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….

Thinkific

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!! 🙂

Passive Income Shifts & What My Marketing DNA Test Results Revealed


Passive Income Shifts & More Entrepreneur Lessons



Whew!

Life took an unexpected turn in early March, and my focus went from being a full-time entrepreneur to a full-time caretaker.

My dad, who has lived a life with near perfect health, got very sick, very quickly.

He went from being in perfect health on a Friday, March 2nd, to being near death the following Tuesday evening, thanks to a severe kidney infection.

He thought he had the flu. Unfortunately, it was much worse than that.

The infection got into his bloodstream and his body went into septic shock, and every single organ began shutting down one by one.

Before he knew he had the infection, he got dizzy and fell in the bathroom and broke BOTH of his ankles.

Yes… both!

So he cannot put any weight on either leg and is in a wheelchair.

He’s been this way for nearly two months because he had to get clearance for ankle surgery by several different doctors.

As you can imagine, for a man who was very active, this is driving him nuts having to sit all day and be so dependent on family.

He was finally approved for surgery this Wednesday. So hopefully the therapy will begin a few weeks after that and he can get back to walking.

Nevertheless, it all could have been so much worse. I’m just so grateful he is alive and his health is good!

Thank Goodness For The Biz!

In the meantime, I feel very lucky and blessed to have this online business… especially when I’ve needed “time off.”

Most of March was a wash in terms of getting anything done for the biz.

In spite of all that’s been going on, this is shaping up to be one of my best years in some time.

In February, I had a $10K revenue month with Merch By Amazon and over $13K in total print on demand revenue (Amazon, Etsy, RedBubble, Spreadshirt, Zazzle, etc.)

That was the first time my print on demand income surpassed my largest affiliate income source (GoDaddy’s reseller program).

As great as those numbers look, you have to know that Merch By Amazon is far from being a sure thing. I have invested an insane amount of time on this in the last year, and income is up and down like a roller coaster.

So please do not join Merch expecting your income to grow every month. Mine sure hasn’t. As one of my students said, you have to treat Merch as your vacation money and never rely on it! Nevertheless, I’m completely obsessed with this opportunity!

I also just had another record month with my PSP courses.

Course Sign Ups

As you may remember, my main method for promoting my courses is through podcasting.

For the longest time, affiliate income was my primary focus. Now it’s taking a backseat to course income, and this has been a long-time business goal of mine.

For too many years I was relying very heavily on affiliate income, and I wanted to see a shift.

Just Launched a Course? You’re Not Done!

One thing I’ve learned from my students on Passive Shirt Profits is that your work does not end when you launch your courses.

How many of you have ever thought, “If I can just get my course launched then the hardest part will be over.”

WRONG!!!!

That’s actually when the real work begins.

Creating the course videos was the easy part for me.  The bigger and ongoing challenge has been making sure students can execute!

Just because your course is live doesn’t mean it’s optimized for the best learning experience.

Some people get stuck in areas you might breeze through, or we assume certain things are clearer than they truly are.

Typically your first version of the course is going to be your worst, but your student feedback and questions should help you improve it.

Staying In Touch With Students

I tried something new this year with my Merch Course, and it’s really helped myself as a teacher and several students.

I began sending out weekly strategy tips to students, and many of the tips are very personal to my ongoing experiences with Merch By Amazon.

At first I worried about sending too many emails, but the responses have been awesome!

Students who weren’t selling anything are starting to see sales. I started receiving more “success” emails, and a few even began posting testimonials in my private group!

Shout Out

(I blurred out the name since it’s a private group and I didn’t get permission to share the name.)

Then I woke up to this today….

Course Testimonial

I eventually want to do one-on-one coaching/training for Merch due to requests, but I’m not ready yet.

However, this feedback and ongoing correspondence with students is prepping me for that when the time is right.

I may experiment with that once things settle down with my dad.

I Took a Marketing DNA Test

If you’ve ever struggled with how you should be marketing your business or even what kind of work you should be doing online, I’d highly recommend The Marketing DNA Test by Perry Marshall (I am NOT an affiliate.)

It revealed a lot about myself as an entrepreneur AND an online teacher.

It was recommended by one of my followers. (Shout out to Mitch!) I thought it would be fun to take. 🙂

Based on how you answer 15-20 questions, the test gives you guidance on the best methods to market your site.

It also gives you insight into the kind of work you should be doing based on your strengths and weaknesses.

I’ve always known that I’m doing the kind of work that fits me, but I wanted to see if the results aligned with what I believe about myself.

The results revealed that I excel more with right-brained, creative work and I connect with people best through video.
Marketing DNA



It also said I have a way of getting inside my visitor’s heads that is almost “psychic and sometimes a little bit scary.”
Marketing DNA Test



However, I’m NOT so great at analytical work that requires a lot of attention to detail.

I’m also not good with thinking on the spot. I need time to gather my thoughts.


Marketing DNA



That explains why I fall in love with work like writing/blogging, video and T-shirt design creation, but hate overly analytical work.

That also must be why I abandoned my Accounting major in college. 🙂

With SEO, I wonder if that’s why I’d always start off using keyword research software but abandon it after I found a niche.

I could never make myself use it to research every keyword I wanted to write about. I always wanted to follow my gut and common sense.

With Amazon, I have my process I use to find a niche/keywords for Merch. But I spend waaaaaaay more time coming up with my actual shirt ideas and working in Photoshop than I do obsessing over research.

The other reason why these Marketing DNA results were so interesting to me is it made me realize the disconnect that exists between how I learn and operate versus some of my students.

Right-brained people learn differently than left-brained people.

Left brained/analytical people prefer structure when learning. They take notes, like to plan everything out, and need to have all their ducks in a row before uploading/launching anything.

