There are countless reasons why so many people try their hand at the print-on-demand business model every year. For some, the idea of a side hustle that earns a few hundred extra dollars per month is hugely tempting. Others like to dream big, imagining a scenario where they can notch up sales while sipping cocktails on the beach.
In today’s Success Story, we meet someone who has achieved exactly that: Jenny and her husband have been so successful with their Etsy stores using Printify that they’ve been able to move to Greece full time! Plus, they’ve put in so much groundwork that they now manage their businesses in just 30 minutes each morning. How fantastic.
It sounds like a pretty compelling argument to start a Printify store. Let’s jump right in and find out from Jenny how she managed to achieve rapid success, and how she’s helping others to do the same.
Catching the Travel Bug and a New Arrival
Jenny was born and raised in the USA and, from an early age, wanted to be a teacher. After fulfilling her lifelong dream and teaching in a kindergarten for eight years, she began questioning her career choice, feeling less fulfilled with every passing year.
“Every summer, my husband and I would travel to Greece to see family,and both wanted to stay there longer. But we had to first figure out the financial side of the equation. The wheels kept turning in our brains; we could both get jobs in Greece or whenever possible, work online as freelancers. Then I had my daughter, Lexi, and I became even more driven to find a new career where I could stay home and watch her grow up and be around my family.”
From Almost a Costly Mistake to Print on Demand in 20 Minutes
Determined, Jenny decided to try her hand at writing children’s books. After publishing her first story on Amazon KDP, she began hunting for ways to promote her book. A thought came to her, t-shirts. She could sell t-shirts promoting her boo on Etsy. Unknown to her, this would lead her to a successful store with print on demand.
“I was browsing YouTube looking for ways to promote the book, and somehow I found videos about selling printed t-shirts. The pandemic had just started, so I was keen to set up a hobby or small business side project, and the t-shirt idea seemed perfect. Before doing any real research, I had purchased tons of printing equipment and stock on Amazon. It was a total impulse decision.”
As it turns out, the next twenty minutes of Jenny’s life were a complete rollercoaster. The would-be entrepreneur quickly found more Etsy t-shirt tutorials, but after discovering the concept of print on demand and realizing that she wouldn’t need any equipment or stock to get started, at the last minute she canceled her expensive Amazon order and hasn’t looked back since.
“I binge-watched lots of YouTube content on the subject and stayed up all night to get my first Etsy shop up and running. A year down the line, I was able to quit my teaching position and work completely online. We’re living in Greece full time now, and I couldn’t have planned things to have worked out as well as they have. It’s been amazing. The 20min it took to make and cancel that order saved my life!”
Adopting the Right Mindset
In total, Jenny has now been running her print-on-demand business for two years, and after experimenting with a six-month stay in Greece last year, she is confident that she can live abroad permanently while remaining financially stable. However, Jenny is quick to point out that although she got results in a relatively short time, getting started can be tough.
“It can certainly feel overwhelming in the beginning. I’d say that making your first five sales is the hardest part, and it’s generally smooth sailing after that. All of the little steps you have to make setting up the store can also be tough to work through. After teaching my mom, dad, and husband how to set up their own print-on-demand stores, I can see the parts of the process that cause the most headaches and force plenty of people to give up.
“I honestly think 90% of the recipe for success comes from having the right mindset. You have to push through that initial disheartening time when you’re not making any sales, plus you also have to deal with periods of self-doubt. In the beginning, I’d be asking myself, ‘why am I doing this?’ or worrying about the fact that I’m not a graphic designer. You just have to work on your mindset and tell yourself there’s no other way.”
Jenny’s Top 5 Tips to Open Your Print on Demand Store
At this point, it should be apparent that Jenny is something of a natural entrepreneur. In fact, she has the entire process of starting a print-on-demand business on lock, to the point where she’s now able to help others get started and give them the confidence to succeed.Here’s a quick guide on the five most important things to consider when getting started with Etsy and Printify, according to Jenny.
1. Choose the Right Print on Demand Provider
“I originally started my business with a different print-on-demand provider, but I can hands-down say I wish I’d have started with Printify, and I’m more than glad I made the switch. Shipping speed, pricing, and customer support are fantastic, and as it can be a headache to switch providers, I’d say it’s important to choose the right one from the beginning.”
2. Don’t Get Too Caught up With Names
“In the beginning, just concentrate on signing up for an Etsy account and linking it to your print-on-demand provider. Once everything is ready to go, think of a name for your store. Many people get caught up with this, and it can even stop them from getting started. Honestly, the store name really isn’t a big deal. No one really cares that much about it. If your products are good, people will buy them.”
3. Add a Keyword to Your Store’s Title
“Continuing with the naming of your store, I’d suggest putting some sort of SEO keyword in the title. If you’re selling print-on-demand clothing, maybe use the word ‘apparel‘, ‘t-shirts‘, or ‘designs‘ in the title. Combine that with a cutesy name, such as ‘Jenny’s Apparel‘ or ‘Jenny’s Boutique‘, and you’re ready to go. You might not get a huge boost, but that little bit of SEO can help bring people to your store.”
4. Remember That Nothing Is Permanent
“When you’re first getting started, it’s important to concentrate on going through all of the setup stages and naming your store and creating a logo as quickly as possible. People tend to spend way too much time on the setup part of the process and get themselves completely stressed out. You have to remember that you can always go back and tweak things later on. You don’t want to be tired out before you’ve even created your first design.”
