Is Zazzle worth it? 2 pages: [1] 2
Posted: Saturday, January 12, 2019 11:04:02 PM
I started my zazzle store back in May of 2018. I don't have that many products and I have not made any sales. That does not bother me a lot, but I was reading around the forum and saw a lot of people that said they had over 1000 products and up to two years before their first sale. So that has me thinking. Is this really worth it?

Each one of my products took over an hour to design. If an hour is an average per product and I need 1000 products, that is one thousand hours of work. At the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, that is $7,250.00 of invested labor value into design work. All that to make a single sale and make a few bucks...? That does not seem right.

Can someone help me understand who this zazzle thing makes any sense to invest time in?
Posted: Saturday, January 12, 2019 11:25:13 PM
It depends on what you are expecting from it. If you are expecting to make a full time living right away then I’m afraid you won’t think it is worth it. If you are looking for a way to make some extra spending money doing something you enjoy then yes it can be worth it.

I am looking for that latter and also a way to build up a passive income over time and Zazzle is just one stream of income for me. There are too many variables to give a one size fits all answer. But there are people who do really well here. I am looking at it as a marathon and hoping to do better someday but trying to remember to have fun with it at the same time.
Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2019 1:52:43 AM
Yes it is no get rich quick scheme, well for most of us. What it is however is a lot of hard work and love. For that you do get reward if you keep plugging away at it. For some like me it pays a few bills for others it can be even more successful.

Dedication, promotion and a bit of luck goes along way. Hard work mixed with creative pleasure is really what zazzle is about. If you want to take it to the next level you can, but it will depend on how much time and energy you are willing to spend and how much promoting you can do to get your work seen. I am still busy working on that...

But last year has been better than I hoped so always worth keep pushing Love Good luck Love
Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2019 7:25:38 AM
It really depends on how you look at. If you like at as income per hour, you will never make enough for it even out on any kind of a wages per hour basis. I am retired so I look at Zazzle as something to do to keep boredom at bay and pick up a little discretionary income. I have always enjoyed art and crafts. It was a good way to relieve stress and made me feel productive and in control. my art is something I have complete control over. If I am not feeling like working at my art and posting to Zazzle, I don't. If I feel like it I do. I know I will never make enough from Zazzle to live on or even make a great deal of difference in my income. But I am fine with that. It a creative outlet for me. If I make a few bucks off it that is just a bonus.
Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2019 7:57:06 AM
The Jungle Explorer wrote:
Each one of my products took over an hour to design. If an hour is an average per product and I need 1000 products, that is one thousand hours of work. At the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, that is $7,250.00 of invested labor value into design work. All that to make a single sale and make a few bucks...? That does not seem right.

Not to mention (at least for some of us) the cost of graphics software and the time spent learning to use it, any classes one takes to improve as an artist, etc.

I will echo others: If you're looking at it as recouping those costs in a relatively short period of time, then I can understand why you wouldn't view Zazzle as being "worth it."

It might become worthy of the investment if you reach a point where you're making a relatively passive income from it, having laid the foundation, and therefore not having to put as much into it as you do during the time when you're trying to get up and running.

I doubt many people ever get to that point, where they do well enough here to recoup their full costs and make a profit. I certainly don't expect to myself.

It's a question of weighing the risk - are you just wasting your time trying build something that may never happen? Maybe. Maybe over time you'll adopt a different view of what you're trying to accomplish here; whether intangible rewards that can't be quantified become the reason to stay.

There are many different people using Zazzle, and therefore people with many different goals. For some it's a hobby.

For others, it supplements what they're doing 'in the real world' (think people who do art fairs, show in galleries, maybe even have their own small 'brick & mortar' shop.)

For still others it begins as an experiment to see if anyone would like what they're doing enough to pay money for it at all, and then figuring out where to go from there.

As already noted by another, it can just be something to fill the hours when your retired, or unable to work.

People also tend to fall into categories of artist vs. designer vs. promoter affiliate (the latter is where the money is - if you have the talent for it.) Most are probably some combination of more than one of the above.

I see myself as a hobbyist on a long, long, learning curve. I am probably more artist than designer, but not much of an artist, either. I mostly make stuff for friends, family, and myself - I'm my own best customer. I only promote in the one place online those people are, and have followers who fall outside that core group of people interested in my work. I've tried having my own web site, blogging, and promoting on other social media, and decided it's not something I wanted to continue. I participated in a gallery showing last year with other artists, contributing five pieces of my own, and hope to do the same again this year.

