Last Updated on 3 months by Go Review Rite
Let’s say you have just your phone or a laptop and you’re considering a business that you can do from home with less stress and no upfront expenses.
Well, Print on Demand (POD) is one such business you may consider!
Print on Demand (POD) is a highly lucrative business with an average monthly income of $4,639 to $9,833 per month, according to metrics site, ziprecruiter.com. Besides, being profitable, the print-on-demand business model has low startup costs, low risk, and is highly scalable.
So, you can see at a glance that the POD business is a viable business model, especially for people on a budget.
But there’s more.
The POD business has:
- no inventory management.
- a low entry barrier.
- an average profit margin of 15% to 20%, which is a very good profit margin for a low-entry barrier business!
So, this is a good business option to consider if you have a small or no startup capital.
With just your phone or laptop you can easily set up and manage this business on the go.
Table Of Contents
Is this a Business Model for Everyone?
Well, NO and YES!
YES, if you like designing. That is, you’re already a professional graphics designer
No, if you plan to outsource the designing aspect of the business.
But YES again because, luckily, there’s an Option #3 which is that:
YOU CAN NOW USE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) TO DO ALL THE HEAVY LIFTING FOR YOU IN POD BUSINESS.
Doing POD Business in 2023
In 2023, the print-on-demand (POD) business model will be much easier to implement, more interesting, and highly profitable when done with e-tools like AI.
Using AI tools, like ChatGBT and MidJourney has significantly reduced stress and monotony in this business.
Also, AI tools can accelerate your success potential, especially with things like:
- product research: finding profitable POD niche(s)
- finding top-selling products
- product design
- marketing, and
In this article, I will be showing you how to start a successful print-on-demand business using AI.
Here’s what I’ll be covering:
- Print on Demand Product Ideation process.
- Using AI (ChatGPT) to identify and recreate viable Print on Demand niches.
- Get killer graphics for your Print on Demand product using MidJourney.
- Selling your Designs with Printful.
Let’s start by covering the basics:
What is Print on Demand (POD)?
Print on demand is a business model whereby you create simple but stunning designs to be placed (i.e. printed) on items when such items are ordered.
You can print these designs on many things like t-shirts, mugs, posters, backpacks, blankets, phone cases, etc.
The list is endless.
To make life simple for you, you’d have to partner with a POD company, like Printful, which would handle most of the production, logistics, and delivery tasks giving you time to produce high-quality designs and market the business.
Although POD is a graphic or design-based business, you mustn’t be a professional graphic designer to do this business, a big thanks to AI tools like ChatGPT and MidJourney.
Use AI Tools to Become an Overnight POD Success!
In the past, you’d rely on the limits of your creativity and few premade templates to succeed in this business.
However, today, with AI, you can surpass your imagination and create killer designs in less time and energy, and with less brainpower:
- AI prompts can help you identify top-selling products, and create custom designs, quotes and text for POD products.
- Also, AI can help you generate high-quality images for your PoD Designs. Besides, AI can help you design a perfect marketing process and effectively sell your designs.
Specifically, what you want to do is use AI to recreate the same POD models used by successful stores.
This is where ChatGPT and MidJourney come in.
I’ll tell you how to use these tools in a bit but for now, let’s see some successful POD businesses to gain insight into what’s possible with AI in POD business.
Top Successful POD Businesses (Using AI)
Recently, many POD businesses or stores have introduced AI into different aspects of their business especially product strategy and design and this helps them to make a lot of money monthly.
How do I know this?
Well, I study their product designs: their products now have quotes and slogans that can easily be produced by AI, like ChatGPT.
Note, however, that AI may not be suitable for some POD products.
However, the product examples that successful POD companies work with, which I consider below are typical products you can use AI for.
CrazyDogTshirts is a highly successful Etsy e-store that sells thousands of custom T-shirts with niche quotes and designs to go with them.
CrazyDogTshirts analytics show that the store generates about $6.39m in revenue from about 244,000 sales with a minimum profit margin of about $6 and.
CrazyDogTshirts has over 1,300 different products all of which are printed on demand.
PrintandArrow is another successful print-on-demand store on Etsy that leverages AI to make a lot of money every month.
