My name is Lynn Jonn. I have been a consultant specialist in the field of Print-on-demand (POD) business for 4 years. I would like to share my experiences from one of the most successful business cases at only $1000.

It’s the experience of a man being both my customer and my friend – Mr.David.

David has been an ordinary office worker like everyone else for 5 years. At first, he stuck in a tedious situation – the boring circle of 8 hours. David’s office worker’s life: wake up at 8 a.m, go to the office at 9 a.m, go home at 7 p.m, have dinner at 8 p.m and go to bed at 11 p.m. He only was really happy at the weekend when he drunk with his friend. Then, he began the tedious rotation next week.

NO! Stop! He does not want to go through such a boring life, he wants to start a business, and create a new income, a new life for himself. Then, I have a talk with David about business ideas (On the drunk table).

“David: I feel tired and disgusted with the present life, I want to change.

Me: Ok, that’s good for you. So, how would you like to change?

David: I want to do business.

Me: That’s great, but what are you going to do?

David: I have found out many different options, but I don’t have much capital. After 5 years, I only saved $1000. I am quite experienced in selling and interacting using Facebook. But I can’t spend too much time on them. I still need to maintain my current job to support myself. I see, you have a lot of experience and success in online business, please give me some advice.

Me: Uhm, I see you have a good fashion trend with only a few simple shirts. I think that I have an idea for your business, with $ 1000 of savings, internet, sales skills, fashion eyes, and great consulting skills, you can start a business T-shirt online.

David: Oh yeah, great! But how to begin?”

Do you want to know “how did he start”? I am going to tell you his story about starting a successful business right now.

Search information to get started Print-on-demand business

The first way to start an existing online business is to search Google to see how the world guides you. When he searched “how to start t-shirt business online” on Google and he get the following results:

Search how to start Print-on-demand t-shirt business online
He skips the first advertising link because they will not help much. The first 3 articles are really meaningful because they are of great interest to many people.

Start Online T-Shirt Business-

How to Start a Successful Online T-Shirt Business-

How To Sell T-Shirts Online-

Although all three of them have too much information, so he chooses only the most important ones.

Search niche market, target customers

Search niche market, target customers
As you know, starting a T-shirt business is easier to engage than other businesses, but the competition is bigger. So, first, He finds his target customers. Oh, easy! The colleagues at the office are his first clients. After that, he focuses on T-shirts for other office workers because he looks like them so he can have a bit of empathy like them. he chooses easily their favorite shirts. These are his great target customers!

Design, Source Your Products, quality, and manage

They are big problems when you start a Tshirt business. However, he has received a lot of advice from me. I showed him many online solutions that he could use to solve these problems at a very reasonable cost.

Design: I introduce him to some famous design platforms on the internet such as Pinterest, Behance, Canvas, Crello, etc. He need to choose one of them. It has to fits well with the store model He is building.

Design Print on Demand Tshirt Business
Source Products, Quality and Manage: He does not have full time for this business project. So his shop needs to become a dropshipping business. There are many suppliers that he can choose: Printful, Printify, Oberlo, Merch by Amazon, etc, and He can use their on-demand order fulfillment and warehousing service.

Source Products, Quality and Manage Print on demand
Besides, their products have been trusted the quality of the products they provide because these are all reputable businesses in the world. Manage? Oh, even easier! Partners like Printful, Shopify, Printify, WordPress… They all have systems that manage all works when I run my online shop: Storefront settings, Currencies, Payments, Tax, Shipping, Accounting, etc. It’s just hard to choose the proper management system for his shop.

Now it’s time to calculate the cost of this business plan

Well well well, this is the most difficult step. He only has $1000 and he needs to calculate to spend them appropriately. I advised him that he should be beginning to think about what he needed to spend:

The right platform

He needs the right website for his business. So, I introduce 2 the most popular platforms are WordPress and Shopify.

Shopify has a free 14-day trial! After that, it will cost $29 per month and you need a domain. You can buy a new domain through Shopify – they’ll ask you about it during your trial – and it’ll be an annual payment of $14. Total: $43 A domain name typically costs $14.99 / year, and web hosting normally costs $7.99 / month. But if you do not have a consultant specialist online business, like me, you need to hire a service to consult the perfect WordPress website and it is not cheap at all. Prices can range from $ 50- $100. Total: $23-$73

Next, synchronization with the Print On Demand platform

Print On Demand platforms usually don’t charge monthly or startup fees. They only profit when you make an order. However, he needs to check that his system is working smoothly before he promotes advertising and introduces his store to customers.

The minimum cost for checking trial orders usually is about $ 75. If he sells a lot of products, they can be bigger to test all of them. So, I advise he should try to limit to about 5 typical products with total: $ 375

Promotion cost

Finally, I think that he needs a strong referral program, an effective promotion. So, he needs a few customers to try the product and advertise his business on social media. He should choose Facebook and Instagram. These are two social networks that are very suitable and effective for introducing the T-shirt products that I want to sell. In addition, to accelerate business efficiency, he also needs to run ads on Google ads or Facebook ads. According to the marketing software provider AdStage, the average cost to implement Facebook ads for 5 products is $ 250. Not cheap!

