Chris Green talks copycats, 50 Shades of Grey and his thoughts on the future for Merch By Amazon
Today I chat with Chris Green about Merch and other business opportunities with Amazon. Chris’s website to help you with your research is www.merchresearch.com Sign up to get my 5 favorite Merch by Amazon tools & resources today at www.merchentrepreneur.com/tools. Building your Merch by Amazon business? Get free case studies and POD tactics delivered to your inbox at www.merchentrepreneur.com/signup. Join our facebook community at www.facebook.com/groups/merchentrepreneurs. Get your 14 days free trial to Clickfunnels, my favorite email & funnel software HERE Thanks so much for joining us this week. If you enjoyed this episode, press the SUBSCRIBE button on your iPhone and automatically get all new episodes when they are released. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave us a review on iTunes, bu opening up your computer, launching iTunes and letting us know your thoughts & feedback on the show. The post Chris Green talks copycats, 50 Shades of Grey and his thoughts on the future for Merch By Amazon appeared first on Sweet Funnel Strategy Podcast.
30 Jan 2017
How to get to the 10,000 tier through outsourcing with Daniel Caudill
How to get to the 10,000 tier through outsourcing with Daniel Caudill. Learn more about Daniel’s process in his Merch by Amazon Advanced Strategies course HERE. Sign up to get my 5 favorite Merch by Amazon tools & resources today at www.merchentrepreneur.com/tools. Building your Merch by Amazon business? Get free case studies and POD tactics delivered to your inbox at www.merchentrepreneur.com/signup. Join our facebook community at www.facebook.com/groups/merchentrepreneurs. Elaine: This is the Merch Entrepreneur Podcast. I’m your host, Elaine, and today we have a very exciting guest. Daniel, welcome. Daniel: Thank you for having me. Elaine: No, I’m very excited actually. First of all, I have to say that back in February of this year, so over half a year ago, I was just starting out in t-shirts and I was trying to figure it all out. I had a coaching call with Daniel, who at that stage, I think had been doing t-shirts for 4 or 5 months or something, which was really helpful. First of all, Daniel, I want to say thank you for helping me out then. Yeah, I guess for the people listening, where are you from and what were you doing before you started Merch by Amazon? Daniel: I’m from Northwest North Carolina, here in the foothills of Appalachia. What I was doing before I got into Merch was actually selling FBA, or selling on Amazon through their Fulfillment by Amazon program. I had been doing that for approximately, well I want to say about 2 years I guess at that point, if I’m not mistaken. I had been familiarized with Amazon throughout that process. The process switching over to Merch by Amazon was an easy one. Elaine: When did you actually get started with Merch? Were you one of the first people in, back in the day? Daniel: Yeah, I would say I was one of the first, relatively. I got started, I think November 8th, maybe, of last year. I just recently hit my 1 year anniversary of being on the platform. Elaine: Ah, congratulations. Daniel: Yeah, so I got in before you had to have an application and all that. I had my account as soon as I logged in. That was really a great opportunity there. Elaine: Yeah, that was definitely a lot different to how it is now. It’s a lot trickier now. I know it’s hard to have patience when you have to wait so long just to get into the system. Actually, out of curiosity, what tier are you on at the moment? People start off at the 25 tier. Daniel: Right now I’m at 10,000. Elaine: Oh my God. Daniel: Yeah, it’s actually it should be higher than that, according to what my understanding is of when you get tiered up, but I haven’t been tiered up in probably over 2 months, nearly 3 now. I think I would be applicable for a 16,000 tier if they had one. Elaine: Oh my God. Have you heard of anyone that’s been tiered up over 10,000, or do you think there’s a cap on it? Daniel: I haven’t. I actually haven’t heard of anyone else being at 10,000, so I’m not sure if they only make rare exceptions, or maybe it’s just I’m one of the ones that have made it known that they’ve sold that many t-shirts. I’m not sure. Elaine: Oh yeah, because it would be good, obviously, if you could keep, as you sell more t-shirts, keep tiering up the whole way and really expand it. I guess fingers cross that when they start tiering up again, because I think it’s stuck. It’s definitely been stuck for a month and a half anyway, for me and for some other people. Hopefully they’ll do another tier up again before Christmas. Daniel: Yeah, for sure. That’s definitely important, when you are at a lower tier, definitely. When you’re up in the range where I’m at right now, I’m having a little bit of difficulty keeping that many shirts in there, especially with the new 60 day removal process. That’s making it a little more difficult, but I’m up for a challenge. Elaine: That’s good. Did you end up with many of your t-shirts due to be deleted after the 60 days? Daniel: Well, [inaudible 00:04:04]. I counted them all, the ones that were supposed to be deleted yesterday actually, was the day. I had approximately 3,000 that was going to be deleted, which seems like a lot, but that’s less than half. They were supposed to be deleted, but what actually ended up happening is I only had about 700 deleted. The others are still there saying pending removal. I’m not sure. Maybe they’re like, I heard someone on a Facebook group earlier say it’s sort of like the pardoned turkey on Thanksgiving. Maybe that’s what going on. Elaine: Yeah, it’s a bit strange, right? They’ve deleted a few of mine but most of them are still there. I’m not too sure. I’m sure they’ll get around to it eventually. We’ll just wake up and we’ll be wiped out, you know? I guess with so many t-shirts up, do you spend much time every day on Merch to kind of keep the whole thing on the road and keep uploading t-shirts and finding designs? Daniel: Well actually, I’ve hired my future brother in law to do my posting. He, right now, especially if I give him a good goal to work towards, he can post up to 3 or 4 hundred a day for me. That really helps me be a little hands off on that side of things, but I do have a lot of other things I work on, sort of background stuff that’s necessary. I work on that stuff on pretty much a daily basis. Elaine: I guess your 1 disadvantage to Merch, because it’s so new, is that we only have 1 login to the account, so you can’t set up a separate login with limited rights for a VA or something. You’re really lucky that your brother in law can help you out. Do you think it could be a good idea for people to try to go faster to try to get a VA, or something like that, to help with uploading? Do you think it’s something people should outsource if they can? Daniel: If they can, I think it’s a good idea. I would be, since the beginning I’ve been very, very leery of using anyone that I don’t know, because you are having to give them your account details. When I created my Merch account, I created it on the account that is my FBA account as well. If I gave them the login to that, they would also have the login to my FBA account. It’s just a lot of things there that I didn’t want to complete. I actually bought him a laptop specifically for the posting process. I bought him the fastest one I could find. It’s actually, it’s touch screen too, so he actually has a process where he goes through and uses the touch screen and the keyboard, and he can fly through. He can get a design posted in about 52 seconds, so he’s pretty awesome at that. Elaine: Oh my God, that’s crazy. How does the touch pad make it faster? I think my fastest is like 2 minutes or something. Daniel: Yeah, well the screen being touch screen really helps because he has some keyboard shortcuts he uses for some things, but then also he can just use his right hand to slap the buttons basically, and use his left hand to paste in information and all. He can just fly through it. I’m not entirely sure how he does it. I know I couldn’t do that. He’s one of those type of people who, when he puts his mind to figuring something out, he really, really figures it out. That’s a benefit as well. Elaine: Oh my God. He sounds like an absolute