Passive Income – TeeSpring Review – Uploading Guide

Kia Ora Whanau

Well as promised on my podcast, “Get A Job And Get Healthy With Costas Enterprises” (opens in Spotify). I promised that I would try write a blog as well every week.

Last week I did a review on Redbubble so I thought that I should now cover off the other Print On Demand (POD) service that I regularly use – TeeSpring.

To check out my TeeSpring site you can visit this here.

With my last post, “Passive Income – Redbubble Review … Wait I Got A Sale??” I compared all three POD’s I use, Threadless, TeeSpring and Redbubble. I covered off most of the differences but as I have been using TeeSpring a little longer than Redbubble I will try focus more on this.

So up front I want to say that I actually like a lot of things about TeeSpring, but there are defiantly some things that can hurt this POD.

My TeeSpring Site – Costas Enterprises Designs

Pros

  1. Analytics

So one of the things I really like about TeeSpring is the Analytics section of your dashboard.

The reason this is so good on TeeSpring is they clearly show you how many views/ sales and also what is generating your views. I will include a screen shot of my current analytics views page so you can see.

Analytics for views

As you can seem TeeSpring gives you a quick glance graph of views or sales to your store. You can also view your listings (your designs) and sort these by views, orders, units or profit. For the above example I have highlighted my most views for the last month dated to 22 August – 22 September.

The design highlighted above is the same design highlighted in my analytics

The main reason I love the analytics that TeeSpring provide is I can start to see what is working and what isn’t for my designs. It is also where you can see if your have gained a trust score.

… Um what trust score??? and … what is a trust score???

Ok so if this is the first time your hearing about a trust score then that means you haven’t read my previous post or listened to my podcast. Let me explain now.

TeeSpring advises that they will do advertising for you once you gain a positive trust score.

You can’t obtain a trust score until you have made between 1 – 25 sales through TeeSpring.

People don’t realize how important getting your trust score is. If you want to generate income passively using TeeSpring you need your trust score to be positive so your designs are seen by everyone. Now TeeSpring do advise you that you need a trust score when you sign up.

What TeeSpring doesn’t tell you is when you have gained a positive trust score or exactly how many sales you need to generate to get a positive trust score. By using the analytics to your advantage, you can start to see things like sales or views on your site to see when TeeSpring is advertising your designs.

2. Changing your storefront

Ok this Pro is more of a slightly better cosmetic fix then any actual issue on storefront but once you know about it – it can really help.

With Threadless – there is very little storefront customization for your products.

Redbubble is the same but their algorithm at least has the ability to explore designs and then click on products related to the design.

TeeSpring … not so much

Ok so let me clarify what I mean here, if you upload a design to your TeeSpring store then the design is automatically added to your store front. This means that if you don’t customize your storefront you run the risk of having 15 products with all the same design one after the other – this means your customer is only going to see one design until they keep scrolling.

However TeeSpring does allow you to actually fix this. When you are in your dashboard you will notice a “Storefronts” option – From this section you can edit your current storefront and then favorite your designs (and products) you want to be displayed first.

Tip: Hover over the storefront to either view storefront or (located in the top right corner of the storefront thumbnail) you will see a edit button – this is where you can change your actual storefront, edit the banner, add images etc..

Being able to change your storefront does make your POD store feel a bit more personal. I have been very basic with mine but I plan to add a new banner up the top with some of my designs to really make it more vibrant.

3. Uploading preview window

So with this section I am going to cover off the actual upload process and use a new design “Footlong Hugs” created for this blog to show what needs to be done. The reason I really like this is the User Interface (UI) is quite easy to use for those just starting out.

The process of uploading a design, or even adding text to your design is simple and so is the adjusting of the design. While it is a slower process then Redbubble or Threadless it does flow a lot better and is easier to use.

