As we near the end of 2018, we’re all thinking about what’s going to happen in our POD business next year. Many are not optimistic.
If you’re feeling discouraged about sales, and they’re not even picking up as much as you’d hoped in Q4, here’s something to consider as you think about 2019.
Have you sold at least ONE shirt?
Or any product – on any of your platforms? (such as Merch, Shopify, Etsy, etc.)
If you can sell ONE, you can sell FIVE. If you can sell FIVE, you can sell TEN. If you can sell TEN, you can sell FIFTY. You get the drift.
You figured out this process well enough that you sold ONE, so it’s just a matter of scale from here.
You’re saying, Duh, Laura, I KNOW that. Scale is the PROBLEM.
I understand. But what I’m trying to get across is that YOU are capable of scaling this to whatever level you want and whatever level you work for.
Somebody liked your shirt enough to wear it on their body. That was YOUR design. YOU made it, or someone you hired who delivered on your vision for it. (Hopefully! LOL)
That’s market validation. Yes, it’s on a super small scale, but it’s still proof that somebody out there wants YOUR stuff.
So you haven’t completely figured out yet what the rest of the market wants? That’s okay. I haven’t either. The types of designs I would wear are not necessarily the types that the general public would wear. But I’m learning every day.
Take that first item you sold (or several) and analyze them. What do you think it was that made them appeal to that customer? Not sure? Make new designs in that niche, that use that type of graphic, that use the same design technique, and you’ll get it narrowed down.
Test, test, test!
What if, like me, you find yourself falling into the trap of designing for yourself rather than for the public?
There’s nothing wrong with that to an extent. There are definitely people out there who like the same stuff, the same designs you do.
But for the rest, give them what they want but with YOUR angle, YOUR take on it. You have a unique artistic view that nobody else has.
You WILL find YOUR audience eventually.
I know that word “eventually” is scary. It’s not going to happen overnight.
But keep in mind that every successful company out there is STILL refining their products, services, approach, marketing, EVERYTHING, so that they stay relevant and retain their raving fans – and pull in new ones.
So don’t be surprised if it takes a few weeks, months, even years to really “get” it. I feel like I’m just now getting a handle on things after over two years in POD. You might be a quicker study than me, though, so don’t let that worry you. 🙂
Is it for you?
Don’t have months or years to “waste” before POD starts paying its way? That’s okay. Maybe this isn’t for you. And I don’t say that sarcastically. It ISN’T for everybody.
Not everyone has the time to dedicate to it. Not everybody loves it enough to do it for a long time without the desired results.
But if you persevere, you WILL get there. Just keep plugging away. Learn and test, learn and test, learn and test some more.
Yeah, there will be a lot of people who get results faster and make a lot of money faster than you.
But there are even more who will give up before you, who don’t want to put in the work and time, who don’t recognize the potential in POD, and who would rather complain than get back to work.
So what should you do?
Stop checking Merch a thousand times a day and sighing when you see that big ugly zero. Everybody saw it at first. I dare say most everybody still sees it occasionally. I know I do.
And get back to work. 🙂