I have some down time today so I thought I would finally come and write an update to one of the goals I set at the beginning of the year.
Right after the new year, on January 2nd, I released my first post on Passive Marketing about some of the goals I wanted to hit this year. I wanted to cut down on the projects I was working on and focus on just the core money makers.
Merch by Amazon was a very new side project to me at that point. I mentioned in the post that I only had 17 shirts uploaded but that I would release a guide on the subject, which I did near the end of the month.
That post became pretty popular (even though Amazon had locked down the service and now required you to apply and be accepted). It even got a mention on the Merch Forums, where I received my first negative feedback as seen below.
If this guy had actually read the article, I showed everyone how they could find designs on Amazon that were selling, and use that as Inspiration to create something better.
None of that really matters though. After reading my guide, two online friends took it to heart and started grinding hard. They are both now making thousands of dollars a month through their T-Shirt business and have both surpassed me in the amount of designs they have uploaded.
The guy above can pound sand.
My Merch By Amazon Update – Smashing Goals!
So, as a side project that I am spending only a few hours on each week, I thought it would take me at least till the end of the year to hit my goal of $4,000 per month. Why $4,000? I figured at that figure, it will be enough to sell the business and purchase my first rental property (which is also in my 2016 goals).
When I wrote my original post, you can see my first screenshot of 25 designs live and 100 slots available for upload.
That was ALMOST 6 months ago on the dot. Here are how many I have live today and slots available.
As you can see I have been tiered up multiple times, have 416 designs live (50 more sitting in my inbox to upload), and 2000 spots total. I have a LOT of room to grow.
What About Earnings?
When I first started with this program, I tiered up fast. I was one of the first people to get in, but I also had some simple designs that were selling well. I do not have a screenshot of the first few months, but I CAN show you what my first 4 months looked like right before I created my original guide.
Pretty pathetic huh? Like I said, this was, and remains a side project for me. It was not until I wrote the guide that my earnings started to take off from designs I had done myself. Up until that point, there was zero investment.
Things turned around quickly when I hired a designer, and here is what I am at today.
Boom, hit my goal 6 months early!
The biggest downside about getting started with Merch is actually getting an account. Amazon clearly had no idea how popular this program would be and quickly turned it into an invite only program only a few weeks after it opened. Currently you need to apply to be accepted and the wait times are now 3-4 months or LONGER. If you do not have an account and are interested in getting started, apply now, do not wait. It only takes about 30 seconds anyway.
Outsource When You Can Afford It
As this is a side project for me, I knew that I would not be able to sit down and create designs all day with Photoshop. I am terrible at that program and have limited knowledge.
That being said, I do not recommend hiring a designer as soon as you are accepted for an account. You can create text designs and use free vectors like I mentioned in my original Merch guide. The way I have done it, is allow the account to pay for itself. If I make $50 dollars with my first few designs, I will assign that $50 to a designer and no more. That way, it stays a zero sum game and you never lose any money!
When you decide you are ready to outsource, I highly recommend looking on Upwork.
Choose Your Designer Wisely
One of the biggest issues on Merch right now is copyright infringement. If you upload a shirt with stolen upwork, or infringe on a patent or copyright, you may get away with it for a little while but eventually Amazon will find out and remove your listings. Get enough listings removed and you may just lose your account and all the work you put into it. You don’t want that right?
Pro Tip: When you are vetting designers, send them 3-4 designs that you would like to get created. I usually send them links of shirts I like and that I want them to use as inspiration to create something completely different but in the same niche. In those 3-4 designs, I will include a link to a shirt that is CLEARLY copyright protected. I will then inform the graphic designer that they need to ensure that everything they give me is both unique and does not infringe on anyone else’s work. If they come back to you and give you the same design, or do not change it enough where it would be infringement, I let the artist know their mistake, and immediately terminate them.
When you find a graphic artist that understands how to be creative and consistently provides you amazing designs, stick with them!
Focus On Evergreen Niches
Let’s be honest for a second. You could chase niches that exploding currently. I am not saying that this is a bad idea, but it depends on what your goals are for. Getting a viral shirt is a great way to boost earnings. However, if you only have limited spots, focus on more evergreen niches when it comes to T-shirt designs. These are going to sell year round, and will not die down in a week or two like a viral shirt would.
If you have thousands of spots available, you can play around with this and chase both viral designs, and evergreen content. I wanted my account to contentiously make good money without bouncing up and down so I went into every niche that I could find.
Quality AND Quantity
You know what kind of designs are going to keep selling year end and year out? Quality designs, that’s what. However, if you want to make real progress with Merch, you need to upload and upload FAST. Take advantage of the invite system and be first to market.
To give you an idea, a friend that read my guide when I first posted it got accepted and focused extremely hard on the designs. He is nearing 1,000 designs uploaded whereas I am sitting at less than half of that. You have to be willing to do what it takes to hit your goals.
I have some huge news regarding Merch and how I can help you reach some insane numbers in under 6 months coming out very soon. Probably the next post I will do will be revealing some quality value without selling you anything. If you are interested in knowing when that is coming out, make sure you hope on my email list below. Anyone on the list knows I barely email you at all, but I usually have something interesting to say.
Just wanted to update you guys on one of my goals.
Keep pushing forward and killing it! Until next time.