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The Sadist Guide to Making Money Online: How can I start my own T-shirt business?

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So you are almost broke and without hope. You have applied for hundreds of positions and none were successful. You are running out of cash and very fast at that. You can’t afford to spend any money on buying courses and you most definitely can’t spend money on equipment to start a business.

In this 49 page | 8758-page booklet I am going to get you on the path of starting up a business for as little as possible. You see, I know all about the position that you are in. I know all about the fear, angst and self-loathing that you are feeling.

So I offer this to you for FREE. I really hope that it can help you.

It is not a theoretic discussion with nonsense like “if you dream it you can do it” or “it will be if it’s meant to be”.  None of that crap. This is a practical, step-by-step guide that will tell you what to do to get yourself out of the crappy position that you are in.

Now, of course it is impossible for me to put everything that might be of relevance into this booklet. So be sure to sign up for my newsletter on my website so that I can send you more stuff in the future.

And make no mistake, doing something like this is no joke. You are going to have to work harder than you have probably ever worked in your life. 30 hour days can be expected in the beginning, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

But do you really have many other pressing matters keeping you occupied at the moment?

This post is a little bit different from what I usually do. I am posting two versions:

  1. A PDF that can be viewed on this page via Scribd. It contains the correct formatting, hyperlinks and most importantly – images. I really recommend that you download this version. It is completely free, you don’t even have to sign up for my newsletter HERE.
  2. A text version on this page. It contains no images or formatting, it is basically just so that you can scan through the content before you make the monumental commitment of downloading the PDF version for free and with no strings attached. You really don’t have to sign up for my free newsletter HERE, I promise. Of course I would love you to do so because you are gonna get some awesome free stuff. But I guess free stuff is not for everybody.

 

Sadist Guide to Making Money Online_How can I start my own T-shirt business.pdf by Albie Kross on Scribd

 

Preamble

Note: This was originally a Quora.com answer but the modbots deleted it. Guess AI and interpreting policies don’t go hand-in-hand after all? So bear in mind that I refer to other answers on this thread which can be found here: https://www.quora.com/How-can-I-start-my-own-T-shirt-business/answer/Albie-Kross I have made updates to my original answer so that it makes more sense when I post it on other platforms. Where I remembered to, I formatted the updates in red.
I am going to be rather blunt here – the information given on this thread ranges from general | vague | theoretical to false to outright dangerous financial suicide. Yes, there is some links and references that will definitely help but I have yet to see an answer that explains step-by-step on how to do this. After all, who would you rather want to listen to – someone who Googled their info, someone who is marketing their printing services or someone who has his own online shop and social presence?
Before I get to the technical info, let me first dispel some incorrect and/or misleading information and then I will get to a brief theoretical introduction. The bulk of this post, however, will be technical information to show you exactly what you need to do to set a business like this up.

Disclaimer 1:

There is no way that I can fit all the information necessary in this answer. It is enough to fill an entire book. Perhaps I should do a video on it though? Let me know in the comments if there is a need for this. I am definitely not going to spend hours and hours on producing a video tutorial if people don’t indicate beforehand that they would like to see something like that.

Disclaimer 2:

I will be using my own business as an example. So there will be links and screenshots to my own stuff. Do I hope that this article will drive some traffic? Of course I do. But I believe that the value I will be providing will be so awesome that this is not seen as spam, as per Quora’s spam policy.

Dispelling the Myths

Myth 1: Setting up an online tshirt shop is quick and easy

Excuse me while I try to recover from laughing. To put this in perspective, I am a web developer and graphic designer. And I can tell you that to set up a PROPER online presence is neither easy nor quick. You are either lucky or really, REALLY good of you start seeing sales within the first two months. I would wager that most online businesses of this nature never see any income.

Myth 2: You need to borrow money from friends and family and buy stock and printing equipment

Yes, do this if you are completely off your rocker and you want to make life-long enemies of your friends and family. You need to start off by spending as little as possible. Remember, the odds are against you and you likely to fail for quite some time before you hopefully get it right. You can’t afford to have debt during the start-up stage!

These are your costs:

Computer with broadband Internet access.
This is kinda non-negotiable. Yes, you can get away with a cheapie laptop but definitely upgrade your PC as soon as you can afford it. This is the tool that you are going to be using for up to 30 hours per day especially during the startup phase so you can’t afford to be frustrated and hindered in your production. At least if the business fails you will still be able to use the PC, it won’t be a very expensive doorstop like useless printing equipment.

