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How to Fully Automate Your Print on Demand Business

11 min read

I have been in this POD business now for many years and I can say that I’ve seen enough to know the best practices for making good sales in the POD business.

So, there’s someone that I know in this print-on-demand business who started this internet marketing business right about the time that I started mine.

When I started, I delegated some key parts of my business process to my virtual assistants, and using automated upload systems, it seemed as though I was losing money.

But my friend was a workaholic. He was also a perfectionist and did not give out his work. He got the best quotes via his personal research.

He also made his designs on his computer. He also handled all of his product uploads and sales management. For the first couple of months, he made some money. But he lacked consistency, so he had to quit eventually.

Long story short, he eventually burnout in less than a year. He couldn’t keep up with his business. And with time, his business took a nosedive. Bummer, right?

But, why did he burnout that fast? His workload became heavy, he began to slack, lost consistency, and eventually quit. This is why we shouldn’t do all the work by ourselves.

Morals? Do not try to belabor yourself all in the name of trying to save a few hundred bucks.

Here’s the thing, I have been selling print on demand products for three years but I have never created designs by myself.

Surprised?

Don’t be!

I spend a few hours a week to build my POD business in the last three years.

How did I manage this?

One word – AUTOMATION.

In this guide, I would be walking you through a detailed approach to how you can successfully automate your POD business without burning out yourself…

Let’s dive into it!


Why Automation?

First thing first, what is automation? I know you all have your different perspectives on what automation means.

I mean, it’s just one google search away! 🔍

But here’s what I mean by automation.

The key to being successful in this POD business is consistency.

Any system or process that can help you achieve a consistent workflow, steady product uploading, and sales management – that’s the automation I’m talking about.

I tell you; this is the secret of the most successful internet marketers you know. Automation helps you to achieve more in less time.

Consistency is very vital if you want to make a fortune out of this business. Yes, so much goes into market research, getting products ready, and finally putting them up for sale.

But with a great automated process, you can get all of these done in a short time without killing yourself over it.

Frankly, it might take a few hundred bucks out of your pocket, but in the long term, it is a worthwhile investment.

At the end of the day, you would have earned so much that the cost of your automated processes will be less burdensome.

When it comes to the POD business, you cannot do well without a good game plan.

If you’ve ever seen a good soccer team play, you’d notice how each player just seems to know where to be and when to be there. It’s like an automated system with 11 pieces working in harmony to achieve a goal. I mean that literally.

This is because they have a good game plan. One that instructs every part of the game, distributing responsibilities to each of the players without having to stress out anyone.

If you’re not a soccer fan, apologies. That was the best analogy I could come up with. I’m a Liverpool fan! 😜

This same rule applies to your POD business.

You see, your POD business has different “players” and you must find a way to make each of them work so that you can boost traffic and increase sales.

In essence, you have to set up a production flow that would ensure that you upload products every day. Remember what we said earlier about consistency?

As your business begins to scale, you might need to create a plan to enable efficient production rate.

Your production flow is the continuous movement of products through a near-seamless production process. To achieve this, some part of your business needs to either be delegated or automated with useful tools.

A great production flow method will involve product creation, product uploading, and fulfillment process.


Product Creation Process

There are several processes involved in creating POD products. This simply means that there are different parts of the process where you can automate or delegate.

The goal is just to get things done quickly and perfectly.

The process of creating a new POD product starts with market research. Other aspects such as searching for quotes and creating the designs follow.

So, here are some practical ways that you can get this usually tedious process done in no time.

  • Market Research

Here’s full disclosure, I do my market research by myself. I’m not really big on getting people to conduct my research for me.

Not because there are not people who can get it done, but I need to have a personal feel of how the market is moving; what’s hot and what’s not.

But here’s what you can do.

You can hire someone to work with you on your research process. This way, you can take on a supervisory role and do all the finger-pointing.

There are different ways you can go about your POD market research. There are different ways you can find winning POD products online. I have written about this in a previous article. You should check it out.

One way to go about market research what I call the “Advanced Products Screener”.

