Meese 28:49
Absolutely. But it was worth it. Yeah.

Michael Nemeroff 28:52
Control. And we were making promises, we couldn't keep that.

John Meese 28:57
Is that let me just clarify that quick? Is that something you recommend?

Michael Nemeroff 29:02
In early stages to grow? I would recommend it Yeah. Because you know, the the most important thing is selling, and then figuring out that you actually have a business, you can talk to customers, and if you're reasonable, everyone will work with you. But if you know if you're always too afraid to be successful, because you're afraid to sell too much, you may never be so

John Meese 29:23
That's interesting. That's that step that I like how you frame that. I mean, that's definitely something I think it's a surprising conclusion to come to, to me, from my perspective, was good. So now, you know, your family's mission statement, right, at some point have changed, you know, at some point, you know, at some point, you guys realize whether it was one of you or all of you, you looked around and realized, wait a second, we're not just fighting for the next meal or the next mortgage payment. I know that a lot of entrepreneurs really struggle with that transition. So I wonder if you could speak to that a little bit in terms of if you can speak to kind of what psychologically was going on for you, your family during that transition, but a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with that transition from like, you know, hustle, hustle, feed the family to realizing it, at what point they can kind of take a deep breath. Now, I don't know, I don't mean like, stop working. But I mean, like you mentioned, your parents are retired now. So I'm wondering, could you speak to that in terms of what that experience was like?

Michael Nemeroff 30:15
Yeah, that you're right. That's been really hard for me, any everyone in the family, to be honest with you? My, I mean, I remember when, like, like, I was so tight with everything costs, personal costs, where we live, like I literally dictated, I literally tried to control as much as we didn't get off track again, because, you know, my understanding of life through watching my parents was, you can make money, but you'll eventually lose it. Because they went from like, really high highs and really low lows very, very quickly. So I was so afraid of that free becoming reality for us again, because I didn't know how

John Meese 30:51
You just assumed it's gonna happen at some point.

Michael Nemeroff 30:53
I just thought that's how life goes. What I didn't realize is that, you know, I learned we learned, you know, so much from my parents as business people. And I think, you know, obviously, it was to our detriment initially, but it was to our benefit long term in terms of entrepreneurship and how to run a business and de risk it because we watched and we were, we watch what they did. And we learned so much from their failures, as entrepreneurs as being, you know, the kids of entrepreneurs. So it took a long time to get out of survival mode. And one last concept that I almost, I still have trouble with today is, you don't think your business is going to go from where it is. And like, died slowly. Or at least I don't as an entrepreneur, I feel like it goes from where it is down to zero, like in a day. So that's always been a fear of mine, too. So for that reason, you all, you know, I've always put everything I could into the business. So getting out of survival mode has been difficult.

John Meese 31:50
Okay, dropout thing, it sounds like that's a concept that's still that you're still wrestling with of like, what does the when do you know, your business? I mean, is that something you still fear? Is that kind of waking up? And just everything being gone?

Michael Nemeroff 32:03
Yeah, just from when I was a kid, it's not logical. It's just emotional. And it's a remnant of my past. But now today, that would never happen. And I think you know, what, when the business is you when you leave the business yourself, and you know that the business will not survive, that I get, that's when I feared it the most. Because if I didn't show up for a week, maybe two weeks, I don't know what the business would look like. And that's not happening maybe five years ago. Okay. Yeah. So that's when I really started feeling more freedom today. I feel I don't think about it that much. But you know, back to my mind,

John Meese 32:37
you go order some t shirts every once a while just to make sure the button still works.

Michael Nemeroff 32:40
Yeha, I check it all the time.

John Meese 32:42
So at this point, do you know, at this point, are you involved in the day to day operations of the business?

Michael Nemeroff 32:48
Not not the day to day in, like in departments? Yeah, I help just guide the business and certain, you know, creative thoughts and innovations in the business.

John Meese 32:59
Sure. But if you just like disappeared for a week, or, you know, took a month off, or something like that the business would still continue operating.

Michael Nemeroff 33:06
I have a lot of close relationships built over the past 10 or so years, and yeah, the business would be in perfect shape.

John Meese 33:14
That's great. That's good. Well, Michael, thank you so much for sharing so much of the story. I mean, it's it's a, it's a hard, there's a lot of hard pieces of the story. And so I appreciate you sharing that. And I think that I hope that I hope that I'm talking to you listening to this podcast right now, I hope that you listening to this interview right now we'll see some of your, your own story and Michael's story and the fact that there are pieces here that are unique. And there are pieces here that are that show up time and time again, and every entrepreneur I talked to and so just be encouraged by that know that. And Michael, you're an example of you know, someone who's, I mean, I hate to say you've made it right, like, I mean, you're still work, you're still growing this business, you're still working at it, but you have stepped outside of that scarcity, you know, starvation mindset of like, how do I just get food in the fridge? And how do I add that's, you know, that's it, that's a huge accomplishment. And that takes an immense amount of work, and relationships and people, you know, it's like, it's not just, it's not just work as in like, checking off boxes, it's, you know, really developing relationships with the right people on the inside on the outside, making the world a better place. So well done.

Michael Nemeroff 34:15
Thank you. Thanks, John.

John Meese 34:16
Michael. Where can we go to learn more about you your story, your company?

Michael Nemeroff 34:21
Sure. So if you need custom t shirts, you know, quickly or even yesterday, just go to rushordertees.com.

John Meese 34:28
Is yesterday, an option on the delivery settings?

Michael Nemeroff 34:31
I can make that happen.

John Meese 34:32
You can make that happen. That's great. That's good to know. Excellent. What about you, Michael? Do you I mean, I appreciate your being doing this interview. Do you yourself kind of like create content or do anything else online outside of Rush Order Tee's?

Michael Nemeroff 34:44
No, I don't have I don't go social yet. But looking to the near future.

Well, I hear MySpace is still around. So. Yeah. So well, Michael, I appreciate your time and attention and joining us for this conversation and This has been been really good and please keep up the good work.

Thank you, John. Thanks for having me.

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John Meese is the author of the #1 bestseller Survive and Thrive: How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One). An entrepreneur himself, John is on a mission to eradicate generational poverty by equipping entrepreneurs with the tools and training they need to build thriving businesses from scratch. He is the CEO of Cowork.Inc, co-founder of Notable, and host of the Thrive School podcast.

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