So it's about expectations, adjusting those expectations, and figuring out what Zazzle will end up being for you, if not what you originally hoped/thought. Some people choose not to continue, and that's fine, too.
Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2019 11:01:35 AM
I started PODs because I’m a stay at home mom and also because I have PTSD and creating things is very therapeutic. I don’t make much, but what I do earn means a lot to me. I agree that it is a marathon and requires patience, learning, and definitely some long hours of work. To me, it’s worth it, even in months like this month where I want to pull out my hair because I only have two sales, lol. It’s the nature of the beast.
Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2019 1:24:48 PM
Thanks for all the great replies. They are not what I hoped for, but they are honest and I appreciate that.

Here is where I am at. I already invest a lot of time in other passive incomes. I have a youtube channel with currently 3,500 subscribers, that pulls down a couple grand a year, and it is growing faster and faster. I also have an amazon affiliate account that I started in November of 2017 (14 months ago). It pulled down a little over $300 last year and it is growing each month (it is kind of tied to my youtube channel's growth).

At the same time that I started Zazzling (if that is a word), I also started doing microstock photography with Shutterstock. I have invested about an equal amount of time in Zazzle as I have Shutterstock. I made money first the month on Shutterstock and every month since. I admit it is not much (.25 a picture) but it is growing. I have made zero on zazzle. Not one penny. The only person who has ordered my products is me and zazlle does not pay me a commission on my products I order form myself.


Now, most of the answers I have gotten here boil down to; "You have to do it for Love, not money." I understand that, but what I am trying to do is to do what I love and make money at the same time. Since I already have other passive revenue streams that are rewarding me for my time and creativity, I am wondering whether Zazzle is worth my time that could be spent elsewhere, using my talent in places that earn more rewards for my efforts.

I understand running the marathon analogy. I started my youtube channel in July of 2016. I made $17 my first month. It was this tiny bit of income that taught me that there was a possibility of passive income and encouraged me to work harder at trying to make better and better videos. Had it not been for the ADpocolypse of 2017, I might be making three to four times what I am now. But even when the AD market crashed, I was still making something. It has been a long hard climb back to where I was just in my first year, but I have done it and am on the road to a pretty good income in five years if nothing like the ADpocalypse happens again.

My Amazon affiliate account is the same way. It is a slow arduous climb. But it requires very little effort or creativity since now days embedded plain text links are about the only thing that works anymore with all the adblocking software that kill any graphic ads.


In short, I don't mind working hard and being patient, but even in a marathon, there is a FINISH line to get to, a Goal. If I understand what you guys are saying, there is no GOAL to reach on Zazzle, you are just doing it for fun of doing it and if you happen to earn a little, that is just a bonus. Do I understand you correctly?


Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2019 1:36:33 PM
Sounds to me like you answered your own question.

that is why we say YMMV.


best wishes for you whatever you decide is right for you.
Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2019 1:39:56 PM
regarding goals that is what I meant when I said it depends on what you are expecting.

There is also the factor of whether your art is a good fit for Zazzle or not.

I know people who do really well at other PODS but bomb here.

I do pretty good here but not at other PODs

I chalk that up to my style of art and how much time I invest. I obviously spend more time Zazzling (yes it is a word)

Good luck!
Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2019 2:59:16 PM
Shelli Fitzpatrick wrote:


There is also the factor of whether your art is a good fit for Zazzle or not.



I think that is key. I mean, I LOVE my Zazzle products. Everyone that comes in my house just goes nuts over them and thinks they are great. But evidently, "Normal" people don't really get them.
I admit it. I am not your typical American on Zazzle. How many typical Americans on Zazzle spent 20 years living in the Amazon jungle with a primitive tribe of Amazonian? LOL!


Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2019 3:32:11 PM
The Jungle Explorer wrote:
Shelli Fitzpatrick wrote:


There is also the factor of whether your art is a good fit for Zazzle or not.



I think that is key. I mean, I LOVE my Zazzle products. Everyone that comes in my house just goes nuts over them and thinks they are great. But evidently, "Normal" people don't really get them.
I admit it. I am not your typical American on Zazzle. How many typical Americans on Zazzle spent 20 years living in the Amazon jungle with a primitive tribe of Amazonian? LOL!




Well don’t give up just yet, one of my popular designs that has sold on posters and pillows is a vintage drawing of a fly and your bee is reminiscent of it. Also my dragonflies sell pretty good, so there are entomology enthusiasts who shop at Zazzle. Maybe your keywords and SEO need work? I honestly haven’t looked at your titles tags and descriptions yet but that could be why no sales yet. Have you read the stickies for newcomers yet? There is some great helpful advice in them!
Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2019 4:26:18 PM
You could also dump your surplus designs, that paying customers never see or rejected. Over time you build up a stock that brings the odd extra buck in.

