What is Print-on-Demand?

What is Print-on-Demand: Salary & Setup

Print-on-demand (POD) is a low-risk business model that allows you to design and sell customized white-label products (think T-shirts, home decor, and mugs!) without having to stock up on inventory. You create unique designs for products and work with a third-party POD company who, when orders come through, prints the designs onto the products and ships them directly to your customers. 

Ever thought of a killer t-shirt idea for your favorite rock band? Or a cute pattern design that would turn any boring old mug into a sip-worthy work of art? 

Well, these designs no longer have to be relegated to the pages of your personal notebook! Thanks to print-on-demand (POD), you can share your work with the whole world (and it won’t cost you a single dime!).

With print on demand, your third-party supplier manages all the nitty-gritty logistics for you, meaning that as the seller, you get to focus on what actually matters: Creating eye-catching designs and promoting your brand to customers!

What’s more, there aren’t any upfront costs with print-on-demand and you can have your business up and running in minutes. It’s magical stuff — and the perfect side hustle! Selling with POD lets you express your creativity and make a profit while avoiding the typical challenges of business ownership. It’s a true money-making venture for the everyday creative.  

POD Success Stories (Hear from Side-Hustlers Turned Solopreneurs!)

Print-on-demand success stories

People of all different backgrounds have managed to transform their POD side hustle into a full-blown career. 

Take busy mom of four and successful POD home decor seller, Liora Goren. She doesn’t have a graphic design degree, but has built a successful POD e-commerce store from the comfort of her own home. Now, she has a lucrative income while still having all the time she needs to manage all the responsibilities of mumhood (and treasure all its moments). 

Another example is Ryan Hogue. Ryan started as a web developer burned out from the long, exhausting hours of a traditional office role. Then, in 2016, he decided to explore what print-on-demand was all about. Despite being new to the whole graphic design biz, by 2020 he had made enough money to quit his job and take his side hustle full-time. He now earns $14,600 a month, working just one hour a week as a POD vendor!

Next up in the spotlight is champion (and side-hustler turned entrepreneur) Alice Potter. She currently runs a POD store selling children’s book illustrations, greeting card designs, and colorful posters. With the help of printing on demand, Alice has grown her small Etsy side hustle into a brand with a global presence. And since she doesn’t have to stock up on inventory, she can now work from anywhere in the world and currently splits her time between both the UK and France. 

You too can become a POD seller and experience a lucrative earning potential (while flexing your creative muscles) — read on to learn how. And spoiler alert: it’s not as tricky as it seems! 

Best Print-on-Demand Companies

The Best Print-on-demand companies

Setting up your own print-on-demand biz is fast, easy, and doesn’t require a whole lot of business lingo or entrepreneurial flair. However, this is only the case if you pick a print-on-demand company you can trust — we’ll make sure you get it right the first time around.

The POD business model relies on your supplier from inventory management to shipping the custom products to your customers. So, it’s incredibly important to pick a company that’s reliable. Look for a third-party supplier that has fast turnaround times to keep your customers happy, and an easy-to-navigate website with help and support available to you. 

You should also make sure the supplier stocks the white-label products you intend to sell, whether that’s clothing apparel like T-shirts or homeware goods like water bottles and pillowcases. 

And if you want some insight from successful POD vendors? Liora Goren stresses ensuring the POD company’s built-in product design tools are easy to use. If you struggle to use the website’s design features, you’ll end up wasting hours of your time and your creative passion just might dry up! 

There are many POD companies to choose from, each offering a unique product catalog and printing options. Companies also differ in terms of pricing, shipping policies, fulfillment times, and compatibility with e-commerce platforms.

Take a look at our all-time favorite POD services below!


Printify is a US-based POD company that stands out from competitors by offering fewer e-commerce integrations and a whole lot more flexibility for POD vendors. 

Printify outsources the production process, meaning you’re able to choose an external printing provider that best fits your budget (just be mindful to research the provider’s reputation and average production times before committing to them).

Printify’s product catalog is incredibly expansive, with over 850 products in niche white-label categories such as pet supplies! The platform also provides dozens of sustainable product options, making Printify well-suited to eco-conscious side hustlers looking to keep it green.

Use Printify for free with access to the integrated design tool, or choose the premium plan including unlimited product designs, 10 stores per account, and discounts on products for $24.99.


A leading print-on-demand supplier, Printful stocks a diverse product catalog of over 300 goods for customers to choose from — apparel, home decor, and accessories. Each item can be easily customized to your exact preferences in Printful’s simple (but feature-packed!) drag-and-drop design tool, and product descriptions and mockup images are automatically generated for you. 

