Choosing the right font will make or break you when it comes to creating designs for Print on Demand sites like Redbubble or Merch by Amazon.
Check out these free sites:
How to make passive income on Redbubble, Merch by Amazon, or any Print On Demand site by using MerchDesigner – no design skills required!
I also celebrated surpassing 200 subscribers on YouTube when I posted part 1. Checked today, 5 days later, and I’m already up to 250! I’ve also been getting some lovely comments recently which really encourage me to keep going. Managing the Facebook group, updating the blog, uploading new YouTube videos all take a lot of time and effort, but when I check my notifications and see loads of nice comments, it’s really motivating.
As I mentioned earlier, my plan to double up on my passive income this year involves diversifying my income streams by starting an Etsy store. This is my 1 month report on Etsy.
First of all, the juicy results for February 2018:
What an amazing first month! I can see Etsy having a significant impact on my passive income as I learn how to use it to its full potential. Now, this is revenue, of course, so let me elaborate on my strategy before I give you a further breakdown.
How did I do it?
It’s ridiculously simple.
Printful is the only print on demand/dropshipping site to be partnered with Etsy, and I have to say it’s an absolute pleasure to use. It’s also FREE, which was a huge selling point for me because I didn’t know whether I’d make any sales at all during my first month on Etsy and therefore I didn’t want to be paying the monthly subscription cost associated with other POD sites.
What’s the catch with Printful? Well, the only one that I could find is that the cost price of products isn’t the cheapest out there, but I believe for our purposes it’s the best.
The main reason is that it saves you a ridiculous amount of time. When you list your products on Printful, it automatically integrates them in all colours, sizes and prices to Etsy. It also sets the tags, shipping options, and provides mockups for your designs. Basically, it does absolutely everything for you in just a few clicks. These things would take hours to sort out on Etsy manually, but on Printful, you just set how much profit you want to make and you’re good to go.
When you get an order on Etsy, it’s automatically picked up by Printful without you doing anything. They process it and send it out to the customer white label (without any indication it’s from Printful) and they even use your pricing rather than the cost price on the invoice.
I thought it would be too good to be true and I’d have to get involved once the order was shipped, but no. It’s ridiculously passive because they even update your Etsy and mark the item as shipped, so you truly don’t have to do anything.
You can pay for all sorts of fancy extras like custom tags in the clothing, custom packaging, etc. I didn’t do that at this stage and I’ll explain why in a moment. One thing they do offer you for free is a custom message to put on the invoice, which I thought was a nice touch.
My PROFIT from the first month on Printful
As you can see, my revenue was $252.12, but my profit was $142.27, so despite the fact that Printful isn’t the cheapest print on demand company – AND I’m pricing at rock bottom to attract customers – the opportunity to make huge profit is still there. I found it to be the most hands off out of everything I researched for my first month on Etsy.
There are a large range of products available on Printful, so it’s really up to you which you choose and how much it costs you. As I said, they’re not the cheapest, but the convenience factor does it for me, and since you set your own profit margin, you can recuperate the costs immediately if you wished. I’m making on average $10 per item sold, which seems insane if you’re used to selling on Redbubble or Merch by Amazon.
Moving on then, why didn’t I go for any fancy extras at this stage?
My Strategy for Etsy – Month 1 (Feb 2018)
As a new seller on Etsy, I felt I should be pricing competitively. When you have no sales and no reviews, you’ve got to have something to attract a customer! This isn’t like Redbubble and Merch by Amazon where there’s a huge company backing your products with guarantees. The customer has to either trust you enough to purchase, or think the product is cheap enough to risk buying from you.
Adding fancy custom labels at this stage seemed superfluous and would increase production cost or retail price, so I left it out. I might add them in at a later stage when I increase prices, but can you believe that $147.27 profit is from pricing at rock bottom? Crazy!
So my strategy was to price low. I could’ve gone lower, of course, but I needed to make some profit to cover my expenses. Expenses? What expenses? Yes, Etsy is expensive.
It’s easy to take for granted the lack of listing fees, transaction fees, and advertising costs on websites like Redbubble.