This is my hardware setup:

1. Core i5 processor – really the bare minimum in processing power as graphic design and especially video production takes up lots and lots of processing juice.
2. GTX 660 graphics card (a bit old in the tooth but gets the job done)
3. 16GB RAM – As with the processor, you really need plenty of RAM for high-quality design work.
4. 10TB Hard drive storage – you can get away with less but I am admittedly a bit of a hoarder.
5. CMStorm mechanical keyboard – go as clicky as you can get. You can thank me later. You will be spending lots and lots of time typing,
6. Razor Naga mouse – this one was a bit of a disappointment. Get a mouse that is ergonomically superior. Carpal tunnel syndrome is real and is a bitch.
7. 49″ + 27″ dual monitors – You need screen real estate and plenty of it for proper design work. The cool thing is that 4k TV’s have now become much cheaper and can be effectively used as PC monitors. Dual monitor setup is HIGHLY recommended.
8. Marantz 4140 hifi with Dyna speakers — ok you are not likely to be fortunate enough to get your paws on a system like this but good sound is a must. You will want to do audio stuff like video and you need to be able to hear properly. And it helps to keep you putting in 30 hour days if you listen to good music. I recommend EBM like Funker Vogt to keep you going. Get a good headset at the very least.
9. Sound recording setup – I have a variety of mics, mixers etc. Getting your voice to sound right in recordings is VERY difficult.
10. Canon DSLR & Gitup Git2 actioncam – Your cellphone camera is probably not going to cut it for video productions. The Gitup is pretty cool quality at half the price of the comparable GoPro model.

Software:

Start off by using Gimp for image editing, it is free. It can be downloaded here: GIMP You can also download Adobe CS2 for free here: Get a Free Photoshop Download Legally from Adobe (Not a Torrent) | PCsteps.com
Later on you will want to purchase a more recent version of Adobe’s products. You will primarily use Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro and Audition. You will need to watch YouTube tutorials on how to use these applications, I am not going to teach you that in this answer.
Nuance Dragon dictation software is a nice-to-have that you might want to check out. You can probably churn out words faster with your mouth than with your fingers. And you are going to be churning out lots and lots of words.

Website hosting

My hosting is around $15 per year at Host4Africa.com GET MORE FOR LESS!, main page, low cost Web Hosting for South Africa and the world. but they do have some stuff that you need to be able to work around e.g. if you are developing your website locally on DesktopServer and then you try to migrate to the live host you will run into server timeouts. You need to contact them with specific instructions on how to temporarily adjust their server-side settings in order for this to work. If you need details on these instructions you can send me a query at https://krossbait.com/contact/ and I will send you the instructions. I don’t think it is a good idea to post it publicly here.
BTW – I highly recommend this approach where you first develop locally and then migrate. You could be stuck for months on development and then you are paying for hosting that you don’t need. I lost 10 months on my one site due to getting busy with other projects. What a waste!
Get Desktopserver here : DesktopServer – Create locally installed WordPress Websites • ServerPress, LLC. and install it on your PC, it is free. Use this plugin to migrate the website to the live server: All-in-One WP Migration
So now it is settled, you need three things to start – PC, Internet access, Web hosting.

Myth 3: Once your store is set up the money start rolling in

The truth is that the Interwebs doesn’t even know that you exist. You won’t be found in the search engines. Nobody will find you online, even if they searched for your store name.

Myth 4: Shopify is your best option (as recommended by many answers on this thread)

I don’t have anything per se against Shopify. For all I know it is a wonderful platform. But it has a monthly subscription fee. That means it is not a viable option in my opinion. If Shopify’s business model was similar to MailChip’s model where they only start charging you when your business has reached a certain level my opinion would have been different.
Fixed expense with an uncertain income? No way baby. I bumped my head hard enough previously with Aweber.

Myth 5: Step 1 – Research your market / know your market / find the right opportunity

Nonsense. I might know that the robotics market is a vastly untapped market that screams for more engineers. Can I action any ideas there? Highly unlikely if not impossible.
The first step is to make a shortlist of things that YOU are interested in. You are going to be spending an awful lot of time and energy on this business, it better be about something that you are passionate about and that you have lots of affinity for. If the topic isn’t your passionate heartbeat, there is no way that you are going to stick with it.

Only after you have identified your topic, do you seek to match it with market opportunities. How do you do that? Let’s move on to the next section so that I can explain the technical stuff:

The Technical Stuff

Finding a Market Opportunity

Topic

Let’s have a looksie at the process that I went through in order to identify my main business topic:
Orgasm Art Memes
Genre:
BDSM
I wondered to myself what I really like. I have worked in a number of industries before and most of them bored the living hell out of me.
I have an exceptional imagination (I know because I had myself professionally tested), I have a dark sense of humour and I like sex (Duh).
So my thoughts started wandering towards our deep and dark sexual desires and I thought of ways to make fun of it. Very subtle fun – sensual before funny.
I have some experience in the life-style which I think is crucial. If you embark on something with theoretical knowledge only you will soon be seen as a fake or a wannabee.

I then quickly evaluated the idea in my head:

Will I have a target market?

Yes, almost all people are interested in sex

Can I find a viable niche market?

Sure, BDSM is a recognized niche. 50 Shades proved that the niche is large enough to be viable.

So far so good, now it was time to look at real numbers.

Google Adwords

Keyword research is a field of study in its own so I am really just going to show you a few basics.

Short tail

A vague keyword/phrase with lots of traffic and also lots of competition.

