6 Incredibly Simple Steps to Start a Print on Demand Business By Andy Nguyen Admit it: we all can now earn money from anywhere and create thriving online businesses. The evolution of digital technology has brought many unprecedented business opportunities, and print on demand is one of them.  Whether you are a designer, an artist or even just a normal person, provided you have some creative juices flowing and want to make a living from them, you can start your own print on demand business right now. Forget about creating products, shipping the items, or doing any of these time-consuming tasks. All you have to do is to design your stuff, have it printed on demand, sell it, and you can earn a passive income day in, day out.  Interested? If so, let’s dive into this 6-step process to learn how to start a print on demand business today.  Note: The words “print on demand platforms” and “print on demand sites” are used interchangeably. For the sake of this blog, they have the same meaning.  Step 1: Choose the right platform  When running a print on demand business, the first and very important step is choosing a platform. Think about this: whenever a buyer places an order, that platform will print, manufacture, and ship the order individually for the buyer. They control the whole process of production and delivery, so your success heavily depends on them.   There are so many print on demand sites to choose from, so you should do a bunch of research to pick the right one. Here are some of the best platforms that you can consider: #1 PrintBase PrintBase is by far the most popular print on demand platform with a huge collection of products. They ensure the highest product quality, and the printing quality is also much better than many of their competitors. Generally, RedBubble works similar to other print on demand sites out there, but it’s merely a print on demand platform of its own. Pricing: PrintBase has a clear pricing policy. The platform only charges for the base price of each item, and anything extra that you get goes straight to your wallet. For example, if an item costs $5 (base price), and you sell it for $15, then you make $10 in profits. Delivery: PrintBase doesn’t offer free shipping, but they give you a good shipping service which makes it worth the money.  #2 Teespring Teespring allows you to create custom products to sell on their platform. Like Redbubble, Teespring also takes charge of printing, fulfillment, delivery, and customer service. On Teespring, you don’t need to set a sales target. When an item is sold, the order will be fulfilled and shipped, meaning you get the money. Regarding printing, each product has a different printable area where you can put your design. These printable areas have a limit, so if you cross this limit, your entire design won’t be printed.  Pricing: Teespring charges you a fixed price per item as Redbubble does. You choose the selling price and keep 100% of the profits after deducting the base price.  Delivery: Teespring has three different shipping fees, depending on whether your customers are based on the United States, Canada, or outside these countries. Rush shipping is also available on some products with an extra fee.  #3 TeeChip TeeChip has many of the same features as other popular print on demand platforms do, but it offers some unique ones as well. The first thing, also their unique selling proposition, is custom-domain offering. It allows you to create your own store on TeeChip and customize it with your own domain name. Here is a typical example of a store with a custom domain created with TeeChip.  Pricing: TeeChip has a base price and a retailer price minimum for each product. You can go to the official product pricing page to see how much you have to pay and how much you can earn on each item.   Delivery: TeeChip offers different shipping costs, based on the destination and the number of products in each order. Normally, the platform charges $3.99 per item along with $1.99 per extra item for delivery. #4 Merch by Amazon Started by Amazon in 2015, Merch by Amazon is a fairly new print on demand platform, compared with others in this list. This site mainly focuses on t-shirts and possibly limits for those who want to sell mugs, beach towels, etc. It is available by invitation only.  Pricing: Merch by Amazon offers you a royalty for each of your product sold. This royalty is based on the list price that you set excludes Amazon’s costs for raw materials, printing, fulfillment, customer service, and shipping. Go to the Royalties page to learn more about this.     Delivery: Merch by Amazon products have the same shipping options as other items sold by Amazon. If a customer spends more than $25, they get free shipping. All other customers are given the option to buy ground shipping or pay more for faster delivery.  #5 GearLaunch GearLaunch is ideal for eCommerce owners who already have a Shopify store. This POD platforms also provides full-service storefront which you’re able to sell under your own domain.  Pricing: GearLaunch uses a tiered pricing structure to make sure you get the most money as possible. You can use this product catalog to figure out their current product offerings and discounted pricing per tier.   Delivery: Shipping fees vary depending on the size, weight, and number of items in an order. Standard shipping times for domestic orders is between 5-10 working days. For international orders, shipping can take 2-4 weeks.  Tip: To pick the right print on demand platform, take enough time to answer these questions: Does the platform have large audiences? Do you want to leverage its audiences? Or, do you have your own audiences and want to create your own store? Does the platform have a wide range of products to sell? Some people may only focus on t-shirts, but others want to print on demand a lot of products.  Does the platform offer low base price (means high margins)? Earning a good margin on your products benefits your bottom line.  Does the platform offer a good design app? This may not be important if you use professional design tools like Adobe Illustrator. But some people often use the online design app provided by the platform. If you go with the latter, make sure the app is fully functional.  Now, you’ve known the most widely-used print on demand platforms. Let’s say your choice is Teespring. The following parts of this article will show you how to run a print on demand business on this site.  Step 2: Decide how you want to sell your design There are two common ways to sell your print on demand products. You can choose to sell on your platform’s marketplace or on your own store.  #1 Sell on your chosen platform’s marketplace With this method, you just need to create an account, upload your design, and start selling. Recall that you assumingly choose Teespring to sell your design. The platform has already done all the marketing legwork, so you can make use of free traffic to grow sales. Besides, selling your products through Teespring makes it easy to manage your entire collection.   However, this selling method comes with the downside of no branding at all. You don’t get the benefits of naming your brand and branding your own store. In addition, you would be one of hundreds of thousands of other artists selling their work on that platform. The competition is very high, and your potential customers can wander around your store, but then go to another to buy. Obviously, it isn’t always a bad thing, but if you’re looking to sell the stuff on your store under your own branding, this method isn’t the right choice.  #2 Sell on your own site You have to create your store site on Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, ShopBase, etc. Then, upload your designs to your store and connect with a print on demand platform. Also, you’re responsible for marketing your products. Once you have an order, your chosen platform will print the design and deliver the product to your customers.  So, how can you know which method is better to sell your design? Generally, it depends on your business strategy and budget. If you have a large investment and don’t want to compete against others, building your own print on demand store may suit you. But, if you know a platform has a large audience and want to make use of it, you should list your design on this platform. We continue to assume you want to sell directly on Teespring. Move on to find out what the next steps are.  Step 3: Find your print on demand products  Most people know they can make a career with print on demand. But many of them are struggling with finding their niches. “What should I sell at TeeSpring?” seems to be a common question.  Print on demand is a big label for an (almost) endless list of different products. We’re all familiar with t-shirts, mugs, towels, and phone cases, but increasingly there are new products available to print on demand. On Teespring, you can design a lot of products, like basic tees, tank tops, v-neck shirts, stickers, pillows, etc. Everything else from mouse pads, magnets to underclothes and bodysuits can be a good niche, as well.  Source: TeeChip To find your print on demand products, you can use many tools like Google Trends, Google Search, or SortingSocial. Regarding SortingSocial, this is very powerful to sort out products that people actually want to buy. You just need to log in, choose which platform you want to search on (like Pinterest, Facebook, Etsy, or Wish), and then enter a keyword. After that, you’ll get results which help you come up with unlimited ideas for your business, based on things that are trending. 

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