machine. Does he have brothers or sisters? Daniel: Yeah, well, I’m hoping one day to take a video of him doing the process so I can upload it and just show people just how awesome he is at doing what he does. Elaine: Wow, that is amazing. I guess, so if he’s doing all the uploading, do you spend, is this a full time job for you? Daniel: I have a software on my computer called Rescue Time. It actually monitors all of my activity on my computer, so I get a report at the end of the week saying that I spent, say, 3 hours on Facebook, 2 hours in Microsoft Excel, et cetera, et cetera. I can look at that on a broader view. The other day, I guess it was about 2 weeks ago actually, I looked for the past, since January 1st, I had only spent a total, and this was being generous because I added in things like my email, which isn’t all used for Merch. I spent a total of about 406 hours since January 1st. I think that averaged out to less than 10 hours a week that I spend on it personally. Thankfully I have a lot of outsourcing processes for a lot of the minute time consuming details, and so I can sort of work on running the business. Elaine: Wow, 10 hours a week is fantastic. You mentioned there that you outsource. What other, do you have any other team members aside from your brother in law who’s doing the uploading? Do you have artists doing work? Daniel: Yeah, the primary thing that I outsource is the designs. I have no knowledge of how to use Photo Shop or anything like that. I outsource that completely. Ever since the beginning I’ve outsourced it because I didn’t really have a desire to learn. I’m not a very artistic person. I outsource that entire process, so that saves me a lot of time. Elaine: Oh my God, yeah that’s really good. Definitely it can be daunting if people want to start but they might think they need to be a graphic designer or have that kind of background. It’s really good to hear that it’s not something that you need. I’m curious actually, are there any kind of apps that you use, or particular types of softwares or trackers that you use to … well I guess you don’t create the designs yourself, but maybe like track things? Daniel: I actually don’t. Everything that I do is fairly simplified, pretty straightforward. I’m trying to get caught up on, I’ve seen some really cool tools come out and all, but then I think about it in terms of, will this actually make me money. If the answer’s no, then I’ve not used it. I don’t have one Chrome extension that relates to Merch directly, and I know there’s a few out. That’s nothing against them specifically. It’s just they don’t really help me in my process because I have my process already laid out. I actually don’t. The only tools really I use is Google Drive. That’s the major tool anyway. There’s a couple minor things that help me along to make some things easier, like with outsourcing and things like that. Just as a whole, Google Drive is about it. Elaine: Okay, do you not even have the ca-ching sound on your computer when you tell a t-shirt? Daniel: I don’t. Elaine: Oh my God. Daniel: It would drive me crazy. Right now I’m sitting on about 600 sold this week, so I would be forever distracted. Elaine: Yeah, you’d probably want to turn it off at that stage. That’s serious. I would enjoy it though if I was selling 600 a week. I would have it on just for a day. I’d just listen to it. Then I’d get annoyed and turn it off. Daniel: Yeah, yeah. Elaine: Oh, that’s really funny. What was the one thing that’s helped you with Merch? Daniel: The one thing, well definitely being introduced to Merch in the beginning was a big help. I can thank Chris Green for that. Really, learning how to outsource has been my biggest asset. Just learning how to outsource, really. Prior to working with Merch, I really was never even aware that you could go onto a site like Fiverr.com and get somebody to do a design for you for $5, or just about anything you can think of, you can get somebody to do it for you, as long as it’s accessible through the internet. I think that’s awesome. I never had any clue about that prior to last November. Now that I’ve learned how to do that and learned how to truly take advantage of that, that’s probably been my biggest asset overall. Elaine: Daniel, back when I was starting off, we had a chat together. One of the really strong points that you mentioned today is how you built up your outsourcing team and the VAs that you use, or the designers and the whole system that you set up, because like you said you haven’t actually created or designed 1 t-shirt. You outsource everything, and how you keep it all tracked. If you’re in the 10,000 tier, that’s just thousands and thousands of t-shirts. I found that information really useful, because there’s very few people, I think, now that have actually got so far so quickly. Do you have, I don’t think you’re doing your consulting anymore, but is there anywhere that people could go if they wanted to literally learn from an outsourcing pro in terms of how to get set up doing t-shirts? If they’re getting tiered up to the bigger tiers, and they want to actually set up a proper system and do it properly? Daniel: Yeah, definitely. Me and my buddy Dave Espino put together a course. It’s, like you said, I did use to offer a consulting. It was an hour and a half, hour, hour and a half, where I would just go through absolutely everything that I knew in that one session. Everything that got me to the point that I was at. I wanted to put that into a course so that it would be more easily accessible. I contacted Dave, he’s a friend of mine who actually has been making courses since the 90s, if I’m not mistaken. He used to make a lot of things about Ebay. I contacted him and we put it together where it’s everything that was in my consulting, and then a little bit more in terms of, there’s actual spreadsheets and stuff. Stuff that I use that you can actually see exactly what I use, and you can use it yourself. There’s lots of stuff wrapped into that. That was really great to put together. That’s something that I think could be a strong to asset to anyone. Of course, I can’t guarantee any results from it, but I think you might would be willing to speak to the fact that some of the things that I teach are, or some of the things that I show, that I don’t actually leave anything out. That I taught everything that I did. Basically I lay out the ingredients, and it’s just a matter of putting them together and baking them. We have that, and then also we have a Facebook group. Dave and me run a Facebook group, Merch by Amazon Success. Anybody can get in there and then contact me. Find me on there, or post a question, post a comment, anything like that. They could message me directly on Facebook even, if they would like to. I don’t mind that at all. I check my messages about every other day, so I definitely get back to anybody who would want to do that. Elaine: That’s great, Daniel. I will link to your course in the show notes, askmerchentrepeneur.com. To wrap up, Daniel, what are you excited about for the future? Daniel: Oh, that’s a big question. Well in terms of the future of Merch, I’m excited about new products being added. I would imagine that Amazon has a lot of things in the works if you look at the site like Red Bubble. They have many options of products that they sell that you can put a design on. I can only image that Amazon will be doing something similar down the road. That will be really great. In terms of my business ventures as a whole, I’m excited about getting my designs up on other websites. That’s something I’m hoping can be a big, maybe not a huge focus, but a larger focus in 2017, is getting my designs up maybe on Red Bubble, Teespring, et cetera. That’s really great. Yeah, so I think that’s 2 major things that I’m looking forward to. Elaine: That’s great, and thank you so much for joining me, Daniel, on the podcast. It’s been a pleasure. Daniel: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. Thanks so much for joining us this week. If you enjoyed this episode, press the SUBSCRIBE button on your iPhone and automatically get each new episode when it is released. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave us a review on iTunes! The post How to get to the 10,000 tier through outsourcing with Daniel Caudill appeared first on Sweet Funnel Strategy Podcast.