The whole is plan is to find many small niches with little competition. With a good number of products, you have better chances of making a lot of sales. All you have to do is find many narrow niches first.

Also, there are some seller who are making great sales these platforms. You can study what are they selling and create your own.

  • Finding Quotes

Now, here’s one part where you can use really a hand.

Sure, there are tons of places where you can get really funny and captivating quotes. But would you not rather spend that time doing more important tasks? It just doesn’t go well with me.

You can hire someone to get it done for you in no time and at a very cheap rate. There are several platforms where you can find people who offer such services.

Onlinejobs.ph is a good place to hire someone to help you with finding amazing quotes in no time and at a low cost.

With around $0.1 to $0.2 per quote, you can get as much as you like depending on your negotiation skills. At this rate, you can get up to 300 quotes for each product with just $30 to $60. 

You would make much more than this once your products hit the market.

The good thing about this is that you can get as many quotes as you like within a short period. At this pace, you can get more products out for listing than you ever did when you handle sourcing for quotes on your own. Cool, right?

  • Creating Product Designs

A similar approach can also be taken for creating your product designs.

Sure, some of you are talented and have a good mastery of some design software.

But you must factor in the time and stress that comes with designing about 10,000 products every month. You might end up spending more time creating the designs than actually making sales.

Don’t do that!

This is what I do. I hire a designer from onlinejobs.ph to get it done for me at a very cheap rate. I also give my graphic designer an access to Canva so he can create many beautiful designs quickly.

Resist the urge to find the quotes or create designs by yourself. It’s time-consuming! Moreover, it’s a very boring, yet simple task that can easily be delegated.

Most of the people I know have stopped doing this by themselves because it’s boring and distracting.

This business model requires consistency so it’s better to hire some people to work on this while you focus on more productive areas of the business.


Product Uploading Process

Of the process involved in the product listing, this arguably the most time consuming and delicate part.

If you’re uploading your product to marketplaces such as Amazon and Etsy, you need to dot your I’s and cross your T’s.

Ensure that you have a good product title, a convincing product description, as well as the proper use of product tags. It can be time-consuming.

However, to get the best result, you can consider doing some key part of the uploading process yourself.

For instance, I still create product titles and tags by myself. Here’s what I do. I just prepare it in the spreadsheet and upload it to my automated system.

It’s a very important part of the whole process because the level of traffic that your products attract is largely dependent on the product title and tags. So, I do it by myself.

Inserting the information on Amazon and Etsy is where you might need some help. This is the time-consuming aspect, especially if you’re working with a lot of products.

For this, you can either automate the process of uploading them or hire someone to do it for you. One time, I hired a person to create 150 products a day for me. She had to work on Amazon for many hours, but she eventually got it done within time.

Luckily, you can also automate the whole process of product uploading by using reliable software services.

PODTurbo is an automated tool for print on demand sellers.

I built the PODTurbo for my business about a year ago because I wanted to automate my product uploading process and also save the cost of hiring.

The working process of the PODTurbo is similar to the way the virtual assistant worked for me. But PODTurbo allowed me to get more done in less time.

If you’re a print on demand seller, PODTurbo will make life a lot easier for you. I can remember hiring a person to upload 3,000 products a week to Amazon. I had to pay $600. But with PODTurbo, people can upload over 10,000 products a month at $97. How cool is that?

My previous virtual assistant could only upload products to Amazon at a go. This often took her the whole day to get it done. And there’s Etsy, another great marketplace for selling tons of POD products.

If I wanted her to work on Etsy as well, I would have to pay her another fee. Not also forgetting that this would take another whole day.

But PODTurbo gives me the opportunity to make more from both marketplaces at the same time.

The PODTurbo system supports both Amazon and Etsy. It can upload your products to both platforms at a go. This would save you the time and cost of hiring someone to get it done.

It also allows you to schedule your uploading. This way, you can set up your products and allow the system take care of posting them in the selected time.

This would really come in handy for you as a print-on-demand seller. You can schedule a consistent upload of your product on both marketplaces without so much effort.

