About two years ago I wrote a post about how I earned $11,678 on the side with a print-on-demand business. Since then I have continued to grow the business, and now my total revenue earned from my print-on-demand business is about $78,000, with $22k in 2019 and $45k in 2020.
Updated Sales Graphs
Etsy Sales 2016 to May 24th, 2021
Amazon Sales 6/18/2019-5/04/2021
Amazon Sales 6/19/2018-6/17/2019
How did I keep growing?
One of the most regular things I do is keep coming up with simple text designs that I put on mugs. Once it sells on a mug, I try to put it on other products, including tumblers and travel mugs. I also expanded to zipper bags and stopped selling wallets. Wallets were the only product I couldn’t find in the US and shipping times from China went down the drain after Covid hit.
The biggest portion of my revenue comes from Amazon FBA (fulfilled by amazon). In 2020, out of 45k in revenue, 23k (53%) was from Amazon FBA. Etsy made up 37% with 16.6k in revenue, and Amazon FBM (fulfilled by merchant) made up the remaining 10% with 4.5k in revenue.
I also treat Amazon and Etsy differently. Amazon has unlimited listings included in its $40 a month pro plan, so I have 5500 designs posted there. But the FBA listings where most of my Amazon sales come from are only about 20 products, including products that were not successful with FBA. So out of 5500 listings, only 15 actually earned 83% of my 2020 revenue on Amazon. And some of those FBA listings include some tumblers I expanded to at the end of 2019.
Then, for Etsy, there is no FBA equivalent and they charge $.20 per listing every four months. While it doesn’t sound like much, it adds up. So I try to make sure only products that get sales or a certain amount of traffic and favorites get renewed, while unsuccessful designs expire. So in Etsy I have about 650 listings currently active. I’ve also been working on the quality of listings in Etsy – primarily adding more mockups. Despite having less print-on-demand product listings on Etsy, it does a lot better than the print-on-demand (FBM) products on Amazon.
To a certain extent, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies here. I will keep creating new designs, trying new product types, and looking for successful products to send into FBA. I also want to expand to Shopify so I have a third channel to sell through. Shopify will be more challenging in terms of needing to drive my own traffic, so I haven’t tackled it yet.
I am also considering other e-commerce areas, such as Retail/Online Arbitrage, another private label product, and selling digital files on Etsy or my own website.
But right now my main focus is actually the bookkeeping services I started offering last year. I’ve been spending a lot of my time both improving my bookkeeping skills and expanding my marketing. I’ll talk more about that in another post.
Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions or would like some advice for your own print-on-demand business!