Wondering if starting a print on demand business is worth it and can be profitable for you? Read on for a in depth guide into the print on demand industry and how you can turn a profit.

Is Print on Demand Worth it?

Yes, print on demand is worth it! It is a low-risk business model that has the potential to make hundreds, thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on how far you push it.  Print on demand can be a great source of passive income for anyone looking to build another income stream. 

Is Print on Demand Profitable?

Yes! Print on demand can be profitable for anyone that is able to put in the time and effort to build their shop. You can start making money within the first couple of weeks and build from there. However, this is not going to make you money overnight as it takes time to build, the potential profits can go as high as you are willing to take them. 

Does Print on Demand Really Work?

Yes! Print on demand is an excellent business model and can work for anyone who is willing to put the time in to learn the ropes and build a passive income stream. However, it will not work if you are looking for a get rich quick scheme.

Let’s dive deeper into what print on demand is, how it works, and how you can start making money from this business model.

What is Print On Demand

What is Print on Demand?

Print on demand is when you create a digital design, and you put that design on products such as a t-shirt, mug, pillow, tote bag, mousepad, etc. Without ever handling any physical product, you sell the product to customers and the items are printed only when the order is placed. They are shipped directly to the customer by the printer.

There are three types of print on demand business models.

  1. You can create your own website through WordPress, Shopify, Wix, etc, integrate it with a print on demand supplier like Printify, and sell products on your own e-commerce website.
  2. You can set up an Etsy, Ebay, Amazon, or Storenvy shop and integrate it with a supplier like Printify and sell on an already established marketplace.
  3. You can make an account on a print on demand marketplace like Zazzle, RedBubble, or Society6 and sell to their customer base.

The first option is the most challenging as you will need to build your own website and drive all of your own traffic. This will cost some money upfront as well as a pretty big time commitment as you will need to set up your terms of use, privacy policies, shipping policies, return policies, etc etc. However, this is also where you stand to make the most amount of money as you get to keep 100% of the profits!

The second option is a little easier as you will be putting your products on a marketplace that is already established. You will still need to work to get the customers to find your store and individual products. This can cost some money depending on the platform you choose. Etsy is free to join bu charges 20 cents USD per listing (click here to get your first 40 listings free) plus a 5% commission for every sale.  Amazon has a free option, but will then take a flat amount from each sale (around $1) plus their 15% commission or they charge $40 a month for unlimited sales plus the 15% commission per sale.

The third option is the most hands-off and comes with the least commitment. It is 100% free to join these sites and you can upload as many products and designs as you would like. The downside is that you make a measly commission in comparison to the first two options. It’s a trade-off, less risk and investment means less payout at the end. Another downfall to joining a print on demand marketplace is that there is tons of competition. With no barrier to entry and no restrictions on how much you can upload, people go crazy with it and upload like mad, flooding the marketplace.

Which Print on Demand Business Model is Right for You?

There are several factors that come into play when deciding how to pursue print on demand as an additional revenue stream. For example how much risk you want to take on, your experience level, and the time you have available to commit to this business.

If you have very little experience, money, and or time you are likely better off starting out on a print on demand marketplaces such as Zazzle, RedBubble, or Society6. Or better yet, all three! By starting out on these platforms you can figure out what designs sell well for you and get a sense for the business as a whole.

If you have some money and time to devote to a print on demand side hustle, then joining an established marketplace such as Etsy or Amazon is a great option. The platform’s fees are low and there will be a lot less competition than on a print on demand marketplace where everyone is selling the exact same products.

Honestly, if you are just starting out, I wouldn’t recommend jumping in headfirst and starting a website of your very own (unless you already have an established following through social media or something of that nature.) Building your own website is incredibly time consuming and money needs to go into it. Without an established following of any kind, you will likely need to bring customers to your shop with paid ads which can be a very costly venture.

The best way to make money with print on demand is to start small and build from there. Try out the free options like Zazzle or RedBubble, and figure out what sells. Once you are seeing consistent sales, you can use the money earned from the free options to open a shop on Etsy or Amazon. Once you are making consistent sales on an established marketplace it may be worth building your own e-commerce website. You can also interlink all of your shops to get more eyes on your products.

How Can You Start Making Money with Print on Demand?

Once you’ve decided which type of print on demand shop you are going to open you need to start thinking about how you’re going to generate customers and sales.

This is where keyword research and choosing a niche comes into play. Your best bet is to pick a single niche and stick to it. A niche can be anything from a hobby, color, sport, product, event, etc. For example, knitting, blue, hockey, mugs, or birthdays. By picking one niche and sticking to it you up your chances of making sales.

For example: hypothetically if you picked the hockey niche and made 100 designs for hockey, when someone types in hockey gifts to the search bar all 100 of your designs have the potential to show up in one search, giving you 100 chances of making a sale. Whereas if you make 100 random designs for completely unrelated niches your odds of getting seen go way down. 

*Hockey is just an example, I have not done keyword research and have no idea if it would be a good niche.

Try to pick a niche that people are passionate about and that doesn’t already have tons and tons of competition. This is where keyword research comes in.

Keyword research is crucial to running a successful print on demand business. When you upload products to Etsy, Amazon, Zazzle, RedBubble, and any other marketplace they ask you to fill in tags, or keywords, so that your products can be found in the search. You could have the best design in the world, but without good keywords, no one is ever going to see it.

If you take nothing else away from this article, please understand the importance of relevant keywords. It’s the bread and butter of a successful print on demand business.

There are a few ways you can go about doing keyword research. You can start typing things in to the search bar and see what the auto-suggest comes up with. You can use a keyword tool like UberSuggest or Google’s Keyword Planner tool. You can also look at Google Trends and see how popular topics are. It can be really daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it the ideas just start pouring in!

Want More Information on Print on Demand?

Hopefully this has given you a better idea of what the print on demand industry has to offer and if it is right for you.

Check out all of our articles on Print on Demand here.

Check out all of our articles on Zazzle here.

Check out all of our articles on RedBubble here.

If you have any questions about print on demand or selling print on demand products please feel free to send us an email through our contact form here.

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