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Welcome to the Merch Entrepreneur podcast. This is your host, Elaine Heney. In this episode, we’re going to take a look at how much money it costs to get started with Merch by Amazon. The really good news is that the answer is very little. Actually, in terms of all of the different ventures I’ve tried in online marketing and starting businesses online, this has actually been the cheapest. In fact, I started this business at zero cost, which was really good. It’s one of my favorite aspects, I think, of starting businesses is if it just costs me a little bit of time, but actually doesn’t cost any upfront investment in terms of money, or very little, I think then the risk is so much lower and it’s much more appealing for me to get started faster.
In terms of Merch by Amazon, how you get started is you go to the website merch.amazon.com and you need to sign up for an invitation. Now, back in the day, you would get invited immediately, but this no longer happens. Unfortunately, the tedious part is that you may have to wait a couple of weeks. More likely, you may have to wait a couple of months, which is what it is at the minute. That doesn’t mean that you don’t do anything. There’s still lots of stuff that you can do while you’re waiting to get started in terms of are there any hacks to get approved faster, or if I know someone, or is there a code word I put in?
Merch did run a webinar awhile back and they gave a tip on the webinar that if you applied and you pushed some kind of special hashtag or something, I think it was, in your application, and at the same time if you were listening to the webinar and they could track you because they knew the email addresses of the people that were listening to the webinar, and so if someone was actually on the live webinar logged in with their email address and submitted an application with the same email address and with the keywords that they wanted in the little application, then they did get fast-tracked. Again, that was a once-off thing if you were listening to the webinar. Right now, there is no way to get fast-tracked. Certainly that I know of, anyway. You just have to wait. I waited I think three months initially to get started.
What I will say is if you at any stage hear that Merch are going to do a webinar in the future, seriously jump on it. Even if it’s at 4:00 in the morning in your time, wake up at 3:30, get a cup of tea, and turn on the webinar because the last time they did it, it was only the people that were there live that actually were able to take advantage of it. While they did have a recording, if you listen to the recording, I don’t think it worked. Definitely if you read or see anything about Merch doing a webinar, you have to be there. Particularly if you are waiting for an account to be approved.
That’s the story. You apply and you are now waiting for an invitation. When you get approved, the first step is that you have 25 different T-shirt designs you can upload. That is the most they’re going to give you. You can get templates to use. Obviously, it has to be a certain size for Merch to accept it. You can’t just throw up any old picture, which is really small or really big, because it has to be a certain size to make sure it will look good when it’s printed.
The template to use, you can get it from the Merch by Amazon website, but the ones they have up there, actually they’re really huge. They’re really clunky. They’re overly complicated. What I’ve done, if you’re interested, if you use Photoshop, which is a really good photo editing program that I use, you can actually get a much simpler template that works perfectly. It’s the template that I use. Really simple Photoshop template. You can get a copy of that at merchentrepreneur.com, which will I think hopefully make it easy. Easier for you, anyway.
In terms of Photoshop, maybe you have Photoshop already. Maybe you’re used to editing images, that kind of thing. That’s great. If you want to get Photoshop, I think you can get it for about $10 a month. You can rent it from the cloud, wherever the cloud is. You rent if for about $10 a month. That’s Photoshop. There are other alternatives. You don’t have to jump into Photoshop if you would find it a bit overwhelming, if you’re not really massively comfortable with learning different software products. I know some people are happy to jump in and do it, but I also know some people are like, “Listen, is there an easier way?” That’s totally cool, too.
Actually, a free version, if you want a free version to get started just to explore and see what it’s going to turn out like before you start investing, you can use GIMP, which if you just Google, you’ll be able to find it. It’s a free program. It’s a bit like Photoshop. I think it’s a bit clunkier to use, but it’s not too bad.
When you get approved, say you have your first 25 slots that you can upload to, so you upload the design. The upload process is really simple. You literally go to the Merch by Amazon website. You click “Create” for a new T-shirt. You press the “Upload” button on their website. You find where your picture is on your computer. You upload it. Then you pick what colors you want it to be. At the moment, you can have a maximum of five colors. You pick what price you want it to be. The price they recommend is $19.99, which is perfect. It’s a really good middle-of-the-road price to get started. Every time you sell a T-shirt for $19.99, you get $7, 60-something cents royalty for every T-shirt that you sell.
Then when someone sees your T-shirt on amazon.com, they’re like, “Yeah, cool. I like that T-shirt. I’m going to buy it,” so they make the sale on Amazon. Amazon then send the order to their warehouse where they have all the T-shirts and the printing machines. They print one copy of that exact T-shirt. If they ordered a men’s extra-large in black, they take out a T-shirt that’s men extra-large in black and they put your design on it, print it, and then they post it off to the guy, whoever ordered it. You don’t have to post anything. You never even see the T-shirts.
If there’s an issue with the T-shirt or the customer is not happy, they can’t even contact you. They don’t even know who you are. They literally just email back Amazon, say, “Didn’t like the T-shirt. Sent it back.” Amazon issues them a refund. It’s completely the opposite of FBA. You have no idea who your customers are. They never email you. There’s zero customer service. Amazon do absolutely everything. Your only job is to think up T-shirt designs and upload new T-shirt designs to Amazon.
At the end, yes. Getting paid at the end of every month. Say your sales in August. Say you made $1,000 in August. That was as many T-shirts that you sold – $1,000 was your royalty. What will happen is that at the end of September, the money that comes into your bank account will be for your August royalties. Obviously, they have to wait a bit longer to see if there’s refunds or what’s going back. The numbers might be a little different.
On your dashboard, it may say that, “Okay, you sold 50 T-shirts or something for the month of August,” whatever the amount would be. When you actually get your check in the end of September, they may only have deposited money for, say, 48 T-shirts. That’s because in the dashboard, it’s the amount of T-shirts sold. Literally, someone’s just clicked the “Buy” button, but it’s the adjusted amount they actually pay. Maybe someone’s cancelled a T-shirt or maybe there was a delay in shipping and it didn’t ship out until actually September, which may adjust the numbers a little bit.
That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. Merch by Amazon, as I said before, it’s one of the easiest ways I’ve found to get started with an internet business. You don’t have to be really tech savvy. I have some friends that really, they say, “Computer,” and they start getting stressed. They haven’t even turned it on. They’re like, “No, don’t make me do it. Not the computer.” They’re just doing amazing stuff. They’ve figured out how to make designs on their mobile phones. They’ve got virtual assistants working for them.
They’ve actually managed to set it up where they spend such a small amount of time actually on the computer to do this job and they set it up in a way that’s really, really easy. Again, they are making money on the internet, with an internet business that they never thought was possible because they were never this big, tech, computer-savvy person, but they’re completely making it work.
I’m really excited about Merch. I’m really excited, as well, to meet more Merch entrepreneurs that are on this journey. If you’d like to come have a chat on the podcast, that would be really good. You’re very welcome to contact me at merchentrepreneur.com. Also, if you’re looking for the template, the really easy version of the template, this is the one that I use for all of my, God, nearly 4,000 T-shirts at this stage. You can also get that at merchentrepreneur.com.
That’s it for this episode. Thanks so much for listening. Talk to you in the next episode.
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