As someone who might be looking to create a source of income, you may stumble on the print on demand idea. Is it profitable? Absolutely, but it depends on how willing you are to learn and overcome the challenges ahead.
Sure, luck plays a role as well, but you can start a print on demand business from scratch and make money.
Having said that, it is worth noting that the method is not suitable for everyone. There are two distinguishable categories of people who are most likely to succeed:
- Hard workers who are willing to put the time to learn the ins and outs of the method
- Talented artists
Ideally, you should be a professional graphic designer who is a hard worker interested in creating a source of income for yourself.
On the other hand, even the lack of artistic talent should not be enough to stop you. It is not that difficult to create your own shirt with the help of available online tools, such as mockup generators. And you still have the option to partner with a proper graphic designer and create a joint venture.
Print on Demand Licensing
Let’s assume that you are someone who designs the merchandise themselves. If so, you can consider taking a bit of a different route and make money by licensing your artwork to other, well-established print on demand brands.
The lack of really great artists is one of the primary reasons why some POD businesses struggle to make money. Not having an in-house artist calls for outsourcing, and that is where your talents or hard work learning the craft of design can generate income.
Joining an already large market also makes sense because you do not have to worry about developing a site from scratch and entering an already competitive environment. Not only that, marketing issues will also not be as much of a concern if your platform already invests heavily in marketing and you are just one of the artists providing design ideas.
Of course, putting effort into promoting your designs specifically on social media and other channels would bring extra profit, but it is not the be-all and end-all necessity to make money when you have the benefit of customers from an already established platform, such as Amazon or Redbubble.
The Numbers Game
Coming up with a few exciting designs will not cut it. You might find success early on and start believing that sustaining the business will be enough.
Getting carried by one or two extremely well-created t-shirt designs can only last for so long. After a while, the gimmick will wear off, and you will be left stranded with nothing to show for the momentum you gained after a successful start.
No, what you have to do is pretty straightforward. You need to come up with new t-shirt designs regularly and offer your potential customers fresh ideas so that they can see your growth as an artist.
That is right. The designs themselves should also improve with time. Otherwise, it will not be too long before the whole venture stagnates.
Encountering blocks as a designer is common. If that happens, try to broaden your horizon and seek sources of inspiration.
In addition to marketing and finding new customers, you should also expand into more marketplaces. So long as you are not signed with t-shirt platforms exclusively, there should be no restrictions to try selling your t-shirts on other marketplaces.
Finally, you can go back to your old designs and think about ways to improve them. A refurbished look is not the same as a completely original idea, but it is still something different that feels new.
Trends Rather Than Originality
Hearing that you need to design what is trending rather than what you want might be a bit disheartening for an artist.
Unfortunately, if you want to make money, you need to consider what your targeted demographic likes and not what you like.
That is not to say that original ideas are unlikely to make money. You can strike gold, but the odds are higher when you know that there is a demand for something.
Google Trends are probably the go-to source to check what is hot at the moment. You can also try predicting what the next best thing will be and capitalize on that.
For example, if there is a massive sports event coming soon, such as The Olympics or The World Cup, you can bet that people will be checking for different merchandise to support their teams.
The video game industry is another great example. If you follow video game releases, remember that the number of searches on the internet grows the closer a big game is to its release date.
Building your design portfolio for that specific period and cashing out on it sounds like a solid option. And once the fad dissipates, you rinse and repeat the next big thing.
To sum it all up, this guide ought to give you a better idea of what you can expect if you wish to start a print on demand t-shirt business.
Remember that the principles mentioned above apply regardless if you are a designer yourself or partner with one to work with you.