How to Make Money with Print On Demand Platforms

Print-on-demand (POD) platforms are an excellent avenue to generate additional income. Like other gig-economy jobs, you can spend as much or as little time you want working.  Your weekly schedule is entirely up to you, and as long as you have a connection to the internet, you can work anywhere. Best of all, there’s no ceiling on how much you can earn. So let’s get started, this is how to make money from home with print-on-demand platforms.

What’s a POD Platform?

It’s an e-commerce website that sells physical products with designs created by people like you and me. You’ve probably heard of some of these companies. Here are popular POD platforms:

  • Zazzle
  • CafePress
  • Merch by Amazon
  • Redbubble
  • Society 6
  • Threadless

There are many others. The basic business model is you create a digital image to sell on a physical product. These platforms show their customers what your image would like on a physical product like a t-shirt or a mug. When a customer makes a purchase, the platform collects the payment, prints your image on the product, and ships the product to the customer. You earn a royalty, which is usually a percentage of the purchase price.

Now you can see why it’s called print on demand. Your image isn’t printed on the product until the customer “demands” it by making a purchase.

Each platform has its own way of presenting products to the public. You may have an individual store on the platform, sell your products on the platform’s marketplace, or both.

What is a Digital Image?

(You’re asking great questions. Keep it up.) A digital image is a picture, text, or both in a digital file. A digital image may have started its life as a physical image like a painting or drawing. You can take a picture of your artwork with your phone or digital camera to turn it into a digital file. Also, you can digitize a small piece of art with a scanner.

Yet, you don’t have to start out with physical artwork. You can create a digital image with graphic design software like CorelDRAW, Inkscape, or GIMP. Some POD platforms have their own design tools you can use to make images for use on that particular platform.

Who Can Sell on a POD Platform?

Anyone can. You don’t have to be an artist or a graphic designer. Those of you who have artistic skills are ahead of the rest of us. However, if you’re tech-savvy enough to find this article online, you have the skills for POD e-commerce.

I see you shaking your head. Well, actually I can’t see you, but I know you’re doing it. There are moms who make hundreds of dollars of a month with these sites. They’re not artists. They don’t have training in graphic design.

Moms have come up with clever phrases to sell on t-shirts. Others either teach themselves or use YouTube to learn graphic design skills on an as-needed basis. The really enterprising research historical and contemporary public domain images that fit the niche they want to cover.

What Kinds of Products Can I Sell My Designs On?

It depends on which platforms you’re selling on. Each platform has a different inventory of products. Common POD products include t-shirts, caps, sweatshirts, mugs, and throw pillows.

How Do I Get Started?

You’ll have to visit the platforms to figure out which ones you like best. Some POD platforms, like Zazzle, don’t have an upfront cost. Frequently, POD sites allow you to open a free account and upload your images to start selling right away. A big exception is Merch by Amazon. It’s an invitation-only program.

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