High Fives and Gratitude

High Fives and Gratitude

This article is all about Gratitude, with a capital “G”.


That’s right. I want to give you a big High Five and Thank You for reading my blog posts, eBooks, and talking to me about your shop.

In December of 2010, I started Atkinson Consulting, and it has been a primarily a side-hustle thing for me since then.  Only this year did I take a leap of faith and start coaching full time.

Simply put, it’s been a great year. While I can’t name everyone, I do want to roll out some key points of appreciation to those that really stood out.

Gratitude For My Support Team

Family – Jody and Jack

Family comes first, and I’d like to say thank you to my awesome wife Jody and my son Jack.

They are my biggest cheerleaders, and no victory is complete without including them. Jody is always thinking of me, and she makes my life easier is innumerable ways. She’s my best friend and I couldn’t do anything without her strength.

Jack is a freshman in high school, (I know, holy cow time goes by quickly), and makes it all worthwhile. Proud Dad here.


Tim Atkinson

My younger brother, and someone I’ve been talking things through with my entire life. Tim always has been a great sounding board. He encouraged me early on with the development of Shirt Lab, and probably another million things this year.

Thanks, Tim!

Mark Coudray

Late last year I called Mark Coudray and he helped me get my thinking straight and how to organize my thoughts for going out on my own. Many times I have ended a conversation with him and thought how extremely lucky I am to have him in my corner.

He drills down to the DNA of problems very quickly and offers solid counsel that always not only makes sense but delivers pragmatic solutions.

I’m happy to be a part of his Catalyst Accelerator program and constantly learn at the feet of the Yoda of our industry. I couldn’t ask for a better mentor.

Thanks, Mark!

All of My eBook Customers

This year I wrote four eBooks, and have been thrilled at how quickly they took off.

Top 10 Workflow Tips

Shop Basic Info Pack

Price for Profit

T-shirt Texture Tips

While a lion’s share of the eBooks have been downloaded and purchased by fellow Americans, many books have been enjoyed by shop owners in the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Nigeria, Philippines, Ghana, Israel, Trinidad and Tobago, New Zealand, Sweden, Egypt, Mexico, Argentina, Slovenia, Czech Republic, and even China.

It’s really amazing to hear from shop owners or managers how my eBooks have made an impact on how they run their shops.

So if that’s you…thanks! Glad I could help.

Shout Out to My Coaching Clients

If you know me you know how I like helping people. At one point in my life, I wanted to teach high school art, so I think it is natural that at this stage in my career I’m working with people again.

Some of my coaching clients I only speak with once a month, while others it’s every week. These companies aren’t limited to American businesses either, as a few are in other countries. All of them have made great progress this year and I’m thrilled to be part of their growth.

These days, about once or twice a month I’m on an airplane going to someone’s shop to help with their workflow, processes, and systems. It is so rewarding to help solve challenges and be a part of positive change.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to help these shops succeed. Thanks!

Shirt Lab – The New Future

One of my happiest moments came this year after the conclusion of our first Shirt Lab. I was with my business partner, Tom Rauen and we were absolutely exhausted.

I felt like I had just won the Super Bowl. It was such a great feeling, knowing that an idea that was developed over a conversation at an industry breakfast had grown and blossomed into a business that could make a meaningful impact on the industry.

Tom is such a great business partner, and we’re busy planning the four Shirt Lab events for 2019. I’m very thankful that we had such an incredible slate of industry mega-minds to help us teach at our workshop, amazing sponsors to support us financially, and a sell-out crowd of shop owners that were hungry for the sales and marketing lessons that we produced.

Plus, a big shout out to all of our Shirt Lab Answer Series podcast guests, and the shop owners who sent in their sales and marketing questions that make our show special. (Got one of your own? Send it in here!)

Podcasts You Might Enjoy

Tom & Marshall Launch Shirt Lab

Roger Burnett on Target Marketing and Managing Sales Teams

Mark Coudray on Stop Losing Money With Your Pricing

Ken Seidl on Using Samples to Sell and Speeding Up the Sales Cycle

Ryan Moor on Difference Between CSR and Inside Sales and Marketing Momentum

Dan Carr on Facebook Funnels and SEO Marketing Tips

Jay Busselle on How Art Affects Sales and Putting Pricing on Your Website

Bill Petrie on Salesperson Compensation and One Person Biz Marketing

Chris Bernat on Top 5 KPIs and Multiple Price Lists

Brett Bowden on Staffing for Growth and Lowballing for Work

Aaron Montgomery on Finding Customers and Getting Whale Accounts

Nate Leber on Time Management and Local Marketing Tips

Facebook Live in Columbus

Erich Campbell on Small Shop Marketing and Procrastination

Ray Markey on Critical Art Department Training

Mike Chong on Marketing Presentation Styles and Marketing Dollars

More to come next year, so thank you very much for making our Shirt Lab idea come true!

Industry Magazines – Thanks!

