Updated: Sep 30, 2021
If anyone had told me when I opened my first Zazzle store in 2018 that it would be providing me with a very decent income one day, I would have had a little chuckle to myself and thought, “oh yep, dream on!”
Happily, dreams can come true!
Now I’m living my dream. Designing to my heart’s content; being my own boss; making important business decisions, and earning the sort of money I never imagined could have been possible from doing what I love so much. It doesn’t even feel like “work” to me!
And if I can do it, so can you. However, I must first emphasize, the level I’m on now hasn’t happened overnight and please don’t imagine it is a means to “get rich quick”. In fact, in my first year on Zazzle, my sales there earned me less than 100 dollars. Not a lot (but I was still quite chuffed about it).
So how did I get from there to where I am today? A little about my Zazzle story is coming up, but I believe I couldn’t have gotten to where I am now on my own. I have had some excellent training from the fabulous Elke and Jen Clarke from Clarke Courses
Disclosure: all the links in this post are affiliate which means I may earn a commission should you subsequently decide to buy products from Zazzle or purchase training through Clarke Courses having clicked on any of these links, at no extra cost to yourselves. I became an affiliate for Elke and Jen’s training because without their help and guidance I truly believe I wouldn’t have come this far in my Zazzle journey. Therefore I have no hesitation in recommending their courses to you. And who better to learn from as they have had huge success on Zazzle. Here they are to tell you their Zazzle story.
So, a little about Zazzle in case you’re not familiar with them. They are a Print on Demand website with an enormous range of products, from wedding and occasion stationery and partyware, to home décor and business supplies, clothing, gifts, cards, etc. etc. In fact, such a variety, it’s quite staggering. And the uniqueness of Zazzle is the ease of personalizing. You can easily edit text and upload photos, and even go into their amazing design tool and change colors, move things round, and basically play around to your heart’s desire. Customers can either make designs from scratch on any of the products or choose from one of millions of designs in the marketplace to personalize.
The marketplace designs are where we as designers come in. Whether you’re an artist, designer or photographer, or simply have aspirations to be a creative, you can easily open a store on Zazzle and be up and running with your first item on sale really quickly.
Jen and Elke explain more about how Zazzle works here
My own Zazzle story begins around the Spring of 2018 (although on my profile it says 2014 which is when, by chance, I purchased some customized T shirts from them. Oh wow, I had no idea then that some day Zazzle was going to change my life!). At the time I had my photography studio, which I loved, but I also had the urge to get back into my drawing and painting which had been on the backburner for a number of years for various reasons.
I treated myself to an Ipad Pro and Ipencil which gave me the opportunity to paint and draw whenever time would allow, with the advantage I could pick it up on whim and no messy tidying up of paints etc to do! I was well out of practice though, so decided to take a couple of online art courses which really got me back in the swing of it all and built up my confidence in my artwork a little.
I then started looking into options for selling my art, and that’s when I discovered Zazzle (I didn't even realise it was the same site I had bought those T shirts from 4 years earlier!).
Anyway, I took the bull by the horns and I opened my Zazzle store Fotografixgal Designs To be honest, I didn’t expect great things to come of it. To me it was just a way to add my art to things like posters and canvas wraps and hope for the best. I had absolutely no idea of the huge potential Zazzle had to offer.
I made my first “proper” sale a couple of months later in the July (I say proper as Lee had already bought a T shirt from my store but I didn’t really count that!) That first sale is quite a magical moment. It was a badge (button as its known in the States) with the slogan "Vegan From Ma Head Tomatoes" on it and made the princely sum of 14 pence. None the less I was ecstatic – and more importantly, encouraged.
I started to research ways I might improve my Zazzle sales and that’s when I came across details of Elke's online training courses. At the time the course was slightly different to how it is now, although still packed with so many lessons, information and instructions. I was gripped from the moment I joined. I learned almost immediately where I had been going wrong with my Zazzle store and how to move it up a notch (or three!). It was a real eye opener for sure. Lots of Aha moments (and there have been loads more since too!).
During the next couple of years my sales climbed slowly and steadily, thanks to the initial training. I opened my second Zazzle store Fotografixgal Biz for custom business supplies in 2019. I was still only working on Zazzle on a part time basis; it was great to be able to fit it in around my photography work, which was my main priority at the time.
Then of course came 2020 and the COVID pandemic. With lockdowns and restrictions going on for longer than expected, my photoshoots came to a standstill and the time I was able to devote to Zazzle escalated. There wasn’t ever a good time to restart the photo sessions with social distancing and mask wearing requirements and eventually after several months I decided to close my photography business. Zazzle officially became my fulltime job.
I am a member of Elke and Jen’s Profit by Design Academy Coaching Program which combines a coaching program along with their signature The Profit By Design Academy course, which can also be purchased standalone,
I find the coaching program invaluable, not only from a learning perspective but also because it’s awesome to be a part of a friendly community of fellow Zazzlers from various parts of the world. I really look forward to our regular Zoom meetings with Jen and Elke. The encouragement and support from both them and the other course members is wonderful and it’s awesome and inspiring to hear about everyone else's Zazzle achievements and successes. Even though I now have considerable experience on Zazzle and have come a long way since I started, I still learn something new every time from the online Zoom calls and always come away feeling very motivated and with fresh ideas.
I’m absolutely over the moon that this year things have really taken off for me and my Zazzle earnings are already more than I ever expected and growing all the time. It’s so exciting to wake up every day and see what sales have come in overnight. And I know that this is only the tip of the iceberg - as you can see from these million dollar success stories of two of Elke and Jen’s students, Brandon and Christine
Obviously, there are no guarantees for earnings achievements. I can simply tell you that all the training, advice and guidance I have received through Clarke’s Courses has definitely worked for me, and hearing the success stories of Brandon and Christine and other course members I am certainly not the only one. It's definitely a big thank you from me to Jen and Elke!
If you are tempted to open your own Zazzle store, or have one already and perhaps feel discouraged due to lack of sales, why not join Jen and Elke’s The Creative & Ambitious Entrepreneur Facebook Group It's the perfect place to be to help you on your way, with lots of free advice, free live events, tips, and you can ask questions too. You'll be so glad you joined I'm sure.