Realistic goals on launching your printable art website
Ready to Launch Your Printable Art Website?
So it’s time to launch your printable art website. Your nerves are a little unsettled from both excitement and the thoughts of failure. You’ve put a ton of work into creating the perfect printables and building a user friendly website. You’ve made a formal announcement of the upcoming launch on social media and told your family and friends.
You finally hit publish on your Squarespace website and check your analytics and emails every hour on the hour for sells. But nothing. Now it’s been 2 weeks and still no sells.
A month goes by and you can’t figure out why you haven’t sold any printables. You begin questioning if your printables suck, if you should have opened an Etsy shop instead, and if you’ve made a horrible decision becoming your own boss.
I know exactly how you feel because I’ve been there a few times myself. You’ve read tons and tons of blog posts by veteran printable art business owners celebrating their success and encouraging others to follow suit. At this moment you feel like an epic failure.
Well, I’m here to give you some realistic goals to set as well as encouragement when you feel like giving up on your brand new instant download print shop.
FYI: This blog post is written for women who want to launch their own, independent printable art shop rather than using a marketplace platform.
Disclaimer: I am not receiving affiliate compensation for promoting Squarespace in this blog post. I am sharing an honest, unbiased review of the platform.
Stay away from marketing schemes
My first piece of advice is to stay clear from sleazy marketing schemes. I really wish online marketers would stop promoting get rich quick tactics to vulnerable entrepreneur newbies. Sadly, there are some full time, professional bloggers who are part of this group.
You have no idea how many blog posts I’ve read or videos I’ve seen about people making hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars selling their printables or products without disclosing how they really did it.
They are quick to sell you e-courses and e-books on their success without revealing the bumps in the road they encountered along the way. My guess it’s too humbling for them to share their past mistakes and huge failures.
They never tell you the real time it took to reach that level of financial freedom or all the resources they used. They make it look as though it happened overnight. I assure you it didn’t!
These people are great at playing on your emotions before hooking you with a buy this or buy that for real success. I’m not saying that these types of e-courses and or e-books aren’t valuable, some of them are legit. But beware of those that try to take advantage of you and your wallet when you’re desperate to succeed.
Getting your hopes up too high when following overnight success stories can lead you to giving up on your art print shop right before you begin making real strides. This happens time and time again.
The Tortoise Wins the Race, Not the Hare
Now that I’m done ranting, the tortoise always wins the race against the hare in the end. What do you mean, Nichole?
When building a printable art website from the ground up apart from a marketplace platform you must accept that you’ve got to put in extra work. You don’t have a marketplace algorithm to give you an edge in your products showing up in search results or the ready to purchase buyers.
It is going to take time for major search engines like Google and Bing to index and rank your website. Google is very picky about promoting new websites and it takes months and sometimes 1-2 years for your store’s blog posts and products to gain substantial traction.
I don’t want you to be discouraged by that because if you put in the hard work, follow proven strategies, and your store is steadily growing after one to two years there is no reason why you shouldn’t be making money by then.
I’m encouraging you homemakers and mompreneurs to run businesses with longevity, not fly by night, hustle for a few months types of businesses. You have to have the, I’m in it for the long haul mindset to reap the fruits of your hard labor.
Apple and Microsoft understood that what they were creating was worth the many years it took for consumers to eventually flock to their products. It took yearrrrs for these companies to build billion dollar empires. Years I’m telling ya.
Tortoise vs Hare Comparison Chart When Running a Business
Don’t be the hare, be the tortoise. The hare wants instant gratification while the tortoise understands hard work will pay off big time in the end.
The hare is often the entrepreneur who constantly compares the progress of their business to others who’ve earned success without understanding the big picture.
The hare is the entrepreneur who rushes to purchase any and every e-course and or e-book hoping to find the secret to launching and running a profitable printable art business with little to no effort in the quickest amount of time.
The tortoise is open to learning concepts that will make a big difference even if it takes months. The tortoise is not focused on profits in the beginning, but instead building a strong foundation so that the profits will roll in organically over time.
The tortoise gets that their digital print shop story is a one of a kind journey therefore, comparing themselves to everyone running similar businesses is a waste of time.
The bottom line is starting and running a successful instant download art print shop is a marathon and not a race. Keep going despite the hurdles and stay focused on what’s most important.
Don’t become distracted with what everyone else is doing and achieving around you. You’re liable to stumble before reaching the finish line.
So how long does it take to become profitable?
From my humble research and studying others in my niche the average art printable shop will begin making descent to pretty good income between 18 to 24 months with continued expected growth. And that is if you use a proven strategy and have prints your niche audience wants to purchase.
I’m not saying that there aren’t others who have done it much sooner (I will further discuss this later), but that is the average. In comparison to other e-commerce businesses that isn’t that long of a period. A lot of non-printable businesses don’t see real income until after the 3rd or 5th year and that’s only if they haven’t given up before then.
If you’ve set your goal bar too high like, I’ll be able to quite my day job after two months, then you’re most likely setting yourself up for failure and or disappointment. Especially, if you don’t have a following yet. Let me explain…
Remember how I said there are entrepreneurs who have printable art businesses that only took a few months to begin seeing consistent profits? Let me tell you a few ways how some of them achieved that:
They had a pre-existing blog that garners substantial traffic to sell to
They have at least a few thousand followers throughout all their social media platforms to sell to
They spent money on ads
They have the luxury of having a team of people working along side them
They have publicists
They went through a period of trial and error until they found a winning strategy
They jumped in and created digital products that were hot and trendy at the time
As a first time entrepreneur starting your online presence from scratch you can see what you are up against in this business. It can be down right cutthroat especially on marketplace platforms.