Long tail

A detailed keyword/phrase with low traffic and hopefully also low competition.

Why is this important? Let’s have a looksie at Google Adwords. You will need to register a free account here: Google PPC Online Advertising

We will be using the keyword tool that is accessible on the top right-hand side of the screen.

First, we will get keyword ideas and then we will match them against specific key phrase search volumes and competition.
Here we have used the keyword “BDSM” and sorted according to competition. We are only interested in phrases with low competition. We are looking for two categories of volume 1k – 10k and 10k – 100k.

More than 100k and you are trying to compete in the field where all the big boys are and you are not likely to appear in search results. 1k – 10k is less competitive and you are more likely to be able to compete here. Less than 1k and the volume is not high enough to make it worth your while.
Make a spreadsheet listing all the key phrases that matches these criteria AND that are related to the central topic that you are starting to formulate in your head.
In my case I wanted it to be a sexy and funny spanking themed idea producing art, clothing and stories. I was definitely not going to hire actors and start making BDSM films. Also, I know very little of the Japanese BDSM culture so for these reasons phrases like “bondage video” and “japanese bondage” did not make my list, even though they fit the volume and competition parameters.
Then an idea struck – memes is a very popular method of making fun of things and lends itself very well to the medium of printed tshirts.
Checking actual search volumes for specific phrases to following helped guide me to come up with “orgasm art memes” as my site’s central theme.

“Art”, “memes” & “orgasm” are all short tail. The competition might be low but good luck trying to compete using those three by themselves.
“Orgasm art”, “orgasm meme” & “orgasm art meme” are all long tail with the latter being the most specific.
Now we can also see something interesting here – why did I used “orgasm meme” as a keyword. Well the easy answer is that at the time when I did this research it fit my criteria. Google Trends is a useful tool to see how keyword popularity goes up and down over time: Google Trends
But in any case, I will rank if someone searches for “orgasm art” or for “orgasm meme”.
Of course I will be very competitive if someone searches for “orgasm art meme” but very few people search for that specific term.
Now, as I did this check now for the article, my website has magically disappeared from the search rankings so I am rather alarmed. But fortunately I have a backup plan – my web presence extends beyond my website only. I wanted to discuss it later but this might as well be a good place to just show you the value of being present on as many places as possible:

And on Quora

Quick investigation
So my website has all but disappeared from Google. Yesterday I still ranked quite prominently. The Google Search Console might provide a clue, seems like the host server is giving errors when Google tries to crawl it. I will have to investigate further once I have completed this article.

I know I jumped a bit ahead but I feel that it’s good that you get to have a look over my shoulder in realtime as I do these things.
Don’t worry, we’ll come back to the Search Console.
Update: Hey it is back today, thank God. Who knows what had happened yesterday when I typed this article? I rank on the first two spots for my primary key phrase on krossbait.com and I take the 6th spot for my Redbubble shop. Yay for me!

Topic Research Conclusion

We now have the three necessary elements in place:
1. Something that I know fairly well and that I am passionate about. Something that I will want to keep researching and that I am willing to spend most of my waking hours with.
2. A general idea that the topic and its specific niche is viable.
3. A specific, refined keyword analysis that proves that there are enough search volumes and the competition is low enough for me to be able to compete.

Hosting and Domain Name

Your domain name is crucial. I slipped up here because I decided on https://krossbait.com before I did proper keyword research. I can kinda kick myself but I compensate by branding “krossbait.com” as prominently as possible. But it would have been better if my keywords appeared in my URL.
The https:// part is very important. You want to buy a SSL certificate right off the bat. It certifies your website as secure and accomplishes two things:
1. Helps search rankings.
2. Makes customers trust you more and therefore more likely to buy.

Use a domain checker such as the one at Domain Registration to check for name availability.

Some of the decisions you will have to make are:
1. Length of name
2. Keyword inclusion
3. Likelihood of typing errors
4. Extension e.g. .com or .org. If you want whoisguard (keeping your details private) .com is the way to go.
5. Similar names of the competition

Content Management Platform

I use WordPress and therefore I will only use it in my discussion. You will need to install WordPress on your hosting, typically using something like Softalicious.

***Important***

Your hosting plan needs to include at least one database or WordPress will not be able to run.

Website Building

This is really not as simple as people make it out to be. Fortunately, there are quite a number of good tutorials on YouTube on WordPress development. I am not going to explain it here, I am just going to show you a couple of important points.
I use the Storefront theme as its Woocommerce’s native theme.

