You may have heard that “Print on Demand” is a way to make passive income, and it’s true. There has never been a better time to start earning money with print on demand. After helping multiple merchants setup their print on demand stores, we know this is an excellent source of passive income for anyone with an audience, such as Influencers, YouTubers, Podcasters and established businesses.
What is Print on Demand? Print on demand is a business model that allows you to sell your designs on merch (such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, mugs etc) directly to customers. Once a customer makes a purchase, the order is sent to a fulfilment company that prints and ships the order directly to the customer.
Print on demand is a form of drop-shipping where you need no stock to sell online. This article contains a guide on how to get started making passive income from print on demand as a beginner. Print on demand is a great place for beginners to start making passive income online. This can especially be an interesting source of revenue for you if you have a passion for design, have a graphic design background or want to share your artwork with the world.
Like any other passive income source, this will take time and effort to build up, especially if you don’t already have an audience. However, Print on demand is an excellent way to monetize your audience if you are a Podcaster, a YouTuber, Instagrammer or business owner. Offering Print on demand to other established businesses as a source of income for them can also be an excellent business model to make money online. You can make $500 per month in sales if, for example, you sell 20 sweaters with a $25 profit margin (not considering costs). Learn more about some costs that can be associated with print-on-demand in this article about dropshipping.
No Need to Be a Designer
You don’t need to be a world-class designer get started with Print on Demand. Even text-based phrases sell. You don’t need fancy software to create good graphics. As long as you have creative ideas and can make basic artwork, you can get started with Print on Demand. Therefore, it’s easy for beginners to get started.
Another benefit of Print on Demand (or POD) services is that they will handle printing and shipping the products on your behalf. You do not need to invest any money in printers, or purchase any stock upfront. Print on Demand services pay you a commission or a flat fee for each sale.
Step-By-Step Guide to Make Passive Income with Print On Demand
Personally I love Printful, a Print on Demand service that allows you to sell quality merch online. Learn more about Printful on our resource page. The reason I prefer Printful is because in integrates seamlessly with Ecwid.
Ecwid is an eCommerce solution that allows you to sell in multiple places online including Facebook, Instagram, Amazon and eBay, as well as on your own websites may that be on WordPress, Wix, Weebly or any other website builder. Learn more about Ecwid on our resource page. If you don’t yet have a website, you can also use Ecwid’s default starter site to sell your awesome merch online.
This section will specifically cover how you how to use Printful (and other platforms) to make passive income online. But if you would like to learn more about the details of how to capitalize on the power of Printful, check out this awesome Printful course. Otherwise, read on for a quick guide and more info.
1. Choose a Topic You are Passionate About
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Try to narrow down your ideas and decide what topics you like the best. Ideally, you should pick a niche that you are passionate and knowledgeable about. What do you like to do in your spare time? What are your hobbies and centers of interest? Sticking with a topic that interests you will help you stand out among other competitors. It is even easier when you choose an area that matches your favourite hobbies and target a market you are already part of.
You can also choose a niche based on what is trending at the moment. A good way to do this is to carry out a search in Google Trends. If you see that the topic is popular, it may make for a good product. Pinterest is also a great place to find ideas for graphics that are trending with regards to a certain niche. Of course, make sure not to copy other people’s designs. The internet should only be a source of inspiration. Make sure to create your own artwork or have original designs made for you.
2. Create Your Artwork (or Get it Done For You)
If you are a passionate designer, you may already have a decent collection of digital artwork lying around. Get your best ideas together if you already have what you need. If not you have a couple options.
Create the Designs Yourself
- Free software: You can use free online tools like Canva to create your designs.
- Paid software: If you have a bit more of a budget, you could always use Adobe Illustrator to create more complex designs. The learning curve for this kind of software may be longer, however the final result may be more professional and there are tons of tutorial videos on YouTube.
Have the Designs Made For You
If you are not good at designing logos, catch phrases or digital artwork, you can have it done for you at a very low cost on Fiverr.com. Most job offers on the site start around $5 and can offer you beautifully crafted artwork for cheap. You can use them to digitize your sketches, or come up with the sort of designs that will get you the right attention from your potential market. Learn more about Fiverr on our site here.
3. Pick a Platform
In comparison to many other passive businesses, picking the right print on demand platform is especially important. The idea of using these platforms is to have your orders fulfilled and shipped. The companies also handle returns and payments. Choosing the right platform will ensure that you get the greatest level of success with regards to product and printing quality.
