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Make Money Online - Work From Home - The Print On Demand Solution

With the current impact the coronavirus COVID 19 pandemic is having on the world economy finding a way to make money online and having multiple streams of income is vitally important right now. 

First, let me take a step back and introduce myself in case you are new to Merch Money. My name is Christina Sisson and print-on-demand (POD) changed my life.  

I had wanted to start my own business for years, but the comfort and stability of my full-time corporate jobs made it difficult to pursue my dreams...then I was suddenly downsized twice in less than 2 years from Corporate Human Resources Director positions. With the stability I had known for so long gone, in an instant, I decided to take a different path. 

I have now been doing POD full-time since June of 2018 and had no formal graphic design training or any previous ecommerce when I started. 

I stumbled upon POD by accident and realized that I certainly wasn't alone in not realizing this world existed.  Realizing there are countless others in the world who could greatly benefit by learning how to do print-on-demand, I decided I wanted to help make a difference in the lives of others. 

In May of 2019, I became a co-owner of Merch Money which is a print-on-demand training community where our goal is to teach others how to get started and achieve success in POD or other e-com endeavors.

With the current uncertainty of the coronavirus impact on jobs, I felt that I needed to get this blog post up to start educating others about a possible way to supplement their incomes.

What is Print-On-Demand?

Print on demand (POD) is on-demand printing of clothing (t-shirts, leggings, hoodies, tanks, socks, onesies, etc.) mugs, reusable water bottles, tote bags, hats, home décor, towels, magnets, stickers, cellphone cases, journals, notebooks, and much more.  These products are often referred to as merch, hence our name! 

With this type of retail ecommerce there is little to no upfront investment other than your time in creating customized designs for products that you’ll personally never have to touch or ship.  With POD, products are not printed until a customer places an order.  And best of all, even when a customer places an order for a product that is printed on-demand, there is no additional work for you.  The inventory management, printing, shipping, and often times, even the customer service is handed by a third party. 

That may not mean much at this point but keep reading and we’ll explain how this model of retail eCommerce is changing the lives of everyone from students to stay at home parents to retirees and everyone in between.

 Two Types of Print-On-Demand Business Models

There are two types of POD set-ups.  POD fulfillment services and POD marketplaces.  POD fulfillment services are companies that will fulfill orders that are received through either your own website, Shopify, or Etsy.  Three well-known POD fulfillment services are Printful, Printify, and Gooten, although there are hundreds of others with varying products available all over the world. 

You create or buy a design, choose the products you want to offer the designs on based on the catalogue of products available from the POD fulfillment company, then upload it all onto your website, Shopify store or to Etsy. 

With a POD fulfillment set-up, you are the “seller of record”, so taxes become your responsibility and you also provide the customer service.  Other than that, your POD fulfillment partner handles the rest.

The other type of POD set-up is a POD marketplace.  We’ll be focusing on this method for now as this option is an easy way for anyone to get started in print-on-demand today! 

POD marketplaces provide the website, the customer service, as well as the marketing, printing, and shipping – the only thing you do is create or buy designs, upload those designs to the POD marketplace website and then collect a royalty every time your design is sold.  You aren’t the “seller of record” and you don’t have to provide any customer service. 

Most Popular Print on Demand Marketplaces and Websites

There are several POD marketplaces, but here is a list of the most popular and best well-known:

At this time, Merch by Amazon is the only marketplace in this list that we are aware of that has a basic application and approval process with a wait time.

All other websites currently allow immediate approval and setup. 

 How to Get Started in Print-On-Demand Today

For any of these other marketplaces, you simply go to the website and create an account as a “seller” or “artist” (each website uses different terminology).  There are no known marketplaces that require exclusivity of the artwork, so this means you can upload and sell the same design on multiple POD websites. 

Once you’ve created an account be sure to read the terms of service and policies for the POD marketplaces you are using.  This will give you the details you need for the file types and size requirements for the artwork you will be uploading to the POD website.

Do I Have to be a Graphic Designer or Artist to do Well in Print on Demand?

If you are an artist or graphic designer, you may already be familiar with design software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign, CorelDRAW or Corel PaintShop Pro, Affinity Designer, Inkscape, or Gimp and that will certainly lessen the start-up time for getting your first design created.  Designs can be created in any software you are skilled in using as long as you follow the file and sizing requirements of each POD marketplace. 

If you aren’t an artist or graphic designer there are numerous options for you as well!  Creative Fabrica is a great place to start.  Seeing the need for digital design resources in the growing area of print-on-demand, Creative Fabrica launched its “full POD” option in Fall of 2019.  This new subscription category includes over 40,000 digital assets with a commercial license that can be uploaded to any POD website with no design modification necessary. 

Additionally, if you have the desire to learn basic design in order to make edits and modifications to graphics, you’ll be able to utilize the over 600,000 digital assets with commercial licenses in the Creative Fabrica library of resources.

These print on demand assets can also be imported into easy to use web-based design software such as Canva, PixTeller, Design Wizard, or Merch Informer Designer to be resized for any POD marketplace and uploaded immediately.

As customers find your designs on the POD marketplaces and purchase them, you’ll start receiving royalties/commissions.  Royalties and commissions are typically provided indefinitely as long as you continue to abide by the program terms of service.  

Final Thoughts

POD can help students earn extra money with a flexible schedule, help those with disabilities or chronic illnesses work from the comfort of their own home, help crafters turn their hobby into a business, help anyone supplement their income or even help you leave your day job behind one day to work as an entrepreneur in print on demand full-time.   

The more time and focus you put into a print on demand business, the greater the reward.  I hope this introduction to print on demand encourages you to give it a try today!

If you are interested in learning more, join us on YouTube, Facebook Page, Facebook Group and Instagram for more content, interviews, and resources. 

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