Plugins I use

1. Add From Server – to bypass the 4mb upload limit of media files. I FTP large files directly and then use the plugin to associate them in the media library.
2. Advanced Woo Search – A cool search bar that is much more user-friendly than the default search bar.
3. Akismet Anti-Spam – Keeps the leeches from spamming your website.
4. Contact Form 7 – This is how your audience communicates with you.
5. Custom Twitter Feeds – I am very active on Twitter. This displays my twitter feed on my site in the footer. Always good to link platforms.
6. Dashboard Directory Size – Helps me keep an eye on how much disk space I am using on the server.
7. Easy FancyBox – Necessary for lightbox, a nice way to display images.
8. Flamingo – Stores all contact form queries in the database. Absolutely critical!
9. Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights – Helps me to analyze web stats.
10. MailChimp for WordPress – Used for email marketing.
11. Max Mega Menu – A real nice menu
12. Max Mega Menu – StoreFront Integration – makes Max Mega Menu work with the Storefront theme.
13. MetaSlider – Method to display images.
14. Orbisius Child Theme Creator – Always create a child theme. Quite a lengthy topic, please have a look on YouTube for discussions on child themes.
15. Printful Integration for WooCommerce – I use Printful as a partner for printing and shipping. This plugin automates the process.
16. Redux Framework – Necessary for lightbox support.
17. Sassy Social Share – Critical, gives me as well as visitors a way to share my products and posts on various social media platforms.
18. Social Count Plus – Social credibility, tells people how many followers I have. Unfortunately, the plugin is no longer being developed and supported and does seem to be buggy when it comes to updating your stats. I will keep looking for a replacement.
19. Storefront Footer Text – Gives you the ability to edit the default footer text of the theme.
20. Storefront Top Bar – Gives me two additional widget areas at the top of the screen, I use one for my search bar.
21. Woo Product Slider and Carousel with category – Way to display products.
22. WooCommerce – The heart of the website, the ecommerce platform.
23. WooCommerce PayPal Express Checkout Gateway – Gateway that enables me to receive moolah from people when they buy my stuff.
24. WooCommerce shop to Facebook – My shop is on Facebook as well. Cross-linking platforms, remember?
25. WP Add Custom CSS – I can enter CSS code here to alter the appearance of website elements e.g. hide the default search bar.
26. WP Super Cache – Makes my site faster
27. WP User Avatars – Put my pic next to my posts. Good for branding purposes.
28. WP-DBManager – Optimize and backup the database. If things go wrong with the database, you are in a world of hurt.
29. WP-Optimize – Makes my site run efficiently.
30. Yoast SEO – Highly critical, help me to let my site be discovered by the search engines.
31. Select YouTube – Way for me to embed YouTube videos in my site.
32. Absolute Privacy (not active) – Locks my website down when I am busy developing.
33. All in one wp migration (not active) — Migrates my website from Desktopserver to the live environment. Also used to make backups.
34. wp all import (not active) – make bulk changes to product data by importing and exporting
35. wp all export (not active) – make bulk changes to product data by importing and exporting

Site Identity

Your branding needs to be consistent yet everything must not just be an exact copy of a copy. Your keyword list is of crucial importance here.

Update: The site Icon can be a real bitch to get right. I have decided on the lady with the cane as my primary branding image. But translating that to a teensy weensy site icon didn’t produce good results at all. The icon was simply too small and just looked like an “I”. I first considered changing the icon back to the skull that I had previously used but I felt that it really didn’t connect to my brand.

I mean, when you look at the Google or Twitter site icons on your browser tabs you have no trouble recognizing them, right? I never thought that these were particularly good branding images but an exercise like this makes you realize their true value.
And it makes you realize that the Whatsapp logo is better than the FireFox logo even though the FireFox logo is cleverder and beautifuller (see how awesomely I rock at the written word?).
I kid you not, I only accidentally realized after years of looking at the FireFox logo that it was actually a fox that morphs into a flame that engulfs the earth. It is a really clever concept but I just never paid attention to the damn thing.

My solution was to combine three things in my icon to make it recognizable:
1. A cross for Krossbait
2. Cross + Caning Lady forms a capital letter “K”. Well sorta …
3. Colours to make it stand out. Purple is associated with BDSM and there is a National Fetish Day with the slogan “Perverts wear purple”. So there.

Now let’s have a look at one that I consider to be really bad – the Redbubble site icon. If you look at the screenshot of my browser tabs below, we can see some pretty interesting things:

1. Twitter: Easy to recognize.
2. Quora: Also easy to navigate to.
3. Krossbait a t positions 3 & 4, hopefully over time this will become a widely recognized icon. To my eye it looks pretty unique and it does stand out.
4. WordPress sitemaps: Also the icon when your site just fell over and you got something like a NGINX error. Mini heart attacks erupt in my chest whenever I see this icon.
5. Amazon: Pretty recognizable.
6. DeviantArt: Recognizable shape but I struggle to link it to DeviantArt.
7. RedBubble: HOLY CRAP!!! IT IS A NGINX ERROR!!! PANICK ATTACK!!! Oh wait, it’s just RedBubble and my eye involuntarily inverted the colours because the shapes are similar. Thanks a lot for that, RedBubble.
8. Pinterest: Yeah, very easy to spot and recognize.
9. Twitter Nonfollwers: Nah, too much detail that one can’t make out at such a small size. Not effective at all.

