A 3 Month (No-Upload) Merch By Amazon Income Report / Case Study

Welcome back to another Merch Pursuits income report! It’s been 3 months since my last one, so I’m really excited to be creating another for you. I’m sure you’re all wondering why I haven’t created one recently, but don’t worry, everything you need to know has been included in this post.

Before I get into those reasons, I wanted to point out that it has nothing to do with lack of sales. In fact, these last 3 months have been the best months I’ve ever had!

So, if that’s the case, what have I been up exactly?

A 3 Month Recap

To be completely honest, my personal life has kept me extremely busy these past few months.  It’s easily been some of the busiest and most stressful months of my life. It feels like the days of going to college and working full-time all over again! (just to clarify – we’re talking about the dates of 5/1/17 – 8/1/17. My last income report was on April 2017).

Many of you are longtime readers of Merch Pursuits, and are probably pretty aware of what’s going on in my personal life, but if not – here’s what I’ve been up to:

Oh, and I also redesigned the Merch Pursuits website!

Despite all that, I still want to go over some numbers for the past few months. This is one of my favorite parts about writing here. I decided to use this as a sort of ‘Merch by Amazon case study’ for a few things I’ve had questions about.

Does Amazon tier people up based on designs sold, or designs live?

Will sales decrease if I stop uploading designs?

Is it too late to start Merch by Amazon?

And this three month MBA “hiatus”, I can finally answer these questions.

Previous Income Reports

As always, if this is the first post you’re reading, you should check out the previous months’ income reports first. I tend to reference these from time to time.

Here they are!

Income Reports for Months 1-7

3 Month Income Report

Month 9 – May 2017

Date Range: 5/1/17 – 5/31/2017

Tier Level: 500, 286 live

Shirts Sold: 259

Total Profit: $1,238.88

Month 10 – June 2017

Date Range: 6/1/17 – 6/30/2017

Tier Level: 500, 281 live

Shirts Sold: 287

Total Profit: $1,366.72

Month 11 – July 2017

Date Range: 7/1/17 – 7/30/2017

Tier Level: 500, 274 live

Shirts Sold: 168

Total Profit: $772.62

What’s Up With July Sales?

July sales we’re quite a bit slower than June. To be honest, I’m not too worried about it. In fact, I ran a poll on the Merch Pursuits facebook group, and July was a slow sales month for everyone.

I saw a few other polls like this in the larger Facebook groups, and the general consensus is that July sales were slow for almost everyone. After speaking with a few other longtime e-commerce sellers, I learned that this is normal. July and August are slow sales months for everyone.

A lot of things cause July to be a slow month of t-shirt sales. It’ could be a combination of the following:

  • Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and 4th of July are over
  • Families being on vacation
  • Parents unwilling to purchase clothing until the “back to school” sales
  • No sports/holidays starting up
  • No more large holidays until Halloween
  • Shirt sizes out of stock.

In short, I’m not too worried about July. I’ve been averaging 6 sales/day in August already, so it’s already shaping up to be a great month. Either way, having a month like July really makes me want to get back to my normal Merch schedule where I’m uploading designs everyday again.

Lessons Learned

So, what did I learn in my 3 months off?

First of all, there’s not a day goes by that I don’t check my Merch by Amazon sales at least once. I’m sure you can relate, haha. Once you begin to make sales every single day, you don’t feel as obligated to check sales nearly as often, because you know there will always be new sales. I remember when I first started I used to check 10-20 times a day, hoping for just one or two sales. Now, I just check to see which one of my designs sold. Is a regular seller, or a new one?

Second, I learned that Amazon doesn’t tier people up based on sales. According to my Merch Tools analytics, I’ve sold 1,431 t-shirts on Amazon. I should have tiered up after 500 sales according to Amazon’s guidelines. It appears they are now tiering people up based on amount of designs uploaded instead. I’ll keep you guys posted once I tier up to the 1,000 Tier.

Third, sales didn’t stop like I thought they would. I thought the more active of an uploader we are, the more Amazon would reward us with sales. Of course, this was all just personal speculation, but it turns out that’s not the case. As long as you have quality designs that are selling well, they will continue to sell well – even if you can’t upload designs everyday!

