The problem with most business is that it’s work.
You HAVE to do stuff you don’t want to do.
It’s part of the process, and you learn to get over it. And when you’re done working, THEN you can go enjoy yourself, right?
But what if you had a little side business that was fun to do? That didn’t seem like work? That took no money up front? And that you could do in your spare time?
Last Christmas I needed a gift for a family member. I went online to Amazon, typed in “funny gift mug,” and found one that said…
“I before E except after C and also when you heinously seize your weird foreign neighbor’s feisty beige heifer.”
The graphics were minimal – a simple drawing of a cow that could be found for free on a stock image site, and some grass at the bottom. That’s it.
For this I paid $14.99, and I was thrilled to find it because I knew the recipient would love it.
Now think on this… someone out there created this offer. They found a quote, most likely on the internet, and coupled with stock images of grass and a beige cow. They sent this off to a company to make and ship the mug for them when they got orders. And each time someone like me bought one, or continues to buy one, they make money automatically, without any further work.
They did this once, and it took them what – 5 minutes? 10 minutes?
Heck, even if they brainstormed for an hour, they are making a very nice residual income month after month for having done this bit of work once.
And this particular mug has been selling on Amazon for nearly three years now.
Can you hear that? It’s the sound of a cash register.
Now then, how do YOU go about making money with mugs and t-shirts and what not?
In a nutshell:
1: Get an idea for a design. This is a phrase, a saying, a really short joke, an expression… something that fits on a mug or t-shirt.
2: Use a free text spinner app to put your phrase in a font.
3: Put your new design on a mug. Or a t-shirt. Or whatever product you choose.
4: Sell these products on Amazon, Etsy, eBay, etc. No inventory. No shipping. Print on demand.
5: There is no #5. That’s all there is to it.
Want to know more? Okay.
There are people making several hundred dollars a day doing this. And more. Every day.
You create each of these once and you get paid over and over again with each sale. Or not. Here’s my favorite part of this little business:
Not every one of your designs will sell. Some won’t sell a single mug. Some will sell a few. And some might sell like gangbusters.
But you pay NOTHING until you MAKE A SALE.
Maybe you design 50 mugs.
20 never sell, or they only sell a few. Basically, they bomb.
25 sell fairly well – maybe one mug every day or every week.
And 5 sell like hotcakes. It’s unreal how many they sell.
But how do you know in advance which ones will sell? You don’t. You don’t need to.
Remember, you pay nothing until you make a sale. When you get a sale, then you pay for a mug. Not until then.
So while you will sometimes fail, it doesn’t matter. This means you can create as many as you like and find out from your marketplace which ones are the winners.
It’s like throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing which pieces stick. And it’s just about that easy, too.
More things to know:
You get your products in front of people in seconds.
Suppose you create an info product. It takes you days or maybe weeks to write it all, record videos, whatever. Then you FINALLY get it in front of customers, and what happens? Maybe it sells, maybe it doesn’t. With a mug, you take 30 seconds or maybe 30 minutes to create it, and then you can get it in front of people the same day on Amazon, Etsy or eBay.
You spend nothing on advertising.
Amazon, Etsy and eBay already have tons of traffic. You don’t need to buy advertising, learn traffic strategies, become an SEO expert or anything of the sort.
You don’t spend money until you make money.
I already covered this, but it bears repeating. Since these products are all print and ship on demand, you don’t pay for the products until a customer has paid you.
There’s no expensive software to buy, either. No need to hire designers. No need to design ads. This is so simple, it’s sounding too good to be true. But people are making small (and large) fortunes doing this.
You don’t have to invest a lot of time.
Like I mentioned, you can design a mug in 30 seconds or 30 minutes, depending how creative you want to get. And some of the simplest mugs are also the ones that sell the best.
You don’t need special skills.
You don’t have to be a graphic designer, or a clever writer, or know how to screen print (whatever that is) or anything else. A child can do this. In fact, some marketers literally have their children doing this business to sock money away for college.
You create residual income.
Song writers write a song once and get paid for that song over and over again.
This is the same thing. You design a mug once and get paid for that design over and over again.
Now I sound like I’m getting ready to sell you a course on how to do this, but there’s no course needed. It’s so simple, you can finish reading this article and then go do it.
Let’s say you want to design your first mug right now. Here’s what you do:
Step 1: Choose Your Phrase
Okay, a word of caution – don’t make this harder than it is.
It’s such a simple thing to do, yet I’ve seen people agonize over what their first mug should say.
Do you have a favorite expression? Use that. Or go to Amazon and search the funny mugs for inspiration (don’t copy, just get inspired.)
