About Tyler Mills
Tyler Mills and his wife. Lauren Mills started what was once just a little side hustle doing do-it-yourself (DIY) hand-painted wood signs. They would customize them to whoever was ordering them, from wood to color to font, and everything in between.
Now, Tyler and Lauren have grown this business and are doing custom wood painting parties! They started Scrap Mills in 2015 with a dream to quit their day job for freedom and to spend time with their children. Last year, Lauren Mills was able to quit her day job to do it full-time!
Finding Your Ideal Customer
Finding your ideal customer in your side hustle will be a major key to your success. In the case of Tyler Mills, his wife was the ideal customer! This made decisions easier. If your side hustles ideal customer is not yourself, you will have to do some digging! Another great option is to survey an audience.
Here are some of the questions Tyler asks himself when trying to find his ideal customer:
- Do they have kids? If so, how many?
- What are your values and beliefs?
- Where do you spend your time?
- Are you a price conscious consumer?
- Do you go out of your way to find a local vendor?
Finding Your Niche
Finding their niche in the wood sign industry was important for them to succeed. If you just do a Google search for “Custom Wood Signs”, there are tons of results. If they offered all different signs, they would have trouble breaking through the barriers for all kinds of places.
In the custom wood signs, some niches are:
- Vinyl wood signs
- Scrap wood painted signs
- Metal signs
- Stencil signs
And the list goes on!
They decided to go with the hand-painted look, which meant that no one was able to copy them because it was their style!
How did you come up with the idea of creating custom wood signs?
Lauren and Tyler Mills have always been side hustling people! Tyler has dabbled in a ton of different side hustles outside of his full-time job. Instead of watching TV in their free time, they used it to make money.
The idea for Scrap Mills came from Lauren when she kept asking for all these signs, and Tyler would end up making them himself. After a while, Lauren pushed Tyler to think of a way they could start offering the signs to other people! From that day, they put their head down and got to work!
Advice on Side Hustling from Tyler Mills
Tyler has always prioritized his time and not underestimated what he is capable of. Tyler had the Gary Vee mindset of spending your afternoons, evenings, and weekends working on a side hustle so you don’t have to work later in life.
Tyler is still side hustling and has a full-time job working 40 hours a week. He’s tried multiple side hustles and some have failed, but more have succeeded. Tyler mentions that some people will underestimate what they can achieve and fear they will lose out on important life events, so they choose not to start a side hustle.
Tyler has experienced that when you add more to your plate, you are forced to prioritize and focus on the best task for you.
What have you learned from trial and error with your side hustles?
Finding something you’re passionate about and that you enjoy will make your life happy or miserable, regardless of how much money you make. You don’t want to start a business just for the money, only to realize that you are not happy and have some extra money coming in.
Finding a side hustle you’re passionate about will fast-track your success as well. It is easy to get hooked up into a side hustle like an MLM, where there are promises of money to be made.
Tyler Mills on Failure
When Tyler Mills was first married, he told his wife that one of his goals would be to write a book. As an avid reader, he thought it would be cool to be an author at some point in his life! Tyler set his eyes on the goal and got it done! Tyler knew it wasn’t going to take off and make him a best-selling author, but to most people, failure would be monetary.
Despite not making a lot of revenue from the book, he got it done and is happy with the product he created.
Why did you fail?
Tyler Mills believed he failed with his book because he didn’t have a passion for it. The passion wasn’t in having people what he wrote, but rather the writing itself. As a result of that, he didn’t do much marketing or effort after he wrote it.
How can someone find their passion?
Finding your passion can be a long journey of self-discovery. For Tyler, it has been two things, social media accounts you follow and books that you read! If you already follow certain topics, personalities, or companies on social media, you enjoy that content. Dive deeper into those industries and see if there is something you’re hyper passionate about.
Reading books on different topics is a great way to find out if you’re passionate about a topic. You will find out real fast if you are passionate too. You either put the book down and dread finishing it or want to get it done as soon as you can.
What were some of the challenges of doing custom paint signs?
When Tyler Mills started out, they didn’t have any process or consistency with the products. They didn’t want to put hundreds of thousands of dollars into the business to get molds and stencils to make every product the same quality. Another big factor was that when they started out, they were using old pallets found at the back of warehouses. With that, quality differed all the time!
Once they had some amount of sales coming in, they were able to buy wood to make sure the consistency would be the same for all customers.
Working with a spouse
Another challenge Lauren and Tyler Mills had at the beginning was working together as a spouse. It is very hard to separate life and business when you are doing both at the same time. The truth is, sometimes you have to do that!
Lauren and Tyler Mills overcame these challenges by setting up clear defined roles and objectives each of them would have, and a process for everything. This left little to no room for grey areas or for work overlap.
How do you plan for scale?
Planning for scale is tough as a side hustler because most of the time, you are focused on just getting your orders done. The easiest thing you can do is get your iPhone camera and record the entire process of whatever it is you’re doing.
Later on, you can go back, add a manuscript and edit it to make it easier. If you have an easy-to-follow video, most freelancers or employees you hire could follow along and pick up where you left off.
Do this before you get busy because when you get busy, this is the last thing you’re going to want to do!
Where can you go to sell your DIY products?
Finding a customer or client in your side hustle can be the most challenging part of your business. Most people would love to fulfill orders all day, but can’t find the customers to sell to. In the do-it-yourself niche, you do have a little advantage of finding customers!
There is a huge niche of people making handmade items and selling them on Etsy! In episode 75 of The Hobby Hustler Show, Jessica Dollar shared her success using Etsy for her side hustle!
Etsy is a DIY marketplace where thousands of buyers are searching for items every day. If you plan on selling on Etsy, make sure to look at competitors and understand how to optimize your listing correctly. This will ensure the most amount of impressions on your listing.
Facebook & Instagram
Most people are too scared or forget to approach their friends and family on social media. They don’t let people know what they are up to, and because of that, miss out on easy sales. You can post on your social media in a non-sales way what you’re up to and how people can support you.
Within the Facebook platform, you can also look at Facebook Marketplace, another great marketplace where thousands of buyers are looking for items every day.
Tyler Mills #1 Tip For Side Hustlers Just Starting Out
Don’t underestimate what you’re able to do. Don’t look at something and say “I would love to do that but I just don’t have the time or knowledge”. Tyler has a 40-hour/week job with 4 children and manages to find time for his side hustle!
Where to connect with Lauren and Tyler Mills
Facebook and Instagram @ScrapMills
You can also go to paintpartyblueprint.com to learn how to start a hand-painted wood sign paint party business.
For more information, please visit Scrap Mills.