5 Dec 2016
Expanding beyond Merch, driving traffic with Reddit and social media and plans for 2017 with UK seller Michael Essek
Meet 8000 tier UK seller Michael Essek, and learn about expanding beyond Merch, design, driving traffic with Reddit and social media and Michael’s outsourcing plans for 2017. Sign up to get my 5 favorite Merch by Amazon tools & resources today at www.merchentrepreneur.com/tools. Building your Merch by Amazon business? Get free case studies and POD tactics delivered to your inbox at www.merchentrepreneur.com/signup. Join our facebook community at www.facebook.com/groups/merchentrepreneurs. Elaine: Welcome to the Merch entrepreneur podcast. You’re going to hear these strategies, the tactics, and the stories of people who are making money with Merch by Amazon. Welcome to the Merch entrepreneur podcast. My name is Elaine, and I am delighted to have Michael Essec on the show today, all the way from the UK. Michael, you are very welcome. Michael: Thank you Elaine, it’s a pleasure to be here. Elaine: Where abouts in the UK are you, Michael, because you’re probably not a million miles from me here in Ireland? Michael: No, I’m in Manchester. Just outside Manchester, really. Yeah, we’re probably experiencing similar weather or something. It’s pretty gray here today for me. Elaine: Oh, very good, yeah. It’s a bit overcast here. It’s not really cold, but it looks a little bit miserable. Definitely staying inside to work on t-shirts. I was just curious actually Michael, you have had a lot of success with working and publishing t-shirts on Merch. What were you doing before you started Merch by Amazon? Michael: Before I was a graphic designer slash web designer for about six years. I was just building websites really, for small to medium sized businesses. I did graphic design, so I would do posters and leaflets and that kind of thing. Working for a small business in Manchester. I just started doing t-shirts on the side to try and get a bit of side income in, and it just kind of grew from there, really. Just kind of stuck at it, realized the print on demand platforms like Amazon, but obviously when I started, there was Red Bubble and Tee Public, and others. I just kind of stuck at it. I wish I would’ve gone harder early on and done a lot more designs, and I could be retired by now. It just kind of grew and snowballed, so happy to be where I am now. Elaine: Sounds great. I’m curious, when did you start Merch and what tier are you on currently? Michael: Just about a few weeks after it launched, I think. October last year, and I’m currently on the 8,000 tier. Elaine: Wow, that’s really amazing. 8,000, that’s one of the top guys on Merch. That’s really cool. You’ve had experience before designing t-shirts. How much time everyday do you spend on Merch? Do you do the designs yourself, or how does it work? Michael: I do most, 99% of the designs myself. I would say that the past few weeks, I’ve really kind of … Not stopped designing, but I’ve really slowed down. I’ve kind of got other things on the boiling around Christmas time, things are just busy. Thankfully Christmas has kind of picked up the slack there and driven the sales quite high. Most of the time, kind of on a usual … If you go back a month or two ago, I would’ve been trying to set myself targets every day. Some days it would’ve been maybe five designs, other days it might’ve been ten. It really varies for me. I’ve not really done quantity. I only have something like, after the purge of designs, I have about 600 designs now in my main account. Not a lot of designs really, compared to some of the big guys. Because I’m a one man band and I’ve not really outsourced stuff. My quantity isn’t that high, and I tend to just try and do designs that I think I know something about, and that I have some knowledge on. Topics and ideas and markets that I’ve been able to do well in in the past. Things that I can design myself. I don’t go for volume. I kind of go a bit more focused on a few areas and topics. That means that day to day, I might not have an idea that I feel I want to work on. Other days I might wake up and really want to go at two or three designs and get them done. It’s a bit more quality of quantity. I’m thinking next year is maybe going to be a bit different, and I probably do need to up my production. Whether that’s me working harder, or outsourcing it to someone else, or a few people. I think that’s probably the future for next year Elaine: Oh, wow. That’s incredible. I didn’t realize you had so few designs up. 600 designs for 8,000 tier is crazy. Those designs, I’m actually really curious. You were saying that you also publish on other platforms, so do you choose what designs to publish on merch based on success you’ve seen in other platforms, or do you do like, current trends or seasonal stuff? Would you have kind of an idea of how that would work? Michael: It kind of varies. I’ve had a lot of success with trends and things that blew up. Whether that was some political thing or I don’t know, a political joke or some kind of internet joke that was doing the rounds or something. I’ve had a few of those over the course of the past year, that really blew up. They maybe generated a lot of sales in a short space of time, and then they would take over and kind of keep bringing in steady sales for the rest of the year. Yeah, a few kind of big hitters like that. Then, just a lot of what I would call long tail things. You just asked me, is it things that I’ve seen success on? It is, usually. If I see that there’s a couple of designs that are gaining traction, then I’ll revisit that and I’ll do some similar designs, or see how I can put a twist on it or something like that. Yeah, generally it’s just kind of a case of sitting down and thinking, or just going about daily life and having an idea and jotting it down. I keep a big list of ideas, and then I kind of review those ideas on an ongoing basis, and scratch that one. That’s no good. This one is good, that’s worth pursuing. Then doing research online to see whether people are already doing these kind of designs, or what kind of concepts and ideas or jokes or comments are made around these designs? That kind of thing, really. Just to keep it current and keep it moving forward. Keep the production up, really. That’s all the key is. I would say the main thing is to just keep on producing. Once you’ve got something out there and you can see if it sells or not, then you’ve got so much more valuable information to make decisions on what you should design for next. Elaine: Actually, yeah. That’s a really good point. I’ve done a bit of the, take my time and do really nice designs, but I’ve also done a bit of the other kind of just do a ton of stuff and throw it up. Like you said, definitely, a good few of them won’t actually stick and after the 60 days they get taken down, but you’ll definitely get ones that surprise you that actually sell really well. You’re like, really? Like you said, that’s completely invaluable information. Then you can double down or do more in that niche or whatever. Michael: Yeah. There’s different ways and approaches to doing Merch. You’ve had [inaudible 00:07:35] on your podcast, and that’s someone who’s gone big on volume and it’s paid off. I can see how well he’s doing. I think there is some truth to quality over quantity. I think if you just did quantity, if you just did as many designs as you could, you’d probably get better results than someone who’s just doing quality. It’s so hard to predict what people are going to like. It’s very hard to judge that, and it’s hard to see the future, really. Whereas if you’re just doing a lot of designs. As long as you’re not doing the same kind of designs all the time, you’re probably going to hit something