Build Your Business:

Decorated-Apparel Business FUNdamentals—why FUN?

Successful screen-printing, heat-press and embroidery entrepreneurs don’t just go into business to make money, but for the satisfaction of a life well lived and a job well done

By Aaron Montgomery, Contributing Writer

Over the years, decorated-apparel author and business coach Aaron Montgomery has helped countless aspiring entrepreneurs realize their dreams. Photo by Aaron Montgomery

March 29, 2024

In his book, “The FUNdamentals of Business Success,” veteran decorator, business coach, CEO of the Our Success Group business consultancy group ( and co-host of the “2 Regular Guys” podcast, Aaron Montgomery has a lot to say about the nuts and bolts of growing your own business. Equally important, though, is the enthusiasm Montgomery brings to his subject, an enthusiasm that is inspiring, contagious and immediately evident in the following excerpt from the book’s introduction. Enjoy!

Principles, guiding values, guardrails, philosophies, beliefs and standards are excellent, but “fundamental” includes the word “fun.” Think back on all of your most significant memories of when you felt successful. There was an element of fun in it. I know that is the case for me. I think we can all agree that gaining success, having won and celebrating achievements are fun. I believe the flow of that energy is the opposite of what we might think. The counterintuitive idea I subscribe to is that when we have more fun and love what we do, we will have more success.

Cover FUNdamentals of Business Success decorated apparel industryBut fun can be hard to come by, especially in business. It’s business, not pleasure, after all is how society wants to frame it. Is it fun to put your nose to the grindstone? It’s serious, it’s our livelihood, but can it be fun?

In fact, fun has been scientifically proven to create more success, and therefore I want to make sure that I center this book around FUN. Fun reduces stress, and that reduced stress leads to improved memory and concentration. Fun activities also open up our minds and “activate the brain’s dopamine reward system, stimulating goal-oriented motivation and long-term memory,” according to Edutopia, part of the George Lucas Educational Foundation. The other thing about fun, it inspires action. Ninety-nine percent of the challenges I have faced and 99 percent of the difficulties I have supported others in overcoming are created by a lack of effort. The challenges occurred because we didn’t take enough action. Therefore, there was not enough feedback to learn what we needed to do next. But when we are having fun, we are attracted to the fun. The only way to have more fun is to take action. Reminding yourself that what you are doing is fun and what you are doing is worthwhile, this will lead to your idea of success, will make you happier, and you will do better work.

When you take 100 percent responsibility and own your empowerment and add in positivity/joy/fun and your life goals, you are fulfilling what you are meant to do. You live fully and put energy toward your business that brings you value and provides value to the world and universe. When you don’t have fun doing something, you end up compartmentalizing your life. Many people go back and get a J.O.B. (Just Over Broke). If you do, you are not fulfilling what you are meant to do, therefore providing no value and not getting any value in return.

Then there is the flip side of the coin—the HUSTLE movement. You work yourself silly, forsaking everything else in your life to become a success. I’m not a fan of the Hustle mindset. We have to find a balance in life to be truly successful, and while I know success is about working in the cycles needed to get where you want to go, hustle isn’t fun to me. The dictionary definition is “forcing someone to move hurriedly or unceremoniously in a specified direction.” Another is “a fraud or swindle.” To me, hustle is something I do when I’m doing something I have to do but dislike. I want to have passion and that feeling of not working a day in my life.

Therefore, I decided the middle ground between mind-numbing aimless wandering and excessive hustle was FUN. The FUNdamentals are what we all need to put in place as a foundation for our business, so we have a fulfilling and successful life. These same FUNdamentals work in our personal lives, community, family and friends, and even our creative and spiritual life.

