When you look into it, there are many ways to make money blogging. Most people turn to paid promotions or affiliates. These involve working with other companies to monetise your blog. While there are benefits to options like these, there are significant downsides. Promotions, for instance, may remove freedom over your posts. Affiliates can also be a patchy source of revenue. Then, there are the horror stories about bloggers who spend months chasing payments. For obvious reasons, then, many people who want to make a success of blogging branch out into alternative money-making methods.
There are a few to choose from, such as starting a subscription box or developing an ebook. The most popular option of all, though, still seems to be with traditional merchandise. We’ve soon bloggers and YouTubers releasing lines of ‘merch’ for years now. Some have seen significant success in doing so. Zoella, for instance, has made an entire brand for herself this way.
If you’re thinking about merchandise, though, you need to go further than setting up in your bedroom. If you manage things this way, the whole process will soon drive you mad. In extreme cases, your ideas here could fast fall apart. And, that’s terrible news given investing in these products will leave you out of pocket in the first place.
Whether you opt for branded clothes or tote bags with your logo on, you need to treat this as a professional business if you want to make it work. And, any business person knows that success is all about management and planning. So, without further ado, let’s consider how you can achieve both with your merchandise.
Limit your selection
There’s a temptation to go mad with what you offer in the early days. Surely, you stand to see more profit the more products you put on your shop? You wouldn’t be the first person to order everything from branded caps to tea cosies with your name on them. But, going over the top with your store is only going to stress you out. Not to mention that it means you have more to lose if things go wrong. Instead, you need to get your business brain on and build yourself slowly. Start with one or two key pieces which are easy to manage and cheap to produce. If that goes well, you can think about expanding into other things. Still, it pays to take it easy for the first six months or so. That way, you don’t get snowed under and let your early customers down. No other startup would bite off a whole shop of stuff from day one, and you shouldn’t either.
Find out of house storage
Being able to work from home is one of the best things about being a blogger. You get to work in your pyjamas, decorate your office how you want to, and choose your working hours. But, this work from home element could fast become a downside if you try to store your merchandise there, too. Before you know, your bedroom will become packing box central. You won’t even be able to see your living room floor through all those products. This alone can be enough to unspool you. You wouldn’t be able to get away from work, and that can undo the best of us. To make sure it doesn’t happen, then, consider out-of-house storage from day one. To start with, this could be as simple as keeping everything in your shed until you need it. As you grow, you may even find you’re able to hire outside warehouse storage. That’s a goal to work towards given that many outsourced warehouse services include 3pl (third-party logistics) to help distribute your products as well. Of course, you’ll need to be pulling some profits before then. For now, focus on getting that stuff out of your house already.
Develop a decent production line
Storage aside, you also need to consider how you handle production. For the most part, merchandise comes from an outside printing company. Hence, you can start getting this right by finding a company which works well with you. Things to look out for include fast delivery and high-quality printing. You should also develop a reliable ordering method to save yourself time and effort. Once you have that in hand, consider how you process orders. If you put packages together on your bedroom floor, things will fast get stressful. Worse, you could end up making silly mistakes. That’s why it’s worth setting up a packing line somewhere in your house. Even doing this at the kitchen table would be preferable. That way, you can have one section for products, one for packages, and one for address labels. By moving down this line for each order, you could have your merch shop running like a well-oiled machine in no time.
State posting days on your website
Even with all the above in place, it’s possible you’ll lose track of what you’re doing if you post on an order-by-order basis. While large companies manage to work this way, you don’t have that ability right now. Traipsing to the post office with a handful of orders each time will slow you down and cost you a fortune. Instead, you should state set delivery days on your online shop. Your readers will understand and appreciate that you do this alone. But, they’ll still be upset about waiting for an order if you don’t warn them ahead of time. By stating that you only post on Mondays and Fridays, for instance, you remove the risk of complaints. You can also ensure that each set of orders you send is worth your time. While you can do away with dates like this when a 3pl is taking care of things, this small step could save a lifetime of stress right now.
Take care of the above, and your merchandise is sure to make the right impression. Before you know, your blog could start to morph into a real-life business model.