March is a Good Month For Increasing Sales

income sales
Photo credit Pixabay

March has consistently been a good month for increasing sales on my Zazzle sites, and this March has been no different. (If you are curious about my qualifications on advising you about selling on Zazzle, I’ll just say that I am a Platinum ProSeller and have been with Zazzle for nearly 10 years.)

I create a lot of wedding invitations and items to match, in a variety of themes. Beach weddings are my big focus, with floral (hydrangeas) designs at BlueHyd running a close second. March may be the time when brides begin to focus on an upcoming wedding and need stationery. I stay busy right into summer, usually, although the past few years have been a bit slower.

So, what is selling now? Zazzlers may be curious about what I am selling and what customers are asking for. Customers do reach out through e-mail, and strange enough, the contact seems to come in spurts. Just the other day I had 6 people contact me about various things they needed. Then, sometimes weeks will go buy without a single contact.

Not every question / request brings a sale, but I did create an RSVP for someone which earned me a nice royalty and also referral money, thanks to the link I included in my e-mail.

How to Get E-Mail Referral Money

Whenever a customer requests an item to be made, be sure to set the item to “direct only” when posting, and send that link to the customer. Usually it will get you some referral money. It’s not always true, because the customer may not follow your link, or the “cookie” may get dropped if they do something else before buying the product. I surely don’t know all the technical gibberish, but sending the “direct only” link is the only way to possibly get that extra money through e-mail contact and sales.

People Have Recovered From the Holidays

Even if you don’t design wedding stationery, and believe me, it’s a very competative field, I think people have sufficiently recovered from Christmas to feel like they have money to spend. Also it’s tax season, and many people have a nice refund which helps with their purchasing power.

Here’s a list of some things I’ve sold this March:

Cloth tote bags with personal customization
Personalized Key rings
RSVP cards
Wedding shower invitations
Beach wedding invitation sets
Blue hydrangea wedding stationery
Bridal shower invitations
Thank you cards
Stickers and address labels

This “Under the Sea” invitation was a big hit this year. I made the design long ago, but sometimes it takes years for a design to catch on.

best seller wedding invitation
“Under the Sea” wedding invitation

So most of my sales have been wedding related. I promote wedding items year round, and have a good selection of various themes available. I tend to sell what I promote most.

But the key is to create and promote what you like to make best. And make every item customizable in some way… that is Zazzle’s thing… the ability to customize. And remember that the items that are promoted, are the items that usually sell, or they bring the customer who tends to buy something.

I also sell birthday party and beach related party (such as Luau) invitations. The designs are uniquely my own. In other words, I don’t just grab a free image and slap it on some stationery. Even when I use something from online, I add my own touch to it.

I don’t want my products to resemble any one else’s designs, and I strive to be as original as possible.

So March is over, and now we’ll see what April brings. I am hoping for more nice sales.


Easing Out of a ‘Going Nowhere’ Career

work from home onlineI love what I do for a living working online.  Or at least I used to love it.  Now I like it, but the results of all my hard work is not as satisfying.  For two years I’ve tried to come back from the changes Zazzle made in summer of 2013.  Within a couple of months, my pay dropped by two-thirds because of those changes.

This is a post about my experience with working online at the print-on-demand company, Zazzle. It is not intended to put the company down in any way. I still believe that Zazzle is a good place to earn income online, for many reasons. I would encourage anyone interested to give it a shot. Their products are high quality, and they offer nice sales year round. I’ve received many reviews from happy customers. This post is about my own personal experience as I’ve made Zazzle my career for the past eight years.

It may seem like a fabulous opportunity to be able to work from home.  And it is!  I have loved working the hours I choose, usually getting up at 5 or 6AM and working all morning, with my afternoons left for gardening, cooking or other things.  I work 7 days a week, putting in about 50 or 60 hours and can still be home for my son. But there are downsides as well, which mainly have to do with lack of control. It’s nothing like having a regular job, where seniority counts, dedicated employees get ahead, and the pay is stable and usually increases over time.

learning When I began working online at the Zazzle site I had to spend a lot of time learning.  I didn’t have the advantage of youth and computer knowledge.  Everything was new for me.  From uploading and re-sizing photos and art, to learning about using social media, this old gal was in school all day long.

But the money began to come in.  And for about 5 years the income steadily increased.  Eventually I was making enough to support myself and my young son, while saving up for a house of my own.  I even wrote a page about My Zazzle Success Story.  Back then, working hard brought in more money.  It encouraged me to expand and do more.  For years my income continually increased, and I looked forward to ‘going to work’.  Then suddenly, things changed.

It’s something we get used to, those of us who earn money online.  We are at the mercy of the online platforms themselves.  I had many articles at the writing site Squidoo when it ended, but not as many as others.  My small monthly deposit to PayPal went away, and I missed it.  But that was nothing compared to my dip in pay at Zazzle. Continue reading “Easing Out of a ‘Going Nowhere’ Career”

More to do at Work, Making Banners for the Store

green hydrangeaMaking banners for the store is not difficult, just time consuming. As with all online work I do, there is an element of learning attached. Often I do something that turns out perfect after I’ve spent time reading tutorials, that pops right out of my head as soon as I finish the project. Often I feel like my brain is stuffed so full that I can’t possibly keep any more info in there.

At Zazzle, where my online stores are based, we have the new option to create collections of products. It’s a great idea, and I’m totally onboard. I’ve been working on gathering similarly themed items from my twelve stores to add to collection pages. The thing is, each collection page needs a banner at the top that matches the theme of the collection.

I’ve been using Pixabay almost exclusively to find those banner images. Once I find the perfect photo, it must be downloaded, resized, cropped, and uploaded to the banner template. It must be done for every collection, and that is time-consuming.

Here is a link to My Collections. I plan to make more, but already I have 34 pages made. Some do not yet have a banner image, but most do. The hydrangea banner I’ve included at the beginning of this post was used for my Pale Green Hydrangea collection.

I’m keeping an eye on my sales as I’d like to know if the collections will be a good way to get my newer products before the eyes of customers.  It always takes time to see if new things help sales.

I work online in my Zazzle shops until 3:00 PM each day, and then stop to work in the yard, if the weather is nice. After that, I work inside, usually in the kitchen making supper and doing dishes. I start my day at 5:30am and there is never enough time to get it all done.

How To Remove Unwanted Background Clutter From Your Pictures

blue and white bearded iris
Original Iris Picture

Image Compare: Top right – garden hose, now removed in image below.

blue iris growing in the garden
Iris #2

Can you see a difference in these pictures? There is unwanted clutter in the first one.  The photo at the top has a garden hose on the right side of the photo, but I have removed the hose using the “clone stamp” and the results is seen in the bottom photo.

After photographing this flower I wanted to use the best pictures to make products for my online shop, but if I used this good photo of the flowers, there is a piece of an unsightly garden hose in the background.

Fortunately I have learned how to remove unwanted stuff from my photos. With a little patience, I can usually get it to look okay. If you are interested in how I removed the garden hose from my photo, read a page I wrote at Wizzley to explain how to use the clone stamp in a free graphics program called paint(dot)net.

And if you want to remove the entire background, for a transparent image, I can tell you how to do that too.  I have to do that for many of the designs I make and sell in my stores.

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