First of all, there’s a fee to list an item, which is $0.20, plus VAT of $0.04. There’s also a transaction fee for each item you sell. My transaction fees were around $0.60 each. If you’re unfortunate enough to live in the UK like me, then you’ll be dealing with conversion fees, which aren’t pretty, and I found myself paying just short of £1 ($1.40) just to get the currency converted, which as far as I’m aware seems to be unavoidable. There’s also advertising costs involved, which deserve their own section.
I have to say, Etsy advertising seems to be amazing. You just go into your settings and turn it on, set a daily limit, and they do the rest. This is literally all I did to attract all my sales this month.
You can set which products you want the site to advertise and which you don’t. Etsy shows the listing to people who are likely to click it, and then you pay per click. I set a daily budget of $5, but most of the time Etsy didn’t actually spend that much. You’re also given access to detailed analytics which helps you understand your customers and their behaviour.
As you can see, I spent $94.22 on Etsy ads in order to achieve $237.59 revenue. In other words, I got $143.37 profit out of it. A worthwhile trade, I would say. I like Etsy advertising because it’s very much ‘set it and forget it’ then watch the sales roll in, which is perfect for passive income.
My payment for February is looking healthy:
But we have to take into consideration the costs.
My Etsy bill, which is comprised of listing fees, transaction fees, conversion fees, and advertising fees, came in at $130.48
And of course, we have the cost of printing and sending products out to customers, which I’ve already listed above in the Printful section.
I got $147.27 profit from Printful, which means my total profit after all Etsy costs are taken into consideration comes to a whopping $16.79!
This is to be expected, as I’m pricing low to attract customers and I’m relying on Etsy ads for traffic. This is the first stage of a long term Etsy plan. It involves pricing low and getting sales/reviews. Once I’m reputable, I can increase the prices significantly, plus I’ll hopefully be found organically by customers, which will save me paying out for advertising.
Etsy Goals for March 2018
Will report back at the end of March and let you know how it goes! In the meantime consider joining the Passive Owls FB group as there will certainly be more Etsy discussion going on in there.
New video about how to make passive income on Redbubble or Merch by Amazon using Canva – no design skills required.
I uploaded this last night with 197 subscribers. Checked again this evening to see if I’d got 200 yet so I could celebrate, and I was already up to 213!
I’m very pleased read all the positive comments on YouTube from people who show gratitude for my videos and find them helpful. I’m not someone who would have imagined becoming a YouTuber, let alone having 200+ subs, so it’s a nice feeling! Getting 1000 subs might be an easier goal than I imagined.
7th Jan 2018 – First YouTube video
3rd Feb 2018 – 100 subscribers
2nd Mar 2018 – 200 subscribers
I’ve got a feeling that YouTube will be much like passive income with the snowball effect. All previous work being cumulative and the ability to obtain more subscribers (or money in the case of passive income) becomes a lot easier.
Hoping to have time to write my first month of Etsy report tomorrow – it’s going to be an interesting one!
Today is 28th February 2018 – the last day of the month, which means it’s time to write a report about my first month on Merch by Amazon 🙂 you can read about my first 2 weeks and first sale here, in case you missed it.
1 month Merch by Amazon progress report:
As you can see from the screenshot above, most of my sales came from one design, so a priority for the coming month(s) will certainly be diversifying my income through new uploads.
I’ve been using MerchInformer to find out what is selling on Amazon. There’s a 3 day free trial which allows you to see what’s selling quickly, shows you a list of best sellers for specific days, keyword finder, optimisation, product search, etc.
I did the free trial and cancelled, but I felt blind without it so signed up to the $9.99 monthly plan. It’s not absolutely necessary, but it saves me a hell of a lot of time from manually clicking around on Amazon. And of course, I made $124.30 profit so feel it’s justified. If you decide to use it yourself, you can use code PASSIVEOWL to get 20% off so it’s $7.99 rather than $9.99.
My strategy for the first month was:
In terms of pricing, there was a lot of conflicting information.
Some people recommended pricing high, representing a ‘premium’ product, whereas others recommended pricing low to the point that they made $0 per sale.
As mentioned in my last post, new users are limited to 10 uploads – also known as T10 or Tier 10. Getting out of T10 is, in my opinion, more important than making maximum profit. I felt that chasing profit would be shortsighted – like trying to fill your glass using a dripping tap rather than focusing your efforts towards turning it on.
