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28 min read

The Print-on-Demand Mini-Course

7 Steps to Building and Growing Passive Income by Selling Print-on-Demand Products on Amazon and Etsy


Have you ever wanted to build an online business but don’t have much budget or don’t know how to start?

Fortunately, there’s an online business model that allows you to get started easily and with a small budget.

It’s called print-on-demand.

The print-on-demand business has been my bread and butter for many years.

Before print-on-demand, I did many things in internet marketing – affiliate marketing, website monetization, mobile applications, etc.

But I could only stick with them for just a few months.

However, I’ve been working on print-on-demand from 2014 until today. It’s a business model you can use to build and grow passive income for many years.

I love the print-on-demand business.

When someone new to internet marketing asked me what online business is best for those getting started in online business, I always recommend print-on-demand.

I’ll tell you why in this article.

And I’ll tell you how to build and grow a print-on-demand business in detail in this mini-course.

After you’ve finished reading this, I guarantee that you will:

  • Have a better understanding of the print-on-demand business model.
  • Be able to launch your own print-on-demand business.
  • Make your first print-on-demand sale within 30 days.

But remember: reading without taking action is useless.

I always tell my readers that if you read any articles in my blog, make sure to take action on what you learn. That’s the only way to get results.

So, in each section, I’ll give you some ‘homework’ so you can start working as soon as you finish reading a section.

I hope you enjoy The 7 Steps To Building and Growing Passive Income From Print-on-Demand Products!

Table of Contents


Introduction

Before we dive into those 7 Steps, let’s start with the 30,000-foot view and answer three clarifying questions:

  • What is Print-on-Demand?
  • Why do I always recommend it to people?
  • How does this business model work?

What is Print-on-Demand?

Let’s start with the first one: What is Print-on-Demand?

Have you seen those ads for fancy T-shirts or coffee mugs on your Facebook News Feed? I bet you have. 🙂

No? Let’s check out one of them:

Did you know that most of the people selling those products don’t own a factory?

They never see, make, or even ship the products themselves.

Since I started working as a print-on-demand seller, I’ve sold thousands of t-shirts, coffee mugs, travel mugs, face masks, and so on, but I’ve never seen my products in person.

As print-on-demand sellers, we usually work with a supplier to customize products like t-shirts or coffee mugs with our designs. We sell them under our own brand.

That means we don’t even need to pay for the product until we sell it. We don’t need to buy products in bulk or stock any inventory.

That’s the Print-on-Demand business model. 🙂

You can create a design, put it on a t-shirt, coffee mug, tumbler, or whatever suppliers can make for you, and sell the product under your brand.

Why do I always recommend this model?

The next question is: Why do I always recommend this model?

The answer is simple. As you can see, it’s easy to get started, no advanced knowledge is required, and you don’t need much money to start.

Think about other online business models like affiliate marketing or email marketing.

They are good online businesses but they require you to have skills like copywriting, knowledge of A/B split testing, landing page optimization, etc.

For affiliate marketing, you need to learn how to pick good offers or products to promote. You also need to have a budget to buy traffic, which usually difficult for newbies, especially those who don’t have much budget.

I still remember the first day I bought paid traffic from Google. My $50 disappeared in just a few minutes after my campaign was approved!

Pooooooof! Like magic, $50 disappeared from my pocket!

I won’t say it’s a bad thing. It’s just a bit difficult if you’ve never run paid traffic before and have a small budget to get started.

After you’ve run paid traffic for a while, you also need to learn how to do A/B split testing and landing page optimization to make your campaigns profitable – that is, before the product owners stop you from promoting their products.

Ah…yes, the products or offers you sell can be removed by their owners, any time they want.

You will enjoy making $500 a day by promoting an affiliate product. But when the owner decides not to continue letting you promote it, your $500 a day will disappear and you’ll need to start all over again.

$500/day – Poooooof!

Again, promoting affiliate products with paid traffic is a good business model but you need to have a budget and learn how to do it properly.

I did it in the past. It’s one of the best online businesses of all time.

Let’s look at one more example.

To make something like email marketing work, you need to build an email list.

