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How To Make Money With Print-On-Demand

Create Print-on-Demand Business To Make Money Online

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Print-on-demand has been around for some time. But only recently has it been getting a lot of traction as more and more Youtube videos have been showing up online on how you can generate some insane amounts of money using these services. Making a million dollars is not uncommon using print-on-demand platforms.

If you create a viral design and people find you, you might just make life-changing money and quickly. Is it easy to get a breakthrough in the print-on-demand market? No, it isn’t. There are rules and trends in place which you have to follow to gain the following and market share you are after. The competition in the print-on-demand business is fierce as more designers and artists enter the market.

With that in mind, let’s go through the best way to make money with print-on-demand.

The Different Print-On-Demand Services

The amount of money you make differs based on the service you use and the type of designs you sell on the services, without forgetting the niche you serve. The key point here is that you understand your customer avatar and customer base and know where they tend to hang out and purchase their products.

Also, it is important to know which has the most potential, and one way to see the potential of the platform is to check the annual revenue of that particular platform. Amazon’s revenue is in its own category as it’s one of the world’s largest companies.

Here’s a small list of companies offering print-on-demand of services and the annual revenue for 2021.

The things you should be the most focused on when choosing a POD platform are

  • Ease of use
  • Royalties
  • Product catalog
  • Quality of products
  • Customer service

Royalties and quality of the products are the most important things you should focus on when choosing a print-on-demand platform to sell your products on. Royalties determine how much money you get for each product sold. Quality, on the other hand, determines your brand’s values. If the product is low quality, your customer will be disappointed, and the sales will stop there.

There are easy options to get fast to the print-on-demand market, but the paid royalties are low. This means you would have to sell a bunch of products daily to get the income level you desire. If you aim to make $1,000 in sales and you get roughly $3/shirt sold. You would need to sell more than 300 t-shirts/month to make $1,000.

This only means that you need to pay a lot of attention to the royalties and what size is the marketplace you are bringing your designs to sell. If the marketplace’s annual revenue is on the low side, it might be difficult to get your designs to sell as there might not be enough customers catered to your niche. On the other hand, if the marketplace is as big as Amazon, expect to have some serious competition.

Make More Money From Royalties

Merch By Amazon and Redbubble are only a few options to make money with print-on-demand. You also have a choice to run your own website with your own shop but still outsource the printing side of the business. Printful and Printify are a few of those services that offer exactly that.

If you use services like Printful, you should also know about branding, marketing, and sales before you even think about setting up your own website and driving traffic to your site.

If you opt to use a service like Printful, you need your own payment gateway and some sort of eCommerce platform, which could be Shopify or Woocommerce plugin for your WordPress website, for example. The basic idea is that you sell your products through your own eCommerce platform, but the rest is taken care of by Printful.

The best part about these services is you get to create your own branding and set better royalties. You create the storefront and set the prices. Let’s say Printful takes around $12 for every t-shirt printed. You decide to sell that shirt for $20. You just got $8 of income as opposed to $3, and that was only because you decided to set the price to $20. That’s 4X more royalties already.

The con is that you have to drive the traffic to your shop because otherwise there’s no one who would find your products.

Sell Products With High Conversion Rates

With print-on-demand, the design, the product, and the brand that you are selling need to inspire emotions inside the customer, whether it’s happiness, envy, sadness, joy, excitement, inspiration, etc. The product and designs need to be one that transforms the prospect into a customer.

The design and the product need to be something that people truly want. It’s one thing to create designs or products that you would like to buy and another thing to create products and designs that the market wants.

Even though you feel like something is super cute, funny, witty, and exciting, it does not mean that the rest of the world thinks that way. When you create something that the market wants, then you have tapped into a product that has a high conversion rate, and you start to make sales.

Make Customers Happy

If you get one happy customer, you will get another one. What is important to remember is that one happy customer more than likely will buy from you again. Customer experience, which includes ease of purchase, quality products, and excellent customer service, has to be top-notch every step of the way.

Amazon wouldn’t be as successful as it is now if it wouldn’t handle all the steps amazingly. Your shop and brand have to be at the highest level to make consistent sales from your print-on-demand shop. If you are using Printful or Printify, the customer journey and experience are only emphasized. If you are using services like Redbubble or Society6, the customer journey is handled by the platform, and less is on your shoulders.

Do Not Sell Fan Art

You might see plenty of anime art designs that a print-on-demand shop is selling. It still does not make it legal. Selling fan art is illegal if you do not have the copyright holder’s written approval to use their IP (intellectual property) on your products. The likelihood of getting IP rights from big brands is slim to none.

Big brand IPs are carefully protected as it has taken the companies years to build that brand, so handing over the rights to sell their characters (Luke Skywalker, Naruto, Mickey Mouse) on products by a company they know little about is probably not going to happen too easily.

