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How to cope with a sudden lack of sales

In light of recent events which you are likely aware of (The 2019 Coronavirus Pandemic, if you’re reading this far into the future!), you may be currently in a sticky situation regarding your passive income businesses. Personally, I have seen my sales plummet as the news has grown more and more negative. Simply put, people do not panic buy stickers, T-Shirts or mugs.

I am actually relying on this income now (I was made redundant and Redbubble is one of my main income sources!), but I can tell you I can not panicking. I know we’ll recover in the long term, but it’s all about surviving in the short term.

If Redbubble is just a side gig for you, you may not even have many concerns at all. However if you’re unsure what to do, this article is going to contain some great pointers on how to cope for the next few weeks and months.

Don’t panic

This is just temporary. I am so used to getting about 5 or 6 sales before I wake up. Recently I’ve been getting 1 or two sales a day. I was quite proud of having a no sale day for month but that won’t last forever.

It was a bit of a shock to see my sales tumble so much but we’re all in the same boat; as people creating and selling luxury goods, our products are not comparable to daily life essentials which people are worrying about now.

There’s enough to panic about right now (and enough to not panic about). For some of us, we’re going to be spending a lot more time at home in the near future. Things will recover in time. If you’re worried about your passive income, here are some nice thoughts to get you through:

  • You don’t have to maintain your stock
  • All the work you have done so far is not going to be wasted
  • You know things will pick up in time
  • Even if you do absolutely nothing, your sales will recover

Continue as normal

One of the great aspects of print on demand is that we can still continue as normal. Potential self-quarantine will not affect how we work. You can still easily upload designs and sell products without leaving your house. Depending on your working situation, now may even be an ideal time to have some time dedicated to improving your stores.

One this to consider is production and postage, but until we know there is nothing we can do. One good thing about Redbubble is that the production facilities are spread apart, so if one is shut temporarily, you’ll still be able to fulfil orders elsewhere.

Things may even recover sooner than you think. It’s a few days after the news of quarantines and lock downs hit us. I have noticed an increase in sales already; people just get used to things and their mental state returns to normal.

Optimise what you have

A break in sales is a great time to go back over your portfolio and optimise what you have. You may have seen that Pins are now being added for sale. Personally I am hoping they’ll be as well-received as stickers are and I’ve been making a point of going over my entire portfolio and enabling pins.

One of my first “business ideas” was to make pins and sell them on Etsy, so I’m happy to see Redbubble are enabling these. They used to be so fashionable!

Going over your old work and optimising it is always a good idea. You never know, you might have accidentally not enabled greetings cards, or perhaps your design would suit some socks!

Think about a Plan B

It can’t hurt to think of other avenues for income. The 2019 Coronavirus really impacted us, but it hasn’t affected every business. Even some passive streams won’t be affected as much by it; a passive website with ads will still attract visitors and generate income.

A hard truth to realise when you’re in the early stages is that you’ll probably not be able to retire on passive income generated by print-on-demand. It’s always best to diversify your income streams as much as you can when you don’t ‘own’ the processes involved.

To start with, take your existing designs and put them on another service! You could easily double your sales or more by exposing your work to a larger audience! Consider the following if you haven’t already:

  • Redbubble
  • Merch By Amazon
  • Threadless
  • TeePublic
  • Printful or Printify + Etsy, or your own site
  • CafePress
  • Zazzle
  • Spreadshirt
  • Printfection

Owning your own processes is a lot safer in the long run, which is why I used to mainly focus on niche sites for my passive income. Seriously consider a niche site if you find yourself wanting to branch out, and have a hobby or interest you are very passionate about. Check out my post about how I grew and sold my niche site. Hopefully it’ll motivate you!

In Summary

The only thing to think about is that your sales will recover, try not to stress, use this time wisely, and we can all get through this!

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