sooner or later and if you can keep the production up, then over time that’s just going to … It’s like saving in the bank. If you keep putting money in the back, or even better, putting it into the stock market or something like that. Over time, if the stock markets going up, you’re going to win. Merch is a platform that’s going up, so the more you put into it, the better results you’ll see at the end of it. Elaine: Yeah, I completely agree. I was curious actually, because you’ve sold at least over 4,000 t-shirts to be at the 8,000 tier. Did you have a strategy of pricing low to sell so many t-shirts, or do you think it actually works out better to price higher? I know people come at that with kind of different angles. Michael: Pricing is one of those things that, for me I’ve always wanted … I see myself as kind of a designer, first and foremost. I want to price my stuff at a decent price that reflects the quality, because I think it’s worth that. That’s not necessarily the best way to do things, because the market ultimately decides what your work is worth. If people don’t like it, they won’t buy it. If they do like it, then they will buy it at a certain price, and you price too high, you price yourself out of the market, really. I’ve done a lot of experiments and I’ve priced at various different places. I would say that my standard price is between 20 dollars and 25 dollar mark. I think my prices have come down over the course of the year. I don’t know, I think it’s a case of really what you want to achieve and how willing you are to lower your prices to get sales, really. To me, what I’m looking at is the amount of royalties I get. I don’t care really what my sales number are. All that matters is the bottom line, what am I making? I always want to price a product where it makes sense. I’ve found that usually is around the 20 dollars mark. I’ll sometimes come a bit lower if I feel that it’s a high competition phrase and I’m going to benefit from the volume of sales increase that I might get from lowering by a dollar or two. This is one of the things on merch. It’s becoming a bit more intensive, where it might be worth your while checking the niches and the markets that you’re in, and trying to change the prices here and there and lower them by a few dollars. Then next week, raise them up again. Even go really, really low in order to try and get the number on spot on a certain phrase, then slowly raising that price. I’ve had some success with those tactics, but there’s not really one way that works across the board. It’s kind of a case of, what’s your goal? Obviously if you’re a new seller, you want to just get as many sales, actual sales as possible. You can lower your price, really low, because that’s all you want is sales so that you can tier up and get to a higher tier. Then if you’re on the higher tiers, obviously now you want to maximize your profits. You want to get the most out of the designs you’ve got. Usually that means for me, higher pricing, not competing on price. I would put it that way. Elaine: Okay. That makes a lot of sense, all right. You were saying earlier that I think you do most of the work yourself, the designing work yourself. I’m just curious actually, what software do you use? Are you using Photoshop or Illustrator or something along those lines? Michael: Yeah, I’m using Photoshop and Illustrator, kind of in tandem. Most of the time I will work almost exclusively in Photoshop. If I’m doing some kind of artwork or something I might use Illustrator. Yeah. Those are my standard things. I’ve not really played around with any of the software, because I’ve used Photoshop and Illustrator professionally for the past ten years or something. I’m just used to those platforms. Other people use other things, whatever works for them. Right now for me, I’m sticking with Photoshop for now. Elaine: If you could attribute one particular reason to the really strong growth that you’ve seen on the Merch platform, what would that be? Michael: I think the volume thing is undeniable. If you’ve not got a lot of designs, it’s going to be really hard to make sustainable income from Merch. I know that can be difficult when you’re a one man band and you’re trying to do quality designs, and that kind of thing. How do you get the volume up? I was fortunate that I was able to basically quit my full time job and do this full time this year. That allowed me to just kind of put my foot down and do as many designs as I could. I think without that volume it’s really hard. You will get designs that blow up for a few days. I’ve had things that came out of no where. Actually had one earlier this week that blew up on Instagram. I didn’t really prepare for that, I didn’t cause it to happen and it just kind of blew up. That will happen. Those things are great. If you want to get the sustainable income, you need to be producing more designs. You need to be constantly producing designs, and you need to realize that you’re not going to reach certain levels of income until you’ve got a certain level of designs, a certain amount of designs. Say you’ve got that amount of designs in your inventory, you won’t be getting the sales volume. Once you do hit it, you just kind of keep on feeding it. You should keep things going. I think definitely volume is important. Quality and research and kind of doing a bit of … It doesn’t need to be really in depth, and you don’t need to spend hours on this, but even just a cursory glance on Amazon to see what the competition is. To see where little opportunities are, and to follow little rabbit trails. I think that is valuable. Rather than just throwing up ideas that have come from the top of your head, or something like that. If you’re producing designs that already exist, either within Merch or already on Amazon, it’s hard to then pick up sales. There’s lots of t-shirt sellers on Amazon apart from Merch. They’re able to offer prices that are sometimes a lot lower than Merch. If you’re creating a design, you see a design, you think, oh, these guys are selling well. It’s not Merch or whatever. I’m going to create a design. You might found out that that guy’s selling well because he’s selling at ten dollars. You can’t even sell that low. Your designs just not going to sell because this guys got one that’s selling for a few dollars cheaper than you can even really charge. It’s things like that. Quickly checking what the market is like, and paying attention to that. Not just throwing things up there. Yeah, quality work that you’ve done a bit of research on, plus volume. Plus time, I think is success with Merch. It’s not a platform for everybody. If you can’t produce designs yourself, or you can’t afford to outsource them, then it’s not really an attractive platform for you. If you are a designer, and you can produce a lot of designs and you have time. It doesn’t happen over night, but if you can just produce a steady stream of designs, then starting from zero, this time next year you could be looking at multiple thousands of income next Christmas. With a growing platform, there’s lot of opportunities. I think if you can just kind of go in eyes open, and be prepared to do the work and be prepared to wait, and that kind of thing, then there’s lots of growth in merch, and in print on demand t-shirts in general. Elaine: Very interesting. You mentioned there that one of your t-shirts recently blew up on Instagram. I was curious, do you drive any traffic to Merch? Do you have Pinterest of Instagram or Twitter accounts you use to put t-shirts up, or do you use any paid advertising either? Michael: Yeah, I find a lot of success on Reddit, for promoting t-shirts and stuff. I have an Instagram account. I don’t really use that as much as I probably should. I have basically a couple