November, 2017 |
 

Month: November 2017

Disclosure: I do have some affiliate links throughout this blog. The links provide me with a small percentage of commission but do not cost you anything extra.

Turning your creativity into a career sounds like a pipe dream, but thankfully for us creative types it can be done!

I’m constantly on the look out for solid, legitimate ways for stay at home moms to make money and be successful.

If you are searching for ways to make money from being creative, POD (print on demand sites) are well worth looking into.

POD’s allow you the freedom to create your own artwork at your own pace around your schedule. They deal with the printing, manufacture and shipping of the product. It’s a great way to start building a risk free business with very little or no initial outlay.

Society 6 is one of these sites. It’s free to join, simple to navigate and has wealth of information to help you make the best of your artwork.

Their curator program is much like an affiliate program and you can earn commission promoting the work of others! I’ll get into this later in more detail.

If this has sparked your interest read on. It may be what you are looking for.

Overview and summery

Owners Leaf Group

Who is it suitable for Anyone creative wanting to sell, buy or promote art

website URL https://society6.com

Training – Very good. An excellent range of tutorial articles and blogs

Support – through help desk

Pricefree

Overall ratinggood

Who is Society 6 for ?

I posted a few days ago about how to make money using Merch by Amazon. If you are only interested in producing t shirt designs this is great. If you want more options Society 6 is the place to go.

It is a site focused on promoting artists and selling their work on a range of products. It suits artists from a wide range of genres and disciplines. The variety of styles on there is massive. Whether your passion is watercolour, acrylics, oil pen and ink or graphics there is a place for you. It cuts out the manufacturing process so it’s ideal if you want to focus solely on the creation of your art and leave the rest to someone else.

There is no need to be a computer whizz as they will give you advice on how to prepare and upload your images in clear steps. I promise you, if I can do it you’re going to be able to do it too!

Product overview

I was truly impressed by the amount of products you can design for. To give you an idea of the scope you will have, see the list below ;

  • Art prints / framed prints / metal prints / limited additions
  • Wall tapestries
  • clocks
  • bags
  • t shirts / hoodies / leggings
  • curtains / cushions / wall hangings

These are just a few believe me the list is far to extensive for me to post here.

The system allows you to create your own shop in which you reflect your personality and develop your own brand using a header image and tag line. There is a drop down box under the header in which you can place a brief biography. Here you can also include your Facebook, twitter etc. to maximise your visibility and promote your work outside Society 6.

The collections tab within your shop gives you the flexibility to select work and group it together to keep your shop face clean, organised and easy for your customers to navigate.

The shopface can be customised further by photographing your products in situ which helps your customers visualise what they will look like once purchased.

I found the setting up process really simple. When they ask for your URL bear in mind this is what your brand name will be, so have it thought out and ready to go. It can’t be changed later.

It took me a couple of minutes just filling in the boxes with the required information ( which was minimal) and then verifying the account with PayPal. You will be asked to pay $1 to make sure you are for real, and that’s it, you’re in and ready to go.

You set the retail price and retail value. To understand this better take a look at the blog posts Pricing and Categorizing Your Work to Sell and How To Make Money On Society6.

There are some fantastic blog posts that are really helpful and created by the society 6 team and sellers.

Tools and training

Once you’re in it’s going to take you some time reading through the sellers guide.

It includes all you need to get up and running.It explains everything clearly and in detail. The topics it covers are:

  • How to make money through Instagram & Facebook
  • Where to Promote Your Artwork
  • Turning Social Media Fans into Customers
  • Preparing & Uploading Your Art Files
  • Pixel Dimension Requirements
  • How to Get Found in Search
  • How to Price Your Artwork
  • Claiming Your Earnings
  • Changing the PayPal Associated with Your Account
  • How long it will take to receive my earnings
  • Trouble with Logging In
  • Why new posts are not showing up?
  • finding your work on the site?
  • Intellectual property concerns
  • Contacting Society 6

It’s well worth giving yourself a couple of days to read through everything as there is ALOT to read. It’s all good stuff though and they have put together a comprehensive package to ensure you can make the most of your work. Let’s face it is in their best interest to make sure you promote and sell as much as possible. Their success also depends on your success.

Do I need specialist equipment?

The great thing is you don’t!

You will need to edit some of your work to make it suitable for a range of products. Although Photoshop is great for this it will cost you about $10 per month. This can be an expense you don’t want, especially if you are just starting out and not sure if it is for you.

