As a Print on Demand (POD) entrepreneur since 2021, I have gained some experience and I can authoritatively affirm that this is a highly lucrative source of passive income, especially for students and young people. I’m going to explore how you can make money online with Print on Demand in Nigeria by leveraging this business model.
If you’re seeking a rewarding online business that requires minimal investment and offers endless potential, Print on Demand is an excellent option to consider. We’ll cover everything from understanding the concept of Print on Demand to practical steps for setting up your own successful POD business.
- My Print-on-Demand Journey
- So, what is Print on Demand?
- Types of Print-on-Demand Business Models
- Why Print-on-Demand Works in Nigeria
- Steps to Start Print on Demand in Nigeria
- Identifying Profitable Niches
- Designing Your Products
- Design Tools for Print on Demand in Nigeria
- Setting Up Your Online Store
- Marketing Your Print-on-Demand Business
- Fulfillment and Customer Service
- Scaling Your Business
- Copyright Issues
- How to receive your Print-On-Demand payouts in Nigeria
- Does Print on Demand work in Nigeria?
My Print-on-Demand Journey
I’ve always desired to have multiple streams of income because I believe that it is your best shot at financial freedom, especially as a Nigerian. The state of the Nigerian economy is not encouraging at all. If you live in Nigeria, you’ll relate to what I’m saying. So you have to grab any opportunity that you came across to earn in dollars, and I found it online.
Since I was good at writing, I decided to start a blog. So after watching some tutorials, I began blogging on my website Build My PC in 2018, but I wanted more. In 2021 I discovered Redbubble, a print-on-demand marketplace where I could sell my designs and make passive income.
I was thrilled with the idea because it aligned with my dream of having consistent streams of passive income. After all, I have a background in Graphic Design, and with my skills, I should have a successful journey in print-on-demand.
So I got to work. I worked tirelessly and today, in spite of all the challenges such as poor power supply, a cranky laptop with which I did the work most of the time, and also pressures from family life, today I have over 2000 listings on Redbubble!
Here’s a screenshot of my store on there:
By the way you can visit my shop on Redbubble here. I can say that I’ve had some success on Redbubble because the competition is quite high. Also, I entered the game when the awareness of Redbubble was at an all-time high, with YouTubers giving the marketplace much publicity and coverage.
I’ve also been able to make some money on Redbubble, though not much, but it’s something. There are sellers on the platform who haven’t made as much as I have, yet there are others who make thousands of dollars each month too!
Here are screenshots of my earnings from my Redbubble shop:
I also venture to set up shop on Teepublic, another print-on-demand marketplace. I managed to upload almost 2000 designs to Teepublic and also made some money too. Unfortunately, my shop was suspended and deleted in March 2023.
Here’s a screenshot of my sales emails from Teepublic and payouts:
I have shops on Zazzle and Spreadshirt and other print-on-demand platforms, but I’ve not had much success on these other places as I’ve had on Redbubble and Teepublic.
Recently, Redbubble has had some crises such as their recent imposition of fees on sellers on the platform, but mine has not been affected adversely. I still intend to run the shop for the foreseeable future.
If I could do it, then you can, and you should!
So, what is Print on Demand?
Print on Demand is an e-commerce business model that allows individuals to create and sell their designs on products such as T-Shirts, mugs, hoodies, household accessories, and just about anything, without having to manage stock and other things like advertising and order fulfillment.
Unlike traditional retail, where you must purchase stock upfront, with POD, products are only printed and shipped to customers once an order is placed. This “on-demand” nature not only eliminates the need for inventory management but also significantly reduces financial risks.
Types of Print-on-Demand Business Models
You can run a print-on-demand business by either selling on marketplaces like Redbubble, Teepublic, Zazzle, Spreadshirt, Society 6, and others. It’s usually free to start on these platforms, and you don’t need to do much except upload your designs onto their products.
If you make a sale, the platform will credit your wallet with your markup and once your money gets to a certain amount, they will send it to an account you designated in your payout settings.
The most important advantage of this model is that you can start for free, without worrying about order fulfillment and other issues associated with running such a business. The marketplace handles everything else on your behalf.
One big disadvantage of this model is this: you don’t have control over your business because the marketplace may shut down your store without notice (it happened to me lol), but this is a good way with which you can make money online with Print on Demand in Nigeria.
With the Dropshipping model, you set up your store and connect it to a fulfillment service like Printful, Printify, CustomCat, SPOD, Oberlo, and others. Whenever you make a sale, it is automatically transferred to the company which then prints and sends out the product to the customer.
You are fully responsible for running your online store, such as creating designs, paying for hosting and domain name, marketing, maintenance, and payment processing. Once you make a sale, the system keeps your markup and sends the product and fulfillment costs to the fulfillment company.
The best advantage of this model is that you have much greater control over your brand and much greater customization of your online store. The greatest disadvantage is that it costs more to run this business, though the financial rewards can be great too!
