Ya know… it’s been so long since I blogged here, I almost forgot my WordPress password.
How’s your 2018 been going for you? Mine has been super busy but extremely productive and more profitable than I expected.
So I thought I’d catch you up on lessons I’ve learned with my new site, struggles, personal growth and other insights.
The Golden Ticket
The year started off on a fun note. I received a Golden Ticket and was invited, along with a few other high-volume sellers, to meet with Amazon about the Merch By Amazon (MBA) program!
We had to sign NDAs (Non Disclosure Agreements), but I CAN say that it made me even more proud and excited to be a part of this amazing passive income opportunity.
They even created a shirt design for us that we got to print ourselves!
The team was super cool and treated us to a nice dinner with some delicious desserts! We were all pretty vocal about the things we like/didn’t like, suggestions, etc.
I can’t lie…
Before the meetup, certain things about Merch would really frustrate me. But after talking to the team it made realize how hard they’re working to improve on many different fronts.
One thing’s for sure…
These people LOVE THEIR COMPANY. You can see Amazon has a certain standard for the kind of people they hire.
The Merch team is extremely passionate and dedicated to the program, and it was really cool to see their energy and positive outlook on the future of (MBA).
Merch By Amazon caused a COMPLETE detour with my business in late 2016. I saw the potential and knew I had to focus on it as soon as I got in.
To date, I’ve sold nearly 10,000 shirts on Amazon alone, and never dreamed T-shirts would be a big part of my income stream.
But I’m actually glad Merch distracted me because I was about to make a BIG mistake by creating the site about selling online courses from your WordPress site.
I was trying to force myself into a niche that I wasn’t really passionate about JUST to have a more focused/niche site.
I also felt some pressure to start a new site because I really wanted to see what it was like to begin TODAY so I could share more relevant lessons. I was definitely forcing ideas for that reason as well.
Thank you, Amazon, for rescuing me from THAT inevitable failure!
The PSP Journey Begins
When I launched Passive Shirt Profits in June of last year, I knew that social media wasn’t going to be a big part of my marketing strategy.
That may sound crazy to you in 2018, but if you know me, you already know that social media marketing has NEVER been a strength OR favorite of mine.
As a matter of fact, MARKETING IN GENERAL has never been a strength.
What you need to understand is that being proficient at teaching, making videos, and being admired online doesn’t automatically qualify you as a great Internet marketer who knows how to sell their own products.
All I knew was that I wasn’t going to stress myself out trying to grow another social media account I would probably abandon.
So I decided to start with podcasting. I really wanted to see how much traction I could gain with doing nothing but focusing on that.
I also wanted to challenge the “Be Everywhere” strategy that a lot of newcomers feel they need to adhere to when starting a website.
My goal was to commit to podcasting weekly to see if it would drive people into my courses. I launched my first show in May, 2017.
Sales Were Off To a Great Start!
You may remember that the initial launch for PSP was great.
It was a good decision to offer a bundle package that was priced lower than the total price of all courses individually because most people bought the bundle.
I made more in the first 3 days of launch than I typically made on Udemy in a month (WITHOUT Udemy discounts.)
But let’s be real.
The sales were mostly from people who found out about PSP from THIS site.
The REAL tell would be the results AFTER the initial launch.
Well let me just say that after launch, things were slow.
So slow that I wondered if I should keep podcasting.
But the more I did it, the more I enjoyed it so I decided to keep going in spite of doubts creeping up.
It’s funny how I’m always giving you all pep talks about never giving up, and I had to remember and start using my own advice!
Then in December, things started to slowly turn around.
Suddenly sales went from very sporadic to several per week.
Then in January it was like someone flipped a switch. (I think it had a lot to do with Merch accepting people into the program again.)
So my listeners and email list subscribers who had been waiting to get approved, decided to enroll.
My podcast downloads started increasing and so did my course sales!
I launch a show every Monday so those are the peaks you see. I think it’s very important to maintain a rhythm with podcasting.
I took a 6 week break between Thanksgiving and the New Year, so that’s why you see the spike on January 8th.
But here’s the cool part….
I recently had my BEST. WEEK. EVER. for the PSP courses, and it was really encouraging to finally have a bit more momentum.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not getting numbers like this all the time, but compared to how things started, I’ll take it!
PSP doesn’t get many comments or social shares.
And if that’s what you view to judge the success of a website, well then you’d see it as a complete failure.
But ironically, it’s converting better with courses than this site did with a larger traffic base!
So yeah, no complaints here!
Don’t get caught up in social shares, traffic and comments. They don’t always equate to more income.
Keep Pushing No Matter What!
Let me tell you. It gets quite discouraging in the early days of building a new site as many of you know!
It was a VERY humbling experience after having instant success with 2 Create a Website.
