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How to Start a Profitable Print-on-Demand Side Hustle in 2024

Last Updated on May 19, 2024

The world of e-commerce is booming, and with it comes a growing trend – print-on-demand (POD). This exciting business model allows anyone with a creative spark to turn their ideas into physical products without the hassle of managing inventory or dealing with fulfillment.

Whether you’re an artist, designer, writer, or simply have a knack for spotting hot trends, POD offers a low-risk, high-reward way to turn your passion into profit.

printing side hustle

Print on Demand Global Trends

Check out these interesting statistics about print on demand trends:

  • The global print-on-demand market was valued at $5.397 billion in 2022.
  • It’s projected to reach an impressive $39.035 billion by 2031, boasting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 26.2%
  • North America currently dominates the POD market, with the United States hosting some of the most profitable POD companies like Printify and Printful.
  • However, keep an eye on the Asia Pacific region—it’s expected to experience significant growth, with a projected CAGR of 27.9% from 2020 to 2030

Why Print-on-Demand is Booming

  • Low investment, low risk: Unlike traditional businesses that require upfront inventory purchases, POD eliminates the financial burden of holding stock. You only pay for a product after a customer makes a purchase. This significantly reduces risk and allows you to test new ideas without a hefty investment.
  • Scalability and Flexibility: With POD, you can easily add or remove products from your store as trends evolve and customer preferences change. This flexibility ensures you can adapt your offerings to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Convenience: POD takes the hassle out of order fulfillment and logistics. Once a sale is made, your POD supplier handles everything from printing the design to shipping the product directly to your customer. This frees you to focus on marketing, design, and growing your business.
  • Customization and Personalization: POD empowers you to create unique, one-off products or cater to niche markets. This level of customization allows you to stand out from the competition and offer products that resonate with specific customer segments.

Getting Started with Print-on-Demand

Now that you understand the advantages of POD, let’s dive into the practical steps involved in launching your business.

Find Your Niche

If you already have an audience like your own Facebook group, YouTube channel. You probably already know who your audience is and what they’re interested in. If you are starting out with no audience than you need to decide on a niche to target. A successful POD business thrives on a strong niche. Whether it’s funny cat t-shirts, motivational phone cases, or art prints celebrating your city’s skyline, identify a unique selling proposition (USP) that resonates with a specific audience.

It’s best to choose a niche that aligns with your passion or expertise. If you’re into arts, consider art-related designs. If you’re a fitness enthusiast, explore workout gear. But try to go deeper than that and more specific. For example, coffee mugs with designs that appeal to busy moms.

The more specific you get the less competition you’ll have but don’t go too specific or you’ll end up with a too small of an audience. You can use a tool like Google trends to find what’s trending or browse platforms like Etsy and see which designs and products are popular around you niche.

Design Eye-Catching Products Without Being a Designer

Creating captivating print-on-demand designs without being a professional graphic designer is very easy these days.

1. Brush Up on What’s Trending:

  • Explore what’s currently trending in the market. Check out popular items on platforms like Etsy, Amazon etc.
  • Understand what sells and resonates with customers. Look for patterns and themes.
etsy trends

2. Use Simple Design Tools:

  • You don’t need expensive software like Photoshop or InDesign. Affordable and user-friendly tools are available:
    • Canva: A versatile design platform with pre-made templates.
    • Piktochart: Great for infographics and visual content.

3. Consider Commercial-Free Use Graphics:

  • Leverage existing graphics available online. Sites like Vecteezy offer ready-to-use assets.
  • Ensure you understand the licensing terms. Some graphics are free for commercial use with certain limitations (e.g., a maximum number of items sold).

4. Collaborate with Designers:

  • Outsource your designs to freelance graphic designers on platforms like Fiverr or Upwork.
  • Work with them to create custom images and assets for your print-on-demand products.

5. Keep It Simple:

  • Minimalist designs often resonate well with customers. Clean lines, simple shapes, and elegant typography can be powerful.
  • Focus on conveying a clear message or emotion.

6. Test and Iterate:

  • Experiment with different designs. Create a few variations and see how they perform.
  • Use customer feedback to improve and refine your designs.

7. Learn from Successful Stores:

  • Study best-selling stores in your niche. Analyze their designs and product reviews.
  • Identify evergreen items that consistently sell well.

8. Be Authentic:

  • Inject your personality into your designs. Authenticity attracts customers.
  • If you have a passion or interest (e.g., yoga, pets, travel), create designs around it.

Choose Your POD Supplier

A reliable POD supplier is crucial for the success of your business. Research different POD services, considering factors like product quality, printing methods, pricing models, shipping options, and integration with your chosen e-commerce platform. Popular POD providers include Printify, Printful, and Redbubble, each offering a wide range of products and services.

printify side hustle

Here are the key factors to consider when choosing a POD supplier:


1. Location Matters:

  • Consider the location of the supplier. It affects shipping times and costs.
  • If you primarily sell in the United States, choosing a supplier based there can lead to faster delivery and lower shipping costs.