Building SEO Pages

Yoast is your friend here. You really, really need to have it installed.
First things first, we are going to build the home page. Don’t just call it “Home”, rather use this opportunity to stuff you main key phrase in there like so:

Now add your content. Be sure to add some attractive and relevant pics that are not copyright protected. And easy way of finding images is with Google Images and selecting “Labelled for reuse”
And seeing that you will be creating your own designs you should have images to put on your pages.

You will need to refer back to your keyword spreadsheet and make sure that you use your keywords but in normal, natural language. In the old days people just stuffed keywords but Google has gotten clever and will penalize you for that.
Use the Yoast control panel at the bottom of the screen to make your SEO as good as possible. You goal is to convert red and orange lights to green lights.

You SEO status is also displayed on the right hand of the screen;

So you build page for page and then you set up product categories. For each of these you follow the same meticulous process.
(Are you convinced yet that people are talking nonsense when they say that it is quick and easy to build a website?)
Your final outcome of all this is that you want to build a menu that reflects the hierarchy of pages and categories like this:

You will need to activate Product Categories in the Screen Options to be able to add them to the menu.

I know it has been quite an information overload so far but the good news is that there is still plenty to come. If you have gotten stuck up to this point, you are welcome to drop me a line at https://krossbait.com/contact/

Product Creation

I have products that exist on five platforms. All of the platforms have their own tools with its own positives and negatives. I like the detail and control that is built into the Prinful mockup interface. Redbubble is good for putting the same design on multiple types of products all at once.

Printful: The primary source of products that appears on my website. They have a pretty cool affiliate program that I incorporate on my website. If you register you will get a link like this that will enable you to receive profits from the sales of people who sign up through you:
https://www.printful.com/a/654207:667a00219ee4cfbfd631314c86f9b2fe

In case you were wondering, the above link is a shameless attempt from me to get you to sign up to Printful as my affiliate so that I can make additional money from Printful. I don’t believe in incorporating misleading marketing tactics, when I am trying to market to you I will tell you that I am doing it.
Interestprint: I only use them because Printful doesn’t do underwear. For my specific market this is very important. People are more likely to wear something naughty if only they and their intimate partners know about it.

This:

is an easier sale than this:

Redbubble: A separate set of products exist here: krossbait: Top Selling T-Shirts, Posters, Greeting Cards, Stickers, Wall Art and More. The benefit, as shown earlier is that this goes on no matter what happens to my website. Plus, Redbubble is much bigger and receives more traffic than I do. Rather than to compete, I joined forces.
A link to the Redbubble store is in the sidebar that appears on every page. Crosslinking, remember?

DeviantArt: Prints of the original artwork can be bought here: krossbait on DeviantArt
Not only is it a potential source of income, but like everything, it is crosslinked and I am hoping that DeviantArt visitors might visit my site as well.

Here you can see that another user has added my works to his watchlist. That is the beauty of joining forces and working collaboratively. The idea is to pass on as much love as possible and then people will do the same for you. Internet marketing is like jail … you can’t make it on your own.

Amazon: I make use of Kindle Direct Printing and it is linked to my website:

Remember that all products must be tagged properly. Your keyword research comes into play here and it might be more efficient for you to export your products to Excel, do the tagging and the import back to WordPress. Be careful with the WP All Import process, don’t wipe out all of the products that you have so painstakingly created.

Submitting Sitemaps

Up to this point Google and Bing has virtually no idea that you even exist. You need to kindly inform them that they need to tell people about you. You accomplish this by submitting sitemaps.
Step 1 is to create the sitemaps in Yoast. Open the configuration wizard and follow the prompts:

The next part is quite tricky – to find the damn sitemaps. Click on the “Features” tab in Yoast and then on the question mark next to “XML Sitemaps”. Then the “See the Sitemaps” link.

A new tab should open with the sitemaps. You want to copy and paste them one by one in the sitemaps dialogue box in the Google Search Console: Search Console – Home.
You will have to sign up and create a property. This can be really confusing. Remember you can drop me a line on https://krossbait.com/contact/ if you need help.
Just copy and paste the part directly after .com/ as illustrated below.

Wait a couple of days until the sitemaps are indexed. Follow the same process for Bing: Bing – Webmaster Tools

Backlinks

Backlinks are one of the ways in which Google determines how relevant your site is. If a high authority site links to yours then you get some delicious link juice. But how the hell are you supposed to get that, right?
1. Asking prominent bloggers whether you can be a guest blogger and make sure that your blogpost contains backlinks. Ugh … personally I am way too shy to ever consider doing this.
2. 100% Free SEO Tools – SmallSEOTools.com – use the backlink maker. The have some other nifty tools on their site as well and it is free.
3. Backlinks in social media – when you create a Pinterest profile, for example, you get the opportunity to put your website link in your bio. Unfortunately, many social media platforms mark links as “nofollow” which means that it won’t really count as backlinks.