Most PoD however no longer function as pure dumping ground and hoping for an income. They are flooded with stock images and implemented routines that require your attention like Zazzles 15 month hiding policy. Others embrace the flood still and if you don't keep up with the uploads your ratio is so thinned out that the income comes down to a sad trickle.

I still make a living, but these days in certain months I have trouble to make ends meet and have to dip into emergency funds.
I'm waiting that all those gold diggers drop out again and the field is once again balanced as far as the return of investment is concerned.
Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2019 6:20:56 PM
vivendulies wrote:

Most PoD however no longer function as pure dumping ground and hoping for an income. They are flooded with stock images and implemented routines that require your attention like Zazzles 15 month hiding policy. .


I am interested in hearing more about what you are talking about here. Could elaborate on it. Especially about this 15 months hiding policy. What is that?
Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2019 6:31:26 PM
Shelli Fitzpatrick wrote:


Well don’t give up just yet, one of my popular designs that has sold on posters and pillows is a vintage drawing of a fly and your bee is reminiscent of it. Also my dragonflies sell pretty good, so there are entomology enthusiasts who shop at Zazzle. Maybe your keywords and SEO need work? I honestly haven’t looked at your titles tags and descriptions yet but that could be why no sales yet. Have you read the stickies for newcomers yet? There is some great helpful advice in them!



Thanks. My bug mugs get a lot of attention in my house, but my family and friends know me and understand me, so that might be why. My bugs are not just any bugs. They are quite rare. In the case of the crocodile lantern fly, the only photo of a living specimen in the world. That photo has been licensed to Harvard for use in their biology department.

I was thinking of redoing designs and focusing on my effort on Collections. Take the bug mugs. Maybe adding some catchy wording to them like. "Don't BUG me before I have had my Coffee." or something like that; and then create a set of four mugs and call them the "Bug me Not Collection".
Or instead of having the bug on both sides, have the bug on one side and a condensed description of the bug on the other. What do you think?
Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2019 6:45:09 PM
The Jungle Explorer wrote:
vivendulies wrote:

Most PoD however no longer function as pure dumping ground and hoping for an income. They are flooded with stock images and implemented routines that require your attention like Zazzles 15 month hiding policy. .


I am interested in hearing more about what you are talking about here. Could elaborate on it. Especially about this 15 months hiding policy. What is that?


Read about Marketplace optimization here

https://help.zazzle.com/hc/en-us/articles/223160488-Marketplace-Optimization

and a recent thread about it here

https://forum.zazzle.com/feedback/can_the_automatic_hidden_products_stop
Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2019 6:48:01 PM
The Jungle Explorer wrote:
Shelli Fitzpatrick wrote:


Well don’t give up just yet, one of my popular designs that has sold on posters and pillows is a vintage drawing of a fly and your bee is reminiscent of it. Also my dragonflies sell pretty good, so there are entomology enthusiasts who shop at Zazzle. Maybe your keywords and SEO need work? I honestly haven’t looked at your titles tags and descriptions yet but that could be why no sales yet. Have you read the stickies for newcomers yet? There is some great helpful advice in them!



Thanks. My bug mugs get a lot of attention in my house, but my family and friends know me and understand me, so that might be why. My bugs are not just any bugs. They are quite rare. In the case of the crocodile lantern fly, the only photo of a living specimen in the world. That photo has been licensed to Harvard for use in their biology department
I was thinking of redoing designs and focusing on my effort on Collections. Take the bug mugs. Maybe adding some catchy wording to them like. "Don't BUG me before I have had my Coffee." or something like that; and then create a set of four mugs and call them the "Bug me Not Collection".
Or instead of having the bug on both sides, have the bug on one side and a condensed description of the bug on the other. What do you think?


Do that and don't forget to use the keywords "entomology, entomologist" along with the common ones like "bug lover" "insect love" etc...

you just might be pleasantly surprised!
Posted: Monday, January 14, 2019 4:06:42 AM
Hey The Jungle Explorer, I believe Zazzle can generate a substantial income for you if start promoting your promote it on your Youtube Channel. Since you already have 3500 subscribers and growing, create video demonstrations of your own products.

It will naturally flow with the theme of your channel.

For example your rooster mug will make a great gift for kitchen decor. You should purchase a personalized version of the mug including a name, and make an unboxing video. Showcase your mug on your video and explain how it will make such a great birthday gift, housewarming present, etc. etc. Tell viewers how they can add their name to the mug, change the colors of the inside and handle, etc. etc. and make it their own. Describe the different sizes the mug come in, what it is made out of etc.

