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Build a Business Dropshipping Print on Demand Merchandise

Erik Entrepreneurship, Thoughts of a Mastermind 6 Comments

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Building a business and bringing in passive income each and every month is an entrepreneur’s dream. Creating a passive income stream might seem intimidating, but it is possible with dropshipping print on demand niche products.

Traditional merchandise stores are becoming obsolete, but buying niche products will never go away.

As a merchandise business owner, you can use powerful, and affordable, print on demand technology to design, sell and fulfill from your home laptop.

Best of all, learning about creating a print on demand store is not rocket science.  Successfully building a print on demand dropshipping business can be done through the following 5 principles.

The 5 Principles for Building a Dropshipping Business

Strategy is very important when starting out in business. Without having a plan, you can waste a lot of time and money not doing what will lead to success.

For a successful print on demand business, there are 5 principles which lead to success:

  • Mindset
    • Do you have want it takes to be a successful business owner? Do you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset?
  • Design
    • People buy niche products because they like the design on the t-shirt, coffee mug, hat or sticker you are selling. Can you come up with unique designs?
  • Partners
    • There are many powerful, and affordable, platforms and fulfillment companies which will help printing and shipping your products on demand.
  • Marketing
    • Without sales, you have no business. Getting the right customers in front of your product will result in sales and making money.
  • Operations
    • Printing, shipping, tracking and customer service can all be outsourced making print on demand a fantastic opportunity to create a lifestyle business.

Below is a more detailed description of each of these principles.

Print on Demand Business Principle #1: Mindset

product design businessTo become successful as a print on demand business owner, it’s important you have the right mindset.

Do you know what makes your target customer happy? What kind of product would your target customer love to wear?

Picking a particular niche is the first step in creating your print on demand business.

Focusing on a particular niche which has passionate people in it makes all the difference in the print on demand business. You must find a niche where people are very proud and passionate about their interest.

Going a step further, it is best if your niche has people who are already represent their niche and are willing to share their passion on social media.

For example, people are very passionate about their jobs. An idea is you could sell t-shirts which are job specific to various professions. Those individuals will be proud to wear their job-related shirt across their chest and will hopefully buy uniquely designed t-shirts from your niche merchandise store.

Next, it’s important to leave your assumptions at the door and let data drive all of your decisions. For example, if you are marketing t-shirts to teachers, don’t assume that only teachers in their 40’s would buy your shirt.

You MUST test to confirm your hypothesis.

Also, it’s important to live inside your niche – get into the mind of the niche fans. Spend a couple of hours on Pinterest, Instagram, and competitor stores to find themes, colors, logos, and products which can give you a sense of the niche and existing products. No need to reinvent the wheel!

Finally, take action. Once you have your store set up, and a shareable product to market, you can launch.

It’s never been easier to sell niche merchandise – don’t wait to build your successful lifestyle business.

Print on Demand Business Principle #2: Design

Design quality is essential to a high performing niche gifts and merchandise business.

For your designs, ask yourself the following question: would you be embarrassed someone saw you with your design on a coffee mug or t-shirt?

If yes, time to start over on that design. If no, post it and start marketing!

The designs need to be stylized and unique so that people will buy. You can’t just take any old image off Fiverr and expect people to buy.

The successful niche gift and merchandise sales equation is the following: passionate niche + shareable product = big sales.

Your niche specific merchandise designs can be created on your own or sourced from a designer. You can find designers on websites such as Upwork. You should look for freelance graphic designers who are talented but are still building their portfolio. These designers need to understand how to design for screen printing and print on demand.

As you become more experienced, you and your designer will be producing stunning designs. Over time, you will be pumping out high quality designs that you like and can passively sell.

Print on Demand Business Principle #3: Partners

There are two types of partners: a website partner and a printing partner.

business around dropshipping t-shirts platformShopify: your go-to Website Partner

There are many e-commerce platforms out there, but there is a clear, winning solution for print on demand businesses: Shopify .