Social Media Marketing

And you thought that it was hard up to here. Fear not, now the real work starts.
You can’t just be on one place. You need to be as everywhere as possible. You need to get the maximum followers everywhere and accomplish that without triggering ant-spam policies that could get you suspended or banned. You also need to understand the difference in post persistence between the different platforms.
I will discuss the posting strategy to the different platforms after all the platforms have been introduced.
What is important to keep in mind regarding followers and likes is that it not only determines your potential audience but it also demonstrates credibility. So we might run campaigns simply to collect Facebook likes or we might jump on a SDV train in Twitter to collect followers but none of those will be potential customers for us. Those are just social credibility numbers and should be seen as only that.
The last thing before we get to the individual platforms is stats and measurability. All the platforms have some way of analyzing who sees your posts, tweets etc. Use the analytics to get a better understanding of your potential. I can guarantee that some of your most brilliant posts will receive little attention while the post that you wrote half asleep suddenly goes viral. Social media is a temperamental beast.

Facebook

I will admit, I have no love for Facebook. I am there just because I have to be. It is the only platform where I get random video calls throughout the day and night from virtual strangers. It creeps the hell out of me.
And Facebook probably has the harshest anti-spam triggers. Screw with that and they will lock you out of your account for days.
Don’t try to send too many friend requests at a time. Don’t try to post too many posts in direct succession.
You will need an account with a business page. Fill in all the relevant details. You will need to come back to this page to update it with links to your other social accounts – everything needs to crosslink, remember? Note how my branding is aligned to my website as well as to my other platforms and how my other platforms are linked – Albie Kross

On the business page you will need to have a store. In order to do this you need to open a Please Login again – StoreYa.com account and the WooCommerce shop to Facebook plugin installed on your website. Follow the instructions and port your Woocommerce products to the Facebook store. Can be a bit tricky, make sure you read the StoreYa instructions carefully.

To get Facebook friends you can basically do things to start off:
1. Search for topics on Facebook relevant to your business and invite people who show up in these searches.
2. Search for groups relevant to your business and join. Some of the groups will first ask some screening questions.

As mentioned before … be very, very careful on how you send friend requests. Facebook WILL get its panties in a bunch and lock you out of your account if irregular activity is detected.
Posts on Facebook timelines are moderately persistent. People generally get a couple of moments to view before it moves down out of sight on the screen. This means that you will need to repost stuff, but certainly not as frequently as with Twitter.
If you would like to know how to get 10 000 likes on Facebook within three to four days, you can contact me on https://krossbait.com/contact/.
Facebook’s paid advertising is probably the most powerful out there due to the power of demographics that you get to harness. But for now I am going to skip over it. First start making sales before you start spending money on paid advertising, right?

Twitter

Tweets are the least persistent of all. If you login to Tweetdeck you will be amazed how quickly your timeline moves when you have a sizable amount of followers. This means that you really have to stand out in order to catch the audience’s attention.
When you fill out your bio, include some hashtags to make it easier to be discovered. There is plenty of info on the interwebs about hashtags so I am not going to repeat it. What I will mention is to include #SDV and #IFB. You are telling people that you will follow them back if they follow you. (You must actually do it as well, don’t be a prick) This is how mine looks, notice the branding and the use of hashtags: KrossBait (@albie_kross) | Twitter

I recommend using Unfollower Stats :: Track and unfollow your unfollowers! to manage your followers. Follow back all the little darling angels who followed you and unfollow all the ratbastard psychotics who don’t follow you back.
Be very careful here, although Twitter doesn’t really care about spam when you post, it does get all PMSsy when you start mass unfollowing people.

How do you get Twitter followers:
1. Post some really funny and original tweets.
2. Follow people, bearing in mind that Twitter has a ratio lock meaning that you will need at some point to get more followers before you can follow again. If memory serves me correctly it is 1000 follows.
3. Like and retweet good tweets.
4. Engage with people either by comments or by retweeting and including a comment. Most twits don’t really bother to interact so you can really stand out if you interact regularly.
5. Jump on an SDV train every now and then when it comes along. It is basically a pact between a bunch of people that everybody will retweet a tweet and follow everybody that retweeted. You can pick up quite a few followers like this.
6. I have used a service like Get More Twitter Followers at BestFollowers with varying levels of success.

Pinterest

Pinterest is great in the sense that your pins don’t disappear, they stay on the boards where you have pinned them. The complete opposite of Twitter, therefore.
To gain followers you must pin great content. Have a looksie here krossbait.com (krossbait)

Notice how my boards are organized? One for each marketplace where I am active in that contains the products of that marketplace and then a general board where I pin anything that catches my eye. So there is certainly plenty of eye-candy for visitors to my boards, not just plain old product pins.
Then there is a sneaky, yet incredibly powerful way to gain followers – you “steal” them.
Search for the hashtag that you are interested in and select “boards”

Now go through each of the people listed below and look for someone with a sizable number of followers i.e. the popular kid on the playground. Click on their followers and start following them one by one. The cool thing is that Pinterest will not get all fascist on you when you do this – they will not lock you out or hard-limit you on your follower/following ratio like Twitter does. All that will happen is that a soft lock is activated after something like 100 follows and you just have to wait for a while before you can follow again.

