9 min 5 sec

Make Extra Money Using Merch by Amazon

A no-risk model to earn passive income by uploading t-shirt designs to Amazon.com.
Amazon Design Listener Stories Manufacturing

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What It's About

A listener success story featuring the ever popular Merch by Amazon model!

Business Model
Skills Required
Design & Trendspotting
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

This is a listener success story—someone who got the idea after listening to the show. If you’re out there trying to figure out what side hustle is best for you before we go on, I want to share part of her advice to you:

Awareness is important, but not to the point of hesitation. Don’t get overwhelmed trying to understand exactly how everyone else is doing it. Do a couple experiments, and then trust yourself.

Fun Fact

Lisa woke up randomly in the middle of the night right as the Donald Trump "Covfefe" tweet was making headlines and immediately emailed a designer to make a funny design on the fly.

As she said, that design contributed to the first organic sale she had. It sold about 17 times before the trend fizzled out, but that was enough to get her out of the 10 design tier and almost out of the next one as well.

Notes from Chris

Episode 371

In Los Angeles, CA, Lisa Sansouci has several day jobs. She’s a promotional model, a stand-in actor for TV shows including NCIS, and a Production Assistant for Live Events etc. She also makes money live streaming on the social network Periscope. Today we’ll talk about how she uses a model called Merch by Amazon to bring in extra cash with minimal work. She does this by designing t-shirts without being a designer—and then selling them without any inventory.

As busy as she is, Lisa realized that even though she was excited about a lot of different ideas, she didn’t really have the time or energy to start something big. She needed something she could work on whenever she had spare time, and hopefully, that something would have the potential to provide passive income.

After hearing a previous episode, she signed up for Merch by Amazon because it sounded fun. She thought, why not? And it took 3 minutes to apply.

Amazon was a little slower—it took them 2 months to get back to her. When they finally accepted her application, the next step was for Lisa to upload her initial designs. The program allows you to upload 10 designs at first. Once you sell 10 shirts, you can upload 25 designs. Then, once you sell 25, you can upload 100, and so on.

Your goal as a seller is to have as many possible designs in the listings as possible, because the more listings, the more sales you’ll have.

Lisa thought of it like a game or puzzle of some kind, and she likes puzzles.

Her first month’s profit was just $84, but the second month was $300, and it continued to rise. Right now she’s trying to sell 500 shirts to get to the next tier of 1,000 designs—where the profit potential is twice as high. Not only that, but Amazon allows sellers to control the price of their shirts. Once Lisa gets the ability to sell 1,000 designs, she’s planning to raise the prices of some of the current shirts to increase her profits further.


  • Lisa Sansouci: Learn more about Lisa and everything she's currently doing on her website!
  • Merch by Amazon: The invite-only Amazon marketplace that allows you to start uploading designs without any upfront investments or costs
  • Periscope: The social media platform that Lisa uses to make money livestreaming
  • Fiverr: The freelancing platform that Lisa used to get the first 10 designs for her side hustle
  • Upwork: The freelancing platform that Lisa used to get designs for her shirts after getting her first 10 designs

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"Don’t get overwhelmed trying to understand exactly how everyone else is doing it. Awareness is important, but not to the point of hesitation. Do a couple experiments, and then trust yourself. That’s one thing I wish I had done more of in the beginning."
—Lisa Sansouci #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau