In 2014, I was making $85,000 a year as a full-time web developer. While I was earning enough to cover my living expenses, I felt like I was devoting too much time to my job.
I knew there were opportunities to generate passive income in e-commerce. So in 2016, after experimenting with dropshipping (a business model where sellers don’t need to keep products in stock), I came across a Reddit post that inspired me to start a business. print on demand.
Print on Demand allows me to sell T-shirts while outsourcing the printing, packaging, and shipping to a third-party vendor. In 2020, I made enough money to quit my job and focus on my full-time side hustle.
Today, at age 33, I earn an average of $14,600 per month in passive income from my print-on-demand business. The best part is that I only work on it for an hour a day.
How I started with no design experience
My first T-shirt design was a poorly drawn Loch Ness monster. I started using Adobe Photoshop, but found it too difficult to navigate without any formal training.
Now I use All Sunsets, Creative Fabrica and Vexels to create my designs. These sites are great for print-on-demand sellers who don’t have a lot of graphic design experience, because you can download artwork for commercial use instead of creating it yourself.
Membership prices for All Sunsets start at $59 per year, Creative Fabrica at $4 per month, and Vexels at $22 per month.
When I create designs, I search for the most popular keywords among customers using DS Amazon Quick View and PrettyMerch Chrome extensions. Sometimes I make shirts inspired by pop culture moments and upcoming events.
How I Earn Passive Income Through Print On Demand
About 50% of my liabilities revenue comes from Amazon Merch on Demand, where I sell most of the items. I like this platform because you don’t have to pay for inventory upfront.
The process is simple:
- Create a t-shirt design and save it as a PNG file (a high-quality graphics file format).
- Upload your artwork to Amazon Merch on Demand.
- Choose the product type and add a description.
- Amazon then creates a 3D rendering of what the shirt would look like in real life.
- Amazon creates a product listing on Amazon.com, making the design available for purchase.
- Every time a customer makes a purchase, Amazon handles production, shipping, and customer service.
Amazon Merch sellers receive a royalty of between 13% and 37%, depending on the type of product and the selling price. Amazon has pre-determined listing prices that sellers can choose from.
My top selling product is a standard T-shirt. I charge $19.99 per shirt and get a 26% royalty per sale, which equals $5.23 in profit. Amazon keeps the rest.
In addition to t-shirts, I sell my designs on hoodies, sweatshirts, mugs, hats, and other accessories like stickers and phone cases. I always list my products to make at least a $5 profit per sale, but I sell larger items like sweatshirts with a $10 profit.
Another platform I use is Printful, which is similar to Amazon Merch on Demand and is an inexpensive way to introduce my products to more people. He prints, packs and ships the designs I list on eBay and Etsy. It costs $0 to list a design on eBay and $0.20 to list a design on Etsy.
A little creativity and a lot of dynamism will take you far
During the hours that I work, I mostly create new designs, list products, and learn tools that will help me further automate my business.
I also started a YouTube channel and created online courses to share my knowledge. I want people to know that they don’t need a degree in graphic design to be successful in the print-on-demand business. They just need a little creativity and a lot of drive.
ryan hogue is a former web developer and adjunct professor who quit his two jobs to run his e-commerce business. His Youtube channel teaches people how to earn passive income using the “Ryan Method”.