You may also want to look at what each platform has to offer in terms of products. For instance, there are sites that print on shirts, while others focus on prints that can go on anything from shirts to pillowcases to cell phone cases. You should also choose a platform depending on the products you would like to sell.
I personally love using Printful with Ecwid eCommerce because of the powerful marketing automations the two platforms offer together. You can learn more buy checking out this course (learn more here).
Other platforms include:
4. Create Your First Product
Create your first product and do not neglect to describe it well when creating your titles and descriptions. Printful provides you a default description and title. They are great because they provide important product information such as sizes and brand. But don’t forget to add your special touch!
Not only will your clients be buying your product, but they will also be buying the story behind the product. Tell them about why you created that design and what it means to you or your brand. Good product descriptions can also help with your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so it can be found in search engines like Google.
5. Promote Your Work
You do not have to go all out and get paid advertising to attract an audience. However, you should promote your products. This includes sharing your work on social media so that you can create a greater buzz. I like using Ecwid with Printful because Ecwid integrates Instagram and allows you to tag your products on Instagram.
Instagram is an excellent platform for clothing and lifestyle products like mugs, posters and phone cases. Being able to tag your products in your posts allows you to send traffic directly from Instagram to your online store!
If you have a Facebook page, you can also add your store to your business page with Ecwid. You can sell simultaneously on multiple platforms like eBay, Amazon and partner sites. Pinterest is also a great place to market your print on demand artwork since it is very image-oriented.
Pro Tips for Print on Demand Beginners
- Purchase samples so you can wear your products in promotional videos or photos
- Make sure to take high-quality photos, as most people will want to see detailed product views
- Sell in Instagram and Facebook with Printful + Ecwid
How Passive is Print on Demand?
Print on demand is a very passive way to earn an extra income, especially if you already have an audience (ex. Influencers, Instagrammers, YouTubers). All you have is to create digital artwork and upload it to the relevant platform. POD platforms will handle everything else, from shipping to returns, as long as there is a demand for your products, you can keep earning money off them. It’s a great way to make extra revenue.
Startup costs for print on demand services can be pretty low, however, ongoing costs can be high. We cover costs in more detail in this article.
If creating artwork is your hobby, and you already have some you would like to share with the world, then most of your work is already done. Otherwise, it does not take a whole lot of effort to create nice designs. From there, all you have to do is upload your work to the right platform so people can start ordering your products, and you can get paid for your efforts. The most difficult thing may be marketing and promotion.
Unless you already have the artwork, it can take a while to create your products. You could always have it done for you on Fiverr to save time. Uploading your products and designing your online store is fairly quick. You can have everything ready in a day or so if you follow this Printful course.
Print on demand is pretty low-risk. Since you don’t have to invest much in order to create your online store, there is little to be lost in case the idea does not work out as well as you initially expected. Even returns will be managed by the platform.
However, there is no guarantee that your design will be profitable or interest your audience. Another risk is related to fees. If you do not pay attention, you could lose profits on fees. This course offers an Excel spreadsheet so to help you calculate your profit margins are high enough so that you actually make money.
Print on demand is not very seasonal, as long as you are selling non-seasonal products. If you are selling tank-tops for example, they may not be as popular in the winter. Same goes for your designs. If you sell seasonal shirts such as Christmas sweaters, then you can get a slump once the season is over. Otherwise, POD is not very seasonal and remains a relevant business throughout the year.
ROI (Return on Investment)
Print on demand has an average return on investment due to profit margins. If you need help calculating profits to make sure they are to your satisfaction, check out this course that contains an Excel spreadsheet to help you with the process. However, since this is a passive income source that can help you earn decent money.
Note: Beginners Passive Income is not endorsed by Printful and we do not own this product. Printful is a product of Printful, Inc. All Printful trademarks belong to Printful, Inc. We are affiliates for this product and will make a commission if you purchase through our link. This does not incur extra costs and we recommend Printful because we use it and truly do love the product. Learn more in our disclaimers.
Here are some articles and related questions to making passive income with print on demand.
How Much Passive Income Can You Make with Print on Demand? Wholesale Ted declares they make $10k/month selling one design. However, your success depends on your designs, how they resonate with your audience, your ability to reach that audience and your profit margins.
What is the best print on demand site? Printful and Ecwid eCommerce together allows for a powerful print on demand store. Printful is the drops hipping service that can fulfill print on demand orders, whereas Ecwid allows you to sell your products on Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, eBay and your own website at the same time.