Jake Nickell: The Best Decision I Ever Made as Founder of Threadless

08 Dec 2010

Scott Gerber

The Young Entrepreneur Council was founded by Scott Gerber, a serial entrepreneur, internationally syndicated small business columnist and author of the book, Never Get a "Real" Job. The YEC's mission is to help young people build successful businesses and overcome the devastating epidemics of youth underemployment and unemployment.

"The Best Decision I Ever Made" series is brought to you by StartupNation in partnership with the Young Entrepreneur Council. The series is comprised of interviews with business & thought leaders, providing you insights into the business decisions that directly helped them achieve success.

Jake Nickell, Founder of Threadless

Jake Nickell is Threadless‘s young and fearless entrepreneurial leader. Currently, he’s focused on running the worldwide, hugely successful business that Threadless has become. He likes to think creatively and unconventionally about how to keep Threadless one step ahead by encouraging nutty employee ideas and staying away from the "business" side of running a business. Jake also continues to keep up his geek cred through a love for programming.

From the Words of Jake Himself…

When the idea for Threadless was born, I had no idea how I would print t-shirts, sell them, ship them, charge people’s credit card, accept submissions for voting. I knew nothing about running a business.

Instead of being paralyzed by my inexperience, I literally launched Threadless one hour after having the idea. I did that by simply starting a thread on an art forum asking for designers to post t-shirt designs and promising to print and sell the best ones. I was self confident enough to know that I could figure out how to deliver on my promise despite my lack of experience in all of those areas.

Handling situations in this way oftentimes helps entrepreneurs to move past things that will typically slow them down. If you are confident and willing to learn and do things rather than be reliant on outside experts for everything, especially in the early phases, you can move very quickly!

The Lesson!

Be Fearless. You don’t need to be an expert in order to get things done, in fact, you don’t even need to be an amateur.

Use your inexperience as a strength! Innovation comes from a person thinking in a completely new way about a situation and when you know nothing about the subject, that’s an easy thing to do.