Making Money with Zazzle

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Use Your Creativity to
Make Money on Zazzle
sell your art and design on zazzle
Earn Money with Your Art & Design on Zazzle
If you're like me you just love to draw, create and design. Maybe you're here because you are already a seasoned fellow Zazzler searching for articles about making money or the idea just sparked you're interest and you want to know more about selling your art and design online. The good news is that lots of people earn money from Zazzle, most profess just a modest amount monthly and it is certainly no get rich quick business. I opened a store in 2010 and really tinkered with Zazzle more than anything for about a year before deciding to pursue it. A lot has also changed with Zazzle since then, and I thought I'd share my ideas and opinions from my experience.

Your Business is as Unique as You Are
Every person who designs on Zazzle really has a unique business and you can't compare any random two. For starters some are artists, some produce their own computer/vector designs, some are photographers and some just purchase images to use. Some people only specialize in certain products, some create just about every type of product available and some are very niche focused. A lot of people open a different store for each separate niche that they have and others keep it all under one store. I think it all depends on how you decide to market yourself. A popular theme for those dealing with just stationery and invitations is to market a paper or invitation store. If you have a lot of different products but all for the same topic like Hawaiian designs, then you may choose to market your products in that way. As for me, I love to draw, paint and design, so I market myself as I always felt myself to be, an artist and designer. If you're a photographer then market yourself as such, or if you specialize in landscape photography, you can also market your theme of beautiful landscape photography. This is something to think about if you are just starting out.

Searching for Zazzle Success
I've searched and found just about every online article anyone has ever written about Zazzle and just about every forum posting asking if people can really make money there. Here are the results: I found two sites claiming to make decent money with Zazzle, the kind of money for someone to actually live on, but the other site was a Wizzley page that is now discontinued as of Jan 2015. That leaves one site left with lots of information for making money online which is Five Green Lizards. The other site was: Zazzle Success Story on There have been many forum posts from people claiming they know other people making lots of money with Zazzle, but there's no substantiation. I once found a person in a forum showing his earning summary averaging about $2,000 monthly from his shop of t-shirts for a span of a 3 month period. Now I can understand that most people don't want to disclose this type of information, most are worried about copy cats, but that leaves me to believe the vast majority are nowhere near making a living off Zazzle. I am not "earning a living" from Zazzle, but my sales are growing consistently. I do want to write about what I've learned to try and help others getting started.

Zazzle Changes
I would recommend to anyone that if you truly want to make money online, more than just some extra pocket money, set up multiple streams of income as you progress. I say this because while I enjoy selling my work on Zazzle, it really is their playground and their rules, and they can and do change them. It's just best to diversify. In 2013 they changed their terms about volume bonus payouts and overnight a lot of people lost significant monthly income. They now only pay a volume bonus payout for products you refer. The intention is to give you the incentive to drive customers to their website, and just to clarify the idea here, customers purchasing directly from the Zazzle site become Zazzle customers, not yours, which is why I recommend creating your own site and promoting yourself, not Zazzle. At one time if you had a Zazzle storefront (which is free), they would let you customize it with images and text so in effect it was truly your own site with your individual style, but that has disappeared also. I'm not knocking Zazzle or the chance to make money there, but I just want you to be aware of the playing field so you can make the best decisions about your online business.

Treat Zazzle as an Affiliate Program
By far the best way to maximize the amount of money you make off your products is to treat them like any other affiliate product. That means that if you refer the sale from your blog or website, you also earn the 15% referral fee in addition to the royalty you set on your product. That's earning twice as much from each sale as you normally would if the customer just found your product on Zazzle's site. Also, with the referral volume bonus program in effect, you also have a chance at earning additional income if you meet the threshold. In addition, when I say set up multiple streams of income, your site is a perfect place to refer other affiliate products and set-up adsense to maximize earnings from multiple sources. You can easily start a blog for free (Blogger is great) and get going on your online presence. Wait you say, I don't have any products yet...get busy! I believe that for you to be the most successful you can be you need to wear a marketing hat, brush up on social media and get going. If you aren't familiar with blogs or HTML, put your geek hat on and study up as the internet is just full of free information. You can learn the basics of what you need to know and start for free! Ultimately the best way to look at Zazzle is that they provide an artist or designer instant direct access to the marketplace to sell their work.

Creating Your Own Online Presence
So start your own site and develop quality content, not just a bunch of affiliate links to your products. The focus of your site is up to you. You can easily start a blog or site about any topic you are passionate about and add your products and other related affiliated products as well. For example, if you love cats, you can start a site about cats, design Zazzle products with cats and add other affiliate products about cats on your site. As far as written content, take time and develop your unique content, adding to it often as content is what will get you found online by people searching for the topic you are writing about. Maybe you have funny stories about your cats or maybe you have specific knowledge in some area and can write a series of articles. You can also write articles about the Zazzle products themselves or any other affiliate products to share with your readers. That truly is the best way to sell products. Now you're developing a quality site that attracts people with the same interest and sell your products along the way. As an example, the Five Green Lizards website I mentioned above writes specifically about making money online, which is one of the most popular searches on the internet. The site offers different articles about different aspects of making money online, one of which just happens to be Zazzle.

