It’s that time of year when special events abound – weddings, graduations, baby showers, and bar mitzvahs. With those events comes a tedious but necessary obligation: thank you notes! Taryn Singer has created WithThanks, a business that lets busy people outsource the task of thank you notes following special events. Singer says WithThanks is a one-stop shop for thank you notes; the business handles creating the note content, handwriting it, addressing envelopes, stamping them, and mailing them out.
Why did you start the company?
I was a lawyer for 9 years, a corporate attorney. I was very dissatisfied with my work life, where I was working, and whom I was working under. I knew I wanted to make a career change. I left my job and I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a year. I bumbled around for a year and tried things out. I had this idea that people don’t like writing thank you notes, so there should be a service that does it for them. I looked it up online and researched it. I found that there wasn’t a service that actually created the content and wrote the notes for you. So, I started my business.
How did you fund the business at the start?
I used my personal money that I’d earned from working as a lawyer. This is a business with no overhead. I don’t need a storefront or materials other than pens. The only money I’ve really spent has been on legal in terms of trademarking my name and protecting myself with client contracts. I’ve also spent some money on marketing.
How do you manage cash flow?
I’m very conscious of cash flow. I have a business account that I monitor continuously. At this point, I’ve stopped spending money on marketing because I wasn’t sure if it was really working. So, the cash flow out is pretty minimal.
What’s the most challenging thing about running the business?
Getting people to find out about it. It’s such a niche business, it’s hard to communicate exactly what I do without spending a ton of money. I’m trying to make more than I’m spending, and advertising is very expensive.
What’s the most rewarding thing about running the business?
I love running the business. I love the fact that I have to figure everything out on my own. I like that I can make my own schedule and I’m in control of everything. I like being able to have a say in things, which I didn’t at my old job. It’s my baby, and I can mold it as I choose.
What’s the biggest mistake you made when you were starting out?
I partnered with someone because I thought social media was a great way to get clients because everything is on social media these days. I partnered with one of those sites where they offer deals. The price was pretty high, but I thought it would be a great way to get business. It really didn’t provide the return on investment I was hoping. It ended up being a pretty big blow in terms of cash. From then on, I learned that I need to partner with smaller brands with a more reasonable price point to get the results I’m looking for.
What’s the smartest thing you did when you were starting out?
Before I started the business, I did a trial run with my friend’s sister to see if this could actually work. I think that really helped me figure out exactly what worked, what didn’t work, and how to go about getting information the next time a client approaches me. It helped me suss everything out. It was completely for free and it was a lot of work, but I needed that space to get me started.
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
Go for it. You learn so much along the way. It feels overwhelming at first, but everyone who’s started a business has been in that position. The more you learn, the more confident you get. The more confident you get, the easier it gets.
What’s next for With Thanks?
I’m trying to get more clients. Once I get a client, it seems to be a repeat customer, which is good. I am attracting more customers, which I’m excited about!
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