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RJ Martinez Interview: Episode 46

In January of 2019 I was lucky to host RJ Martinez on the show to talk about his print on demand businesses and income streams. For those of you who don’t know RJ, he’s an excellent teacher and full-time entrepreneur that’s grown a sizeable following by showing other people what works for him in POD. I’m a big fan and have learned a ton from him myself, I wanted to have him on the show so that you could learn from him too!

In this episode we talked about his strategies for 2019, how he builds & gives back to his community, and where you should focus your efforts this year to grow your business faster. You can find out more about RJ on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and his podcast “Real Talk”.

Episode Transcript

Spencer: [00:00:05] Welcome, everyone. This is Spencer from and you’re listening to the Merch Lifestyle Podcast.

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Bench is helping me understand my print on demand business better and gives me back a ton more time that I can use to grow my business faster. If you want to get a free month of bookkeeping for your business, sign up today using the special link in the show notes and if you do become a client with bench, they’ll even throw on an additional month of bookkeeping for free so you’ve got nothing to lose. Check it out using the link in the description.

Boom. Hey everybody. Welcome to Merch Lifestyle Podcast. This is episode 46. I’m your host, Spencer, as always, and I am joined today by a super special guest. You’ve seen him, you’ve heard him. If you don’t know his name, you will after today. Today, RJ Martinez joining us. RJ, how are you doing?

RJ: [00:01:24] What’s going on, man? Thanks for having me on. Doing actually really well. A very productive day. I’m writing all my stuff down. I’m a big fan about writing everything down, guys. If you guys are not, I had to actually look it. I went to Target and I have this pretty daily planer, but it was too small. I couldn’t write all my stuff that I wanted to do down, like all my stuff that you’re doing daily, I can write it down. So, I had to go get a bigger one. I’m a big fan on that. If I think of something, I write it down because I’ll forget it 30 minutes later. And I’m just like, man, what am I doing. I’m all over the place, all these tabs are open like, “Damn.”

Spencer: [00:02:05] I’m with you. There’s a big folder on my desk. You can’t see it, but it’s like, I’ll write stuff down in different notebooks and consolidate it and I’ll go look at it and write some stuff down again. The process of writing helps, that’s what I tell myself.

RJ: [00:02:16] Yeah, for sure. It does. And I can see that it does help a lot. I try to have stuff I’ve written down right here that I’m going to accomplish throughout the week and it does help a lot for sure.

Spencer: [00:02:32] Well, I mean, you’ve got a lot going on for those who are listening and watching who don’t know you. Tell us a little about yourself and then your background in e-commerce.

RJ: [00:02:42] Okay. Merch by Amazon is one of the big, I put a lot of content out about that. So that’s how a lot of people started noticing me. I was doing a little bit of FBA, going to like there’s doors and stuff like that, trying to figure out how to do stuff. I’m just like, “Man, how am I going to do this?” Trying to find myself, you know? And I was like, “Dang.” And I started doing FBA. I started doing a lot of shoot flipping before it actually got big. I was doing that and I showed a lot of people how to do certain things with gift cards and stuff like that. I was doing that and I was shipping out like a hundred shoes a day sometimes. It’s like, “Man. I can’t be doing this.”

My buddy was making fun of me. He’s like, “Dude, you’re supposed to be focusing more on your time and stuff like that. It seems like you’re working more than when you had a job. You’re breaking your back more than when you had a job.” And I was like, “What? It’s going to pay off.” He’s like, “Really think about what you’re doing with your time management and rethinking what you’re doing.” And I was like, “Man.” I’ve thought about it and then I started messing around with the Merch by Amazon.

I uploaded a few designs and then made a few sales. I was like, “Wow, okay, there we go. This is something I can actually do” because I love being on the computer. But I hate putting rubber bands on shoes and cover it, hold the box of clothes and stuff like that, so I started doing merch by Amazon and I outsourced that out right away. And because I suck at designing, and the whole concept of… I’m good at understanding the design and the idea, but I suck at designing, like being creative and putting stuff together. I’ll sit there for like a whole two days trying to figure out one design. So that’s not me.

I do a lot of a print on demand. It went from Merch by Amazon to now of print on demand. I do Etsy. I do Merch by Amazon. Now, I’m creating content for the community. What else am I doing? I’m on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), messing around with KDP. I squeeze this into my weekly stuff. I try to squeeze it in there and kind of give it a couple of hours of the day a week and try upload the maybe 20, 30 journals a week or something like that. I’m trying to fit that into there, too, as well.

I actually have two Etsy stores now. I have a general store and then I have a niche store. We’re competing with each other. I’m just trying to grow the niche store. I have about like 73 listings live. I actually see it growing a little bit. It’s consistent traffic now. Before, I used to get like one to two people in the store. Now, it’s about 10 to 12 a day. Just screwing everything and seen a lot of success.

Spencer: [00:05:36] Nice. You’ve got a pretty wide scope. You’re full time entrepreneur, right?

RJ: [00:05:43] Yeah.

Spencer: [00:05:44] Okay, cool. To ground everybody on these different platforms, what would you say you bring in profit wise as a bucket every month.

RJ: [00:05:54] My merch account, it can be anywhere between like three to five, three to six a month. It’s crazy because we usually have to beginning of the year of January and February do really well. I’m not in black history month. Okay. I really got into it.

I see a lot of people that come into Merch by Amazon and they do really well in February. I’m like, “Why are you doing so well in February?” And then I kind of do research and it’s like, “Oh, okay. So, you’re in black history month and you’re crushing it. That’s what you’re doing.” But I average, it all depends. They average anywhere between, I want to say right now because I’ve been scaling and growing everything, putting out more content and stuff like that. That’s been helping me out a lot, too. I average anywhere between six to nine (thousand).

Spencer: [00:06:45] Nice.

RJ: [00:06:46] 9k a month, but all depends, Like I said. Last month, I probably did close to 10k last month.

Spencer: [00:06:53] Yeah, man. Eventually you cleaned up that last one.

RJ: [00:06:55] Yeah, that’s normal. Now it’s going back down, you’re like, “Oh, time to work your butt off.”

Spencer: [00:07:00] January is painful.

RJ: [00:07:01] Right now, I do have a shirt right now from last year. I made a video on this on YouTube. I do have a shirt from last year and that was doing really well for me. It’s ranking number one for a key term and it’s a trending holiday. Last time I checked, it was ranking number one, ranking on the front page, like number one, number two. It fluctuates. Last week it was ranking number eight, but now it’s up on number one because of the sales volume that’s been given.

That’s been, I have one shirt that does really well for me and it’s does anywhere between five to ten sales a day. But right now, today for some reason there’s no sales. It’s weird. I’m just like, “Okay. Hmm. Monday.” Everybody’s going back to work, I guess.

Spencer: [00:07:45] Today’s been low. And then I had a day this month, too, where I lost money on Merch. Had more return than sales. It’s up and down, man. You’ve got all these things and then to ground everyone, so that’s where you were last year. That’s where you’re at.