The option I chose was to download GIMP. It’s free and will do everything you need. There are loads of tutorials on You Tube and you will be able to learn all the skills you need quite quickly.

The only other thing that is useful is a scanner so that you don’t have to keep taking you work out to get it scanned. If you don’t have one though you can get your work scanned and saved for reasonable rates at many stationery stores, art retailers, post offices etc. Just make sure you advise them on the correct size DPI etc to avoid you having to go back.

Curator program

Society 6’s curator program is similar to an affiliate program.

In your shop you will see the promotions tab. Here you promote the work of other artists.

This may sound counter-productive but actually makes great sense. Just because a customer clicks on your work it doesn’t mean they will buy it. It does however mean they are probably looking for that style.
If you provide them with alternatives they may click through your recommendations. You will then receive a commission if they go on to buy. Remember it works the other way around too. If other artists are promoting your work you will be visible to their followers. The number of potential customers seeing your art will increase therefore increasing your sales potential. It equates to a win win situation and is an effective marketing strategy raising artists profiles to a wider audience.

One final point, the curators commission does not cut into your profit as an artist, you will still get the profit you decided on. The commission is factored into the base cost set at S6.

Marketing – Reach your people

There will be a certain amount of marketing automatically created if you follow the guidelines laid down by Society 6. Each time you publish your work you will need to create a description or tag for it. Make it relevant using appropriate keywords (keywords are the words and phrases that are typed into search engines when looking for something). Google will then be able to link your keywords with what people are searching for.

This alone however will not be enough. Included in the sellers guide are tips on how to engage using Facebook, twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat and Instagram. Getting active on these and linking them to your shop will get your work out there, increase your traffic and give your more selling potential. If your friend doesn’t want to buy they may know someone who is interested, they tag them and before you know it a sale is born

In addition to these I would also recommend using a blog or website to show case the work you are producing. Blogs are a great promotional tool. Blogging enables you to attract an audience, establish you as an authority, build a relationship with your followers, tell your story, discuss your work, validate your expertise and above all can be great fun! If you want to see how I’m doing this check out Wealthy Affiliate.

Payments

Payments are made to you via the PayPal account you verified your account with. There is a 30-day grace period from the time of shipment. This allows customers to return products. You are then paid on the first of the following month. There is no minimum payment. Many other POD sites set a threshold. Say the threshold is $50, if you haven’t reached it you don’t get paid and will have to wait until you hit $50! Society 6 pays out each month no matter how small the payment.

Support

Support is offered through a help desk from where you submit your question and receive a reply usually within 8 hours. I personally haven’t had cause to use it yet but read numerous reviews while researching prior to joining. The comments were positive and stated the service was prompt, courteous and kind. I don’t see any reason to doubt this but, as I said, without experiencing it for myself I’m going on the word of other established sellers already using the site.

Pros

  • Quick and easy to set up
  • An excellent range of tools including articles and tips to help you navigate your way around the site and get the best results
  • Clean fresh and professional looking site
  • High quality products and services
  • You retain the rights to your work. This means you can sell the same art on other sites if you want to.

Cons

  • It’s easy to get lost in the crowd
  • Difficult to find answers when initially starting out. I had to type the question into google.
  • Pricing structure is not clear until you upload your work and begin pricing. Once you’ve done it once it’s fine.
  • Help through a help desk. No phone line for artists.

So is Society 6 a good way to go?

I have no reservations in recommending it as a legitimate way for you to sell your work on line and make money using your creative skills. How successful you are will depend on the quality of work you submit, the popularity of your work and how well you market yourself in and outside S6.

There are certainly artists making a regular income from this. One of the biggest positives for me is that it is totally risk free. If you already have your materials and are producing work you can be set up and ready to sell in a couple of days if not sooner.

Will it make you enough to live on? That will depend on how serious you are about running it as a business. If you set up your shop and decide it is the path you would like to take I would definitely look at other POD sites where you do the same. There is no point limiting yourself to one site. The more places you are selling the more sales you will potentially make.

Be visible and get seen, believe in your work and other will believe in it too.

I wish you every success in whatever you choose to do. If you are already doing this I would love to hear how it’s going for you and any tips you may have. If you have any comments or questions please feel free to drop them in the box below it would be great to hear from you.

Cheers for now

Su

How long has it been since you sat down and thought about the skills you use every day. You probably use more than you think!

