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How to Start an Online Tee Shirt Business in a Weekend (Series)

I want to share my foray into the Tee Shirt brand building business with everyone.

The idea to do this went something like this:

my-bubbie-is-the-bombStep 1: Talked to guy back in early October who needs copyrighting/marketing help with his online Apparel company
Step 2: Try not to choke when aforesaid guy casually tells me how much bank he’s making selling T shirts (and I don’t choke easy)
Step 3: Hang up phone and wonder aloud why I’m working 18 hours a day when I could be sipping Mai Tai’s and selling Tee shirts.
Step 4: Spend the next 2 days writing down every funny t-shirt slogan I can think of
Step 5: Pick the slogan that the people around me liked the most. (in this case – “the My Bubbie is the Bomb” concept – and whereas, the people around me being my 7 year old niece, and her 70 year old “bubbie” who doubles as my mom. Bubbie – for those who haven’t heard the word – is a “Yiddish” term of endearment for Grandmother – very commonly used in Jewish families)
Step 6: Sign up for a Shopify Trial (guy in Step 1 is selling only on other platforms like Teespring/Viralstyle/Etsy – something I wouldn’t do in his shoes – control what you create – and build something that has value to YOU)

Step 6a:  Find a cheap designer to start creating some Tee shirts

 

Step 7: Rinse and repeat with new drunken ideas, new slogans, new stories to add to the Tees – rekindle an old Facebook page from 2009 and dive in and have some fun 🙂

The bad news?

As of today, i’ve sold zero shirts in my first week. But, I can fix that with a better site design (i’m currently using a sort of shitty looking Shopify theme, which I’m going to upgrade to a premium when I get the time) – more serious marketing (while keeping the concepts fun and light) and in general, taking the project itself a bit more seriously.

The GOOD news


People are DEFINITELY responding favorably! There have been a bunch of shares, likes, private emails on the FB page – some unique “add to cart” actions, (which weren’t completed) – meaning that people were THINKING about buying (especially the “I love my bubbie” shirts for kids, which intuitively are the types of shirt concepts I’m fairly sure will sell well if I push this) and I’m getting a lot of likes/shares/adn referral traffic to the site already – in just about a week. (while not promoting this to my own friends/family at all to keep the results a bit pure – these are all people I don’t know who are liking/sharing and emailing others to check out)

Also – last night I started to play with CANVA.com for designing my own slogans/concepts which is awesome and fun.

Why?

This way I don’t have to keep paying $10-$20 to have someone slap some text together that I upload to the store/shirt and wait a few days for every idea to go live.

Not that that’s not a great price and deal – but I’m fairly sure that 80%-90% of the concepts I think are going to sell and be popular WON’T actually resonate at this point – so trying to identify and isolate that 10%-20% that may is going to be the challenge – and I’m not sure I want to spend $100 every few days on every silly idea that crosses my mind after a bottle of wine at 2am, so now I can do my own slogans/concepts all night long for free 🙂

Also, what’s really interesting about this process is it’s like a deep dive exercise in understanding a niche, EVEN if you have absolutely no desire for selling Tee shirts at all. (a camp I’ve firmly been planted in for the first 4 + decades of my life)

It touches all the important ideas about finding your tribe, connecting with a community, knowing the language, being inspiring or otherwise entertaining, and attracting an audience of evangelists who will help spread the word – and build buzz for your brand, blog, site, store and business….while you stick to creating cool things you think they’ll love.

It’s truly like a crash course in developing the fierce focus to really hone in on ONE overarching idea and going DEEP (not wide) to serve that space. (something I learned already in the last day with my BIGLY Trump design – I thought it was funny – but it digressed so far from the “funny jewish” concept – that no one liked/shared/or visited the shirt even after I spent some money promoting it on social media, thinking it would make folks laugh.

(if they did laugh – it wasn’t on the outside 🙂

Anyway, I’ll be updating this for those of you who want to watch a side project with no real income oriented aims evolve.

I’m confident that running carefully calibrated, hyper targeted FB ad campaigns like the ones below, where the CPC are relentlessly whittled down, will start to pay big brand building (and shirt selling!) dividends as well.

ads_manager_and_notes

But it’s a ton of fun -and I now know  and have had some interesting conversations with folks making BIGLY bucks doing exactly the above – just in a more structured and systematic way – so there is no question, one can really turn this idea into a cash generation machine with just a little bit more effort than I can expend right now – but maybe YOU can.

Check out Shopify here for a free trial.

ALSO!  My next book is coming out on Amazon right around the 15th of Nov ( titled “Don’t Pull the String”) and will also be released as a course on our new mindfulness/meditation learning platform launching shortly thereafter – MINDFULLY.TV – if you want an advance review copy – let me know and I’ll send it your way!

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