Now let’s talk a little bit about where you want to take your businesses in 2019. Just broadly, do you want to grow one particular business? Do you want to diversify? What’s filling up your note pad these days?

RJ: [00:08:12] Right now, Etsy, it’s been pretty fun on there. I have a few things that I always have. I don’t know with my goals and stuff like that. I’ve been intending to have more fun with them, but I’m very like a chip on my shoulder. If I can’t accomplish that, you get pissed off at yourself.

And, sometimes I’m like, “Dang, man. Try to take it easy on yourself” because I’m pretty sure you’re the same way. If you can’t accomplish something, then you get mad. You’re like, “Damn it.” With me, for example, my Merch by Amazon account, I just got the invoice or the royalty thing. I did 47,000 last year.

Spencer: [00:08:53] Well done.

RJ: [00:08:53] That’s pretty cool. That’s consistent of at $4,000 a month.

Spencer: [00:08:59] That’s about it.

RJ: [00:09:00] That’s pretty cool, but that’s not to my standards.

Spencer: [00:09:04] That’s an understatement. That’s pretty cool, but I’m following you.

RJ: [00:09:07] Yeah. But you know, you get what I’m saying, it’s not to my standard. You make $4,000 a month. You’re like, “Oh, cool, cool. That’s awesome.” But you’d be like, “Okay, but what can I do to take it to that next level? What am I doing wrong? I’ve been doing this for almost two years. What am I doing wrong? Now you question yourself. I’ve been focusing more on issues.

One of the most important things I’ve been focusing on is I have two illustrators. This third one I’m interviewing right now, but these two illustrators I have right now, they’re only focusing on four niches each. Each one of them have different issues they are focusing on. I’m going to have my topography guy, but not only that, I’m on there, too, as well, uploading and stuff like that and seeing what we’re doing and seeing the sales ratio between uploads and sells. I’ve been focusing more on that, kind of like a data information, running AMS ads right away to them. As soon as I upload them, they’re live. AMS ads. I’ve been seeing a big difference.

Spencer: [00:10:06] Nice. Let’s go into that. Merch is your focus. Merch is your bread and butter for last year. Sounds like you’ve got your team, you’re running the show, you’ve outsourced the key stuff. In the beginning when you were doing FBA and hustling shoes, it sounds like you’re working smarter and you’re working harder, too, but you’re also working smarter.

With Merch and AMS, you’ve got your designs picked out, you’ve done the research, you’re focusing on the niches. What does that flow look like? How many are you getting up a day? Are you going broad? What kind of products are you putting them on or you do you believe in shirts? Are you going to focus more on the heavier stuff?

RJ: [00:10:44] That’s another thing, too, like kind of just throughout the week. That’s another thing. I need to write down something like, say, Saturday. Go back to the products that I’ve sold on shirts to upload them to other products. I messed around and uploaded to pop sockets and I’ve made a couple of them. A couple of them made sales.

That’s something to think about, too, as well just for everybody in general. I think that if you upload stuff and you see that it’s making sales on a certain product, it doesn’t hurt to come back later on that week and upload them to different products. That’s kind of like a time management thing, too, as well because you don’t want to be all over the place when it comes to that. That right there I did upload to a few pop sockets and they’ve made sales. But I think in my mind I’m like, “You know what? Use the Amazon search bar and see what other cuts, see what other products in that niche people are looking for” or look in that niche.

See, it makes it more simple this way, too, as well. Look in that niche and see what other gifts or long sleeve selling, premium shirts selling or sweatshirts or hoodies. That’s more simple because then you’re not going back, you’re uploading stuff like throwing it up against the wall and see if it’s making sales. That’s something to think about, too, as well. I’m actually going to write that down.

Spencer: [00:11:56] Glad I could help. No, that’s good. I think some people might get boxed into thinking that we just sell t-shirts on the internet, but it’s really you create a digital asset and then it’s about how you’re going to SEO optimize it and how you’re going to distribute it. Putting it out on a Merch product is just one way to distribute and sell. But that product, you could sell that design, you could sell it on a poster or a mug, you could sell it on Etsy, et cetera, right?

RJ: [00:12:23] Yeah, yeah, for sure. No, you can do stuff like that. I should have actually shared this, I didn’t even think about that now.

One second. I’m sorry about that. Like in the middle of the month, usually, like last year, I started like the first week.

Spencer: [00:12:43] Yeah. Usually, right after New Year’s it’ll kick off a little bit. I think that the silver lining on this one is I might actually make more from Etsy, if I can sneak in a couple of orders than I will from Merch, which is super cool. That’s like a big milestone. I’ve been trying to diversify away from that a little bit.

RJ: [00:13:01] Yeah, for sure. I shared the episode in the Merch by Amazon Mastermind and then I shared it in the big group, too, as well.

My sales, too. Today I’m at a 21 sold. For this month I’m at 633 sold.1131 and royalties. I don’t know. It’s weird. It’s slow, for sure.

Spencer: [00:13:31] You’ve got your niche picked out, you’re grinding, and you’ve got your team. Tell me more about AMS because I think a big opportunity that I missed last year was not running AMS ads consistently.

What I did, I had an accost that was under 10%, which is fantastic. But then I really dropped the ball on not educating myself and learning it, especially as they’ve put out new resources. AMS as a platform is really growing at a much bigger level. It’s taking market share away from Facebook ads. It’s taking market share away from Google AdWords.

Tell me about your strategy there, because you mentioned before the show how you’re working on that and how it’s been actually going pretty well for you to drive some traffic.

RJ: [00:14:16] Right now with AMS, I’m testing a lot of it out right now. I’m starting real low, but first I was starting like real high. At the end of the day, I spent like $72 in one day and only maybe like two sales. I was like, “Oh no. What did I do wrong?” I just said, “Yeah, 75 cents.” I was like, “Man, that’s cool.” Then I started adjusting it. The next day was like only 40. I was like, “No, that’s still way too high and my sales are not up there like they should be.” And then I adjusted all the way down to 15 cents and I ended up just still making sales.

With AMS, you do have to mess with it a little bit. There’s some days, if you mess with that, you’ll spin easy over $50 if you mess with it enough. They have this new feature in the back. I’m trying to look at it right now. The portfolio so you can create. I have niches in their creative and I’m running for one niche, I’ll actually run all amp. I’ll put all my shirts and stuff, our products in that one niche and I’ll have it all organized that way, too, as well. I’m trying. I’m keeping everything organized. I think that’s kind of keep focused and stuff like that. You want to keep everything organized in that low portfolio part. What else is there? There’s that top search.

Spencer: [00:15:40] Well, if you’re selling in a niche and let’s say you’ve got your niche picked out and then you pull all those ASINS and you plug them in to that portfolio and then automatically, if you want to run a new campaign against all those skus, then Amazon lets you do that really easily. Is that how it works?

