Is a Print-on-Demand Side Hustle Worth the Effort?

How To Make Money With Print-on-Demand

As consumers reject the stale offerings of giant corporations, independent artists and designers can reap the benefits of Print-on-Demand. 

It’s a fabulous side hustle for creatives of all stripes, but making money with it isn’t as easy as it appears. 

Here’s an honest look at the trendy print-on-demand side hustle to help you decide whether to try it. 

What is Print on Demand?

Print-on-demand services let you design and sell products to the public. 

These platforms allow artists to publicize their work and enable regular folks to support independent creators. They connect people who want unique merchandise with artists who can create it at a reduced cost for all involved. 

What Can You Sell With Print-on-Demand

Most people associate print-on-demand services with t-shirts; although they are the top sellers, consumers can buy all sorts of things with your design. 

Most Print-on-Demand platforms offer coffee mugs, posters, pillows, thermoses, cell phone cases, notebooks, stickers, and more. 

How Does Print-on-Demand Work for Designers?

Artists and designers can sell their artwork on various goods using POD services. They must create a store, upload their designs, and start selling. 

Choose Your Platform

Many companies offer print-on-demand services, and each has pros and cons. 

Amazon Merch-on-Demand remains the most popular, but they’re also very particular about who they accept into the program. I prefer Teepublic and Redbubble because they’re easy to use and don’t require payment to exist on the platform.  

Explore the numerous POD websites available and choose the best ones for you. 

Create a Store

Now that you’ve chosen a platform, you must create a store. 

The process is different for each website, but most feature user-friendly interfaces, making it easy to create your store with just a few clicks. 

You’ll likely have to fill out your personal details, make a store name, and choose a storefront. 

Start Designing

Many artists already have designs stored, but you’ll want to ensure they meet your chosen platform’s requirements before uploading them for sale. 

If you don’t have designs yet, never fear! This is the fun part! You get to develop fun design ideas that people want to wear on a t-shirt or carry around on a coffee cup. Use a program like Canva to create fun slogans, or get creative on your drawing tablet

Don’t limit yourself to drawings. Well-designed slogans and phrases can sell just as well. 

Upload Your Design

Next, you need to upload your creations to your chosen platform. Most have strict rules about upload size and quality, so you’ll want to use a program like Canva to resize your images and ensure they are hosted in the correct file format. 

Each platform has unique uploading steps, but they’re all user-friendly. Follow the prompts, and you’ll have no problems. 

You’ll be asked to provide crucial information, such as a title and description, during the upload process. These fields are essential for the next step. 

Marketing Your Store

Marketing your shop is the most challenging aspect of running a print-on-demand store. You could create the most epic shirt design ever, and no one will buy it if they don’t know it exists. 

Marketing starts with the item description and title. Choose a title people will actually search for. Add tags related to the niche and place the item in the correct category. These details will help people already on the platform discover your item. 

On-page marketing is only the first step. It’s crucial to share your e-commerce store everywhere you can. 

Social media is your best friend. Share your designs on Facebook and Instagram, and make compelling pins for Pinterest. Wear your digs in TikTok videos. Send free samples to influencers. Create an email list to develop a loyal fan base. 

Build your following on all the social networks to start earning as quickly as possible. 

Making Money With Print-on-Demand

Can you make money selling designs with print on demand? 

The websites, especially those offering paid subscription services, scream about how easy it is. And although many people can make decent side hustle income with it, the truth is far more complicated. 

Selling merchandise is similar to any other creative side hustle. A handful of superstar sellers make tons of money, a small chunk makes a decent side income, and a vast majority barely make enough to cover their expenses. 

Those who earn money follow two few basic rules:

  • They Have Lots of Designs
  • They Put A Lot of Time Into Marketing

Most users upload a handful of designs, spend little to no effort marketing them, and then give up when they don’t make money. 

People who make money treat it like a real job. They constantly create and upload new designs. Many have thousands of offerings spread across different platforms. The more designs you have, the more likely something will resonate with a customer, increasing your daily chances of making a sale. 

They also dedicate time to marketing their stores by building online communities, researching trends, and connecting with customers. 

You can make money if you’re willing to put in the work. 

How Much Can You Make?

Each platform offers different commissions and rates for each item. Teepublic gives artists 18-22% of sales, depending on the item. 

That seems low, but you must remember that the company does most of the work for you. They host your product, handle financial processing, create the finished item, and ship it to the customer. 

How Non-Artists Can Also Cash In

If you aren’t interested in designing your own t-shirts, you can still make extra money with print-on-demand websites. Many offer affiliate programs, so if you drive sales, you earn a commission. 

Others let you curate a store. You don’t have to design the shirts; instead, you pick items that match your aesthetic and drive traffic to the store. You’ll earn a commission when customers purchase items from your storefront. 

Remember, these aren’t easy avenues to wealth. You must work effortlessly to promote your affiliate links and storefront to earn money. 

The Verdict

Print-on-demand platforms create a rich marketplace for artists to connect with customers. It allows them to create designs and sell them to consumers for a fraction of the cost. 

Digital artists looking to make extra money should explore the option. It’s a fabulous way to get your work out to the public and provides a reason to refine your design skills. 

However, it’s not easy. Don’t expect to throw up a few designs and make much money. It’s okay to put up a few products and hope for the best (that’s what I do), but if you genuinely want to earn a living, you must dedicate much time to it. 

1 thought on “Is a Print-on-Demand Side Hustle Worth the Effort?”

Leave a Comment