Right now my primary side hustle is Merch by Amazon.

Merch by Amazon is a platform that allows you to upload designs that get listed as t-shirts for sale (via print-on-demand) on Amazon. When one of your shirts sells, you get a portion of the sale.


See Quora Merch by Amazon questions and answers here:

Merch by Amazon

How I do it:

MBA is a simple 2-step process: design and upload.

Well, there is actually an optional but not really optional step before the actual design: research.

1. Research:

The key to producing designs that actually sell as tshirts on Amazon is researching ideas before creating the designs.

For this, I use a combination of my own observations and market research on the web.

My own observations are pretty random.

When I’m out and about, I’m constantly observing shirts, signs, etc. I also pay attention to Twitter and trendy stuff that’s happening. When something catches my eye or I think of a funny phrase that might be popular on a shirt, I’ll jot it down in my iPhone notes).

For the web research, I use a tool called Merch Informer, which is a paid subscription service.

Merch Informer allows you to type in phrases that return the most popular t-shirts listed on Amazon that match those keywords. When you find a popular t-shirt design that’s doing well, if you create something similar, but better, chances are your design will also do well.

One of the most important items to research is trademarks because you are not allowed to use designs that are trademarked or copyright or your account may get banned.

Merch Informer checks trademarks for your phrase, but you can also use a free site like Trademarkia.


2. Design:

Once I have the t-shirt ideas, creating the designs is actually not that hard.

I don’t have any graphic design experience, but the good news is that you don’t need any design experience to do well on Merch because many top-selling shirts are very simple, text-based designs.

Personally, I don’t use any fancy software like Photoshop. Instead, I use easier tools like Canva and WordRabbit, which is an iOS app that is designed specifically for creating Merch designs.

With these tools, I can create simple designs that look great in minutes without using a computer.

To save time and make sure I always have plenty of designs to fill my maximum daily uploads, I also outsource a lot of my design work.

3. Upload:

The upload process involves submitting your png file to Amazon, selecting your t-shirt colors, price, and adding a title and bullet descriptions for your Amazon listing.

Once again, doing research here is optional, but recommended because to increase the visibility of your listing, you’ll want to add relevant keywords in your title and bullet points.

You’ll also want to make sure the colors you choose look good with your design (e.g., select dark colors with a light colored text design and vice versa).

That’s about it!

It’s a simple side hustle, but a very good one if you can conduct solid research, make some decent designs, and be consistent with uploads.

The most successful Merchers are making six figures a year from MBA. But just like success in any endeavor, it requires hard work, consistency, and continuous learning and improvement.

If you are interested in applying for a Merch by Amazon account, you can get on the waiting list here.

It’s free so you have nothing to lose!

I wrote a post outlining the opportunity in more detail here.

First published on Quora.

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