Want to design your own shirt and think others would like it as well?
If you’ve always dreamt of running your own creative business, starting a print-on-demand (POD) venture might be the perfect opportunity for you. A print-on-demand business allows you to design and sell custom products without the need for inventory or significant upfront investments.
You can think of it as a business with huge upfront research and work involve. Once all that is settled down, the rest of the traffic should be rather passive.
In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the entire process of starting a Print on Demand business, from conceptualization to marketing, and provide valuable insights to ensure your success. At the end of the article, I will even show you how I’ve set up my print-on-demand business for you to replicate as well.
Understanding the Print-on-Demand Model
Before diving into the nitty-gritty of starting a print-on-demand business, let’s first understand the model itself. In a POD setup, you collaborate with a supplier who prints your designs on products only when an order is received. This eliminates the need for holding inventory and allows for greater flexibility in the products you offer.
1) Choosing the Right Niche
The key to a successful print-on-demand business lies in choosing the right niche. Your niche should align with your interests, passions, and skills.
Conduct thorough research to identify market trends, customer demands, and potential competitors. Utilize LSI keywords, like “custom T-shirt designs” or “personalized home decor,” to identify popular niches that offer growth potential.
Another great way you can do this is by looking at Google Trends to identify new trends that are up and coming. HustleVenture website was built in 2022 because there is a growing trend of online searchers looking for side hustles and wanting to find experts in the field to follow.
2) Identifying High-Quality POD Suppliers
Selecting a reliable and high-quality POD supplier is crucial to maintaining the reputation of your business.
Look for suppliers with:
- proven track record of ensuring customer satisfactory and meeting their standards
- excellent customer reviews(probably one with more than 1,000 geniune reviews),
- wide range of niched product
Apart from that, you would need to consider factors such as:
- shipping time
- printing methods
- product quality
Are you planning to work with them long-term?
Businesses are always looking for ways to have constant supply of their cash flow, if you are able to provide them with this solution. Even if you aren’t, let them know you are in here for the long term. That way, they are more incline to strike a deal with you and possibly lower the prices of their supply.
3) Creating Unique and Eye-Catching Designs
In the print-on-demand world, creativity is the key to success.
Invest time in designing unique and eye-catching artwork that resonates with your target audience.
Make use of design software and online tools to bring your ideas to life. Remember:
your designs should be original and appeal to your niche.
Take the time to research your competitors and take inspiration from their work. Find ways and ideas to innovate and take a step further in the designing factor. If you would like to learn from the best, here is Hustle Ninja’s tips on how to make unique T-shirt design using templates that will increase your sales!
4) Setting Up Your Online Store
To sell your print-on-demand products, you’ll need a well-designed and user-friendly online store. Choose a reliable e-commerce platform like Shopify or WooCommerce, which offer various customizable themes and plugins to enhance your store’s functionality. Optimize your store with relevant LSI keywords to improve its visibility in search engines.
How Does My Store Look Like?
My store is as simple as possible right now, but I will be improving further down the line. But here’s how you can start your print-on-demand business using RedBubble.
I know it’s very simple but this is what I did so far. Redbubble doesn’t allow you to use any letter outside the english ones.
Creating your own store and designing it is pretty easy and straight forward, it should take around 10 to 20 minutes to set up everything and in regards to your profile picture and cover photo, as much as you’ll like!
5) Adding Print-on-Demand Products to Your Store
Once your online store is set up, it’s time to start adding your print-on-demand products. Organize your products into relevant categories and create compelling product descriptions that highlight their unique features.
Remember, use high-quality images and consider offering product customization options to attract more customers. Most importantly, ensure the best user experience for your searchers on your website.
6) Implementing Effective Marketing Strategies
No business can thrive without effective marketing. Utilize various marketing channels to promote your print-on-demand products. Leverage social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to showcase your designs and engage with your audience. Collaborate with influencers in your niche to increase brand visibility.
Need help with that?
Do feel free to engage us at HustleVenture for your print-on-demand social media outreach through our guest posting and social media outreach!
7) Create effective user interaction on the website
To understand what your online visitors are looking at, a great tool you can use is Google Analytics. It allows the user to look through where their visitor are spending more time on.
For example, if users were to constantly eye on the homepage’s best selling product, it would be more effective if we can engage the online visitor to click on the link. The rule of thumb is:
Keep your audience on your webpage for as long as possible.
8) Utilizing Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing remains a powerful tool for building customer relationships and boosting sales.
To increase your likihood of sales conversion and build a community that loves your brand, you need to encourage website visitors to subscribe to your mailing list by offering exclusive discounts or freebies.
Send personalized emails with product recommendations, new design launches, and special offers to keep your customers engaged.
Keep them in the loop!
Congrats at this point if you have made a few sales. It’s definitely not easy!
Once you have a good amount of sales, you need to find ways to automate the process. That way, you can focus more on creating other businesses and work lesser on repeatative task. Here’s what you might need to look at:
- What customers are looking for(questions they might have)
- Features for them to play around with to understand the product better
- Smoothen the transition between enquires to sales transaction
10) Analyzing Data and Refining Strategies
Finally, to get the best results from your print-on-demand, business owner need to regularly analyze the performance of your print-on-demand business using tools like Google Analytics and social media insights.