If you don’t have a budget, you’ll need to rely on free traffic and it will take months or years to grow your list.

If you want to grow your list quickly, you need a budget and will have to spend money on ads.

(Money can buy everything, including the traffic for your website!)

But again, to run the ads, you need to make sure you can create a high-converting landing page so every penny you spend can convert into an email.

Otherwise, you might lose money when no one gives you their email address.

$100 Pooooooof! And no emails!

Okay, let’s assume that you’ve got some email addresses.

The next thing you have to learn is how to write an email and a subject line that will make people open and read your email.

This is copywriting.

If you’re a non-native English speaker like me, it’ll be more difficult. You’ll have to hire someone to proofread it for you.

(Yes, this article was proofread, too. Thanks to my proofreader for making this article fantastic!)

Anyway, email marketing is a highly recommended business model for the long term. But it requires time to build an email list, as well as some skills.

You can do it, but I suggest that you have another way to pay your bills before you commit to it.

The Print-on-Demand business is different.

People will buy your product because of the design of the product. They don’t care much about what you write in the product description.

When you buy a t-shirt or coffee mug, do you check the product description?

No, right? We just look for a design we like and make a purchase.

This t-shirt is cool. I like it. I’ll buy it!

This coffee mug is funny! I want to get it for my dad.

That’s it.

You don’t have to be a copywriting wizard or do any A/B split testing.

No money to buy traffic? No problem!

For this print-on-demand business model, we put products in places where there are billions of eyes and you’ll have a chance to sell.

No need to have a big budget or learn how to run paid ads.

Compared to other online businesses, it’s easy to get started.

That’s why I always recommend it to everyone I know. 🙂

And the last question before we will dive into the main lessons is:

How does this business model work?

Okay, you understand how the print-on-demand process works. Let me sum it up in one picture:

You put your print-on-demand products such as t-shirts, coffee mugs, tumblers, etc. in your store.

When a customer orders a product, you send the order and product info to your supplier.

You pay money to your supplier, who will start making the product.

When the product ships, you’ll have to send the tracking info to your customer.

That’s it. This is how print-on-demand works.

You don’t even need to touch or see your product. Almost everything is handled by your supplier.

You can run this business without leaving your home! 🙂

Next, we’ll talk about business models.

There are many ways to sell print-on-demand products.

You can sell your products on an e-commerce platform like Shopify or Gearbubble Pro, and then drive paid traffic (like Facebook or Google Ads) to your store.

This way, you can make sales very fast (that is, if your products are what people want).

But again, you need some budget and knowledge of how to run ads. Otherwise, you’ll be throwing money down the drain.

I have an easier way.

Not only is it easier. It also requires fewer resources.

It’s the low-hanging fruit model.

You don’t have to run ads, but you will put your products where people can see them.

I’m talking about marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy, which billions of people visit every day.

You just need a fraction of these people to see your products. Then you can make passive income from free traffic when these people buy them.

The more products you have, the more consistent passive income you can make. 

It’s a low-risk business model that anyone can use.

But it won’t make you rich overnight!

There is one thing people must have: either money or time.

In this business model, you don’t need money to get started and be successful. But you do need time.

To make this low-hanging print-on-demand model work, you need to create and upload tons of products to Amazon, Etsy, or any other marketplace.

As many products as you can!

Don’t expect sales if you’ve uploaded 100 or 1,000 products.

(You might make some sales after you have 1,000 products in your account, but it’s difficult to make consistent sales with this number of products.)

Billions of people visit Amazon or Etsy every month, but there are billions of products on these websites.

You need to compete with them to get a fraction of the traffic.

If you don’t want to spend money to get your products in the top ranks of Amazon or Etsy, you need to compete with other sellers with the time you have.

To make consistent sales, you need to have at least 10,000-100,000 products in your Amazon or Etsy accounts.

In the first year, I started doing this business, I had around 30,000 products in my account. I made sales almost every day.

I kept uploading new products every day, and now I have over 100,000 products in my Amazon account and make at least $300 every day, without doing anything.

Here are the latest stats from my Amazon account:

$7,159 in the past 7 days– a 759% increase from last year!

$16,320 in the past 30 days – a 262% increase from last year!

