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Print-on-demand Tutorial – 7 Step To Start T-Shirt Business for Beginners

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Last Updated on 2 years by Go Review Rite

Print-on-demand has been one of the most profitable businesses that you can set up from any location you find yourself.

A lot of people who intend to start up a print-on-demand business were unable to proceed because they lack knowledge of the processes and the procedure that other successful entrepreneurs who are already in the business have been following.

Moreover, we will teach you to teach you all the basics of print-on-demand business, its concept, profit margin, and every other necessary step that you should follow as a beginner.

Table Of Contents

What is Print-on-Demand?


Print-on-demand is the type of business where the owner (the one who operates the print-on-demand business) works with an individual or company to customize his products,

 then he will advertise those designed products and lastly, he will sell those products on a pre-order basis.

Hereunder, the person managing the print-on-demand business has the right to brand the business and create his designs.

One of the advantages of a print-on-demand business is that people that manage this business don’t need to pay for the coat of the product until the client demands it.

Also, almost everything in this business is handled by the seller (POD company); including digital printing to fulfilment and shipping. 

All you need to do is to supervise it as the business owner.

Moreover, you may need to order a sample of your design to ensure that what you are selling to your clients is exactly what you have designed.

The Core Concept of POD

The Core Concept of print-on-demand business is quite simple – today print-on-demand business is very common among booksellers and publishers.

Besides booksellers and publishers, print-on-demand business is also used in other products such as t-shirts, hoodies, coffee mugs, and so on.

The Core Concept of print-on-demand business works on a simple defining principle which ranges from printing to order after the product has been ordered.

In this scenario, consumers will place an order on their favourite products which these products will be printed when they had placed an order.

Hereunder, the publisher (the owner of the print-on-demand business) uploads the cover template of their product or probably the book layout that they wish to sell to their clients.

The Profit Margin & Money Inflow

In as much as this print-on-demand business is quite simple, there is a good profit margin if you as the owner can advertise your products and reach lots of potential customers.

As regards the inflow of money, if you were able to get clients with diverse unique designs, you will experience much money inflow.

Also, you should know that print-on-demand business is verse and not limited to booksellers and publishers only.

You can start your print-on-demand business in the area of t-shirts, hoodies, and coffee mug designs and still advertise your designs for clients to patronize you.

Moreover, since this is a new business that you intend to start, you will need to have little money in advance to be able to pay for the cost of printing and shipping the clothes, book covers, hoodies, etc.

 before you can be able to start making much money from this business.

In short, you will need to have startup capital before venturing into this fantastic business.

Step #1: Choose Profitable Print-On-Demand Niches

Use Google Trend

Use Google Trend

Google trend is an amazing platform that one can use to find out what is currently trending in the world. 

In this case, since you intend to start a print-on-demand business, you can utilize Google Trends and make designs based on what people are celebrating, 

or things that are popular that people will be interested to wear customized t-shirts based on the current trend.

For instance, during the world cup, a lot of football fans will be demanding customized world cup t-shirts.

Google News Trends 

Google News Trends 

Google news trend is another fantastic platform that displays all the current news from different nations of the world.

Through this platform, you can customize t-shirts based on the latest news and market them for maximum profit.

Pinterest Trends

Pinterest Trends

Are you a fan of fashion or do you love exploring the fashion world, you can make use of Pinterest trends to design futuristic designs that people cannot wait to order for the products when you have finished designs?

Currently, Pinterest is one of the world’s best platforms that has almost all the fashions that ever existed on planet earth. 

All the celebrities’ fashions can be found on this platform. 

While venturing into print-on-demand business in the area of fashion, this is quite a recommended platform for finding out what is selling in the market.

Esty Competition

Esty Competition

Etsy is one of the platforms that you can use when designing and marketing your print-on-demand business. 

You can search for your competitors in your niche and find out what they are currently selling.

This will be a great way to find products and designs that can make you much profit, especially during festivals, seasons, events, etc.

