I’m excited to talk about today’s podcast episode because I’ve been working really hard on it this year. In fact it is my full time business now. I was a beginner was I started. The idea of selling t-shirts online sounded great. Liking an idea and committing to that idea to become successful are completely different.
I talk about the business but more importantly I talk about lessons that helped me get to earning six-figures in profit in just five month. I know it seems like some too good to be true story, but it’s not. In fact, there are sellers who are making way more than me.
Four years ago if you told me I could make this much money selling t-shirts, I would have said no way. However, companies like Teespring.com empower individuals to run a t-shirt business with zero up front costs. It’s amazing.
I hope this podcast episode gets you start on an idea you have in your mind
I know there may be some of you that want to start selling t-shirts after listening to this episode. I don’t have my own course, so wanted to find a course that I’ve bought and gone through that I could recommend. There are lots of courses these days, but this will provide a nice foundation for a reasonable price.
I saw something this weekend that shocked and upset me.
It’s been 2-3 months since I have checked my ratings and reviews in iTunes for the Get Busy Living podcast. Last time I checked, I had a good amount of five-star ratings and reviews (thank you to those who left one) and less than five one-star ratings.
Though even just one one-star rating hurt, I understood that maybe the podcast wasn’t for everyone. No negative reviews were left, just someone giving me one-star. So I didn’t know why someone didn’t like it. No big deal though. I would just keep focusing on the listeners that do enjoy it.
On Saturday night, I decided to check iTunes after I finished recording a new episode. I was shocked by what I saw.
Forty-one one-star ratings left! Forty-one??
I know I’m not a pro at this, but I don’t think I’m that bad to warrant that many one-star ratings.
I checked the most critical reviews, and they were left in August and September.
After doing some digging this is what I found:
Each called me amateur, which I found kind of odd that they use the same description. Their reviews were very amateurish though. I highly suspect fake names as well.
One account only reviewed my podcast.
One account only reviewed two podcasts (mine and the School of Greatness).
One account only reviewed four podcasts (I got one-star. The three others got five-stars).
One review said my interviews are recycled guests. Clearly this person hadn’t bothered to listen or look because I’ve only done four interviews and they aren’t guests you find on every single podcast. That’s why they were chosen.
One mentioned a podcast called the Art of Charm in the review, while another account left a five-star review for it.
One mentioned the School of Greatness in the review, while another account only reviewed only my podcast and that one.
First of all, I’m not sure why my podcast is being compared to The Art of Charm or the School of Greatness. The formats are different. Theirs are interview based. Out of twenty-eight episodes, I’ve only done four. I like to focus more on solo shows.
I’m sure they’re fine podcasts, cause they’re highly ranked, but I don’t listen to their podcasts so I don’t know how they are similar nor do I try to emulate them.
Those two podcasts are ranked in the top ten of the self-help category. At the time of this post I’m ranked 163. I’m a small fish. So why the comparisons? I don’t even think I’m in the same level as them. I’m certainly no threat to them.
There are many other solo show type self-help podcasts in top 200. Why not compare me to those? Why no reviews of one of those as well in addition to mine?
I clicked on other podcasts in the self-help category just to see if others had gotten this many one-star ratings. I didn’t click every single one, but in my research only four out of 200 had more than 30 one-star ratings. Most had ten or less one-star ratings. Some had zero. Some have been podcasting for years.
I started in January and already have 41 one-stars ratings.
(Note: When I say ratings, what I mean is that someone just has to click how many stars they want to give. 1-5 stars. That’s it. Completely anonymous. A review and rating must have the person logged into their iTunes account. Whatever is written will be shown along with their account name.)
Brendon Burchard’s podcast, The Charged Life, has 34 one-star ratings. However not a single person who gave it one-star left a review for it. When I filter for the “most critical” reviews, only five-star reviews are shown.
I enjoy his podcast, and his books, so I was surprised to see so many one-stars.
I found three other podcasts that have hundreds of five-star ratings, but also 40+ one-star ratings. For two of them, when I went to read the most critical reviews, again not a single person who wrote a one-star review. Zero. Zlich.
One podcast had three one-star reviews, but they were left in 2009 and 2010.
These podcasts are all in the top thirty of the category. Meaning lots of daily downloads and a huge listening audience.
I’m unsure if they are being negatively targeted, or those are genuine since they have thousands of downloads a day and therefore a much higher listener base and negative ratings are bound to happen.
What I do know is that I’m in this rare category of having 40+ one-star ratings.
What to think of this?
I’ll be honest, I was pretty hurt by seeing so many one-star ratings at first. Forty-one? That’s more than half of the five star ratings I’ve gotten. What was going on?
My first thought was maybe I should quit. Maybe my podcasting skills are terrible. Maybe these are legitimate.
(I’m excited about today’s post because this is something I’ve been working on for the past five months. Now I’m ready to talk about it.)
Not too long ago, I knew nothing about how to run a Facebook ad to sell a product. Okay maybe just tried it once. I ran an ad for an iPhone app I had to try and get more users. I wasn’t sure if it really helped. I probably was doing it all wrong. Still I tried.