Again, these numbers are derived from the 100,000++ products in my Amazon account. I’ve spent many years building this inventory.

Now, I spend only 1-2 hours a month working.

And that’s the ultimate goal for our low-hanging business. We want to build and grow our passive income so we can live the life we want.

So, in this mini-course, I’ll share with you how to build a “passive income engine” with print-on-demand products. I’ll share with you what I’ve learned over the last seven years.


Step 1: Pick and List Niche Markets

Okay, now you have an overview of the print-on-demand business.

Next, let’s start with the first step, which is to Pick and List Niche Markets.

What’s a Niche Market?

Well, I’m not a marketing teacher who can give you an exact definition, so I’ll tell you what it means to me.

A niche market is basically a group of people who are interesting in the same thing, or have the same demographics or the same jobs.

Before you create a print-on-demand product, you need to know who you want to sell it to.

Otherwise, you won’t know what products to create, right?

As I said earlier, you must list tons of print-on-demand products to get a small fraction of Amazon or Etsy traffic and make consistent passive income.

To do that, you need to have tons of niches.

Again, this business model is not like building a brand. If you want to build a brand, you might choose one main niche for your shop, try to build your brand, and make sales from this main niche only.

But this low-hanging business model is different. Your goal is to earn passive income by winning a fraction of the free traffic on big marketplaces like Amazon or Etsy.

So, you won’t find just one niche, but will create a list of hundreds of niches. You can use this list to create products consistently.

The question is, how do you find all those niches?

Well, you fish where the fish are.

I usually go to Amazon or Etsy to find niches.

Let me show you how.

I’ll go to Etsy, insert a keyword like “Mug”, and click the search button. Hundreds of coffee mug listings will appear in the search results.

Because of Etsy’s search algorithm, these are probably the top-selling mugs. This top marketplace won’t randomly sort the products. It’ll show you the ones that have been selling.

Try it. You’ll see products in all sorts of niches in the results. Pick a few of them and try to categorize them.

Let me show you some examples:

Niche: Dad
Category: Family

Niche: Accountant, Tax Accountant, CPA (Certified Public Accountant)
Category: Professions

Niche: Grandson
Category: Family

Niche: Cat
Category: Pets

Niche: Stepdad
Category: Family

Niche: Sarcastic
Category: Funny

Niche: Nan
Category: Family

These are a few of the niches you can find when you search Etsy using the keyword “Mug”.

Now, you have to categorize them.

  • Family (Dad, Grandson, Stepdad, Nan)
  • Pets (Cat)
  • Professions (Accountant, Tax Accountant, CPA)
  • Funny (Sarcastic)

Then, you have to add more niches to each category. You can easily find more niches by going to Etsy and doing another search.

Previously, we used only the word “Mug” in the query. This time, let’s add more search terms to get more specific niches.

Instead of using just “Mug”, add a category to the search query – like “Family Mug”, “Profession Mug”, “Pet Mug”, or “Funny Mug”.

I tried a search using the keywords “Family Mug”. Check out what I found:

From these search results, we can see that apart from the “Dad” niche, there is “Mom”, “Son”, “Daughter”, “Siblings”, and many other family members.

Add them all to the “Family” category.

If we search using the keywords “Profession Mug”, we’ll get these search results:

There are more niches, like “Marketer”, “Manager”, “Court Reporter”, “Custom Profession”, “Pharmacist”, “Social Worker”, “Lawyer”, and “Dentist”.

There are hundreds of professions out there, so you can add many new niches to the profession category.

Keep doing this, and you’ll have many niches you can create products for.

You can also use this method on Amazon or other marketplaces to find niches.

On Amazon, I like to start from this page.

The page shows the top-selling mugs. You’ll get an idea of what niches are selling well at the moment.

Next, go to the main Amazon page and search using more specific keywords like “Family Mug”, “Profession Mug”, etc. You’ll be able to add tons of niches to your list.

This is the “Fish where the fish are” method you can use to find tons of niches.

There’s another way to find niches that I like to use.

It’s called the “Top 100” approach.

When you find some categories using the first method, you can use Google to accelerate your discovery of new niches.