The Upload Window

The Upload Process

  1. Upload your design by clicking the ‘Add Image’. This must be a transparent image. I use a design 5000 x 5000 pixels created in Canva.
  2. In the preview window you will see your design. You can faintly see a red dotted box. This is the area where your image can be printed on. You can resize the image within this box.
  3. To see your design on a product click the ‘Preview’ or to go back and edit click ‘Design’.
  4. Set your colours by clicking the ‘+’ to add more. The colour you select will be the default view. You can change this underneath
  5. Set your price – as mentioned in my previous post – TeeSpring will set your price initially and it will be quite high – I have changed my price to be lower than what TeeSpring offers meaning my profit will be lower … but this is because I want to generate more sales in the future to build my trust score up.
  6. Click ‘Continue’
  7. You will be taken to a new screen where you can select and edit other products for your design
Stage 2 of uploading a design

Now you repeat steps 2 – 6 for each product you add.

Once finished click ‘Continue’ to go to the publish page.

Publish Screen
  1. Add your Title.
  2. Add the Description for your design.
    TIP: Make sure your Description matches your title and mentions the title – this will help TeeSpring find your design and also improve your trust score.
  3. Check the View, URL, Visibility and that it is adding it to our existing store.
  4. Click ‘Publish Listing’.
  5. You listing will now be added to the shop.
OMG it’s our design??? That seemed easy …

To view (or purchase … yes cheeky to ask but no harm in asking) this design click here.

Cons

Ok so there are some cons and most I have previously talked about on my podcast and previous post but lets go through them.

  1. TeeSpring Trust Score

So why is a trust score a Con? well it is a bit of a Catch 22 – It is nice once you have a Trust Score but the negative is that unless you generate “organic” sales. An organic sale is where someone (not yourself) goes to your site and purchase something.

The other problem with this is you have to have 1 – 25 sales. this means there is no actual clear definition of how to obtain a trust score.

TIP: Ok so this Tip might sounds a bit silly but the way I got a positive trust score was simply making three purchases from different accounts (well I made two, my partner surprised me by making a separate one). The only problem with this tip is – it costs you $$ and you may have to get 25 sales before it works

2. Default Pricing

The default pricing set by TeeSpring is way to high. That is not to say that the products are priced too high, I am referring to the default profit price. If you are trying to acquire a trust score as per the first Con you might have a hard time selling the product given the T-Shirt you are trying to sell is close to $30 USD instead of $16 USD as TeeSpring wants to make you money.

But wait? Isn’t more profit what I want? – well yes it is but when your starting up you need to build your brand. You will have to do all of the advertising for your products/ shop with no help from TeeSpring. If you lower the pricing to start with you are more likely to bring in a bigger audience and even if they buy a sticker, this is still a sale. Your customer doesn’t want to be paying $9 USD for something you would usually pay $3 – $5 Maximum.

3. No Tags

So I know I keep referring to my previous post so you may want to check it out.

Tags is something you really need to know about. Tags are the way Redbubble directs your customers to your designs. Tags are like when you tag someone on Facebook or Instagram. You may have even found this post due to a tag!

TeeSpring doesn’t have Tags. Your design will only be found by using keywords in your Title and Description. These are important but as you can guess your visibility will not be as good as it would be with Tags.

Now this is not to say that your design wont be seen by people – TeeSpring still has an audience of close to 28 million views a week, but it means that your keywords in your Title and Description are even more important.

Conclusion

I still really like and use TeeSpring and would recommend people use TeeSpring as well as Redbubble. You will see positives and negatives in both but still the audience is too big to not take advantage of another POD site.

Thanks for sticking with me until the end of the blog post. It has been a long one I know but I hope this has helped you.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me as I love to here from my community 🙂

Have a great day whanau and good luck!

Passive Income – Redbubble Review .. Wait I got a sale???

Kia ora Whanau!

This post is going to delve into a bit more about my passive income journey and will cover off my first “organic” sales through the print on demand (POD) service. I will also be mentioning the other sites I use for POD so expect to be taken down the rabbit hole on some of the other POD sites as well.

Ok so if you read my last blog post Creating a Passive Income then you will know that I started creating two previous POD’s websites. Threadless, TeeSpring and now my new site is for Redbubble.

So what made me try Redbubble? Well honestly a lot of youtube videos where I am learning these skills from suggest TeeSpring, Redbubble and Merch by Amazon.

I have been doing POD for about 4 months now and can say that out of all three of the sites the one site I no longer use or upload to is Threadless. Teespring is a good site but going through the checkout and costs for more than one item can be a bit … painful. So I decided to try my hand at Redbubble.

