Here is my online earnings report from the months of June, July, and August, which represent earnings I was paid for commissions earned during the months April-May-June. It took me so long to release these because I was actually debating whether or not to continue to publish my earnings online. As my income grows, I’m getting more cautious about releasing this type of personal information. But I know that my readers use this as encouragement and goal setting for their own work at home journeys. So I decided to post these months, although I’m not sure if I will continue posting them or not.
I was more comfortable posting these numbers when I was only making $1-$2K a month. But now that my earnings have increased dramatically, it makes me a little nervous to post all of this. But then I think of Pat Flynn over at Smart Passive Income, who posted gross earning of more than $116K for the month of July 2013…you read that right, more than $100,000 in one month. He was my first inspiration for what has evolved into my work at home business. I don’t read his blog as religiouslly as I used to, but I still listen to almost all of his podcasts, where he interviews other successful entrepreneurs. I always find good points of action in his content.
Anyway, back to the point of his post, my online earnings. Please note that links in this post may be affiliate links which earn me revenue if you buy something from one of the websites (at no additional cost to you). If you use my affiliate links, thanks in advance for helping to support our family of five!
Let’s get to it:
|2013 Earnings Payment Received
|Zazzle (includes old Volume Bonus Structure)||$3404||$4673||$7534|
|Local Small Biz Marketing||$996||$593||$616|
Network & Adsense
|Ebates (pays quarterly)||$0||$0||$50|
As you can see, my earnings over the summer increased significantly overall, even though my Squidoo earnings and anything tied in with them, like my Amazon income, decreased significantly. This overall increase was due to my Zazzle earnings multiplying. Overall, I’m really happy with how my Zazzle income has been increasing.
However, all of these earnings are for the months prior to a policy change at Zazzle that significantly reduced people’s volume bonus. In the past (including these months), Zazzlers would earn volume bonus on any sale, unless it was referred by a 3rd party, in which case the 3rd party would earn the volume bonus for referring the sale. But effective July 1st, volume bonus is now only paid out when you refer the sale, which happens when the sale originates from someone clicking on one of your links with the ?rf code attached. You no longer earn volume bonus on plain old marketplace sales or general sales from your store. You only earn a bonus if you actively REFERRED that sale.
Volume Bonus made up about $2770 of my earning paid in August (from the month of June). With the new policy change, overnight I lost a significant portion of my monthly earnings. So I started my own website promoting some of my wedding invitations, because when you refer a sale, you also earn 15% referral fee, plus volume bonus. And that 15% referral fee in essence doubles my commissions on a sale.
If I sell an item from Zazzle and no one referred that sale, and my royalty on that item is set to 14%, for example, then I only earn my 14% commission. But if I have that product promoted out on my own website, and someone clicks on my link, which has my ?rf number attached, and buys it, I get my 14% royalty plus I get 15% referral fee plus I may quality for volume bonus. (Please note that there is a small transaction fee taken off the royalty when it is a referred sale, even if the referrer is YOU). So in essence I earn twice as much if I refer my own sales. And I think that was Zazzle’s goal, with the policy change; to encourage Zazzlers to actively market their own products, so they bring in more traffic to the site. And if you do bring in sales, you get the 15% referral fee. And this referral fee is for anything a customer buys on the Zazzle site, not just your own products. So you could promote only Disney stuff, or only Marvel gear, or my stuff, and you can still earn the 15% referral fee. You don’t even have to create products on Zazzle to make money.
What Sells on Zazzle?
I continue to use my Jaaxy Keyword Research Tool (has FREE trial) to help me find product types and searches that will sell well on Zazzle. I plan to write an entire post on this topic, but I will summarize it here also. Basically, I think in terms of market share. How many customers/shoppers are buying in this market? Is Zazzle in this market? Can I get a piece of this market by designing good designs and pricing them competitively? Once I know I can get in the market, then I make more designs in that same market, increasing my market share.
- How Many Customers are in this market?: My keyword research tool tells me whether or not shoppers are looking for something, say “Zebra Birthday Invitations”. At the time of this posting, Jaaxy said that there are 440 searches per month for zebra birthday invitations. So there is a market for these items.
- Is Zazzle in this market? YES. A quick search on Google (with your search history cleared, or in incognito mode) tells me that Zazzle is ranked #1 for “Zebra Birthday Invitations”. So anyone who googles “zebra birthday invitations”, will likely click on the #1 listing. So customers are going to Zazzle for this.
- Can I get into this market? Since Zazzle is already ranking for this search term, I just want to get onto that 1st page of search results in Zazzle’s marketplace. Can I do this for this given item? There are currently 6,937 invitations in the search results, and growing every day. That means I would have to make 69 invitiations just to have a 1% share of Zazzle’s market, and that doesn’t mean any of them would get to the front page, where I really want a share of the market. For me, there’s just too many current products already and I probably would not start designing in this niche. However, I would research the number of searches and results in Zazzle for smaller niches, maybe for “zebra pattern invitations”.
Remember to make sure Zazzle is listed high in the Google search results for your search term, then see if there is a manageable number of products already listed in Zazzle. If it looks like a good ratio (less than 1,000 products in Zazzle is ideal), then go for it. Make a bunch in that niche until you have a share of the market. If there is 1000 products in Zazzle, and you make 50 more, you would have a 5% share of the market.
Then you can make a goal of trying to get a 5% share of Page 1 search results. How? Good designs, competitive prices, views, and sales. You can control everything but the sales, which will come if you do the others. Make good designs to start with. Then set your prices competitively. I like to look at the prices of the products that are listed on page 1 in the Zazzle search results and try to stay competitive. Then you can help get views on your brand new product by sharing on social media like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, and by putting them on your own blogs or websites. No one will buy your products if they don’t know that they exist. You have to market yourself. Once you get a sale, your product will jump up in the marketplace rankings over other products that haven’t sold yet. The closer to page 1 you get for your search term, the more sales you will get from people who are searching the marketplace for those items.
In a nutshell, that’s one way to figure out how to design products that will sell on Zazzle. First, there has to be people looking for that product. Jaaxy tells me this. Then it’s a matter of whether or not I think I can get into that market. I hope that helps!
If you like reading my monthly income reports and you wish for me to continue them, please leave me a comment below! I’d love to hear from you and hear about why you like reading these! I’m trying to determine what direction to take this website and would love to hear from you what YOU would like for me to write about!