Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in printing and design but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kyle Perkins, Franchise Owner of Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More of Raleigh-North, located in Raleigh, NC, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Big Frog is your local company to help solve your branding problems by providing value to your name and culture. Our customers range from youth and students who need garments for their class trips and teams to small companies who require professionally branded apparel and families who enjoy celebrating the holidays and festivities. Our custom garment decoration service can provide one garment up to as many as needed - and not just garments: t-shirts, hats, polos, towels, coozies, tote bags...just about anything soft and squishy!

Tell us about yourself

After running a web development business for about eight years, one of the biggest lessons I learned was to "Work ON the business, not IN the business." After winding down that business and getting some more work experience, I was presented with the idea of "Custom Garment Decoration Services." At first, I declined, as I thought that the idea of a "physical store that made t-shirts" was never going to work - but I have been proven wrong. My approach to this business was twofold: 1) to go into a field that I knew nothing about (so I wouldn't take it over and micro-manage), and 2) to be able to work ON the business, not IN it. Every plan and action step I have made has been to uphold those two values, so I hire and train employees who can take care of most of the daily actions while I focus on business operations, strategy, marketing, and making connections to help establish Big Frog as a leader in the community.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment was winning the "Rally Frog" award from our Franchise group last year. The Rally Frog is given to a store that saw the largest success Year-over-year in comparison. In 2020, we had a -4% difference from 2019 sales, and in 2021, we jumped 85%! I was very surprised when the franchise group awarded us this, and I could not have done it without my team in place.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

While I went to college and learned Entrepreneurship (aka: how to Start a business), nobody really tells you how to RUN a business. As a business owner, you constantly wear multiple hats and must take on and do things that you may not like in order to keep the lights on. Eventually, through lots of trial and error, it is possible to learn what the "right" things are, but those resources don't come easily (although a lot are free).

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

If someone were to start a business today, I'd give them the following advice:

  1. Don't make your hobby your job - unless you really, really enjoy what you do; making it a job will suck the fun out of your hobby.
  2. Don't expect to do/maintain everything - hire employees and let them do their jobs. Outsource common/repeatable tasks. See what can be automated.
  3. While you may be the face of your business, don't forget to grow it. Work on the business, not in it.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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