Step #2: Choose Products that Earn the MOST MONEY with Print-On-Demand

To make money while designing and promoting your custom designs, 

One of the secrets of heading towards succeeding in this POD business is choosing products that people require – that is products that have high search volume.

When you choose products that have low search volume, you will find it very difficult to make sales regardless of the kind of design you insert on that cloth.

Unisex Hoodies

You can search for hoodies that both males and females can like to wear and make an amazing design with them.

Product-templates for male and female on Printful

Since hoodies are a cloth that serves as a sweatshirt,

 You should do proper research and know the kind of designs that will attract potential buyers when you complete the design and publish it for viewers to make their choices.


Searching for trending stickers is another way you can use to get the attention of people – even those that did not budget to purchase t-shirts.

Most of us once in a while have purchased what we didn’t plan to buy because the design or probably the product caught our attention.

In the same way, some people can add your fantastic t-shirt to the cart even when they did not plan to purchase t-shirts.

This is why you should utilize stickers that are trending and design t-shirts with them.


mug designs Product-templates on Printful

You can design an amazing logo or text with the mug. 

For instance, you can design or compose a write-up that consists of a large cup – probably for hot liquids and make it very attractive that people may love it, especially during the winter seasons.

You can take your time and search for mug designs or you can think of amazing mug designs that will sell when you implement them in t-shirts.

Unisex T-Shirt 

Ensure that your designs are unisex. This will help your products to sell faster.

Unisex Sweatshirt

A sweatshirt is another product that you should consider when choosing the products you should implement your design in the print-on-demand business.

Step #3: Create Your POD Designs

That you are not a graphics designer does not mean that you cannot venture into a print-on-demand business. 

There are quite a lot of software or online tools like and Canva tools that you can use to combine different designs even if you don’t have much knowledge of graphics designing.

In this case, we will show you some platforms that you can use when making your t-shirt designs.

 On the other hand, you can effortlessly use these tools to create a T-shirt Design of your choice.

Ways to create the T-shirt Design

Create POD Design Using Canva

Create POD Design Using Canva

Canva is quite an amazing tool that one can use to create awesome designs for anything that you are doing. 

Beyond creating blog images, YouTube thumbnails, etc.

 you can use Canva to compile an amazing design of any picture, logo, event, or other thing that you intend to design.

Create POD Design Using

Mockup-Generator-Mockups-for-Free-Placeit is quite an amazing platform that has diverse graphic design tools,

 including object background removal that you can use to first design your wonderful images before pushing them to the platform, you are using for your print-on-demand business.

Step #4: Create a Printful Account

Creating a Printful account is quite easy and you can complete that within a few minutes. 

To get started, go to and proceed with your account creation.


One of the advantages of creating an account with Printful is that it allows users to import already made designs right into the platform for printing.

Also, they have numerous mock-ups that you can choose from when you have implemented your design.

Besides this, they have lots of designs in their clipboard that you can modify or combine with your favourite images when creating a new design for your product.

You can even use their pre-built bunch of designs to start up your business if you don’t have much knowledge of graphics designing or how to design compelling images that will sell on t-shirts.

Printful Vs Printify which One is Best for Beginners


Hereunder, we want to let you know that Printful and Printify are two different platforms that render similar services of POD to their users.

Moreover, if you are just starting your print-on-demand business, you may find it difficult to choose between these two platforms; 

since both render the same services to their customers.

On the other hand, from detailed research that we carried out, we realized from customers’ reviews that the production cost of Printify is cheaper than Printful. 

Also, there is not much difference in shipping rates between Printful and Printify for people that reside in the United States.

Furthermore, some users documented that Printful has better shipping rates than Printify as regards shipping products to different countries – besides the United States.

So you can decide for yourself which platform you want to use, but in the tutorial we use Printful 

Step #5: List Your T-shirt Design to the POD Listing Site

One of the ways you can use to advertise your already made designs is to list them on diverse print-on-demand listing websites.

While designing t-shirts, we recommend that you create up to 20  different designs so that you can make sales even when there is a current trend or not.

Shopify vs ETSY Which Listing is Better for Beginners?