So are you gonna review the other two? – Yes, in time I will review the other two but for this post I am just going to summarize my thoughts on using Redbubble. If you want to hear more of my journey feel free to listen to my podcast Get A Job and Get Healthy With Costas Enterprises.

Is it actually any good?

Yes. I’ll be honest with you all, there are some really good advantages from using Redbubble veruses TeeSpring, but on the other flip of the coin there are also some great things about TeeSpring that Redbubble doesn’t have.

As always this is my own opinion and my experience, I am learning about this just as you are.

Pros of Redbubble

So there are a few pros and I will try to explain them here as best as I can and why this aspect is better than the other two POD’s I am currently using.

  1. Tags

What like FaceBook? Well not exactly but in a way … kind-of.

For those that don’t know, Redbubble uses ‘Tags’ to advertise or promote your products. Depending on what you search for, or what you click on, Redbubble will suggest your design based on the tag that you assign to your design.

What I mean by this, is say for example you are looking for a design around “succulents”. Any designs which use the tag “succulent” will start to appear from your search. Note: Your design may not be the first to show up, however it is there trust me. Redbubble has a way of filtering your designs from you.

So why are tags good? – Simply put – if you create the right tags on your designs you will generate more traffic to your design. Redbubble ask that you don’t add more than 50 tags to any one design. They can also check if your spamming your tags and if they deem this to be true they will remove your design. An example of spam tags are putting “Mask”, “T-Shirt”, “Red”, Orange” etc..

The other cool thing about Tags, is that unlike both TeeSpring or Threadless, once a tag is on your design Redbubble will start advertising this after 15 minutes of you publishing the design.

How are tags different from TeeSpring and Threadless?

Because of the way Tags work, your design will start being advertised almost immediately. With TeeSpring there is the issue of the Trust Score. TeeSpring’s Trust Score means they will do the marketing of your product for you, but only after you have achieved a positive Trust Score.

When you first start with TeeSpring you won’t gain a Trust Score until you have at least sold 1 – 25 sales (meaning you have to market your site yourself). Threadless also use Tag’s for their designs but the main problem with Threadless is they are just not big enough. This means they don’t have as large as an audience to use the tags effectively.

2. So Many Products

You read that right, Redbubble has a huge selection of products for your design to be printed to. Not just the stock standard T-Shirt like most POD’s but also items such as Clock’s, Mugs, Hoodies, Leggings, iPhone Cases and even notebooks.

An example of products that Redbubble offer on my site.https://www.redbubble.com/people/Costas-Designs/shop?asc=u

Now TeeSpring has a huge selection of products as well but Threadless is clearly dead last in this category.

Of course with Covid 19 all of these POD’s now print masks as well.

The other advantage of the products with Redbubble is that once your design is uploaded, you will see a mockup of the design on the potential product very quickly.
REDBUBBLE TIP: If you do upload to Redbubble – check every product you want to upload, sometimes your design will not be centred or will be cropped and your design won’t look right.

How are products different from TeeSpring and Threadless?

So let’s get this out of the way at the start, Threadless is dead last for a reason. They do make great products as they originally started as a T-Shirt business and expanded into POD. The reason they are in last place in this instance is simply because they don’t have the audience/ following that the other two have. This means less sales. Threadless do have some cool variations from TeeSpring and Redbubble such as Skateboards (which I was not expecting from any of the POD sites).

TeeSpring has a wide selection of products and I’ll be honest out of the three TeeSpring feels like you have more control over the creation of the products. Uploading may not be as easy as it is with Redbubble but that is where TeeSpring lets you see the design on a mock-up of the design while you are uploading. That said TeeSpring does make it a bit tedious to upload because you have to tick every single product you want to upload with your design meaning these are not selected by default. Redbubble will start with alot of products already selected.

TeeSpring Upload Tip: When uploading make sure you edit your price here before you publish the product. Also TeeSpring will put the cost of the product up to make you a product … this profit is sometimes too high meaning you won’t sell as many because your trying to make $7USD profit on a mask (for example).

3. Ease of Setting Profit

Ok this is what we all want to read .. how much profit can I make if I make a sale??? Well let’s get into it now. Setting your price-point for the three sites are different in each site.

