Working as a print-on-demand seller requires that you spend most of your time online, connected to the internet.
While this is required for your continued growth and sales, it can also impede productivity.
The print-on-demand business involves many processes, and if you are not careful as a POD seller, you might get caught up in the whole process that you might not actually be getting enough work done daily.
Since most of what you would do as a POD business owner is online, there is a big chance that you would be working from home or a home office.
I have been working from home before it became widespread. It used to be fun until everyone joined in. And yes, I’m still talking about working from home.
Due to the widespread of the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses and individuals had to switch to working from home.
And I get it. Working from home is an obvious solution with a plethora of benefits.
It offers workers flexibility, unparalleled agility, and the opportunity to spend more time with their families.
On the other hand, companies and businesses also get access to an expanded talent pool for a start.
It can also be very challenging!
Especially for those workforces that have no experience with this way.
Maintaining the same levels of productivity while working from home has been a major concern for all.
Either you’re working as a print-on-demand seller or a BBC journalist, keeping your head in the game and getting things done can be a huge task.
Working from home is very good. I get that part. But you can easily be distracted and lose your all-important productivity streak.
It is effortless for your focus to be flagging. And for obvious reasons too.
For one, there is no boss to force work down your throat. You have to manage yourself, your time, and your schedule with self-propelled motivation.
Sounds like a lot of work!
In this article, I have highlighted a few ways to boost productivity as a Print-on-Demand seller while working from home.
These tips might come in handy later on. Do well to pay attention to them.
1. Focus on what is important
Yeah, you read that right. Starting your day to complete an entire product creation and uploading process might not be a good thing.
First, you would be mentally exhausted from just thinking about how much work you have to do. At the end of the day, you would probably get nothing done.
So, you don’t have to do too much daily. It would help if you only focused on what is important per day.
You should know by now that if you want to be very productive working remotely, you need to keep track of how you spend every hour of your day.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should work your ass off every minute of the day. It simply means that you should be able to account for what you did with every minute.
It is called ‘Self-Tracking.’ It lets you understand when you are more productive and where you are wasting your goddamn precious time!
To achieve this, I would recommend that you create a to-do list.
Yep! A to-do list.
This would allow you to keep track of your progress efficiently. You can then choose to do the more critical tasks in your precise, productive hours.
You can design the list as per your preference. You can decide that the critical task is to be treated as the highest priority and should be worked on at the earliest.
Or reserved for a later time when other minor tasks are completed. It’s up to you as long as you have it all written down.
I have a personal recommendation that you should just set out to do only the 3 most important things (or less) you have to do daily.
Having too many to do on your plate is not a great idea.
Don’t try to do too much at the same time.
In fact, if you really want to be productive, don’t multitask!
Focus on only the important ones and get them done. Make it a habit or some form of routine till it gets stuck with you.
Take out your daily to-do list and list what you will do in a proper and orderly fashion. It would help if you also stuck to them as you have listed.
If you finish before time, you should go for a walk or play some video game. But if you don’t, you should stick with it, so you don’t have to do it again the next day.
This way, you don’t have to think about what you have to do next. You have it all written out.
For me, here’s a rough view of how my daily to-do list (as a print-on-demand seller) looks like:
- Select niches and pass them to my team (PODTurbo and PODtomatic) to do the work.
- Check the stats and choose some products to test with the ads.
- Create an ad for some good products.
So, that’s it.
I should also add that while you construct your list, think about long-term goals such as making your first $1000 or six-figure sale, as well as short-term goals.
Your short-term goals are the tasks that lead to that big goal. As you are completing one goal after another, check them off the list, indicating that you are making progress.
This keeps your focus intact, thereby improving your knowledge and makes the work seem doable. As you do this, you get one step closer to achieving your big goals.
2. Do it Now
Once you have all your tasks listed out, the next step is actually to get them done!
And this is where the problem is; getting things done as when they should be done. If you want to complete several tasks, it is straightforward to get tired and begin to procrastinate.
Procrastination is the enemy of productivity. Don’t push your performance to a later time.
Whatever you have to do, DO IT NOW!
Tomorrow never ends. So, if you keep pushing tasks to a later day, you would probably never get anything done.
