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Money Project Monday: T-Shirt Affiliate Marketing


I’m sure you’ve noticed a slight change of format in the Money Project Monday posts. The reasoning for this is pretty simple: Many Money Making ideas and projects can take months/years to establish and complete (some, like websites, are never really complete to begin with!). It also narrows my focus a bit too much because I could only choose projects that I did as well. Instead I’ll be focusing on a variety of ideas to make money, online and off, and presenting a starting point for you would-be-entrepreneurs around here!

From the feedback I’ve been receiving of late, quite a number of people would like to run their own business, but they have no idea where to start in terms of establishing the business, creating the product, marketing it, shipping it, etc. etc. etc. One popular idea I get quite a bit is a T-shirt company. It sounds awesome: You make clever/witty -shirt designs, people buy them, you make money, and go home happy!

Not so fast, profit margins on things like clothing are often sickeningly low, which means you’d need to sell a ton of t-shirts to make any money at all. My brother has a friend who once ran a thriving t-shirt business, with orders going out on UPS trucks day in and day out. Despite their so called “success” they were making so little in profit on the shirts they were selling that the business barely supported 3 people at a reasonable salary.

So, how about you like the idea but don’t want to dump money into the infrastructure? Your answer is affiliate marketing. Your job as an affiliate will simply be to get people to buy the shirts, and when they do you earn a healthy commission for each sale. No overhead cost, no tracking inventory, worrying about shipping, let the actual companies do that! All you have to do is get them in the door. So why not build a website to get them there? You’ll need..

3 steps: We’re not in this to get-rich-quick, so get any and all crazy ideas out of your head right now. You don’t throw up a crappy site with some affiliate links and the money rolls in. Those days went the way of the dodo some time ago. Instead you’ll need to put in some good old fashioned work, here’s how!

1. Build a site: You’ll need a website to display your newfound affiliates, so try and think of a clever name that people thinking of t-shirts would like. After some brainstorming and picking a name, register the domain, get a host, and get cracking! I like small-time low-cost hosting myself, something like Thathostingplace (no this is not an affiliate link!). Don’t know how to code? That’s not a problem! Pick up a platform like WordPress and google free WordPress templates. There are a lot out there…a whole lot!

2. Get Affiliate Programs: Ok, so you have your hosting setup, domain name registered, and the site layout ready to go. Now you need just need some t-shirts to sell! While there are likely too many to count, here are some sites to get you started: NerdyShirts, BustedTees, and SnorgTees all have fairly generous affiliate programs. None of these are sponsored links, and they are free to sign up!

3. Get Traffic: You are going to need visitors if you expect to make any money. There’s a number of steps you can take to get them there. First, you are going to have to optimize your site for search engines like Google, making the site easy to find. One of the best guides to start with can be found here. In the world of bringing in traffic, content is king. Create some articles/posts about t-shirts and keep people up to speed on the latest and greatest t-shirt designs/offers. This is where most people trip up in running a profitable site. Do your homework and don’t give up! It is a long and hard road to profitability, but give it time, and you’ll get there.


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