Redbubble

Setting your price point for Redbubble is not about setting an actual amount but more a percent. Now if your new to Redbubble it took me a few minutes to find where to set my profit margin but now I know it is really easy (basically look on the Left Hand Side Dashboard). The other advantage of this is Redbubble allows you to set the percent across all the products, meaning set it once and walk away.

Don’t get greedy, I currently set my percent to a 7% profit on Redbubble – This is not a huge margin compared to other sites and will result in a small profit for you then click apply to all and all product have the same profit margin.

If your design is any good you will sell lots of them and then that’s when you start earning and this is the same for all POD sites!

TeeSpring

By default TeeSpring will set a profit margin for you, be careful with this as the profit margin is very high. They want to cover their cost and you to make your money as well … but if the item is priced too high it simply won’t sell. I aim to make $3- $7 (USD) on some items but remember the TeeSpring Trust Score – you don’t sell anything then you don’t get added to their marketing. I suggest keeping the prices low to start off with and take the hit of a few dollars on each item until you start selling more than 25 sales. You will have established a Trust Score by then so new items can be priced a little higher. Notice that I said new item and not old items … That is the disadvantage of TeeSpring – once you set a price you can’t edit it. You would have to delete the item from your store and then re-upload it to change the price.

Threadless

You can’t really change the prices of your products for Threadless – Also the profit margin you get is close to $1 -$3 (USD) per item. This effectively means unless you sell lots your going to make very little.

So how do I get paid??

PayPal is your friend – All of these sites will prefer you to be paid by PayPal and they will pay you in the currency of USD (as all these sites are based in USD). Make sure your PayPal is set-up correctly in the name of your bank account … otherwise you won’t get paid.

4. It’s free to set up

So with all three of these sites they are all free to set up. You just upload the design and your done. The main advantage of Redbubble is that your tags will start generating traffic to your site .. and hopefully sales!!

The Cons

So upfront there aren’t as many Cons as there are Pros and as I have previously said in my podcast episodes. But that is not to say that Redbubble doesn’t have some cons.

  1. Uploaded Designs image issues

Ok so this isn’t the biggest issue to have but one little issue with Redbubble is that when you upload a design you don’t have as much freedom than what you do with TeeSpring.

Wait what do you mean by freedom? – Ok so let me be clear – the upload process for all three POD’s is really easy but out of the three I like a mix between Redbubble (for applying your design to all products fast) and TeeSpring for being able to move, resize or flip the design.

Redbubble uses a sliding scale for it’s zoom which is still easy to use but can be a bit finicky when trying to make sure you dont cut out the whole design. TeeSpring is better in this instance because you have a lot more help being able to use the frame (like if you are adjusting a picture in Microsoft), the trade off being that you have to do this for every single design you select. Not a huge Con I know but still it would be nice to have the mask to make things easier.

The other issue with this upload process is that when you go to edit the scale on the design, a pop-up window will appear and sometimes the preview window is hard to see so you find it difficult to adjust your design and see it change on the preview.

2. Audience

Ok so this is both a plus and a minus for Redbubble. The audience size.

Redbubble has like 40 million views a week … That is great, but because of this it also means that there is a lot of competition. I suggest really think about the designs your putting up. Redbubble is very big on copyright and trademark infringement (not as hard as Merch by Amazon) but still pretty big.

You need to have the right to sell the design you are creating. So make sure that you are not just taking that Dragon Ball Z image of google and uploading it – you will get fined or worse for breaching copyright or trademark infringement law – no matter what country you are from.

Never fear! there are some websites that can help buy giving you permission to use their designs or any design you create in them for POD. One such site is Canva which is what I use for my designs.

Conclusion

In conclusion I still recommend you to upload on all three sites. After all they are all independent and free and there is nothing stopping you from using each one to sell the same product. Redbubble is great and I wished I had started with them earlier but I wouldn’t have learn what I learnt if I didn’t try the others first.

Didn’t you say something about an organic sale??

Thanks for remembering! Yes out of all three sites Redbubble is the only site I have done no advertising for. So it is a surprise that I have made two sales on this site for the same product.

I marketed the Redbubble to America because they have the highest audience and to my surprise as of today 15 September 2020 I have made two sales for the below design.

Now my profit wont be huge, and I won’t get a payout until I make a profit of $20 USD but it’s cool to know that something simple is being sold and I don’t have to do anything else for it – Passive Income for the win!

