Maybe POD was a mistake I've launched 1 year ago

4 replies
How it started:
After I was lurking in some forums and marketing websites I've found I would try POD. I got experience in affiliate for many years already I wanted to try POD (Print on Demand). What amazes me is that you don't need a physical product to ship or touch. You can completely work from remote and schedule your work on your own. You don't have a boss and you don't need to send invoices. So why not POD? Okay no investment is needed (financially) so maybe that market could be saturated. So I was giving it a try for about 1 year now. Started with Woocommerce, then for speed / loading issues went to shopify.

Big niche, bad niche?
After that I tried to sell DOG merch. After some reviews from friends and fiverr I changed my niche. So after that I kept changing and improving daily. If you count all that time for around 365 days thats a huge amount of time I've invested. So okay not a 5000-10000 investment to launch but you time. Oh my god. So I installed hotjar to keep track of what my visitors wanted. I analyzed them in an excel sheet. Where they click, why ... you get the point. I've changed my fancy logo and colour to some more trustworthy design. Changed imprint, changed articles, removed them, simplified text and description. Added Jivo and AI chatbot. Tried to improve conversion.

Kept adding new channels
I went to instagram, tweeted via twitter added pinterest, put backlinks but without real success. Spend money on FB and Google ads. What a waste of money! Also paid on fiverr to improve my ad. Kept reading how to make the best ads. Analyzed fb ads, read how to run and convert FB ads. BTW: FB keeps blocking me.

So far here a list what channels I tried:
- Instagram (needs a lot of social trust and time)
- Pinterest (people look only for inspiration, mostly female, no money)
- FB (a waste of time. F... YOU FB for blocking without reason!)
- Redbubble (Interesting for getting insight stats)
- ETSY (some small sales, but not worth until yet)
- Amazon Merch (hard to keep on track with limited uploads)
- Google Ads (Waste of time. Example around 100 usd spending for 1 sale with 8-10 usd profit)
- Tried Snapchat ads (people have no money there / too young. Amazing AD interface!)
- Twitter (getting some profile visits, needs lot of time, twitter ads not worth)
- Youtube (some random visitors thats it)

Improving conversion on shop
Looked and installed the easiest / best theme for some of these niches. Asked friends, kept improving. Started to add my own designs. Went back to illustrator and photoshop and designed for some design around 2-3h. Read about pricing, activated and optimized modules like: "Buy 3, get another free", discounts, COUPONS, promotions and many more. Checked weekly SEARCH Console from google and optimized keywords and text. Used and spend money for translations.

TLDR:
So well here we are. I got maybe 100-200 USD income and spend around one year. :-D Okay I've learned a lot. The term keep improving is right, but maybe sometimes it makes really no sense to go on.

1.) Over all months I removed chat. Nobody needed that.
2.) "How I made 50k $ ..." youtube videos are fake :-) They make money with you or buying via their shopify subscription link
3.) You'll quickly realize that you'll instantly increase spending for shopify, shopify plugins, addons, etc. and many more.
4.) Hard to launch a fresh domain without DA/PA and to rank it.
5.) Was it fun? Yes a bit!

What is your experience with starting a new online business?
#ago #launched #mistake #pod #year
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    It's next to impossible to make money online AND pay for ads when you only make $8-10 profit per sale. Part of our core training is that you need to be making AT LEAST double that, and, depending on the eCommerce model, usually at least 5 times that amount or more per sale in order to advertise and turn a profit.

    Throw out advertising and all you've got left is SEO or plain old fashioned marketing, which online means word of mouth, social networking.
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    • Thank you @dave_hermansen This is right so I have only two options:

      1.) Get products cheaper which may be possible with more sales and local printing or custom deals. But not more than around 20-40% cheaper print and production costs. One point I could also optimize is the shipping costs, which is highly dynamic as it depends what and where you order some product. (country).

      2.) Make a brand and and adding value. Not sure how to add more value for that POD niche, but as a hobby instead of painting pictures I'm doing and adding every week new designs I do by my own in Photoshop and sometimes in Illustrator. It takes a lot of time but this part is funny, inspiring and relaxing for me. Its kind of meditation.. some people do yoga, I do drawings.
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      • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
        Originally Posted by Natasha CryptoShirt View Post

        Thank you @dave_hermansen This is right so I have only two options:

        1.) Get products cheaper which may be possible with more sales and local printing or custom deals. But not more than around 20-40% cheaper print and production costs. One point I could also optimize is the shipping costs, which is highly dynamic as it depends what and where you order some product. (country).
        One thing to consider is charging a premium for single shirt orders and make the per shirt price lower the more shirts that are ordered at a time. Shipping should cost pretty much exactly the same for one shirt as it costs to ship 5 or 10 shirts.

        The only other way of lowering your costs (over time) is to print them yourself. You could set up your very own t-shirt printing equipment for under $2,000 and once you have the templates made, printing them is pretty fast and easy.
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        My PROVEN ecommerce process, as seen on: Fox Business News, the NY Times & Flippa
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  • Profile picture of the author extrememan
    I like to remember this... Winners never quit and quitters never win. Stay in the game long enough to start seeing profits roll in and then reinvest back into your business.
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