Print On Demand Business Model Explained

Hey creative entrepreneur,

Do you have a few minutes reading about new ways to turn your fire into profit? I hope so because I wrote a whole article about a business model where our creativity can be highly-rewarded!

Let’s dive in…

Creative people like you and me have similar challenges when the business and making a living comes into play.

Earning by creating things without following orders sounds really good to me. Do you think so?

Maybe for some people, it’s not so hard to do the exact same thing over and over and over again for years… but for the creative ones, it’s a torture. I don’t know how you are with this, but the routine work feels like cutting off a slice from my soul 🙂

For us, rejecting working as a soulless robot – thinking, brainstorming, creating things from scratch, sounds way better.

Eventually, if we want to be true to our own nature, that’s the only way we can work having a ton of self-motivation and enjoyment in the process.

Meaning, if your head is full of product ideas all the time, thinking about how to create them, sell them, ship them… I’m here to show you, how you can achieve all of these goals, with a working business model for creative people.

What’s the core idea behind the POD business model?


It’s the freedom of creating things, plus building a real business on top of it, starting from your own comfy home if you like.

I say that’s the dream online business model for many of us!

Creating things, then selling them online with a profit? Starting from zero? With no risks? That’s (almost) the Heaven!

I know, you’ve read the title already so you know, it’s the Print on Demand Business model I’m talking about.

It’s achievable and sounds really good.

You can create a profitable online business like this.

The next step you have to make is to get a clear picture of the core principles and the basics of this online business.

Who’s for the print on demand business model?

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For those who have the goal to create a profitable online store, a fashion brand, even from scratch.

There’s no point to waste any of your time with a business model that does not fulfill you. If you’re much better at reading, researching, reviewing, writing, then you must master affiliate marketing and win online.

Back to the world of eCommerce where we can sell our own products to our own customers.

Let’s approach this print on demand business model from the point of view of a person who:

  • A: Familiar with digital design and has a good eye to aesthetics
  • B: Honors beautiful products, but haven’t got design skills yet
  • C: Gives nothing on aesthetics, just want to sell products online
Insider Observation
Here is an insider observation that you can discover now.

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Here’s the bad news: When print on demand isn’t the best eCommerce business model for you


If you’re the person (C) with no design talent and no special affinity with beautifully designed products – then, what’s the point being in a business where customers pay for touching them with impactful and tasteful graphics and texts shown a product? You can still succeed in eCommerce of course, selling others finished products.

But, let me make a point quickly here:

Author’s Opinion
Here is my honest opinion on this.

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Here’s the good news – When print on demand is the perfect go-for eCommerce business model, invented exactly for you


If your the one (A) who got design skills already and loves to critic, talk about, compare products (from houses to cars to gadgets) – then you have the highest chance of creating a successful print on demand business in the next 3 years.

For people fitting in the B and C category is there still a chance to win in print on demand business. B’s can learn to design and can use beginners-friendly design tools. C’s can also learn to design and with the right kind (and amount) of design inspiration – can find the path to ‘digital artists who make a living with their own creativity.’

All the necessary technologies are accessible now – the only thing is really needed your creative efforts put into work along with strategic thinking. 

How the print on demand business model works in a nutshell

  1. You join one of the best print on demand companies out there
  2. You design your own products or hire somebody to create designs for you
  3. You upload and start offering your custom designed products at your own print on demand online store or at eCommerce marketplaces which allows you to sell print on demand products
  4. When a customer makes a purchase, the print on demand company produces the product you designed, fulfills the order, and ships it to the customer. The order taking and the fulfillment can happen manually or automatically, depending on how your store is configured.

What Print on Demand platforms do for you?

1. Print on demand platforms offer you various products in many categories such as

  • Women’s, Men’s, Kid’s clothing
  • Accessories: phone cases, bags, jewelry, socks, etc.
  • Home-decor: mugs, pillows, posters, canvases, blankets, stickers, etc.

2. Print on demand platforms put your design on these products and produce them.

3. Print on demand platforms ships the order to the buyer’s address, as you would. Most POD companies offer white-labeling – so the name of the sender will be yours or your companies name.

What you have to do on the Print on Demand platforms?


Ideally, after you’re in the middle of your project, and these tasks are already done:

… after that, you can start designing products and uploading them to your print on demand store or your marketplace shop.

Let’s assume you’re at the stage where you’re full of ambition because you successfully designed some products and just looking at makes you smile.

Moreover, you finally found a solid, online business model based on your passion for creating, designing something people will hang on their walls or wear it.

If this whole print on demand business idea energizes you, get a pen and paper, right now, and write down all the things that came in your mind about why this is the business journey you’re looking for. Think about your dream workflow, the experiences you already have that helps you along the road, all the business goals that fit YOUR‌ personality the most. Zero doubts, only the positive ones this time.

You must complete this homework, believe me (you’ll need it soon) because I’m going to highlight some of the really tough challenges I found during creating my own pod stores and researching the POD market.

Challenge #1 (the easier): Marketing


One thing is creating products, another one is getting seen by others. Marketing custom-made print on demand products, especially at low-budget, requires some level of digital marketing knowledge.

I found 2 different ways to market print on demand products

  1. Selling print on demand products at marketplaces
  2. Selling print on demand products at your own online store

Two different approaches with different difficulties and advantages. In the article of selling print on demand products at eCommerce marketplaces vs your own online store I highlighted some of the biggest differences.

Expert Advice
Here is an advice based on years of experience and research made on this topic.

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Challenge #2 (the trickier): Selling


Digital marketers have distinct opinions (or have no clue at all) on what’s the difference between marketing and selling a product or service through the web.

Author’s Opinion
Here is a honest opinion on this by the author of this article.

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Think about Amazon. Besides the many areas, they are great at, that online store itself is one of the most successful ‘salesman’ ever existed in this World. Not just because of the high-tech, but the behavioral-psychology put behind that machine is enormous.

It’s crucial to have a high-converting online store to have profit.

To be short on this, think like this: you can stand on Giant’s shoulders (Amazon, eBay, Etsy) in order to make sales.

They have high-converting sales-machines put into work… but be warned, they bite you in the ass every single time when you’re not following their rules. They can close your store and demolish your business with a mouse click. If you’re not so good at the following orders, you must read the article about marketplaces vs. own stores. If want you to be aware of the risks you take when you sell on marketplaces.

Pro Tip
Here is a little known tip that can be a game-changer for you.

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If you want to have a steady and safe income, plus having a 100% owned online business, sooner or later you’ll have to invest in your very own high-converting online store. That’s the only path to long-term profitability with the print on demand business model.

Expert Advice
Here is an advice based on years of experience and research made on this topic.

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If the idea of creating products, coming up with new product ideas and running an online store excites you, I definitely recommend you to give a try to the print on demand business model. Selling your own custom-designed products can be really fun. If you take it seriously and you do it in the right way, you have a great potential to achieve profitability.

Expert Advice
Here is an advice based on years of experience and research made on this topic.

Show


What to do next


Just get started and gain some experience. Also, don’t forget to learn and research more about the print on demand business model.

Stay tuned and subscribe to our newsletter because the new insightful print on demand and eCommerce related articles are coming.

Go forth and conquer!

  • Written by Steve Halasz
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