This will allow you to introduce viewers to your Store/Brand and even explain how they can even transfer the design onto a kitchen towel and buy a matching set. The possibilities are endless. Just include your referral link in your video description box to lead customers directly to it.

Posted: Monday, January 14, 2019 4:27:02 AM
Hey another idea is you can showcase your "bug mugs" on your Youtube Channel and explain how they are rare photographs of bugs and even how your photo is licensed to be used by Harvard. That will make a great video.

You can talk about what inspired you to take the photos, your love of bugs, etc. etc. You can market those mugs to people who have similar interests. There are whole communities on Youtube who love everything dealing with insects. Tap into that market by showcasing your amazing designs.

I don't believe you need a lot of products to begin for now. I think if you take a couple of your items, purchase them with a personalized name and show them to the world via Youtube, all of your hardwork will pay off exceedingly.
Posted: Monday, January 14, 2019 4:36:49 AM
Another idea that came to me is that you should take some of your bug photos and make posters/ Notebooks, and other paper products out of them. And then promote them on your Youtube channel.

I can see those insects being a poster in a Science classroom, or in a child's bedroom hanging on the wall.
Posted: Monday, January 14, 2019 10:17:15 AM
MissRhoadie1981 wrote:
Another idea that came to me is that you should take some of your bug photos and make posters/ Notebooks, and other paper products out of them. And then promote them on your Youtube channel.

I can see those insects being a poster in a Science classroom, or in a child's bedroom hanging on the wall.


What great ideas Miss Rhoadie!

Posted: Monday, January 14, 2019 10:51:30 AM
MissRhoadie1981 wrote:
Another idea that came to me is that you should take some of your bug photos and make posters/ Notebooks, and other paper products out of them. And then promote them on your Youtube channel.

I can see those insects being a poster in a Science classroom, or in a child's bedroom hanging on the wall.


Yes, I agree with this idea. Think education - science classrooms, teachers and study guides, posters that show different bug types with science explanations, that sort of thing.

If you market your products that way I think you might find a wider audience. FYI, one possible idea, Zazzle makes tearaway paper pads (25 sheets to a pad) - think of all the classroom science ideas you could do with that! Teachers could purchase the tearaway pad and use the pages as handouts to students...and the best thing, they will need to reorder over and over, so repeat sales can happen on just one design.
Posted: Monday, January 14, 2019 10:58:46 AM
I did my fly in the style of a vintage field guide illustration and it is pretty popular, I've even had 2 comments on my store wall about it.

So the science poster idea is a really good one I would try if I were you.
Posted: Monday, January 14, 2019 1:04:54 PM
MissRhoadie1981 wrote:
Another idea that came to me is that you should take some of your bug photos and make posters/ Notebooks, and other paper products out of them. And then promote them on your Youtube channel.

I can see those insects being a poster in a Science classroom, or in a child's bedroom hanging on the wall.



All amazing ideas that I am most certainly going to implement as soon as I can. Thank you so much. I am actually headed back to the Amazon in the next few weeks, armed with much better photography equipment than I have ever had before. I am really hoping to find some more rare bugs to get great shots of.

I have already started to do some promotion of my zazzle products on my youtube video through youtube's CARD function. Here is an example where I am drinking coffee from one of my mugs while doing a product review, and then I have SWOOSH image of the mug come in and promote the mug with a direct link to the sale page. Let me know what you think of this and any ideas to improve it. (P.S. There really needs to be a LIKE button on this forum so I can LIKE all these great post).

This link should take you right to where this part is in the video, but if it does not just go to minute 5:14 of the video.

https://youtu.be/ITRSnSKeySw?t=314
Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2019 1:12:21 AM
The Jungle Explorer wrote:
MissRhoadie1981 wrote:
Another idea that came to me is that you should take some of your bug photos and make posters/ Notebooks, and other paper products out of them. And then promote them on your Youtube channel.

I can see those insects being a poster in a Science classroom, or in a child's bedroom hanging on the wall.



All amazing ideas that I am most certainly going to implement as soon as I can. Thank you so much. I am actually headed back to the Amazon in the next few weeks, armed with much better photography equipment than I have ever had before. I am really hoping to find some more rare bugs to get great shots of.

