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Start a Print on Demand Business: Fun, Creative and So Much Room for Growth
For years, I wanted to start a print on demand business but always talked myself out of it. Why? I thought it was too saturated. I thought I wasn’t artistic enough. Not creative enough. And that it it was just too hard to learn and get started. To each and every one of those reasons, I now shout, “WRONG!!!”
A print on demand business has so much sparkly magic to it that it really is a great starting point for anyone looking for their first online business. If you are a skilled artist, you can create amzazing products. If you are a so-so artist, you can create amazing products. And if you cannot even draw a stick figure, you can create amazing products. I truly beleive that tapping into your creativity is liberating. And even those of us who beleive we have no skill and little creativity will find our groove with print on demand. Really!
What Exactly is a Print on Demand Business?
In short, it is creating custom products on demand. What started as a way to design and sell unique tshirts has grown to a huge industry that now prints on just about anything you can imagine from phone cases to dresses, tote bags magnets, shower curtains, socks, posters, you name it!
The beenfits to you is that you do not have to keep inventory, or do any of the printing or customer order fulfilment yourself. You simply create and upload designs to a fulfilment company, create mockups that show what the design would look like on a wide variety of products you chose, and when a sale is made, the company takes care of the rest. They will only print when something is ordered. After printing, they will package and notify you when the items have been shipped.
There are no order minimums so that barrier is also removed. Obviously the profit margins will be much smaller than if you mass produce your designs, but the upfront cost and risks are removed. The only risk you face is having your feelings hurt if no one seems to like a design that you poured your heart and soul into.
Top Reasons to Start a Print on Demand Business
The best reason to start a print on demand business is that you get to bring ALL of you into it. Yes, there are a lot of courses out there that teach you how to find the desperate niches of people and create products aimed at them. And you can, if that is what lights you up. If you fall into a quirky little niche, oh my goodness, get designing! But don’t chase down niches that you have no interest in simply to try to make money. You’ll burn out quickly and wittle away a bit of your soul.
You can completely feel your way around and experiment with designs all you want. You’ll discover what lights you up and what also atracts paying customers. As long as you go in with some patience and willingness to learn, grow, and adjust, you will find your groove. And, next thing you know, you’ll be dreaming up new designs all day long.
Another plus of starting a print on demand business is the low cost of entry and low risk. Most platforms that you can use to start selling your print on demand products are free. It is only when you make a sale that they take a percentage of the cut or charge a small fee. Granted, your margins for profit are much smaller than if you create your own online store, but for starting out, it is perfect. It gives you time to learn your style, see what sells, and know that this is something you enjoy.
By the time you get all that figured out, sales will be coming in and you can then invest in creating your own store if that feels like the next step. Many successful print on demand sellers never leave the free platforms. Some do a combination of both. What this means is that plenty of formulas work and you get to chose what feels right for you.
Tools and Software Needed To Start A Print On Demand Business
This is another big advantage of print on demand. If you are already skilled at digital art, you most likely have progams like InDesign or Illustrator. If you are not a skilled digital artist, don’t even worry about the programs I just mentioned. When you first start creating designs for print on demand, you can 100% do so with free tools. And you can also decide to press the easy button and use designs that you purchase or find for free (with commercial use rights).
If you think that you want to learn to either create or tweak designs yourself, there are so many wonderful and free options to get you started. Then, if you find that you really enjoy the process there are some great tools and software that you can invest in. Even here, there is wiggle room. The top of the line would be Adobe and its suite of software (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign) but there are some solid and lower cost alternatives as well. I have suprised myself with how quickly I caught on to the Affinity photo and design products and how much I enjoy them.
The Best Way To Get Started With Print on Demand
Without a doubt, you can find all the information you need to learn and start a print on demand business on YouTube. But…. with big subjects like this, it is hard. Why? Because you learn about one small piece of getting started that then points to 10 other pieces and each of those pieces leads to a half dozen other pieces, etc, etc, etc.
Trying to keep yourself focused and on track is hard when you have so much new information coming at you and it points you in dozens of different directions. Plus you will get a lot of conflicting information that, as a beginner, you should not be worrying about. Once you have time in print on demand and more perspective, you can better decide on things like that.
So, yeah. With things like a print on demand business that have lots of pieces, I will always say that it is well worth your money to invest in a course. I will tell you that I actually had a hard time finding a course that I was comfortable recommending. So, before I get to that, let me explain.
The Downside of Starting a Print on Demand Business
Simply put, it’s the quality of people that it attracts. When you have something that is fairly easy to start and has next to no start-up cost, you get a large pool of people jumping in to try to make fast money. And a lot of people seeing that as an opportunity to create low-cost courses to teach shady tactics to those people. Yuck. There definitely is plenty of opportunity to make quick money here and it’s done by the people who I am certain would sell their grandma for a few dollars if they could.
What this means for you is that when you first get going, you may feel overwhelmed with the very large number of “competition” and even more-so when you see that many of them do make money. Note that it never lasts though. Their shady techniques. low quality, and give a $#% attitude about the customer will always shut them down. These types hustle at one thing until they get shut down and then move on to the next “easy” opportunity.
So, your biggest hurdle when you start a print on demand business is sticking it out and committing to it. It’s fun to get those first designs put up, but then after you’ve been uploading for a few weeks and no sales are coming in, you start to get squirrelly. You’ll notice the people making sales with obviously stolen desings and see your big fat zero.
That’s when you have to check in and make sure that you really do enjoy the process of creating. Do you? How do you feel when you see your own designs? They are pretty flipping cool, aren’t they? Put your blinders on and keep creating. Keep uploading. Beleive that all the intitial hard work will pay off.
This is also when it is valuable to have a program to follow and someone who has been there/done that to answer your qustions or just give you a gentle push to keep going.
Which brings me back to the course.
The Easiest Path to Start Your Print On Demand Business
Like I said above, I really do think that this is one of those areas where a good course will fast-track you to starting your business. When things have a lot of moving parts, my very unorganized mind always benefits from logical, linear thinkers. That is exactly why I chose Ryan’s Method:Drop shipped Print on Demand. Ryan has a beautifully logical mind and clearly lays everything out. I’m sure you’ve noticed that overall, I lean more towards courses led by women simply because I am soooooo over “bro marketing.” Ryan has zero “bro” vibe and teaches you how to create a quality, value-driven business. Below is a list of what is covered in this in-depth course.
He also teaches the use of various ways to sell your products and has extensive experience and success in each way. And let me say once again, that his method is logical and keeps you on track and taking action as you go through. It will save you a lot of time and frustration as well as show you all the possibilities that are out there.
Ryan way over-delivers and makes himself available to his students as he has a true love of teaching what he knows. That is a huge value. It is what makes this a course about starting a business as opposed to a hustle.
The main reason that I hesitated to recommend his course is that it is a rather hefty investment. But, thinking it over, I have found time and again that seeking out low-cost courses usually gets me nowhere. It’s either not enough info, the advanced info is in other paid classes, you need to invest in upsells to make it work, etc.
After hitting too many walls with such courses, I did fearfully start trying higher-end courses. Not all of them were for me. But of all the courses that definitely pushed me to where I am, they were bigger investments. The ones that didn’t work were no loss because I would never sign up if there was not a refund period. You should always be allowed to enter a course and actually get a feel if it is for you. And if it is, the price should not matter as much.
So, my recommendation is that if you feel your sparks lighting up when you think about creating your own print on demand business, head over and see what Ryan has to offer. If you need some more of my rambling to get a feel for it, I write more about what having a print-on-demand business is like and go more in-depth into Ryan’s course HERE.