My First $3,000 Month With My Ecommerce Brand

Can you believe it’s been a YEAR since my last blog update?

I have no idea how many of you will even read this, so I’ll just start out by saying helloooooooo to anyone reading this post.

…..all three of you! LOL!!

Before I jump in, let me touch on some personal things. Many of you have continued to reach out and ask about my dad since I’ve been gone. I appreciate you for that.

Not only is my dad doing well, but he’s back to traveling the world!

I took my family to Jamaica earlier this year to celebrate family and good health. A few months later, my parents went to Australia, and my mom joked that my dad walked her all over the continent. 🙂

What a blessing considering he couldn’t walk at all for nearly 3 months in 2018. And if you saw him walk, you’d never know he broke both of his ankles when he passed out. There’s no visible limp whatsoever!

Biz Updates

If you had told me 3 years ago that I would be making a good portion of my income from my own digital art, I would have laughed!

It all started with the Merch By Amazon program.

I’ve earned nearly $150,000 in royalties selling digital art on Amazon alone. That doesn’t include any additional royalties from other sites and niche shops on Spreadshirt, TeePublic, Etsy, RedBubble and more.

I have a handful of shops on different niches, and a few with some random topics. My niche shops always, always outperform the random ones.

In Summer, 2018, I realized Merch By Amazon (MBA) was getting more competitive, and I knew that the glory days would be coming to an end sooner than later.

I wanted to diversify and focus on one niche.

So instead of doing all this random keyword stuff, I took a keyword/niche that I had discovered on Amazon the previous year and began building a shop for that audience.

It’s not a niche I am all that passionate about, but the low demand really got my attention. Plus, I was already selling in this space on Amazon. So I figured I could dominate this market by increasing my volume of designs.

I opened up a free RedBubble shop, and it was super slow going in the first few months. I’m talking about $5 monthly earnings. Yikes!

Slowly but surely, things began to pick up. I now have sales everyday.

I chose RedBubble because I didn’t have a following in this niche, and I knew they already had a lot of organic traffic. Plus, they offer tons of products and are constantly adding them.

In September of this year, I hit my first $3,000 month with this brand alone.

It’s important to note that $3,000 in one month is not just coming from shop sales. I began licensing certain designs to people who want to print and sell them on their local shops.

This was never the plan, but people kept reaching out to me and asking about licensing and custom work.

I didn’t want other people selling the same designs I was selling, so I decline some requests. However, if someone needs something completely different then I will create the image and charge a licensing fee. The price depends on how they plan to use it.

I setup a simple landing page on my domain where people can order a license with PayPal. So that added another income stream I wasn’t expecting.

I was very lucky that I found a niche that was completely underserved from an ecommerce standpoint. These people are elated that someone is actually devoting unique designs and a single shop to their niche. That has been key!

If you want to learn more about exactly how I chose the keyword and built the ecommerce brand from scratch, you can read the story over on Passive Shirt Profits. I wrote it in June, just after my first $2,000 month.

Why I Abandoned This Blog… Again.

My overall goal was to come back here from time to time and share website marketing lessons that I’ve gained from running Passive Shirt Profits.

But to be brutally honest, I’m making more money from my own art than I am teaching what I’m doing. So there hasn’t been all that much to share to this audience with regards to marketing.

After all, most of you signed up because you want to make money from a website, but I’m actually doing a lot WITHOUT a website believe it or not.

Now, I did setup a site to promote the shop, but it’s really just a landing page. I have a couple of pages and the license fee order form.

What’s Next?

As I discussed in a recent video, I’ve spent the better part of the last two years improving my software knowledge (Illustrator, especially.)

Now it’s time to go back to my roots of website building and marketing — especially now that I’m focusing on a single brand.

In 2020, I’m going to put more energy into actually building the site up so it can act as another way to drive traffic to the shop. In other words, it’s time to build some more link juice!

Wow….link juice! I just realized I haven’t used THAT phrase in a long time!

I was pleased to see that one of my pages is now ranked 4th on Google for its desired keyword on such a small site. Good ole’ Google! I have to say, it does still let you play in the long-tail keyword game.

Long gone are the days where you could pick a fairly competitive keyword and start ranking a site quickly. I plan on using long tail keywords as the focus of the content to drive additional traffic.

And when I say long-tail, I mean LOOOOONG tail. The keyword I’m ranking for is about 6 keywords long. Nevertheless, it’s still used according to the Keywords Everywhere Chrome extension.

So the majority of the sales are coming from free, organic traffic on RedBubble, but I want that to change. You KNOW how much I hate relying on one source of traffic.

That’s one of the reasons I haven’t shared the niche. I’m very protective of it, and I’ve had to deal with enough theft of my ideas WITHOUT even using my name on this brand and sharing it. So I don’t even want to think about the copycats that would surface if I revealed it.

Maybe once I have a steady traffic source that is not relying so much on free traffic, I can start sharing more. That would also help with teaching because people can actually SEE what I’m doing.

I did branch out and start using Pinterest last year to promote my shop designs. So that has helped me diversify traffic a bit.

I love Pinterest because it can bring so much traffic for a long period of time. You don’t get that same traction with Instagram or Twitter.

I even have proof that Pinterest actually brings sales to my shop, thanks to Google Analytics.

Let me tell you. If you have an ecommerce shop and you are NOT using Pinterest, you are really, really missing out.

Pinterest is actually not a social media site. It’s a search engine that tons of people use now, and the traffic does convert!

I have been a Pinterest fan since it launched in 2011, but I was never able to track sales. Well, thanks to RedBubble, I can. It’s good to see that it actually does convert.

I know many of the gurus have said that it does, but I needed to see for myself! 🙂

A Parallel Universe

Probably one of the most fascinating things about running Passive Shirt Profits is the discovery of the parallel problems between both audiences.

When I think back to the many years of running this website and my YouTube channel, the issue people always had was aligning what they want to sell with what people actually want to buy.

Sometimes they are not the same, and you have to adjust if you notice the two are not lining up.

I’ve had people come to me with these enormous, complex website visions, yet the audience hasn’t been clearly defined. So they are never able to execute because the idea doesn’t really make sense with what is actually in demand.

When people set out to make money online (no matter the method), they often have tunnel vision with regards to their idea, and it can be very difficult to redirect it.

Just because you have an idea for a website or a T-shirt, doesn’t mean there is an audience that is receptive to the idea, OR maybe you aren’t connecting with people because of the way you are delivering it.

So instead of trying to find an audience that will accept or understand your idea, you need to actually research what the audience wants FIRST.

When I think back to the success I’ve had on this website, YouTube and with selling shirts, it has LESS to do with my technical skills of web or T-shirt design. I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t have a lot of natural design talent.

It’s really more about understanding the audience I’m talking to and connecting to them in some way with my content.

That could be done by communicating via a blog post, YouTube video OR on a T-shirt. It doesn’t matter what you sell, you have to KNOW and be able to speak to your audience. But you can’t do that unless you truly know what they want and need.

It’s very tempting to stay married to your idea, T-shirt design or website direction, but it always needs to align with what is actually in demand.

I see so many people trying to force their ideas on an audience that hasn’t been validated yet, and they do the same thing with T-shirts.

One of my YouTube subscribers wanted me to look at his Etsy shop because he couldn’t understand why no one was buying. He told me that he doesn’t like doing research. He prefers to design what he likes.

Welp! There’s the problem right there!

Selling a product, no matter the arena, is not always about what YOU want. It’s more about what a defined audience wants and how well you can deliver it.

That’s the main lesson I wanted to bring back here. It doesn’t matter if you plan to create a website, design a T-shirt or sell a weight loss product on YouTube.

If you haven’t taken the time to really understand that audience so you can connect with their needs, pain points and desires, it won’t matter how “great” the idea is.

It’s also why it’s never a good idea for anyone to tell you what niche to go into. So much of that will depend on what you have to offer the audience.

Having websites in two very different spaces really highlighted how many people struggle with that all-important step of defining WHO they are going to reach and how they are going to connect with them.

Market / niche research is one of the most boring parts of earning online, but it cannot be skipped no matter how you plan to earn.

Anywho, just wanted to check in and say hello! Drop me a line and let me know what you’re up to! Hope 2019 has treated you well!

My Income Evolution Online, Personal Growth & More!

My Income Evolution Online

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!

Golden Ticket

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).

Detour Ahead

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.

Bad idea.

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.

Veeeeeery 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!

podcast traffic

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!

Also notice…

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!

The lesson?

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.

Diversification Continues

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…

What’s AdSense? 🙂

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!! 🙂