Better Business Mindset/Prerequisites

When becoming an entrepreneur, you get the ability to make as much money as you want, work the hours you want and make the rules. That ability also comes with the responsibility to work the hours needed, do the required things outside of your comfort zone, and be willing to take risks and accept failures as a learning experience, then get back up and do it again. But this time, you get back up with more knowledge and a different perspective due to what you learned from the failure. You are also responsible for rallying your network of resources (everything and everyone) to support you and see your vision. Then once you have the vision shared, processes implemented, reviewable metrics set and measured, and the machine that is your business working, you have earned the privileges of reaping the fruits of money, time and influence. The entrepreneurial mindset includes at minimum these five ways of thinking:

Entrepreneurs make decisions quickly. When an idea pops up they run with it. Noting whatever the outcome, it is a win for them. They don’t overthink because it leads to missed opportunities.

Montgomery (at left) live broadcasting his “2 Regular Guys” podcast with partner Erich Campbell at last year’s Impressions Expo Fort Worth. Photo courtesy of Impressions Expo

Entrepreneurs create opportunities by what they say no and yes to. They say, no, when needed so they can say, yes, to what really matters. They don’t let fear of missing out lead them to try to be everything to everyone.

Entrepreneurs thrive in risk/challenges as they believe it is necessary for growth. Fear is just a yield sign.

Entrepreneurs work smarter. Yes they work and then drive and move forward with passion, but it’s not for the sake of working hard, it is to build momentum and let that carry them.

Entrepreneurs believe in prioritizing. They realize they don’t have a time management problem, but a priority management problem, so they move toward making sure their FUNdamentals tell them what their priorities should be.

Being around small businesses my entire life, I knew these mindsets existed, but I really had no language to put to them or ways to share them. Fortunately for me, I gained the language and tools to share this mindset due to my mentor, Jack Canfield. Through his book “The Success Principles” and the subsequent training programs I have been through, I have learned that success is about mindset. It is so simple that it is hard to wrap our brains around, because it all seems counterintuitive. We think, “There is no way that success is this simple.” But the reality is, even though it is simple, it is not easy. It requires all of the 13 FUNdamentals (discussed in my book) with consistent and persistent action to get there. Then even when you get there, you might realize there is more. But once you flip the script from being about the destination and understanding it is just about the process, you will find your idea of success. That is the great part about changing your mindset, you no longer “have to” do these things, you instead “get to” do these things. Mr. Canfield has taught me that the destination is only a reference point and that a successful life and, in the case of this book, a successful business has more to do about the journey. When the journey becomes second nature, when the path is more accessible and clear of obstacles is when you find your money tree.

To have this successful mindset, we must get over our limiting beliefs and all of the ways we’ve been programmed throughout our life. We must be willing to play full out, be open to things that some people might consider “woo-woo” and be ready to look at our challenges and successes from a new perspective. Without that willingness, business success is not possible. We have to remove the words “I can’t” from our vocabulary and get from blaming, complaining, excuse-making and excessive commiserating to finding solutions as quickly as possible. As humans, our nature is to find all of the problems, dangers and scary stuff. To be successful modern-day business owners we have to empower ourselves by being solution machines instead.

Another concept that is a prerequisite to being a successful business owner is being true to yourself. You have all the responsibilities, so don’t give your power away and try to be something for someone else and only be saddled with their burden. Like me, you need to become a recovering people pleaser. You should enjoy the freedom that comes along with being a business owner.

Finally, with that idea of being true to your core values, you must understand the difference between holding onto a belief, or way of being, and a core value. Business owners often get stuck moving to the next level because a belief keeps them from showing up as their best selves. Take, for example, excessive cursing. Cursing is just for effect, and saying “I curse” is a value is false. Your value is being able to say what you want and speak your mind effectively. But is cursing required in all circumstances? No, so it is not a value. Same with the way we dress, act and more. Those are not values. They may be effects or ways to express some values, but your values always serve you in all cases, and we need to lead with those, NOT outdated beliefs.

So, before you begin, do we have an agreement?  Are you are willing to play full out? Are you are eager to be true to yourself and your core values? Agreed? Awesome, let’s dive in!

In addition to being active in the decorated-apparel industry since 2000, Aaron Montgomery has been supporting small business for nearly three decades. To learn more about “The FUNdamentals of Business Success” or purchase a copy, go to