If you were around this time last year, you may remember I dubbed it Money Making May, a month that’s all about being focused on my funds. Based on my current vibe, I think this is going to be an annual trend because I’m definitely thinking about getting more money from my grind right now.
One way I plan to do that is to launch a merch shop on KnowGoodWords. Hopefully, that will happen within the next seven to 10 days.
And on that note, I think selling merchandise is a good topic to kick of the month.
Merchandise is a revenue stream that a lot of creative professionals overlook, especially freelancers. We may have a website for blogging or for marketing, but we aren’t using that space to its the full potential.
Selling products literally allows you to make money while you sleep. And depending on how you go about it, you can make a substantial amount.
You may be thinking, Well, a blog does the same thing when you have ads.
And that’s true, but with certain caveats.
Why Merch Beats Ads
I’ve reviewed a lot of income reports from people who run websites, and most of those folks make far more money from products than from ads.
And that’s because ads, like those you get through Google Adsense, are a slow, difficult way to earn. Though we see them almost everywhere, stop and think about of how many ads you actually click on.
A SmartBlogger post says the average click-through rate is 0.1%. And though different ads pay different amounts, the post uses 50 cents as guideline rate, which is reasonable.
That means you need 1,000 visitors to get one click. And that one click will pay you 50 cents. Hit the 2,000 visitor mark, get a second click, and you’ve earned yourself a dollar.
Making money from ads requires A LOT of traffic.
With smaller sites, depending on your merchandise, selling one or two products can easily bring you more money than you would earn from a month of ad revenues. And the benefits of selling merchandise multiply for more popular sites.
Create And Go’s March 2018 income report is one I read. Alex and Lauren claim they earned $152,495.60 from their two websites. Of that, $46,733 came from affiliate marketing, or selling other people’s products, and $99,350 came from selling ebooks and online courses, their own products.
“This is always going to be where the bulk of our income is made because selling your own products has a much higher earning potential,” the post says.
Diversification is Smart
We should think of our online space like commercial real estate, or specifically like mixed-use property. Our goal should be to make that space as profitable as possible.
Ads are one form of online revenue, and merchandise is another. I’m not talking about using merchandise to replace your ad revenue. I’m talking about using it as an additional source of revenue.
The logic I use in advising against niche freelancing is on the same logic I’m applying here–diversification of revenue streams is the smartest way to operate. Using your website or blog to sell merchandise just makes sense.
What to Sell
There are several approaches you could take to selling products.
Review products and post affiliate links to them. I’m not suggesting you turn your site into a “review site.” But along with the other things you write about, you could review stuff or incorporate links and ads that are related, like fashion bloggers post links to the clothing and accessories they review, or to similar items.
Sell products related to your genre or hustle. If you’re a freelance photographer, for example, you could sell images that you didn’t use for clients or images that you take specifically for your online shop. You can create posters, postcard, and calendars as well as sell photography products, such as albums, memory card holders or portable tripods.
Young House Love, a DIY website, sells two books, a coloring book and interior décor from the site. Plus, some of the home decor items they designed are sold exclusively at Target.
Create fan fare. By that, I mean to sell items that promote and celebrate your business. If you’re a blogger, consider items such as mugs, t-shirts, mousepads, bumper stickers with your brand’s logo, tagline, or website. Or create other designs and catchy quotes.
There’s a wide range of things you can sell and a variety of ways to go about it. The most important thing is to do it and get that money.