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How to Start an Online Clothing Business for $0 with Printful and Etsy

I did something crazy about a month ago. I started an online clothing business.

And it’s actually going really well.

Am I a designer? No.

Am I an Etsy pro? Nope.

Do I even know what DPI is, or what the difference is between CMYK and RGB? Not really.

But if there’s anything I’ve learned over the past year as a serious blogger, it’s that sometimes you just gotta try new stuff and do it. Jump in with both feet. Don’t overplan. Just follow your heart and see where it goes.

Easier said than done, especially when following your heart could cost thousands of dollars in upfront costs.

Not so bueno.

But, I really wanted to do this. So I found a way of getting started that was totally FREE, and in this post, I’ll show you how to do the same thing.

Create an Online Clothing Business Free

I create t-shirts, iPhone cases, leggings, skirts and other small items, and I don’t have to pay a single cent for inventory or expenses until someone buys one of my products. aka guaranteed profit! Isn’t that amazeballs?!

For example, here are a few examples of my humble creations. 😬

Wanna win an item of your choice from my shop? Just enter the contest at the end of this post! 👇🏼

 

It’s really easy to start your own biz this way. So let’s jump right in and get started…

Create Your Free Etsy Store

For this post, I’m going to assume you want to sell your stuff on Etsy! It’s a great choice. Etsy is a solid network of handmade sellers, and a trusted shopping destination for millions of people around the world. You can’t go wrong.

So, if you don’t already have an Etsy account, sign up for free here.

When you’re all signed up, click on the You tab to go into your settings. From there, you can choose to open a new shop.

Create Online Clothing Business Free

Once you’ve created your shop, you’ll be taken to the Shop Manager area. It’s pretty straightforward, but you’ll want to go into Settings on the left-hand menu to ensure everything is set up.

Create Online Clothing Business Free

Here you can set things like your tagline, top image banner and logo. Here’s what my shop looks like with all those things added:

Create Online Clothing Business Free

Go through all the Settings fields and make sure everything is filled in. Don’t worry about making it perfect right now. You can always change it later.

Remember: DONE is always better than perfect. ✌🏽

 

Create Your First T-Shirt

Mmk, switching gears to product creation now. Woo! This is where the magic happens, people.

Already have a good idea for a t-shirt, mug, or other product? Great! If not, just think of a silly saying and follow along with this tutorial. You can always redo these steps when you have a “real” product idea later on.

Not sure if your idea is good or not? Let the market decide! Remember, this is all free so you’re not out any money by testing your ideas.

To create your first product, you’ll need to sign up for Printful.

Create Online Clothing Business Free

Printful is a print-on-demand dropshipper, which means they print your designs onto merchandise and ship it from their location to your customers. It’s worldwide, and the products look like they’re coming from you, not Printful. Basically… it’s awesome.

Once you sign up, you’ll be taken to your Dashboard. It’s your order portal.

Creating a product on Printful isn’t like an actual thing you create on there. You create your artwork files in a design program, like Adobe Photoshop, and then upload those files to Printful to store until you’re ready to print them.

I use Photoshop, but you could also use Illustrator, or a free option like Canva.

For this example, we’ll make a simple text-based t-shirt, but you can get as crazy and colourful as you like. If you can draw, go wild! I… can’t draw.

I’m going to make a shirt that says, “I Work So My Dog Can Have Nice Things”.

(It’s true. 🙄)

Printful has a template for everything on their site so you always know how to size it. The t-shirt print area is 10 in x 12 in, so all you need to do is open up a new Photoshop file at 150 DPI sized 10×12. Also make sure you’re using RGB colour.

If you’re using Canva, open up a new file that’s 1500px x 1800px (or larger).

Create Online Clothing Business Free

Then add your text to the file. Make sure your background is transparent. This can be done in Canva as well, but I’m using Photoshop in the screenshots below.

Create Online Clothing Business Free

CONTINUE READING

I’ve helped hundreds of bloggers and B2B businesses grow their profits with actionable content strategy advice. As a marketing agency brand strategist and copywriter, I’m on a mission to prove that you don’t need a fancy degree to market yourself, you just need the right tools. Find your voice online and grow your business! I’m known for being a crazy cat (+dog) lady, German car enthusiast and a bit of a wino.

5 Easy Blog SEO Tips to Skyrocket Your Traffic

Blog SEO is a big deal.

