How to Start Your Own Print-On-Demand Side-Hustle Business

Closeup of a printer printing a sheet

Do you have the perfect idea for something to put on a t-shirt, mug, or hat? If you do, you might have been discouraged by the prospect of having t-shirts printed and storing them somewhere. Fortunately, the internet has opened up new doors for part-time entrepreneurs.

Today, it is easier than ever to sell customizable items online with little investment and no risk.

How to Get Started

Every great business starts with an idea. If you have an idea for a shirt, sketch it out until it’s perfect. If you want to put a funny saying on a mug or tote bag, write it down and phrase it a few different ways until you have it just right. Once you know what you want to put on your shirt, you are ready to find a printer.

Finding an On-Demand Printer

When you Google “on-demand printers” or “make your own t-shirt,” several companies will come up. There are a few characteristics you should look for in the company you choose. A worthwhile on-demand printing company will offer:

  • Online tools that let you select a design and text.
  • The ability to upload your artwork.
  • A wide selection of different styles and sizes of shirts.
  • A wide selection of novelty items.
  • An option for embroidery as well as print.

Once you pick an on-demand company, simply upload your design or create it using their online tools. Pick out whatever items you would like your design or clever phrase to appear on.

You should not overwhelm your potential customers with too many choices. For example, if you are selling shirts, you should only have a couple of style and colour options. When you give people too many choices, they may have trouble picking an option, and they will never actually order your product.

It is always a good idea to order a sample of your products to make sure that they look good. Choosing a font for lettering can be tricky. Knowing just what size to make the letters can be challenging as well. It is best to order a couple of samples before selecting one that you will sell.

Selling Your Shirt

Now that you have your shirt ready to go, you will want to find a place to sell it. Look for an e-commerce platform. Big Commerce and Squarespace are known for being particularly good for small at-home businesses.

You will pay a small monthly fee for a web store where you can display and sell your products. A good e-commerce platform will have features that make it easy to run your business.

  • SEO Features.
  • Abandoned cart feature.
  • Blogging ability.
  • A payment button that connects to the on-demand printer.

Advertise Your Shirt

Once you have your store set up, it is time to let people know about it. You can advertise your shirt on social media. Be sure to hashtag groups likely to buy your shirt when you use Twitter. If you want to advertise on Facebook, you should join groups that appeal to people who are likely to buy your shirt. For example, if you have a shirt that has to do with your favourite movie, you should join groups for fans of that movie. If your shirt is designed to appeal to feminists, you should join a group for feminists.

Starting a side hustle can be fun. If you use the right on-demand printer and e-commerce site, it can also be profitable.

Rebecca Grewcock
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