RJ: [00:15:59] I’m not sure how, I don’t think that’s how it works. What do you mean? Like you want to run a…

Spencer: [00:16:08] I mean tell me how the portfolio works. How does that help? Does that help you organize what designs you run ads against?

RJ: [00:16:14] Well, it just helps me organize it for each niche. So if I’m running the ads to, let’s say a hundred days, a hundred days of school, every single design in there that I designed that actual for that niche. And it’ll kind of give me the impressions, and, of course, the sales, and how much I spent in that niche. That’s how I’ve been keeping it organized. That way, you can also go back. I haven’t messed with it all the way yet, but I will later on this week towards the weekend and kind of see like what might keywords are, what I’m making for.

That’s a whole other topic right there. You kind of have to be more in detailed and show the screen, but yeah. Of course, I won’t do that because you’ll see all my…

Spencer: [00:17:01] No, we don’t want that at all. And I believe, even if I were to show my, everyone was doing reveal their bestselling shirts on here. That information, one, is already public if you search. And then two, it just creates a bunch of copy cats. It doesn’t help anybody.

There’s so much to dig into on AMS. I guess just generally, do you do headline search or product display?

RJ: [00:17:25] With AMS, I’ve been doing just sponsored ads. I just keep it very simple with that. I haven’t messed around too much with it. I think last year I did that with the sponsor, product display. Is that when you’re like under the “add to cart,” right?

And that’s what it is. I was messing with that when I first found that out and I started messing with it because I’ve seen somebody during the Halloween last year. All his shirts are all under a 100k and this just crushed me. I see him in all of my top selling designs. This guy right here. This guy’s crushing it. I launched one and I actually spent like 100 bucks for like over $3,000 in sales or something stupid like that. It was crazy.

Spencer: [00:18:12] And there’s a knock on benefit, too, which is kind of what we were talking about before the show, which is even if you were to spend 100 bucks and then just make a hundred bucks in royalties, it’s still worth it because you’re driving more sales to your accounts so you can tier out faster. You’re getting that lower BSR and in theory, you’re boosting up where your shirts sit on the search page, right?

RJ: [00:18:32] Yeah. For real. That’s one way because one of the most important thing is getting that organic reach. You want that in an organic reach. It’s very important because once you get that up right there, the sales has come in and then everything else just boosts.

You got the sales coming in from the ad, you’ve got the organic sales coming in from the customer just searching on Amazon and then you just start crushing it. It’s pretty important actually.

Actually, I’m going to run a few of those after this. I forgot about that. I have a top selling design that’s doing really well. Let me see what it does in this niche and often you get to pay attention, because you can run the ad to, I forgot what you can… In that category or against another shirt in that category. Or something like that. You just have to be careful how you’re targeting that and you just want to test that out for sure.

Spencer: [00:19:24] Yeah. There’s all kinds of ways you can do it, too. You can do your manual search terms. You can do the Amazon suggested ones, I think to your point, Amazon, it’s really a battleground because everybody’s fighting for that front page. Even if you’ve got your niche down completely all the way, you’re fighting with the people who are spending ad money. That top row is a battlefield, right? If you’re not spending on ads, you’re not in that space.

What we saw late, late last year, which affected a bunch of my designs I uploaded in 2017 that were doing well is that whatever Amazon did on the backend, it just took a bunch of those products that were doing super well out of that front page. I had one that had like 22 five-star reviews. It even had like the Amazon Choice badge. I don’t even know what that means, but I think it’s good. It just recently clawed its way back. That listing is a freaking warrior, but it took forever. Did that affect you?

RJ: [00:20:20] Well, what was it one more time? What was it?

Spencer: [00:20:23] There was this day where Amazon did some kind of backend change and the ASINs. I know Blake who runs Merch Campus covered it in detail and I saw a bunch of my listings I had uploaded in 2017 kind of fall in the organic traffic then and it’s taken a long time for them to recover and a bunch of them never did.

RJ: [00:20:39] Those are the reasoning behind that right there, I believe. Really not too sure, but I know that it seems like there’s a few different reasons. There’s a reason why, why would they elsewhere, they just switch the ASIN around. From what I heard, it’s supposed to be easy and make it easier for us and I’m thinking a few things.

There could be a few things. Maybe you can just upload one design to one market and then it goes to all the other markets for you. That would be pretty cool. I did have that one design that was in a very competitive niche and it had over 11 reviews on it and I’ve been running AMS ads to it. That previous day probably do like about seven or eight sales at 19.09 and then the next day it was gone. I looked in the morning and like, “No. You gotta be kidding me. They wouldn’t do this.”

Spencer: [00:21:28] Without a trace.

RJ: [00:21:29] And then I have one buddy that I communicate with them pretty much every single day and we’re working together. He was pissed, too, because he, I’m pretty sure everybody knows who he is, but he has probably the best designs on Amazon. He was expecting to do over 100k that month. He ended up only doing 87,000, so he was kind of mad.

Spencer: [00:21:49] I shed a tear for him.

RJ: [00:21:53] He was like, “What the heck?” And then everybody will worry in the little Slack channel and then we’re all messaging each other like, “What’s going on, man, what is going on?” And we’re trying to figure out what happened. All of a sudden, the ranks started coming back like around noon and Ken [Reil], he kind of knew, he knows what’s going on but he can’t say too much because that’ll be his inside, his inside scoop that he has will no longer tell him what’s going on.

Spencer: [00:22:18] It could be another thing, too. It could be that they… I would love to see them go the red bubble route. I don’t know if they’re going to be able to do it with the way their catalog’s structured, but you upload one design on the multiple products, too. I have confidence they’re making positive changes. How did you do on the UK and Germany markets? Because that was a nice boost for me last year and that was a nice change they made.

RJ: [00:22:39] It had me bring in like an extra hundred bucks, like a month. I’m like negative over there this month, I believe.

Someone there returned their pizza shirt or something and they didn’t want it. I think last month they brought it in, each one of them brought 100 bucks, so that’s pretty cool. Just to not even touch it and then just “Here’s $100,” I go “Cool.” That’s dinner for the night or for the week.

Spencer: [00:23:10] That’s a nice dinner. Yeah, man. Are you overall on Merch? I want to definitely talk about a couple of other platforms and strategy stuff, too.

Overall on Merch, are you optimistic about 2019? Do you have any predictions? I know you’re focusing on growing it, but as we know with Amazon, anything can change with a moment’s notice. Are you optimistic about where they’re taking it? Do you think they’ve opened the flood gates? What’s your general take on Merch in 2019?

RJ: [00:23:42] Like I said, with me, I’m more focused on having the best design. I don’t mind spending a little bit more money. I try to do that at the very beginning. I think that’s a very big thing. But don’t get me wrong, I see some people just put up a basic design. I don’t really crush it. There’s a few designs that I made. I made it myself, just a few like statement designs on a shirt and just basic text only. This is making sales. This is stupid. I’m like “Yeah, this is dumb man.”

Spencer: [00:24:12] It feels like easy money. It doesn’t feel right.