It goes beyond just optimizing your posts for a single keyword, although that’s important too. I’ve been studying SEO for over three years now and have a pretty foolproof system for growing organic search traffic easily and quickly for my blog and websites.

5 Easy Blog SEO Tips: Grow Your Blog Traffic

Google is always changing their algorithms, so you need to be aware of what’s new in the world of SEO. But, these tips are universal, despite any new mega-update from the Google overlords.

Read on to discover my 5 best blog SEO tips you can do today!

 

#1 Verify Your Blog with Google Search Console

Google Search Console used to be called Webmaster Tools. It’s basically the place where Google verifies your site’s identity, keeps track of changes to your site (i.e. new blog posts), and controls how your site appears in search results.

It’s free and super easy to setup! Once you verify your site, it will stay that way.

I recommend logging into Search Console and checking your stats every month, just to make sure your website is indexing properly and all systems are go.

To verify your site, login to Search Console with a Google account (either a @gmail.com email, or your G Suite account email).

Easy Blog SEO Tips

Enter your website URL in the white box. ☝🏼

On the next screen, you’ll see different verification options. The easiest one is to verify with Google Analytics, which you can find on the Alternate Methods tab. If your Google Analytics account is setup with the same @gmail.com email address, it will verify your website right away.

Or, you can download an HTML file and upload it to your site to get verified. You can upload the file via FTP, or through your web hosting company’s CPanel/File Manager area. (Psst, this is where you would login to manage your hosting account – like on Bluehost or Siteground!)

There are lots of tools within Search Console, but the most important area to monitor for your SEO is the Crawl tab.

Easy Blog SEO Tips

Click on Crawl Stats to monitor how often Google comes to crawl your site. This is the number of times Google’s algorithm is scanning your content, looking for new changes, and adding those changes to Google.

aka… how your blog shows up in search results! Super important.

Easy Blog SEO Tips

More crawls per day = good!

Another key area to check in monthly is the Sitemaps tab under Crawl. Here, you can manually submit a new sitemap to Google. Many WordPress plugins do this automatically, but it’s a good idea to do it manually once in awhile too.

You can see how many pages of your site are indexed here. To add a new sitemap, click on Add/Test Sitemap at the top.

Easy Blog SEO Tips

Then, type in “sitemap.xml” into the box and press Submit.

Easy Blog SEO Tips

If you want to learn more about Search Console and all it can do for you, I recommend reading this article from Moz.

 

#2 Use SEO Keywords in the Right Places

It’s not enough to stuff your SEO keyword everywhere you can find a spot anymore. Google is cracking down on “spammy” keyword stuffing practices and shady over-optimization.

What does that mean?

CONTINUE READING

I’ve helped hundreds of bloggers and B2B businesses grow their profits with actionable content strategy advice. As a marketing agency brand strategist and copywriter, I’m on a mission to prove that you don’t need a fancy degree to market yourself, you just need the right tools. Find your voice online and grow your business! I’m known for being a crazy cat (+dog) lady, German car enthusiast and a bit of a wino.

How to Do SEO Keyword Research for Your Blog

I’m passionate about SEO for blogging. You could say obsessed. And for good reason: mastering SEO is the ultimate free way to market your business.

Yes, there’s paid search (AdWords), Facebook advertising, networking, lead generation and all that stuff too… but those strategies are made even better with a solid SEO foundation for your blog.

It can be a tough thing to learn if you’re just starting out. I used to think it was just for the pros, or something techy marketing wizard types did to “growth hack” or disrupt or whatever other marketing buzzword is hot right now.

Until I became a techy marketing wizard type. 🌟

Okay, before we get to my awesome lesson (including awkward video walkthrough) showing you how to do SEO keyword research for your blog, I’m gonna tell you my SEO story. Buckle up.

how to do blog seo keyword research

About five years ago, I got a job in an ad agency. It was all very exciting for 25 year old me. They had leather couches, rum hidden in cabinets and worked with huge national brands that I was a fan of. What’s not to love, right?

Well, the truth about the downside of agency life would come crushing down on me years later, but at that moment, things were great. I was the fresh meat, the eager young intern-type ready to learn about the industry and take it by the horns.

I am marketer, hear me roar! Or something.

Why Bloggers Need SEO

I got the job because I wrote well (and hopefully still do in the present tense). But, I had no idea about SEO. I’d heard of it, but again, filed it away in my brain into a folder called Wizard Land: Do Not Attempt.

