Here Are 5 Simple Steps to Succeed With Print-on-Demand in 2024

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Miroslav Novohradsky
Founder of NechEmpire

I'm Miroslav, a passionate graphic designer, Etsy seller and AI enthusiast. At NechEmpire, I'm here to share my knowledge and skills. I want to turn...Read more

I still remember the first time I realized you could actually make money by designing T-shirts and selling them through online marketplaces.

A lightbulb went off in my head and soon I was hooked on the infinite possibilities of the print-on-demand business model.

Fast forward a few years and countless custom shirt designs later, and print-on-demand remains one of my favorite ways to make extra income doing what I love.

If you’re thinking of giving the print-on-demand (POD) world a whirl in 2024, hold onto your hats because I’m about to walk you through exactly how to set your POD shop up for success.

Take notes friends, class is in session!

Choose Your Passion, Then Niche Down From There

Simple Steps to Succeed With Print-on-Demand

The first step to thriving with POD is deciding what niche you’re most pumped up to create killer designs for.

I’d suggest picking a topic you’re already somewhat knowledgeable about.

For me that was dogs.

For you it may be coding, gardening or plotting world domination through cat memes…hey, to each their own!

The key is identifying something specific enough to build authority around, but still broad enough to have nice selling potential across print-on-demand platforms like Etsy, Redbubble, and more.

Pro tip: browse what current best-sellers are doing well in various niches to get ideas for positioning yourself.

Got your niche? Sweet. Now comes the actual design process jazz hands.

Unleash Your Inner Creative Genius

So by this point, you hopefully chose a niche like “dog mom gift designs” or “minimalist nurse prints”. Time to start channeling that inner artist within!

Aim to come up with at least 10 unique design ideas centered specifically around your niche.

For my dog designs, I’d probably focus on phrases like “Sniffing Out Adventure” with a cute golden retriever graphic. Or a T-shirt proclaiming “Dogs Just Get Me” with a pool full of adorable puppy faces.

You get the picture here (literally!).

Pro design skills definitely help when crafting POD gold, but don’t freak out if you’re not the next Basquiat.

Even simple phrases and graphics can sell incredibly well printed on mugs, shirts, notebooks, and more.

What matters most is creating designs you as the artist love, with the confidence other [niche] lovers will dig them too. Now onto the fun part – getting your one-of-a-kind creations in front of potential buyers near and far!

Upload Those Designs for the World to Enjoy

Steps to Succeed With Print-on-Demand

At this point, you should have a collection of novel niche designs ready to dazzle the masses. Time to pick your platform and get those babies uploaded!

Most newbie POD-ers start with sites like Redbubble, where uploading artwork is super user-friendly.

Your designs automatically become available on a shit-ton (official unit of measurement) of products like stickers, iPhone cases, wall art and more. Which saves you a crapload of one-by-one effort.

Just keep creating new work over time and adding it to your stores. Some designs will fall flat but others can sell consistently for months or years to come.

Passive income potential FTW!

If a design doesn’t get traction after a while, archive it and move on to something new. Print-on-demand rewards persistence above all.

Now it’s Time to Spread the Word Far and Wide

Congratulations, your niche creations are now live for the world to see! But unless you’re absurdly famous already, no one will be able to bask in their greatness quite yet. Enter shameless self-promotion across social media.

As a POD newbie, I’d focus on the big 3 platforms to start: Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Set up dedicated business accounts showcasing your designs and don’t be afraid to engage with potential customers and similar niche brands.

Share your work, comment on relevant posts, and really put yourself and your artwork out there!

Hashtags are your friend here.

Search Instagram for related hashtags in your niche like #[niche]shirts, #giftsfor[niche]lovers, #shopsmallbusiness, etc, and engage engage engage!

Quick pro growth hack – spend just $5-10 on simple single-image Facebook or Instagram ads targeted at your ideal buyer persona in your country. Watch the sales roll in!

Success With POD is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Some new print-on-demand designers get discouraged when their meticulously crafted cat T-shirts don’t immediately start flying off shelves. But remember – POD rewards patience and persistence above all!

Focus on consistently adding awesome new designs on a regular basis, while promoting your overall brand across social channels at least a few times a week. Sales may trickle at first but can compound significantly over time as more products are added!

For example, say in month one you sold 5 shirts for a $50 profit.

But by month 12 you have over 50 niche shirt designs now selling an average of 5 per month. Now you’re looking at a $250 monthly passive income, which ain’t too shabby my friend!

The key is sticking with it long enough for momentum to kick in. Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint! As long as your designs are on point for the niche and sales show occasional spurts of life, stick that out for at least 6-12 months before reassessing strategies.

Over to You!

And there you have it…. everything you need to know to crush it with print-on-demand in 2024!

By picking a fun niche, crafting amazing designs actually targeted to that niche, and shamelessly spreading the word across social channels, your own little POD empire shall flourish!

What niche would you want to design for and sell products in this coming year?

Dog mom apparel and accessories already have that territory covered over here!

But the possibilities are endless.

Tattoo lover prints? Coding humor T-shirts? Snarky bookworm artwork? C

hoose your passion niche, put in the hustle on great designs/marketing, and enjoy watching the profits roll in. Not too shabby for artistic souls like us eh?

Now get out there and start creating some magic!

BONUS FOR YOU: Unleash your potential as a print-on-demand entrepreneur with this free guide – download now!

RECOMMENDED TOOLS FOR ETSY

Special Etsy Bonus (for new shops only): Use this link to Get 40 Free Etsy Listings.

Research:

Alura – The all-in-one platform for selling on Etsy. Start with a free account and explore all the features you need to start, run, and grow your Etsy shop. Try the free plan.

EverBee – Similar to Alura, but with a focus on new sellers who need simple researching too. Try the free account.

Sale Samurai – Another research tool, but with one of the cheapest subscriptions on the market. See more.

Graphic Designs:

Kittl – A fantastic place with highly professional templates, that can be edited and used for print-on-demand. In my opinion, it is a go-to place for any person, who wants to make money with print-on-demand on Etsy. Try Kittl for free.

Another of my favorites is Creative Fabrica. They have millions of cheap graphics that can elevate your t-shirt design.

When I sell my designs on t-shirts or other POD products, I always vectorize them. This makes them scalable without losing the quality. For that process, I use Vectorizer which is powered by the latest AI technology.

Other:

If you are serious about selling your designs on t-shirts, mugs, and other products, you must list them on the biggest marketplaces, such as Etsy. To do so, you must connect your store with a fulfillment company, two of the best being Printful and Printify.

Disclosure: Some of the links above may contain affiliate partnerships, meaning, at no additional cost to you, NechEmpire may earn a commission if you click through to make a purchase.

Personal picutre
Miroslav NovohradskyFounder of NechEmpire

I'm Miroslav, a passionate graphic designer, Etsy seller and AI enthusiast. At NechEmpire, I'm here to share my knowledge and skills. I want to turn your design passion into a successful online business.

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