Unfortunately, there are going to be people who just had a easier time than you. But don’t let that get in your way of achieving your business goals.
Setting Realistic Goals
Okay, now it’s time for me to help you set some realistic goals so you don’t prematurely abandon ship.
As described in length in my blog article you should make it a goal to have 30 articles posted to your shop’s blog by month 6. That’s basically 5 posts a month averaging a post or two a week. Some bloggers will tell you to post 3-5 times a week for 6 to 9 months, but I’ve seen where this burned out bloggers even the ones suggesting that. Be a tortoise, not a hare…
Writing 30 quality posts in 6 months is like feeding chocolate chip cookies to the Google Search Engine. It’s going to want to visit your website more frequently to eat more cookies helping to rank your site higher. After that, 2-4 articles a month should suffice depending on your article topics and objectives.
One way to keep motivated is to reward yourself after every 5-10 articles you write. Maybe go out to the movies, treat yourself to a decadent treat, or get a manicure for all the typing you did. Regardless of how you celebrate, remember to celebrate becoming one step closer to reaching your ultimate goal, 30 quality posts within 6months.
Number of Printable Products:
When you first launch your art print shop I suggest having 40-50 digital art print products uploaded and ready to sell on your Squarespace website. Reason being is that you want visitors to see you run a legit store and not just a blog with a few side products. If you drop feed (Squarespace allows you to schedule out your product’s visibility) two new products weekly you’ll have nearly 100 products listed in your store by month 6.
The more products you have appropriately titled and tagged in your store the more Google Search Engine will return to eat more cookies, again ranking you higher. A good digital printable art store size is 100-400 products. Enough to feel like a real shop, but not too many that will overwhelm your potential customers.
After 12 months remove stale printables and replace them with fresh items. Updating your shop regularly will also give Google Search a reason to stop by frequently. Try not to remove your printables too prematurely because sometimes the very print you think isn’t selling will take off much later.
According to Income School the vast majority of new websites will hit their peak traffic period between 6 and 9 months. After that it will tapper off just a tad bit then remain steady. This will happen for stores who have a solid foundation from the beginning. It may take longer if you have a rocky start then figure things out later.
This is why I keep pushing you to achieve 6 month goals because you want to ride out that wave at the optimum time as long as you can. By this time Google has a pretty good idea of whether your shop’s website is worth crawling so you want to make the best impression.
It’s not impossible, but it’s hard to rebound after Google labels your website as unworthy. I know that was harsh, but I’ve been there one too many times and had to start from scratch. I don’t want you to experience that kind of pain, it hurts.
A good amount of traffic at 6 months is around 25,000 to 50,000 organic monthly visits on average. The more of those visits that are from your targeted audience the more potential for sales. There’s no point in having 100,000 daily, weekly, or monthly visits if they’re the wrong visitors so, quality really matters here, not just quantity.
By month 6 you should start to see some organic sales. It may not be enough to quit your day job, but the point is regular sales should be flowing in even if it’s just a few a week. Again, you’re the tortoise, not the hare. Regular sales is a good indication your business will be just fine if you continue to push forward.
This is the time to stop comparing your profits to others and celebrate your victory even if it’s small. If you’ve made $300 by month 6 you’ve off to a promising start. Some Etsy store owners haven’t made that by month 12. Continue on your course and before you know it you’re bringing in $1,000, then $3,000, then $6,000 and so on. And the best part it’s YOUR SHOP, not Etsy’s or Amazon’s, or eBay’s or anyone else. You own the shop outright and don’t have to give a marketplace platform a percentage of each sale profit.
By the time you’re earning profits all you have to do is keep doing what you’re doing. You can see the strategy is working so continue to oil and maintain the machine. By the time 18-24 months has hit you should be pulling in a nice income and at this time many serious printable art business owners are able to make their shop a full time, thriving business.
I have the very same desires as you, to make a profitable income from running a successful instant download art printable shop. But, it took me receiving a lot of scrapes and bruises to learn how to make that possible. My number one hurdle was having unrealistic expectations and comparing myself to others.
I didn’t know what the heck I was doing and got easily discouraged and frustrated until I took a 1.5 year hiatus after shutting down my shop. During that time I researched, read, studied, and researched even more on how to bring my Printables by Nic shop back to life hence; the August 2019 relaunch. It still is a humbling past experience, but I learned to be the tortoise rather than the hare.
Because of my new outlook on running a printable art business I am less stressed, more confident, and most of all excited about the future of my revamped shop. And I want you to feel the same way about your new shop.
What is this strategy I keep referring to?
The overall premise to the strategy is patience and building a solid foundation during the infancy stage of your printable art business.
If you continue to follow along my relaunch journey via my blog you will read more articles breaking this down into digestible nuggets.
Subscribing to my Printables by Nic Newsletter is a great way to stay abreast with new updates.
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Have you ever wanted to throw in the towel after missing a targeted business goal? Please share in the comments.