skip to Main Content

How to Start a Print on Demand Business

Want to start your own Print-on-Demand business? Print on demand products are trendy for several reasons. It’s ideal for online businesses starting out because it does not require a lot of capital. As a low-risk business model, you don’t need a huge investment in expansion or maintenance. You can make a lot of money, work from anywhere and set your own hours.

If you want to make money selling merchandise online using Print on Demand, you’ve come to the right place.

What is Print on Demand?

Print on Demand or POD is a business model where you sell customised made to order products. The products feature your own graphic design. Ideal for businesses starting out, Print on Demand is relatively cheap to start. You don’t have to buy expensive printing equipment, materials or host your online store.

Since POD is all about selling your custom designs, it’s ideal for everyone. Especially artists, designers and others who want to sell their artwork.

Custom merchandise is a popular trend. In fact, most YouTubers, celebrities and influencers are now printing their custom products and selling them to their fans. You too, can make money by selling your custom POD products online.

How Print on Demand Works

The Print on Demand model accommodates a variety of businesses. As such, it can fit with any profession. For example, an artist or designer can sell his or her custom artwork while an author can publish and sell eBooks online.

So, how does print on demand work? Well, select the best POD partner online, such as:

  • Printify
  • Redbubble
  • Amazon Merch
  • Printful, etc.

To choose the best POD partner, visit their website, check the features, pricing packages and compare them. Once you identify the best supplier for your business, sign up for an account. It’s free and takes less than 5 minutes.

Start creating your custom products, from T-shirts and hoodies to mugs and keychains. The POD website has a design tool that captures and converts images into:

  • Patterns
  • Colour themes
  • Brushes
  • Shapes

This helps you create unique designs that you can trademark as your brand.

The design tool also comes with free icons, fonts, stock photos and others. You can edit the stock photos using borders, designed filters and even beauty editing tools. Save time on optimizing and resizing the images with the drag and drop design tool.

You also have the choice of using free online graphic design tools such as Canva. Before creating your design, check the product dimensions. For example, if you want to create a two-sided mug design, the dimensions of your graphic should be 9 inches to 3.5 inches. Canva allows you to customize the dimensions of your graphic(s). Just select “Custom Size.”

For images to be ready for print, they must have a transparent background. To do so on Canva, upgrade to Canva Pro.

Most partners have an online mock-up generator that allows you to create high-quality images of your designs. This makes it easy to promote your products online. Once you create your products, use one of the many eCommerce integrations to connect your online store with your supplier account.

By doing so, you can fill your online store with as many products as you like but without worrying about inventory. Start promoting your brand products online and watch orders come in. As soon as your customer buys a product from your store, the supplier charges a fulfilment fee and what’s left is your profit.

The POD partner will then print, pack and ship your orders directly to the customer under your brand.

Can You Make Money With Print on Demand?

You can make a lot of money with Print on Demand. But to do so, you need to have the right fulfilment partners, online store, products and marketing strategies. You can make £500 to £1,000 or more per month in sales if you sell custom T-shirts, hoodies, hats and others with a profit margin of £20 to £50. With time, your average monthly income from POD can range from £5,000 to £20,000.

There are no limits to how much money you can make with Print on Demand. Some sellers usually make a small profit. This is common with sellers who categorize their stores as hobbies or side hustles.

There is a difference between people who treat Print on Demand as a side hustle and those who treat it as a full-time job.

Product Customisation

People who treat POD as a full-time job spend a lot of hours crafting their products. They usually create a whole new brand of products for different genders and niches. For their designs, they choose high-quality images and artwork.

They make use of images created with 300 dpi or better. They also opt to use embroidery for certain products, such as hats. This gives their customers more options with specialized designs. Basically, their only limit is their imagination.

Research

Full time POD businesses spend a lot of time researching marketing strategies and ways to optimize their online store. For example, a person who treats POD as a full-time job will choose to use marketing techniques such as:

  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Paid media advertising
  • Direct selling
  • PPC Ads and more

By using these marketing techniques, they turn their brand into a lucrative business. They also invest more in hosted websites, Etsy or Shopify stores. People who treat POD as a side hustle can make their online stores bring in enough money to pay for bills each month. All while having no business expense every month.

How Can You Use Print on Demand?