Today I wanted to have a look at the specific set of skills you need to be a successful blogger. If you are blogging just for fun it probably isn’t that important to you. However, if you want to know how to start a home based business with blogging it’s really important.

You are going to have to make yourself visible in an enormous market place. Once you have done this understanding how to engage and sell to an audience is vital.

The great news is you may be using the skills you need to do this without even realising it.

So do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

Here’s a list of 10 skills that you need to be a successful blogger.

Content writing. It’s o.k you don’t have to be Shakespeare

You will need to be competent at writing. This doesn’t mean you have to be a budding author or an expert. Blogs work best when they are conversational, friendly and engaging. If you email friends or colleagues you’re already on your way.

Your blog should aim to give huge value to your visitors. Wow that sounds scary! But it’s not so bad, huge value is when you;

  • Provide solutions to problems
  • Provide information that can’t be found easily anywhere else
  • Give depth of information (2000 words plus and created regularly, at least once a week)
  • Share advice to make life easier or better
  • Are Humorous

Any of these will give value to your blog.

If you have chosen your niche in a topic you enjoy or are already an expert in chances are you will have plenty to share and write about. Just think about how many times you pass on information to your friends. The best places to shop, bargains you have found, relationship advice, money saving tips, health tips, dieting tips, interior design advice, how to save time doing any number of things. The list just goes on and on.

All of these are great blogging ideas. Creating content in your own unique and interesting way will build an audience.

Although I have said friendly is best it is still important to make sure content is well written with a professional edge. This is one of the factors google searches for when ranking sites. There are tools to help with this. Grammarly is free and easy to use.

The one I use is the content writer platform within the Wealthy Affiliate program which you can also access as a free member. Both are great to make sure that your reader gets the best experience.

Networking. Bloggers love other bloggers

Chances are you’re doing this on Facebook etc already. What you need do as a blogger is crank it up a level.

Connect with other bloggers doing the same as you.

Comment on their posts, send an email or if you want to go large you could get yourself off to a conference. Don’t only look at the big guys, they’re crazy busy, connect with smaller bloggers too. These have more time to engage with you.

It can be a lonely place blogging from home every day. Make it easy for yourself, get sociable and you will learn so much and make fantastic friends. The blogging community is great, engage and enjoy!

Social media networking. Carry on using your social network. After you have done the hard work of writing you post share it on your Facebook, google + pinterest and anything else you use. The more that see it the better.

 

Building relationships. Be your awesome self

The best relationships are built on give and take. Remember this when building your blogging relationships. You need to do the giving first. Think about what you can offer. Be yourself.

You will be building relationships with other bloggers, marketing brands (who you are affiliating with) and your readers.
Make sure every thing you do is quality.

If you’re commenting on bloggers post “great post” is OK but shows you have’haven’t given it much thought “Thanks for such a great post it really helped and gave me the clear steps I needed. I’m really looking forward to putting these into action” Now you’re connecting!

Be honest with everything you post, no-one is going to make a purchase if they can’t trust you. Reach out and let everyone know how you can help them.

 

Follow up skills

No-one likes to be ignored, but you knew this already. Think how quickly you answer emails, Facebook comments etc to family and friends. It’s just the same. Keep in mind people aren’t patient. The quicker you can follow up the better.

If you can, use personal greetings and names. Giving your responses a personal touch helps create a bond and builds trust.

Be active and present on your blog it will pay off in tons.

Marketing

Understanding your audience is the key to selling. If you are already networking, building relationships and following up regularly you are developing a deep understanding of what makes your readers tick. Knowing what they want will help you target products that will sell. Once you know this you are half-way there.

If you are promoting products you believe in and are creating honest reviews your readers are more likely to buy. Go easy on ads and affiliate links. Overwhelming your reader makes it look as if you are only in it for the sale and takes away the personal investment you have already made in them.

Make it clear that you are affiliated to products, being upfront builds confidence and when possible try the products first. I know this isn’t always feasible but it will grow your credibility.

 

Researcher. If you can read you can research.

The more research you do the more knowledgeable you will become and the better your blog will be. Places to start with your research include;

  • Google alerts – set this up and google will let you know when interesting and new content arrives for the subject you have specified
  • Follow relevant blogs Facebook pages, twitter, google+
  • books, ebooks, free kindle books
  • Google search – be selective or you may end up doing never ending research and no blogging!

Overtime you will become faster, more efficient and find the best places to research for your niche.