In as much as these two platforms offer similar services, there are yet some uniqueness and differences between the two.

Although Etsy, their listing prices are quite inexpensive, they have other additional fees that make the site expensive when performing transactions on the platform.

Also, according to users, when you have lots of products and sales on Etsy, 

users may end up spending more on their Etsy page when compared to the monthly subscription fees for a Shopify store;

 if they decide to use Shopify for their print-on-demand business.

In general, Shopify is quite recommended for beginners because they offer lower rates and also they have 0% transaction fees – when users decide to use its in-house payment gateway for their transactions.


Furthermore, Shopify has higher upfront costs, but when compared to Etsy,

 Etsy has more expensive fees and the fees will likely increase when you keep using the platform for your business.

Overall, we are going to use Esty in this tutorial. 

Step #6: Connect Printful With Esty to Publish Your Design

To have more sales after making your fantastic designs, we recommend that you connect your design to different platforms.

 For instance, you can connect your Printful account with Etsy and publish a product that you are already selling in Printful to Etsy.

Esty Store-Integrations with Printful and publish

Through this, you will be able to minimize the time it will take you to make custom designs on each platform.

 Also, you will be able to have many people viewing your products from different platforms.

Write your Products Description and Pricing

You should be aware that every platform you will be using to market your products has thousands of products from other people. 

In this case, you need to create a well-detailed description for every product that you will be publishing. 

Your product description has so much effect on how your product will appear on search pages and also what will trigger people to order your designs.

We recommend that you search the web to create a unique description that describes what your product can be used for, 

what people will benefit from your products, etc.

Do Keyword Research for Your T-shirt & Rank it

If you are not new to the internet, you should know that there is something called “keyword.” 

Do Keyword Research for Your T-shirt & Rank it

Keyword simply means what people normally type in the search bar when they are looking for something on the internet.

Since you are into T-shirt designs, you should look for keywords that people that are interested in buying t-shirts online are searching for.

Also, consider the search volume for any keyword you intend to make a design for.

 The higher the search volume, the higher the number of order you will receive if you properly rank your keyword.

Ranking your keywords is quite easy if you know the proper things to do.

 For instance, users can make use of hashtags to implement keywords in their product descriptions.

Step #7: Quick and Easy to Market Print-on-Demand to Get the First Sale

Below are some of the recommended ways to market or promote your print-on-demand product to get more sales:

TikTok Free Content & Paid Ads

tiktok  for print on demand

TikTok is one of the platforms that you can use to promote your products after designing them on your favourite platform.

 If you are just starting, you can sue TikTok for free content publishing to advertise your products to your viewers.

Create your Vlog

If you are good at video content creation, you can start your vlog and popularize your products while entertaining or sharing useful information on your channel. 

On the other hand, you can hire someone to create videos for you.

Social Media Influencer

Social media is one of the platforms where you can easily grow an audience regardless of the type of information you are sharing. 

You can become a social media influencer and use the opportunity to promote your designed products.

Pinterest Pin

Pinterest being one of the most popular social media platforms that majorly concentrate on fashion is quite another way to market your print-on-demand designed products. 

In this case, all you need is to get quality images of your product mock-ups and create fantastic and unique posts on your Pinterest account. 

By default, thousands, even millions of people will come across your post. This is quite a good marketing platform you can use for free.

Instagram Post

You can create Instagrams posts just to promote your print-on-demand customized products. If possible, you can go for Instagram ads.

CPC Paid Ads

There are quite a good number of platforms that you can use to promote your designed products on CPC (Cost Per Click) paid advertisement. 

In this case, you will be charged when people click on your advert.

Last Tips: – Order a Quality Sample Test 

Order a Quality Sample Test 

When you have finished designing your products, we recommend that you order at least one of your products. 

This will help you see the quality of what you are selling to people.

Also, you can use it to promote your products instead of using mock-ups. For instance, you can use your custom t-shirt to make a video. 


We detailed all the necessary steps that you should follow when starting a print-on-demand business even when you don’t have any knowledge about this business.

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