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Is Print On Demand Still Profitable in 2020?

If you’re reading this, odds are you are interested in making money online.

Whether it’s passive income from a side hustle or by starting a brand and generating a full-time income. 

Maybe you’ve even made some money online before.

Whatever the case may be, if you came here, you probably did so because you’re interested in starting with print on demand.

Starting a business uploading and selling your own designs without ever touching them sounds like a dream, right?

Does it sound too good to be true?

Is print on demand a profitable business model in 2020?

Before we can answer that question, we need to acquaint ourselves with the two different ways of making money with print on demand. 

Two Ways To Make Money With Print On Demand

Platforms like Redbubble, Teespring, and Society6 allow anyone to create an account and upload designs to products.

make money with print on demand through redbubble

They then allow these individuals to take royalties from each sale of the specific products they uploaded. 

This way, committed people have made decent passive and even full time incomes through consistently uploading new designs to these print on demand platforms.

But that’s not the only way to make money through print on demand.

You can also sell print on demand products on your own Shopify store

Print on demand with printful integration

This is done through integrations with platforms such as Printful and unlocks a whole new level of profitability. 

Because now you aren’t limited to the merits of POD marketplaces. 

Your designs aren’t displayed next to (or buried underneath) hundreds and thousands of similar designs. 

You are in charge of marketing, and thus, scaling of your business. 

With other words, when done right, this can be incredibly profitable.

But this also means you are in charge of customer service, handling returns and of course paying for that marketing. 

And other complications became a headache to you, such as incorporating, paying taxes and worrying about trademark and copyright laws.

To sum up, there are two ways of making money with print on demand:

  • By uploading designs to print on demand marketplaces such as Redbubble, Teespring and Society6
  • By creating your own brand through Shopify with a print on demand integration such as Printful

Each of these come with their benefits and drawbacks

Uploading to POD marketplaces costs you nothing, requires no technical abilities and anyone can start doing it.

While profit margins are quite low, every penny you make is pure profit.

In order to be successful, you need to consistently upload a large amount of designs monthly. 

And you don’t get to really upload what you want to upload.

You upload what the market (the people) wants and desires. 

Starting a brand on the other hand lets you scale up as high as you want.

The more you invest, the more you get back.

As you set the price, you can get good profit margins.

You’ll be able to build a brand audience through social media, start and market to a customer email list and more. 

But it comes with startup costs, advertising costs and requires you to setup a website for it.

You also have to set up and manage social media accounts, set up email marketing campaigns, handle customer service, and so on.

Each of these come with their own scale of profitability

You can scale up your marketplace income by uploading more and more designs but at some point you will inevitably hit a plateau.

You only have so much time on your hands to upload designs, and it does get tiring.

By starting a brand, you should see consistent growth. 

Every year, your audience base will grow which will result in more sales which in turn results in more money to invest into advertising.

Starting a POD brand is definitely more profitable then uploading designs to POD marketplaces, but it’s also infinitely harder.

Is Print On Demand Still Profitable In 2020? 

Now that you know about the two (very different) ways of making money with print on demand, it’s time to look into whether or not POD is still profitable in 2020. 

If you’re asking me: yes print on demand is still profitable in 2020.

In fact, it will be profitable in 2021, 2022, 2023 and so on.

Why? Because eCommerce is growing bigger every day.

Every day, more and more people purchase online.

And that only makes sense because we spend more and more time online as well. 

Even when businesses are shutting down because of a pandemic, eCommerce is growing.

And it will continue to grow.

So how could print on demand possibly die? 

It’s true that more and more people are starting to sell online.

And that creates saturation. Especially on these POD marketplaces.

But that saturation has always been there.

It’s never been easy to have competitors.

And while more and more people are joining, more and more people are leaving as well.

What people don’t realise, is that the majority of these hundreds of new people that attempt POD every day, quit within the first week or month.

Not everyone is motivated enough to start a profitable print on demand business.

Not everyone is cut out for business.

That’s just the truth.

In fact, statistically, most people reading this probably aren’t motivated enough to make it online.

But if you are one to look at statistics and give up because they aren’t in your favor or stop chasing your dreams because someone tells you something (like print on demand) is no longer “profitable” or “dead”, than you definitely won’t ever be successful. 

So if you plan on uploading 5 designs to Redbubble and think it’s going to make you money, don’t even try it because you won’t.

But if you’re someone who is obsessed with “the grind” and wants to research the crap out of previously successful print on demand products and continue to learn as they try to upload tens of products a day, that fuck yes get started.

Print on demand WILL be profitable for you.

The same thing goes for those who want to start a Shopify store selling print on demand products.

If you’re one to set up a store selling t-shirts with a random logo on it and pretend to be the next Nike or Addidas, you have already lost.

However, if you play into a specific niche market and start selling customized yoga mats to a lively community and continue to provide content through blogging and social media within that community, you will see success eventually.

Yes print on demand is still profitable in 2020.

Now more than ever.

But you gotta be motivated.

And you can’t look at statistics or listen to other people.

Get started with print on demand.


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