I have already started to do some promotion of my zazzle products on my youtube video through youtube's CARD function. Here is an example where I am drinking coffee from one of my mugs while doing a product review, and then I have SWOOSH image of the mug come in and promote the mug with a direct link to the sale page. Let me know what you think of this and any ideas to improve it. (P.S. There really needs to be a LIKE button on this forum so I can LIKE all these great post).

This link should take you right to where this part is in the video, but if it does not just go to minute 5:14 of the video.

https://youtu.be/ITRSnSKeySw?t=314


Oh, that was perfect integrating your mug with Youtube's Card function. I think if you keep doing things like that your sales will start coming in.
Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2019 12:03:17 PM
I enjoyed watching your video. Great tie in with Zazzle product.
Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 12:57:37 PM
So I have been on the road and extremely busy getting ready for my trip to the Amazon, but I threw this together as a demo to see what advice you would offer about improving it, so I can start developing my Paper Goods department.

https://www.zazzle.com/crocodile_lanternfly_cathedra_serrata_notebook-130424179645884564


TAGS: school,science,entomology,bugs,insects,education,university,rare,tropical,cool
Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 10:19:56 PM
Nice start! That is one awesome bug.

Suggestion on tags: you can do multi-word tags, in order to get more information in, just connect the words using the '+' sign or "

Examples: rare+tropical+bugs, cathedra+serrata, crocodile+lanternfly+insect, science+education, unusual+cool+weird+bug

(or): "rare tropical bugs", "cathedra serrata" ... that sort of thing.

Each multi-word string can have up to 5 words connected (if needed). Each multi-word string counts as 1 tag, so you can have 10 total. Just make sure the words make sense together and are not just random words stuck together - they should be a phrase that makes sense in context with the design.

Think about how you would search, what you would type into the search bar, if you were looking for this product or design. Sometimes multi-word tags makes sense, but sometimes just single word tags are best.
Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2019 7:06:51 AM
Starving Artist wrote:
Nice start! That is one awesome bug.

Suggestion on tags: you can do multi-word tags, in order to get more information in, just connect the words using the '+' sign or "

Examples: rare+tropical+bugs, cathedra+serrata, crocodile+lanternfly+insect, science+education, unusual+cool+weird+bug

(or): "rare tropical bugs", "cathedra serrata" ... that sort of thing.

Each multi-word string can have up to 5 words connected (if needed). Each multi-word string counts as 1 tag, so you can have 10 total. Just make sure the words make sense together and are not just random words stuck together - they should be a phrase that makes sense in context with the design.

Think about how you would search, what you would type into the search bar, if you were looking for this product or design. Sometimes multi-word tags makes sense, but sometimes just single word tags are best.


Just a quick addendum multi-word tags can't have more than 40 characters either...
Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2019 9:02:03 AM
Rule of thumb what sold in the past has a higher chance of selling again, again, and again. Still trying for a viral thing, but until then I will keep plugging away.

Conscept is that I have 20 years before retirement, and maybe 20 more before death. (Both sides of the family normaly makes it till 80's or 90's, assuming we dont do something risky)

But lets say you can make an average of an $1 dollar per design per year, in 40 years that would be $40 divided by time spent.

As for software I use freeware mostly inkscape. My laptop was gotten at a pawn shop, use to spend a lot on gaming machines but thats not needed for 2D.

So in the long term its worth it. Short term my skin has to thicken up. My gf is a cute panda but she is bear that maws me if she doesnt get her time.

On a side note I was born in the rust belt, and seen the effect of resision or depression. I was one of those that got caught without a seat during the game of musical chairs. While thing are a bit better, shivers runs down my back thinking of what was, and what will be again when my body gives out.
Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2019 7:19:56 PM
My two cents - and these are my suggestions for any photographer.

1. Lose the white backgrounds. Most backgrounds, in fact. This gives you more options to put designs on different color backgrounds.

2. Add words (as you mentioned above) that take your images from static to interesting or funny or relatable.

3. Go beyond the photos. There is a TON of stock photography on this site. You can go beyond by putting cool / fashionable / interesting backgrounds that pull a design together. Look at other pillows and see how many might have a burlap or wood or even just an all-over color background.

4. Consider making your images really educational. Add information about the bug / whatever and maybe draw lines to indicate what all the parts of it are. Or say where it lives, if it's poisonous, what it eats, anything to make it more interesting.

Good luck. Waiting two years for a sale is flat-out ridiculous. I've had sales (and I'm not a big seller) within the first day and so have plenty of others. If you aren't getting some sales with a month, say, you're either not attracting enough attention or your designs don't serve enough purpose or have enough appeal. The ideas about unboxing videos and more above are excellent. There's a lot to be learned from these forums.
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