woman working on a design on her laptop

Make Money With Print On Demand: A Beginner’s Guide

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Some of you will have seen that I have recently started an e-commerce store, based on Etsy, where I sell a range of mostly mugs. I offer different designs, but one key range is my income goal mugs for those who are working on their money mindset. I have had some questions about how I got started with this, so today I thought I would bring you my beginner’s guide on how to make money with print on demand.

What Is Print on Demand?

Print on demand (POD) is a business model that allows creators to sell custom-designed products without having to hold any inventory. Instead, the products are only printed and shipped after a customer places an order. This eliminates the need for large upfront investments in inventory and storage space, making it an attractive option for small businesses and independent creators.

POD services typically offer a wide range of products that can be customized, including t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, and more. Creators can upload their designs to the POD platform, set their own prices, and earn a commission on each sale. The POD provider handles the printing, shipping, and customer service, leaving the creator free to focus on designing and marketing their products.

One of the key advantages of the POD business model is its flexibility. Creators can easily add or remove products from their store, adjust prices, and experiment with new designs without having to worry about managing inventory. This makes it easy to test new ideas and respond quickly to changing trends in the market.

Overall, the print-on-demand business model offers a low-risk, low-investment way for creators to monetize their designs and reach a global audience. By partnering with a reputable POD provider, creators can focus on what they do best – creating great designs – while leaving the logistics of printing and shipping to the experts.

🚀 Start your Print-on-Demand Adventure Today 🚀
Get 158 Niche Ideas – Download For Free Now!

Curious about starting a print-on-demand store but not sure where to begin? We’ve got you covered! Our free guide offers 158 exciting niche ideas perfect for beginners. Plus, receive essential tips to help you thrive on platforms like Etsy, Shopify, or your own personal website.

Click Here to Grab Your Free Guide & Begin Your Journey

Which Print on Demand Platform Do I Work With?

When it comes to choosing a print on demand platform, there are many options to consider. Each platform has its own unique features and benefits, so it’s important to choose the one that best fits your needs. The one I have worked with from the very beginning is Printful.

Printful is a popular print on demand platform that offers a wide range of products, including clothing, accessories, and home decor. They have a user-friendly interface, competitive pricing, and high-quality printing services. Plus, they offer integrations with popular ecommerce platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, and Etsy.

9 Reasons I Chose Printful

Printful Logo

Product Selection: One of the main reasons I chose Printful is because of their product selection. They offer a variety of items, from t-shirts and hoodies to phone cases and mugs. This allows me to offer a diverse range of products to my customers without having to worry about inventory or shipping.

Printing Quality: Another benefit of using Printful is their printing quality. They use high-quality printing techniques, such as direct-to-garment (DTG) and embroidery, to ensure that the final product looks professional and lasts for a long time. I had heard that the quality of their mugs was excellent and I ordered some samples for myself at the beginning to test that out. I was very pleased with the results.

Sample Orders: Every Printful customer who is registered is eligible for one sample order each month, with a limit of three items per order. As your store expands and revenue increases, you become eligible to order more samples.

Product Pricing: In terms of pricing, Printful offers competitive rates that are comparable to other print on demand platforms. They are also introducing further discounts for growing stores, so I am keen to see how that works out.

Shipping Locations: Another reason I chose Printful is because I am located in the UK, but many of my customers are in the USA. Printful ships products from the closest location. So for example, when I sell a mug if my buyer is in the UK, then the mug ships from here in the UK. If my customer is in the USA or Canada then Printful ships direct from the USA. I can also ship to other locations like Australia, New Zealand and Europe and again they will choose the closest location to ship from. That means less wait time for my customers and a lower carbon footprint on the products.

Ease of Use: When you have your design, it’s easy to add it to a product in Printful and then create a template. From there you can download mockups of your design on whichever products you want to sell and these mockups can be used in your listing on Etsy, or wherever else you want to sell. This process is super easy, but if you are interested in seeing the videos I have coming out on this, then subscribe to my YouTube channel here.

Packaging: The mugs I sell ship in cardboard containers, which I love from a sustainability point of view. They also protect the mugs really well, so that’s a definite plus for the customer, and for me, as I know there is a high probability they will get there safely.

Training: Printful offers a wide range of really valuable training courses to help you build your business. I am gradually working my way through these and have found them professional, succinct and really helpful.