Printiful’s product catalog is easy to navigate and offers plenty of filter features. You can quickly find a product in a specific material or style, and all the key information is displayed directly on the product’s description, including the minimum price, estimated shipping times, and color options.

We love Printful for always keeping their providers’ needs at the forefront of business. The company also has its own dedicated printing facilities and doesn’t outsource to other providers, giving them better quality manufacturing and streamlined shipping, which helps you get your products designed and shipped to customers without extra hiccups.

Whether you’re transitioning to the platform with a well-established business or just getting started, you can bank on Printful for seamless integration, access to several e-commerce platforms, and service perks including product catalog discounts and unlimited designs. 

You can start with Printful free for a month, then switch to the Growth membership for $24.99 (also free with $12K yearly sales). Upgrade to Business once you hit $60k in sales, and unlock priority support and greater product discounts.


Gelato is a fantastic solution for POD vendors who have a global customer base. The company has production facilities in over 30 countries, cutting down on international shipping speed times and costs, and your carbon footprint.  

This POD company offers a small, but very well-niched catalog with high-quality apparel, custom wall art, and homeware goods like calendars and drinkware for one-of-a-kind sellers with one-of-a-kind customers. You can add personalized embroidery to most clothing products, and even customize your packaging with Gelato’s intuitive design editor. 

Gelato offers dedicated e-commerce integrations with six major platforms. You can use Gelato for free, or go Premium for $24 per month (or $239 per year) to unlock additional features that make it easier to come up with new product designs and scale up your POD business. 

Print-on-Demand Salary & Earnings

Print-on-demand salary & earnings

Printing on demand can be the perfect side hustle for those who have the motivation to put their creative chops to good use and pick up a few digital skills along the way — and you can rake in sales and gain hundreds if not thousands of dollars each month without having to handle a single shipment yourself!

So, how exactly does “thousands” translate on paper? Well, let’s take a closer look at the numbers.

How Much Can You Make With Print-on-Demand?

The average take-home income for a full-time POD business is $55,675 per year, though some solopreneurs like Cassiy Johnson have been able to earn $70,000 in a month!

How much you earn also depends on the amount of products you sell and your pricing strategy. Considering the average fees you’ll pay for your POD supplier and e-commerce site, you can generally expect to see a profit margin of 20 to 30%. 

This means if you earn $1,000 per month in sales, you’ll have a take-home monthly income of between $200 and $300 — not bad, considering there are no startup costs involved!

Hitting $1,000 or more per month in sales may seem unthinkable, especially when you’re starting from scratch. But think back to a time when you purchased online — maybe T-shirts for your kids’ home team, family mugs, or gift shop items for your startup coffee shop — and you wish it would have been easier. There’s a need there, and we’re here to help you connect the dots!

How to Start a POD Business

How to start a print-on-demand business

A print-on-demand business is an accessible side hustle for anyone with a creative, crafty flair. There aren’t any initial expenses and you don’t need to be tech-savvy or have a qualification in business to succeed — just a strong work drive and a passion for creating things that inspire and resonate with others.

It’s relatively simple: You choose a niche, pick a print-on-demand supplier, create your custom products, and then promote them to your audience via your shop website or e-commerce platform. 

Here’s how:

1. Choose a Niche

Specializing in a niche makes it easier to market your products and attract potential customers. This is because it allows you to put all your marketing efforts, resources, and energy into meeting the needs of a specific target audience.

While you don’t have to limit your POD operations to a particular niche, it does help your business (and in turn your products) come across as more cohesive, credible, and professional — all things that help you stand out against the competition.

Plus, customers are a lot more likely to engage with your brand if they can connect with it, and a niche provides you with the perfect groundwork to “nurture” that connection.

Pick a product or an industry

You can choose to niche down to a specific type of print-on-demand product, like adorable cookie cutters or matching family socks, or even a particular industry, like astrology, pets, and fitness. What’s important is that the niche you choose aligns with your passions and expertise. 

Here are some questions to help you brainstorm the best avenue for you:

  • What are your interests, hobbies, and passions in life?
  • What industries do you have experience with? 
  • Have you gained expert knowledge in a particular field?
  • Do you have any qualifications?
  • Are you a member of any clubs or groups?
  • What types of goods do you invest in and use the most?

Tally the numbers — Is it worth it?

Once you’ve identified a possible niche, the next step is to assess its potential as a lucrative income source. Research the market and see how competitive the field is, and more crucially, identify what’s missing from the market. If you identify a clear gap that your customized products can address, stick with that niche! 

You should also “sleuth” around social media and see how people are engaging with that particular niche. Look out for trending hashtags and active community pages.