Be inspirational

The best way to do this is to be your self and stay positive. Have your own style and don’t be afraid to use it. You are unique and your readers will want to see the real you. Copying someones work will sound flat and copy and pasting is simply cheating! Have your own take on things, your opinion is just as valuable as anyone else’s.

Make sure your content is interesting and meaningful. Ask yourself if you would be dying to read it. Make sure it applies to the niche you have chosen. Try to create a discussion, get excited or passionate about the subject of your post. It will get your readers buzzing.

Make it relevant and use your expertise.

Analytics

This one leaves me running for the hills but you’re going to need to get a grasp on it. Luckily for anyone out there like me there are tools out there to help.

Google analytics, sumo.com and KYA Are a few you can look at to get you going. The benefit of these is that they are free which is always a bonus when you are starting out.

Analytics are essential for any serious blogger. Through the data you will be able to determine how your readers are interacting with your site and what the best options are for you to grow your business

 

Self-discipline

Procrastination can be a killer! There’s no-one badgering you to get your post finished or research new affiliate programs. It’s all down to you! Setting yourself goals and targets helps. Find out what works best for you and then stick to it.

There are definitely going to be days when the last thing you want to do is sit down and work on your blog. I know it’s one of those days when even cleaning the cooker looks good to me. That’s when it’s time to dig deep and get on with it.

It’s a powerful skill to foster and the better you get at it the more you will achieve. The feeling of achievement at the end of the day, knowing you accomplished your goal even though it was the last thing in the world you wanted to do, is fantastic!

Commitment

You will only be a successful blogger if you commit to it and refuse to give up. There are many times you will think it’s just not working. Those that fail are those that give up!

It can be really disheartening when you see you favorite bloggers getting 1000s of views per post and showing you their monthly four or five figure incomes. Keep heart remember they all started where you are now. Be consistent and celebrate your successes. Looking to them for inspiration is great but resist the temptation to compare yourself. Keep going and belief in yourself there is no reason you can’t get there too.

 

Resourceful

To be truly resourceful you need to have an open mind. Looking at things differently will lead to opportunities and make your blog interesting to read.

Look at what you have and how you can use it to its optimum level. When you are starting out it’s likely you are not going to have money to throw at you campaigns. Be creative.

Look for free tools and how to draw traffic for free. Google is a great place to start. I have already mentioned a few above. Google docs is another. It will let you share documents on line, create flow charts and diagrams and so much more.

To get more ideas just type free blogging tools into google. Check these out and decide which are best for you.

Get the right and left side of your brain into gear

New research states that rapidly shifting between using the right and left side of the brain is the key to innovation.

There are 4 stages to super charging yourself and none of them are difficult.

  1. Get stimulated. Get out as often as you can. Meet and engage with interesting people. Venture to new places.
  2. Challenge yourself. Keep trying new things. Don’t worry about being outside your comfort zone. You could learn a new language or take guitar lessons.
  3. Gather new ideas. Use a note book or a tool like Evernote on your phone to grab new ideas when you are out and about. Look at new things that are popping up, read magazines and newspapers. Inspiration can come from anywhere. Keep you eyes open and don’t forget to record it.
  4. Broaden your knowledge in any way you can. Listen when people speak. Open your mind to new ideas.

So how many did you tick off?

No one is amazing at everything, but the fantastic thing is all of these skills can be learned and improved on.

If you are interested and want to see how I’m doing this take a look here.

 

I’m happy to help in any way I can to get you up and going so please feel free to leave any comments below and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

 

 

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission (with no added cost to you). I only recommend products I use or totally believe will add value to my readers.

 

 

So you’ve made the decision to start your online business. That’s fantastic! Picking your niche is the first step and you need to make sure that you get this right. It’s important to have a niche if you are going to stay focused and draw visitors to your website. Take a look at my article on what niche marketing is and why it’s a good idea. This will explain more fully the reasons why getting a niche is beneficial.

How to find a profitable niche for your website can seem complicated as there are so many choices out there. You want to find the most profitable niche markets to give you the best chance of success but also do something you enjoy and believe in. That’s fine the two go hand in hand. I’m going to give you some simple steps to help you avoid common pitfalls and some easy ways to get you up and running.

So where do I start?

Start with you

The best way, I’ve found for me, is to grab a piece of paper and create a mind map. It’s all about you! Everything that interests you, what you are good at, what skills you have etc.

This will give you options and help identify ideas for your blog/business. I’ve dropped one of mine below for you to have a look at. Feel free to use this and add any other headings you want to make it personal to you. Don’t limit yourself at this stage. You are getting all of your ideas down. This shouldn’t take long.