Identify areas of improvement and refine your marketing strategies accordingly. Stay adaptable and be open to experimenting with new ideas to keep your business competitive.
What are some Problems You Might Face?
Well, my first and biggest problem was that I couldn’t and still can’t at the moment is writing post to upload a cover photo.
I searched it on Google and it says to complete the other information your account needs to be complete, but I’ve already done that and nothing changed.
I will keep searching for a solution which I hope to find as quick as possible, because the image of your store matters a lot on Redbubble.
And the cover photo is about 80% of what a person will see when they first visit your store.
Another problem aside this one that was inside Redbubble, I had a hard time finding a good niche and I learned that you can’t sell literally any design.
If a design is trademarked then you can’t use it to create your own designs.
I was lucky to learn this very quickly.
I a future post I think I will be making a step-by-step tutorial on how to check If your niche/sub-niche is trademarked.
Next I will be talking about finding good niches.
How To Find Good POD Niches To Sell In?
After you have a niche you think is good, the only thing that remains is to create catchy designs.
This is not hard, If your niche is a good one, you’ll only need some good lookin’ text and that’s all!
I haven’t searched for a lot of niches, but I have found two little trends or sub-niches that caught my attention.
For the matter of competition I will be reviewing them in some future posts.
But let’s talk about how to actually find good niches and for free also!
If you search for “how to find good POD niches” on YouTube you’ll get a lot of videos, but not every single one is great.
At this moment I have two main ways of finding good niches with low competition for Redbubble.
The first one is based of Amazon.
I got this method from Philip Andres on YouTube, you can check him and the video here.
I will also explain how to do it so let’s begin.
You need to have some Chrome extensions and patience.
I know you need some stuff, but this way of finding niches is pretty fun to do.
Now, you start by searching on Google for a random word generator, I am using Random Word Generator, literally the first site that pop up.
Then you choose a word you think has potential and search on Amazon with the word t-shirt or shirt or sticker or whatever you want to design.
Now, before searching you can enter a zip code to change your location in order to see how the product you search for sells in a particular country.
This is very helpful because you can target a specific country.
And the good thing about Redbubble it’s that it have a lot of visitors from countries like the US.
I will of course be using a US zip code.
If you don’t live in US and want a zip code you can simply search for one online!
As you can see AMZ Suggestion Expander shows 3 more suggestions.
Usually you get more though.
This word isn’t the best but it’s ok for an example.
Watch how many products exist.
In this case there are 1000 products already so the niche isn’t so good.
But let’s imagine there are 200 products.
You can see a ranking under each product.
If the number is low it means the product is selling.
You should search for products like that, in this example the gray one is arguably good.
But you should strive for as low as possible.
After you click on the product with the lowest ranking number, you should see the 4 boxes right above the product name.
Check the first box which says MI Trademark Check and click on the highlighted words in the products name.
Then, If it says typeset you can ignore it, and If it says text click on it.
There you can see If the words are trademarked.
If the badge is in a green circle it means it’s trademarked and you can’t use it, If is in a red circle is good to go.
I don’t know how accurate is this, but it’s pretty easy to do.
In a future post I will be showing you a better way to check this!
Now the last step, search on Redbubble to see If the niche is low or high competition.
If there are more than 200 products it’s to much competition.
And also check to see If the products that pop up are selling.
This was the first method!
The second one is easier and I think works better.
You’ll need to go to PodCs.
Then go to the left side and click on the second circle, with the Redbubble logo, and go to Redbubble Trends.
Once a window like this pop up, click on the right side of products on the little arrows twice to sort them from the lowest competition products to the highest.
Here all you have left to do is to go through the products and see which are selling and can do it yourself.
Can I start a print-on-demand business with limited design skills?
Absolutely! While having design skills is beneficial, you can collaborate with freelance designers or use design software with templates to create stunning designs without advanced design knowledge.
Are there any upfront costs involved in starting a print-on-demand business?
Unlike traditional businesses, print-on-demand businesses have minimal upfront costs since you don’t need to invest in inventory. You only pay for the products that are actually sold.
Can I sell print-on-demand products on multiple platforms?
Yes, you can sell your POD products on multiple platforms, such as your website, online marketplaces like Etsy, and even social media platforms.
How do I handle customer service for my print-on-demand business?
Many POD suppliers offer customer service support, including order tracking and handling returns. However, it’s essential to maintain clear communication with your customers to address any inquiries promptly.
Is it possible to change the POD supplier after starting my business?
Yes, it’s possible to switch POD suppliers if you encounter any issues or find better options. Just ensure a smooth transition to avoid disruptions in your business operations.
Can I expand my print-on-demand business into a full-fledged brand?
Absolutely! Many successful print-on-demand businesses evolve into full-fledged brands with loyal customer bases. Consistency, quality, and unique designs are the keys to building a reputable brand.
Are you ready?
Starting a print-on-demand business offers an exciting and rewarding opportunity for creative individuals to turn their passion into a profitable venture.
By understanding the POD model, selecting the right niche, collaborating with reliable suppliers, and implementing effective marketing strategies, you can establish a successful print-on-demand business. Remember to stay innovative, customer-focused, and data-driven to thrive in this competitive market.
If you have anymore questions or enquiries, feel free to write down in the comment section down below!