Go to Google and search for something like this:

“Top 100 Professions in the US”

“Top 100 Famous Dog Breeds”

“Top 100 Popular Cat Breeds”

“Top 100 Hobbies”

“Nickname for Mom”

“Nickname for Dad”

etc.

You get a list like this from Google:

Boom! You now have 100 new niches added to the Profession category.

Boom! 100 new dog breeds added to the Dog category.

Boom! 100 new hobbies added to the Hobby category.

Using the “Top 100” approach, you can grow your lists of niches very fast.

This technique also helps you find “untapped niches” that most sellers might not think of.

For example, most people know that products in niches like “Dad” or “Mom” will sell really well, especially on Father’s Day or Mother’s Day.

Keywords like “Dad Mug” or “Mom Mug” will have high search volume because they’re the words most people will use when they want to search for a mug for their parents.

So most sellers will create print-on-demand products in the “Dad” or “Mom” niches.

But when most sellers create the products in the same niches, there will be tons of products in these niches and the competition will be very high.

And these sellers won’t make many sales.

In contrast, if we keep building lists in the Family category, we will find niches like “Stepdad”, “Father-in-Law”, “Bonus Dad”, or even nicknames for dad like “Daddy”, “Papa”, “Pop”, which have much less competition.

Let’s see the number of products we get when we search Etsy using the keywords “Dad Mug”:

There are 307,744 products!

In contrast, the number of products from the search query “Stepdad Mug” is…

Only 17,308 products! That’s almost 20 times lower.

The upshot: if we have products in these small niches, it’s easier to make more sales.

Okay, you might think that the search volume from keywords like these might be lower. Between the keywords “Dad Mug” and “Stepdad Mug”, the first keyword will have a lot higher search volume.

True. But what if we have products in many small niches like these?

The collective search volume will be as high as the volume for one big niche. And it’s easier to for products in these small niches to receive a higher ranking in the search results.

Using these two methods – the We fish where the fishes are and the “Top 100” – you can grow your lists very quickly and find many untapped niches that have few competitors.

The next thing we need to do is to pick niches to create products for.

We have tons of niches, but which one should we pick to create products for first?

I categorize niches in two ways:

First, I’ll check whether a specific holiday (like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day) is coming up. I know I can sell lots of products these days.

If there is a holiday, I’ll pick niches related to it and create products for them first.

Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day are the top holidays for which print-on-demand products sell well.

These are called “trend” niches.

If there’s a general holiday like Christmas or New Year’s – for which anyone might buy a gift – I’ll create products for all of my niches.

During Christmas, New Year’s, or Q4, when everyone purchases gifts, they won’t only purchase products for their family members but also for their friends and colleagues.

Some niches can be sold all year long. I have many niches in the profession category that sell at any time of the year. These are called “evergreen” niches.

Okay, this is the first step we’re going to take. We’ll create lists of niches to create print-on-demand products for.

This is your first homework for Step One:

  • Find 5-10 Categories (You can copy some of my examples)
  • Find at least 100 Niches for each Category
  • Check whether there is a trend in the next month or not. If yes, pick niches related to that trend. If not, get ready to create products for all niches you have.

To organize your list, create a new Google Sheet and put them on the sheet, like this:

Take your time when adding niches to this sheet, because you’ll use it for as long as you create print-on-demand products.

Make sure you finish your homework before moving on to the next step!


Step 2: Find Quotes

When you finish creating your list of niches, the next step is to find quotes or messages to put on your products.

But wait…what’s a quote, and why we need to find one?

Aren’t we supposed to learn how to sell print-on-demand products? Shouldn’t we be learning how to create or draw a nice design?

Nah…not yet. You don’t have to draw or create a nice design in the low-hanging fruit model.

You don’t have to be an artist or great graphic designer to make good money from the print-on-demand business.

I’m no artist, but I can still earn a lot from print-on-demand – even with my lousy Photoshop skills.

Let’s check out the top-selling coffee mugs on Amazon again:

These were the top-selling coffee mugs right before Father’s Day.

As you can see, most of them are just simple text designs.