RJ: [00:24:15] Yeah, for sure. No, for sure. I’m more focused on taking over niches. I think having the best design in a niche is very important long-term because think about it. If you have one niche and see it making sales for you, why not? Even Ken Reil says, “Why not fatten the niche, make it bigger?” Because I’m more focused.

I’d rather have one niche than 20,000. I’m focused on one niche. I want that one niche to do 20,000 or $10,000 for the year. Now, imagine we have eight of them doing 10,000 or $20,000, that’s big. You put it like that. I’m thinking more long-term, focusing on one niche and getting those reviews, ranking them, having them ranked on the front page.

Then like I said, time management is very important because then the next day, you want to work on your other niche. And then we had her on Sunday, you want to come back and check up on that one niche that’s doing well this week. I think having one niche doing 10 to 20 sales a day is really important because when you put it that way, it seems so much easier compared to being all over the place and not understanding your niche.

That’s something to think about. I never really put that out there to anyone like that. I’ve been talking about it in the, like I said, in the Mastermind little chat that we have, but this is the first time putting it out there. I think if that clicks you, hopefully it does and understand it and it’s pretty important.

Spencer: [00:25:54] I think you’re thinking more long-term and if you are focusing more on your quality and then focusing on one niche, you can start to build a brand that doesn’t have to just live on Amazon, right? Because I’m guilty of kind of being maybe too diversified in my designs where it chased a scatter shot of different niches.

If I wanted to go take those designs and build a brand, I got nothing to work with because it’s all just pieces, a little opportunistic stuff, and it’s diversified, right? It’s not all in one seasonal thing. It’s not all Saint Patty’s day stuff and I just live and die with that. But to your point, if you’re upping the quality, then that opens up other channels, too.

You like red bubble, right? Where the quality’s higher. It opens up cross-selling on Etsy potentially. Hey, you could even build a social following if you want to start to build an audience and a community. You’ll have to understand the niche, too. You can’t fake a niche.

One of my bestselling shirts is in a niche where I was really passionate about for a long time and I just kind of understood like the little jokes and stuff. The more you doubled down on one, the more you start to understand that the more you research you do, it’s almost got this multiplier effect that stops you from feeling so scatter-brained. I really think your point was, super, super smart.

RJ: [00:27:10] Yeah. That’s another thing, too. A lot of people, they don’t understand that until they started doing it. When you started doing that, you see it like I said. I uploaded like about 60 really, really strong designs . Half of them are already making sales. I’m just like, “Okay Dude, I’ll upload 300, 400 designs.” Now, I’m actually taking my time, looking at the quality of the design, making sure the detail work is there. That’s a big thing, too, as well, making sure that detail work is there.

I think honestly, when a customer buys a shirt from Amazon, they see it, they buy it, they see the detail work on the shirt, like the coloring and all that stuff. It makes them feel like they have to go back and redo it for some reason. I don’t know why. It makes me smile. They’re like “Their shirt’s amazing. I’m going to go back and leave a review.”

I think that’s one of the ways, too, to actually help boost your reviews, too. Not only that, too, is just, I don’t know. I’ve seen that. I upload to Redbubbles red shirt in Etsy but actually, the spreadsheet I was looking at it right now, this is like yesterday, I made 6 sales. Two days ago, I did six sales. Yesterday, I did five. Today, I did two.

Spencer: [00:28:30] How many products do you have live there?

RJ: [00:28:33] Uh, probably about 2000.

Spencer: [00:28:34] Oh, okay. That’s a pretty big portfolio.

RJ: [00:28:38] This is the thing though. When I was doing that, I really wasn’t… Now, Mark, the designee, understanding the design is like a whole ‘nother level. That’s a whole ‘nother level. It’s not like tech space.

Spencer: [00:28:53] Hopefully the market will agree with you, right? Because that’s the big argument. Is the tech space stuff just works? At what point do you draw the line? It’s so subjective, but at what point do you draw the line between over creating and, and versus just scaling. That’s something everyone has to decide, but it sounds like you’re shifting more towards the quality.

RJ: [00:29:13] That’s another thing because I know somebody that’s crushing it and I’m like, “Dude, look at my design and judge it. I want you to judge it. I want to be better.” Like he’s like, “Well, there’s a space here and there’s space here. You want your illustration to fit. You want it to fit in what the typography and the text you wanted to fit in there.” I’m just like, “Interesting.”

So I got my whole team on a Skype chat. We’re doing weekly calls now and I’m just like, “Okay. Can you see this illustration? The text has to look good so we have to make it fit. Make this illustration like more to the side.” They were like, “Oh, okay, cool.”

And I suck. I suck at this, too, as well. That’s the crazy thing about it. It’s pretty cool. [inaudible 00:30:02] made a sale. It was like five bucks or six bucks, I think it was a sticker? I have it up to 300% on that.

And then I sold the clock the other day. That was like a $10.


Spencer: [00:30:16] Hey, nice. You can sell a scarf, a tapestry, acrylic block.

RJ: [00:30:23] Yeah. I was like, “Dude, what the heck.” That’s the cool thing about Redbubble, too. I don’t know. People buying weird stuff on there, I don’t know.

Spencer: [00:30:29] Redbubble’s great man. They actually market on your behalf. I think you can link up your Google Analytics account and they’ll run Google shopping ads for you. It’s beautiful.

RJ: [00:30:39] Yeah, they do that?

Spencer: [00:30:40] Yeah. I dug into their investor presentation as part of a different video and read more about all the technology they’re investing in and it’s pretty comprehensive.

They’re trying to make the platform easier to use. They’ve got a pretty significant amount of people that go on there, particularly internationally. I get a lot of sales from Australia and all over markets that are open for Merch and I think they are a pretty well-run company. They’re going to make some big changes, so it’s cool.

RJ: [00:31:07] I think I was watching a video, did you go over that or you’re the one that went over that?

Spencer: [00:31:11] I went over. I reviewed them versus Printful, yeah.

RJ: [00:31:14] But you can plug in the analytics in the back and it would give you more information, correct?

Spencer: [00:31:18] Yeah. Who was talking about that?

RJ: [00:31:22] I forgot who said that, but yeah.

Spencer: [00:31:24] We’ll remember to link it, but somebody was talking about linking up your analytics and then also using the URL to pull down some keywords and stuff. If I can find that, I’ll link to it.

RJ: [00:31:36] Interesting. Yeah, no. And then I’ll also look at it today because that’s one of my goals, too, is I want to actually grow that. Now that I have really good quality designs and I’m pretty sure that they would do really well on there, too, because that’s what Redbubble’s about, like more like artsy kind of, look at the detail work on this, you know? If you could do that, you can pull that off doing over a thousand dollars a month.

Spencer: [00:32:05] Yeah, I think people can do well on Redbubble with high quality designs. It’s not the space for scale designs. I’ve been open about it. I do a lot of scaled stuff, either text based or simple graphic. I’ll even use some automation and some Photoshop scripts to just hang out a list of stuff, but I don’t put that on Redbubble. That’s just spammy. Merch is like, “Hey, here’s a thousand, you have 800 uploads a day. Go for it, kid.”