This model allows you to own a physical shop and also probably own a web store for online sales of your print-on-demand products such as mainly T-Shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, and other merchandise. You also get to buy the actual printing equipment with which you print your products.
You are totally responsible for running every aspect of your business. The greatest advantage of this business is total control and greater financial rewards. The downside to this model is the greater cost of setting up and running the business.
So, which one appeals to you? As a beginner, I would suggest that you go for the marketplace option, then later set up the Dropshipping model after some years of gaining experience.
I have a store (Evangel Merch) designed to work with the Dropshipping model. It is affiliated with Printful which is a print-on-demand fulfillment company.
Why Print-on-Demand Works in Nigeria
Nigeria, being one of Africa’s most populous countries, presents a massive and growing consumer market. With a young and digitally savvy population, e-commerce is flourishing in Nigeria. Moreover, the Print on Demand model is highly adaptable to various niches, providing entrepreneurs with ample opportunities to cater to the diverse preferences of Nigerian consumers.
It works in Nigeria also because with it you can diversify your income in dollars which is highly sought after. You get to earn in foreign currency and when you exchange to Naira, you have more money in your bank account.
Steps to Start Print on Demand in Nigeria
Here are the steps that you need to take in order to start a Print on Demand business, whether you want to start on a marketplace, run the Dropshipping model, or even print on your own products.
Identifying Profitable Niches
A niche is an area of interest. Examples include football, comedy, slang, food, etc. Finding the right niche is crucial to the success of your POD business. In Nigeria, where the market is diverse, targeting a profitable niche can make a significant difference in your business’ performance. Conduct thorough market research to identify gaps and trends in the Nigerian consumer landscape.
Consider the following tips:
Local Culture and Trends
Explore Nigeria’s rich culture and traditions to create designs that resonate with local customers. Be it traditional motifs or contemporary art inspired by Nigerian heritage; incorporating local elements into your products can boost sales.
Popular Hobbies and Interests
Take note of popular hobbies and interests among Nigerians. Whether it’s football, music, or fashion, catering to specific passions can attract a dedicated customer base.
Keep track of seasonal events and celebrations in Nigeria. Designing products that align with festivals and holidays can create a sense of urgency and increase sales during these periods.
Designing Your Products
Once you’ve identified your niche, it’s time to create compelling designs that captivate your target audience. If you’re not a designer, don’t worry! There are plenty of user-friendly design tools available online.
Consider the following design tips:
Simplicity and Clarity
Your designs should be visually appealing and easy to understand. Avoid clutter and focus on conveying your message clearly. You’ll be surprised that what actually sells is not exactly what you think would sell!
High-quality images are essential for showcasing your products. Invest in professional product photography or use mockup generators provided by POD platforms. Printful has a good mockup generator to help you with that if you plan to run the dropshipping model.
Alternatively, you can try Placeit which is one of the biggest and best mockup-generating websites on the internet. I use placeit.net to generate great-looking mockups for promoting my designs on social media.
Develop a unique brand identity that sets your store apart from the competition. Consistent branding builds trust and recognition among your customers.
Design Tools for Print on Demand in Nigeria
You can use several tools to create your designs for your print-on-demand business. Some are free, while there are paid ones as well. As a beginner, you should go for the free ones. Like me, a background in graphic design is a bonus and will help you to create good designs that sell without stress.
Actually, I have a graphic design course that I encourage you to take. This will help you to understand the rudiments of graphic design. It’s designed for beginners who want to understand how graphic design works, and it’s equally great for those who want to pursue a career in graphic design.
Some Free Design tools
- Zazzle design tool
- Adobe Express
- Infinite Painter
- GoDaddy Studio
Some Paid Design tools
- Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator
- Affinity Designer
- Xara Designer Pro+
- Affinity Photo
- PaintShop Pro
- Adobe XD
This is not an exhaustive list, you can still do your own research and find out what works for you. The beauty of it is that most of these design apps have Android versions which enable you to create designs with your smartphone. You don’t need to have a PC but it is recommended.
Setting Up Your Online Store
Now that you have your designs ready, it’s time to set up your online store. If you are going to sell your creations on marketplaces like Redbubble, now will be a good time to create an account there. Personally, I recommend Redbubble and Teepublic because they have good traffic and it’s free to start on either of them.
However, having a dedicated e-commerce store for your print-on-demand business gives you more control over your brand and customer experience. Here’s a checklist to start:
Domain and Hosting
Choose a memorable domain name that reflects your brand. Select a reliable web hosting provider that ensures your online store operates smoothly. I recommend Namecheap for domain names and Verpex for hosting.
Select an e-commerce platform that suits your needs. Shopify and WooCommerce are popular choices, though Shopify is not free – it has a monthly fee of $29. As a beginner, I don’t recommend it but if you have the money, why not.
I actually run WooCommerce on my Dropshipping POD store. WooCommerce is free but you need to have some understanding of how it works before you can set it up properly. However, you can watch videos on YouTube for help on how to set up WooCommerce properly.