2. Choose a Print-on-Demand Supplier 

We’ve touched on the best print-on-demand suppliers above — and at Proofread Anywhere we can personally vouch that each can help you grow a successful business! — but here are a few more quick tips on how to choose a POD service that’s right for your goals:

Browse the product catalog 

Ensure that the POD supplier provides products (and customization options) that align with your niche and target market’s interests. Also, check customer feedback on the products’ print quality. 

Consider processing and shipping times 

Fast and reliable order fulfillment is vital for customer satisfaction and increases the likelihood of repeat buyers.

Test the supplier’s online platform 

A simple-to-use interface is well-suited to those who aren’t comfortable around tech, and some POD platforms come with handy design tools and resources.

Read reviews

The POD company should provide prompt customer support and multiple points of contact, such as live chat support and email.

Assess the profit margin 

Profit margins can vary depending on how much the supplier charges for the products, packaging, and shipping.

Check e-Commerce integration 

The POD supplier must have compatibility with the e-commerce platform you intend to use for your store (more on this later).

3. Create Your Designs  

Now the fun part! Creating designs for white-label goods may be a little different from traditional crafts like knitting and embroidery, but all you need is an eye for detail, an understanding of your target market’s interests, and familiarity with online design software. 

And if the mention of “software” has got you on your toes? Don’t freak out just yet. There are plenty of graphic design tools specifically made for beginners, with simple drag-and-drop interfaces, quick sign-up processes, and step-by-step tutorials. 

Our Proofread Anywhere team has personally tested out dozens of design tools over the years. In fact, the stellar graphics you see in this blog post were created with one of them (Canva)! 

Check out our all-time favorite design tools and resources below:

  • MightyDeals (provides printable graphics, fonts, and premade designs at a huge discount)
  • Canva (an easy-to-use visual suite that allows you to export designs in all kinds of formats)
  • Unsplash (provides free-to-use stock graphics and images)
  • DaFont (a library of downloadable stylized fonts)
  • Procreate (illustration software that allows you to create digital sketches and vector art)
  • Photoshop (an advanced photo editing tool)

You may already have a few design concepts in mind, but if you’re suffering from a creative block, it’s time to get brainstorming!

Consider your talents

If you’re a budding artist, you can convert hand-drawn illustrations into digital files and use them as your product designs. 

Take inspiration from successful designs made by competitors in your niche and add your own unique touch. Groups on social media are a great place to look up topics that are garnering the most attention. 

Create an inspirational mindmap 

Include themes, ideas, messages, and images that resonate with your target audience. 

Conduct market research 

Ask friends and relatives to review your design ideas and share feedback. You can also reach out to people in community groups related to your niche.

Tip: Just be mindful of copyright laws. If you’re using stock images, fonts, or graphics in your designs, double-check that they’re free to use and licensed for commercial use. 

4. Decide Where to Sell Print-on-Demand Products 

No matter how fabulous your designs are, you won’t land sales without a virtual storefront that shows them off and makes it easy for customers to purchase them. 

You can advertise to the world either by setting up your own business website (not as difficult as it seems, especially with the help of website builders like Wix) or by connecting with an e-commerce platform to create a professional storefront in minutes. 

E-commerce platforms usually have integration with all major print-on-demand companies like Printful and Printify, and provide various tools and features to help you manage the store and customize its appearance to align with your brand. 

Most e-commerce platforms also have data analytics tools that make it easy to keep track of sales and purchase trends.

The most popular e-commerce sites for POD sellers include: 

5. Promote Your Brand

Great! You’ve chosen your niche, created eye-catching custom product designs, and established a professional storefront. Now you’re ready to spread the word and land your first sale! 

Here are some of the best ways to promote a POD business (and spoiler alert: most of these marketing strategies won’t cost you a dime!):

  • Establish a social media presence on popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, and make use of trending hashtags relevant to your niche.
  • Use SEO strategies to optimize your shop; add keywords to your product descriptions and shop bio, and ensure the storefront’s design elements are all compatible with mobile devices.
  • Create a blog on your website and upload posts regularly, making sure to use a writing style that’s likely to resonate with prospective customers.
  • Ask for product reviews and testimonials from former customers and upload them to your storefront to build trust.
  • Create an email list and send subscribers a regular newsletter covering new product releases and upcoming designs.
  • Pay for advertising space on websites or platforms relevant to your niche, or allocate a budget for a marketing campaign to run across social media.
  • Hold contests and giveaways on your social media to attract initial interest and incentivize your audience to engage with your pages.

Best POD Resources 

We’ll finish up this article with a few more handy print-on-demand resources that anyone can benefit from, whether a total beginner in the POD industry or a veteran looking to scale their business further:

Remember that you can also check out our Freelancer Resources page for plenty more resources and advice!

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