of t-shirts brands that I started about this time last year. One I started about this time last year, ones maybe a couple of years older. These are brands that have a almost unifying … I don’t know what you call it. Kind of a theme, kind of a niche, that they’re appealing to. One of those, I kept at it for a good year and built up a following and did Instagram posts daily, that kind of thing. That did really well. I’ve just slipped from doing the regular updates on that, but those kind of tools are helpful. I’m relying on Amazon to bring the traffic for Merch, but outside of Merch, I’ve had success with Instagram. I’ve had a lot of success with Reddit. I don’t use Pinterest. Don’t find much success with Twitter apart from as a research tool. I find Twitter very useful. To give me ideas and that kind of thing, Twitter is quite handy. Apart from that, not really done much promotion with Facebook. I’ve tried Facebook advertising, but not quite cracked it yet. Those are the kind of tools I’ve used. Elaine: That’s really interesting. I haven’t heard too many people using Reddit to drive traffic. Is it just a case of, if you have a t-shirt you think would appeal to a specific audience or something that’s trending, you just copy the link into a Reddit niche that’s related to the topic? Is that how it would work? Michael: Yeah. There’s a couple of approaches. Definitely the sub Reddits, is what they’re called. Kind of like little niche communities within Reddit, is a great way to get eyeballs and traffic and sales. It’s not something that … Reddit kind of has a policy against spam and self promotion, so it’s something you need to be very careful with. If you overdo it, then you’ll get banned from Reddit. Reputation is quite important on Reddit. People kind of check you out. They want to know, who is this guy, where’s he come from, how long has he had his account? What kind of stuff does he post? People can view your Reddit history. Anyone can do that. If they see, oh this guy just goes into various sub Reddits and just posts t-shirts all the time, then they’re going to be like, well this guy’s a spammer. You’re just going to get a bad reputation. I’ve burned through some Reddit accounts in the past. Made mistakes on that way. Really, I would say it’s kind of … If you can find a community that you’re interested in in the first place, and you kind of have some affinity with, then you can just kind of hang out there just like you would as a normal human being, and interact and maybe post cool and interesting stuff. Then every now and again, you can drop in, oh guys, I just did this design. What do you think? Something like that. I’ve had success that way. I’ve also been able to a couple of times get something on the front page, just by doing … I say just by doing, but this is very rare and we would say flukey. It doesn’t happen very often. If you can get kind of a generic, funny design, something that isn’t specific to a particular niche or something but is kind of, it’s just a funny, almost … Most of my designs are kind of pop culture cartoony type, funny stuff. If you can get something like that, and it just takes hold within Reddit and blows up, then obviously that’s fantastic. It’s hard to do, and it’s not predictable. I’ve found that even if I just kind of try and do something like that once a week, it doesn’t come across too spammy. Sooner or later, something will take off. It takes a lot of time. It’s certainly not an effective, economic way of getting sales. When it does work, it’s great. It’s just kind of fun. I’m on Reddit anyway because I like Reddit. I like the communities. I get ideas from Reddit, and those kind of things. It is a useful tool, if you can spend the time there. Elaine: Michael, you have mentioned a little earlier that you also publish on different print on demand platforms. I was just wondering if there were any other t-shirt platforms or platforms that sell things other than t-shirts, that you would recommend that people who are currently doing Merch, that it would be a good thing to go and investigate and maybe make some additional sales. Michael: Yeah, absolutely. The next one down from Merch is Red Bubble, which is one that does very well for me. It’s really easy to add designs, and they sell on all kinds of different products. Not just t-shirts. You’ve got all kinds of different clothes. Hoodies. They even do dresses now, stuff like that. You can get phone cases and clocks they’ve started doing. Yeah, it’s a great place to add designs. Simple to upload. A bit time consuming, compared to Merch because you kind of have to position your artwork and add background colors and that kind of thing. If you’re willing to do that extra bit of work, I found Red Bubble to be a nice earner. Of course, it’s exactly the same as Merch. It’s passive income. It’s organic, the traffic is organic. I don’t need to pay for traffic. They do retargeting, so they will chase customers around the web on your behalf, trying to sell them your designs, which is great. Red Bubble is a great one. Tee Public is another one I use. I’ve seen it kind of decline a little bit in the past few months, but it’s still, a decent chunk of income comes from Tee Public. The other big one for me is Etsy. I sell on Etsy, and I use a t-shirt for film and company to actually fulfill the orders. Customers are buying directly from me and my brand, and I’m using a third party to print and ship the t-shirts too them. That’s really done great for me this Christmas. I find Etsy to be similar kind of market to Amazon, in a way. It’s a like a mini version of Amazon in a way. Elaine: Very good. That’s really interesting. The last week or ten days, we’ve seen a lot of changes in Amazon. As I record this, hopefully Amazon … Well, they’ve already started to let people back in and upload t-shirts. I think the last ten days is a really good wake up call for people just to realize that while Merch is great, that definitely it’s a wise business decision just to look at other platforms as well. Spread out the risk a little bit. Listen, Michael, it’s been an absolutely pleasure to have you on the show. If people want to learn more about you, where is the best place for them to find you? Michael: They can find me at MichaelEssec.com, and on Twitter Michael Essec. Facebook, same again. Yeah, they can subscribe to my newsletter. I have a weekly newsletter that goes out with tips and tricks for selling t-shirts. I also just kind of share my thoughts on a weekly basis as to what’s happening, so this past week, I wrote a bit about merch and all the kind of changes that are happening there. Yeah, definitely if you want to sell more t-shirts, if you want to learn kind of how I’m doing it and what my thinking is, then go ahead and subscribe there. Elaine: Michael, that’s fantastic. Thank you once again for coming on the show. It’s been a joy to have you, and looking forward to seeing your continued success in 2017. Michael: Thank you Elaine, same to you, and same to everyone listening. Elaine: If you want to learn about how to start a Merch by Amazon business, you can go to our website, Merchentrepreneur.com. There you can get the top four tools and resources you need to grow your Merch by Amazon business. If you’d like to join our online community, all you have to do is go to Facebook and type in Merch Entrepreneur. Thanks so much for joining us this week. If you enjoyed this episode, press the SUBSCRIBE button on your iPhone and automatically get each new episode when it is released. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave us a review on iTunes! The post Expanding beyond Merch, driving traffic with Reddit and social media and plans for 2017 with UK seller Michael Essek appeared first on Sweet Funnel Strategy Podcast.