While you see plenty of shops selling fan art on their products, and it feels like it’s common practice to do that, it’s still illegal and can you get you easily into trouble.

Create Designs That Are Worth Buying

You have plenty of options when it comes to creating or getting a design for your next print-on-demand product. You can either create a design by yourself with Adobe Illustrator, or you can buy assets from marketplaces like Envato Elements or Creative Market and go from there. If you have an inner passion for designing your own products, Envato and Creative Market has plenty of resources for you to use for a small fee.

Another option is to hire a designer from Fiverr or 99designs and give them clear guidelines and instructions on what kind of design you are looking for. You don’t have to do everything by yourself, and outsourcing something like design work can help you scale your business to the next level.

When it comes to what kind of designs to create, it’s crucial for you to understand your niche and the overall market you are in. Selling crocodile designs while targeting Facebook ads to dog owners wouldn’t make much sense. Target audience and designs go hand in hand in print-on-demand business.

Market Research

Finding winning designs is not easy, and creating ones is even harder. One way to find designs that sell is to go to Amazon.com and dive into t-shirts and select only the ones that have 4 or more stars and raving reviews. From there, you can see what designs are currently selling and what you could do to improve what you already see the market appreciating.

It might feel tempting to do something that you think would look good, but you have to remember that you are creating designs and products for customers, not for yourself. Market research is essential for a company to succeed.

Pros And Cons When Making Money Using Print-On-Demand

Every service out there always has pros and cons but also with the whole print-on-demand business model has pros and cons.

Here’s a general list of advantages and disadvantages of POD as a business model:

Pros

  • Products are printed on demand. No stock needed
  • No manufacturing or distribution of the products, fewer costs, and maintenance inside the supply chain.
  • Create various products fast and with ease. Uploading a photo, illustration, or design is basically the time it takes to begin selling products
  • Worldwide distribution instantly at your fingertips
  • No customer service is needed (depends on whether you use ready-made service like Redbubble or create your own with Shopify, for example). This is good and bad. Good when you have bad customers, but bad when you have good customers.
  • You can easily sell various products, like coffee mugs, prints, shower curtains, t-shirts, clocks, tote bags, and so on.
  • Product catalog seems to expand over time within certain companies, so there are always more products to cover the expanding needs of your customers.

Cons

  • Competition inside the marketplace you are in. Getting your design to the front page requires a massive amount of sales and exposure worldwide
  • Royalties. You only get paid a fraction of the selling price. You have to sell a lot of products to cover your monthly expenses (depending on the POD business model you choose).
  • Branding (if you choose a service like Redbubble). Even though you can upload a banner and avatar to your store. The website address always starts with the companies name you are selling your items through
  • Quality. This is an advantage and a disadvantage. You are not totally in control of the quality produced by the POD company you are working with. The advantage is that there is someone else looking after that, so you can focus on creating more awesome products and designs
  • You don’t get to meet or know your customers
  • Sometimes you can’t implement your design exactly as you want into the product
  • You might be limited to certain-looking designs. Print on the front, print on the back. What if you would like to place details on the sleeve area?

There are a bunch of pros that really do matter, like distribution and manufacturing, which are the most important ones out there, as these things do take some effort to set up.

Cons, on the other hand, are more related to product presentation and limits the store has for your products. The biggest disadvantage is the royalties. With some stores, you really do get a tiny commission from the sale.

Conclusion

Quality products and designs, market research, promoting your products, customer service, and overall customer journey is the key to making money in print-on-demand business. You don’t have to do everything and it might even be better that you can outsource some tasks to certain professionals. You might want to hire a designer to scale your business, so you are not the one creating the designs anymore but someone who has years of experience in the field.

You also have the option to use ready-made marketplaces like Redbubble or Society6 to sell your designs and artwork, but remember that the royalties are lower than if you create your own Shopify store, for example.

The big difference between these few options is that one gives you the traffic (if you happen to rank in searches or achieve a trending status), and the other option makes you drive traffic to your store. So there really are a lot of pros and cons for each option, and those pros and cons you have to list for yourself and then decide what the best way for you to make money with a print-on-demand business is.

Print-on-demand business is not easy, and you shouldn’t expect high success right after you have posted your very own poster or t-shirt design online for sale. It is easier if you have a massive following on social media as then you can sell to your followers just by giving an update on what is happening in your life.

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Okuha

Digital Artist

I’m a digital artist who is passionate about anime and manga art. My true artist journey pretty much started with CTRL+Z. When I experienced that and the limitless color choices and the number of tools I could use with art software, I was sold. Drawing digital anime art is the thing that makes me happy among eating cheeseburgers in between veggie meals.

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