2018 Hobby And Web Funding - Final Preparations

Publish Date: 
12/18/2017
Red Bubble Prancing Horse Mug | Tracy Marie Lewis | www.stuffnthingz.com

I enjoy crafting and creating content for the web. Unfortunately neither of these hobbies are free. I told myself and hub that I would take 2017 off, which I "mostly" did. You likely know that at the end of June I became a Stampin' Up demonstrator. I have engaged in side businesses since 1992 so I know that it takes time to grow a business. I joined SU six months before I planned to earn some income with it. I purchased products and developed card kits from their Paper Pumpkin product line to use for card making classes. I even held classes in November and December to test out the materials and they were a hit!.

I also know it is best to have many income streams. That is why we own multi unit rental properties and not single family homes. I have been plotting and scheming what my hobby funding income streams will be in 2018 for some time now. I have some drop ship products on eBay that needed to be updated to meet new eBay guidelines. That task was pretty quick and is now complete.

Alas, when I considered a similar update to my CafePress shops I shuddered at the thought. Between 2006 and 2009 I built up a few very large CP shops. I built up a strong income stream at CP. Everything was going fine until 2009 when CP changed their shopkeeper income model and profits from sales tanked. I got mad and left all that work sitting back at CP unattended....for nine years. Yes, I do still see a small paycheck here and there, but I was just so mad at them I could not even consider spending time trying to fit into their model. This winter I have seen a few sales emails and I thought ok, enough time has lapsed and I will now go back to CP and see if I can salvage what I built. Can I revitalize my shops, join their marketplace and build up a decent passive income stream? 

One much desired aspect of passive income is that you do the work up front and voila, you have income. Yes even passive income streams require some care and feeding, but the lion's share of the work has already been done. I want to establish several passive income streams to allow me to spend most of my time with hub, enjoying papercrafting and teaching crafting classes.

I calculated the growing list of monthly expenses and of course I have wish list of software, equipment and supplies I would like to acquire in 2018. I don't think a few eBay sales and some cardmaking classes will be enough to fully fund this list. So, I dove into CP and salvaged what is there. In addition I have taken my art to other print on demand sites as well.

I've made alot progress in the last couple of days.. Back when I was an active shopkeeper, CP had a large forum community. I went there and perused the latest articles. Then I went over to the new design area and created a full suite of products using their "mydesign" interface. I did not know exactly what that interface was for but I found the tool very similar to the old shopkeepers tools. Finally I was ready to click on one of my old shops (I have three very large ones) and saw that the tools there are virtually unchanged. Wow. The code base is still .aspx. I was able to do some design management but still had some questions. I posted my questions on the forum. Responses were quick. I still had some open questions but by then I was ready to begin the painful rebuilding phase.

I have 456 images in my CP image gallery. There are over 350 products in CP today. My old shops only have about 100 products per design so there is alot of updating to be done. I did some testing last night timing how long it takes to add a design on all products, ugh... it is about an hour. If I have 200 products to add in to each of my existing 456 images. That's a mere 18,240 minutes of time with no method of automation. I have become very fast at clicking through the graphic placement tools. /sigh I think I will prioritize. 

I am going to consolidate the art I want to use into one shop that is aptly called "stuffnthingz". (I cannot tell you how glad I am that in 2006 the first basic shop name I created was "stuffnthingz"). Today you have the option of promoting a basic shop to a full shop and I did that so I could build out multiple sections. I will have an RV and travel section, a crafting section and perhaps a gaming section. I created a link to this shop from my travel blog pages. Check out my new StuffNThingz shop.

I've also been playing with another print on demand site called Red Bubble. Evidently they sell stickers like crazy. 

I put some of my horse theme products up at RB and sure enough on the third day I got my first sale... of a sticker - imagine that! This site allows you to repeat your designs in a pattern AND set a background color. CP doesn't have either capability. Red Bubble also groups their products into 26 editable sections which speeds up the creation process. I can create a full product set using RBs interface in about 20 minutes even if I am creating patterns and dropping in backgrounds. I love their leggings! It is hard to imagine what a pair of leggings would look like covered with my designs on them. Check out my Red Bubble shop

This of course has pulled me away from crafting, but I am doing this up front work to be able to craft more later!

Thanks for stopping by!

~Tracy

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