You can use Print on Demand to test a new product line or business idea for a new or existing business. POD can help you test your new business idea without investing in any inventory. If you’re an influencer, YouTuber, artist or designer, Print on Demand is a great way to monetize the audience you built. Instead of spending your time handling inventory and shipping, POD allows you to fulfil everything from the comfort of your home.

Print on Demand enables you to create products for a specific niche. For example, you can create apparel and other items for gaming and fashion influencers. The popular print on demand products are:

  • Mugs
  • T-shirts
  • Towels
  • Hoodies
  • Phone cases
  • Notebooks
  • Stationery
  • Bags
  • Wall Stickers
  • Backpacks
  • Yoga pants
  • Leggings
  • Hats
  • Socks
  • Compact mirrors
  • Cosmetic bags
  • Yoga mats
  • Aprons
  • Magnets
  • Throw pillows
  • Blankets
  • Wall Art
  • Mouse Pads
  • Calendars
  • Tote bags
  • Fanny packs
  • Dog beds and pet accessories

As you can see, there are lots of products you can make and sell.

What Are The Best Websites For Print on Demand?

There are several Print on Demand websites that you can use today.

RedBubble

Sell your art printed on high-quality products online with Redbubble? As a global online marketplace for print on demand products, Redbubble allows you to create over 70 unique products. They include phone cases, pillows, shirts and others.

Founded in 2006, it connects over 700,000 designers and artists worldwide with passionate fans and customers. From New York to Singapore, millions of people come to Redbubble to create what they love.

To start creating your products, you need to join Redbubble. It’s easy. Head to the Redbubble website, click “Sign Up” at the top right corner of the webpage. Click “Artist Sign Up,” enter your email, username and password. Check to receive special offers and artist news in your email, then click “Sign Up.”

Once you verify your account, sign in and start uploading designs for the first batch of products. Customers will search and find your products featuring your designs. If a customer makes an order, Redbubble fulfils the order and ships it around the world. The customer receives a unique product, and you get paid.

Redbubble allows you to set how much profit you want to earn. You can choose from 10% to 30%. I know of an artist who uploaded a unique artwork on Redbubble. It was a superb photo of the sunset by the beach. The artist sold £5,000 worth of the photo on Redbubble. All the artist did was upload the image, write a short, sweet description, put in some hashtags, shared the product on social media, and sales exploded.

One advantage of Redbubble is that you can create your products and open your online store on the same platform.

Printful

Create your custom products with Printful and sell them online. Like Redbubble, Printful is an online print-on-demand service. It enables you to start your online business with zero inventory. As a POD partner, Printful helps you create:

  • Phone cases
  • Keychains
  • Drinkware
  • Hats
  • Hoodies
  • Sweatshirts
  • T-shirts
  • Tank tops, etc.

Founded in 2013, Printful is free to use. You only pay for shipping and fulfilment once you receive an order. The company partners with some of the best global carriers to bring you the most reliable and affordable delivery options.

There is no order minimum. As such, you’ve the freedom to experiment with your products and store concept. You don’t have to invest in expensive equipment either. Here is how Printful works. Visit the Printful website, sign up with your email, Facebook, Google or Apple.

Connect your online store with Printful using one of the available e-commerce integrations. Add your products to your online store. When a customer buys your unique product, your order is automatically sent to a local Printful fulfilment centre. The facility will create your product and ship it under your brand.

With Printful, you don’t have to worry about leftover stock. The site allows you to create products only when your customer places an order. There is no sign-up or monthly fee. Pay only when you sell or order yourself.

  • Fees charged by Printful are as follows:
  • Product fulfilment fee (per order) – £1.42
  • Pack-in fulfilment fee (per order) – £0.67
  • Pack-in picking fee (per pack-in) – £0.35
  • Storage (1-200 unit) £1.17 per cubic feet with £17.69 monthly minimum

Learn How to Price your Print on Demand Products.

Amazon Merch

Amazon Merch is another print-on-demand marketplace reaching millions of customers worldwide. Launched in 2015, it was initially designed to help app developers monetize their apps. Today, it’s a platform where designers, artists and other people can upload their unique designs and make money.

To start using Amazon Merch, you need to sign up. Creating an account is very easy. Visit the Amazon Merch registration page. Enter the following details:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Password

Click “Create your Amazon Account,” then sign in and upload your artwork. Select product type, colour and add your product description. Create your product page on Amazon where you can upload your designs for customers to buy. Amazon Merch will handle production, shipping and customer service without upfront costs.