One day in March I came across someone selling a course about how to make money selling your own t-shirts online. This seller was your typical internet marketer. He said how easy it was. He said he earned over $100k in a month. He made it seem like anyone could do it. He knew how to sell.
So my eyes got big and dreamt about the money I could earn if I sold my own designs. Selling t-shirts had been on my mind for many years. I just never thought I could make that much money from it.
I bought the course, which was really cheap. The course was just okay, but I knew nothing to start anyways. Soon I had my first t-shirt design uploaded and ready to sell. I created it myself with my basic Photoshop skills. I created an ad and started running a Facebook ad campaign. I learned to test it out with a $10 ad budget. If no one bought a shirt in the first $10, then stop the ad. It was a way to test out the design and buyers.
My first design got to $10 and no one bought. I stopped it.
Still I was interested in this. I liked the process. I joined a couple Facebook groups to talk and learn from other people. Some were just beginning, some were having success, while some were still struggling.
The next twenty designs and ad campaigns failed. I spent $10 each time to test it out, and despite thinking people would love the shirt, no one was buying.
The highest I got was 3 shirts. I thought I had an amazing design and targeted the right audience. I lost money on that campaign because each day I spent $10 and ran it for seven days hoping at least ten shirts were ordered. The reason I needed ten orders is because the website I was using to print and ship these shirts is Teespring.com. They make it easy for anyone to sell shirts. Just upload a design, set your price, and if at least 10 shirts are ordered, then the shirts get printed and shipped. They handle that. They just send you money.
If it doesn’t reach at least 10, then no one will get charged and no shirts will be printed.
So no upfront costs and no need to keep any inventory.
I learned it wasn’t as easy as I thought. I couldn’t just make a shirt, and advertise it. Twenty-one failures proved that. I tried selling shirts to dog lovers, coffee lovers, hot sauce lovers, lawyers and more. It would have been easy to quit after so many failures. I wasn’t ready to quit yet.
Finally on the 22nd campaign I had a winning design. It was stupidly simple. It was just a cute message I found on Instagram and targeted towards pediatric nurses. It took less than five minutes to create it in Photoshop. Once I ran the ad, I had a sale before I spent $10.
After the campaign ended seven days later, 17 shirts were bought. I spent $81.72 on ads and earned $112.25 for a profit of $30.53. It wasn’t a huge profit, but it was a successful campaign finally. It took a few more failures before I had another successful one when I sold 32 shirts.
Here is that shirt. As you can see I was targeting butchers, and giving them a funny shirt.
Seeing success made me even more obsessed about this. I stayed up late to research ideas and work on new campaigns. I learned through trial and error. I carried a Moleskin notebook around all day and wrote down t-shirt ideas. The first thing in the morning I would check how sales overnight were. The last thing I’d do before bed was preparing new designs to start selling in the morning.
After my first full month, I just about broke even. I cashed out $1,106.87 from Teesrping, but paid just about that much in Facebook advertising. Some people might be discouraged, but I was glad I broke even.
In the month of May, I kept working hard. I was flat out was obsessed with it. All my free time was spent on this. Because I was trying to find the right audience and sell them the right design, I had more failed campaigns than winning ones. But the winning campaigns were massive.
I had my tipping point
The month of May I was finally profitable! I finally was more consistent with my campaigns and selling designs that my customers wanted. All the struggling I had before was finally turning around. All the hard work I put in was now starting to show me massive results.
The month of May was my tipping point. Since then I’ve been profitable every month.
Lately I’ve been feel uneasy. I can’t seem to relax. When I’m standing in front of my computer, I feel like there are a hundred things I need to be doing. If I’m not on my computer, I’m on my iPad or iPhone. That makes me feel stressed out and unable to focus for long periods of time. My mind is jumping from one thing to another.
Even when I’m trying to read a book, my mind begins to drift just a few minutes after reading.
It’s a problem that I want to solve. I want to have more focus and feel more calm. I don’t like feeling jittery. I want to be more productive because I have better focus.
In today’s episode I share the techniques I’m using now and will be using to improve in this area. It can be improved. We didn’t just wake up and have short attention spans. It’s because of the habits we’ve built over time. It’s because our mind isn’t trained enough.
I believe if this is one area we can improve, we can be more productive and feel an overall sense of calm in this busy world we live in today.
Are you stuck in a job and so badly want to get out? Do you dread each day you have to go to work? Life is too short to be doing work you hate. We live in a world today where it’s easier to create your dream job. Yes it’s true! Five years ago I wouldn’t have been able to create an iPhone app. It’s easier than ever to publish your own book and keep more of the money through Amazon Kindle. A job used to require being in an office, but now it just takes a computer and internet and that work can be done anywhere in the world.
I really wanted to get Kary on the podcast because he helps individuals find their purpose in life. He helps guide them from escaping their day job to going after their dream job.
He not only wrote about how to do that, but he went through his own escape. He was in a typical job and on his way for a promotion when it just didn’t feel right for him. While many people would think he’d be crazy for leaving a great job, he still did. Now he’s a writer, speaker, and coach working with individuals and organizations on reaching their true potential.
In this interview, I ask him about making that transition. He shares so much great stuff!
A must listen if you want to escape your day job prison.