19 Dec 2016
Working from home, driving traffic with Instagram and using Shopify with Matt Carlett
Meet Matt Carlett in this new episode and find out why Merch is better than FBA, how he is getting traffic with Instagram and building his own store outside Merch with Shopify. The instagram course that Matt mentions in this podcast is here at www.Merchentrepreneur.com/instagram. Learn more details about how I sold $128,295.78 of t-shirts in 10 months on Merch by Amazon with my free online masterclass.Sign up to get my 5 favorite Merch by Amazon tools & resources today at www.merchentrepreneur.com/tools. Building your Merch by Amazon business? Get free case studies and POD tactics delivered to your inbox at www.merchentrepreneur.com/signup. Join our facebook community at www.facebook.com/groups/merchentrepreneurs. Thanks so much for joining us this week. If you enjoyed this episode, press the SUBSCRIBE button on your iPhone and automatically get each new episode when it is released. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave us a review on iTunes! The post Working from home, driving traffic with Instagram and using Shopify with Matt Carlett appeared first on Sweet Funnel Strategy Podcast.
16 Jan 2017
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Top 3 books you MUST read to successfully build your POD t-shirt business
Learn Elaine’s top #3 business books to successfully build your POD business. These are Dotcom Secrets, Four Hour Work Week, and Rich Dad Poor Dad. Get 14 days free trial to Clickfunnels, my favorite email & funnel software HERE Sign up to get my 5 favorite Merch by Amazon tools & resources today at www.merchentrepreneur.com/tools. Building your Merch by Amazon business? Get free case studies and POD tactics delivered to your inbox at www.merchentrepreneur.com/signup. Join our facebook community at www.facebook.com/groups/merchentrepreneurs. Get your 14 days free trial to Clickfunnels, my favorite email & funnel software HERE Thanks so much for joining us this week. If you enjoyed this episode, press the SUBSCRIBE button on your iPhone and automatically get all new episodes when they are released. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave us a review on iTunes, bu opening up your computer, launching iTunes and letting us know your thoughts & feedback on the show. The post Top 3 books you MUST read to successfully build your POD t-shirt business appeared first on Sweet Funnel Strategy Podcast.
6 Feb 2017
5am starts, the 60 day rule and side hustles with Scott from Tampa
Meet Scott Griffin, a marketing manager and part-time Merch Entrepreneur from Tampa Florida. We talk 5am starts, the 60 days rule and side hustles and cover some of the latest changes in Merch by Amazon. Sign up to get my 5 favorite Merch by Amazon tools & resources today at www.merchentrepreneur.com/tools. Building your Merch by Amazon business? Get free case studies and POD tactics delivered to your inbox at www.merchentrepreneur.com/signup. Join our facebook community at www.facebook.com/groups/merchentrepreneurs. The post 5am starts, the 60 day rule and side hustles with Scott from Tampa appeared first on Sweet Funnel Strategy Podcast.
29 Dec 2016
How to expand your business with Etsy, one of the worlds biggest marketplaces for organic sales
Diversifying your income is a smart idea for anyone who is selling on Merch By Amazon. Learn how to expand your business with Etsy, one of the worlds biggest marketplaces for organic sales in this episode with Elaine. Sign up and get 40 free listings on Etsy here: merchentrepreneur.com/etsy Sign up to get my 5 favorite Merch by Amazon tools & resources today at www.merchentrepreneur.com/tools. Building your Merch by Amazon business? Get free case studies and POD tactics delivered to your inbox at www.merchentrepreneur.com/signup. Join our facebook community at www.facebook.com/groups/merchentrepreneurs. Thanks so much for joining us this week. If you enjoyed this episode, press the SUBSCRIBE button on your iPhone and automatically get each new episode when it is released. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave us a review on iTunes! The post How to expand your business with Etsy, one of the worlds biggest marketplaces for organic sales appeared first on Sweet Funnel Strategy Podcast.
19 Jan 2017
Learn how Merch has helped Ryan spend more time with his family while increasing his monthly income
Meet Ryan Tomlinson and learn how after one year in Merch by Amazon he has more free time to spend with his family, significant extra monthly income and his strategy to reach his monthly goals. Sign up to get my 5 favorite Merch by Amazon tools & resources today at www.merchentrepreneur.com/tools. Building your Merch by Amazon business? Get free case studies and POD tactics delivered to your inbox at www.merchentrepreneur.com/signup. Join our facebook community at www.facebook.com/groups/merchentrepreneurs. Thanks so much for joining us this week. If you enjoyed this episode, press the SUBSCRIBE button on your iPhone and automatically get each new episode when it is released. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave us a review on iTunes! The post Learn how Merch has helped Ryan spend more time with his family while increasing his monthly income appeared first on Sweet Funnel Strategy Podcast.