Rewards: Printful also offers a reward scheme where you can earn points towards Printful coupons for a wide range of activities, like going through a course, or adding certain products to your store. I’ve been rewarded with a number of $5 and $10 coupons and these are a very helpful way to save money when you are building your business.

🚀 Start your Print-on-Demand Adventure Today 🚀
Get 158 Niche Ideas – Download For Free Now!

Curious about starting a print-on-demand store but not sure where to begin? We’ve got you covered! Our free guide offers 158 exciting niche ideas perfect for beginners. Plus, receive essential tips to help you thrive on platforms like Etsy, Shopify, or your own personal website.

Click Here to Grab Your Free Guide & Begin Your Journey

Overall, from my experience, I highly recommend using Printful as your print on demand platform. Their product selection, printing quality, and pricing make them a top choice for anyone looking to start a print on demand business.

Where Do I Sell My Print On Demand Items?

small cartons with a shopping cart printed on them sitting on an ipad

When it comes to selling your print on demand items, there are a variety of platforms available, including Shopify, Amazon, Payhip, and Woocommerce, each with their own pros and cons.

I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to sell via Etsy, for the reasons outlined below. Yes, I may expand into a Shopify or a Payhip store later on, but for now, Etsy is the perfect solution for me.

Etsy is a popular online marketplace that focuses on handmade, vintage, and unique items. It has a built-in audience of buyers who are specifically looking for items like mine. Additionally, Etsy takes care of sales tax and VAT for me, which simplifies the selling process.

Creating an Etsy store is relatively easy, and there are plenty of resources available to help you get started. Once your store is set up, you can list your items and start selling them right away. Etsy charges a small listing fee and then a fee for each sale, but for me, it’s worth it for the exposure and ease of use.

Of course, Etsy isn’t the only platform available for selling print-on-demand items. Other options include Amazon and eBay, among others. It’s important to do your research and choose the platform that works best for you and your business.

In my experience, Etsy has been the best choice for me. Its built-in audience, sales tax and VAT handling, and ease of use make it the ideal platform for selling my print on demand items.

Product Design and Creation

Choosing Your Niche and Products

As a print-on-demand business owner, it’s essential to choose a niche that you’re passionate about. You can create designs for a wide range of products, including t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, and more. However, it’s best to focus on a specific niche to attract a loyal customer base. Research your market and identify what products are in demand. Once you’ve found your niche, create designs that appeal to your target audience.

The niche can be the product type or it can be built around the designs. For example, you could be a store that sells only i-phone cases, but you have a wide range of designs for those products. Or, you could sell based around a particular niche, for example, gardening, and then you put those gardening designs on a wide range of products – t-shirts, mugs, cushions, etc.

Where Do I Research Products and Keywords?

man working from home at a laptop

If you want to make money with print on demand, it’s important to discover what has the best chance of selling. When it comes to researching products and keywords for print-on-demand, there are several tools available that I find helpful.

Here are some of my go-to resources:

1. e-Rank

e-Rank is an excellent tool for researching keywords and products for a print on demand store. With its advanced features, it provides a comprehensive analysis of the market trends, competition, and customer behaviour. The tool helps you identify the most profitable niches and products, and provides you with detailed information about the search volume, competition, and ranking of each keyword, making it easier for you to optimize your listings and increase your visibility on marketplaces like Etsy and Amazon. With e-Rank, you can save time and effort while maximizing your profits. Even better, you can get started for free and upgrade as you need to.

2. Everbee

EverBee is a comprehensive tool that provides a wealth of information for print on demand sellers. The Product Research section helps you find high-demand products on Etsy, so you can make what is currently trending. The built-in Revenue Analytics allows you to see how other Etsy listings are performing and identify opportunities to create high-revenue products. Plus, the great thing about EverBee is that you can get started for free.

3. Google Trends

Google Trends is another great tool for researching keywords. I can see how often a keyword is searched for over time and in different regions. I can also compare the popularity of different keywords and see related queries. This information is helpful for optimizing my product listings and targeting the right audience.

4. Social Media

Social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are great for discovering trending topics and popular designs. I can see what styles and themes are popular among my target audience and get inspiration for my own designs. I can also use hashtags to research relevant keywords and see what people are talking about.

