Firstly my apologies for the time taken to write this second blog article. I’ve had a few people ask me when the next one would be posted and I had good intentions of posting once a week. To be honest I’m pretty crap at sticking to schedules but the main reason I haven’t posted is because I’ve been grinding HARD for Q4. Now that it’s here I’m not letting up but I have reached a stage where I can work at a bit of an easier pace due to the amount of work I have put in over the past month or so.
As I mentioned in my first blog, I started Merch at the end of January this year (2018), so I’m just over nine months in. For the first six months Merch was a side hustle but I could see that it had the potential to turn in to more. For the past three months since leaving my full time job I’ve been full time on Merch, other PODs, FBA & a little eBay dropshipping. It was a big move to plough all of my time in to this but so far it has paid off – both in terms of sales and more importantly quality of life.
The Much Anticipated Quarter Four
So since January I have read pretty much every blog, watched every video and listened to every podcast Merch related. I’m a member of a few Facebook groups and have been a member of many more that I’ve since left. Basically I have been absorbing information like a sponge in order to do this thing properly.
A common theme throughout all of these mediums is that of Q4. Obviously I missed last year by a couple of months so I’ve been eager to see if I could increase my sales and revenue in a way that many people had predicted. In the early days sales were sloooooow. I remember before having the Pretty Merch App on my phone that I’d log in to Merch on my phone, click the analyze tab and hope to see the odd sale. Many people give up after a couple of months when sales don’t come but I stuck with it because I decided early on that my first target would be to be prepared for Q4 2018.
It was a fairly long term goal considering I was in a mad rush to find a way out of the 9-5 but something told me that it was worth persevering with. There are a lot of spammy blogs and vlogs about passive income, e-commerce and financial freedom but with a bit of research it was clear that with the muscle of amazon’s organic traffic, Merch had huge potential. If I’m honest I never expected to make as many sales as I have done but the exciting thing is that I see no reason why the numbers can’t continue to grow.
I was on tier 2000 for a few months and had filled my slots by the start of October but still needed a good few hundred sales to tier up to 4ooo. For a week or so I switched my attention to Etsy. I’ve seen some good success through using Etsy with the Printful integration. The design and upload process is a lot more involved than with Merch so I have nowhere near the amount of listings up as I’d like. Using Etsy Rank I went through my listings and sorted out any SEO issues, refreshing keywords and tags. Next I used Placeit, a mock up generator, to make realistic and relevant mock ups for all of my thumbnail images. Etsy has a much more discerning and arty clientele than Merch so it pays to put a bit of effort in to presentation
Anyway, back to Merch. It was tempting to focus all of my efforts on other platforms whilst waiting for a tier up. KDP needed work, as did Redbubble and I love sourcing books for FBA. However, knowing that Q4 was imminent I knuckled down and carried on churning out designs. Using Merch Informer Lister (absolutely invaluable) I created a tonne of profiles for my niches and uploaded designs to draft in Merch. A number of these are Christmas variations of already selling designs and also scaled designs such as family pyjama shirts and Christmas Eve designs.
The exciting thing for me about this new direction is that my earnings increase as my effort and dedication increases. Those in salaried jobs will know that this isn’t the case with a 9-5. For this reason I’ve found myself working harder than I ever have before. A lot of people have said that working from home is difficult because of distractions and motivation. I find the opposite, I struggle to switch off because I know that every hour I’m not working is an hour that I could be adding value.
The Tier Up Fairy
Last week the tier up to 4000 came. I only waited about a week after my 2000th sale so it wasn’t too bad and perfectly timed. With the work I’d already done it was a simple task to go in and make the couple of hundred draft designs live. The beauty of having so many slots to play with is that I’m able to upload to all products. With the winter months coming I’ve seen a big increase in long sleeve sales so I’d recommend adding designs to these as a priority.
Now I’m grafting hard to fill as many slots as possible with quality designs before the end of November. I’m seeing good sales in the UK with the niches that I’m in so I’m drilling down in to those. The UK is still a very new market for Merch and there are a lot of opportunities out there so don’t sleep on it. It’s easy to look at the search volumes and dismiss the UK because of the comparative numbers in the US. However, for all of those numbers there are also 10x the amount of designers vying for sales. If you find a niche in the UK with a 2,000 + searches per month (I use Merchant Words for these stats) then you can really make inroads.
A Numbers Recap
I’ll finish with a quick recap of my numbers. I find it really useful to listen to RJ & Matt, Glen & Yong and others talk about their numbers so that I can see where I’m at and what I should be striving for. So my plan is now to post an article every week (never gonna happen) and with it I’ll post my last seven days sales.
I never know when the experts tell us their numbers whether they’re including all market places or just the US but here’s a screenshot of my last seven days as of 22:00 (UK) 15/11/18. I’d like to think I’ll get at least another eight or so sales throughout the night as the US market wakes up.
So we’re looking at 158 sales and converting the currencies royalties are at around £600 or $779 .