2015 was a bumpy ride. Generating money in the ecom department didn’t flow as easily as I thought it would. I started selling shirts in 2014 which was my first time I ever tried selling physical products online.
Prior to 2014 I was a struggling affiliate marketer who had just quit his job to travel the world. I put my goal of travelling ahead of my business goals because it was time to have fun. Eventually 2014 came around I landed back in London and Don Wilson landed on my Facebook newsfeed. I bought his product and six figures later I moved into building my own e-commerce stores.
A lot of 2015 was slow for me. I am stubborn and with my stubbornness I cut off my nose to spite my face. I would not let go of my previous successful niches and venture into bigger and better things. Instead I stuck with my niches which still generated money BUT the audiences don’t venture outside of a 1,000,000 people. You can’t have 10,000+ teespring campaigns from small audiences.
So I stuck with what I knew and continued to stay within niches that brought me my riches from 2014. Not a bad thing but if you’re in the t-shirt business you know as word spread of the success people were having the competition grew. Copycats were round every corner and finding ways to hide your campaigns for as long as possible was more and more important. The money was not as fruitful as it was in 2015.
Fourth quarter could not come fast enough. November and December rejoiced me with the five figure months I once knew existed.
Was it my mind set? I think it’s partly to blame. Once your stuck in a rut it’s hard to get out. I won’t bang on about it but I sucked at selling items while everyone else around me in Facebook groups were having six figure months (in revenue anyway).
Luckily good old surveying my audience (that “thing” I always bang on about) saved the day. Running into December I asked them what their favourite phrases were and built shirts around what they wanted. This gave me some successful shirts and one really successful shirt that is continuing to sell successfully into 2016 with no sign of slowing down yet. The rest of the money came from relentlessly emailing previous buyers every day. Sales rolled in and the bank account grew. Finally!
For me Shopify is a far superior way to run a business than with Teespring. Teespring is more a handsfree model because all you have to do is send traffic to a URL and let them handle the dirty work. However my problem with Teespring is that people are going to find your winners no matter what. I know there are shopify spying tools out there but less people are going to find your best selling items. If you sell 20,000 units through a Shopify store no one knows unless you brag about it or they find your viral posts on Facebook. Sell 20,000 units through Teespring everyone knows how much you sold because it’s displayed on the campaign page. It’s not long before you have 1,000 copycats selling your shirt without thinking twice about it.
So 2015 was wrapped up nicely with a sigh of relief and overall it’s been a good year. I have learned a lot. Going into 2016 I have the knowledge to make it a great year financially, just got to wake up and get it. I also hope to take more holiday this year as it’s my 30th.
Not sure what else to add except it’s time for bed. Tomorrow it’s back to cracking into the big niches. 2016 is not going to be about the little niches with a 1,000,000 audience. I want a piece of the pie that comes with niches that have over 50,000,000 people in them.