9 Jan 2017
Scaling a screen printing business to a large DTG business with 18 year old Trevor Snodgrass, and his advice for Merch entrepreneurs
Meet Trevor, who started screen printing when he was just 11 years old, and now runs a DTG printing company with his Dad. Check out some of Trevor’s designs here. Sign up to get my 5 favorite Merch by Amazon tools & resources today at www.merchentrepreneur.com/tools. Building your Merch by Amazon business? Get free case studies and POD tactics delivered to your inbox at www.merchentrepreneur.com/signup. Join our facebook community at www.facebook.com/groups/merchentrepreneurs. Thanks so much for joining us this week. If you enjoyed this episode, press the SUBSCRIBE button on your iPhone and automatically get each new episode when it is released. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave us a review on iTunes! The post Scaling a screen printing business to a large DTG business with 18 year old Trevor Snodgrass, and his advice for Merch entrepreneurs appeared first on Sweet Funnel Strategy Podcast.
23 Jan 2017
The most amazing way to start a t-shirt business WITHOUT Amazon in 30 days – thanks Russell Brunson and 30 Days Summit!
There is one person in the internet business world that I pay close attention to. His name is Russell Brunson. 2 days ago, he launched a new online summit called 30 Days. He asked about 30 of his friends who have made over 1,000,000$ on the internet doing various businesses, if they lost EVERYTHING – how would they make it all back in 30 days. So I bought it for $100 – to be able to watch all the videos today instead of waiting for the summit, and also to get the book version posted out to me. I started to watch it last night. It is GENIUS! The first 30 days is all about starting a t-shirt company without Amazon! I LOVED it. Check it out here & I strongly suggest you pay the $100 and get instant access to all the videos, plus the book & support group. It is worth it. The post The most amazing way to start a t-shirt business WITHOUT Amazon in 30 days – thanks Russell Brunson and 30 Days Summit! appeared first on Sweet Funnel Strategy Podcast.
11 Sep 2018
Waiting to tier up with your Mom as your #1 secret weapon with Stacy
Find apps to create t-shirts for Merch by Amazon at www.merchapps.com and get your free basic photoshop course here. Join the Merch Entrepreneur facebook group here. The post Waiting to tier up with your Mom as your #1 secret weapon with Stacy appeared first on Sweet Funnel Strategy Podcast.
5 Feb 2018
How to SELL while you SLEEP, my movie business, and a SECRET FLORIDA marketing conference!
Join our new facebook group for online entrepreneurs here. The post How to SELL while you SLEEP, my movie business, and a SECRET FLORIDA marketing conference! appeared first on Sweet Funnel Strategy Podcast.
27 Oct 2018
Meet Ben, the Professional Illustrator who sells his designs on Merch by Amazon
Ben is a professional illustrator who now sells on Merch By Amazon. Check out Ben’s art here. Find apps to create t-shirts for Merch by Amazon at www.merchapps.com and get your free basic photoshop course here. Join the Merch Entrepreneur facebook group here. The post Meet Ben, the Professional Illustrator who sells his designs on Merch by Amazon appeared first on Sweet Funnel Strategy Podcast.
19 Feb 2018
Why did I join 4500 people for a CRAZY week in Nashville?
I love going to really good marketing events around the world. It’s where I often come up with my best ideas. Like starting a t-shirt podcast, making an award-winning movie, or creating a new online course. But a few people have emailed me, wanting to know if beginners can get value from attending a world class online marketing conference. I’ve just come back from an amazing week in Nashville, USA, and the answer is a huge YES! >>>> Get the Nashville notes here <<<< I’ve been successful in some areas, but in other areas I’m a COMPLETE beginner. There would be no point paying over $2000 to fly across the world to listen to people speak about stuff I already knew. The main reason I went was because I knew some of the most successful people with internet businesses, or all different types, would be on stage sharing their stories, tips and secrets on how they built their businesses. I was 110% happy to be a complete beginner in this non-app and non-shirt world… because I want to learn more and I want to build new businesses. The conference was Russell Brunson’s Funnel Hacking Live, and had over 4500 people from all over the world attending. There is a company who does notes for these events, and they are really cheap. Just $37! You literally get every word that was spoken on stage for the 4 days. I got so much value from the event and I totally recommend them. I also bought them myself – because it was impossible to write down so much info at the event. If you’re super successful, you’ll learn lots. If you’re a beginner, you will get so many new ideas and inspiration. The content I learned is literally priceless to help me grow my business. Either way, you will LOVE these notes. You can buy them at www.merchentrepreneur.com/nashville(limited time offer as Tim increases the prices next week). Honestly. They are brilliant. I’ve literally got a new million dollar business plan from these notes. Get your copy at www.merchentrepreneur.com/nashville The post Why did I join 4500 people for a CRAZY week in Nashville? appeared first on Sweet Funnel Strategy Podcast.
7 Mar 2019
How to start a grown-up business with a proper email list in ANY niche
Thanks to everyone who emailed me about the Jeff Walker workshop. Its great that you are getting so much value from them.Last Oct, I was on FB and by accident I saw Jeff’s live event in Florida was taking place about the same time I was planning to travel to the USA for a few days.So I decided to change my flights & divert to Florida and for the first time – even though I’ve know about PLF for many years – actually spend some time learning about it properly .The event was superb – 3 days full of great info, and on returning home I actually bought his full course, and I’m 3/4 of the way through it now PLUS I’ve started to implement what I’ve learned.Up to now, my businesses – apps, FBA, Merch – have always been based on someone else’s platform.They are good cashflow business, BUT – they are not PROPER long-term businesses. They were built on sand that could crumble at any time.I wanted to learn how to build a PROPER business – where i had the customer list, I could build a great brand, and I could do it all quite fast and efficentlySo I needed to find someone who had done this already and could teach me. I needed a mentor.At the jeff walker event I realised I’d found my mentor.I’ve seen all of the stories of people with totally random skills – from dog training, to horses, to helping accountants, to painters, to book authors, to sports people, to designers… build amazing long term grown-up businesses using his model.And I’ve started to use it also and I’m seeing amazing results.He was got a free training series running now, so even just to learn more about his process, I totally recommend that you watch these videos: https://merchentrepreneur.com/jeff The post How to start a grown-up business with a proper email list in ANY niche appeared first on Sweet Funnel Strategy Podcast.