They have funny messages like:

“My Favorite Child Gave Me This Mug”

“I’m a Proud Dad of a Freaking Awesome Daughter…yes, she bought me this mug”

“Dad, no matter what life throws at you, at least you don’t have ugly children.”

“Dad. Thanks for being my dad. If I had a different Dad, I would punch him in the face and go find you. -Your Favorite”

These are what we call quotes.

To make money from the low-hanging business model, we just have to find quotes like these and put them on our print-on-demand products.

That’s it. No need to draw anything or have great Photoshop skills.

You just need to know how to insert text in Photoshop and center-align it.

Simple text designs sell well. Most of the time, they top the Amazon and Etsy sales charts.

Most people purchase a print-on-demand product because of the message.

If people like the message, they’ll buy the product, even if the design is just black text on a plain background.

The example above is a Father’s Day product. Children just want to pass a message to their dad via coffee mugs like this.

They just want to say something nice to their dad or make him laugh when he unboxes the gift.

There are other POD products besides coffee mugs. They include:

Tumblers:

Ceramic Shot Glasses:

Bracelets:

Watches:

These are just a few examples of print-on-demand products.

There are many others you can put a message on and sell.

As you can see, most of the products above contain different messages. Most of them are just plain text on a plain background.

Also, they show a message the “sender” wants to convey to the “receiver”.

In this case, the sender is a son or a daughter, and the receiver is a dad. This is a gift that people purchase for someone they love.

Apart from products that people purchase as a gift, there are products that people will purchase for themselves.

Many people want branded promotional items like mugs or t-shirts to help them publicize themselves or their business.

Like these:

or these:

If you’re a fan of Breaking Bad and watch Better Call Saul, the second tumbler in the image above is from this TV series.

The lawyer Saul wants to represent himself with this tumbler as well.

It Saul good, man!

These are some examples of appliances that people will buy to represent themselves.

People will buy this kind of product to represent themselves. Most of them will also buy it for their colleagues.

So, to make money from the print-on-demand business, you need to find quotes like these and put them on your products.

The next question is, How and where do you find these quotes?

I divide quotes into two types:

  • General Quotes
  • Substituted Quotes

General quotes, which you can see in the products above, are easy to find on the internet.

I normally use four websites to find quotes like this:

  • Amazon
  • Etsy
  • Pinterest
  • Google Image

Choose some niches from the list you created in the previous step to find quotes.

For Amazon and Etsy, you will still fish where the fish are.

You’ll browse products, see which ones are selling well, and choose the quotes on them to create your products.

But please don’t copy designs!

You have to create new designs with these quotes and also make sure they aren’t trademarked.

Otherwise, you might have an issue with your account, because your designs will be duplicates of others.

Make sure the quotes you find are not trademarked. Always create new designs.

This is how to find quotes on Amazon and Etsy.

You use keywords like this to find quotes:

ADJECTIVE + NICHE + PRODUCT

Replace ADJECTIVE with the emotion you want your product to evoke – like “Funny”, “Meaningful”, or “Inspirational”.

Replace NICHE with the niche you found in the previous step.

Replace PRODUCT with any print-on-demand product.

For example:

“Funny” + “Engineer” + “T-shirt”

“Meaningful” + “Father” + “Card”

Inspirational” + “Lawyer” + “Gift”

As you can see, there are many general quotes we can find using these keywords.

The next question is, which quotes can be sold?

I always check whether the product I got the quote from has received customer reviews or not.

If there are reviews, it means the product has sold in the past. You can check customer reviews on both Amazon and Etsy.

Read the reviews for a bunch of products. You’ll get a better understanding of what people in different niche markets want. You also might get some fresh ideas for new quotes.

That’s is how to find quotes from Amazon and Etsy. Again, you fish where the fish are.

Another way to find quotes is to search Pinterest or Google Images.

These are two websites where you can find thousands of new and interesting quotes.

You can easily find interesting quotes using the keyword formula I described above:

ADJECTIVE + NICHE + “Quote”

Note: You can replace “Quote” with other words like “Saying”, “Phrase”, or “Prayer”, too.