Create a visually appealing and easy-to-navigate website. Ensure that your designs take center stage and that the checkout process is seamless. Don’t focus too much on aesthetics, rather lean more towards functionality. I recommend using WordPress in combination with a good theme such as Flatsome or Shopkeeper.
Ensure that you integrate a reliable payment processor to collect payments. Paystack and Rave by Flutterwave are good options to consider. With both, you can collect payments from any customer around the world.
Marketing Your Print-on-Demand Business
With your store set up and products ready to sell, it’s time to focus on marketing your POD business to drive traffic and increase sales. Here are some effective marketing strategies:
Social Media Marketing
Leverage popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to showcase your products, engage with your audience, and run targeted ads. Personally, I recommend Pinterest because it is designed to showcase images with links to your store. Pinterest has respectable traffic and a huge community of engaged users who come to the website every day looking for ideas to shop for.
To get started on Pinterest, sign up and choose a Business Account instead of a Personal Account. Set up your account and start pinning your best designs. With time, your pins will eventually attract targeted traffic to your shop.
Partner with influencers and content creators in Nigeria who align with your brand to reach a broader audience and gain credibility. What this means is that you could reach out to someone like Investor Sabinus or Mark Angel, send them one of your T-Shirts, and ask them for endorsement. This could be a post or shout-out. Though they usually charge a huge amount, you could start with social media influencers. Their charge may not be that high, and it usually pays off.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Optimize your website and product listings with relevant keywords to improve your search engine rankings and attract organic traffic. This works best if you plan on running your own print-on-demand website. If you need to understand how SEO works, it would be a great idea to watch a couple of YouTube videos to educate yourself.
Build an email list and engage your customers with personalized offers, product updates, and exclusive discounts. Email marketing is a great marketing channel with a high conversion rate, higher than all other online marketing channels. Mailerlite offers great value for beginners venturing into Email marketing for the first time. I have personally used their services and I can testify that they are good.
Fulfillment and Customer Service
As orders start rolling in, it’s crucial to ensure smooth order fulfillment and excellent customer service. Timely shipping, package tracking, and responsive support contribute to positive customer experiences, leading to repeat purchases and word-of-mouth referrals.
This aspect is for the dropshipping and the self-produced models. For the dropshipping model, you should clearly state shipping times and conditions for a refund in your refund policy. This will ensure that customer complaints are reduced to a minimum.
Scaling Your Business
As your Print on Demand business gains traction, you may consider scaling your operations. Here are some growth strategies:
Diversify Product Offerings
Expand your product catalog to cater to a broader audience and increase your revenue streams. If you are planning to start with T-Shirts alone, you may want to start selling other merchandise like mugs, pillows, shower curtains, baseball caps, and others.
Collaborate with Local Artists and Designers
Influencer marketing is a big deal in Nigeria. Partner with local talent to create unique and region-specific designs that resonate with Nigerian customers. What this means is that you can reach out to an actor and send them a T-Shirt with their face on it, asking them to endorse it. This can result in massive sales if done properly, though you may have to pay them royalties from the sales.
Explore International Markets
Consider expanding your reach to international markets to tap into a global customer base. Don’t just limit your market to Nigeria. It doesn’t hurt to see your designs on products being used by customers abroad.
This is a big issue and I want to warn you to beware of this on your print-on-demand journey. This was precisely the reason why my Teepublic store got shut down. I had uploaded a design that violated a copyright of a company, and I got this email from Teepublic in April 2023:
Though I appealed their decision, to date they neither responded nor reinstated my store.
Always do this before uploading any design to a print-on-demand marketplace: check for copyrights and trademarks on uspto.gov or trademarkia.com. This will help you to avoid uploading copyrighted designs or using tags that contain trademarked or copyrighted phrases or words in your designs.
I can’t emphasize this enough. If you do this consistently, the risk of having your store shut down is much lower, especially if you plan to sell your designs on sites like Redbubble or Teepublic.
How to receive your Print-On-Demand payouts in Nigeria
Once you start earning from your business, you will need a way to receive your money in Nigeria. First of all, you need a domiciliary account in Nigeria. This is a special account for receiving foreign currency in Nigeria.
Secondly, you will need a Payoneer account in order to receive your earnings. Payoneer is a global payment provider with which freelancers and online entrepreneurs can receive payments from companies. Once you set up these accounts, you are ready to start receiving your earnings right in Nigeria.
Does Print on Demand work in Nigeria?
Definitely! I have made money with this business model, and you also can make money online with Print on Demand in Nigeria as a student/young person, worker, or even as a stay-at-home dad or mum. It is a business model worth trying out, and I can tell you that you won’t regret it if you do it right.
Did this article provide you with answers to your questions? I’ll love to hear from you. Drop a comment below, and also share this article using the buttons to your right.
ALSO SEE THESE