The more and more I’m on this platform, the more I realize just how passive of income Merch by Amazon really can be. I made almost $3,000 in 3 months by doing nothing.

I can’t think of another program in the world that is as passive as this.

Creating New Goals

As we come up on Q4, I can’t help but think I need to kick things into high gear for the rest of the year. I’ve crushed my goals with Merch this year. I’ve never been someone to become complacent. I love that Merch is basically paying my mortgage payment every month, but I aspire for much more.

So, it’s time to create new goals. If I don’t set goals for myself, I won’t hold myself accountable. More designs live = more potential money in my pocket from royalties. Q4 is coming up fast, so if you go after holidays designs – now is the time to start thinking about those.

Here’s what I came up with:

Upload 500 Designs

As of today, I have 270 designs live. I’ve been at just under 300 designs live for months, and it’s time to upload my 10 designs each and everyday. I should be able to achieve this in one month.

This may take a little longer that a month, as I first have to get back into the rhythm of researching design ideas and outsourcing, but I’m confident in the next month of two, I can have 500 designs live.

Make It To The 1,000 Tier

This goes hand in hand with uploading 500 designs, but my second goal is to tier up to the 1000 slot. I have plenty enough sales to tier up, so at this point, I think I just need to consistently upload designs and max out my available slots.

Make $3,000/month In Royalties

When I first started, $1000/month seemed like an unrealistic expectation. I was happy to be making a couple hundred dollars extra each month.

The longer I’ve been a Merch seller, the more I’ve realized that any goal I set for myself is achievable with Merch by Amazon – as long as I keep on uploading.

So, my new goal for the end of the year is to make $3,000/month in Merch royalties. A lofty goal, but I goal I can’t wait to hit.

Stretch Goals

Over the next 6-12 months, I have two stretch goals for myself.

  • Pay off my car loan (12k balance)
  • Move my family into a larger home.

If I can start making 2-3k per month on Merch, I could realistically pay off my car in as little as 6 months. That’s my first goal, and a very exciting goal to think about. Once that’s paid off, I can start building up a sizable down payment for a new house for my family. We’ve been in our little starter home for 3 years now, but with another baby in the house, things are starting to feel smaller and smaller everyday.

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to believe I’ve been blogging for 11 months already, but man, I can’t believe how much the Merch by Amazon program has changed my life. It’s opened the door to so many opportunities I never thought I’d have financially.

Thanks for following along, and I hope you’re having just a good of a journey as I am.

Don’t forget to leave me a comment below! I’d love to see how your sales on Merch are doing, or what advice I can offer to help you out.

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Thomas

1 year ago

Just want to say: Thanks!

James McGreevy

1 year ago

Fantastic blog, amazing to see how well you’re doing in under a year! I requested an invite about a week ago and just hope I get accepted but have been reading through your blog posts to get a handle on what I should be expecting from the first few months and get some tips to get ahead of the game.
What would be your advice when it comes to outsourcing? What can be outsourced and what do you have to do for yourself? And of those things that need to be outsourced, where should you go to get them outsourced?
Thanks!

Pete Combs

1 year ago

I think the issue with July is the fact that you’re showing an April date range… just something I noticed from the image. Just a thought.

Danny

1 year ago

I’m not sure what you mean. The screenshot is from 7/1-7/30, which is July.

Laura

1 year ago

The screenshot shows the proper range, but the part you typed in shows April. 🙂

Danny

1 year ago

Thanks! I missed that the first time around. All fixed now.

Alex

1 year ago

I think he’s referring to the text above the July image, but I don’t think his point stands. The text says:

Month 11 – July 2017

****Date Range: 4/1/17 – 4/30/2017

Tier Level: 500, 274 live

Shirts Sold: 168

Total Profit: $772.62

Farhan

1 year ago

The text actually shows: Date Range: 4/1/17 – 4/30/2017
But the screenshot Shows 7/1 – 7/31 which is correct.
So the problem is just with the written portion.

Danny

1 year ago

Thank you! I fixed the date range.

