Headshot of YouTube creator Mimi Goodwin of Mimi G Style.
Starting her entrepreneurship journey by doing research at her local library, Mimi Goodwin has since blossomed into the founder of a million-dollar sewing empire. — YouTube

Success stories don’t get more inspiring than Mimi Goodwin’s. She went from a teen mom struggling with homelessness to creating a million-dollar sewing empire through her YouTube channel — while teaching herself how to succeed every step of the way.

Goodwin started her YouTube channel, Mimi G Style, as a way to teach others how to sew and make their own clothing. Goodwin has since leveraged YouTube’s global reach and created an online community that continues to grow.

The popularity of her channel, which has over 331,000 subscribers as of March 2022, has enabled new business ventures, including her own line of fabrics, a subscription-based online academy and licensed sewing patterns. She is the founder of Sew It! Academy, has collaborated with more than 350 big-name companies like Target, Google and Macy’s, and has become a highly in-demand speaker and consultant.

Below, Goodwin shares her entrepreneurial journey and how the YouTube community helped her turn her sewing skills into an international brand.

High school dropout to sewing success story: The birth of a YouTube channel

Sewing had been a part of Goodwin’s life since she was a little girl, and she relied on those skills throughout her life to make clothing for herself. She launched a blog in 2012 to chronicle her “DIY” projects and quickly realized that there was huge interest among people who wanted to learn how to do what she was doing.

“I loved sharing what I was making,” said Goodwin. “I realized that if I was going to put energy into something, it might as well be something I loved doing.”

While the idea of entrepreneurship was appealing, Goodwin didn’t have many resources. As a high school dropout and teen mother who struggled with homelessness, she couldn’t afford a traditional business education, so she created her own by reading and studying books from the library.

“When I first started my journey to becoming an entrepreneur, I didn't have ‘YouTube University’ or a long list of Mimi Gs to help guide me,” she said. “I could not afford a computer when I started looking into starting a business, so I would go to the library and read books.”

Goodwin read books on graphic design and HTML coding to build her own websites and create her own logos. She read a workbook on accounting and explored the worlds of marketing, branding and public relations to learn more about all aspects of running a business.

As she educated herself, Goodwin attempted to start a few small businesses, but none ever got off the ground.

“My lessons often came through trial and error, but with each bump in the road, I learned what not to do and just kept moving forward,” she said.

Even running her successful blog wasn’t always a breeze for Goodwin.

“I have always been a terrible student,” she said. “Reading did not come easy to me. I often needed to read a paragraph several times to understand what I was reading. So the thought of creating tutorials with pictures and written word stressed me out.”

That’s why she decided to create video tutorials and tips for learning to sew.

“I knew other people like me had to do better with video instruction and learning with their hands, so I started making step-by-step videos,” Goodwin explained. “That was a game-changer for me and my audience.”

By the time she started making her videos, YouTube was already a well-established, user-friendly platform for content creators who wanted to share their knowledge and insights.

“I knew having a YouTube channel would be important for the growth of my brand” she told CO—. “When my following began to grow rapidly, I knew I was on to something.”

[Read more: How to Monetize Your YouTube Channel]

We have the entire world at our fingertips. The amount of free education and resources at our disposal is truly incredible. I believe there is no excuse not to follow your dreams.

Mimi Goodwin, creator of Mimi G Style and founder of Sew It! Academy

Setting realistic expectations for work-life ‘balance’

Goodwin started her Mimi G Style YouTube channel and brand while working full-time and raising four children. While she tried to achieve work-life balance, it wasn’t always easy to maintain.

“I don't think it is possible to have it all under control at all times,” Goodwin said. “That is a false idea that we have created for ourselves.”

Over the years, Goodwin learned to not beat herself up and do the best she can to maintain a sense of balance. She relies on her family to support her when she needs them.

“Some days, I could make dinner and put the kids to bed, and other nights we ate fast food and I had to work late into the night,” said Goodwin. “My kids and husband have sacrificed as much as I have, and it is a team effort that requires constant give and take.”

Building your business acumen

As Mimi G Style evolved from a YouTube channel to a full-fledged business, Goodwin realized she needed to increase her business acumen and learn everything she could about all aspects of running a company. She advised other aspiring entrepreneurs to do the same by taking advantage of free resources available to those who want to start a business.

“They don't need to be an expert in all of it, but they should familiarize themselves with what it takes to run their business,” she explained. “We have the entire world at our fingertips. The amount of free education and resources at our disposal is truly incredible. I believe there is no excuse not to follow your dreams.”

Consistency and authenticity remain key

Goodwin attributes her YouTube success to two factors: quality content creation and consistency. She aims to give her audience something new each week. Consistency keeps her audience engaged and generates a loyal following, she said.

“Consistency … is what will make the difference in how far you go and how long you can stay at the top,” Goodwin added.

[Read more: 6 Tips for a Killer Small Business YouTube Strategy]

For other entrepreneurs looking to use YouTube as a platform for their businesses, Goodwin advised staying authentic above all else. That sometimes means ignoring what’s “trending” in favor of what’s true to you and your brand.

“Don't start doing things that you see are trending to grow,” she said. “You want the growth to be from people interested in what you offer. That is the only way you can turn your followers into paying customers.”