This is the question you should ask before running any kind of business. Is really worth it? Is it profitable or it will just blow up time and money?
Regarding Print On Demand, the answer is yes, absolutely yes. Print On Demand has been profitable in recent years and so will be today.
We will explain to you why in the following paragraphs.
Let’s Talk About Numbers
What is expected for 2021 is that while traditional retail sales will keep decreasing, online shopping is going to outperform the industry, due to restrictions and social distancing imposed by local governments.
Numbers say that just last year, online shopping had an impressive 45% growth, considering even home deliveries. The comfort of online solutions, plus Amazon‘s reliable shipping powered, conquered a vast majority of people, and seems now simply impossible to avoid this progression.
The first purpose of a Millennial entrepreneur in 2021 is to open an online store, no matter with dropshipping or Print on demand services. Shopify, for instance, currently hosts over one million stores on its website; eBay reported millions of users with an increase of eight million buyers in the last quarter. Etsy announced a 26% growth of users compared to the previous year.
These examples just show how the retail industry has dramatically changed during the last year. So it’s quite objective that this trend will continue even in the future.
But it’s even true that we’re talking about a highly competitive environment where many more people, professionals or not, will try to jump on just to secure their piece of the pie.
So like any other passive income source, it will take time and effort to build up, especially if you don’t already have an audience. Surely, if you are a YouTuber or an Influencer, it’s an excellent solution to monetize your audience.
In all other cases, the path is long and that’s why we wanted to breakdown some key points that will make you understand if running a POD business would be profitable for you or not.
Startup costs for print on demand services are usually pretty low. All you need is a laptop, an internet connection, and a ton of creativity.
It’s important by the way, to compare the prices of different platforms and to select the one which possibly matches the best prices for high-quality materials.
Printful, for instance, is a bit costly. If you want to buy a custom t-shirt to print and sell through their platform, you would spend $12.95 and resell it for like $22.95.
If your average is $10 profit each sale, it means that you’d need to sell 10 t-shirts every month to try and procure $100. On the off chance that you need to make $500 per month, you should receive 50 orders of your shirts.
One point is extremely important: Don’t hold back on quality otherwise customers won’t be satisfied and won’t have any desire to work with you.
So during the first phases, you should test different platforms and select the one that ensures the best price and quality ratio possible.
If your passion is creating art designs, then Print on demand is the right environment for you. Even if you’re not a professional you still can get started because there are no real upfront barriers to accede.
Your main tasks are choosing the right platform, create a bunch of good designs (you may seek the help of freelancers), upload them into your store, and wait for the first order. Advertising is important too but many platforms usually have already great marketplaces on their own.
A downside is that self-made designs aren’t so attractive as you believe, so we recommend seeking the help of qualified designers if you want to assure unique and fine artworks to your catalog.
Another tip is to diversify your portfolio. It means to create different stores, each related to a passionate niche, and to upload attractive designs for them.
This will ensure you higher odds of receiving more and more traffic from a passionate and targeted audience.
The more stores you create, the higher sales you will make.
This type of business model, even if it’s quite accessible to anyone, takes a considerable learning period, especially if you’re willing to offer different products and great designs.
Of course, you can do that on your own, saving some money but spending your time, or rely on somebody else work, with the opposite effect (Fiverr provides great professionals in their platform, ready to help you at a cheap price).
Moreover, another con of Print on demand is that you won’t find a winning product so easily. And, even if you find one, it’s not sure it will last enough until a competitor will replicate it.
This is why your only task should be to work constantly on your products every single day. And this might be expensive if you want to hire a good designer for your store or time-gaining if you want to do it on your own.
A big con of the POD business model is the low-risk profile. As you don’t have to pay a lot upfront, there is nothing to lose if something won’t work as you planned.
If you want to improve your margins, you should take care of your fulfillment service and choose the one which has the best yield to cost ratio. Definitely, you don’t want to waste profits on commission fees.
Personally, this is the main disadvantage of running a POD store in 2021. Since it’s so easy to start, as we said before, everyone is jumping into this trend.
What you have in mind might be already used by somebody else for his store or could be replicated in a better way by future newcomers.
Only if you already have a loyal audience you might not have these problems, unless your visibility keeps growing (this is generally true for Youtubers and influencers).
In these circumstances, the POD would be a solid source of passive income, because you don’t really need to advertise your product, as you are the best promoter of yourself.
A valid principle of the fashion industry is seasonality,
For instance, if your store is based on tank tops, it won’t be so effective during wintertime. The same is true for designs. If your main theme is the “Magic of Christmas”, or “California Waves” you won’t have the same appeal and visibility during the year.
So, as we said before, you should launch different store niches and upload great designs in all of those. This will make you avoid this kind of risk.
We think it’s quite immediate to run a POD Dropshipping store in 2021. You don’t need great investments upfront, but just work hard and develop the right mindset throughout the process.
Although you could face drawdowns, it still remains a valid business model willing to become profitable and scalable in a short period.
You might regret it if you don’t accept the challenge to compete. Don’t be afraid of obstacles and failures, they’re just natural parts of the process. The journey is what it counts, as much as the experience you will gain. Then results, as many times happen, will come unexpectedly.
Are you ready to run your new online store?
BONUS – Quick Tips On How To Launch A Print On Demand Store
Everything starts with the selection of the appropriate platform. The first screening will save you a ton of money and time and will give you higher chances to succeed.
- Create an eCommerce Website. To do that, you need to buy a new domain name and create a listing of products you’re going to sell. If your intention is to create a unique brand, we think this method is right for you. You are the owner of your store, you control everything from the listing to the shipping to the customer service. It’s more time and money gaining, but way more rewarding and lucrative after a point.
- Upload Designs On Global Marketplaces (Amazon). This strategy is valid for newcomers who want to run a new POD business without taking care of execution and shipping orders as the whole supply chain is demanded to that marketplace. Furthermore, the promotion is quite guaranteed and you don’t need to pay for running Facebook Ads.
- Upload Designs On Print On Demand Platforms. It’s an extremely simple solution because it requires no investments upfront other than time and creativity. You just create designs and upload them to your chosen POD platform, and it will take care of everything else for you. However, unlike the previous method, you have to deal with online promotion.
Each of these options has its cons and pros. You can switch from one to another, depending on time and financial availability.
We personally tested each of these, and we know that they actually work.