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6 Common Mistakes Print On Demand Beginners Make

While a print-on-demand business is a great idea to get passive income, it is by no means an easy effort. Sure, it is a relatively low-risk business endeavour, but that doesn’t mean you should rush into it thoughtlessly and with no effort. People make mistakes in this line of work all the time, and in this post, we’ve lined up the six most common mistakes print-on-demand beginners make.

After all, we want you to succeed with your POD efforts and overcome obstacles that you probably didn’t know even existed!

If you are in a rush, here is a list of the mistakes print-on-demand beginners make all the time:

  1. Going in without a plan.
  2. Relying on just one product supplier.
  3. Choosing the wrong products for a specific niche.
  4. Not checking product samples.
  5. Utilizing copyrighted artwork.
  6. Bland and uninspiring product design.

Let’s begin with the breakdown of the most common beginner print-on-demand mistakes!

Going in without a plan.

In essence, print-on-demand is a business. For a business to succeed, you need a working plan. Many print-on-demand beginners jump into this business with a seemingly killer design, expecting sales to skyrocket in the first week. Well, things are not simple like that.

For anyone to succeed in the print-on-demand business, setting realistic goals is essential. If you don’t take your business seriously, neither will the customers. So, make sure that you set your short and long-term goals, just to have a roadmap and not float without any direction.

This includes researching your market and finding your ideal niche, where you can fill out a gap in the market with your products. Don’t forget to plan out your product line consciously! Once you have your niche in place, analyze your market (using tools such as Google Trends) and plan out your marketing efforts. Then, you should also plan out how much time and money you are planning to invest in your print-on-demand business.

With some research and planning, you can beat so many beginner print-on-demand businesses to a pulp.

Relying on just one product supplier.

One of the most common mistakes print-on-demand beginners make is fully relying on one product supplier. For instance, you may have a very successful product line at your favorite supplier that sells exceptionally well. And then, the supplier decides to withdraw these products from their lineup. Maybe it’s too costly for them, or there is a shortage in inventory.

If you don’t prepare with a backup supplier in such a case, your earnings will suffer. So, make sure to always look for a backup supplier who can help fulfill incoming orders at the right moment. You might think unfortunate things like getting your products withdrawn won’t happen, but it’s always better to think ahead and put your eggs in more than one basket.

Choosing the wrong products for a specific niche.

Many beginners fall into a rabbit hole of creating and trying to sell products for which there is no need in a specific niche. For example, you cannot expect printed yoga mats and coffee mugs to sell well for a cycling niche. Within that particular niche, printed cycling jerseys and water bottles would sell much better.

The above example was just a simple representation of what your product has to be for a specific niche. It’s important that the product is relevant to your audience. Simple research might do the job. Also, keep in mind that the artwork should form an emotional connection with your target audience.

Not checking product samples.

Another one of the common mistakes print-on-demand beginners often make is not checking out the product they sell by themselves. Well, it’s less hassle if you just give the green light to your partner POD company to hand out your products at a steady pace. But, are you really sure that the quality of their product is up to your standards?

That’s why it’s essential to ask the supplier of your product to send you a few samples. You can check its overall quality as well as print quality. Along with that, you can use this sample for good old marketing - take a few photos of it to post on social media and send some samples to prominent people in a specific niche to get genuine feedback (also known as influencer marketing). Your friends will do too!

After all, you want your real-life product to reflect the product page on the website. Don’t hesitate and get those product samples delivered to you before actually selling them!

Utilizing copyrighted artwork.

How would you feel if someone used your work for which you’ve worked so hard, without crediting you? Well, many print-on-demand beginners try to save time and copy designs from other POD stores or artists, which is outright disrespectful.

Professional print-on-demand companies won’t tolerate this when your product line goes through their quality assurance processes. Not to mention that there is a chance you could end up in legal trouble for stealing other artwork.

Bottom line - don’t steal artwork from others, and invest time to make your design more creative and original!

Bland and uninspiring product designs.

As the print-on-demand market is growing each day, so is the competition more fierce. It’s hard to stand out these days with such a huge number of choices for customers. But, you must stand out with your product design if you hope of attaining big sales numbers.

After all, there are gazillions of product designs that just wash away under the competition due to their boring design. If you are not good at design, make sure to invest more in a better designer (from sites such as Fiverr) to create better designs to drive the sales to your doorstep. Also, make sure to research some design ideas on boards like Pinterest and Reddit.

Just please don’t print downright boring designs, as that is one of the most common mistakes print-on-demand beginners make. A unique design will set you apart that much further.


These were just a few of many common mistakes print-on-demand beginners tend to make. Our aim is to highlight the make-or-break mistakes that are quite common yet so easy to overlook when starting out with POD. After all, our goal is to make your print-on-demand business better - to even out the competitive playing field!


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