Consistency is a very important part of the print on demand business and PODTurbo helps you to achieve it.

You can use PODTurbo to generate a unique product description that will help you outrank other similar products.

It is a powerful tool that might come in handy for those who often feel lazy when they get to this part of the process.


Fulfillment Process

One of the coolest things about this POD business is dropshipping.

You don’t have to work about inventory or stockpiling products on a dusty shelf. Once an order is placed for one of your products, all you have to do is contact your print-on-demand supplier.

The supplier will be in charge of all the printing, packaging, and delivery process. All you have to do is send in the design.

PODTurbo even makes the process much easier. Once integrated into your account, PODTurbo automatically places an order on the POD supplier’s website immediately without your intervention.

You can use the Gearbubble Dropship Integration to get this done. Once connected to your PODTurbo system, you would no longer have to worry about drop shipping again.

Get access to this system with just $27 a month or you can get the lifetime deal. Gearbubble offers this lifetime deal from time to time, so be on the look-out.


Cost Breakdown

Now, with all that said, you must already be calculating how much you might have to part with every month to implement this plan.

Let’s say you place an order for 500 Quotes per month, which would cost you about $50.

For this, you would need 500 different designs. That’s another $100.

Let’s assume that you use these 500 designs to create at least three product types to save the costs.

I normally use one design to create a white coffee mug, two-tone coffee mugs, shot glasses, and travel mugs. So, that’s about 1,500 products to upload in a month.

Your monthly PODTurbo subscription will cost you another $97. If you’re paying for the whole year, that would be $997, but let’s work with the monthly fee.

Gearbubble subscription is another $27 for a month. Then you’ve got Amazon fees to pay and Etsy listing fees too. Both are about $39.99 and $300 respectively. 

If my math is still good, that’s about $463.99 in total cost to run a fully automated POD business for a month. Seem pretty high? It’s very low compared to testing products with paid traffic.

You might have to spend more if you want to upload more products a month. But it will be worth the investment in the long run.

In the right market conditions, you should make much more than $1,000 before the end of the month.

With time, you would be able to get more products up for sale. Even though you might have to pay for product listing – Etsy requires $0.20 every 4 months for each product – you will continue to make more sales.


Expected Return

When it comes to making sales, certain factors can influence how well your products perform in the market. The kind of product you have is one. The season or time of the year is another important factor.

For instance, the coffee mug will be sold well in the Winter period and the Q4, generally. Tumbler and Wine Glass will be best sold in summer. Face masks will be sold well during this COVID Pandemic.

So, the expected sales of different products will be varied in different months and seasons.

Also, some products perform better during special holidays Christmas and Halloween, or niche-based celebrations like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Green Monday.

But if your products are fit for the season, you can expect at least 50 to 100 sales in a month. The profit for your sales will be around $8 so you could make $400-$800 a month from these 1,500 products.

These products will be sold multiple times, so you can only invest once and can sell them for years. (For the Etsy, you have to renew the listing every four months.)


Conclusion

The easiest way to grow your business is to automate your process.

Yeah, it might sting your pocket a little, but it would only take a while before your profit begins to cover for the cost of running an automated process.

When it comes to internet marketing, there is no single trick to getting things done.

To get more of your winning products out there, you can also make use of paid traffic to boost sales. However, this would require a lot of time, effort, and of course, money.

But if you have enough of all of these, you can get it done. But if you have a tight budget, you should start pretty small and scale up with time.

Slow and steady, they say, wins the race.

I don’t know if that’s true but it works when it comes to building a successful POD business. So, take your time to create good products.

Start with good market research. Do your homework! Conduct good keyword research. Find niches with little competition and create products targeting that audience.

Avoid taking on the heavy tasks of getting quotes and creating product designs. You can hire experts to get it done for you at a very little cost.

With the PODTurbo, you can also access automated product publishing and drop shipping services.

If you want to make many sales from POD business fast, now is the time!

We can make sales from POD easily in Q4. Start getting your house in order before different special holidays and celebrations begin to set in so that you can have enough to sell.

Happy Automation! 😎

—Bank “Automation” K.


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