Anyone who has applied to sell using the Merch by Amazon platform knows that there can be an extremely long wait for approval. Like 6-9 months for some accounts.
Instead of sitting around and twiddling your thumbs, you can still get ready (and possibly make some money) while you wait.
1 – Start doing niche and keyword research
Imagine getting approved for Merch by Amazon and not having the slightest clue what designs to make. If you start doing your research now, you can be ahead of the game when you are approved.
I suggest doing two different things with the information you collect:
1 – If you start finding design ideas or styles you like, take a screenshot of these for future reference (Never recreate a design exactly – use it as a starting point). Throw all of these screenshots into a folder on your computer so you know exactly where to find them once you are approved.
2 – I would also create an Excel document to track topic ideas or shirt ideas. I would start off with a few columns such as design idea, description of design, and targeted keywords.
If you don’t know where to start with research, check out this post about the method I use to find possible shirt designs.
2 – Learn how to use Photoshop, Illustrator, or GIMP
This should be a no brainer, but it’s something that I recommend that everyone consider. Learning to use any of these softwares will not only help you when you are approved for Merch by Amazon, but it can also pay off in many other ways.
Personally, I would suggest that you learn to use GIMP or Illustrator (I am partial to Illustrator, but I realized it is a paid software).
If you don’t know where to get training, here is where I would go:
If you want something a little more structured, I would suggest searching on Udemy for a cheap course. They are kinda like a college course, but way cheaper.
My personal favorite (because I get it free since I work at Ball State) is Lynda.com. I think they do a great job, but I also love it due to my price point. You can try it for free on their website, so I would recommend you take a look.
3 – Start selling on other print on demand platforms
I fully understand that Merch by Amazon has one of the biggest markets (Amazon) backing it, but I can’t stress this enough:
People have been making money selling print on demand products for years!
We only took a look at the industry because Amazon hit the airwaves with their own system.
Here is a short list of the other print on demand sites out there. There is no better way to test out designs than to actually try to sell them to a smaller audience (if it works, then you have a tested design ready for Merch by Amazon).
And the list goes on and on. Get started with these and then explore others 🙂
4 – Start building up your design stock pile
If you are already doing your research, learning how to use the software, and even selling on other platforms, you should be building up your design stock pile.
When it comes to the print on demand marketplace, the most important thing you can do is continue to build assets (or designs) and get them uploaded as soon as possible.
If you are able to build up 50 or 100 designs, you will be miles ahead of anyone else just getting their approval. I would recommend going one step further and working on a stock pile of bullet points and descriptions that match the designs. You have no idea the amount of time you will save during the upload process.
5 – Keep reading and keep learning
As you sit and wait for your approval, spend some time reading and learning. Knowledge is power and you should continue to expand your knowledge whenever possible.
Here are a few places I would suggest looking at for some great educational material:
FBA Master (duh – you are already here)
Merch Master Facebook group – This is a free Facebook group that is designed specifically for Merch by Amazon education and discussion.
Merch by Amazon Facebook group – This one is ran by Chris Green and is a great resource.
Michael Essek’s Blog – One of my personal favorites
Or any other Merch by Amazon writer out there!
Whatever you do, just continue to absorb as much information as humanly possible.
And that’s pretty much it.
I wish you the best and hope this helped in some way!