RJ: [00:32:31] Also, too, like I said, I have been paying attention to the people who deal my stuff because you can do that on Redbubble and one of my designs, when I just uploaded, it has like over eight likes or eight hearts or something like that, but it has no sales. Those hearts really didn’t do much, but they may help. I don’t know. They rank better, so you never know. But we’ll see. We’ll see though. You know. So, another thing, too, was like Etsy. I’ve been doing really well on Etsy.

Spencer: [00:33:00] Tell me about your strategy. Because I love Etsy. I have so much good things to say about it, but I want to hear about your strategy and how it’s been for you.

RJ: [00:33:09] What I do on Etsy, Monday is Etsy. My general store day today. Actually, my store name. But what I do is I look at the stats. I’m just seeing what shirt is doing well and I go on in on my niche and take over. Another thing, too, I do is I message all the customers today and tell him if the shirt was okay, is that what they expected. If so, leave a review. Let me check that right now.

Spencer: [00:33:44] On a side note, if anybody knows about a chrome plugin or a third-party extension that I can use to just, after an order ships, wait five days and then send that predetermined note to a customer. That would be beautiful because I used to do that in the beginning, but I’ve fallen off the train and it really helps getting reviews when you follow up with people.

RJ: [00:34:06] Yeah, for sure. It does. It really does. So, I followed up and I’ve got one, two, three, four reviews today.

Spencer: [00:34:17] Dang. Five stars?

RJ: [00:34:19] Yeah. And then check it out, guys. This is one of the most important things. This is what I’ve been noticing and I’ve been testing this with my niche store.

After, when you get those reviews, when they started coming in like that, out of nowhere, I’ll start getting the hearts, people liking my stuff. I’m not sure what Etsy does, but I’m pretty sure they do something that has to do with something with their algorithm. I get in a lot of hearts, like literally, probably got, one, two, three, four, five. So, five hearts within an hour and then here’s one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, seven. Seven within another hour. And then here comes an order. An order came in just right before we started the show.

Spencer: [00:34:58] My main store has 300 sales and 30 reviews. I’m at a 10% rate without reaching out. That’s massive to get that many.

RJ: [00:35:08] Yeah. See, that’s another thing, too. I do run a… was it Etsy…

Spencer: [00:35:13] Promoted listings?

RJ: [00:35:14] Promoted listings. I do run on that, too, as well. Just paying attention, paying attention to the customer, messaging them, following up with them.

I have a have this one customer today. Here’s a perfect example. I have one customer that came in today. She ordered a Saint Patrick’s Day shirt already. See that’s another thing, too. You see how far away Saint Patrick’s Day is.

Had a customer come in and order and it was too small and she got it within a certain amount, a certain time period. I think she ordered this shirt probably about maybe about four days ago, two days ago, and then she got it today. That’s another topic right there, too.

Spencer: [00:35:54] For you, are you doing Teelaunch, Printful, at somebody else?

RJ: [00:35:57] I have a buddy that’s been doing all my stuff for me, so that’s another topic right there. We get along to that right now. I would only accept returns or exchanges on my store. With that right there, she’s like, “It’s too small. It fits like a medium.”

That’s another thing, too. See the Bella Canvas, the women’s, so she ordered an extra large, but it fitted like a medium. It’s very tapered, like the manufacturer. Yeah, they fit like a medium. It’s like almost you have to order two sizes up. But what happens if I don’t offer two sizes up? She was kind of mad. She’s like, “So what am I supposed to do with the shirt? I can’t wear it and I can’t afford another one.” To make her happy, I told her that I’ll send her another one, a unisex shirt. The unisex one is more fitted. It’s more like a regular fit, like a normal human being.

Spencer: [00:36:53] A vision of what a real person should look like.

RJ: [00:36:57] Again, I’m a 44DD and I was like, “this is no way I can put this. Oh, God. Okay.”

Spencer: [00:37:08] We need that to be accustomed more. I like what you’re saying with taking care of them, right?

 When people have a bad experience, you can turn a one star into a five star, no problem. I think a specifically on Etsy, the beauty of it is that it’s not completely hands free.

You can outsource it with a team, sure, but you have to be talking to people, you have to put a little smiley emoji in there, you’ve got to show some personality, you’ve got to not be a robot, and you have to have a transaction with people, especially if you’re doing custom work. I think if you put the little bit of extra effort in to do that, one, it feels good because you’re not dealing with the generic Amazon customer who’s just going to return the first thing and they’re probably going to give it as a Christmas gift and then the prison’s going to get it and then send it back and they’ll like stick you with all the fees.

On Etsy, I think people are more real. They’re just willing to work with you. You’re a small seller and they’re more understanding. Do you agree with that?

RJ: [00:38:07] Yeah, for sure. It’s more of like one-on-one.

Another thing, too, is you got to treat it like a business and show them that you care. That takes it a long way. “No, come back. Leave a review.” I have repeat buyers. I have a woman that bought a shirt for her mother and literally I seen her purchase something two days ago and I messaged her like, “Hey, I’ve seen you come back. Thank you. I appreciate that. It means a lot.” She sent a picture of her mom on my store. I was like, “Oh, thank you for coming back.” and” she’s like, I’m sneaking the shirt that I just ordered it today. I’m sneaking in my mom’s suitcase because she’s going on vacation.” “That’s cool. That’s awesome.” I was like, “Can you send a picture when she gets it. She’s like, “Of course I will. I’m having so much fun with this. Thank you. It means a lot. You have a good quality shirt, too. Thank you.” That’s a very important thing.

Also, too, right now I am working to have a buddy. He actually found me on Instagram. He’s doing all my printing. He’s doing all my printing. He’s like my processing time. It’s crazy. My processing time, sometimes, it would get everything printed and labels. I mean like the shipping label, everything done in one day sometimes.

Spencer: [00:39:29] Is he U.S. based? Is he based in the U.S?

RJ: [00:39:31] He’s in L.A. He’s like right around the corner from the Bella and Canvas warehouse. He’s like, “Anything you need, man. Just let me know.”

I had a buddy he’s fighting at a Bellator. He’s fighting at Bellator, it’s an MMA fighting, like a UFC kind of. He’s fighting on Saturday and I needed 15 shirts, so I give him a call. This is another thing, too, the important thing. You build that relationship, you learn. You don’t know who you’re going to meet. You never know who you’re going to meet.

He actually found some content on me, I think it was on Instagram and he went to YouTube and then he just reached out to me like, “Hey, I want to help you. You helped me and my dad build our business up and I want to return the favor to you, so I want to help build your Etsy store up and help you grow or whatever you need, whatever, you just let me know.” I called him, I was like, “I need 15 shirts and I need front and back printed.” And he’s like, “Yeah, I’ll get it out and I’ll get everything out today, printed, everything.” I’m just like, “Damn. Okay, cool.”