I had to learn SEO for my new job, and I was nervous. My boss at the time took me under his wing and promised me it was really easy, I’d learn it in no time. The first week of my new job, I eagerly read everything I could find on the internet about how to do SEO keyword research, write for SEO, get higher rankings, get Google to like me, etc.

The articles I found were good, but I was left with a feeling of, “So now what? What do I do with all this information?”

Well, my boss showed me in like an hour how powerful SEO can be. How it can help businesses, how to write for it without sounding like a total tool, and why keywords are only one small part of SEO.

“Whoa, what? There’s more to SEO than keywords?!” you might be asking.

YEAH. There is. It’s a big topic with lots of shady shit in it and some really stellar strategies too.

I wanted to cover just keyword research today because it’s the easiest place to start if you’re new to SEO, and it’s especially important for bloggers.

I’ll show you exactly how to do SEO keyword research below…

CONTINUE READING

I’ve helped hundreds of bloggers and B2B businesses grow their profits with actionable content strategy advice. As a marketing agency brand strategist and copywriter, I’m on a mission to prove that you don’t need a fancy degree to market yourself, you just need the right tools. Find your voice online and grow your business! I’m known for being a crazy cat (+dog) lady, German car enthusiast and a bit of a wino.

How to Use Google Analytics: The Complete Guide for Bloggers

If you’re new to living online (welcome to digital life, y’all), Google Analytics might be a bit overwhelming at first.

I promise it’s actually really easy! Once you get the hang of how to find reports for your blog traffic, and how to interpret what they mean, you’ll be golden.

Google Analytics can tell you a LOT about your blog and the audience reading your blog. It’s a super useful tool! I’m a big data nerd, but only when that data can actually make a difference and accomplish something, and that’s exactly what Google Analytics does.

Today I’m gonna walk you through EVERYTHING you need to know about how to use Google Analytics!

Let’s get started.

How to Use Google Analytics: For Bloggers

Step 1: How to Set Up Google Analytics

OK, this is the first step. If you have already enabled Google Analytics on your blog, skip ahead to Step 2.

Do you have a Google Analytics account yet? If not, all you need is a Google account (so a @gmail.com address). If you don’t already have this, click here to setup one now (it’s free of course!).

If you’re on WordPress, here’s how to set up Google Analytics easily on your blog. I’m sure it’s easy for other platforms too, but WordPress is what I know so I’ve included instructions for that below. Please note these instructions are for self-hosted WordPress blogs (wordpress.org!).

Login to WordPress! Then on the left side navigation, go to Plugins –> Add New.

In the “Search plugins…” box on the top right, type in “google analytics” and hit enter. You’ll see a bunch of results like this:

How to Use Google Analytics: Set Up

This is an easy way to install Google Analytics – using a plugin. There is a manual way you can go in and add the code too, but I like using a plugin because most of them also show you your stats right in your WordPress Dashboard (so, visible right when you login). It’s super convenient to have all your “blog stuff” in one place, right?

Anyway, obviously there’s quite a few to pick from. The one I personally use is Google Analytics by MonsterInsights.

Click on Install Now for that plugin (my button says Active because I already have it!). Once it’s done installing, that button will change to “Activate” so make sure to press that too, until it says Active, like my screen above.

CONTINUE READING

I’ve helped hundreds of bloggers and B2B businesses grow their profits with actionable content strategy advice. As a marketing agency brand strategist and copywriter, I’m on a mission to prove that you don’t need a fancy degree to market yourself, you just need the right tools. Find your voice online and grow your business! I’m known for being a crazy cat (+dog) lady, German car enthusiast and a bit of a wino.

Blog SEO: 10 Tricks for Optimizing Your Blog Posts

I’ve talked about how to format your blog posts to get the most readers before, but today I want to talk about one of the most mystical creatures in these lands: SEO.

A search result in the wild.

You probably know how important SEO is by now, but if not… well, it’s really important.

As a freelance writer and marketing agency copywriter, I spend a lot of time optimizing content for search engines, and writing about SEO for clients. There are some obvious tricks that everyone knows, like picking a keyword and mentioning it throughout your post. There are also some lesser known blog post SEO tricks out there to increase your rankings.

I’m going to share those secret tips with you today.

Blog SEO: 10 Tricks to Grow Your Blog

A critical thing to keep in mind about SEO is WHERE it fits into your writing process.

Any guesses as to where it should fit in? At the end maybe, when you’re editing your post before publishing it and want to sprinkle in some keyword magic dust?

