Today’s guest blogger is Kayleigh Alexandra, a writer for Micro Startups, a blog that’s all about getting your business further. Whether you’re a business newbie or an enterprise veteran, Micro Startups can help you out. For all the latest, find us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.

If you’re looking for both a profitable job and an outlet for your creativity, setting up your own print on demand business could satisfy both of these desires. Where traditional methods of merchandising involve printing and storing hundreds of units, print on demand involves printing merchandise as and when an order is placed. Order are sent to a printing facility to be produced, packed and shipped straight to the customer. All you’re responsible for is creating and uploading your designs and marketing your products.

To get started all you need is an internet connection, a computer and a few good design concepts. To get you well on your way to print on demand success, here are five ideas to start thinking about.

Set up a t-shirt store

The market for custom t-shirt printing is huge, and is expected to cross $10 billion by 2025. T-shirts are popular all over the world, worn by both men and women, and are replaced on a regular basis, making for a massive global market.

However, competition is stiff and the market is oversaturated, so you’ll need to work hard to find a good niche to exploit — but it is possible! Entrepreneur Glynn Williams made $2 million dollars in 10 months thanks to some unique designs and some clever targeted advertising on Facebook.

Getting started with a t-shirt store is simple:

  • Choose an ecommerce platform. There are dozens of options available, including Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce and Teespring.
  • Choose a printer/dropshipper. Look for a company with high quality merchandise, well-priced shipping and great customer service.
  • Create your designs. Mock up your designs ready to go online. There are plenty of templates available online to make your shirts look stylish and professional.

Print your own wallpaper designs

Interior design trends come and go and it seems that, after many years of being associated with the sort of old-fashioned floral prints you’d find in a particularly dated hotel, wallpaper is on its way back into fashion.

Advanced digital printing technology lets you create beautiful wallpaper quickly and cost-effectively. For interior decor fans searching for that perfect wallpaper at a low price, it’s ideal.

You might be a designer yourself, with a range of patterns and prints already up your sleeve. But don’t worry if not! Many print on demand wallpaper stores, such as Feathr, commission other artists to create designs for them. This gives the artist a platform to show off their work, and provides you with a stunning wallpaper design at the same time.

Create personalized greeting cards

If you already love creating your own greetings cards for friends and family, starting up a print on demand card company could be the next logical step. The Greeting Card Association has reported that seven billion greeting cards are sold in the U.S every year, and annual retail sales are estimated to be over $7.5 million.

As with t-shirt printing, all you need to get going is a computer, an internet connection and some strong ideas. And as with the wallpaper business idea above, you could even outsource your designs elsewhere.

When your designs are ready, simply source a printer to have them produced and sent straight to your customers. Or if you have the money, why not invest in a high-quality printer of your own and run the entire business from your own home? The convenience of purchasing, writing and posting a card online is valuable to customers, and a business idea well worth investing in.

Business cards and other business branding

We might be living in a digital age, but some things will always remain analogue, including business cards. Around 27 million of them are printed every day and they are crucial for business: research has found that a company’s sales increase 2.5% for every 2,000 business cards handed out!

A well-designed business card is an excellent ice-breaker and will make a favorable impression on potential contacts. While it’s a competitive market, if you have the creativity to come up with some quirky and fun ideas, you could create a successful business.

Alongside business cards, you could also diversify your product range by offering other printed stationery such as headed paper, leaflets, flyers and brochures. Plus, cards and stationery will always be in demand, meaning you’re virtually guaranteed to create a steady revenue stream.

Start your own publishing company

Print on demand publishing is a great way for budding authors without an agent or the backing of a big publishing house break into the literary world. There are plenty of writers who want to see their book in print and are willing to pay for the privilege.

To get started you need to make sure your files are prepared and formatted for production. This means making sure the front and back cover, the spine and the book’s contents are all laid out perfectly for the reader.

These digital files are then sent to the print on demand publisher you’ve chosen, and the book is listed on a range of online marketplaces and bookstore websites. When a customer orders a copy, the book publisher prints, binds, and ships the book.

So far, so easy. But the difficulty of starting your own publishing business is finding books to publish. If you aren’t going to sit down and write the next great American novel yourself, it can be tricky to convince potential authors to take a punt on your fledgling business.

It’s worth looking at print on demand sites for sale: having someone else do the hard work for you means you can jump straight in and start earning immediately, tweaking the brand and store as you grow.

Owning a print on demand business means you get to be your own boss, set your own hours, and turn your creative passion into a career. There’s little in the way of startup costs, and in most cases all you need is a decent internet connection and a laptop. Starting a print on demand business requires hard work, with a focus on your marketing and customer service. But work hard, and you could have a flourishing business that satisfies your artistic side while bringing in a solid income.