In today’s age, entrepreneurs have more avenues than ever to start businesses. An increasingly popular choice for newbies is to start a print-on-demand business.
It’s a business model that incorporates the same philosophy as dropshipping. You create custom designs for mugs, t-shirts, and other merch. From there, you use a 3rd party company to print your designs onto the products and ship them to your customer. As a result, you don’t have to manage any inventory or print on your own. That’s why it’s so easy to start a print-on-demand business.
Yet, you’re probably still wondering, “Is starting a print-on-demand business worth it?”
Starting a print on demand business is definitely worth it. Not only are print-on-demand businesses easy to start, but they can be pretty profitable. Your profitability will hinge on the quality of your designs and marketing efforts. If you’re a talented graphic designer, then a print-on-demand business can be a perfect fit for you.
So stay tuned to learn all about how you can start a print-on-demand business and why they’re worth the effort.
Understanding the Print-On-Demand Business Model
Print-on-demand is an online business plan that has a lot in common with dropshipping. Dropshipping is where you operate an online store but don’t manage any inventory.
Instead, you sell products that a 3rd party supplier keeps in a warehouse. The supplier will then ship the products to your customers.
That’s excellent news for entrepreneurs, as they don’t have to invest in a warehouse. Managing physical inventory can be very expensive. In fact, it’s often the roadblock preventing entrepreneurs from starting a business.
With dropshipping, all you’re responsible for is:
- Marketing your products
- Maintaining your online store
- Processing customer payments
You won’t have to worry about shipping or maintaining inventory in a warehouse. It’s a low-risk business model that can yield lots of profits when done right.
Print-on-demand is almost identical to dropshipping. You also don’t manage any physical inventory for print-on-demand. You use a 3rd party that keeps t-shirts, mugs, and other merchandise available at all times.
All you do is design graphics, logos, and quotes for the merchandise. Just like dropshipping, the 3rd party will ship your products to the customer. What differs is that they will also print your designs onto the merchandise.
That means they keep their warehouses filled with blank products. As your orders come in, they will print your designs on the products. That’s why it’s referred to as print-on-demand, as they only print your creations whenever you get an order. Otherwise, all their merchandise stays blank. That way, they can accommodate orders from many different business owners.
How to Start a Profitable Print-On-Demand Business
Now that you know what print-on-demand is let’s learn how to start one. First, you’ll need an e-commerce store. We recommend using Shopify, as they’re a popular, affordable, and high-quality platform. You can easily design a merchant store due to their user-friendly editor.
It’s also very affordable to join Shopify at only $29 per month for their basic plan. You can also take advantage of their 14-day free trial by designing a store without paying a dime.
For print-on-demand businesses to work, it all comes down to the quality of the designs.
Ideally, you want to create one-of-a-kind designs that customers can’t find anywhere else. If you simply replicate popular designs that you see on Amazon, no one will bother.
So how do you stand out from the crowd? There are a few different ways:
- Express your originality. If you have a unique art style, don’t hold back from showcasing it. Customers love eccentric art that resonates with them. The more original that your style is, the better chance you have of catching on with customers.
- Capitalize on trends. Have you noticed a viral meme that’s popping up everywhere? Then it would be best if you capitalized on that by turning it into a design for a shirt or a mug. It would be best if you didn’t copy and paste the meme. Instead, please do something to put your spin on it to make it original.
- Use humor. If your designs are clever and funny, they’ll have a higher chance of selling. If you’re naturally funny, put your skills to the test. Try to be as visual as possible with the humor, as only using text is a bit dull. Combining humorous quotes with images is always a winning formula.
Launch Marketing Campaigns
No one will find your store if you don’t get the word out about it. Marketing is still a crucial part of owning a print-on-demand business. You don’t simply want to sell printed merchandise; you want to build a recognizable brand. Here are a few techniques you can use to market your new business:
- Facebook ads
- Reaching out to influencers on Instagram or YouTube to wear your designs
- Google ads
- Posting your designs on related Reddit forums
- Showing off your designs to Facebook groups in your niche
- Launching an email marketing campaign through Shopify Email
As you can see, there are many ways to market your business without spending much money, if at all. Remember, marketing is a continuous effort that’s constantly evolving. It’s crucial not to get complacent with your marketing and always to strive to improve.
Use Printful for Print-On-Demand Services
If you want to set up a print-on-demand business with Shopify, then you’ll need to download Printful. It’s the #1 print-on-demand app for Shopify, and it has a ton of unique features.
With Printful, you can add your original designs to over 290 products. These include high-quality apparel, accessories, hardware, and more.
You’ll never have to worry about your inventory, printing, or equipment. The team at Printful will handle all the heavy lifting for you.
Essential features include:
- 24/7 support
- Printing, shipping, and inventory management
- Over 290 printable products
- No upfront costs
- Total control over your profits
- Built-in design tools
- Global warehouse presence
- Quick shipping
Try Shopify for free.
If you are interested in Shopify and want to try it out, Shopify is offering a 14-day free trial here. The free trial is great because you get to see how Shopify works before committing to one of their monthly programs. If you decide to start the free trial, you can pick up right where you left off when you switch to the monthly plan. If you’re looking to grow or start your online business, this is an excellent opportunity to try Shopify.
Is Starting a Print On Demand Business Worth It? ( quick video )
So is starting a print-on-demand business worth it? Absolutely. If you’re a passionate graphic designer, it’s a fantastic way to make a living. To find success, you need to create winning designs, market your store, and use Printful. If you do all the above, then the chances are high that you’ll find great success with your new business. To see our full guide on starting a print on demand business visit this link here.
If you want to see a list of our top recommended Shopify apps visit this link here.