Owning a small business is all about creating value. You’ll hear entrepreneur’s often put a lot of emphasis on creating value. Without it their business won’t have a reason for existing. But what do they mean with value.
Many of us work for big companies, like I do. Deep inside a large hierarchy it is difficult to see if our work has any impact on the organization. Although these days with new fads like Scrum and Agile there is a lot of talk about adding value, just try to figure out of your new piece of software adds anything to your big corporate.
In a small business creating value is much easier. You create a product or design, market it and see if it sells or not. For instance this Barcelona cement tile design is based on an existing one. I copied it and put it on Zazzle products like iPhone cases. Lo and behold, I sold products and made a profit. Therefor I for a couple of people I created value.
I can put a figure on value. And I can experiment with creating value. I wasn’t pleased with the original design, so I tweaked it. Making sure that it was more like an Islamic geometric pattern. With the following result.
The new version I introduced in my Society6 shop and hopefully it will start to sell.
The point is that in my online business I know that I’m creating value. And that I can improve on creating value, either by new insights in marketing and designs or new skills in making designs. That is a powerful control on your life and income.
Working as an underling in a big corporation you’ll never really know if your work really matters. Or more scary, after you get a pink slip, it really doesn’t matter for the rest of society also. Over the last four I saw many colleagues leaving the company, voluntaryly or involuntaryly, and not being replaced. As if their jobs never added value after all.
So take control of your life by taking control of creating value.
I haven’t added much new designs to my store lately, but I managed to add a kamon with golden waves and a Zazzle Teddy Bear. Most work I did last couple of months went into recycling old designs to new products. This is an easy way to boost the amout of products without spending too much time.
First new design I want to show of is a pattern. It’s a yellow and orange flower on a light brown background. It has a typical Southern France feel to it.
Golden waves kamon
Next in line is a new Japanese Kamon design. It’s stylized wave design and this time I use a different gold texture. Brushed gold in stead of the sparkly deep yellow gold I used in all the previous design. The old “gold” designs always did pretty well and I’m curious how the more modest brushed gold texture is going to do. Personally I thibk it is an improvement.
Zazzle Teddy Bear5>
It was about time to add a more funny cartoony image. I found some nice images of teddy bears and I created a vector image. I always think my cartoons are done well, but it is a wild guess whether the products will sell. Here is my first Zazzle Teddy Bear:
Pinterest iPhone 6 board
Zazzle has a wide range of cases for phones and tablets, for instance for the iPhone, iPad, Galaxy, Droid, Kindle, etc. Apple recently released their iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+. Which means Zazzle offered a new range of cases begging to be sold. I thought I could make a board on Pinterest and display all the designs I put on the iPhone 6 cases. And also I could show other Zazzlers designs I like and make some affiliate money in the process. It’s an experiment and I hope it’ll work.
One way to make a buck is to market cool iPhone cases from other Zazzle stores. This is done by means of the affiliate program of Zazzle. In your Zazzle account you’ll find a unique number which you add to the link of the product on your website. Or better. Log on to Zazzle, find those cool iPhone cases and use the “share” button to retreive the URL/HTML-links with your affiliate code included.
Getting the links with the affiliate code is the easy part. How to use them in a clever manner is a bit more difficult. One solution I saw with a succesful Zazzle seller is to create a web page and fill it with a selection of products with design you think are well executed. For instance Apple iPhone or Samsung cases with a retro space theme. Here’s an example;
If you search on Zazzle you’ll see most of the design aren’t very well made, even though they are popular according to Zazzle. That gives you the opportunity to create a selection of cool iPhone cases which are both popular and well executed. I’ve put my selection on a seperate page on this website.
Yet another solution is Pinterest. Here you can collect images and categorize them the way you like. Pinterest groups images (and other media) into “boards”. You can make a board for cool iPhone cases with a retro space theme and let them link to Zazzle with your affiliate code. On Youtube there are plenty tutorial how to create a board.
I’ve no Pinterest account myself yet, but I can see the potential for showing of affiliate products or your own products. Anyway, I just started with this affiliate business and I probably have to create a whole bunch links and images with my affiliate code before I even make a dime. And I have to start to get some traffic to those links.
I’ve added a new Barcelona tile pattern to my Zazzle account in order to create a bunch of products. It’s not the first Barelona tile pattern, but this one I explicitely show off for the first time on a website. For the purpose of selling, that is. Below is an Apple iPhone 4s case as an example, but I’ve got dozens of products with this pattern.
Most of my patterns I get from books and I redraw them in Inkscape. If you’re into patterns for products designs, a vector graphic program is essential. Especially if you need to design fo a whole range of products at Zazzle.
I’ve got a bunch of examples of Barcelona tile patterns. They pretty colorful and bright an I find them very well suited for Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad or Samsung Galaxy cases or the like. As you can see above, a nice clear and bright picture on a webpage.