They design custom text t-shirts with different quotes very similar to that of CrazyDogTshirts.
Data from the Etsy store analytics tool, Alura show that PrintandArrow has done over 130,000 sales and almost $3m in revenue.
One of PrintandArrow’s bestselling products is their pregnancy announcement shirt which has sold over 2,000 times with about $50k in total revenue.
GhostTshirt aka Ghost Tees has done about 45,000 sales selling T-shirt designs with quotes that are very simple to do.
Many other successful stores do movie quotes, novelty designs, etc.
Note: I pulled the metrics on these successful POD stores from the Etsy metrics tool, Alura.
Replicate Success; Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Most of the designs on the successful POD stores I just highlighted are very easy to make even by a novice – someone who’s not a professional graphic designer.
Better still; with AI you can replicate the success of these successful print-on-demand stores FASTER by creating and selling similar POD designs, texts, and slogans as theirs.
How to Reproduce the Success of Successful POD Stores for Huge Profits
You can use AI to easily recreate successful stores like the ones we’ve examined even if you’re just starting out and on a tiny budget.
The good thing is that the tools to achieve this are free and easily accessible.
For this discussion, we’ll be using only two tools:
- ChatGPT, and
Print on Demand is mainly about creative ideas and design.
ChatGPT will help you with creative ideas for texts like slogans, quotes, and the types of designs to create while MidJourney will help you create stunning images for your POD products.
Let’s go over the steps to achieve this:
Step 1: Get Niche Ideas from the Current Trending Topics (Google Trends and Google News)
Google Trends and Google News are two useful tools I highly recommend using for your research.
Both tools will give you useful ideas on what’s currently or recently happening in different niches or areas of life, to aid your success in print on design business.
Using the insights from these tools, you can create POD designs specific to an available and ready market which removes guesswork and prepares you for success in the business.
Niche Ideas Research with Google Trends
To use Google Trends for your niche ideas research, do this:
- Step #1: Visit Google Trends website, https://trends.google.com/trends/
- Step #2: select the country of your choice.
In this case, I select the United States. If you want to see trends for another country, click, scroll and select your desired country.
- Step #3: Click “trending now”.
- Step #4: Click “Realtime search trends”
You’ll see a list of current trends and what people are searching or researching on Google and other platforms which you can leverage in your POD business.
These data from Google Trends will show you the profitable niches you should focus on and produce POD designs for to make profits in this business.
You can click the item listed to discover more data or sub-niche ideas you can work with, from the related queries and related news section.
For instance, when I clicked on Bitcoin, it revealed the following:
Knowing that these are the in-demand niches and sub-niches, I would then produce stellar POD designs that people are willing and ready to buy.
Niche Ideas Research with Google News
Similar to Google Trends, you can use Google News to research profitable print-on-demand niche ideas.
Here’s how to do it:
- Step #1: Visit Google News official website, https://news.google.com/
- Step #2: Research your niche idea.
#1: Type your idea in the search box. See the results with the latest news and trends. Use it to get niche ideas.
#2: Click the top menu to see the latest news containing current niche ideas you can work with.
#3: “Picks for you” menu shows the editor’s picks based on your search interests and history.
This would show you relevant and current niche ideas you can use to create successful POD designs.
#4: “Top Stories” shows top news from top news websites.
No more guessing or hallucinating about the profitable print-on-demand niche to create designs for.
Combining information, data, and ideas from Google Trends and Google News can help you to know viable and profitable print on demand niche ideas.
You can combine these ideas with AI tools, like ChatGPT, to expand or improve your niche ideas, or produce niche-relevant content and designs for your POD business.
Step #2: Use ChatGPT to Research Successful POD Niches.
Like Google Trends and Google News, ChatGPT can help you research profitable niches and recreate their successes.
Besides, you can use ChatGPT to extend your researches on Google Trends and Google News.
Also, you can use the tool to create great quotes, phrases, texts, and slogans for your niche.
Below a ChatGPT prompts you can use to research profitable POD niches
Prompt #1: give me 10 inspirational phrases that I can sell on a t-shirt/mug/bag/kettle.
Tip: you can replace “t-shirt/mug/bag/kettle” with your desired product or niche.