Like this:

“Funny” + “Teacher” + “Quote”

“Inspirational” + “Friend” + “Quote”

“Lovely” + “Mom” + “Quote”

When you look for quotes on Google Image or Pinterest, you have to read and understand what the quotes are saying, because they have no customer reviews. They’re not like Amazon or Etsy.

Not all quotes are a good fit with every product. You have to read them and make sure you want to sell a product with this quote.

Save the quotes you like in your list, and make sure none of them is trademarked.

So far, I’ve been talking about General Quotes. You can easily find them on Amazon, Etsy, Google Image, and Pinterest.

I prefer to use another type of quote, which I call a Substituted Quote.

It’s faster to find this kind of quote, and you can avoid the trademark issue by using them.

Let me introduce you to it.

A Substituted Quote is basically a quote that allows you to replace a word in the quote with a niche keyword.

Finding them is the next step to take after you find top-selling general quotes.

When you find General Quotes on the top-selling products on Amazon or products with many reviews on Etsy, you’ll use them to create new designs for your products.

The problem is, you might not make great sales, because the same quotes are probably being used by other sellers.

Some quotes also might be trademarked. If we don’t check this, we might run into issues with our account.

It’s wise to modify those top-selling quotes and create new ones.

For Substituted Quotes, you find some top-selling products and modify the quotes on them using your niche keyword.

For example:

The main quote is, “I love you, mom. When you smile, I smile.”

The niche for this main quote is “mom”.

So, if you have a list of niches in the family category, you can use this quote to create other quotes for other family members.

Just substitute “mom” with another family member.

Like this:

“I love you, dad. When you smile, I smile.”

“I love you, aunt. When you smile, I smile.”

“I love you, granddaughter. When you smile, I smile.”

If you have 100 niches related to the family category, you’ll create new 100 quotes very quickly.

You can also do the same for other niches.

For example:

I’ll use the quote from Better Call Saul again.

“World’s 2nd Best Lawyer

You can use this quote to create new quotes in the profession niches, like this:

“World’s 2nd Best Engineer

“World’s 2nd Best Nurse

“World’s 2nd Best Teacher

There are hundreds of occupations, and you can use them to create hundreds of new quotes very fast.

This is why I recommended that you create a list of niches in the previous step. You can easily use them to create new quotes this way.

If you have 100 occupations on your list, you just have to find 10 top-selling quotes to create 1,000 new quotes.

If the main quotes you find are top-selling ones and you use them with other niches, they usually sell well, too.

The reason is that those top-selling quotes are often used with big niches like Mom, Dad, or popular professions like Engineer, Lawyer, or Nurse.

When you use these kinds of quotes for small niches like “Welder” or “Zookeeper”, they’ll be easier to sell.

These kinds of niches are less competitive. There are plenty of Welders and Zookeepers, but not many sellers create products for them.

I have many winning products in these small niches.

And that’s how you create Substituted Quotes.

Again, you find interesting quotes that have a good sales record and substitute a word in the quote with your niche keyword.

I really like the Substituted Quotes method. Apart from the low competition, I can create new quotes very quickly. Most of the time, they are not trademarked because I’ve modified the quote with my niche keyword.

Next, once you’ve found or created some quotes, I recommend that you record them with the niche in Google Sheets, like this:

You can use this sheet to create designs or list products easily.

This is the second step you need to take to easily find interesting quotes for your print-on-demand products.

Here’s your homework for this step:

  • Select 10 niches you like from the list you created in Step 1.
  • Find 20 general quotes for each niche, so you end up with 200 quotes in total.
  • Select 5 general quotes and create substituted quotes for some other niches. You will likely have 250-500 substituted quotes.
  • Add them to your Google Sheet, enter the niche for each quote in the second column, and separate the sheet by the niche category.

Once you finish this task, you’ll be ready to create hundreds of products. We’ll talk about this in the next step. 🙂


Step 3: Create Designs

Now that you have a list of niches and quotes, it’s time to create designs for your products.

In this section, I’ll show you what kind of designs you should create, give you some tips and tricks on how to create tons of designs quickly, and how to hire a graphic designer for your print-on-demand business.

After you finish this section, you’ll know that creating designs for this business model is easy and you can create tons of them in no time. 🙂

What Kind of Designs can be sold?

