Monthly Archives: May 2015

How to Make Money on Zazzle

Zazzle is one of my favorite money making websites.  It is a company that offers custom designed and print-on-demand merchandise.  It was founded in  1999 and is headquartered in Redwood City, California.  It is a very reputable and well-known e-commerce company in its industry.  Zazzle gives people in countries outside of the US the opportunity to earn money with other websites besides Zazzle US.  Even major brands like Hallmark and Disney sell merchandise on the platform.

There are three ways to earn money on Zazzle:

As an associate (affiliate) promoting other members’ products or your own merchandise

As a designer, creating and uploading your own images

As a manufacturer of merchandise

This post is mainly for people who are interested in making money as designers and associates.

Zazzle is a great place to make some money and being a designer or associate comes with many benefits. First of all, it is free to join. There is no physical inventory for members to store or manage. There is no manufacturing or special equipment needed as, Zazzle handles this part of the process. They also handle payment processing, customer service, packaging and shipping of the ordered merchandise, at no additional cost to the sellers.  There may be occasional direct questions to designers from interested customers regarding your merchandise.  So, it helps to have a great deal of knowledge about what you have to offer in order to better serve the customer.

The way that it works for a designer is that he or she opens a Zazzle store. It is a virtual store of inventory displayed on Zazzle’s website. The designer is responsible for choosing the products to place the designs onto. Each time that a customer makes a purchase from the store, the designer is paid a royalty.  The designer can set their royalty rates from 5% to 99%.  However, Zazzle charges a 5% transaction fee on royalties of 15% or greater.  Therefore, royalties between 5% and 10% are recommended.

For associates, a 15% royalty is earned when a sale is made. Many designers and associates promote Zazzle products on their own websites or via social media sites like Pinterest.  Associates who make referral sales may be eligible for Volume Bonus earnings. At the present, the payment threshold is $100 for payments by check and $50 by PayPal in the US.

The best part of all, is that there is the potential for residual income as long as your products are listed on Zazzle. The website domain has been around for a long time and has lots of Google juice.  Zazzle webpages usually turn up on the first page in Google SERPs.  This means that people from all over the world may see your designs.  You never know when someone will randomly decide to purchase a product that was listed months or years ago. That is the reach of the internet.

There is no need to be pre-approved for an account or for image submissions.  Also, the designer retains the copyrights to any original images that he or she creates and submits to Zazzle.  Some people use royalty free images in the public domain for their designs.  Using another artist’s designs without permission is not allowed and may be considered as copyright infringement.  Keep in mind that certain types of images are prohibited on Zazzle.  So, be sure to read all of their terms of service agreements and policies.

You don’t need to be a professional artist in order to sell your designs on Zazzle.  There are many amateur designers who take their own photos with an inexpensive digital camera or smartphone.  Then, they edit the images using free or low-cost editing/designing programs like Windows paint, Picmonkey, GIMP and Photoshop Elements.  Although you don’t have to be an artist, original, unique and creative designs will certainly boost your sales.  Expensive design and editing software programs and photography equipment are not required (but they can certainly help you to stand out as an artist).

These are some of the types of items that designs can be placed on:

  • Mugs
  • T-shirts
  • Posters
  • Pens
  • Mousepads
  • Skateboards
  • Smartphone cases
  • Laptop cases
  • Pillows
  • Postcards
  • Postage stamps
  • Stickers
  • Key chains and Name tags
  • Button and pins
  • Hats and neckties
  • The list goes on…

You will probably not get rich from Zazzle, but it is possible to earn a decent living there.  In order to be successful, you have to be serious about it from the start and treat it like a business.  That applies with just about any money making venture.

Make It Your Own

How to increase your chances of success with Zazzle:

One of the keys to success is to work hard to build up your catalogue of high-quality designs and products. Create unique products that will distinguish your products from those of other designers.  If you just follow the crowd and upload typical photos of pets, the beach, or flowers, then you won’t make as many sales.

Add more designs and more products to your Zazzle store to increase your chances of making sales.  It’s really a numbers game and you shouldn’t expect to make many sales with low volumes of products or poor quality designs.  A seller with 100,000 products is much more likely to make consistent sales than a seller with a few hundred products listed. Bare in mind that a single design can be uploaded and placed on several products.

Do keyword research in order to find low-competition niches and avoid saturated niches. Always use accurate and relevant keywords, titles and descriptions so that the products will be discovered in Google and search engines. Zazzle has a search function similar to Google.  Having product listings with accurate descriptions, titles and keywords will help the customers to find your products.

Many Zazzlers are having success by promoting products on Pinterest and Facebook. So, find some ways to get the word out about your products both online and offline.

What is a niche website? What is niche marketing?

A niche is focused on a specific interest or target audience. People often confuse mass markets with niches or subniches.  A market is a broad or general topic or industry, while a niche is more highly targeted to a particular audience or customer.  An example of a market is healthcare.  A niche or sub-niche of this market may be focused on nursing education or even more specifically, continuing education for nurse practitioners.


A niche website displays content which encompasses a given niche or sub-niche.  They can be in the form of static websites, blogs or e-commerce sites.  They can be used to make direct sales of a product or service that you create or to the promote products and services of others (affiliate marketing).


There are an abundance of niche opportunities available.  The possibilities are endless. To find a good niche, examine your interests, hobbies and passions.  Take a close look at your talents and areas where you are highly knowledgeable. Also, consider trends and what is happening in the world around you and in your local community.  You can get some good ideas from observing topics that pop in social media, current events, the news, magazines, catalogues, brochures and store shelves at retailers.  You may just get your “Eureka!” moment by talking with a friend or watching TV.



For example, when my siblings and I were growing up, we would always spend hours on the weekend watching “Kung Fu theater” on syndicated TV.  You know, those older martial arts movies with the poorly dubbed English were televised often in those days. We’d always try and mimic the fighting moves used by the actors in the movies during our play fights.  Up until this day, is still enjoy Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li action flicks.  I almost consider the martial arts as a beautiful art form.  Although I don’t know the first thing about martial arts, I am intrigued enough to be able to research and write about the martial arts.  And, there are plenty of niches to be found within the marital arts markets, such as UFC jui jitsu gear, Gracie grappling techniques, tai chi for relaxation, etc.



A few good websites that will inspire some niche ideas are, Yahoo Answers, Quora, eBay and Google Trends. Brainstorm on how you can produce content, a service or a product that will actually add value to the niche and help the end user at the same time.



Starting your research with things that you are interested in or passionate about is helpful.  This is because you will be less likely to get bored and abandon the project.  It won’t feel as much like a chore when you are trying to consistently come up with fresh ideas and content within the niche. But, your research shouldn’t stop here.



Just because you like a particular niche doesn’t mean that it will be worth your while to pursue it.  That last thing that anyone wants is to invest time, money and resources into building a website in a niche that isn’t profitable.


Some people trip themselves up from the beginning by starting with too broad a topic.  They make the mistake of assuming that they are capable of serving every audience in a market.  Then, they later realize just how overwhelming a task this is and some give up.  They also don’t consider the fact that broad markets tend to be highly competitive and difficult to thrive in.  They are already dominated by well established brands and companies.