The Design that sells! Aunty Cindy

Yep Auntiy Cindy aka Jacinda or our Covid 19 Saviour has earned me two sales – One a T-Shirt and one a sticker. I couldn’t be happier.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me and I will try and make a new blog post every week.

Thanks for reading and sticking right to the end and hope this helped you.

Feel free to check out my Redbubble or TeeSpring sites and give me feedback as I love to hear from my community.

Creating A Passive Income

Kia Ora Whanau

Today’s post is going to cover off some of my newer podcast episodes and will focus not so much on the getting or maintaining a job, but more so how you can create a passive income for yourself.

Full Disclosure: I will be referencing my own two print on demand sites. You don’t have to buy anything but if you do it will be giving me some profit, and would be greatly appreciated.

So now that the disclosure is out of the way lets go down this rabbit hole a little shall we?

Why?

Ok so you may be thinking, why if you are giving advice about getting a job, why should I be looking at creating a passive income? Well let me put this simply, while you will be earning money from the job you are working at 9 to 5, how good would it be to get money when your not working? and the best part … it wont cost you that much (or if your really savvy, nothing at all!)

Wait .. Free money? Is this a scam??

No.

I like to think that with my previous posts and podcasts I have a little integrity when it comes to offering something let alone declaring it as a scam .. see my previous post about Sweatcoin.

No the whole point of this post is to get you thinking about making a little extra money on the side, and if your lucky enough you make enough money to live off this passive income.

Now I have to be honest with you I am still trailing this and have since set up two print on demand sites (A Threadless site I have been running for over two months and a Teespring site I have been running since .. yesterday lol).

At this point in time I have only had one purchase … My own which you can see part has arrived below.

Happy Humpday mug available here.

So you may be asking, why go to all this trouble? or I’m not creative I can’t do this Alex!

That, my dear reader is where you are wrong!

Anyone can give this a shot and given we live in the world of Social Media, makes advertising your stuff even easier!

Now I will get into everything a bit more about how I found this, the ease of setting it up and also for all you non-design folk like me, how you can create designs that will actually help!

Just how easy is it?

Ok .. I know your first question is probably “How much does it cost?” – as I said above it costs very little or next to nothing to set everything up.

The reason I chose Threadless (and now Teespring as well) is because of the simplicity of setting up the store and because both are absolutely free to use!

Yes .. let that sink in, this is a FREE way for you to set up a print on demand service!

Ok now your probably asking .. What is a Print On Demand service???

Let me break it down for you. A Print On Demand service is a place where you can list all designs and everything from creating the physical product to sending it to your customer is done for you by the print on demand service (in this instance Threadless and Teespring).

And now your asking … Hang, on How do they make their money??

The print on demand services take the base costs and shipping costs out for you. Anything left over is pure profit for you.

Doesn’t that mean I get a tiny profit?? What’s the point?

The point is if you sell enough designs, any little bit of extra money you get is money you didn’t have to work for. You are starting to create Passive Income …. This is going to help you get one step closer to not having to work at all!

What If I don’t want to create designs or don’t want to use a print on demand service? Can I do other passive income ideas?

Of course! What I want to teach you with this post (and if this is liked, future posts) is that you are not limited at all by your idea for passive income. This is just one stream available to you.

If you don’t believe me before you read any further I want you to go to google or YouTube and type in Passive Income Ideas … There are hundreds of thousands of videos on ideas that can help and also some tutorials on how to follow those up. It all comes down to you. Do you want to escape the Rat Race. Do you want to retire early and are you prepared to invest in yourself and your future.

You are never too old or too young to start! As I write this I am 37 years old starting this business venture of creating passive income. This is one way I am trying to retire early and I hope you reading this will join me in this journey!

Ok, Ok … So … How easy is it to set-up?

Oh were back to the start now are we? well let me tell you, it is incredible easy to set up your own ‘Store’ for a Print On Demand Service. In fact it only takes a few clicks!

Now I am not going to go down the process of exactly how to set-up, but what i am going to suggest is doing some research first. Go on YouTube and search Print On Demand Setup. You will find a few.

The big ones I am aware of are. TeeSpring, Threadless, Merch By Amazon, Shopify and Place-It.