I’m no good at Photoshop.

Luckily, you don’t have to be a Photoshop expert to make good money from the print-on-demand business, especially when you use the low-hanging business model.

As I showed you in the previous step, most top-selling print-on-demand products contain simple text designs.

To be exact, just black text, center-aligned, and on a plain background.

But if you have design skills, you can create other styles as well. Just make sure your designs are legible.

Again, most people purchase print-on-demand products because of the message on them.

So, if you already have a good quote, just make sure you have an easy-to-read design on the product you sell.

How to Create Designs Fast

To run a successful print-on-demand business, you need to add new products consistently and have many products in your stores.

To do that, you must create new designs and launch new products every day.

I hired a graphic designer to create designs for me after I started running my print-on-demand business.

That’s why I don’t have many tips or tricks about the design process that come from direct personal experience.

But I’ll tell you about what I get my designer to do for me each day.

There are many tools you can use to create designs fast.

Here are two you can use to create simple text designs easily:

  • Photoshop
  • Canva

Both cost around $10-20 a month. If you’re unfamiliar with these tools, I recommend Canva because it’s cheaper and easier to use than Photoshop.

A Canva yearly plan costs just $9.99 a month, and you can use it to create as many designs as you want. Canva has loads of nice attractive fonts you can use to create nice designs.

When I had a team to run my business for me, I purchased a Canva yearly plan and they use it to create designs. It allowed my graphic designer to work faster and more efficiently.

But if you know how to use Photoshop and have subscribed to the service, you can use Photoshop. No need to pay the additional costs for Canva.

Photoshop has a great function you can use to create tons of designs fast. I’ll tell you about it later in this section.

Choose a design size that you can use on multiple products

Basically, when creating a design, I’ll ask my graphic designer to create a design I can use on many products.

For example, you can see here that the dimensions of the design used on products like a coffee mug, camper mug, shot glass, travel mug, and most types of kitchenware are the same:

Most designs are basically vertical rectangles.

For a design like this, I normally let my designer create a design measuring 3600 x 4200px or 3000 x 3500px.

This is big enough to be printed on a t-shirt if I want to expand my product line in the future.

For my PODTurbo software, I asked my development team to use this design size, even though some products (such as tumblers) don’t use a vertical rectangle design.

This way, when I create and upload a CSV (which is the product info format we use in PODTurbo), we can use the same designs for multiple products.

I always do it this way, so my graphic designer doesn’t need to spend much time creating the other sizes of the same design. It’s better to let him create new designs.

Doing this will help you save money when you hire a graphic designer.

For example, if you hire a designer to create a design for $0.50 each and you use this design to create 5 products, the average design cost for one product will be just $0.10.

Cool, right? 🙂

Create templates you can use to generate many designs

In Step 2, I introduced you to General Quotes and Substituted Quotes.

When creating designs for each quote type, I have some tricks I use to create the designs fast.

For General Quotes, I’ll let my designer create 5-10 design templates. These templates will normally just contain something like “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.”

(Obviously, this is just placeholder text you will replace with your actual quote.)

Here are some examples of what my designer creates for me:

My designer will use this placeholder text to create templates with different fonts or layouts, then use them to create designs with the ‘real quotes’ in the future.

For Substituted Quotes, I’ll let my designer create a template as well. But this time, I’ll let him create just one template when I give him a quote.

One template per quote.

When my designer gets a new quote from my team, he will create just one template and leave space where he can insert the niche keyword in the design.

Like this:

If my team approves the design template, my graphic designer will use this template to create designs for hundreds of niches very quickly. He just has to replace NICHE with the niche keyword in the design.

This way, my graphic designer can work fast because he doesn’t need to think about the design. Again, I have him create one template for designs for all the niches I have.

You can do this yourself and save plenty of time.

Convert a color using Photoshop ActionScript

Many print-on-demand products come in different colors – black or white coffee mugs, black or white or pink tumblers, and so on.

But the black text on a plain background might not work for all products. So, to use the same design for products that are dark in color, we have to make the text white.

If we have 1,000 black text designs and convert them to white text manually, it will take many hours.