Designing for Print on Demand

I actually create my designs in Canva, but I also import elements from Envato Elements. I have a monthly subscription with Envato and this gives me access to a huge library of graphics, fonts and more, that I can use in my designs. Envato also includes stock photos that I use in my blog posts. (N.B. Always check licence details to make sure you can include elements in your designs. This includes on Canva, Envato and any other platform you use.)

Customer Service for Print on Demand

Customer service is crucial in any business, including print on demand. Ensure that you respond promptly to customer inquiries and complaints. Be transparent about your policies, including shipping times and returns. Provide excellent customer service to build a loyal customer base and increase sales.

Managing Inventory and Shipping

With print-on-demand, you don’t need to manage inventory, which saves time and money. However, it’s essential to keep track of your orders and ensure that they’re fulfilled promptly.

Printful integrates directly with Etsy so if I wish as soon as an order is made on Etsy that order can enter fulfilment on Printful and be shipped. You can also set it to manually approve orders, which is what I do at the moment, as I like to have an additional level of control. Plus, some of my products are personalized, so I need to do that step before the item goes out. However, if my store grows, as I hope it will, then I will be turning automatic fulfilment on (apart from for custom orders).

When an order is made, and after fulfilment, Printful adds the shipping tracking details to Etsy and updates the buyer, so it all runs very smoothly with very little input from me.

🚀 Start your Print-on-Demand Adventure Today 🚀
Get 158 Niche Ideas – Download For Free Now!

Curious about starting a print-on-demand store but not sure where to begin? We’ve got you covered! Our free guide offers 158 exciting niche ideas perfect for beginners. Plus, receive essential tips to help you thrive on platforms like Etsy, Shopify, or your own personal website.

Click Here to Grab Your Free Guide & Begin Your Journey

Marketing Your Print on Demand Business

So you want to make money with print on demand? Then marketing is going to be key to the success of your business. The great advantage of using Etsy for me is that it has a built-in audience and therefore my role is to research my keywords and tags, using e-Rank, so that I get in front of people.

However, I also use other marketing channels like email and social media to promote my products and engage with my customers. At the moment I am focusing on organic reach via Instagram and Pinterest and at a later stage I may also add paid advertising into the mix, but that will only be after my store grows substantially.

Making Passive Income with Print on Demand

Print-on-demand allows you to earn passive income by creating designs that continue to sell over time. It’s great to have a mix of evergreen designs and some that have an element of seasonality to them. Continuously create new designs to keep your store fresh and attract new customers. Use analytics to track your sales and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some ways to start a print on demand business without investing any money?

The way I started through Etsy and Printful was extremely low cost. You can sign up for a free account through Printful and you will only need to pay for inventory when you make your first sale. The only initial outlay I had was the $0.20 listing fee for each item on Etsy. If you want 40 free Etsy listings to get started, then sign up for an account through this link.

What is the average profit for a print on demand business?

The average profit for a print on demand business varies depending on several factors, including the products sold, the pricing strategy, and the marketing efforts. However, many print on demand businesses can expect to make a profit margin of around 20-30%.

Is it possible to make passive income with print on demand?

Yes, it is possible to make passive income with print on demand. Once you have created and uploaded your designs, you can earn money from sales without any additional effort. However, it’s important to note that creating and promoting your designs will require some initial effort and ongoing maintenance.

However, I should also add that nothing is guaranteed, it depends on the amount of work you are willing to put in and how well you research and create your designs.

Is Now a Good Time to Start?

If you are reading this – whatever the time of year – and you feel that print on demand might be right for you, then I encourage you to get started right away. The initial outlay costs are super low – you can start with a free Canva account, a free Printful account, and 40 free listings on Etsy.

Don’t wait until the ‘perfect’ time of year to get started, whenever you are thinking that might be. The perfect time is now. Then you can grow, evolve and perfect over time. It’s very possible to make money with print-on-demand, but you can only do that if you get started.

Have a question? Leave it in the comment section below and I’ll answer it there.

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2 Comments

  1. Very informative, thank you for sharing. I’ve used a few POD companies over the years and Printful seems quite competitive. I also like the fact that it integrates easily with Etsy.

  2. Thanks Gaynor. Yes the ease of connectivity with Etsy is definitely one of the biggest plus points!

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