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Make Passive Income Selling Shirts – Start for FREE with Print on Demand

How to make passive income selling shirts in just 3 steps

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. If you sign up for a service or make a purchase through an affiliate link, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you, which helps me create more content.

It takes money to make money, right? Not anymore!

Much of my income comes from several Etsy clothing stores that I run with ZERO equipment and ZERO inventory!

How is this possible?

TL;DR

Sell products through an Etsy shop and use Printful to automatically print & ship the product to your customer.

You can use a free design program like Canva to create designs. Or, check out Creative Market for pre-made illustrations and other design elements, or hire a professional designer on Fiverr.

I use print-on-demand services that manufacture my products only after a customer places an order. I then pay the printer with the money my customer paid and keep the difference as profit.

Normally there is a minimal cost to starting a print-on-demand Etsy store, but if you sign up through my affiliate link you’ll get to list your first 40 products for free!

Whether you’re an artist looking to make a living, a mom wanting to run a business from home, or a college student wanting some spending cash, starting a print-on-demand clothing business is a quick way to make money online. With enough hard work, you can even turn this side hustle into a full-time income!

Step 1: Open an Etsy Shop

While there are several ways to create an e-commerce website to sell your products, I recommend Etsy to start with because it comes with a built-in customer base, rather than having to spend money on advertising to get traffic to a stand-alone website like Shopify. Etsy is also one of the cheapest, costing only 20 cents per listing. Start with 40 FREE listings when you sign-up using this referral link.

Get 40 FREE Etsy Listings

Step 2: Sync with a POD Company

Once you’ve set up your Etsy shop, you’ll need a print on demand service to make the products and ship them to your customers. I recommend using Printful and/or Printify is because your Etsy orders automatically sync, i.e. when a customer orders in Etsy, the manufacturer prints the products, ships it to your customer, and updates the order status and tracking number in Etsy! See my reviews of the best print on demand services for Etsy for more information.

Printful will even include your brand name and logo on the receipt, so it looks like it came directly from you. Check out Printful’s step-by-step tutorials for syncing your Etsy shop to Printful.

Sign-Up with Printful

Step 3: Create Products

Printful WYSIWYG text and clip art editor with a shirt that says "Look ma, no Photoshop!"
No design skills necessary!

When creating products on Printful you can either use their built-in text and clipart editors or upload your own images. Each product page also has a template for you to use in image creators like Photoshop or Canva.

Buying pre-made designs or elements from marketplaces like Creative Market is a great way to make lots of quality designs quickly, especially if your not an artist or graphic designer. Creative Market even gives away six free products week – download them now!

If you don’t want to spend time creating the designs yourself, consider hiring a designer on a freelance marketplace like Fiverr, where you can get designs for as low as – you guessed it – $5.

Watch my video tutorials to learn 1) how to sync Printful with your Etsy shop and 2) how to add Printful products to your Etsy shop.

Step 4: Make Passive Income

After you publish products to your Etsy shop, there is very little work on your end, other than the occasional customer question. When a customer orders one of your products, Printful will automatically print and ship the order.

Etsy subtracts their fees from the money paid by the customer, and your balance is deposited into your bank account (the default is weekly, but you can change it to daily). Printful charges you upfront for the product they print, but you can set this to be charged to a credit card, so you don’t have to pay it until after you’ve received your income from Etsy. I recommend getting a business credit card with rewards, so you can earn money back or other rewards for all your business expenses (also helps keep your accounting clear, by separating business and personal).

For more information on starting a successful print-on-demand t-shirt business, check out my Printful + Etsy video playlist.

How to make money selling t-shirts in just 3 steps by The POD Files dot com
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