I get the fact that it is possible to be mentally and physically fatigued. Trust me, and I know this first hand!
However, you should also be able to layout a formidable plan for both working and resting.
Distractions are another enemy that prevents us from doing what we ought to do when we ought to do them.
Whether you choose to admit it or not, there is one common thing all of us can consider as our guilty pleasure: Social media. It is both the greatest source of entertainment and distraction.
Ok, tell me. What is the first thing you do after waking up in the morning?
Check for the latest TikTok trend?
Or all of these?
Well, you’re not alone hahahahahahaha….
You wake up, and boom! Before you know it, you would find yourself turning your data on and logging on to one of these apps.
Funny enough, most times, your last activity for the night also involves you looking up various posts and updates on social media.
So, whether you are interacting with friends, commenting, or reading news and articles, social media can be highly addictive and time-consuming if not handled with care.
So, what can you do to prevent this?
You’ve got to be focused and shun distractions. When you start working, get right to it. Put phones away.
In between work, if you cannot help but check your cell phone every time a new notification pops up, then you need to do away with it completely.
And I get the fact that self-restraint is easier said than done. But if you really want to get rid of distractions and get work done, you can adopt different concentration mechanisms.
I recommend a time management technique called “Time-Boxing”.
This technique involves the allocation of specific timeframes to tasks and breaks.
So, you can work for one hour, relax for 10 minutes, do another work for one hour and rest for another 10 minutes until you are totally done with all you have to do.
That is time-boxing.
It is a beneficial technique that helps me stay productive for a long time without experiencing burnout.
The only problem would now be to regulate distractions such as social media and phones.
Luckily, many new mobile apps have been introduced to get rid of social media distractions. These tell you the amount of time you spend on each social media app.
You can also set a fixed duration for each of the socializing apps, and once your limited time usage is over, you are locked out from that app for the next 24hours.
So you decide to assign 30 minutes to Instagram, 30 minutes to Facebook, and another 30 minutes to YouTube.
In fact, even if you exhaust your time limit at night itself, those apps would be disabled for you to use in the daytime. Cool, right?
It is probably one of the most feasible solutions for handling social media distractions. This way, you can open your work and get down to it right away.
You can finish your work fast and easily with fewer distractions.
3. Delegate Everything You Can
If you want to be a successful seller, you cannot afford to be a POD seller and a perfectionist. You won’t get much done.
Delegation is the best way to get a lot done in a short time. I have a team that works for me, and they handle most of the ‘boring’ tasks.
This allows me to check out market trends, sales opportunities and stay up to date with my product performance.
So, if you really want to be productive, you need to start learning how to delegate.
Hire people to do boring tasks so you can focus on important things like niche selection and spotting market opportunities.
Things like finding quotes, creating designs, and even uploading products on POD marketplaces can all be delegated.
You can either choose to conduct your product upload by hiring a virtual assistant or use a smart, automated system called PODTurbo.
PODTurbo allows you to create and upload products on different marketplaces in a short time. This would save you a lot of time as well as energy.
If you get much done, try delegating. It helps!
4. Set a Goal Each Day
So, I already started the talk about creating a to-do list in the second tip. But let me talk a little bit more about setting daily goals and writing them out.
Creating a to-do list with daily goals basically helps you stay organized. There’s every possibility that you’ll not get much done if you start your day without a goal.
So, before the start of each working day, ensure that you list out everything you need to achieve and set a time limit to get everything done.
Set how many niches you are going to find daily.
Set how many quotes you are going to find daily.
If you’re not handling this yourself, hire someone and give the person a defined number of quotes to deliver per day.
Set how many designs you are going to create daily or hire someone to do a particular number of designs for you daily.
Set how many products you plan to upload daily.
With PODTurbo, you can upload thousands of products every day. Have a target number and work towards it!
You cannot grow a successful POD business without daily consistency.
So, if you have a consistent number of working with every day, you will have a definite target goal to hit every single day.
5. Eliminate the Distractions
Since you would be working from home, there are bound to be a ton of distractions. While we have already spoken about social media, it is not the only distraction there is.
You can also get distracted by your kids, mail, or even outside scenery. While I suggested time allocation for social media, it might not be enough to handle other forms of distractions.