Shopify is an easy to use platform with a fantastic backend. Shopify will fulfill orders, produce in-depth reports, has highly functional payment gateways for credit cards and Paypal, and has many integrations to print on demand companies.

You could use a service such as WooCommerce (a WordPress Plug-in), but I’m not a huge fan because you have to worry about hosting.

If you are driving 10s of thousands of people to your WordPress site and your site goes down, you are on the hook for hundreds of dollars of lost profits from wasted dollars on ads and lost revenue from store browsers. Shopify has 99% up-time and has fast acting support.

Like I said above, Shopify has great customer support, secure and solid payment gateways, and all the required integrations to get your t-shirt lifestyle business going.

Selecting a Printing Partner

After signing up on Shopify, you need to connect to a print on demand company through an integration application.

For a printing partner, you need to find someone who is reliable – these printing partners are an extension of your brand. If you pick an unreliable print on demand service, you will damage your brand.

A good printing partner should also allow you to scale your business, and have superb customer service.

For example, Teelaunch is a very reputable t-shirt print on demand company for t-shirts.

If you want print on demand other products, there are a number of free print on demand Shopify apps available for integration.

Print on Demand Business Principle #4: Marketing

The number one goal of marketing is to match the product with the right customer.

If you can’t get your product in front of the right people, you can kiss your advertising money down the drain and any dream of that Ferrari good bye!

Matching the product with the right customer is marketing 101: if you have dog products, show your products to people who love dogs!

For many niche merchandise businesses, Facebook ads is a viable solution. While organic reach via fan pages are okay, targeted paid traffic is fair superior for driving traffic and getting sales.

Through paid traffic, you are able to target very specific interests and niches because Facebook has so much information on people from their liking, commenting, sharing, and other behavior.

Remember the winning sales equation: passionate people + a shareable product = big sales.

Print on Demand Business Principle #5: Operations

Shopify and the print on demand integrations you select will take care of the printing, shipping, and tracking. Traditionally, these tasks would be incredibly time intensive for a merchandise design business, but you don’t need to worry! Shopify has all of the tools to help you manage your business.

On the backend, you will still need to run reports to determine profitability, analyze the markets and current trends, and identify any new niches to get into.

However you’ll have time to do what you want with your new business. Since you are able to outsource the operations, you will have the time and ability to think big picture.

Outsourcing the operations is the beauty of the business of print on demand! It’s passive and not all that time intensive after you get your designs up!

Start Your Print on Demand Business Today

By following the 5 print on demand business principles above, you will be on your way to building a successful dropshipping empire, and profitable lifestyle business.

Creating a dropshipping business and selling niche merchandise is possible but will take work. No one is an overnight success, but in a few years, it could be possible that you have a lifestyle business bringing in a few hundred dollars a month without any effort.

The most important are mindset and marketing. Make sure you have the right mindset and set-up, and continually push to get your designs in front of the right customers. Once you match your design with the right customer, you will be successful.

What are your thoughts on dropshipping? Do you have what it takes to create a print on demand business?

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Comments 6

  1. I’ve worked for t shirt printing shop and the market is super saturated. They folded within 6 months mostly because their design was just so bad. It was badly photo-shopped YOLO stuff. I managed their store inventory thinking this will never sell…It didn’t sell but they had 5 more orders than the 0 I thought they would get. Surprised!

    My friend is a goddess at design so her shirts are selling much better.

  2. I’m definitely interested in hearing more about all your entrepreneurial ventures. This one’ll be interesting – it is a saturated market, but if you don’t try to be all things to all people there could be a profitable niche. Good luck!

  3. Had the same idea actually for a while now. But my design skills are lacking so It never really got off the ground. Outsourcing good designs are too expensive. Still interesting to see others give it a try and watch their success. Do you have your own storefront site? Do you tell your readers about it at all? Or it is still too early in the stage for that? Those are all great principles. Hope it works out well for you. Looking forward to your updates and income reports.

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