Guest Post from Michael Essek: Pick Two


Here at TeePublic, we've been fans of Michael Essek's Print-on-Demand tips for a while, so we're pumped to be running another entry in conjunction with him today. (Be sure to check out his previous blog entries on TeePublic’s blog here!) Like what you see? There's more where that came from on his website, so do check it out! With no further ado...take it away, Michael!


Pick Two

Are you familiar with the 'pick two' meme? 

Here are some examples: 



...and perhaps the most well known: 


the principle is simple - you can only have two.


For Example:

  • Good results can be fast, but won't be cheap
  • Fast results can be cheap, but won't be good
  • Cheap results can be good, but won't be fast


When it comes to designing t-shirts, licensing your art, and growing a solid business built upon your creative work - I propose the following 'pick two' framework:


(channels = ways in which you distribute and make money from your art)

So you can: 

  • have a few designs across a few channels - but you won't have a sustainable business
  • have a sustainable business built on a few designs - but you'll need to have them distributed over a lot of channels
  • have a sustainable business built on a few channels - but you'll need a lot of designs

Of course, this is all relative (what counts as a 'few designs' or a 'few channels'?) - but I believe the underlying principle is the same.


And that principle is this: 

If you want to create a sustainable business from your art - the fastest way is to create a lot of designs and distribute them through a lot of channels

The 'hidden' reasons behind this principle:

  • Creating a lot of designs requires you to generate a lot of ideas. Even if your ideas and designs are not great at first - through consistent effort and 'forcing' yourself to continue to create - you naturally improve your hit rate.

    Creating a lot of stuff is the fastest way to get good at creating. 
  • Distributing through a lot of channels forces you to sharpen up your marketing chops. I'm not just talking about uploading to a lot of sites - I'm talking about a true variety of channels - POD Sites, Shirt-A-Day Sites, Online Marketplaces, Direct to Consumer, Offline Licensing, Wholesale deals, etc.

    To do this effectively, you'll have to create designs suitable for your target channels and do what it takes to get them in front of the right people. In other words, you have to get good at marketing. 

Once you're good at creating AND good at marketing - you're well on your way to having a solid, sustainable business. 

Until next time,

Michael Essek




 Thanks for reading and of course, a big thank you to Michael Essek for sharing his expertise with all of us once again! Michael recently published a new guide to selling on Teepublic, so be sure to check that out!

And be sure to check out Michael’s previous blog entry for TeePublic on what kinds of designs to create.

Has this blog entry inspired you to try new things?