What you are doing is identifying a popular person with similar interests as yourself (and your shop) and you are asking the people who like their stuff to become a part of your tribe as well. Guess what, they probably won’t mind because they are interested in the topic, right? So you get to put your products in front of people who are already interested.
What is more, many of the cool kid’s followers will be small-fry, as can be seen in the above screenshot. They are not online marketers, they are probably just people browsing. The cool kid might not pay any attention back to you but the masses following him or her might just be thrilled that another cool kid is paying attention to them.
How cool is that!

Quora

Quora is my favourite social media platform because it’s the least creepy and the depth of the engagement is so much more meaningful than on any of the other platforms.
The biggest challenge with Quora is that you can’t be too obvious with marketing your stuff. No, you are here to raise awareness by being helpful and you have to tread very carefully not to offend or to be caught spamming.
If the Quora mods get you in their visors the consequences are severe. Your posts are either collapsed, deleted or you and all of your content are deleted. Loy Machedo comes to mind …

Update: Seeing that this was originally a Quora answer this part is quite ironic. I followed the Quora spam policy to the letter but the problem is that the policy is enforced by bots. Mere seconds after posting this my answer got automatically deleted.

The Quota police states:

“It’s alright to post about your product or company on Quora, either in an answer to a relevant question or as a post on your Quora blog[4], but repeatedly posting the same information or intentionally misapplying topics on posts in order to gain more visibility may be considered spamming.”

Beware – the way that the bots interpret the policy is that if there is any link to a site that might possibly have something to do with you, the answer will automatically be deleted. It will be quite interesting to see what the outcome of my appeal is. My prediction is that they will tell me to sod off.

Now you might think that it is no big deal, right? Well it kinda is a big deal. This particular piece took more than 12 hours to write. What else could I have done in that time? Produced another artwork or two that could be placed on another 40 – 50 products that could be sold on three different platforms. When you start thinking in those terms, it becomes clear on how important your time is.
Now, how does one respond after such a setback?

I am reminded of this part in Braveheart where King Longshanks is trying to figure out whom he is going to send to the rebels in order to negotiate.

Longshanks : Not my gentle son. The mere sight of him would only encourage an enemy to take over the whole country. So whom do I send?
King’s Advisor : Milord, the princess might be taken hostage or her life be put in jeopardy.
Longshanks : Oh, my son would be most distressed by that. Uh, but in truth, if she were to be killed, we would soon find the king of France a useful ally against the Scots. You see, as king, you must find the good in any situation.

So how am I trying to find the good in this current sucky situation with Quora. Throw away a day’s work? Certainly not! I decided to rather update it and utilize it for two purposes, regardless of the Quora appeal outcome:
1. PDF it and use it as an additional lead magnet on my site. Not sure what a lead magnet is? Don’t worry, I discuss it right at the end under “Promotions”. So now there will be two things that I give away for free instead of just the audiobook.
2. Post this article anywhere I can find. I have identified 20 or so possibilities that I will follow up on. If Quora had not deleted my answer I would not have left it at that and not really investigated further posting opportunities. So more exposure and link love for me.
Posts are fairly persistent in the sense that people tend to see stuff similar to that they have already been looking at. It is not a simple first-in-first-out feed like with Twitter.
There are no funny tricks or hacks that I have been able to discover with Quora, it is pretty much based on the strength of the content that you create and how well you interact with others in the comments sections. And of course you can share your answers on Twitter and Facebook.

Google +

This is the platform that I am the least familiar with, I have only recently started really using it. I am still not entirely convinced that it will be useful but we’ll see.

Platforms that I don’t use but that might be worth checking out

Reddit

Quora kinda replaced Reddit for me. That is not to say that Reddit is no good but I really have stuff to do besides social media.

Instagram

Yeah, I know its big. But uploading from your phone??? Deal breaker for me, sorry. Yes, I know that there are workarounds but I use my PC as my workstation and if you are going to make it difficult for me to use my PC then I am not all that interested, thank you. At least not now, I might look further into it at a later stage. At the moment I am more interested in low-hanging fruit.

Stumbleupon

I kinda missed this one, let’s see what happens when it moves over to Mix at the end of the month.

Posting Strategy

First you will need to set up Sassy Social Share on your website (This can be tricky, shout if you need help). You want to see social sharing icons under your products like illustrated below:

The posting strategy basically consists of new content posted on Quora as well as Twitter and then feeding content between the platforms. Some of it is fairly automated and some requires intense manual actions.
Share each product to each social platform. Facebook is going to get all cranky and you will have to redo most of your products later when the Facebook anti-spam triggers. Pinterest and Twitter will have no problems.
You are going to post once only to Pinterest because once it’s done its done. With Twitter you should make it a daily activity because you are fighting for attention on the Twitterfeed, right? With Facebook you are probably going to get distracted after the anti-spam triggers and you will forget to go back. But you should try to.
Make sure you fill out proper descriptions for your product pins, including hashtags (Pinterest allows up to four).
Now go to Twitter and start tweeting original content, retweeting other twits’ tweets, liking and commenting. The stuff that Twitter was supposedly designed for, you know? You can’t just tweet your products because your flock is gonna fly away, you need to keep them entertained. Pin interesting pics in your Twitterfeed.
Quora is next. This is going to be your most energy-sapping process because you will have to concentrate about what you post. Good content is key here. Share your post to Facebook and Twitter. Then copy and paste your answer and create a blogpost on your website with your answer. Link your website to Quora where the original answer can be seen. Politely ask on your website for an upvote on Quora if the reader enjoyed the answer. DO NOT LINK THE QUORA ANSWER BACK TO YOUR WEBSITE! It is seen as spam and your answers will be automatically deleted by the mods and good luck appealing their decision.

You can choose to embed the Quora code on your blog page. This is certainly easier but I have opted not to do it and rather go for a more labour-intensive approach of manually copying and pasting. I do this mostly for three reasons:
• Less control to Quora over my content. Remember if the mods decide to delete your sorry ass all your content will disappear. Take Loy Machedo as an example – he worked about 12 hours on average per day to post to Quora, he posted thousands of answers and received millions of views. Then he made some comments about some Quora users and about some of the things specifically the dangers minors are exposed to on Quora. And POOF! He was gone. A whole year of his life’s work down the drain.
• Onsite SEO – I want the content that I create to be physically on my webpages, not the embedded code. Content is king when it comes to pageranks and I certainly want my site to be competitive in the rankings for the content that I have spent many hours in creating.
• Linkjuice – I can edit my answers on my blogpage and include stuff like links that I can’t include in my Quora answers and then repost that content on other platforms. Utilize my content to its fullest extent, right? Sorry, but Quora can’t be the only entity benefitting from my hard work. I want to benefit as well and Quora’s anti-spam bots make it very difficult for me to do so.

Now go to Pinterest and share your pins to Facebook and Twitter.

The process repeats over and over.

Promotions

Social media works a bit differently than traditional marketing. With traditional marketing you presented your product offer to the market and the market hopefully bought.
With social media marketing you first have to work your butt off to create value for people and then after you have taken massive action in order to win trust and goodwill, you can present your products to your audience.
Giving away free stuff is a good way to build goodwill and the reason why you are giving it away is because you want email addresses in return. That’s right my darlings, you are busy with listbuilding/email campaign marketing.
This is the freebee that I am currently offering in exchange for email addresses: https://bit.ly/2taTs6r

The pic has some animation because I want it to catch the eye of the visitor as soon as a page is opened (you can do some pretty cool .gif animations in Photoshop).
I am also offering pretty good value, not only do you get immediate access to an audio story but you also get a discount on selected goodies in the store.
Firstly, I chose an audiobook because it is somewhat different than the usual free report/pdf/booklet that is normally offered. Secondly, the discount is a win-win because I would rather sell more stuff at a lower margin than less stuff at a higher margin. I don’t care about stuff like inventory, machine maintenance, staff salaries etc. (Still think it is a good idea do buy printing machines when you are starting out?)

The real value for me, of course, is the email address that I score. Because I am going to use that address in my future email marketing campaigns. And before you think that this is something sleazy to do, rest assured, I will not do it in a sleazy way. Each newsletter will be content-orientated with just a small section dedicated to a new product or two.
The idea is like this – hey buddy, here is something funny/useful/amusing for you to read/look at. Oh, by the way, we are a shop and we do have products. Would you mind taking a looksie?
See? No reason why sales have to be pushy and sleazy.
Let’s take this post as another example. It took me pretty much 12 hours to write this. I must be a really, really nice person, right?
Well I am but that is beside the point.

I am hoping to get something out of this. Actually two things:
1. I am hoping to form new business relationships. People might read this and say to themselves “Hey, looks like this person actually has somewhat of a clue. Maybe we should ask for help in our business”.
2. I want to give exposure to the platforms that I am active on.
3. I really want to help people. Only by being valuable to people do we create value for ourselves. And we get paid according to our value.
Ok that was three things … I know.

Conclusion

So we have covered quite a bit of ground and I am sure that I forgot half of the important stuff. Please do fill the gaps for me by contributing in the comments. And give me a shout if you need help.
And let me know in the comments if I should make a video on this, or contact me directly here https://krossbait.com/contact/
Update:
As I have said before, this was originally a QUORA answer. The answer might have been deleted but it can still be accessed here:
https://www.quora.com/How-can-I-start-my-own-T-shirt-business/answer/Albie-Kross
Now it won’t make sense to upvote or leave comments on Quora unless the answer is undeleted. So rather leave me comments on my blog post https://krossbait.com/how-can-i-start-my-own-t-shirt-business/
And remember, if you want me to help you with your online presence, do drop me a line at https://krossbait.com/contact/

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