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Forrest Gump and Print-on-Demand

6 min read

Selling print-on-demand products on marketplaces like Amazon or Etsy isn’t that complicated. You just have to be like Forrest Gump.

I once wrote an article entitled – Ten Reasons Why Your Print-on-Demand Products Aren’t Selling and How to Fix The Problem.

It’s about what to do if you aren’t making many print-on-demand sales. But it describes only technical solutions.

For this article, I’ll write about mindset.

A few weeks ago, I re-watched Forrest Gump on Netflix.

It reminded me that to be successful in the print-on-demand business, you have to focus on one thing at a time – just like Forrest Gump did.

I’ve been working with many print-on-demand sellers who are using PODTurbo, and I’ve found that most successful sellers have something in common.

They focus on only one thing. They keep uploading products! This is the most important thing you need to do to be successful in the print-on-demand business.

Find niches, create designs, upload products, REPEAT.

It’s pretty much the same way Forrest Gump made himself the star of the American Ping Pong team after developing his skills using just a back board.

He wasn’t that good at ping pong when he started. He just tried and failed, over and over, until he became a world-class ping pong player.

“No matter what happens, never, ever take your eye off the ball.”

This was what the soldier told him when he started playing ping pong. He  never forgot that advice. He never took his eye off the ball, even when he was sleeping!

Many successful print-on-demand sellers I know have over 10,000 products on Amazon or Etsy. They just keep uploading products, every single day.

They are always looking for new niches and phrases, creating designs, and launching new products. All of their focus is on product listings and optimizing the process.

They don’t care if 80% of the products they upload don’t sell. They focus on the 20% (or sometimes just 10%) of the products that do sell, and try to scale from there.

If they find that a product in the “teacher” niche sells well, they’ll create over 1,000 new teacher related-products.

Or, if a quote about Dads sells well, they’ll use the same quote and create products for other family members – for moms, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, etc.

In contrast, people who don’t make many sales always come up with new problems. They always try to be perfect at everything or think about all the difficulties. Successful sellers just take action and improve on what they’ve done.

What’s the BEST price to use for a coffee mug, two-tone mug, shot glass, travel mug, etc.?

What are the BEST keywords to use for Mother’s Day products?

What’s the BEST way to set up an Etsy store? How should you name your Etsy categories?

How do you handle returned products?

Should I hire someone on Fiverr to write a review of my shop so people can trust it?

Is this market saturated yet? Is it difficult for new sellers to make sales in this market?

These are some of the questions I’ve been asked – many times.

I actually don’t like to answer these kinds of questions. Most of the time, the people who ask them don’t take action. Also, they’ll come up with new questions and still not take any action.

Want to know what price to list a coffee mug at?

Go to Amazon or Etsy, search for the top-selling coffee mugs, and check out what they’re selling for.

Want to know the BEST keywords or niches?

Do keyword or niche research and list some products. You will know the good keywords when you get some traffic for your products (or not). If you don’t, replace your current keywords with the new ones, or list products in new niches.

How do you handle returned products?

Well, you have to get some orders first. Making a sale is the first thing you should be concerned about. You haven’t made any sales yet, so don’t worry about this.

Should I hire someone on Fiverr to write a review?

Umm…if people don’t like your products, fake positive reviews won’t help.

Is this market saturated?

I’ve heard this question over and over since I got started in 2017. I think the people who asked me this question in 2017 are still doing nothing, while other new sellers are crushing sales.

You can find the answers to these kinds of questions easily if you take serious action, fast.

Try fast, and fail fast.

Most of these questions are not what we should be concerned about when we’re just starting out.

What we have to focus on is listing products and making sales. Don’t focus on distractions.

After hearing so many questions, I realized that there were soooooo many things I never even thought about when I was getting started.

I don’t understand why people worry about so many unnecessary things. I once asked one of these people, why do you want to know all these things?

They replied, “I want to take my BEST shot.”

I’d say that there is no BEST shot in any business. You just have to try and fail, many times, to be successful at anything. Many people waste their time trying to make their best shot and end up doing nothing.

“We need to have the best shop name, the best tool, the best designs, best keyword list, etc., etc., etc.”

You don’t need the BEST things.

That’s the last thing I want to see from my people – especially my TML and PODTurbo members.

I always tell my members to focus on the right thing.

Upload new products, every day!

Also, don’t give up too soon.

Another lesson I learned from Forrest Gump is when he and Lieutenant Dan had a hard time fishing for shrimp.

Their Bubba Gump business didn’t do well in the beginning. They had many good reasons to quit. They just weren’t catching any shrimp.

Then, during a massive thunderstorm, most of the other fishing boats stayed in the harbor. But Forrest Gump and Lt. Dan didn’t quit.

They stuck to their process. They rode out the storm, which led them to become shrimp-business millionaires.

It might seem like they were lucky, but they wouldn’t have had this luck if they’d quit early on.

Many print-on-demand sellers quit too soon. Some of them have asked me why they didn’t make any sales. I asked them how many products they had. They replied, “One hundred.”

Well, this number might seem like a lot, but it’s actually nothing. I can upload this many in a day. Using PODTurbo, I can hire anyone to create designs and put them in the system in just a few minutes.

But you can’t expect BIG results from a very small action.

When I first started selling print-on-demand products on Amazon, I found that I made steady sales – like 2-3 sales a day – only after I had over 5,000 products in my store.

One of my PODTurbo members – who made over $10,000 a month before the past Mother’s Day – had over 4,000 products in his Etsy account. This guy started doing print-on-demand in October 2019, when I first launched PODTurbo.

He jumped in and started taking serious action. He didn’t think about the hard stuff as other people do. He put all of his efforts into just one thing – he kept listing new products.

Another person I know started her Etsy store at the beginning of this year. Today, she has over 16,000 products on Etsy and has made over $40,000 on Etsy alone.

So, don’t expect BIG results or quit too soon if you haven’t taken enough action. Being successful in the print-on-demand business is actually very simple, so don’t make things overly complicated.

Just be like Forrest Gump.

Okay, these are the business lessons I learned from Forrest Gump. Focus on just one thing, and do it right.

If you haven’t watched seen this movie, I highly recommend it. I’m sure you’ll learn something.  🙂

—Bank K.

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