Check out bumper stickers (that’s an EXCELLENT source) Pinterest, Facebook, commercials, tv shows, YouTube and even your friends for inspiration.
Go to Google and type in something like, “short quotes” or “funny quotes” and see what you find.
The possibilities are all around you!
And you can use one phrase multiple times by substituting a word. “World’s best nurse” becomes “World’s best Subaru Mechanic,” “World’s best art teacher” and so forth.
Step 2: Create a Super Simple Design
Simple sells. If you haven’t already looked at the funny mugs on Amazon, Etsy or eBay, go do that now.
See? This doesn’t need to be complicated or artsy.
Use an app like WordSwag to make your design. You just input your text, click a couple of buttons and you’ll get endless possibilities.
Step 3: Upload Your Design to a Drop Ship Site
For example, GearBubble.com will create your products on demand, help you list them, and fulfill orders, too.
Once you’ve uploaded your design, you’ll have multiple product images to choose from, such as mugs, t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, necklaces, phone cases, pillow cases, posters and so forth.
Choose which product you want to sell first, and which website – Etsy, eBay or Amazon – you want to sell on.
Step 4: List Your Product on Amazon, Etsy or eBay
From your GearBubble dashboard, you can list your products onto the big three sites.
Then when you get orders, you can have GearBubble automatically fulfill the orders for you, and then send a tracking number to the website for the customer.
Use keywords in your title that are likely to get you noticed. For example, if your mug has a quote about Moms, your title might use the keywords, ‘mug, mom, funny and gift.’ If Mother’s Day is coming, add that to the title, too.
At this point, if you’re not familiar with selling on Amazon, Etsy or eBay, you might do some research to get tips. This could cut your learning curve and get you sales faster, but it’s optional.
And that’s it!
Remember, you don’t have to be super creative to make money at this.
A quick search to find the best selling novelty mugs on Amazon on this particular day reveals the following mugs in their respective best selling ranks. (Note: I’ll only talk about the simple-to-make mugs that anyone – ANYONE – could create)
#3 You’re Awesome – Keep That Shit Up
#12 No matter how hard life gets, at least you don’t have ugly children
#14 Does this ring make me look engaged? (black font)
#15 Worlds Best Boss
#16 My favorite child gave me this mug
#21 Administrative Assistant, only because full time multitasking ninja is not an actual job title
#24 Does this ring make me look engaged? (gold font)
#26 Have a nice day (picture of a middle finger on the bottom)
#27 Of course I talk to myself. Sometimes I need expert advice.
#42 Dear Mom: Thanks for putting up with a spoiled, ungrateful, messy, bratty child like my sibling. Love, Your favorite.
#80 Please do not confuse your Google search with my nursing degree
#93 Some days, the best thing about my job is that the chair spins
These are BEST SELLING MUGS!
Notice #14 and #24. The only difference was a change in font color. By adding the second option, they’re able to have TWO mugs as best sellers instead of just one.
#15 is older than most people, or maybe all people. This is not original or new, yet it is selling at #15 of all novelty mugs on Amazon.
#41 is literally just three black letters on a white mug. That’s it. No picture, no nothing. You can do this.
#21 and #80 should give you ideas for all sorts of possibilities. Just think about what you can substitute in for ‘administrative assistant’ and ‘nursing degree.’
#93 is a simple observation. Droll, a bit sad, and honest. Look around you, listen to people, notice what’s in the media… there are ideas EVERYWHERE.
In fact, from now on when you talk to people, pay close attention. Sooner or later they will be GIVING you your next mug idea, guaranteed.
What to expect: From people who are experienced at this, I’ve managed to glean what their first few days in the business were like.
In most cases, they didn’t put up just one mug – they did 8 or 10 or 12 their first day. And the entire process took them an afternoon.
Generally, they got their first sale or two (or 3 or 4) within 24 hours. Your results may vary.
Once they had a good feel for what they were doing, they continued to put more products out there. Mugs, t-shirts and other things.
They took notice of what sold and what didn’t and adjusted accordingly. They paid close attention to what others were selling, too, to get more ideas.
NOTE: Do not simply copy other sellers. If you’re selling the exact same thing as someone who’s already established, you’re likely not going to do well. Everything else being equal, websites will favor the seller who has a track record of sales.
Always carve out your own unique niches. It doesn’t have to be hugely different from what’s already out there, but it does need to be at least a little different.
And that’s it!
I don’t know of an easier business to start and make a quick profit.
Why not start brainstorming your first mug right now, and get it online by tonight?
Who knows, it could turn out to be a best seller.