Anything can go on here. Don’t think about it too much. Once you start you will be amazed and may have to go onto another page when you realise the abilities and interests you already have.

This is just your starting point. Carry a note book around with you. Inspiration comes from everywhere. Write down any ideas that spring to mind or anything you see that motivates you.

Narrow the field

When you’ve done this it’s time to focus down. You will have produced a number of niches that may be profitable. Reduce these down to four or five that you really enjoy.

Choose ones that you know you will be able to create content for on a regular basis. A niche that you are not going to get bored with. Something you are passionate about.

If you are creating a blog you will need to be creating several posts a week and with a content of between 1000-2000 words.

It will make building your business a pleasure rather than a chore. You will be able to pour your heart and soul into what you are doing every day.

Research, research, research

Now you have a few ideas to look at you need to research and find out which ones are going to be the most profitable. There are several aspects to look at here.

Your audience within your niche

Look at your audience first and not the product or services you will provide. I know this may sound crazy but your audience will always be there.

Products come and go, trends change and move on. If you know what makes your target audience tick you will be able to move with them supplying information and products that are new within the niche you have chosen. You’re not going to run dry there will always be new products and services you can tap into to keep your customers happy and interested. Remember your focus is on what they want and how you can give them the best service for their needs.

Effective ways to get to know your target audience

  1. Don’t make assumptions without having the evidence to back it up. Once you have done your research you may find that middle-aged woman you thought you were targeting is in fact a self-employed mom in her mid twenties. That’s fine now you know who is interested in what you are doing and you can tailor yourself to them.
  2. Chat to friends, family and acquaintances who are in your target audience. Ask open-ended questions. Find out their interests and what they like doing. What do they buy and from where. Anything that will give you an insight. You don’t have to be obvious. Casual conversations can give you great information on whether there is a demand for the niche you are going into
  3. Read up on what others are already doing. Larger companies will already have completed market research and actioned it. Look for industry reports, market research etc. These will give you information on what is happening and what is likely to happen and what the habits of your target audience is.
  4. Look for niche magazines and blogs. If they are out there, there will be a market for it.
  5. Connect on twitter and Facebook. Pay attention to what your target audience is saying. This will give you a really good way to see what they are interested in.
  6. Connect to forums.  What problems do they have and what answers are they looking for.

Once you are up and running there will be much more to delve into within your target audience. You will need to find out about them in depth…..but we will leave that for another day.

Keyword research

Now you have an idea which niches look most promising. The next step is to research keywords.

Keywords are words or phrases entered into search engines. By researching key words you are able to get an idea of what is popular, what people are looking for and how high the competition is for the word or phrase.

Start by using Google instant. This is the predictive search you see when you begin typing in google.

If weight loss was a niche you are researching type it into the search engine then hover at the end of the phrase. Google will then bring up other searches that are popular that you may not have considered.

It is a good idea to target your niche. By this I mean dig down deeper so that the area you are focusing on is narrower. Here is a good example. How to lose weight on your stomach is a targeted niche. It will give you more chance to hit a specific target audience and serve them more efficiently.

To make your research more substantial you will need to use research tools.

Google trends and google ad words are free but you will have to sign up for ad words before you can access it.

The tools I find most useful and use myself are Jaaxy and the keyword tool inside the wealthy affiliate program.

Wealthy affiliate is free to join with no pressure to upgrade so you can stay a free member for as long as you wish. It not only offers you the keyword tool but also a wealth of training and two free websites to get you on your way and help you become successful online.

These tools give you the capability to see what your competition is and the size of your target audience. Essentially you are looking for a high search rate but low competition. Each tool has it’s own format. Jaaxy will give you the data you are looking for and tutorials and tips on how to get the best from it. It’s worth taking a look as they offer an initial free trial where you can access videos showing you exactly how to judge the market.

 

What can you bring to the niche

With all the information you have you can now make an informed decision on which niche is best.

The last thing to think about is what can you bring to the niche to make you stand out. Just remember we are all unique. Use this to your advantage. Look at what the competition is doing, see what is successful but have your own individual take on things. Look for something that your visitors are not getting. Give them value.

Now it’s time to get going. Don’t worry if things don’t go exactly to plan. You can refine your niche as you go, or even change it later down the line if you choose. A world of opportunity is waiting for you.

 

If you have any questions or would like to leave a comment please feel free to leave them below and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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