When it comes to our industry, people are always wondering how much money they can make selling t-shirts online. And while this seems to be a simple question, the truth is this can be one of the most difficult questions to answer and certainly can’t be answered by giving a simple number.
There are a number of factors as outlined in our complete selling shirts online resource that need to be considered and we’ll break down some of the myths and pitfalls we see to help us get you a better of understanding of how much profit you can potentially make doing this.
Coaches And Internet Marketers
This is where many people come to us and either have great stories to share or complete nightmares.
It’s no secret that coaches are important. Even top professional athletes, no matter how famous they are or how many endorsements they have, have a coach. But, when it comes to coaching, it’s important that YOU do your research and due diligence to see if what the person or organization is promoting can help you.
Amongst other things, be sure you answer these questions:
1) Are they being truthful?
Do you trust their claims? What proof did they offer? Remember, screen shots can be altered.
Again, we’re not saying all marketers out there are trying to deceive you, but you need to use common sense, ask questions and be diligent.
2) If they are truly making money online, would they truthfully reveal ALL their secrets?
If you’ve spent any time online or know anything about internet marketing people, you’ll find out they are very secretive. They don’t want to reveal their secrets, niches or designs because they’re cashing in so they don’t want to “give away” their secrets because that will just mean more competition for them.
This reminds me of a 1990’s movie ‘Sneakers’ where flying under the radar is key to survival. And while we’re not talking about top secret/highly classified information, just remember that internet marketers are very private and generally don’t like spoon feeding newbies on how to make money, especially if means more competition for them.
Avoid The One-Size-Fits-All
There are several things that come into play when it comes to designing, marketing and selling shirts. You’re an individual with a personality all to your own so what works for everyone else may not work for you.
So, be sure you are capable of doing and feel comfortable performing the tasks that your coach or group follows.
For example, some people simply don’t like having their face all over social media. For some coaches, their entire program is centered around putting yourself out there on social media, doing YouTube videos, etc. Some programs may require you to do cold calling or meet and interact with different types of people and personalities.
All these things may work for others but not for you. That’s why it’s important you find out as much information you can about the specific program or group and find out what is required of you to help contribute to your success.
Keep in mind, like with anything else, they won’t reveal all their secrets (they still need you to join for all the ‘premium information’) but they should give you enough generalizations for you to make an educated decision on whether this platform or marketing style is for you. If it isn’t, then you may want to look for a different program that fits better with what you’re comfortable with.
Separating What You See Online From Reality
There are many bold claims out there. Again, we’re not saying the people and/or organizations making the claims aren’t telling the truth, but you need to remember that doing this is a business and you’ll make money and spend money – but the ultimate goal is to take in more money that you spend.
Breaking Down The Math
Whether you’re selling shirts to make extra money or as a full-time income, this is a business and what many internet marketers do is only mention how much money you can make. However, they don’t mention anything about how much money they spent. They may mention the costs of advertising or say they spent “around $x amount of dollars” but this is oftentimes a broad generalization and can’t be proven unless they disclose their true account statements.
There are costs involved with designing and selling shirts and you need to take these costs into consideration to get a true outlook on how much money you’re really making.
Don’t Believe All The Hype
There are several posts and videos out there products by showing you how much money they have, how big their house (or mansion) is or what kind of car they drive.
Their sales pitch is to show you their success so you can be like them. Again, you just need to make sure what they’re saying is truthful. Do some background research and searches and you’ll be able to find out pretty quickly what their reputation is, reviews and what past user experiences are.
Can you make money selling shirts? Yes, absolutely. Just be aware of the people that use the fake it to you make it philosophy to sell you something.
Avoiding Common Pitfalls
Don’t Fall Into The Artwork Trap
One way to make more money with your campaign is to spend less money. You can do this by being knowledgeable of how to come up with an effective design but still limiting the number of colors. If you want to know more about how your custom shirts will be priced, you can read our screen printing prices guide.
Everyone wants to have lots of colors in their design because they think it makes the shirt more appealing to buyers. It’s true for most designs that when you add a second or third color to your design, you’ll typically see an increase in sales. However, this is not always the case and we’ve seen some one color designs that have sold very well.
The lower amount of colors in your design, the lower your cost to produce them will be, no matter how many shirts you sell.
The good news is there are ways to have a 2 or 3 color design look like a lot more colors by incorporating different effects, like half tones and using the color of the shirt as an additional color.
Here is an example of a shirt that is only 1 color but looking it incorporates the black background of the shirt.
You’re Expectations Of Making Money
You’re not going to see success in your first campaign, or second, or third, or even your tenth. Where a lot of people make mistakes is thinking of their sales record like a baseball player’s batting average. You’re not going to hit a homerun out of the park, or even get on base, with each campaign. It’s just NOT going to happen.
Rather, keep in mind that it only takes one campaign to launch you into profits. One successful campaign can recoup all your costs on advertising, designs, etc. for all your previous campaigns, if you know how to continue to build and scale up your sales.
Things You Should Be Doing
While there are a lot of things you should probably be cautious of, here are some things you should do if you plan on being successful.
Play The Numbers
We can’t stress this enough: not every campaign you do will be successful. You don’t know how many times we’ve heard people tell us they’ve tried “4 or 5 campaigns and didn’t sell anything”. It’s going to happen – just get used to it and accept it now. If you can’t accept it, then maybe you should consider doing something else.
What you need to do is put the numbers in your favor. The old saying of “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” should be followed. Until you have the design up and you’re advertising it, you’re not going to know if it’s going to sell or not.
Even if you do your research and get feedback from people, it’s very different when people tell you what they like without having to outlay any cash. The real question is will that person pull out their wallet, take out their credit card and pay for your shirt.
Plan on putting out more shirt campaigns. A good starting point for beginners is 1-2 shirts a week. If you’re doing this more for steady income, then think about putting 3-5 shirts out per week.
It All Starts With The Artwork
Keeping the section above in mind, you need to focus on your artwork. Like we mentioned before, this is one number you really need to keep in check on two levels.
First, you need to be sure you don’t spend too much money coming up with concepts and designs, especially if you haven’t tested any of them.
Secondly, don’t put too many colors in your design, unless you have a tried and true design that sells. The costs it takes to produce a 4-5 color shirt will easily eat into your profits very quickly.
Be Prepared To Advertise
However, we know most people don’t have that and rely heavily on social media (many times, that’s their only method of outreach). While social media is good, there are a couple of things to be mindful of:
1) The competition is very tough and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re going to quickly burn through your daily budget.
2) Social media sites are not dumb. They generate money through advertising and it’s just what they need to do to make money. Even if you have a fan page of 10,000 followers, don’t think for a second that your post to that page will reach all 10,000 people. This is something a lot of people get tripped up on.
The Bottom Line
So, to answer the question of “How much money can I make selling shirts online,” the bottom line answer is you can make hundreds to thousands of dollars doing it, but don’t think this is the norm.
Here are some hints:
1) Know what your goals are. Are you doing this for extra money or do you want to turn this into a full-time business?
2) If you’re starting out, resist the urge to come up with elaborate design with lots of colors. Start with a simple one or two color design and focus on getting some sales. This way, the sales you do get, you’ll make better margins because the cost to produce the shirt is less.
3) Try to get 1-5 campaigns per week, depending on how aggressive you want to be and what your goals are.
4) Be prepared to advertise and to spend time and money on it. You’ll not only spend money with your actual advertising budget but you’ll also spend a great deal of time learning how to effectively market your campaigns.