Will Schenk

Unemployed to Monthly Vacationer in 7 Months

This past March, Will Schenk was at a crossroads. The Buffalo, NY resident had been laid off from high-pressure sales job 18 months earlier and owed his father-in-law money for house repairs. “It was pretty demoralizing,” Will says. “You lose a lot of self-value when you’ve been out of a job that long.”

Enter: Teespring. Roughly seven months ago, Will was painting the walls of a rental property he owned, when, bored, he decided to call a friend of his who happened to work in Internet marketing. “He told me about how he was selling shirts on Teespring, and that even though I had no ecommerce experience, it was perfect for me.”

Will and his wife Tiffany, touring the Grand Canyon

Will promptly went home, logged into the site, and it was “love at first sight.” Though his first design — a memorial shirt for the late Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson — only sold one shirt, Will was hooked. He spent the next two weeks reading every educational resource and watching every marketing webinar he could find. After two weeks of targeting different audiences and demographics with Facebook ads, he finally found the specific — and passionate — audience he wanted to focus on: working professionals.

In the seven months since, Will has sold nearly 12,000 shirts and made over $137,000 in revenue.

Will’s Da$hboard

Now, Will’s been able to pay back his father-in-law and take monthly out-of-state trips with his wife. The couple have already checked Chicago, Orlando, and Detroit off their “to see” list, and have plans to visit more cities this holiday season.

How Did He Do It?

Like many Teespringers, Will had zero experience with the site when he first started. But even without the marketing background, he instantly saw the potential in selling custom shirts and offers the following advice for those looking to follow in his footsteps.

Learn the Ins and Outs of Teespring

Will fully credits his friend for teaching him the basics of how Teespring works. “He is the most generous person,” says Will. “Not only did he teach me how to upload images into the Teespring Designer and teach me how to target customers, he also gave me a starter campaign that sold 29 shirts. That campaign was the one that really lit a fire in my belly, and it’s all thanks to him.”

Cruising the Canyon

For those that don’t have a Teespring mentor on speed dial, Will suggests getting acquainted with the Teespring Blog. He’s also picked up tips from the company’s Facebook group and YouTube channel.

Do Your Research

For Will, the key to success on Teespring is simply having a better design and target audience than your competitors. “A lot of people don’t dig far enough when planning their designs,” he says. “The truth is, it’s not difficult to sell shirts, but where I see a lot of people fall though is that they just run with their first idea.” Will’s approach is to find a popular, but slightly more underserved audience. For example, instead of just making shirts for lawyers, he would also consider making shirts for paralegals, law secretaries and bike couriers to law firms. He also looks online for lists, such as “20 Up and Coming Hobbies,” to help key in on niche audiences. “If people care enough to list, they’re probably passionate enough to buy a shirt.”

Test, Test, Test

Will is constantly creating variations of his Facebook advertisements, and keeping track of which ones perform the best. By testing several different pairings of images and descriptions, he’s able to make data-driven decisions about which factors of his ad drive the most sales. “You’ve got to do it, “ he says. “There’s no way to dial in your audience targeting without tests.”

Join a Like-Minded Community

Will also advocates for going to marketing events and conferences, and joining online groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. “Finding a helpful community is the difference between success and pulling your hair out,” he says.

“Teesping has absolutely changed my life,” says Will. “I don’t know if I can ever go back to a normal desk job again.”

Get started on Teespring here.

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