How to Start a Profitable Print-on-Demand Business from the Comfort of Your Home [+Free Tools]
Are you looking to monetize your creative skills and start a business? Look no further than how to create a print-on-demand business. With little to no investment in inventory, this type of business can be a great way to use your entrepreneurial skills.
What Is a Print-on-Demand Business?
A print-on-demand business is one of the most popular ecommerce business ideas and a fantastic way to enter the business world. It is a highly rewarding business model with very few demands.
Print-on-demand businesses utilize a simplified process of selling custom products, such as T-shirts, mugs, posters, keychains, etc., without having to maintain the inventory. It is known as print-on-demand because the supplier will print a job only after the customer places an order for a particular product.
The process works by partnering with a supplier to create customized products. You create a variety of designs (or hire a designer) that will be printed on the items. The customer will place an order, which goes directly to the supplier. Then, the supplier will print the design and pack and ship the goods to the customer, making it a hands-off process for you.
The market size of a print-on-demand business is increasing at a very fast rate. For example, the custom T-shirt printing market in the U.S. is expected to grow to over $10 billion by 2025.
How to Start a Print-on-Demand Business
Discover a Profitable Niche
To start a print-on-demand business, the first thing to do is to identify your niche. That means you need to understand and identify your target audience, know their wants and needs and then customize your products accordingly to increase and grow your sales.
A niche is a selected range of products that a company offers to a specific customer base. It is not defined by the products but by the people. Every person you want to attract might have something in common, such as a problem, interest, desire or need, and your goal is to target that and meet the need.
Why is niching down important?
- You can position yourself as an expert in that field, which enhances brand recognition and helps to build trust within the audience.
- It helps to increase visibility with the audience that’s ready to buy the product.
- There is less competition involved, so there can be a high profit margin.
- You generally don’t need to spend a lot on advertising.
- You will get a dedicated audience because a niche is more passionate about what you are selling, as they are already looking for your product(s).
Here’s how to identify a niche for your print-on-demand business:
- Draw an outline from your personal experience, taste or preference. You should pick something that interests you or something you are knowledgeable about.
- Make a list of your hobbies, passions, interests, experience and expertise. This will help in transforming ideas into reality.
- Conduct research to understand your market. Before you jump into the market, you need to know the working and current trends. Do this by using Google and running searches about the products you are looking to sell. You can also use Google Trends to type in the specific products and subjects you’re looking to sell to see how the products have been trending over time.
- Know your competitors and try to find out what they offer and how your products are different from them. It is your USP (unique selling proposition) that will give people a reason to choose you over your competitors.
- Once you know the needs of your audience or their problems, offer them a solution.
- Some common niches to consider include politics, religion, sports, parenthood, animals and motivational quotes.
Some popular print-on-demand products to consider are:
- Cups and mugs
- Wall art
- Phone cases
Create Your Designs
Once you know your products, get to work on creating your designs. Designs can be image-based, text-based or both. If you’re skilled at design, platforms like Canva or Photoshop can help you easily create your ideas. Be sure to research what is popular and what is selling, but also come up with own ideas, or look for ways to improve upon what is already out there. If cat designs are trendy, you may find the competition difficult to beat if you release a very similar design to others. Find ways to change things up a bit and be unique.
You can also hire a designer to create your ideas, but of course, this will cost you. Look to sites like Fiverr, Upwork, Dribbble and Freelancer.com to source designers.
Build a Website or Use a Third-Party Site
Just like you need a store where people can buy the goods, you need a website where the audience can purchase what you are offering. A platform like Wix can help you easily create an ecommerce site and list your products for sale.
Even easier, if you don’t want to host your own website, you can use marketplaces like Teespring, Etsy and Merch by Amazon where you can sell directly on their platform. The benefit to this approach is that you receive free traffic that is already on the site. You don’t have to worry about driving traffic and customers to your own website.
Find a Print-on-Demand Supplier
You need to find someone who can look after the logistics. There are plenty of suppliers you can team up with for getting your products printed, packed and shipped. It will simplify the process and give you more time to concentrate on the core activities, which will ultimately increase the profit margin.
Some suppliers to consider:
To sell your print-on-demand products, you need to do proper promotion and increase your online presence, particularly if you choose to create your own website. For that, you can do SEO optimization, hire influencers to promote your products, take social proofs or reviews from the customers, etc. This will help increase your presence and build credibility and trust within the audience, which is vital to increasing sales.
A business operates in a very dynamic environment, which is ever-changing. Therefore, you need to monitor your performance (KPI or key performance indicator) and make timely improvements. Make timely innovations like a redesign of your website, make changes to the pricing, introduce new products, etc.
It’s Time to Get Started!
The print-on-demand business is a fast-growing sector these days, with minimal investment needed and very limited or no risk involved. You can team up with a supplier who will manage the logistics, leaving you to create your designs and choose your products. It is an ideal option if you want to enter the business world but aren’t sure where to start. By following the process mentioned above, you can easily create a print-on-demand business and start selling online today.
To help you get started with creating your print-on-demand business, Incfile has a fantastic checklist you can print out and utilize. This provides you with the ability to go line by line to ensure you are going through all of the necessary steps when setting up your business.