The opportunity to make significant passive income will become easier once you can upload a lot of designs rather than being restricted to 10. I therefore priced in the middle at $14.99, which I felt was low enough to make a decent amount of sales, but still gave me a bit of profit ($1.60). However, I accidentally left one of my designs at $19.99, which I’m actually quite pleased about because it has been my biggest seller!
When I logged in to my Merch account this morning (28th Feb), I discovered that I’d been tiered up to T25. YAY! I’ve already uploaded 2 more designs as per my new daily limit:
I met the critera to be upgraded (10 sales) after being on Merch for 2 weeks, but it took a further 2 weeks to get tiered up.
Since I’ve sold 25 shirts now, I’ve already met the criteria to be upgraded up to T100, so I shall wait and see what happens. It might take another 2 weeks or possibly even longer to get upgraded. In the meantime, I have 13 more designs to upload (2 per day).
Amazon Merch goals for March
Will report back at the end of March and let you know how it goes! In the meantime consider joining the Passive Owls FB group as there will certainly be more Merch discussion going on in there.
Full Disclosure: MerchInformer is an affiliate link, so if you’ve found my FB group, YouTube, or this blog helpful and want to support me, then I would appreciate it if you signed up via the link.
Just added a new video to my channel which is hopefully both motivating and useful. It’s a short story explaining how I made over £3,500 ($5,000+) in passive income on Redbubble by creating a simple design in less than 5 minutes.
Etsy is another avenue which I’m going to try out this year to generate extra passive income. My passive income success thus far has been hands off in the sense that the Print On Demand websites manage everything for me.
The POD sites I’m accustomed to using all offer to print, package, ship, and most importantly: handle customer service. It’s something which I elaborate on in my first YouTube video when describing how Redbubble works – check it out if you want to know more about the process:
It’s easy with these websites to have a ‘set it and forget it‘ mentality. It’s for that reason why Etsy is a bit scary. It involves doing more work yourself, and therefore accepting more risk, which can easily be taken for granted because POD websites take care of that for you.
However, the extra work provides opportunity for huge profit. Costs are kept down, which means it’s possible to make a hell of a lot more passive income for what is essentially the same product, even if you allow the customer to pay less. Here’s an example:
Redbubble T-Shirt (20% markup)
Customer pays $19.05 – your profit is $2.72
Etsy T-Shirt via fulfillment company
Customer pays $19.05 – your profit is $7.10
You can see that even if you price competitively with Redbubble, you’ll be making a lot more money, so you can afford to lower the price. This is just one example. The t-shirt I selected was one of the cheapest available by one of the most expensive companies, but there are loads of fulfillment companies with various products and prices.
The idea is that you create a listing on Etsy, and then either set the listing to automatically be fulfilled by a dropshipping company, or manually fulfill the order yourself. There are many options available to you.
I’ve gone for the most passive option, which involves using a fulfillment company to automatically collect orders from my Etsy and send them out to the customer as/when I make a sale. This isn’t the cheapest route. There are much cheaper alternatives, but for this project, I value my time more than saving an few extra dollars.
I’ve been on Etsy 3 weeks now and have already made sales amounting to $134.65 revenue (£95.99). Now remember, this is revenue, not profit.
I’ve definitely made a profit, but I don’t know the final figures yet as I’ve got to pay:
I also have no idea whether the product that I’m selling is any good because I’ve never used the fulfillment company before, so this could blow up in my face and I may end up having to give out refunds to customers.
I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where I can handle that, so please bear with me while I test the waters. I will be giving a more detailed breakdown of how I did this and how you can replicate the success, but first I need time to make sure it’s a good course of action. What I don’t want to do is recommend something and influence people to give it a go if it’s no good. Things are looking promising, though. A full report will follow.
In the meantime, I urge you to focus on Redbubble or a similar POD websites which are free (list available in the description of this video) so the worst case scenario is that you don’t make a sale rather than actually losing money. Check out my YouTube channel or the FB group so you can set yourself up for success, and when you’ve got designs which you know will sell, you’ll be able to see in my follow up post(s) whether doing this would be a good idea for you too.
