Life took an unexpected turn in early March, and my focus went from being a full-time entrepreneur to a full-time caretaker.
My dad, who has lived a life with near perfect health, got very sick, very quickly.
He went from being in perfect health on a Friday, March 2nd, to being near death the following Tuesday evening, thanks to a severe kidney infection.
He thought he had the flu. Unfortunately, it was much worse than that.
The infection got into his bloodstream and his body went into septic shock, and every single organ began shutting down one by one.
Before he knew he had the infection, he got dizzy and fell in the bathroom and broke BOTH of his ankles.
So he cannot put any weight on either leg and is in a wheelchair.
He’s been this way for nearly two months because he had to get clearance for ankle surgery by several different doctors.
As you can imagine, for a man who was very active, this is driving him nuts having to sit all day and be so dependent on family.
He was finally approved for surgery this Wednesday. So hopefully the therapy will begin a few weeks after that and he can get back to walking.
Nevertheless, it all could have been so much worse. I’m just so grateful he is alive and his health is good!
Thank Goodness For The Biz!
In the meantime, I feel very lucky and blessed to have this online business… especially when I’ve needed “time off.”
Most of March was a wash in terms of getting anything done for the biz.
In spite of all that’s been going on, this is shaping up to be one of my best years in some time.
In February, I had a $10K revenue month with Merch By Amazon and over $13K in total print on demand revenue (Amazon, Etsy, RedBubble, Spreadshirt, Zazzle, etc.)
That was the first time my print on demand income surpassed my largest affiliate income source (GoDaddy’s reseller program).
As great as those numbers look, you have to know that Merch By Amazon is far from being a sure thing. I have invested an insane amount of time on this in the last year, and income is up and down like a roller coaster.
So please do not join Merch expecting your income to grow every month. Mine sure hasn’t. As one of my students said, you have to treat Merch as your vacation money and never rely on it! Nevertheless, I’m completely obsessed with this opportunity!
I also just had another record month with my PSP courses.
As you may remember, my main method for promoting my courses is through podcasting.
For the longest time, affiliate income was my primary focus. Now it’s taking a backseat to course income, and this has been a long-time business goal of mine.
For too many years I was relying very heavily on affiliate income, and I wanted to see a shift.
Just Launched a Course? You’re Not Done!
One thing I’ve learned from my students on Passive Shirt Profits is that your work does not end when you launch your courses.
How many of you have ever thought, “If I can just get my course launched then the hardest part will be over.”
That’s actually when the real work begins.
Creating the course videos was the easy part for me. The bigger and ongoing challenge has been making sure students can execute!
Just because your course is live doesn’t mean it’s optimized for the best learning experience.
Some people get stuck in areas you might breeze through, or we assume certain things are clearer than they truly are.
Typically your first version of the course is going to be your worst, but your student feedback and questions should help you improve it.
Staying In Touch With Students
I tried something new this year with my Merch Course, and it’s really helped myself as a teacher and several students.
I began sending out weekly strategy tips to students, and many of the tips are very personal to my ongoing experiences with Merch By Amazon.
At first I worried about sending too many emails, but the responses have been awesome!
Students who weren’t selling anything are starting to see sales. I started receiving more “success” emails, and a few even began posting testimonials in my private group!
(I blurred out the name since it’s a private group and I didn’t get permission to share the name.)
Then I woke up to this today….
I eventually want to do one-on-one coaching/training for Merch due to requests, but I’m not ready yet.
However, this feedback and ongoing correspondence with students is prepping me for that when the time is right.
I may experiment with that once things settle down with my dad.
I Took a Marketing DNA Test
If you’ve ever struggled with how you should be marketing your business or even what kind of work you should be doing online, I’d highly recommend The Marketing DNA Test by Perry Marshall (I am NOT an affiliate.)
It revealed a lot about myself as an entrepreneur AND an online teacher.
It was recommended by one of my followers. (Shout out to Mitch!) I thought it would be fun to take. 🙂
Based on how you answer 15-20 questions, the test gives you guidance on the best methods to market your site.
It also gives you insight into the kind of work you should be doing based on your strengths and weaknesses.
I’ve always known that I’m doing the kind of work that fits me, but I wanted to see if the results aligned with what I believe about myself.
The results revealed that I excel more with right-brained, creative work and I connect with people best through video.
It also said I have a way of getting inside my visitor’s heads that is almost “psychic and sometimes a little bit scary.”
However, I’m NOT so great at analytical work that requires a lot of attention to detail.
I’m also not good with thinking on the spot. I need time to gather my thoughts.
That explains why I fall in love with work like writing/blogging, video and T-shirt design creation, but hate overly analytical work.
That also must be why I abandoned my Accounting major in college. 🙂
With SEO, I wonder if that’s why I’d always start off using keyword research software but abandon it after I found a niche.
I could never make myself use it to research every keyword I wanted to write about. I always wanted to follow my gut and common sense.
With Amazon, I have my process I use to find a niche/keywords for Merch. But I spend waaaaaaay more time coming up with my actual shirt ideas and working in Photoshop than I do obsessing over research.
The other reason why these Marketing DNA results were so interesting to me is it made me realize the disconnect that exists between how I learn and operate versus some of my students.
Right-brained people learn differently than left-brained people.
Left brained/analytical people prefer structure when learning. They take notes, like to plan everything out, and need to have all their ducks in a row before uploading/launching anything.
I’m the complete opposite.
I don’t like to do extensive planning and preparation. I’m not a note taker and prefer to jump in and figure it out as I go — even if I know everything is not perfect.
I rely on my gut with a lot of decisions I make, whereas left-brained people use more logic and research before they are comfortable moving forward.
One way is not better than the other, and they both have their pros and cons.
However, as a course creator, I’ve had to learn to focus more on the details and methodical steps for people who prefer that type of learning.
I wouldn’t have been able to improve on that if I hadn’t stayed in touch with my students.
So remember, your course is never, ever complete. It should continue to evolve based on the feedback from your students.
I’ve been selling courses for nearly four years and I’m STILL learning.
Anywho, just thought I’d update you all on what’s going on with me. It’s been an up and down year for sure, but I’m taking it one day at a time.
I hope life is treating you well! 🙂