11 Feb 2019
How I escaped from an office job in Dublin to make mobile apps!
Did you know that this podcast shouldn’t exist? That I should be stuck in an office job, in Dublin working on some type of boring business system documentation? UGH! It makes me shudder just to think about it!6 years ago that was exactly what I was doing. Working in an office job and slowly getting more disillusioned. My colleagues were lovely…. but surely there was more to life than an living in suburbia with everyone else, stuck in traffic on the weekends, 11pm urgent emails, and 22 days holidays a year?I was normal – well, I lived in the suburbs in Dublin, had an office job & wished it was the weekend so I could go home & visit my horse in Tipperary.I was happy enough – well – I wasn’t really! It really annoyed me that I was missing my horse time.Long story short – I was fed up. And I was fed up ENOUGH… that I decided to make a change and try something. Even though I was terrified. So I quit my job to start and online business.. but the real reason I quit was because I wanted to build a life and an online business (so I could work from anywhere!) that meant I could spend more time doing what I loved – which was horse stuff.A lot of things have moved online. Now we shop on Amazon. We watch movies on Netflix instead of on TV. We’ve seen the growth of Merch by Amazon, Amazon FBA and lots of other online opportunities.I’ve done various businesses…. from apps to FBA to Merch. They’ve all done pretty well. But I always worried.I dreaded that I would wake up to an email saying that my account was suspended.Because I was missing the biggest part of any business – the email list of my customers. While my businesses were good for cashflow, and they worked… they were built on sand that could crumble at any time.And if they crumbled then I had lost everything.I always wanted to start a ‘grown-up’ business… one where I built a brand and I had my customers email addresses. But it seemed daunting..I had no interest in blogging for 3 years to build up an audience, or doing a million Facebook lives in the hope that people would share them.Last Autumn I went to an event in Florida which I really enjoyed. It was by a guy called Jeff Walker, who spent the three days mapping out who it’s possible to launch an online course (on any topic), book or artwork online – and to build an online business that allows you more time for whatever you want – in my case it’s horse riding.Not only that, but a few weeks later, I bought his online course, Product Launch Formula.Jeff is one of the original internet marketing guys, and he is one of the best respected.In fact, the first EVER online course I bought – which taught me how to make mobile apps – used the launch process that Jeff designed.I’ve seen all of the stories of people with totally random skills – from dog training, to horses, to helping accountants, to painters, to book authors, to sports people, to designers… build amazing long term grown-up businesses using his model.And I’ve started to use it also and I’m seeing amazing results.He was got a free training series running now, so even just to learn more about his process, I totally recommend that you watch these videos here: http://www.merchentrepreneur.com/jeff The post How I escaped from an office job in Dublin to make mobile apps! appeared first on Sweet Funnel Strategy Podcast.
7 Feb 2019
Crazy hot in Australia + the best $100 you’ll ever spend!
I’ve just arrived out to Australia and it’s 45 degrees in the shade! Crazy stuff indeed. While Merch by Amazon is great, as more people have joined it’s definitely become a lot harder to develop it into a sustainable business. A lot of the opportunities that used to be there, just isn’t there any more. While I think it’s still a cool part time business, I think it’s just as important to look at other ways you can make money online… such as by building a business that YOU OWN... and not one that Amazon owns. The danger with building your business on a platform like Amazon, where you don’t have access to your customers email addresses, if if it all goes wrong you literally have no business left. I’ve been building internet businesses of all sorts for over 5 years. I started with a movie app business, which ended up with over 25 million downloads and tons of #1 apps. I moved then into ecommerce and Amazon FBA which was a great adventure, and then later into Merch. But as I was doing these, I was being sensible and building a really popular app blog, recording a podcast with over 300k downloads in just over a year, selling online courses and building REAL online businesses that didn’t rely on the BIG companies. As part of this process, over the past 5 years I’ve bought a ton of online courses. Some quite expensive. Some good. And some not so good. One of the best online courses I ever bought was the One Funnel Away challenge, which I bought for $100 last October. Not only did I get a huge hardcover book sent to me in the post, with step by step plans of how to build 30 new online businesses in a month, I also got 30 full days of online live coaching…. from people who I admire a lot, like Russell Brunson and Julie Stoian. The shut the whole thing down soon after, so you couldn’t buy it again. I know some people of the Merch Entrepreneur ocmmunity bought it and got a lot of value from it. The good news (drumroll!) is that they have finally opened it up again! You can join now here – but only for the next few days. . www.merchentrepreneur.com/30daysIt’s honestly one of the best courses / challenges I have EVER bought, and for $100, for the amount you can learn from it, it’s a no-brainer. So if you want help to build a REAL online business – one that’s not totally dependent on Amazon, then click here and enjoy It helped me a lot with my new businesses that I am starting in 2019. The post Crazy hot in Australia + the best $100 you’ll ever spend! appeared first on Sweet Funnel Strategy Podcast.
8 Jan 2019
How we wrote an Amazon BEST-SELLING book in 45 mins WITHOUT writing ANYTHING!
Join the Sell While You Sleep facebook entrepreneur community here. The post How we wrote an Amazon BEST-SELLING book in 45 mins WITHOUT writing ANYTHING! appeared first on Sweet Funnel Strategy Podcast.
12 Nov 2018
My crazy AUTOMATED print on demand DVD movie business with Clickfunnels and Kunaki SNEAK PREVIEW
Join the Sell While You Sleep facebook entrepreneur community here. Get a Clickfunnels 14 day free trial and you can start to do automated print on demand CD and DVD fulfillment. It’s genius. You can also use it to build funnels, for online course creation and taking payments online. It’s worth trying it out for 2 weeks to see what you think. The post My crazy AUTOMATED print on demand DVD movie business with Clickfunnels and Kunaki SNEAK PREVIEW appeared first on Sweet Funnel Strategy Podcast.
5 Nov 2018
Learn how one Merch Mom maxs out her uploads every day from Mexico
Elaine chats to Merch Mom Greta,and is amazed to meet the most productive and focused Merch Entrepreneur todate. Find apps to create t-shirts for Merch by Amazon at www.merchapps.com and get your free basic photoshop course here. The post Learn how one Merch Mom maxs out her uploads every day from Mexico appeared first on Sweet Funnel Strategy Podcast.
22 Jan 2018