Redbubble is amazing. There are 440,000 artists on there with 1.6 million customers. I’m making most of my passive income from the website.
Merch by Amazon, however, is reportedly next level. There are 310 million customers and many people are making a small fortune from uploading designs to Merch.
The problem is that I’m late to the party. I’ve heard reports saying that the golden age of Merch is over and it’s no longer the place to be. Many people have been complaining about Amazon ‘turning their sales off’ at will or ‘freezing’ their designs. People with 1000’s of designs up not making many sales anymore! Regardless, I decided to give it a go for myself and see, but it seemed rather difficult to get in.
I applied in late 2017 and waited 3 months to get the rejection email pictured below:
Some people were complaining about waiting 9 months only to get the same message. I re-applied and got declined a second time. However, third time lucky, I got accepted:
Amazon is a very different beast to other Print On Demand websites. New users are limited to 10 uploads – commonly referred to as Tier 10 or T10. You’re only allowed to upload 1 product per day, and if you don’t sell a particular design within 90 days, it’s automatically removed. You have to sell 10 products in order to be considered for an upgrade to Tier 25 where – you guessed it – you can list 25 designs. There is no formal section to place tags like on pretty much every other POD site ever, and the upload process is a bit archaic to say the least.
However, I know there’s huge potential, so I got uploading my designs – one every day due to the limit. After uploading 7 products, I got my first sale, which was worth approx $5 profit (£3.56) – woo!
It’s now 2 weeks later and my progress report is as follows:
Overall, I feel lucky to be averaging almost 1 sale per day at this early stage, but a bit disappointed that only 2 of my designs have actually sold, with 12 sales coming from 1 particular design. I wish there was more variety so all my eggs weren’t in one basket, but still, a good start nonetheless and certainly better than nothing. My goal was to make 10 sales ASAP, so I’m satisfied.
I’ve now got to wait for Amazon to do their next round of upgrading and hopefully I’ll get bumped up to T25 with the ability to upload more designs. There’s no indication of when that will be and apparently it’s not even guaranteed that you’ll be upgraded – it’s at the discretion of the Amazon Gods, so I’ve got no choice but to wait. Meanwhile, I’ll allow another week or so and rotate the designs that aren’t selling to try something else.
I’ll update again later, but in the meantime consider joining the FB group as there are many people in there who have recently been accepted to Merch and we’ll be helping each other.
Hello there! My name is Craig and it used to be my ultimate goal to achieve $1000 per month (roughly £700) in passive income. After achieving that in 2017, I decided to help others do the same.
It started last month, in January 2018. I made 2 popular Q&A style posts on Reddit explaining how I make my money, and that I believe anyone can do it, which can be found here:
At the same time, I decided to create a YouTube channel and a Facebook community with a view to helping others become successful with passive income. Both of these have exceeded my expectations. I set myself a goal of getting 10 YouTube subscribers, but here I am with 145 subscribers only a month later. Similarly with the Facebook group, there are currently 137 members and it’s becoming a great resource to share information and help each other achieve success.
After I realised the demand for such a project, I set myself a goal of making a helpful YouTube video at least once a week, which so far I’ve achieved, having being on YouTube for 6 weeks so far with 8 videos uploaded.
I also set myself a goal of helping at least 100 people go from nothing to generating their own passive income. So far I’ve had feedback from 20 people who got stated after seeing my posts and have been successful already, which is a really amazing feeling for both myself and them. Here’s an example of one person earning $254.46 in her first month alone.
I’ve got some big goals for 2018, which I’m going to use this blog to document – not only to keep me accountable, but as a case study for others to learn from.
I’m a Redbubble expert and I make most of my money from that website, but I’ve got a goal of doubling the amount of passive income I earn in 2018 so I’ll be branching out and documenting that process here. I want to achieve at least 1000 subscribers on YouTube which I plan on doing by creating good quality content and uploading a new video every week. And finally, I want to help at least 100 people start generating passive income. We’re only one month into this project and there are 20 success stories already!
What’s the catch? There isn’t one. Get on the FB group and see for yourself. Almost every successful person is on there. You can see success stories in real time. I try to personally answer everyone that posts there and there’s a wonderful community atmosphere, so let’s get passive!