Spencer: [00:40:34] Does he have access to your Etsy store or does he have like an API that pulls your orders or a manual pull?

RJ: [00:40:42] Shipstation. Just the PNG.

That part right there, I’ve been uploading manually or have my VA, like I’ll be out and about and I get an order and the guy’s like, “Hey, I need this PNG file” and I’ll just message my VA on my phone if I’m out and about. I’m asking him, “Hey, can you do this? Because you’re my VA.”

That’s another thing, too, guys. It’s very important to have a VA that you trust. That’s very important because he could do anything. He could do anything for you. Just trust him and work with him. I work with him on a daily basis. I got off with a call at 12 o’clock with him and just just touch base and just give him that motivation, what we’re working on today. He’ll literally move the design for me within 30 seconds. He works like eight hours of the day and he’ll do it. That’s pretty important, too. He enjoys doing it. He likes working with me and stuff like that. I actually found this guy and the quality of the shirts are really good. The printing’s really good. I’ve been testing it.

 he color is amazing. Nice and thick graphics. Real nice. The print comes out really good, which in return, when it comes to that in return, Etsy reviews go up, everything goes up. He has a little ticket that he puts in the package to leave a review, how to wash.

Spencer: [00:42:05] Can you do any custom packaging with him because that could really help your Etsy business stand out?

RJ: [00:42:11] I haven’t really got that far yet. I’m about that.

Spencer: [00:42:14] If you can get some, even if it’s just a sticker or a decal or something more than the ticket, one thing that I’ve been trying to think about for my premium brand is every time, I got this box of chocolates the other day at work. Just a little gift. You see this with an iPhone, too. You open it up and it’s like an experience. If people are paying premium price, you almost expect that special thing, especially if they’re giving it as a gift, the chance to be seen by a lot of people, I think packaging is underrated as a way to make a premium product stand out. Since he’s your custom guy, he might be able to help you with that.

RJ: [00:42:49] I think I watched your video that you did with the Redbubble. Sticker in the packaging was really good, but the printing was okay. I watched the whole thing. I was watching the whole thing.

Spencer: [00:43:02] Dang, you stayed for the whole thing? I make those videos too long, I think. It’s like an hour.

RJ: [00:43:06] That video does really well. I was like, “This is a really good one.”

Spencer: [00:43:10] You were looking at my SEO, you’re like, “Dang, I got to get on this guy’s YouTube.”

RJ: [00:43:17] I was going to make a video this December. With this right here, actually, I went over to Printify. I have actually some shirts in there that look horrible. I was reaching and I was like, “Who’s doing the shirts?” And I came across you.

I have these shirts and they came out, like the printing is bad, you can see the ink is kind of going over the lettering. It’s pretty bad. Printify uses, I forgot who they use. MyLocker. MyLocker, which is custom cat. Horrible. In December, the beginning of it, I was doing some crazy 20, 30 sales a day on Etsy. I was crushing it and I was like, “Damn, dude.” But then there was like two days I was doing that. But then the next day, I had over 50 overdue orders. I was late on over 50 orders. I was like, “No, dude. They’re going to shut down my Etsy store.”

Spencer: [00:44:23] I thought I rushed it in Q4 on Etsy, but 50 orders backing up. I think the most I had was 20.

RJ: [00:44:30] And I have 50. I was like, “Wow. No.” People were messaging me, “Where’s my order at?” And literally some of the orders are two weeks behind. I was like, “You know, I’m cancelling this order. Refund.” It was horrible. I was like, “I don’t know what to do.” I was kind of talking about it in the show.

Actually, one of my buddy, he reached out to me. He’s like, “You know, I can do all your printing for you.” And I was like, “Dude, I never even thought about you. I forgot.” And then I was like, “I need you.” And then he’s like, “I got you man. Don’t worry about it. You’ve done so much for me.” And I was like, “Man.” So that happened. This type of case like that, I got to have over 50 late orders.

Now, I’m just smart. I’m more focused on the customer service part now because I already know that’s taken care of. The most important thing with Etsy, I think, is making sure that you have a good quality printed design on a t-shirt. That’s the first most important thing because if you don’t have that, you’re going to have that and it’s printed on time, too, as well. Make sure you have your shipping times down. Because if you don’t have that, it’s going to mess up everything. It will. You don’t want to get a message from a customer saying that. The sizing, that’s normal. That’s an everyday thing, but I think having a shirt and the printings horrible, that just makes everything, that experience, bad.

Spencer: [00:45:51] Yeah. It’s a ticket to play especially in a world of such transparent views. People expect two-day shipping with Amazon. If you’re selling a lot of Merch, it’s nice to not have to worry about the shipping, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. The product has to be produced and shipped. Amazon’s just best in the world probably at managing that big of a supply chain.

When you have to do it yourself on Etsy, it might seem like, “Oh, the margins are great on Etsy,” but you really have to pick a good supplier that takes care of you. One, you got to think about, “Am I going to be able to ship internationally? Is the quality up to date? What’s my price point going to be? If I have a bad design?”

I’ve had a couple of times where my customers got the wrong design or the print got cut-off a poster. “Am I going to be able to go back to my supplier or my display of the shirt and say like, ‘Yo, here’s a picture of the customer shirt. They had a bad experience. Are you going to give me a refund? Or what are you going to do to make it right?'”

All those things come together. Integrations, how easy is it to upload. You’ve got to think about those things if you’re going to be selling on Etsy. It sounds like the guy that takes care of you helps you take care of your customer and that’s a ticket for you reaching out and getting five, six, seven, five-star reviews. That doesn’t happen overnight without putting in the work. You’ve got to have someone watching your back on the supply side.

RJ: [00:47:06] Yeah, for sure. It’s pretty big. I have another buddy. He messaged me, too, and showed me his numbers. He’s crushing it. Doing what? He did over 100k in pay-outs by, I think it was October. He’s just crushing it, man. And I was just like, “Dude.” And he’s all, “I started in April. Thank you.” And I was like, “What?”

Spencer: [00:47:27] Wait, April to October, 100k?

RJ: [00:47:31] He’s crushing it. He’s doing 15. You know when we first started off at 15k in revenue for the month and then 20k in revenue for the month. You’ve got to remember too, with Etsy, the profit margins are way higher because we’re talking about like seven, eight-dollar shirts. I mean profit margins.

Of course, with me, once you start building the social proof in the reviews and the ranking on your store, that’s when you can start increasing the profits. Right now, I average between 10 to $12 profit per shirt sold.

Spencer: [00:48:02] That’s pretty good. You do free shipping in like 25 bucks a shirt done?

RJ: [00:48:09] Yes, I’m at like around 22. It all depends. $20 to $24 a shirt.

Spencer: [00:48:18] Free shipping or no?

RJ: [00:48:19] Yeah, free shipping. I offer the free shipping. It seems like right now, Etsy’s pushing that right now a lot. Now, because customers are spoiled. Amazon spoiled them. I see free shipping. But that’s the crazy thing though, too, when they start to push it, I still had it at a $5 for shipping and the customers still buy it and I’m still ranking really well.

