I’ve been running a design business from home, through the Zazzle company, since 2007. Now that I have the hang of design and store set-up (mostly), my main focus day-to-day is promotion of my products. If you work online you already know that promotion is BIG. Simply having great things to sell means very little if no one ever sees what you have created.
Way back, during my beginner days at Zazzle, Amy Jordan suggested that I make wedding items. She said that they appear to be money-makers, so I took her advice and ventured into the huge wedding market. I didn’t even realize how huge it was at the time. The fact that I sell anything in a bloated sea of wedding stationery is a surprise in itself. The fact that I can make a living selling wedding stationery is a blessing. It may also be greatly due to the fact that I have been promoting myself for years.
I will be celebrating the holidays, Florida style, next year. At least that is what I am hoping. For now I am gearing up for snow and ice and a long, cold winter here in New England. But, my mind is in the tropics as I create new products for my Holiday Store at Zazzle.
All store owners begin planning for the holidays long before customers even realize that Christmas is approaching. November and December are big sales months, and early shoppers may even finish shopping in October. Does anyone shop earlier than that?
Having a long background of celebrating holidays in a warm climate, I always think back to how it was on Thanksgiving and Christmas at my southern home. Windows were open, which was a nice change from the air-conditioning, and we could enjoy a dip in the humidity. Most of our holidays were spent outside. Often we would go to the beach, or take a boat ride.
Decorating the house was just as much fun, and we always threw a few tropical ornaments onto the Christmas tree. None of ours were personalized, like the ones you’ll find in my store, but they were usually made from real seashells.
Although the items I sell do not contain real shells, the images are of the most popular beach treasures. Sand dollars and starfish are tops on most beachcombers list of awesome “shells” to find. My holiday store also contains wrapping paper, Christmas cards and business greetings that have this same type of theme.
This will be my 9th year working at Zazzle and things have changed a lot over the years. I’ve tried to build up a brand of tropical products, as that is what I love making. Please click any of the links here and let me know what you think. I’d love feedback from people who keep the ocean and beaches close to their hearts.
I made this tropical themed photo Christmas card for last years holiday season and it became one of my best sellers in the Holiday Store. Many families enjoy sending a personalized card with a photo. This template holds a horizontal image nicely, and the fit does not have to be perfect. Whatever size picture you choose to add will be centered, and will fill the template.
The partial border around the photo is a swag of starfish and green holly leaves. The white frame is offset against a tropical, blue background color.
Inside there are text templates to customize the greeting and add a signature. Be traditional and add a nice family photo like in the example, or create your own unique look with a vacation action shot. And this greeting card could also be used for Hanukkah.
I do not write this blog, or any of my blogs, because I have nothing better to do in life. Four years ago I need a way to make money and wondered how the heck anyone can make money online. It’s a difficult concept to grasp when you’ve worked in retail, selling tangible items and collecting a regular paycheck all your life.
None of what I’ve done has been fast nor easy. I work seven days a week and many hours each day. I am grateful to be able to work from home, but I did have other income to use while I built up this business. Still interested? Read on.
So I thought, okay, I’ll sell pictures of my shells and other things, and Zazzle was the place I chose to do so. Without a clue as to what I was doing I opened a store and eventually noticed that my seashell products were selling. I had to expand on what was working and needed to promote my store out in the world so I began this blog (actually I began a Google blog and moved to WP). My purpose was to share some pictures and information about my own seashell collection and hopefully point potential customers to the items I had for sale in my stores. As with most computer related ideas I’ve had, that idea evolved into something else. As I began writing about beach shells, I found that readers were also searching for something else. They wanted to know the names of their own shells and some of them were asking me. It was time to begin learning about the shells I photographed, not only to apply tags correctly to my stationery and gift items so they could be found easier, but to pass that information on to others.
So I began blogging regularly about individual shells and began to increase the readers to this blog. I never planned to write so much when I began earning money online. I also learned, by checking my stats area (you should do this), that people were looking for coloring pages related to sea shells so I provided them and have an entire page or free, printable outlines at “Seashell Coloring Page“.
Okay, great, but how does that make me money? The coloring page is set up to donate all profits to the Buckhawk animal rescue, so I don’t make money from the ads on that page. In fact if you just visit that page (link above), you will be helping out. (Thank you!) As anyone who has been blogging a while, or writing to earn money online can tell you, good and relevant content will get you readers. There is a lot of junk out there and I’ve come across my share of it. The reason for all the junk, is that writing well takes effort and time. Writing does not come easy to me. I would much rather draw a picture than write a paragraph, but good context is what gets found by search engines so write I must. But having readers is key to having customers and everything I write that is seashell related either points back to a blog or page that is linked directly to my Zazzle stores, or it points directly to the store. Writing well brings readers who could be new customers and that is how I make money.
All this has taken time. No one that I know of is a success overnight online. After nearly four years, I am just now earning good money from my Zazzle stores. I presently can be found on Zazzle, Squidoo, Wizzley, and of course WordPress. I do have an Adsense account but most of my earnings come from pointing people to my online stores where I sell stationery and gifts using my photos and art of seashells. I do much more writing than I do creating at this point. Constantly writing and linking and learning about shells; that is how I make my money. Good luck to you.