5. Concentrate on SEO, Not Marketing
“I have heard of successful people using Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for marketing, but I haven’t needed to dabble in any of that yet. I feel that Etsy’s search algorithm is pretty good, so if you have your SEO optimized in your listings and titles, it does a great job matching your products to those looking for them. I’ve never needed to ask friends or family to visit my store or share it on social media, as Etsy has brought all the traffic to my pages on its own.”
From Etsy SEO Guru to 35,000 Followers on TikTok
With a background in teaching, newly-found financial freedom and several family members asking for help creating Etsy stores of their own, it was only natural that Jenny would next focus on helping others change their lives by achieving online success.
“I just wanted to pay it forward and share this opportunity with others. I decided to share my findings on TikTok, which has been fun and picked up quickly. I’m up to 35,000 followers since just after Christmas this year, and I’ve built an awesome community of people who want to try out print on demand. I post at least once a day, and it’s a cool experience sharing what I’m passionate about and giving tips and tricks that can help people become successful.”
Jenny has been so successful that she now offers coaching and courses, which have helped others to find success using the print-on-demand business model. Her latest offering, a step-by-step guide to launching an Etsy business, takes students through every stage of the process, from opening an account to designing mockups of products.
“My aim is to save people all those hours of research. I’ve had a couple of people who have been able to quit their jobs and even pay off their mortgages! I believe that anyone can succeed in doing this, no matter their background. It’s mostly down to perseverance and making small tweaks to your store and products until you get results.”
As well as courses and coaching, Jenny also offers store audits, where she’ll record a video review of an Etsy shop and offer advice on elements that could benefit from tweaking, including SEO or mockup photos.
“I actually started an Etsy store over 10 years ago selling my own paintings. The only people who bought them were friends and family, which was mostly down to how I was naming and describing the pictures. So I do understand the difference that good SEO can make.”
Jenny Helps You Find a Niche, or Not
With all of the talk about the importance of SEO, we were keen to find out how much importance Jenny placed on niche selection, as many of the most successful Etsy sellers like to emphasize the importance of picking the right niche instead of simply setting up a generic clothing store.
“Honestly, I’ve personally found success in many, many niches. I’d liken it to fishing, where instead of simply setting up a single pole in the water, you put up a bunch of poles and try to catch as many fish as possible. I like to say that my niche is simply t-shirts, and I try to reach as many different audiences as I can. As a print-on-demand store, I think that my niche is every kind of apparel, but I understand why some business owners are successful within specific niches that appeal to people, like nurses or teachers.”
Jenny Helps You Find Seasonal Success
After being in business for two years, Jenny has not only overcome many of the obstacles that stand in the way of print-on-demand success, she’s also managed to successfully navigate the seasonal aspect of selling apparel online. Including a particularly slow period in October 2020, when sales began to stagnate.
“I had over 350 listings on my store, and sales were building nicely in the beginning, but all of a sudden, I was down to around 5 sales in October. I couldn’t understand what was going on. Then, in November, all of my listings began to sell, and my store exploded in popularity. I think I made around $13k in a single month, which was just astronomical to me at the time.”
Now that Jenny understands the seasonal aspect of selling clothing on Etsy, she is prepared for every seasonal event and holiday well ahead of time, with Pride Month and 4th of July-themed products ready to go up to three months ahead of time.
“I will make some sales early on, but really I’m trying to get ahead of the Etsy algorithm. I believe Etsy renews listings every three months, so if you time your product launches with that in mind, you’ll have fresh listings ready for your chosen event. In terms of Christmas and fall-themed products, I don’t really have to stress anymore, as I’ve been going for a couple of years now and most of the hard work is already done.”
One of the reasons Jenny is able to take such a relaxed approach to her seasonal sales is the fact that she has a massive 3,000 items listed in her store. She’s able to hit most of the big holidays with lots of evergreen niche items while only adding a few new designs to freshen things up.
Putting Her Whole Family on to Print on Demand
So what does Jenny’s family think of her career switch from kindergarten teacher to online entrepreneur? Jenny’s passion for all things print on demand is obviously infectious. After her husband realized the potential of Jenny’s new business idea, he was keen to get involved himself.
“He’s actually now making more sales than I am on some days. He’s really good at making clever text-based designs, which just goes to show that you don’t need to be an artist or have the same design skills as everyone else. Then, in joined my parents who after hearing the constant “Ka-Ching” sound from our phones notifying us about a new sale, wanted to try their hand in it. I can confidently say we are now a whole print-on-demand family.”
You Too Can Achieve Financial Freedom
Jenny’s enthusiasm for her new business venture and relentless drive are now beginning to pay off. She is now financially free and fullly relocated to Greece. She’s also extremely close to achieving her goal of a completely passive business.
“My husband and I spend only half an hour in the mornings making sure that our orders are going through correctly. After that, we’re basically done for the day, unless we feel like adding new listings or doing some general work to our shops. I think back to all of the printing equipment I nearly purchased on Amazon, and I’m so glad I didn’t go down that route, as I’ve freed up so much time.”
There you have it, proof that if you’re prepared to put in the hard work and power through the difficult early stages, it’s entirely possible to earn a full time wage with print on demand from the comfort of your own home, or on a beach in Greece!
If Jenny has inspired you to start your own print-on-demand journey, you can find links to her social profiles and courses here, or in the meantime, browse through the Printify catalog for inspiration. It’s never too late to get started!
Make It Happen Today!
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