I was like, “I wonder if this even really matters.” And then another thing I tested out, too, at the beginning was if you purchase two or more shirts, you get 20% off or something like that.

Spencer: [00:48:55] Okay. I run that, too. I would consider, if you’re looking to expand in 2019, my main brand is posters and digital downloads. That store after ads, it’s like a 50 plus percent margin business on Etsy. T-shirts have good margins. I think mugs do really well.

I would challenge you to think about some other products too, if you can get them from this guy or just the standard one, I use Printful mostly with some Teelaunch. The products do well.

RJ: [00:49:24] I was talking about that today, too. Going to niches with less competition with the products. That’s really big because it will increase everything. I noticed that, too, as well. Instead of going over the quality of the design, but not only that, just going to a niche with less competition on that product will boost everything.

And then the pricing. He can play with the pricing a little bit more instead of being in what the apparel or shirts or anything like that. Or shirts, 20 bucks, $19. It’s between $19 to $22. That’s what you might think you’ll pay for a shirt.

Spencer: [00:50:01] Are you doing the Bella 3001?

RJ: [00:50:04] Yeah.

Spencer: [00:50:04] Okay, nice. That’s a good shirt. If you’re doing custom work, I don’t know about you, but I struggled with this in 2018. I under-priced really hard doing custom work. I’d be like, “Sure, I can do your personalized order for you.” And then I would hate myself because I would come home and I would just have this backlog of custom orders. I was like, “I would dread doing that.” Now, I just price pretty high on those and people still convert in that way. It feels better value exchange.

RJ: [00:50:30] Yeah. of course. That’s what I’m thinking. The customer, when they want a custom order, they’ll pay like 30 bucks. I have my custom orders at 25 and it takes my VA, my designer, it takes him 30 seconds and he’s done.

Spencer: [00:50:46] But you had to build the template. It’s beautiful.

RJ: [00:50:49] Yeah. but he’s really good at Photoshop and all that stuff. He’s really good at doing all that stuff and like zooming in real fast and pressing them little shortcut keys. I was like, “What are you doing dude?” He’s like, “I’ve been doing this for 10 years. You don’t understand.”

That’s another thing, too. I want to raise my prices to the custom orders. I have to write that down. With the custom listings, you can raise the prices to like 30 bucks. I know some people charge 50.

Spencer: [00:51:17] Yeah. For a custom poster, I double the margin on it because some people just want it and they don’t really have a budget.

For some people they want to ask for a bunch of stuff. You can kind of tell from the initial conversation how easy they’re going to be to work with. When you throw people a quote, I had a custom order, 16 posters. I threw out this big number because I’m like, “I don’t want to do 16 posters.” I threw out a big way bigger number and then maybe took like 5% off so I could call it a discounted rate. She’s like, “No questions. Just do it.” And I’m like, “Okay, sweet. Custom listing, biggest order ever. Let’s go.” Now I have to do the posters, but at least you feel like you got a good price.

RJ: [00:51:59] Yeah. That’s interesting. I have to pick your mind more on that right there for sure.

Spencer: [00:52:02] Etsy’s beautiful. The last thing I’ll say on it is that it sounds like you’re doing promoted listings. I did it a short video on how to do it because I had a pretty awesome December where I spent under a hundred bucks to drive. I felt like over 1000 bucks in revenue.

It’s a super easy platform to come on to. I don’t think there’s a lot of competition. When I was digging through Etsy, their public filings and stuff, I think one thing they noted was only 15% of the sellers on Etsy used promoted those things, which kind of blows my mind. That feels like a ton of opportunity.

RJ: [00:52:38] Interesting. It’s really big because they rarely convert the promoted listings. That’s another thing, too, guys. With the reviews, you’ll rank organically. Not only will you rank organically, when you’re running promoted listings, you might rent twice to sell the customer who’s seen your product twice.

When you’re running promoted listings, you’ll see at the top of the page and then you’ll be right there, too, as well. Not only that, with that niche, that niche is very important because let’s say you have, in that niche, you have a reason for the stretch. You’re ranking on that first page for that product because you have reviews.

Spencer: [00:53:14] Every space you think of is another space your competitor doesn’t take out.

RJ: [00:53:19] That’s important. They rank you for the reviews. That’s why when I got those three or four reviews that came in, all of a sudden, I started getting hearts in all this other stuff because I started ranking better.

Customers are probably clicking on my listing, looking on my other stuff like, “Oh, this is cool. This is cool. This is cool. This is cool.” That’s pretty big.

Spencer: [00:53:38] That’s awesome, man. Don’t hate the player, hate the algorithm. You got to figure it out.

Etsy’s brilliant, man. I’m going to focus a lot on Etsy next year. Actually, I’m putting my merch business up for sale right now. I’m kind of done with that game and I’ll have separate episodes of stuff about how that process goes, but I’m doubling down on Etsy, man. I really see a lot of opportunity there. You can build an email list, you can pull people off into a Shopify store, you can jack the margins up and get reviews. Etsy is super still way underrated. I liked that you’re on there. I think it’s smart.

RJ: [00:54:17] Yeah, it is. I really didn’t start paying attention to Etsy until the end of October. When I started paying attention to it, I’ve seen the increase in everything. Sales started increasing. I start averaging, after October, 7k in revenue. It was 7-9K revenue a month.

Not only that, when I really started coming in, like, oh, my main store has over 200 reviews. I’m trying to get average over a hundred reviews a month. If I can do that, that would be spectacular. That’d be really good because this is going to rank everything.

Spencer: [00:54:52] The beautiful thing is you can swap it. My general store, I might have a completely new products set next year in the general store, but that’s okay because the store has the reviews and these people will trust the store. That’s one of the nice things about building a brand that you can do on Etsy you can’t do an Amazon.

The review is listing-specific and it’s pretty hard to drive people to an Amazon store from Amazon. You have to drive cold traffic into a predetermined store. On Etsy, once you bring them in that shop, you can push into a new category, you can show them a carousel of listings, you can hook them up, you can message them. It’s beautiful. People should definitely get on there. I almost recommend Etsy first for people new to print on demand. If you’re willing to go set up a supplier and there’s ones that make that really easy, then I think that’s where I’m going to be in 2019, I think.

RJ: [00:55:42] Yeah, for sure. That also, too, if you think about. It scares away the copycats. There’s not that many copycats on Etsy, too.

I forgot to go over that on the last show we had. It does because they get scared because of the 20 cent listing fee. You’re scared because then you want to Etsy plus this $10 a month. They can’t do none of that for free. They get scared right away. They don’t want to pay the $10 a month, which is nothing because they often stuff with it.

Spencer: [00:56:10] Yeah. It is like for eight bucks worth of stuff. And if you can convert a quarter of a customer with your carousel and your nice store, it pays for itself, so why not?

RJ: [00:56:23] Yeah, it’s really nice. Your poster store is like a niche store?