Now before you jump-in and start signing up to all of these there are some basic things you need to know.

  1. You will need to have a PayPal account (best to set up a Business one if you have a personal one first). This is how you will get paid!
  2. You may require a Tax number (Merch By Amazon and Threadless both require these)
  3. If you are an artist then you will need Transperant Backgrounds of your designs (These should be 5000 pixels x 5000 pixels
  4. You are required to market yourself (Teespring will offer your design once you hit 25 or more sales but to start you have to make those sales. Don’t worry we will cover this off shortly
  5. Get ready to upload
  6. Check the products you want to sell
  7. Publish the product and finally …
  8. Sell!!

But I told you Alex I’m not an artist or a designer!!

Ok hold your horses, neither am I!

What I do is I have created an account with a site called Canva. Now this is where the $$ comes into play. You can use their site to create free images/ writing which you can then download. However if your prepared to pay the subscription fee of $20 NZD a month, you get access to thousands of images/ pictures/ typesets and backgrounds. You also get a license which means you can use those designs and there are no legal ramifications for copyright.

All of my designs on Teespring and Threadless have been created using Canva. The one reason for this … If you pay the subscription fee they allow you to download the design as a transparent image. This means it can be placed on any print on demand service without it leaving background on the product you are trying to print on.

When you are creating a design (unless you are using Merch by Amazon) it is best to create the design with custom dimensions of 5000 pixels x 5000 pixels. This means your design will be big enough to be placed on a T-Shirt but also can be reduced so the quality of the design can also be placed on a mug or a sticker without looking … crap!

There are thousands of designs to give you inspiration so what have you got to lose?

So you made a storefront, you have designs now you need to upload them.

This process is even easier! It is literally drag and drop into the site.

The you select the products you want to sell, the colours and (in the case of TeeSpring, the Price) and then your almost ready to go … you just need to get creative with the title of your design and give a little description. (Hint … go to any of my designs on either website to see the kind of descriptions I use).

So umm what about marketing?

Ok so if your have been living in a cave you may not have heard of Social Media! Yep that’s right it’s time to do the one thing a lot of us Kiwi’s are bad at… promoting yourself and what you do!

Now you should all know about Facebbok and Instagram etc.. but there are also some helpful things that can help you market your new designs.

Below you are going to see some images of models wearing some of my designs. There were created using a website called Place-It.

Place-It allows you to put some of your transparent designs on models and products … for free! with no watermark. You also have the ability to add your own text (as you can see from my images). I will try to link each product on Teespring (as this site is where I will be focusing on for the future … I’ll get on to why shortly).

So why the change from Threadless to Teespring???

Well I’m glad you asked, it’s like your reading this post and reading my mind!!

I will still be uploading to both sites but, there are two big problems with Threadless versus Teespring.

Threadless makes the process really easy but … all the marketing is all on you. Teespring will add you to their marketing pool. The only catch is you have to sell 10 to 25 products first. So you marketing fame has to be on point! We can cover that and what you can do to increase your chances in a future post … if you all like this!

The other disadvantage of Threadless is the billing area … You can’t really add your own prices, that harms it abit because you dont want to be charing your customers an extra $10 just so you get a profit of $10 etc..

This where Teespring is a little easier to manage. You can set your own pricing and it will show how much profit you will make per item sold. If you think Teespring are charging too much you can reduce the cost of that item. This is what I have done to generate a bit more intrest.

However Threadless does have some cool advantages … It has sales!
This means your profit might go down a bit but you can promote the sales to your customers and hopefully generate more sales in the future.

The other thing that Teespring has over Threadless …. It has more traffic! Close to 16 million views per month … you have more people to sell to.

Now of course with Covid-19 around all products will take awhile to get to your customers so there may be slow uptake on that front, on the positive side … more people are shopping from home now so … Yay!!!

I wish everyone will at least give this a shot or think about it. I am trying it for the first time and I will keep trying. Anything to help me get ahead!

Feel free to visit my sites and give me honest feedback. If you want to buy something great! if not that’s fine too as I appreciate any feedback.

Be sure to check out my podcast episodes on this as well as feel free to email me at doncostas@gmail.com

Thanks for reading and good luck!!

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