This site just TOOK OFF like a rocket thanks to Google back in the day, and PSP has been NOTHING like that.
I knew I wasn’t going to have the luxury of building up my search engine traffic to 2,000 visits per day in the first two months like I did with 2Create years ago.
Even though I was prepared for a slow start, it doesn’t mean it was easy to swallow.
It took 8 months for me to really feel like momentum was picking up, and I know many people would have given up LONG before then.
That’s why you have to keep pushing and give it time.
And that’s EXACTLY why I wanted to share this.
I think it’s equally important you hear when things are challenging, and not just when they’re great.
You Don’t Have to Be Everywhere
I know how overwhelming some of you feel when you’re just starting online today.
With Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and so many options to choose from, it can feel like you have a gigantic hill to climb.
But I’m here to tell you to START SMALL.
Most people are never GREAT with every social media site. They typically focus on one or two.
You have to remember, when you see big influencers with 5 and 6-digit followers on multiple sites, usually it’s because they focused on one or two and the other accounts grew because of the success of the initial accounts.
So it’s not like they are spending that much time and energy on every site.
And who cares about the number of followers if you aren’t turning those followers into customers!
Be careful of getting distracted by looking or being popular on social media.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Just because people are clicking LIKE doesn’t mean they will click ‘BUY.’” quote=”Just because people are clicking LIKE doesn’t mean they will also click ‘BUY.’”]
Now THAT’s what I need on a T-shirt!
So focus on ONE platform that fits your style and audience, and commit yourself to growing that for the next 6 months.
The beauty of concentrating on one strategy is it will very clear if it’s working or not.
Kim George wrote a really good article on follower obsessions, and how to choose your best social platform. I envy her commitment and dedication to social media. I just don’t have it.
Set Realistic Goals
I was so proud of myself for setting a podcast goal that I stuck to EVERY SINGLE MONDAY until the Holidays. (I did miss one other week due to a death in the family.)
Staying focused is often a challenge for me, but I stuck with podcasting, even when I wasn’t sure it was the best thing to do.
And the great thing about my show is every episode is only 5-10 minutes long. So it only takes me an hour or so to record, edit and publish each episode.
I set a realistic goal for myself that I knew I could meet, and that is so important.
Plus, it feels sooooooo good to know I don’t HAVE to be on every platform. I no longer get social media marketing FOMO (fear of missing out).
For the record, I’m not suggesting that you ignore social media. I believe most people SHOULD consider using it today. This was just a personal decision for ME. I have a unique situation with multiple income sources (some are recurring), so I didn’t feel like social media was something I HAD to do. Having said that, I TOTALLY APPROVE the podcast-only strategy for starting out — especially if you’re in a niche where podcasting is hot.
Just remember, you don’t have to be everywhere. It’s a myth.
What I Need to Work On & My Personal Growth
Even though I feel PSP has earned what I put into it now (effort wise), there’s so much more I COULD be doing to earn even more.
I’m very happy with what I’ve accomplished, but I still have a ways to go.
I haven’t setup many marketing funnels, don’t do much with landing pages, my email list, etc.
I am now getting help with those aspects of marketing.
Entrepreneurs who are incredibly successful focus on what they do best and outsource the rest. And I’m JUST now getting comfortable with doing more of that.
I’ve also grown a lot personally and professionally in the last year.
I’ve learned to be comfortable saying “NO” to unreasonable requests and being OK with not pleasing everyone (limiting certain levels of help to students only, no coupon expectations, pricing etc.)
I’ve set boundaries for what I will and won’t do in my business both online AND offline.
Boundaries are something a lot of women entrepreneurs struggle with. Google it. It’s like an epidemic!
Maintaining that boundary without feeling selfish or mean has often been a challenge for me. But I had to do something because things were getting out of balance in my business.
Don’t feel sorry for me. I created that monster by operating in “people pleasing” mode.
I just recorded a podcast on this very subject. Stay tuned.
It’s also been incredibly rewarding to create additional income streams. That’s something you HAVE to do as an entrepreneur.
My income sources look a LOT different from when I started online, and thanks to Etsy, PSP and Amazon, I’ve developed some new ones in the last 14 months.
And I have to mention AdSense because I’m always asked about it.
My response to that is…
Seriously, if I make a $1,000 month, I’m having a good month. Fortunately, I’ve more than replaced those earnings with other income streams.
One thing’s for sure…
If you expect everything to remain the same out here, you’re in the wrong place. The only constant is change!
Three years from now, I might be talking about Merch in past tense and on to something else. That’s just how it goes.
But I’m going to ride this Merch train ’til the wheels fall off! And it’s been a fun ride!
Anywho, I just wanted to update you all because it’s been a minute since I blogged.
Let me know what you are up to these days, and I hope your 2018 is going grrrrrreat!!
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