The Almighty Merch
While this week was spent heavily focused on the content, since tomorrow's vlog was so unusual, next week I want to take some time and come up with more solid plans for how to grow this year outside of YouTube.
That is to say I want to think of ways to make the Patreon campaign even higher quality than it is now, and come up with more and better ways to ramp up the Amazon affiliate linking that doesn't hurt the content itself. Part of doing this full-time is diversifying income as much as possible. While I've largely avoid every bullet YouTube has fired over the past year, part of me is scared shitless that one day they'll make one seemingly minor policy change that completely destroys my ad revenue.
The only way to curb that fear is to have other sources of income that can pick up the slack if one disappears.
Regarding that, I've also been asked by some people to look into merch and to get t-shirts going, but that's a direction I'm afraid to go in. Everything I've read about it, you're kind of in a lose-lose position unless you're a really big channel. I'm not a really big channel.
You either have to put down a lot of capital to get shirts made in bulk and hope they all sell, as well as deal with the added work of managing orders, shipping orders, dealing with order problems, and all the added tax work that comes with it. Or you use one of the automated third-party services like Spreadshirt where that's all done for you but the quality of the shirts aren't as good and the profit margins are like $1 per shirt since most of it goes to the website.
See that? I actually used to sell shirts way back when I was a Minecraft YouTuber and had like, 2,000 subscribers. I went the Spreadshirt route and in total I sold about 5-10 shirts. I ended up making literally $1 per shirt. They essentially let you pick the price of the shirt, with a $18-$20 floor (and $1 profit). I guess I could have made more money by bumping up the shirt price, but considering the quality of the shirts, I wouldn't have felt right charging any more than the bare minimum of $18.
So I'd rather do the former, since it means a better quality product for subscribers and better revenue for me, but I don't think I'm at the size needed to make that happen. On top of that I feel like that merch path works better for more personality driven creators. I don't try to hide my personality, but since the content I'm known for is all history, it rarely shows these days. It also doesn't help that I don't really have a logo anymore besides my name with the Mickey ears over it and I sure as hell will not tempt the almighty litigious mouse by trying to sell merch with Mickey ears on it.
Now TTA merch, that's a whole other story. That's 100% personality driven, so I feel like the desire would be there, and while we don't have an amazing logo, we do have plenty of reoccurring jokes that might make for good shirts. Only issue there is our listener numbers are nowhere near big enough for merch yet. We're still a very very small podcast.
In any case t-shirts are the go-to merch item when it comes to YouTube channels, and the Disney fan apparel scene is already over saturated. So for now I'm trying to think differently.
How about Rob Plays pogs?