I’m the complete opposite.

I don’t like to do extensive planning and preparation. I’m not a note taker and prefer to jump in and figure it out as I go — even if I know everything is not perfect.

I rely on my gut with a lot of decisions I make, whereas left-brained people use more logic and research before they are comfortable moving forward.

One way is not better than the other, and they both have their pros and cons.

However, as a course creator, I’ve had to learn to focus more on the details and methodical steps for people who prefer that type of learning.

I wouldn’t have been able to improve on that if I hadn’t stayed in touch with my students.

So remember, your course is never, ever complete. It should continue to evolve based on the feedback from your students.

I’ve been selling courses for nearly four years and I’m STILL learning.

Anywho, just thought I’d update you all on what’s going on with me. It’s been an up and down year for sure, but I’m taking it one day at a time.

I hope life is treating you well! 🙂

Why I Removed My 2Create Courses & More Updates!


What Happened to My Courses



Heeeeey everyone! Long time no “see!”

I wanted to update you all on some things since it’s been a while since I’ve posted.

The number one email I’ve received in the last few months has been regarding my 2Create courses. You may have noticed that most of them have been set to “private.”

After my dad got sick in March, I knew I wasn’t going to have time to focus on supporting students for two websites. PSP was my main focus, and I also have a private student group to support.

So I decided to set the 2Create courses to “private” to prevent new students from enrolling.

Then once things returned to normal in my personal life, I had to be honest with myself.

I wasn’t doing much with website building or marketing, other than passively using my podcast to promote PSP courses.

I’m making waaaaay more money selling my T-shirt designs than I am with the actual courses that teach what I’m doing. 

I’ve had about 500 students enroll in my PSP courses. While that’s not bad, it could have been so much better if I did more marketing.

I’ve never been comfortable or efficient with marketing my products. It intimidates me. That’s one business hump I’ve never been able to get over.

I admire people who are diligent with tracking email campaigns and conversions. It all just makes my head spin.

I’d rather make a T-shirt. 🙂

Why The T-Shirt Biz is So Rewarding to Me

For a long time, affiliate marketing and AdSense were my favorite and most rewarding ways to earn online.

However, POD now holds that top spot.

I don’t come from a design background so I’ve had to learn a lot.

When I worked as an HTML Analyst for American Airlines over 10 years ago, my team lead forced us to use Photoshop, but the company provided us ZERO training.

I remember staring at the blank Photoshop interface wondering what the heck I was supposed to do with all those tools and buttons as they stared back at me. 🙂

I never actually learned much about Photoshop until I quit my full-time job in 2006 to work on this site.

Fast forward 12 years later, I’m now using Photoshop and Illustrator to create some very detailed art that I never thought I would be able to do.

To see how far I’ve come, and then to have people buy my designs by the thousands, is incredibly rewarding and slightly addictive. 🙂

It also goes to show anyone can do this regardless of your design background.

I have one T-shirt that has netted over $20,000 in royalties.  Yes, from ONE T-shirt design!

Think Before You Leap

With all the income potential, print on Demand is not for everyone. Just like anything else, don’t get into this just because you are in desperate need of money.

You need the desire to learn the POD business and even something about software if you want to scale your income.

And for long-term success, you should be thinking of building a brand instead of relying on passive traffic and income like I’ve been.

Even if you’re a talented designer, you will quickly learn that’s just the beginning. You also have to understand keywords and find niches to design for.

It’s getting very competitive, so make sure you jump in for the right reasons.

If I’m honest, I was drawn to this venture for the money, but I’ve STAYED because of my love for the work.

When my dad was sick, I was super stressed. I found the creation process to be therapeutic.

A lot of my success has come because of creative ideas that just haven’t been done, and the creative work is what makes this fun for me.

On the flip side, you also have to be prepared for theft. That’s been the biggest disappointment of this whole experience. It’s why I use an alias for my POD accounts, and don’t share much of my work.

As a result of Amazon and other PODs not protecting our work with a wrinkle or watermark, my images have been stolen and re-uploaded to numerous sites.

Things have gotten a little better since using watermarks, wrinkles, etc., but you’re never going to be able to fully protect your work. As long as it’s online, someone will find a way to grab it if they want it. 🙁

I Enrolled in An Art Class

One of my goals for POD is to scan hand-drawn work. Then I could “ink it” (color it) after importing it into Illustrator, but I had to learn to draw first. LOL

Up until now, most of my designs have been created through shapes in software. Believe me. You can do a lot with this. That’s what I teach in my PSP Photoshop course.

Now I’m doing this more with Illustrator as I improve.

However, I wanted to learn how to draw free hand. So I enrolled in an art class.

We’re learning some basic drawing principles and how to shade using graphite, charcoal, and colored pencils.

Here are some cherries I drew with colored pencils. I was pretty proud of this because I was struggling with shading earlier in the semester.






I’m too embarrassed to show my first shading attempt. It was absolutely awful. LOL

So as you can see, I am now knee-deep in learning about drawing and T-shirt design. It has been a nice change of pace.

That’s All For Now

Anywho, I know most of you did not subscribe for all this print on demand stuff.

That’s why I haven’t been blogging much. I didn’t have anything noteworthy to share in this space. However, I wanted to update you on why I took down my 2Create courses since many have asked.

Those who have enrolled can still access them, but I have no plans to enable them for new students any time soon.

I DO plan to make updates for the existing students, however.

By the way, my dad is doing great!

He is walking again, and his ankles are doing well considering how severely he injured them.

Other than some initial stiffness when he first stands up, he’s walking well now! We feel so blessed and lucky he came through all that.

Thanks to all who reached out to inquire about his health. I really appreciate it!

Hope you’re doing well! Drop me a line below and let me know what’s up with you!