Spencer: [00:56:31] Yeah, it’s a niche store. It does posters and digital downloads be which are brilliant cause it’s essentially a hundred percent margin considering the work that you did to put it up there and the 20-cent listing fee. Those sell pretty well between $5 and $9. Then you just set it up.

I have this template in Photoshop. I was trying to learn Adobe IIlustrator so I can use art boards, but basically, you have a design and then you preset your design sizes because if you’re someone who wants to print out a poster at home, which a lot of people want to do to save money, they’re like, “Okay. Well, are there going to print it out at Walgreens or something?” You hook them up with a two by three size of three by four or four by five A4 international size and you put those all in your templates so when you drop your design and Illustrator, it spits out the jpegs or PDFs, whatever you want, and then you just pop that into Etsy.

Once they hit that pay button, they automatically get all those files. You don’t have to do any post-sale service and they’re just taken care of. Digital downloads are actually pretty enticing. I use a lot of commercial use packs from creative market to help me supplement my designs there because creative market is super, super fun to play around in to get design inspiration. They have a lot of good commercial use stuff there.

RJ: [00:57:50] Nice, nice. Digital, it’s almost like music. Anything digital, it’s actually just trending right now. It’s going out. It’s pretty great.

Spencer: [00:58:00] As close as you can get to 100% profit. If there was a customer service problem, you didn’t have any cost. It’s just like, “Sure, have your money back. It’s a file. What do I care?”

RJ: [00:58:12] I think that’s a really good topic, that digital downloads. Honestly, I should probably look up some content on that. You probably have people on there starting business over digital donloads?

Spencer: [00:58:23] For sure, man. People sell to other Etsy creators, people will sell, download packs, do the whole, whole market there. A lot of my competitors in the in the printed product space, my store does more print and ship, but a lot of my competitors will undercut my listings because they’re offering digital. I’m trying to figure out my blend of where I want to do physical versus downloads.

I want to be mindful of your time tonight. We’ve had people stick with us for about an hour. You’ve got this portfolio businesses, you’re off to an amazing start for just two years in. You walked from FBA to working smarter and you’ve outsourced the team. You’ve built this big foundation and you’re doing, I would say, very well for yourself with print on demand.

Where do you see your business going three years from now and where does the content mix fall in with the businesses you’re running?

RJ: [00:59:27] This is going to be a real good one. Good question

Spencer: [00:59:29] I think I gave you the questions ahead of time.

RJ: [00:59:32] No, that’s going to be real good because I think building a personal brand is like one of my main goals. Honestly, I enjoy learning new things. I see me growing from other people. It’s weird. People that I used to hang out with and stuff like that, I’m outgrowing that. I’m outgrowing that and I’m learning more things on my own. I enjoy running stuff by myself. I enjoy researching stuff. That’s something that I enjoy.

From three years from now, building a brand and that’s what I’m doing right now on Etsy. I want to be able to build that brand, grill everything, just consistently work at it every single day. I just want to grow. I want to grow but I’m still confused. What do you want to accomplish, though?

Spencer: [01:00:30] You’re talking about the freedom. Is it about this class? What is it?

RJ: [01:00:34] See the freedom part I enjoy because it feels good to get up. See, that’s another thing, too. A lot of people say it’s about the freedom, but in order for you to have freedom, you have to have money in a way so you can get up and do what you want when you want. That’s pretty fun. I’ve been miniature golfing. I’ve been going with a friend at miniature golfing and we go. We just go. It’s not expensive. Of course, it’s not expensive. The point is, I can just get up and go when I want when I want and go have fun doing it at the same time and not have to worry about nothing. That’s the cool thing for me.

That’s a very good question. I think just building that brand. Building that brand and building who I am as an individual, making me better every single day. Actually, I enjoy helping people, too, as well. That’s a big thing for me. I enjoy helping people and people putting extra, like for Christmas, putting Christmas gifts for the kids because they watched the video and understood what I said about a year ago. That’s a pretty good feeling, too, as well, to help people out.

Spencer: [01:01:47] Absolutely. I think for everyone listening and watching, RJ has been given out a real transparent, step-by-step value for a long time now. I would argue that you’re a print on demand OG for sure.

Tell everyone where they can find you and a little bit about what you’re doing with real talk and just to help them get connected.

RJ: [01:02:08] Basically, what me and my buddy, he’s my buddy now Matt, with Real Talk. He’s the co-host Real Talk, too. Me and him are taking Real Talk more into an online e-commerce or like an entrepreneur, more open. Trying to get new people on the show better, don’t have to do with print on demand. They can do with anything from Amazon FBA to private label. I see a lot of people doing like candy machines.  That’s big right now. I don’t know why, but a lot of people like watching that stuff. It kind of turns into a TV series on YouTube, so that’s pretty cool.

Anything like that. I’m just bringing people on the show and just explaining to them, explaining their story and stuff and how they got here to where they’re at and stuff like that and trying to show other people if you can kill it on the print on demand platform, you could pretty much do any business that you can be successful at. You can be successful anywhere else with the mindset that you have. It’s very important for that.

You can find me on YouTube, RJ Martinez. You can search me and I’ll pop up. Instagram, @RJHustles, you can find me on there, too, as well. I have a big Facebook group, Merch by Amazon Masterminds. I plan on changing that pretty soon, too because we want to just go all e-commerce, merch e-commerce online or something like that. Just more of like a general a topic instead of more of a niche topic because we’re to venturing out now.

We’re trying to expand everything and grow everything more. Honestly, what got me here is Merch by Amazon. If it wasn’t for Merch by Amazon, I wouldn’t be, doing Etsy, I wouldn’t be doing Redbubble. I want to be doing any creating content for every one. You got to respect that. That’s pretty much it.

Spencer: [01:04:04] Fantastic, man. Well, thank you so much for coming on. I’ll make sure to put everything in the show notes in the description. You’re YouTube, Facebook Mastermind, Instagram, et cetera. I’m really excited to see where you go, honestly, in 2019.

I love that you have this cool mindset about experimenting and trying things and I think a lot of people, and myself included, can get caught up in just tweaking things when actually, you just have to go do and try and you can only watch so many videos, you can only read so many e-books. you can only buy so many courses. But sometimes, the best teacher is just doing. I think you do a good job of that.

Continue trying stuff and then keep opening it up so we can watch you succeed and fail because I know when you fail, you pick yourself up and you do better next time. Thanks again, man. I appreciate you having me on.

RJ: [01:04:48] Thanks, man. I appreciate it.

Spencer: [01:04:50] Hey, if you enjoyed this episode and are looking for a super easy way to support the show for free, please head over to iTunes or whatever platform you get your podcasts from and leave a quick rating or even a review. I read every review that you guys leave and your support helps other entrepreneurs find out about the show, so it’s very appreciated.

You can find links to all of my income reports, blog posts, email newsletter, my contact info, et cetera, all in one place over at As always, thank you so much for listening. I’ll see you guys next time.


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