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The T-shirt Economy – The Sky's the Limit

by: J.J. Jackson

A couple years ago I took a step that I never thought would turn out as well as it has. A friend of mine turned me on to a site called CafePress which allows every day schmucks like me to design t-shirts and gifts, upload them to their site and then pays money based on markups that are set by the user. I had tried selling t-shirts in the past and given it up after realizing that the ink in my printer cost far too much and the cruddy heat transfers usually didn’t work all that well. And to be honest I didn’t have the cash to buy 25 t-shirts of only one design with only two or may three colors in it from a screen printer either.

But what Cafepress promised was to take the hassles out of this process. They would do all the heavy lifting from printing to shipping to handling the money and then pay me if I ever made enough off the markups that I set to break the $25 minimum check amount.

Was I skeptical? You bet. I knew very little about this company and at the time they used heat transfers to create designs which I had had nothing but bad experiences with in the past. But I took a leap of faith. I whipped out some of my old designs, looked at them, tweaked them a little bit, paid the small monthly fee for “premium” site and put them up on the site. I even ordered a hat and a t-shirt just to see if the quality was any good. I figured I was only out a couple bucks if nothing happened.

The items I ordered arrived and I was pleasantly surprised with the quality. The problems that I did notice were clearly problems of my own doing and after reading a little through their helpful how to guides I adjusted the designs and fixed the products.

Imagine my surprise however that when only about two weeks I made my first sale for a profit of a couple bucks. Then a couple days later someone else bought something for another couple bucks. And by the end of my first month I remember thinking that yeah I had only sold a handful of items (about one every 4 or 5 days) but I had actually covered my cost.

So I set to work. I started out gathering up some more of my older designs many of which, I admit, were never really designed to be on t-shirts and started reworking them, uploading and creating products. The next month passed and again I had sold enough to cover my costs plus a buck or two. Then the third month passed and I had made enough to cover my costs plus enough to pay my monthly subscription to EverQuest which was my addiction at the time. Then I made enough to cover my costs plus my internet bills. Then enough to cover my costs plus my internet and phone bill. Then I made enough to pay my car payment. Then I made enough to pay my mortgage. Then … well I think you get the picture.

I was stunned. I was so stunned that in 2004 I spun off a whole section of my original Cafepress storefront into its own site and made the leap to officially founding my own company, Land of the Free Studios, Inc. And then in late 2005 I started my third and fourth stores. On top of that the printing technology has progressed to new heights with direct printing processes that rival screen printing.

And right now I count myself among the most successful Cafepress store owners, receiving a nice check from them each and every month.

Was it easy? No. Did it take hard work and long hours? Yep. Did my wife want to beat the crap out of me as I was sitting in front of the computer at midnight instead of coming to bed when I had to be at work by 7 AM the next day? Oh yes. But the sacrifice and the hard work did pay off!

And it can for you too. That is IF you are willing to work hard and you love what you do. The fact of the matter is sites like CafePress give every day schmoes like you and me a chance to make money with little or no up front investment and grow that business as profits increase.

The truth of the matter is the sky really is the limit! It’s just a matter of whether or not you are willing to reach for the stars. Because the t-shirt economy is here to stay.

Article Source: http://www.content.onlypunjab.com

J.J. Jackson is President of Land of the Free Studios, Inc. and is a Cafepress Top Shopkeeper. His site, The T-shirt Entrepreneur is designed to help people get started in the T-shirt Economy. He is also the owner and operator of American Infidel T-shirts and Funny When Wet T-shirts & Gifts and has been making money selling t-shirts online since 2004.

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