I recommend that you niche down.
Niching down will help you get relevant niche-related quotes and not general quotes used by everyone.
Use quotes that resonate with the audience or group of people that need your product or design.
Here’s a prompt you can use:
Prompt #2: give me 10 business quotes that I can sell to Medical students in college on a poster.
ChatGPT will give you 10 different quotes business-specific quotes that are attractive to medical school students and work well on posters.
You can replace “poster” with other items like a notebook, pen, schoolbag, or any product you want to put the design on.
If the quote ChatGPT produces does not suit your taste, you can click “regenerate”.
If the outputs are shorter, you can ask ChatGPT to make them longer and vice versa.
In this business, humour wins with specific products, especially clothing products like T-shirts, fez caps, polos, or handkerchiefs.
Here’s a simple ChatGPT prompt you can use to add humour to your request:
Prompt #3: give me 10 entrepreneur slogans that I can print on a t-shirt. Make them funny and creative.
So, besides mentioning the number of slogans you need and who it is for, and the target product, you make ChatGPT know that humour and emotion are vital in the output.
Here’s another prompt for humour:
Prompt #4: give me 10 funny slogans that I can sell as stickers. It’ll be for people who love business and entrepreneurship in their 20s, please.
To use ChatGPT effectively for Print on Demand,
- clearly specify your target audience demographics,
- what it should output for you,
- the target product the text would be on, and
- whether you need a quote, inscription, or slogan, etc.
You can tell ChatGPT to create text in a certain format like the Monopoly card, dictionary format, or any other format.
You are only limited to your ability to prompt ChatGPT to give you what you want.
However, keep your prompt simple like the ones above.
Step #3: Generate Images with MidJourney
I’ve shown you the different ways ChatGPT can help you get relevant texts for your POD products.
But that’s not all.
ChatGPT can also help you with relevant and related images if you know how to generate good GPT prompts for MidJourney.
If you don’t know, hold on; I’ll show you soon in this article.
MidJourney is a superior image generator that uses AI tools and prompts like ChatGPT to produce high-quality, high-resolution, and realistic images.
Below is MidJourney dashboard via Discord:
If you have the free version of ChatGPT you can use it by typing this prompt:
Here’s a MidJourney Prompt Formula:
(Image we’re prompting), (5 descriptive keywords), (camera type) (camera lens type), (time of day), (style of photograph), (type of film).
Please, respond with “yes” if you understand the formula.
If it replies with “yes”,
Add this follow-up prompt:
write me five midJourney prompts for cool car pictures.
Tip: replace “cool car pictures” with whatever image you’re trying to generate.
ChatGPt will now give you 5 MidJourney prompts based on the formula above.
Now, copy and paste any of the MidJourney prompts that ChatGPT generated into the MidJourney prompt input section.
Here’s another ChatGPT prompt for generating MidJourney prompt:
Here’s a MidJourney Prompt Formula:
(subject of image), in the style of (name of a cartoon), (5 adjectives), (a verb that subject is performing)
Please respond with “yes” if you understand the formula.
Like in the previous example, follow up this prompt with another prompt that describes specifically what you want to create.
For instance, you can use this prompt:
write me five midJourney prompts for cool car pictures.
This will produce a better, more detailed, and more concrete MidJourney prompt than the previous one.
Copy the MidJourney prompt ChatGPT produced to the MidJourney Discord group and interact with the MidJourney bot to create your AI images.
Alternatively, if you don’t have the pro version of MidJourney, do this:
Step #1: Log in to your MidJourney account. Create a free account at https://www.midjourney.com/.
Step #2: Click one of the general image generation folders and type in the prompts you copied from ChatGPT
For MidJourney to create an image, do this:
- Step #3: enter a slash (/)
- Step #4: click on “imagine” from the list that pops up.
- Step #5: paste the prompt you copied from ChatGPT
- Step #6: click enter
MidJourney will start creating an image based on the prompt you submitted.
N/B: Although creating a MidJourney account is free, using MidJourney to create AI images isn’t. It requires an $8 monthly fee.
Below is a Midjourney prompt in Midjourney for creating an image of Richard Brownson:
This may take some time. Patiently wait for the MidJourney engine to generate a set of 4 images.
