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Print-on-demand: creating & selling custom products online

Updated: May 29, 2022

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

How would it feel to see someone wearing a t-shirt YOU designed?

Better yet, how would it feel to know that your designs are out there all over the world on mugs, pillowcases, bags, notebooks, etc?

Well, let me introduce you to a side hustle where you can design products digitally, create an online store filled with your custom artwork, AND not spend a penny on inventory until the item is sold.

I'm talking about print-on-demand!

What is print-on-demand?

The print-on-demand business model is a creative way to create your own line of products without ever needing to buy stock upfront.

It's perfect for people who love to create but don't have the capital or want the hassle of managing inventory. You can sell prints of your artwork, t-shirts, books, mugs, bags and so much more.

Put your designs on a platform like Shopify and offer them for sale on-demand.

This way, an order is placed, and a print worker prints the product on the spot and ships the item directly to your customer.

I love this hustle idea because you can create as many designs as you want, and

you don't have to store or ship your inventory yourself.

This gives you so much freedom to design what you love, all while running your print-on-demand business from anywhere in the world!

Where do I start?

Step 1: Educate yourself

  • -Read this article on Shopify to gain a better understanding of the Print-on-demand business model.

  • Binge YouTube videos: I recommend Wholesale Ted's channel. There are a lot of videos! Don't worry if you don't remember everything, just write down any questions that you have while you watch and focus on just getting inspired.

Step 2: Find your community

  • Join these Reddit and Facebook groups: they will be an extremely valuable source of information for you.



  • Take any questions that you have and type all of your questions into the search bar in these groups to see if they have been asked before and what the answers were. You can learn a lot in a short amount of time this way!

Step 3: Take your knowledge to the next level

Once you decide what direction you want to take with your new print-on-demand store you'll be ready to take your knowledge to the next level!

Whenever you start a new hustle take advantage of any opportunity to learn from others first. You can learn from their mistakes and successes and ultimately decrease the amount of time and money you'll waste trying to figure it out all on your own.

I recommend exploring the many options for print-on-demand classes and courses while keeping in mind that you want your initial start-up costs to be a low as possible.

The lower the risk the better. My favorite resource for low-cost courses is Skillshare, if you don't already have a membership I highly recommend that you check it out.

You will be able to choose from various types of classes such as print-on-demand for beginners, digitalizing your art to sell online, and how to discover profitable design trends.

Exploring a print-on-demand class can give you a more in-depth understanding of the different skills you'll need to run your new store and Skillshare is my favorite resource for courses.

It is low cost to get started and instead of purchasing courses individually you get access to the entire library of courses for a small monthly fee.

Bonus: Here's a link to try Skillshare Premium FREE for 30 days!

Step 4: Make a plan

  • Make a to-do list & ask yourself these questions:

  1. What tasks need to get done for you to get started?

  2. What skills do I need to learn?

  3. What programs/websites do I need to create accounts for?

I keep a running to-do list on my phone that I work on and update EVERY DAY. It's the best way to stay on track and make the most of your day, you'll also have a lot to do when you get started and it's the best way to stay organized so you don't forget anything important.

Consistency is key with starting a side hustle and some days it might feel like you're not making very much progress. I promise that if you continue working, learning, and making an effort to get better you will see the results you want.

  • Set goals for your hustle!

  1. What is your ultimate goal? Why did you start this hustle in the first place?

  2. What are small milestones that you can work towards along your way? E.g. Creating your first design, selling your first product, making your first $100.

Step 5: Take ACTION

This is the most important step and I urge you to get started as quickly as you can.

Pro tip: no matter how many courses you take or how many videos you watch you will never feel completely ready. You can get a lot of quality information from the internet but it is no substitute for real-life experience.

Run through these first 4 steps as quickly as you can so that you can take action and only then will you really start to see some results.

Most people never get to this stage and can come up with a million reasons why they haven't gotten started. Don't let excuses keep you from changing your life for the better and taking advantage of the opportunity in front of you.

You will make mistakes and you will have rough days, but nothing worthwhile in life is ever easy! Keep grinding and you will see amazing things start to happen in your life.

Whenever you feel overwhelmed or unsure about something just turn to your Facebook communities for help and insight. I promise that they have been through everything you have gone through already and they can help.

If you decide to try this side hustle reach out to me on Instagram and let me know! I would love to hear all about it and offer any advice if I have it.

Useful Resources:

-This well-written guide: How to sell on Redbubble (& actually make money)

-This list: Best print-on-demand websites

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