2. Pricing Strategy:

  • Evaluate pricing carefully. It significantly impacts your profit margins.
  • Look beyond product prices. Consider shipping costs as well.
  • Sometimes slightly higher product prices with free shipping can be more cost-effective overall.

3. Product Quality and Variety:

  • Product selection matters. Opt for a supplier with a wide range of products.
  • Ensure they offer quality items that resonate with your audience.
  • Read product descriptions and specifications to understand fabric composition, paper quality, etc.

4. Customer Service:

  • Responsive customer service is essential. You’ll need assistance at some point.
  • Check reviews and ratings to gauge their service quality.

5. Shipping and Fulfillment:

  • Understand their fulfillment process. How quickly do they process orders?
  • Reliable shipping is crucial for customer satisfaction.

6. Integration with Your Store:

  • Ensure the supplier integrates seamlessly with your e-commerce platform.
  • Compatibility simplifies order management.

7. Customization Options:

8. Return Policy:

  • Review their return policy. What happens if a customer isn’t satisfied?
  • Clear return guidelines build trust.

Remember, your POD supplier is your business partner. Choose wisely, and your print-on-demand venture will thrive! 🌟👕

Set Up Your Online Store

Your online store is your virtual storefront, so make it user-friendly and visually appealing. Several e-commerce platforms like Shopify cater specifically to POD businesses, offering user-friendly interfaces and seamless integration with popular POD suppliers. Here is a step by step guide on how to set up your store using printify==>

Market Your Brand

Don’t expect customers to flock to your store overnight. Develop a solid marketing strategy to generate traffic and brand awareness.

1. Know Your Target Audience:

  • Understand your audience’s preferences and pain points.
  • Tailor your marketing efforts to resonate with their interests.

2. Get on Social Media:

Leverage social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and TikTok. Share engaging content, showcase your products, and interact with potential. customers. You can use AI video tools or copywriting tools to speed up the process.

3. Start an Email List/newsletters.

  • Collect email addresses using an enticing lead magent from visitors to your store.
  • Send regular newsletters with product updates, promotions, and exclusive offers.

4. Optimize Your Store:

  • Improve your website for better user experience.
  • Optimize product descriptions, images, and checkout process.

5. Ask for Product Reviews:

  • Encourage customers to leave reviews and testimonials.
  • Positive feedback builds trust and attracts new buyers.

6. Pay for Advertising:

  • Invest in paid ads on platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or Instagram.
  • Target specific demographics and interests.

Remember, consistency and creativity are key. Experiment with different approaches, analyze results, and refine your marketing strategy. Your POD venture will thrive with the right promotional efforts!

The pros and cons of print-on-demand Side Hustle

Pros

  1. You Only Set Up Your Designs for Sale Once:
    • Once you create and upload your designs to a POD platform, they remain available for sale indefinitely.
    • No need to constantly manage inventory or restock products.
  2. Designing is Easy, Whether You Do It Yourself or Outsource:
    • You don’t have to be a professional graphic designer.
    • Use simple design tools or collaborate with freelance designers to create unique designs.
  3. Make Some Extra Income While You Sleep:
    • POD operates 24/7. Customers can place orders at any time, allowing you to earn money even when you’re not actively working.
  4. You Don’t Need to Do a Lot of Tasks:
    • POD suppliers handle printing, packaging, and shipping.
    • Focus on marketing, customer service, and growing your brand.
  5. Super Low Costs:
    • No upfront investment in inventory.
    • Minimal overhead costs—just pay for the production of sold items.
  6. An Online Side Hustle That You Can Scale into a Real Business:
    • Start small and expand gradually.
    • As your sales grow, reinvest profits to diversify your product range.
  7. Quality Print-On-Demand Fulfillment:
    • Reliable suppliers ensure high-quality printing and timely delivery.
    • Customer satisfaction leads to repeat business.
  8. Potential for High Profits:
    • Markup your products to earn healthy profit margins.
    • As your customer base grows, so does your income.

Cons

  1. Market Saturation:
    • Many sellers operate in the same space, leading to intense competition.
    • Differentiating your brand can be challenging.
  2. Limited Control Over Production:
    • You rely on suppliers for printing and fulfillment.
    • Quality issues or delays can impact your reputation.
  3. Profit Margins May Vary:
    • Balancing competitive pricing with profitability can be tricky.
    • Shipping costs and platform fees affect your net earnings.
  4. Dependence on Third-Party Platforms:
    • You’re tied to the policies and changes of POD platforms.
    • Building your independent brand presence takes time.
  5. Design Copyright and Originality:
    • Ensure your designs are original and don’t infringe on copyrights.
    • Avoid using copyrighted material without permission.
  6. Marketing Efforts Required:
    • You must actively promote your store to attract customers.
    • Social media, email marketing, and SEO are essential.
  7. Handling Customer Service:
    • Address inquiries, returns, and complaints promptly.
    • Maintain a positive customer experience.

Ready to Start a Profitable Print-on-Demand Side?

The world of POD offers a fantastic opportunity for anyone with a creative vision and an entrepreneurial spirit. Remember, success takes time and dedication, it’s not easy. Have a planm stick with it, be patient, keep learning, and most importantly, have fun expressing your creativity!

printify start a store

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