Ongoing payments from your work, also known as royalties, used to be reserved for the rich and famous- movie stars, popular authors, high level investors, and patent holders come to mind.
But, with the rise of the internet and digital technology, royalties are now available to anyone with a computer.
I love selling clothing on eBay and used books Amazon, but one of the negatives is that I need to go out and physically find the things to sell with these business models.
This is fine if you have a car and live in a suburb like me. Or, if have access to public transpiration and don’t mind hauling dozens of pounds of books and piles of clothing home with you, then you can run a profitable business.
As I learn more about internet business, I’m transitioning towards digital products. This way I just release the thing once, and I get royalty payments as long as my work sells.
We rarely hear about these opportunities to make money. Instead, we hear about the falling minimum wage, the rising cost of living, and the crazy prices of healthcare.
But, these opportunities are hidden in plain site.
A lot of washed up hippies come into the health food store I work at, and complain about the state of the world and how it used to be better. I bet they would be more positive and hopeful if they exercised more and discovered this little secret of the internet- with digital products you can make money from anywhere.
I just paid a woman on Fiverr (affiliate) from Pakistan $120 to redesign this site. With the internet she gets to use her web design skills to make money, and I get a shiny new website. What other time in history could people on seperate continents communicate instantly and work together?
One of the main reasons these opportunities aren’t talked about is because the term royalties conjures up images of Warren Buffet reinvesting his dividends, or Brad Pitt getting money from Fight Club 20 years later. Opportunities to make passive income like this seems unreachable for regular people like us.
Also, the royalty payments in the beginning are small. I only get $2 with each ebook that sells.
My goal is to sell 5 copies a day- that’s an extra $300 a month.
The most common ways to release a product once, and then get reoccurring payments using the internet is affiliate marketing, releasing your own product, ebook sales, and t shirt sales.
Unfortunately, I don’t know much about affiliate marketing (though there are some affiliate links in my posts) or releasing my own products. Though I’m going to keep learning about these things.
For now I’m still a newbie to digital products, so I’ve been going after the lowest hanging fruit- t shirt sales and books.
T shirt Designs
The main image of this post is a screenshot of my sales for Merch the last week. As you can see, I made over $6. Again, this isn’t a lot of money, but both of these shirts took me about 5 to10 minutes to make and post.
Everyone has 5 or 10 minutes in their day to do this. Especially because you can make designs on your phone with the free design app called Over (though I like Photoshop the best), and then upload them onto the site from your phone.
The hardest part about uploading t shirts is thinking of the ideas.
I’ve found that the easiest way to think of designs is to get ideas from your life. Places you’ve been, sports you played, organizations and clubs that you belonged to- all of these are good things to make shirts about.
Just be aware of possible trademark violations.
One good easy way to come up with ideas is to think of ‘inside jokes’ from your state or region or country..
For example, I have family in Maine, and in local newspapers there are always ads for Community Bean Suppers throughout the state. So I made this shirt:
Also, the two shirts that sold this week were professional organizations that I was in during my first attempt at college.
I just wrote the acronyms, changed the text with a pattern overlay (which is a two click process), and then uploaded the design.
Using a custom pattern makes your design much more interesting. Like this:
Another way to get more sales is to approach a local business (or your job) and offer to make a t shirt for them. Tell them that Amazon takes care of everything and it won’t cost them anything.
This way you can make sales (which let’s you tier up and upload more designs) and the business gets custom made t shirts at no cost to them. I haven’t done this yet, but I’m planning to do it this summer.
This free software makes it easy to do market research for Amazon Merch. Just type in a keyword and see what designs come ups.
I’ve found that simple designs sell well. And that’s good news for me- I don’t have the skills to make detailed graphics.
I only do Amazon Merch, but there are dozens of other print on demand sites like Cafepress that you can also upload your designs for free and make a profit.
Like Merch, uploading stories to Kindle is free. (I also use photoshop to design my own covers).
I’ve come up with the plot for most of my ebooks in 15 minutes or less. And, because they only have to be 3,000-5,000 words, it’s doable to release at least on story per week. This way, little by little, you’ll build your catalog of books and make more money.
I’ve only uploaded my ebooks to Amazon Kindle because that’s the biggest marketplace for ebooks. But, there are other free sites you can upload your book to like Barnes and Noble’s Nook and Smashwords.
Uploading t-shirts to Amazon Merch is the most straightforward way to make money online. It’s free to make an account (though you need to approved, which takes a couple weeks, so apply now!), free to upload designs, and Amazon takes care of all the shipping and returns.
$3 or $4 per sale doesn’t seem like much. But, like a lot of small streams create a huge river, enough of these small trickles of sales builds a fortune, (or at least helps with the bills).
All humans are creative- might as well learn how to make money with your inherent skills.