With today’s economy affecting majority of the 99%, it’s imperative for everyone to explore new sources of income beyond the job in hand. There is an entrepreneurial spirit in each one of us but it’s the timing, risk factors and financial backup that make all the difference. Sometimes it’s the lack of initiative that avoids us to take that extra step towards success.
There are many ways to earn a side income. Some ways are lowly and some are just schemes and illegal. There are very few ways to earn side income that are respectable and help you earn more over time. Here’s a great link (though dated) from CNN – Ten creative ways to earn extra money
This article focuses on how you can start a legitimate side business based on selling print products online on your own website of your domain.
Print is everywhere! We touch print items literally every other minute and don’t realize how big the industry is. From personalized coffee mugs to t-shirts to office stationary to beer labels to greeting cards to photo frames of our favorite superstars or team. Imagine owning a business of selling all these products on your own website.
Like any other business, a successful online business also requires planning and effort. Word of caution is that the print business arena is very competitive and margins can be dangerously low.
Selecting the right platform
Although selling print items online is a clever way to earn money, the process has to be very systematic. The process involves seamless communication with clients and vendors and a need to be available for them 24×7. The platform should be a complete system where customers can find the products that you offer, design them and then complete the transaction online. Also, the platform must have a complete order management and fulfillment process in a way that orders get forwarded to your suppliers automatically and they ship to customers in your name.
Most platforms offers different pricing tiers. You can always start with the most basic one which is usually under $100/month and scale as your business grows.
Create your website
Choose a catchy domain name and create a logo for the same. Most of the web-to-print platforms offer ready-made ecommerce themes that you can choose from. Apply for your vendor’s license and complete all the legal and financial formalities required to embark on your online web-to-print business.
Select the right products and pricing
Research through business magazines and websites for companies offering print products through direct resellers or franchises. Evaluate and study their product lines and benchmark companies that offer the widest range of products and a low cost. You can contact big print houses and inquire if they are willing to become your vendor and check what pricing they offer. You can set your own pricing in comparison to what is being offered in the market.
Select the right distributor / supplier
You can find a reliable distributor (local or across states) where the order can be placed and who can give a good customer service. It is highly unlikely that one printer prints all products. Most printers specialize in product segments like office stationary or apparels or promotional goods. If your products are diverse, then you may need to partner with multiple distributors for each product segment.
Ensure that the distributor has a printer of a good quality. Also see that they offer dropshipping services so that you can order any quantity at wholesale prices. After all, there are going to be repeat customers and repeat orders.
Spreading awareness and Marketing
Business starts with networking and networking can start with family. Everyone has some printing needs sooner or later. You can spread the word in your family and friends circle that you can cater to all their printing needs. You can also call schools, restaurants, banks, corporates and hotels in your area. Speak with their marketing reps and show them your catalog during appointments. You can show them how useful your system will be for their organization.
You can place small classified ads in local newspaper. Also run online ads and make sure that ads are run consistently. You can also place ads through your sales company or wholesaler. With time, you can invest a little with online SEO and gain leads via organic search.
Turning brands into profits
Tap into the passion people have for certain brands. Go online to the website selling some of the most popular brands and see if they offer promotional merchandise featuring their brand. Try to follow the same practice.
Soak yourself on the local pride
If you are in local business and have great products and loyal customers, you can probably make a profit by selling local merchandise with your brand. As a local business, branded merchandise with your logo can appeal to your customers to connect them with their neighborhood or community.
Now that you are familiar with one of the ways of starting your own online business and earn a side income, it rests upon you to take that next step. We, at Pixopa, will be thrilled to help you realize your printing business vision and dream.
Motivational Quotes –
“The successful man is the one who had the chance and took it.” – Roger Babson
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky
“All glory comes from daring to begin.” – Eugene F. Ware