NO!

SEO should be thought of from the very beginning of a blog post’s life. When it’s still nothing but a wee little idea tadpole floating around your brain.

Thinking about SEO from the beginning means that ALL your future actions for that post will be optimized for the Google overlords, increasing your chances of beating the algorithm and ranking high. F yeah!

So, with that in mind, let’s get into my top 10 blog SEO tips!

CONTINUE READING

I’ve helped hundreds of bloggers and B2B businesses grow their profits with actionable content strategy advice. As a marketing agency brand strategist and copywriter, I’m on a mission to prove that you don’t need a fancy degree to market yourself, you just need the right tools. Find your voice online and grow your business! I’m known for being a crazy cat (+dog) lady, German car enthusiast and a bit of a wino.

10 Things Your Small Business Website Needs

If you’re trying to grow your home based or small business online, this post is for you!

In my day job as a Digital Strategist, I spend most of my time working on website projects. Our clients cover a diverse range of industries, but there are common elements among them that make their small business websites successful.

Whether you are a creative freelancer, or a local small business, these ten things apply to everyone looking to attract and convert more customers online.

10 Things Your Small Business Website Needs to be Successful and Get You Clients

Sure, you might be thinking the obvious things, like a contact page, or a newsletter subscribe box. Those are great, but you need a few more things to ramp up your success. So this post is going to cover each of those items, and some examples from around the web from businesses who’ve done a great job implementing them.

CONTINUE READING

I’ve helped hundreds of bloggers and B2B businesses grow their profits with actionable content strategy advice. As a marketing agency brand strategist and copywriter, I’m on a mission to prove that you don’t need a fancy degree to market yourself, you just need the right tools. Find your voice online and grow your business! I’m known for being a crazy cat (+dog) lady, German car enthusiast and a bit of a wino.

The Difference Between Digital Strategy and Digital Project Management

My name is Michelle, and I’m a recovering Digital Project Manager.

The Difference Between Digital Project Management and Digital Strategy

 

You see, I was a digital PM for awhile, back in the heady days of 2015, a distant blur now. And then I became a digital strategist. “Cool,” I thought. “A totally different job, how exciting!” And then weeks and months went on and I found myself thinking, “Hmm. This seems an awful lot like what I was doing before. What gives?”

Months turned into almost a year and I became more disillusioned and confused than ever.

cat confused gif

So what is the actual difference between a digital PM and a digital strategist? It’s taken me awhile to learn.

CONTINUE READING

I’ve helped hundreds of bloggers and B2B businesses grow their profits with actionable content strategy advice. As a marketing agency brand strategist and copywriter, I’m on a mission to prove that you don’t need a fancy degree to market yourself, you just need the right tools. Find your voice online and grow your business! I’m known for being a crazy cat (+dog) lady, German car enthusiast and a bit of a wino.

Losing Your Way on A Winding Path (This Is A Metaphor for Getting Shit Done)

Oh, hello.

Remember when I said that when you feel like you’re fed up, and burnt out, you should connect with other humans that remind you why you love what you do? Wellllllll, that worked for me once. But now I have new advice: be a hermit.

How to Get Shit Done (fo realz!)

 

Seriously. The best advice I received for dealing with feelings of burnout was a few days ago, and that advice was: when you are so fed up that you just don’t care anymore, actively attempt to care less. Like just really get all the giving a shit out of your system. Stop caring at a molecular level. Split the atoms of the fucks you do not give, and then split them again. Create a nuclear meltdown out of all the energy that you’re not caring with. Enough metaphors for now…

In my situation, I could never focus on what I was supposed to be doing, due to a number of factors, some of them complex and one of them just being that I am an insane, quality-obsessed, control freak bitch-ola. I was so used to responding quickly to everything that came my way — emails, Slack messages, carrier pigeons — that people expected it of me, and I felt like I owed it to them.

But then my boss told me something radical. Like some life-changing shit right here. She said, “Just… don’t.” That’s basically what she said. There were more words and it sounded better than that, but that was the gist of it.

CONTINUE READING

I’ve helped hundreds of bloggers and B2B businesses grow their profits with actionable content strategy advice. As a marketing agency brand strategist and copywriter, I’m on a mission to prove that you don’t need a fancy degree to market yourself, you just need the right tools. Find your voice online and grow your business! I’m known for being a crazy cat (+dog) lady, German car enthusiast and a bit of a wino.