Once you get your Amazon Merch account, you can list up to 10 T-shirt designs. If you sell all 10, you’ll rank up to 25 designs. To rank higher, you need to generate 25 sales. Once you do that, Amazon Merch will rank you up to 100. The next run is 500 and so on.

All your products are eligible for Amazon Prime Shipping. This ensures that your customers receive their orders quickly. Prime members receive free two-day shipping, and when a customer spends more than £17.69, they receive free shipping.

For every product you sell, Amazon Merch will pay you royalties. Your account page has an analysis tool that provides insight into your best selling designs. It also allows you to watch your revenue grow.

To ensure that your T-shirt artwork is of high quality, Amazon Merch expects your design to be a 300 dpi PNG. The image size should be 15 by 18 inches. It should fit perfectly within the area rather than taking up all the space. You can download templates from the Best Practice Page.

Printify

Automate and simplify the process of creating print on demand products with Printify. The POD site has over 300+ custom products ready for your designs. Printify allows you to create:

  • T-shirts
  • Hoodies
  • Mugs
  • Phone cases
  • Tote bag
  • Insulated bottle
  • Infant bodysuit
  • Socks
  • Home accessories
  • Sweatshirt and others.

To create your product, sign-up, pick the most suitable product for your business based on specific factors. For example, price, fulfilment time, print provider location and others. Use Printify’s mock-up generator to apply your unique designs to your chosen products.

The mock-up generator allows you to upload your artwork, switch colour options and preview your design. It’s also designed to add your products to your online store. This saves you time. You can order samples of your products from your chosen print providers. This enables you to check if the end product looks and feels exactly as you designed.

If you’re happy with your design, add the product to your online store directly from Printify. The POD site integrates with popular eCommerce platforms such as Wix, Etsy, Shopify and more. Now, you can sell your unique products to millions of shoppers in the UK and worldwide.

When a customer orders from your online store, your product passes Quality Control. Then it’s sent to production and shipped to the customer. From your account dashboard, you can easily track this process. By taking care of production, shipping and inventory, Printify allows you to focus on the important stuff – growing your brand.

For merchants starting their first online business, Printify is free. But once you start growing your sales, you can choose one of the following pricing plans:

  • Premium – £17.68/month (billed annually) or £20.52/month (billed monthly)
  • Enterprise – custom pricing

The Enterprise plan is a solution for high volume businesses. It offers custom features and integrations.

How To Market Your Print on Demand Business

There are several ways to market your POD business. Here are 5.

Leverage the Power of Influencers

Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and other social media platforms have billions of users. That is why influencers are using these platforms to reach millions of followers worldwide. As amplifiers, influencers can help to spread your message. We recommend starting with micro-influencers as they can reach your target audience faster.

Use Facebook Ads

Facebook has 2.79 billion active users globally. As of January 2021, the UK has 38 million Facebook users. By promoting your Print on Demand business using Facebook ads, you’re able to reach your target audience.

For this to be successful, you need to know your customers well. This allows you to customize your ads by geographic location, interests, marital status, age and many others. Before running your first Facebook ad, experiment with micro spends to see if your ad will receive the best responses.

Try Email Marketing

Email marketing can help you connect with hundreds of thousands of customers. To succeed in email marketing, you need to give away something for free. This is in exchange for the customer’s email address. You can give away a free eBook, voucher code, and more. Don’t focus on selling alone. Connect with the customers first.

Offer Free Products

Studies show that customers are willing to accept a product for free rather than pay a nominal price. To attract customers to your online store, offer your online visitors a free entry-level product. For example, if a customer orders a T-shirt or hoodie, you can give them a keychain or beanie with your brand logo for free. Be sure to secure the customer’s contact details and social media handle.

Join Buy and Sell Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups allow like-minded people to share and discuss ideas. The trick to promoting your Print on Demand products on Facebook Groups is sharing valuable content. Remember, these groups have rules. If you post spammy content, the moderators will ban you. To find Facebook groups, search using the Facebook search bar.

Final Thoughts

Print on Demand is an easy way to start your eCommerce business with minimal investment. As a low-risk business opportunity, it demands less time. You also don’t have to invest in printing equipment, inventory, warehouse or a physical store. Your Print on Demand partners such as Printiful, Printify, Amazon Merch and Redbubble will fulfil everything.

They handle production, shipping, inventory management and customer service. By removing the burden of inventory handling, product and logistics, you can focus on what matters – growing and expanding your brand.

Further Reading…