George

1 year ago

I think Pete Combs fell for the (copy&paste?) wrong CAPTION of the screenshot, which says “Date Range: 4/1/17 – 4/30/2017”
The screenshot itself has the correct dates however.

Bob

1 year ago

Thanks for sharing your story. It’s very inspirational.

Danny

1 year ago

Thanks for reading Bob!

Dave

1 year ago

Hi Danny, great blog. Thanks for your continual updates. I’m finding hard exiting the 10 shirt tier. sigh. Keep up the good work.

Danny

1 year ago

Thanks Dave! The hardest tier is probably 10 and 25. Because you don’t have many shirts live, it’s hard to make sales. Chicken and the egg problem. Some people opt to purchase 10 shirts while having all 10 slots available, bumping them up to the next tier. I haven’t personally tried that tactic, but it may work for you.

Dave

1 year ago

Hey, thanks for the encouraging words 🙂 Do you know anything about using ads to send traffic to Merch?

Brad Summers

1 year ago

Unless, you buy the shirts yourself, its seems impossible to get out of tier 10!!!

Tony

1 year ago

Amazon uses both sales and % of slots filled when tiering up. You need to have 80% of your slots filled and the sales requirements met. Then they will tier you when they have a tier up. Good article and good luck.

Leah

1 year ago

I’m really pleased its going well and hope hand is healing well. I’m also loving Merch however, I never feel like I can fully relax with it because their robots can pull the plug on you at anytime for the flimsiest or unjustifed of reasons. So always need to keep eggs in other baskets. Meanwhile re Merch tiering up – I was tiered up to 500 recently and it definitely wasn’t due to how many Tees I have live as so far its less than 60. It’s one of those mysteries 🙂

Leah

1 year ago

I just thought of something

T-shirt

“I’m a Merch 500 seller what’s your superpower?” 🙂

Brad Summers

1 year ago

Very informer article! Your sales are good. However, with a sales volume of over $4400, $1200 seems so small. No surprise, Amazon keeps the lion’s share. Better than nothing though.

Bob

1 year ago

Thank you for the effort and candid nature of your posts. I almost went with another business model that could have crashed me. But by looking at your plan and progress I am encouraged to get going! I am a life long creative that sucks at the back end, and sales. This seems like a glove fit. I recommend as you get more cash flow, you read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, EntreLeadership as well. It will be like a rocket booster for your personal and business plans. Thanks again! Looking forward to the next newsletter/post.

Michael Kubelka

1 year ago

HI, my friend and I are just getting started. We are still waiting for our account to be approved. This post makes me more excited than before. Thank you for posting. If you have any new beginner tips, pass them along!

jonatha

1 year ago

just got in to merch heard about it first from Danny. thanks.. working on my design

Lisa D

1 year ago

Hi Danny,

I love your blog — been following since I started my merch journey 3 months ago. I have a question for you, how do you run your reports? I’ve tried to get the same level of detail as you from the analyze tab, using both product and earnings tabs but no luck. I’ve tried in both chrome and safari, although my sales are not near your levels yet, I am well on my way and pretty excited. Thank you for this blog and hope all is well in your world.

Liz M

11 months ago

Hi Danny – I JUST got approved for Merch after finding out about it from your blog posts last year! I’m eager to get started and I’m currently reading through your posts this weekend to get a head start.

Thanks for all the useful info. It’s been cool to see your journey!

Danny

10 months ago

Congrats Liz! I’m glad you finally got accepted. Thanks for being a longtime reader 🙂

emma fifield

3 months ago

Hi Daniel

Ive just found your helpful blog. I just signed up for merch and am awaiting approval. I am an artist and I design mainly quirky dinosaur prints. But occasionally I use images i’ve paid for from Over – I can sell 400 designs each image of theirs. Do you know if its possible to use something like these elements on merch ? If its mixed with lettering. I notice the pig you have on that tshirt above, was it a stock image or did you draw it? just trying to understand, what I can and cant use on merch, its a bit daunting for a newbie 🙂 thanks and any help you can provide would be really appreciated – Emma

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