Getting Started with Merch
I actually stumbled across Amazon Merch by accident about 4 months ago while researching Kindle publishing. I’d recently signed up for Stefan Pylarinos’ K Money Mastery course (great course too btw) but never had the time to take it serious due to work commitments. But I loved the idea of passive income (..who doesn’t!) and starting researching my butt off.
While surfing Youtube one night looking for Kindle marketing techniques, I came across a video by Russ Raj detailing how he’s currently making $50,000+ every six months with Kindle.. not bad at all!
Which led me to Russ’ website: www.ambitioustypes.com/ Russ is an awesome guy and I’ve been a part of his Facebook group for a few months now so I know he’s not the normal spammy online marketing type. He’s the real deal.
One of the first blog posts Russ has on his site is titled: ‘Easiest Way to Make Money Online for Beginners’. Being a bit skeptical.. I clicked the link and watched the video (see below) and was instantly hooked by the Amazon Merch concept.
Basically Amazon Merch allows you to upload t-shirt designs to their site, create a detailed description, and they do the rest. Zero money investment, no marketing required, no printing machines, no dealing with complaints or returns.. and access to billions of people looking to buy. HELL YES!
Sounds Awesome! So what’s the catch then?
Here’s the catch.. Amazon limit how many t-shirt designs you can sell when you first join the platform. Being that I’ve just joined I can only list 25 t-shirt designs before I can move to the next tier. To get to the next tier, I need to sell a total of 25 t-shirts, then 100, then 500.. until I make my way into the thousand tier range. Here’s a basic break down of the tier system:
- Pro (by invitation) This is normally 1000, 4000, 8000 etc.
If you ask anyone who is on the Merch platform, they’ll all tell you that the 25 level tier is by far the hardest to get out of. Why?
Only a small % of your designs will actually sell
According to Michael Essek over at michaelessek.com, you’ll only sell a small percentage of the designs you create. He mentions 2 out of every 10 tshirts will generate income. With only 25 slots available to create designs, that means you have a much smaller window of opportunity than the 100 or 500 tier.
I have personally found that although I’m making sales every other day, being on the 25 level tier is really holding me back from fully launching into Merch. I have heaps of designs and niche ideas but need to really think about what shirts I’m keeping live. I love the Merch platform and the idea of selling my designs to the world – Just need to keep hustlin’ to get to the next tier!
If you’re struggling with the first tier like I am, here’s a list of resources I’ve found extremely helpful so far:
Elaine Heney talks about all things Merch and Interviews some of the current Merch Powerhouses. She also has some great info on the 25 level teir. Go check it out!: The Merch Entrepreneur Podcast
Michael Essek’s website: http://www.michaelessek.com.
My absolute favourite Merch blog. Michael has so much amazing info for anyone in the t-shirt business. The thing I love about Michael is he isn’t only a ‘Merchpreneur’ but he works with Redbubble, Etsy and Teepublic. Download his ebook here
Glen from Hustler Hacks is an awesome guy. I found him on Youtube and reached out to him when I first started with Merch. He shares his monthly sales report to show the progress he’s making which really shows how powerful the Merch Platform is. Go check out his site and sub to his Youtube Channel:
My First Month Sales Report:
I would love to tell you that I had an awesome first month with Merch, but unfortunately things moved pretty slowly. I did pretty much everything wrong. I targeted over populated niches, I had cheap looking designs, I didn’t do proper research, I didn’t use good keywords in my tshirt listings and went about the whole process the wrong way! But the good news is I still had sales.
I had a total of 5 sales for the month for December 2016. With a royalty of $11.32. Because I’m in the early stages of Merch and working hard to get out of the first tier I priced my shirts between $11 – $20 to get sales where possible. So.. like I said, not amazing sales or anything to write home about but it goes to show that even with bad designs and crappy listings you can still make money with Merch!
Amazon’s Freeze On Merch Listings
I think one of the biggest issues I had this month was that Amazon put a huge freeze on everyone’s accounts. Basically, no one was able to upload or edit any designs from the start of the month.. Which is a huge lose for the Xmas season.
Amazon provided updates throughout the month and then started letting a small handful of ‘power’ sales back in but as of writing this, there’s still a freeze on most accounts – mine included.
What I’ve Learnt This Month:
- Finding the low hanging fruit is best. Look for smaller sub-niches with shirt sales between 100,000-200,000 BSR. If you create a better design, do better keywords and use social media to promote the shirt you’ll see sales.
- Set aside time to do good market research. (I’ll talk about this later)
- Don’t get distracted by the new shiny object. Easier said than done, but keep focused on Merch and keep pushing yourself to learn. It’ll pay off pretty quickly!
- Learn from the masters. I have learnt heaps from people like Chris Green, Michael Essek, Elaine Peney etc. Try and surround yourself with as many like minded people as possible.
- Treat Merch as a business and it’ll pay like one! The more time and energy I’ve put into Merch, the more I’ve seen it grow. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s going to take time but it’ll be worth it in the long run! Enjoy the ride!