Trade publications gave me the high honor of presenting my ideas and thoughts to everyone. Below is a breakdown of articles I penned for these institutions. If you read them, thanks! Maybe you missed one or two, so here’s a good list to catch up.

Screen Printing Magazine

I have my own column in Screen Printing Magazine called “The Marshall Plan”. It has been fun to write, and I’m happy to contribute to every issue!

Shop Management 101: Tactical Use of Time

Sustainability Starts with Action

Mid-Year Check In

Finding The Right E-Commerce Sales Strategy

Impressions Magazine

This year I put together a series for Impressions on workflow. Each department in a shop was featured in an article with some best practice tips. Check them out below.

Speeding Up Order Entry

Pushing The Pedal In Purchasing

Cultivating The Cutting Edge

Accelerating The Art Department

Optimizing Screen Room Workflow

The Ticking Clock

Score More With Shipping

I also wrote these articles for Impressions on some different topics.

Living The Print Life

The Profit First Wave: Part 1

and The Profit First Wave: Part 2

Images Magazine UK

I have a great relationship with Images. I’m happy to contribute to their publications, and here are some links from this year:

Crystal Ball Gazing

Turbocharge Your Press Workflow

2018 ISS Long Beach Show Review

ThreadX – A Mind Blowing Experience

T-Shirts Don’t Care Who Prints Them

Training: The Rule of 3

Screens: The Biggest Issue In Your Shop – Part 1

and Screens: The Biggest Issue In Your Shop – Part 2

Employee Ghosting

How to Develop a Sustainable Garment Decorating Business

SGIA Journal – Garment Edition

I’m a big supporter of SGIA and their mission in making everyone stronger. Here’s an article I wrote for them this year. Note: you need to be an SGIA member to access it.

The Need for Turn Time Speed

Printwear Magazine

Jeanene Edwards with Fruit of the Loom / Jerzees put together this interview with me for Printwear. (BTW, look for more collaborations with her and the FOTL/Jerzees team next year)

Making Friends with Competitors: Collaboration and Community with Marshall Atkinson


Gotta give them a special note, as I’ve been writing blog articles for them and also produce The Big Idea podcast too.  In case you missed these blog articles, here are some that you might want to read:

The Secret to Writing An Effective Business Plan

Lean and Clean – Get Your Shop Organized The Right Way

The Secret of Sprints

Tribalism: Branding with Interaction

How to Train Your Customer for More Sales

Shop Tech You Can Use

The Magic of “New and Improved”

How to Hire the Best Employees

Build The Airplane While Flying

Shift From Being Busy to Being Effective

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Solving Customer’s Pain Points Drive New Opportunities

Perfect Production Symphony Needs a Conductor

How to Proactively Plan for Sales and Marketing

6 Secrets to Prospecting and Lead Generation

Close That Deal Now

Nuts and Bolts of Customer Retention

The Power of Story in Marketing

Top 5 Marketing Tips for Your Shop

Marketing with Stories That Resonate

3 Tips on Aligning Values with Customers

I’m really proud to host The Big Idea for InkSoft. I’ve tried to cover and get some great guests and different ideas out there with this podcast.

When I go to trade shows or talk to shop owners for the first time, many have thanked me for this series or even one particular show. Feedback like that helps, as it adds more mojo to my tank when I’m working on this stuff.

Podcasts You Might Enjoy

Apparel Distributor Alliance with Monty Mims

Campus King with Steven Farag

Law and Youth Apparel with Marci Kinter

Branding Magic with Jay Busselle

Bling! with Andrew and Lee Sequiera

The Print Life with Cam Earven

Perfect PR with Deborah Sexton

Master Level Printing with Andy Anderson

Print Scientist with Nathan Leber

Social Selling with Jock Breitwieser

Ergonomics with Penny McIntosh

2 Regular Guys with Aaron Montgomery and Terry Combs

Shop Operations and Sales with Jonathan Tynes

Mindfulness with Jamie Beck

Onsite Printing with Rich Artymovich

Future of the Industry with Johnny Shell

Shop Culture with Brett Bowden

Raising Your Game with Lon Winters

The Ink Kitchen with Rick Roth

Selling Your Business with Rock LaManna

2019 and Beyond

While there are only a few weeks left in the year, I’m steadily working on planning for 2019. I’ve already made some great connections with new shops to help and have started booking onsite coaching trips.

Whether I’ve helped you in the past, or you believe you might need an extra push, I would love to chat with you about your shop.

Nothing would make me happier than hearing your story about how you got into this crazy industry. Personally, I don’t think anyone sets out to do it on purpose. We all have backed into it one way or another.

Want to chat? Click the button here and book a 30-minute call to talk about your shop.

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“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward

“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” – Karl Barth

“Gratitude is a sign of noble souls.” – Aesop


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Not sure if you read every word, but that’s ok.

Like a secret Easter Egg in a video game or movie, here is your reward. Enter this coupon code for 30% off any of my eBooks.


I just want to express my sincere gratitude to you for reading my blogs and allowing me to help you on your journey.

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