Luckily, Photoshop has a function called “Action”, which can complete this process in seconds.

Let me show you how to do it.

First, open your design in Photoshop.

Go to the “Window” menu and check “Actions”.

Click “Create new action”, enter the name of the action you want, and click “Record”.

Click on the layer of your design and press “CMD” and “I”. This is a command to convert the color from black to white in Mac.

If you use Windows, I believe you can also use “Ctrl” and “I”.

Please note that this shortcut is for converting the color to the opposite color. If your design is not black, it won’t convert to white. You’ll have to find another way to convert it to white.

Then click the “Stop” button.

That’s it. You can now use this action to quickly convert tons of designs by following these steps:

Go to File > Automate > Batch

Select the action you just created, select the source folder, select the destination folder, and click “OK”.

The Source folder is the folder of your existing designs that you want to convert from black to white.

The Destination folder is the empty folder where you want to save your new designs.

Photoshop will start processing all the designs in your source folder. If you have lots of designs, it might take a while.

Go grab a coffee, watch some YouTube videos, and come back later. Your new designs will be ready. 🙂

The Action tool in Photoshop is extremely useful.

Apart from converting colors, you can use it to do many tasks that have the same patterns.

Some of my friends use it to generate designs from quotes as well, but this requires advanced knowledge (like linking an Excel sheet to Photoshop. You can learn it by yourself later). 🙂

Should I hire a Graphic Designer?

Should you hire a designer to create designs for you?

Personally, I think it’s better to do everything yourself first so you can understand all the processes in this business model.

If you have money coming in from other businesses and want to grow a passive income from this business model, I recommend that you hire someone to help you build your print-on-demand empire.

But if your financial leash is short, I highly recommend that you do it by yourself first. Once you make some money, you can hire a graphic designer to expand your business.

The low-hanging business model requires time to launch many products. It won’t give you results in just a few months.

I’d been building my Amazon and Etsy stores for years before I started making a 6-figure annual revenue.

In the first few months, if I’m not mistaken, I made less than $100 a month.

(Yes, I paid my team to run this business, but I incurred losses for many months. But when I look at my results today, it was worth the money. :))

Where to Find a Graphic Designer

If you want to hire a graphic designer, I recommend Onlinejobs.ph.

This is a website where you can hire people from the Philippines. There are excellent workers on the site, including many talented graphic designers you can hire at an affordable price.

I’ve hired many of them and paid them $0.2-0.6 per design.

The price depends on your negotiating skill and the amount of work you can feed your designer. If you can hire them to do more work, you can negotiate a lower price per design.

Anyway, when you suggest this price to them, most of them will walk away because they think it’s too cheap.

You have to clearly explain to them in the job description what they have to do and how much work (and money) they can expect.

Just copy and paste some of the relevant sections in this mini-course and show them the kind of designs you want and the tips they can use to create designs fast.

After that, they will likely accept the cheap pay, because they’ll know they can create 100 designs in less than an hour.

But before you decide to hire anyone, let them do some trial work so you can see whether they can create the designs you want.

Give them 5-10 quotes and let them create designs.

If you like what they come up with and you can pay them what they ask, hire them.

Please note that some workers will disappear after working for a few days.

That’s normal.

That’s why you should save the names of the designers you like in a list. When one designer leaves, you can hire another one.

I think I hired 5-6 designers before I found the one who’s still been working for me.

It’s worth spending time to find a reliable designer who can help you build your print-on-demand business.

Here’s your homework for Step 3:

  • Signup for Canva or Photoshop, or any other graphic design tool you want.
  • Choose 50 general quotes to create 50 designs.
  • Choose 1 substituted quote and 100 niches to create 100 substituted designs.
  • Use Photoshop Action to convert these 150 text designs from black to white.
  • (Do this only if you plan to hire a designer) Go to Onlinejobs.ph and find 10 graphic designers. Choose one of them to hire.

When you finish this homework, you’ll have some designs ready to upload. In the next step, I’ll show you the product uploading process 🙂


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Along the way, I’ll answer your questions. Please don’t hesitate to ask them in the comment box!

—Bank K.

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