Pick the best and most real picture from the output.
- Click the picture you like from the set of 4 images generated.
- Click the V3 button to regenerate a set of 4 ultrahigh definition (UHD) resolution images of the image you clicked.
- Choose the image you like and click U3 to generate a high-resolution single image of it.
- Copy or save the image
There you have it.
You now have a high-quality AI-generated image that you can print on your Print on Demand products like t-shirts, mugs, notebooks, etc.
Now that you’re done with the text and image creation process using AI, the next step is getting a good print-on-demand service.
I recommend Printful because it’s beginner-friendly and easy to use.
Besides, Printful has a free version which I highly recommend that you start with.
This free version has advanced features that can help you with most of your POD design tasks, especially in the early stages.
N/B: Printful only takes a cut when you make a sale.
So, it’s a really good option for beginners.
Step #4: Sell Your Designs on Printful
Printful is a good starter friendly print on demand service that helps you with everything from package fulfillment and shipping.
To sign up on Pritnful is very simple.
- Visit https://www.printful.com/ and click on the GET STARTED button.
- Follow the sign-up instructions to register and activate your account.
You can sign up with your email address, Google Apple ID, or your Facebook ID.
Printful has a free plan that comes with everything you need to start selling. You can start with that.
However, you only pay when you make a sale on the platform.
So, it’s literally zero risk for you.
However, upgrading to their pro plans would give you access to additional features.
As a starter, you don’t need most of these features because the free plan has plenty free Integrations that do many advanced tasks like:
- Global shipping
- Design making with built-in visuals and tools, and
- Product mockup creators,
- Logo maker
- White label packing slips
Painful provides users 24/7 customer support plus a resource hub for learning more about their service and print-on-demand.
Printful has 2 broad plans:
- Free plan
- Paid plans
See the features and benefits of each plan below:
Printful Free vs Paid Plans
Printful Growth Membership Plan vs Printful Enterprise Plan
Printful Growth Membership Plan and Printful Enterprise Plans are discount plans with additional features that can grow your POD store faster and make you more profits.
Printful Growth Membership plan
Printful Growth membership is a pro-level plan.
With Printful Growth membership plan, you can get product discounts of up to 30% and 7% off branding placements like labels and sleeve prints.
Printful Enterprise plan
The Printful Business plan is for large POD businesses.
It offers higher discounts and extra features like:
- custom order fulfillment
- warehousing of non-Printful merchandise
- better brand production management
- exclusive perks (i.e., Embedded Design Maker, free digitization)
- higher sample order discounts.
- access to top industry experts and top players
If you wish to scale your print-on-demand store you may consider upgrading to one of these pro plans.
Below is the pricing tier for Printful membership plans:
- Printful Growth plan, and
- Printful Business plans
However, like I mentioned earlier, if you’re just starting Printful’s free plan is more than good enough for you.
You can make a good profit from print-on-demand business using the free plan before considering upgrading to a paid plan.
Printful Product Prices and Profits
Creating Your Designs on Printful
To create and customize your designs on Printful follow these steps:
- Log in to your Printful store dashboard
- click product templates
- Search for and click the product mockup of your choice (i.e., T-shirt, mug, tumbler, bikinis, notebooks, etc.)
- Paste the slogan, idiom, or proverb you generated using ChatGPT
- Upload and position the AI image you generated with ChatGPT
- Customize the mockup with your preferred colour, size, etc.
- Save the template to use on other designs later.
So, there you have it…
As you’ve seen, AI takes the guesswork, stress and monotony out of print-on-demand business.
With tools like chat GPT and MidJourney, you can brainstorm different product ideas as well as create text and images that you can print on your products.
I recommend researching on Google Trend and Google News sites to get the latest and relevant information on viable niches as well as the products people are currently selling.
Then, use ChatGPT to improve your research and create better text and images to print on products. Implementing this strategy can greatly improve your print-on-demand store, bringing you repeated sales and profits.
To get sales faster, promote your designs on social media.
I’m an experienced media executive, complex problem solver in practice, a strategic thinker who can lead teams to deliver on corporate goals and revenue targets
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