The Zazzle Numbers Game
Most of what I read about Zazzle success is a repeating theme, "it's a numbers game". Lots of forum posts claim to have as many as 20,000 or more products for sale, so the general theory is the more you have the more you sell. Now to a certain extent that's true, however, if you sift through the billions of products on Zazzle, a lot of what's there, and I'm not trying to be judgmental, is subpar in my opinion. So I do believe that a lot of people waste time uploading images that will never sell and wind up wasting time and effort all to say that they now have "X" amount of products with the belief that now they have "X" they should start seeing more sales. The best way to grow with Zazzle is to create quality designs, promote them and not just shoot for numbers. If you have 100 products that are high quality you will sell more than someone claiming to have 5,000 products that no one would ever buy, so don't get sucked into that circle.

Promote Your Products Outside of Zazzle
Another popular strategy I see often is that the Zazzle marketplace is the only place many rely on to make sales. That means that they don't waste time on a website or blog, so their focus is all about creating more designs. I don't think this is a horrible philosophy IF your work is top notch, but you still need to market in some way. I say that because the Zazzle marketplace is really just a huge search engine. If your designs are outstanding, they will make it to the top of the search results in Zazzle (it does take time for this to happen, nothing is instantaneous) and if your work dominates the first page of Zazzle results, you will make some sales. So whatever you design, if you concentrate your efforts and get more than one of your products to the top of the first page of Zazzle results you will start to generate sales. To have the first result in a Zazzle search is something you should feel proud of because that means your design is the most popular. Now if your designs never see the light of day in Zazzle search results, then relying only on the Zazzle marketplace is obviously not going to work.

So Many Products!
One of the things people also write a lot about is the huge amount of "competition", or really how many of the same products there are. I don't really view it in this way. As I mentioned above, it's true that Zazzle has billions of products, but not all are the same and not all are good. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of great designs there and you actually want that because people wouldn't shop at Zazzle without good design. So, if your work is good, you don't have to worry much about competition, you will get your share of sales. Everyone else's great designs will only help enhance the customer experience and ultimately everyone wins. Strive to make your work unique and the best it can be and you will be well on your way to focusing on success. Let me just also add that when you first start out you will learn and grow your design skills. In time you will improve and climb higher into the realms of great design which equals more success. You will also develop a keen awareness of what sells and what does not which will help you as well.

What Products Should I Design?
Don't make the mistake of thinking that because someone else seems to sell a lot of "X" that's what you should be doing. What you are passionate about and what you enjoy designing is where you will ultimately do the best. If you're an artist and you want to promote your paintings, upload your art and sell it on canvas or as posters. Create your artist website and write about yourself and your art and offer your paintings for sale. If you're still at a loss to decide, do some research and find out what people are searching for most. If you find an eager market, by all means start designing products to fill the demand. If you're a photographer, decide what products your photos will look best on and who will buy them. Keep in mind that with photos it's best that they fit the product dimensions and look good. For example, my opinion is that square photos on t-shirts are just not that design attractive, but hey, I've never seen your photos!

Tips for Deciding What to Design
Now I can share some tips to get you thinking in the right direction. Let's take the example of greeting cards. Most folks these days can go to the dollar store and get beautiful, professional cards for a $1.00. I know because I do. So if you have a passion for writing and designing cards, that's great, but think about who your are selling to first, where the demand is, then design for that market (doing keyword searches proves to be very beneficial to find out what people are looking for). Zazzle greeting cards right now average about $3.00 to $3.15 each. In addition there are also shipping charges unless they sign up for the free shipping trial offer (which by the way you should point out as a selling point). Now, who and why would someone pay that much for a greeting card when they can go to the dollar store? I can tell you because I design and sell greeting cards. The first reason people will pay top dollar is because it delivers a unique message they want to express, usually, but not always relating to some life event that is hugely important. Most know they can go to the store and sift through hundreds of cards, but since they feel this message is so very important, they will look for and spend extra for just the right one, which one can easily do online. The other reason is to CUSTOMIZE, so make sure they can easily customize the card by making it a template so they can use the "edit this design template" section. Let's take custom Christmas cards as an example. Most families love to take the family photo and upload it on a great design, order 50 or more and send out every year. This is an excellent design market to target (and tons of artists already do). Who else buys 50 to 100 cards at a time? Businesses do, and they definitely want to customize it and add their logo. What businesses? This is where research on your part comes in, especially keyword searches. Let's talk postcards, they are roughly $1.00 each and not much of a earnings generator sold individually. So you want to market to folks who are going to purchase quantities. Businesses need them as appointment reminders or for marketing, they're especially popular to use as table number cards for weddings or to send out when people move - these are but a few ideas. Focus and design for specific markets where demand exists for selling more than one item at a time.

Patience Please
Patience is a virtue. You need to understand that if you just created 100 products today with no marketing it will not increase your sales tomorrow. Concentrate on great ideas and designs, adding good titles, descriptions and keywords. You must also focus on promotion and be creative. Promotion is what will get you more sales faster than anything else. If you start a blog or website, you must also be willing to work on it with patience, even on the days when you feel like it's not getting the results you intended. It takes time to develop and it is a learning adventure of finding what works for you. So give it some time and attention and work on it consistently to add great content. This is a long term commitment to building a business, hopefully one that you enjoy. You will learn and grow along the way.

Commit and Tackle
My advice to those just starting out is enjoy what you do. If you love to create and design you can unleash all your creative energy. If you go into any project and think to yourself "gee, I hope this works", it's not the kind of mindset that will get you far. Always have the attitude in life that whatever you do you're going to be successful. You will endure your share of disappointments along the way, everyone does. They say that failure occurs only when you stop trying. Most of the successful online businesses I've read about were far from overnight successes. In reality they learned from what doesn't work and kept going until they found the key to making it all work. So start and don't worry about mistakes, you're going to make them, but just keep going!

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