For instance, every time you make a sale, there will be a sale notification from Amazon, Etsy, or others. This will distract you. You have to close it while you work.
Also, you can be distracted by kids and family members who run around all day. You can’t be productive that way. You can’t think properly with that kind of interruption.
And I get it, you’re in your home, and you want to feel comfortable. But if you want to be a successful and productive POD seller, you need to conceptually separate work from home.
You can start by creating dedicated office space and structure your day as you would in an office.
It doesn’t have to be a big setup. A corner table and a chair are just fine! It can even be a bedroom between certain times if needed.
Just separate your work from your home.
Let me also warn you about background noises and busy scenery. They are subtle distractions that can keep you busy in your head for a long time without actually getting anything done.
I would say that there are people who have some background noise while they work.
So, if you don’t prefer working in complete silence, try popping the radio or play some music on Spotify at low volume sometimes.
You might be surprised at how much this can boost your mood.
But if you know that noise doesn’t help you work, make sure that your home workspace is in the most peaceful corner of your home and try your best to keep it that way.
If you would also get easily with motions and movement, avoid setting up your workspace at a window side.
6. Always Take a Break whenever you can
This is the last tip but it’s definitely not the least.
On the contrary, it is one of the most important tips if you want to remain a productive Print-on-Demand seller.
Researchers have found that workers who take regular breaks in between work are more productive than those who don’t.
It might seem like a good idea to work without a break because you’ll get more work done, right?
Here’s what you don’t know. The more you exert your brain without resting, you are much closer to a burnt out.
This also means that you cannot function at your peak. So, you cannot think as you should, and your work quality would drop. It would help if you took a break from time to time.
If you need to set an alarm for taking a break, then you should!
I have nap time every day. That is when I get refreshed and rest my brain for a while.
If you feel sleepy while working, you should. I don’t think it’s perfect that you work while you sleep. You cannot get a good job done. That isn’t good for productivity.
Not having proper rest can affect your productivity all day long. However, if you take 30 minutes or 1-hour nap, you can get some energy boost to carry you through the whole day.
As I said, I use a technique called “time-boxing”. I allocate a specific time to different bits of my entire work and also time for breaks in-between.
On a normal day, I would allocate 1 hour to do a task, and then I’d take a break for like 15-30 minutes.
Once that is done, I would set out for another task for 1 hour and then take another break. This is how I work till I get everything done.
People usually take all the time allotted to accomplish any task without considering breaks. If you don’t allow time for a task, you will keep working till you experience burnout.
Apart from taking a nap, you should also have a defined and healthy sleep routine.
Go to bed at a definite time. Try to get a minimum of 6 hours of sleep. Follow it every day until it becomes a habit.
It is effortless to overwork yourself because work is home and home is work.
But this would only lead to mental and physical fatigue. It would help if you stopped working once your daily goals have been met, no matter how early you meet them.
Exercising can be one of the easiest and fastest ways to reignite your productivity.
It gives your body and minds the boost you need to crush your daily goals.
You don’t have to register for yoga classes or any lycra, something as simple as a brisk 30-minute walk can make a big difference.
As a Print-on-Demand business owner, you need to be on alert and proactive. For this, you need your body and your mind to be in synch. And regular exercise can help you do that.
Adopting the habit of doing exercise is beneficial for both your personal and professional life.
You increase blood flow to the brain while you workout, which further helps to sharpen your mind and keep you alert.
Also, it helps you to stretch and keep your body in good shape. Most of us are almost in the same sitting position all day long.
Maintaining a great posture is an added necessity that comes from stretching during workouts regularly.
So, you should try to take some time out and exercise, even if it is for 15 minutes.
Move your muscles. Go for a long walk.
Chase your kids round the house a bit. Play fetch with your dog.
Whatever sounds feasible for you.
With these tips, you should enjoy an increased level of productivity even while working from home as a Print-on-Demand seller.
It all begins with setting out your daily goals. Write all that you hope to achieve before the day runs out. Divide your long-term goals into bits and take them one by one. Focus on what is important and shun out distractions.
To maintain consistency, you should not take up all the work on yourself. Try to delegate whenever you can. It would only make your work faster and better. Don’t forget always to take a break whenever you need to!
Put all of this into practice, and you should be smashing all of your goals in no time!