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Ever since the pandemic, remote businesses and work-from-home arrangements have become increasingly popular. The technology industry quickly adapted and began providing solutions to support this once rare, now common work model. This increasingly motivates budding entrepreneurs to start a new venture from the comfort of their home without investing in an office space. 

If you’re thinking of starting a business, there are several strategies for remote-friendly work options. One such lucrative business idea for creative individuals that needs minimal investment from your end is print on demand (POD). 

In this article, we will help you build a profitable POD business that you can run remotely. You can expect some valuable insights to get started and set yourself up for success. 

How Print-on-Demand Works

Print-on-demand is a business model for getting custom prints on white-label products from POD platforms like Printify. The unique thing about this model is that Printify not only takes care of printing your products but also shipping them to the doorstep of your customer. And this happens only after you’ve received an order for a specific item. 

So, for example, you have an Etsy print on demand store, and you sell printed t-shirts. Say a customer order for three t-shirts on your website. Once they have paid for it, Printify will print those t-shirts and ship them in 2-7 business days. 

What this means for you is that with the POD business model, you don’t need to make an upfront investment to buy products in bulk and sell them. Additionally, you don’t even need a physical storage space to hold the inventory. Last but not least, you don’t even have to worry about managing an inventory or leaving your house to ship the items, making it absolutely remote-friendly. 

Now that you understand how a print-on-demand business works let’s understand the process of starting one and running it successfully. 

Pick a Niche for Your Business

If you want to launch a POD business that thrives in the future, select a low-competition, high-profit niche. A niche strategy allows you to target a very specific group of individuals who are actually inclined to make a purchase compared to when you target everyone and anyone. This will make it simpler to promote your offerings in the marketing stage while also setting you out from the competition.

If you’re having trouble deciding on which market and who to target, think about what interests you the most. You could be into fitness, music, hip-hop, etc. You can also look into top-selling products with a quick search on Google and see if any of those interest you. 

Once you have figured out your business niche and narrowed down your target audience, you’ll need to determine what to sell. For example, if your niche is fitness, some good product fits can be:

  • Yoga mat
  • T-shirts
  • Leggings
  • Socks

Don’t forget about your target market while deciding what to sell. If you don’t keep your ideal customer in mind, what they like and don’t like, your products will be just lost in the marketplace. Therefore, choosing items that are relevant to your target market is essential.

Set Up Your Business Website

One of the best parts about the POD business is that it will be online! It can be managed from anywhere you are, making it great for remote work. Setting up your storefront with a print-on-demand business model can be easier when you choose platforms with easy integrations with popular POD suppliers. Some of them are:  

  • Shopify
  • Squarespace
  • WooCommerce
  • BigCommerce
  • PrestaShop
  • WIX

While the specifics of building your website may vary depending on the platform you select. Typically, you’ll have access to both blank and editable templates, and these platforms will allow you to customize the appearance of your store, features to offer your customers, run special sales/promotions, and more. Make sure to create all the pages that will be necessary in your store. Usually, merchants have the following on their online store:

  • Homepage
  • About page
  • Products pages
  • A page for shipping details
  • A Page for payment details
  • Contact page, and more

It goes without saying that selecting the optimal sales channel will be crucial to your business’s success. This process can be a bit complex and time-consuming. You can do it on your own or hire an expert website developer. Each medium has advantages and disadvantages of its own. Consider your requirements and the resources available before making a final choice. 

If you believe launching a fresh new website from scratch would take too much time, money, and effort, you can even go for easy-to-set-up marketplaces. For example, you can always come up with some great Etsy shop ideas and set up a store. It’s just like having a store in the mall, as there is always a great deal of buyer traffic. However, you will have far less say over the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX), branding, and content that goes up. They also have a strict code of conduct and fierce competition.

Pick Your Designs

It cannot be overstated when we say this- the designs are the most important to the success of your products in a print-on-demand store. While creating designs, it will be important to think about who you’re creating them for. The target market should be attracted to the designs of your items. To come up with an original offering that would interest your target audience, it is recommended that you explore competitors’ products that are selling well. 

Over 850 print-on-demand items are available in the Printify Catalog, and you may readily customize them. You don’t need expert design skills to make a bestseller. Simply use its Mockup Generator to quickly and easily build mockups with your designs at home. You can add a picture from Shutterstock or maybe a witty one-liner. Sometimes even a logo does the job! 

Create a Marketing and Business Plan

Since your business is online, you’ll need to create a digital marketing plan to attract customers and traffic to your website. When creating a marketing strategy, you’ll first need a business plan, where you will need to:

  • State the goals for your business
  • Carry out market research and define:
    • Target audience
    • Competitors 
  • Figure out your unique selling point
  • Lay out your financial goals with budgets
  • Define marketing channels

Once you’ve created a business plan, you’ll get more clarity on how to create your marketing strategy. In a marketing strategy, you will have to detail the following:

  • Your objectives ( ideally contributing to business goals)
  • A customer journey map – steps from finding your store/product to final payment.
  • Determine how to market them at each stage in the customer journey.
  • Define your channels of marketing based on your goals and budget.
  • Establish objectives for each channel and set up a system to track your success using predetermined KPIs.
  • Establish and adhere to a schedule for putting the initiatives into action. 
  • Keep tabs on your development, identify areas of improvement, and make adjustments accordingly. 

Make Sure Everything is Remote-Convenient

Since you’ll be running a print-on-demand company remotely, you need to ensure that all aspects of your business can be handled with little to no effort. To do that, it’s important to choose reliable print-on-demand partners, as they will be your manufacturers and suppliers. You want to choose a partner that has the following:

  • Enough range
  • Great quality
  • Easy integration with your store
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Don’t need huge quantities to place an order
  • Provides 24*7 support over digital channels of communication

Additionally, to streamline the operations of your business further, it would be a good idea to invest in automation technology that could automate various parts of the business, such as: 

  • Order Processing and fulfillment
  • Data collection and analytics
  • Marketing
  • Invoicing
  • Accounting

Do Competitors Analysis and Compare With Your Tactics and Metrics

Competitive analysis is a technique for evaluating your business in relation to its competitors in the market. It’s a strategy for gathering information about your competitors and putting it to good use. 

Your ability to surpass the competition and win over new, loyal customers will improve after doing a comprehensive competitive study. You should have done some research on the competition when you draft a business plan, but it’s also a good idea to keep an eye on them as you go.

Regularly comparing your own plans, goals, methods, and metrics to other businesses in your niche is an effective way to remain one step ahead of the pack. Keep an eye on their:

  • Inventory 
  • Pricing
  • Marketing
  • Interaction with customers

Keep abreast of developments in your field, and adjust your marketing approach appropriately to stay ahead of the competition.

Final thoughts

There you have it! A complete guide to building a remote, profitable print-on-demand business. It may seem simple on paper, but remember that every business endeavor (even if it’s remote) requires time, attention, and constant work. If you’re using a POD business model, you’re saving yourself a ton of time as you don’t need to pay attention to manufacturing and shipping. Put that into other things, say, developing more designs or honing your marketing strategy.

Continue your dedication to producing excellent products, providing exceptional service, and building a solid reputation for your company. The print-on-demand industry is fast-paced and competitive, but with determination, originality, and a remote-friendly approach, you may surely find success.