How to Start a Print on Demand Business From Scratch

Are you looking to start an online business from scratch with the intent to create a source of income and improve your financial situation? If so, why not consider a print on demand venture?

The idea itself is not that original, but the demand for custom merchandise continues to grow, meaning that there is room for newcomers, particularly when they can bring fresh ideas. 

Keep in mind, though, that you will need to put in work to make the idea successful, and the business will be slow at first. At the same time, most online projects are similar in that sense, so there is no need to worry about a slow start. 

The information in this article will work as your guide to start a POD store. Use the information to your advantage and strive to develop a successful business.

Step #1 – Pick a Niche

Niche

Spend some time researching the market to pick a niche that is not too saturated. You do not want to end up fighting against too much competition. 

You will also need to decide what kind of merchandise you will want to sell. There is no need to limit yourself to just one product, but covering too much from the start may be too difficult, particularly when you lack the experience.

At the moment, the full wrap printing mug market is booming, so maybe that could be something to consider? Or maybe you are interested in t-shirts more? Again, you could look to scale the business by adding new merchandise later, but it would be better to start with a single product type.

Step #2 – Select a Business Model

Business Model

According to multiple sources, third-party sellers make about 50% of all sales on Amazon. Amazon is a solid choice for a print on demand business as far as platforms and business models go. 

However, selling on Amazon would mean going up against POD entrepreneurs who have already established themselves. On the other hand, Amazon is a popular ecommerce platform that attracts many shoppers, which one can consider an advantage.

The important thing to note here is that you would be better off not investing in your own printing equipment and sticking to a dropshipping business model. Not only are there fewer risks involved, but you will also have an easier time managing the operation when your primary focus will be on customer service.

Step #3 – Check the Local Legislation

Legislation

Since this is a proper business idea, you need to be aware of local laws. Not paying taxes and breaking other laws will lead to fines and other problems. Ignorance is not an excuse when it comes to legislation. 

Familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the business intricacies. You could even talk to some other POD owners and ask them what newcomers should pay attention to the most when starting such a business.

Step #4 – Develop a Website

Web Design

Developing a website should not be that difficult, given the existence of platforms like WordPress and Shopify. You can have the store up and running in one day, especially if you start with a basic version.

You may hire a website developer who can do the work for you, but there is no need to spend money on that when you can do most of the work yourself and find information online in case you get stuck at some point.

Step #5 – Focus on Content Quality

Content

The product quality should be a given, but do not underestimate the importance of the content you publish on the website and marketing channels. 

Be it product descriptions or social media posts, strive to have the best possible content because if you do not, you will give potential customers a reason to leave the website and spend their money on a competitor’s merchandise. 

Step #6 – Consider Looking for a Business Partner

Business Partner

Running a business alone can prove too much. If you find yourself struggling to take care of the project, why not get yourself a virtual assistant who could become a partner later on?

You could also hire a freelancer who will be in charge of creating merchandise designs. Taking this approach would give you more time to focus on promoting the store.

Step #7 – Advertise Your Store on Multiple Channels

Advertising

Speaking of business promotion, do not limit your marketing strategy to just social media and email marketing. 

No, look for multiple channels and cover as much ground as you can. Search engine optimization, pay-per-click marketing, online forums, micro-influencer and influencer marketing, and even customer service improvements play prominent roles.

You may not have the resources to run effective campaigns on multiple marketing channels simultaneously, but you should still aim to reach as many different people as you can.

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