So in order to implement his business plan, the total cost he needs to spend between $ 650- $ 750 for the preparation. The remaining amount is to prevent the risk situations can occur. So you absolutely can start trading with only $ 1000 shirt or less.

Do you want to know more information about the Realistic Print-on-demand Startup Budget for 2020? Please watch the video below of Jessica from Oberlo!

Source: Oberlo

OK! So, I finished shared all the steps to prepare for David’s Story. But, if you want to start a business other product by Print on Demand with less than 1000$, what do you need to do?

Steps to start business on Print on Demand with less than $1000

Step 1: Choose the right platform

Source: Printful

When running a print on demand business, the first and very important step is choosing a platform. Think about this: whenever a buyer places an order, that platform will print, manufacture, and ship the order individually for the buyer. They control the whole process of production and delivery, so your success heavily depends on them.

Step 2: Decide how you want to sell your design 

There are 2 common ways to sell your print on demand products. You can choose to sell on your platform’s marketplace or on your own store. They are: Sell on your chosen platform’s marketplace and Sell on your own site.

Sell on your chosen platform’s marketplace: With this method, you just need to create an account, upload your design, and start selling. However, this selling method comes with the downside of no branding at all. You don’t get the benefits of naming your brand and branding your own store.

Sell on your own site: You have to create your store site on Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce,…Then, upload your designs to your store and connect with a print on demand platform. Also, you’re responsible for marketing your products. Once you have an order, your chosen platform will print the design and deliver the product to your customers.

So, how can you know which method is better to sell your design? Generally, it depends on your business strategy and budget!

Step 3: Find your print on demand products 

Print on demand is a big label for an (almost) endless list of different products. We’re all familiar with t-shirts, mugs, towels, and phone cases, but increasingly there are new products available to print on demand.

To find your print on demand products, you can use many tools like Google Trends, Google Search, or SortingSocial. You can find in the link below:

Google Trends:

Google Search:


In my customer case, he decided to choose T-shirts as the first product of his business, and then he expanded into many other products.

Step 4: Get your design ready

In case, you don’t currently have any design and cost for them, and you’re looking for inspiration to create some yourself, you can try these ways to find your favorite designs: Canva, Pinterest, Behance,…

In addition, dropshipping service providers such as Printful or Printify also provide basic design images for your products.

There are a lot of products you can design, such as Wristbands, T-shirts, Sweatshirts, Stickers, Standees, Square business card, Signs, Rubber Stamps, Rack Cards, Posters, Postcard, Polo shirts, Pillow, Phone cases, Paper bags, Packaging…

Step 5: Create your products 

From my knowledge, there are two things to do in this step: Make a listing and Create a storefront.

Make a listing including 3 elements:


Create a descriptive listing title because it’s a crucial element to optimize your listing. For example, “Lovely Girlfriend T-Shirt For Women’s Day” is a good title. It has keywords related to the design: t-Shirt, girlfriend, women’s day. These words are not only relevant to the design, but they’re also words a visitor might search for.

Don’t repeat keywords and include words describing the product type, color, size, etc. They’re already automatically incorporated into listings. At the same time, avoid using words like “limited edition”, “over 5,000 sold”, or “ending soon”.

The title length should be between 5 and 8 words (40 character limit).


Customize your listing URLs with relevant keywords. If your design is “girlfriend”, and your product is a shirt, add the word “T-shirt” to the URL, for example,


Include content that is relevant to your design. Use phrases that could help a visitor self-identity with your design theme.

Avoid random keywords and stuffing keywords.

Create a storefront: A storefront is where to showcase your collections of beautiful designs on Printcart. By creating a storefront, you will possibly drive sales and build a true brand that keeps your customers coming back again and again.

After you set up your product list and store on the website, you need to check that your door system is working smoothly, before you promote advertising and introduce your store for customers.

Step 6: How to promote your products 

Source: Ahrefs

This is probably the step many people care the most. David has done it in many different ways, and one of his most successful ways is:

Run a free product giveaway contest

Product giveaways are a fun and engaging way on how to promote a product online. Because of its contest element, people can get excited and start talking about your brand and products. Thus, it can help you introduce your products to a new audience for a relatively low cost.

Start niche blogging

Creating a niche blog is a medium to long term strategy on how to promote a product online. Niche blogging allows you to produce specialized content highly relevant to your target audience. Thus, it ensures that you are attracting quality visitors.

Get people to share

A strong referral program can heighten the power of word of mouth which really works well when you want to introduce your products to other people who may have not heard of them before.

Some tips for starting a print-on-demand business with little money

Make your site look similar to others: It may be Woocommerce or Shopify, all provide a similar platform with common features. You may choose a different color mixture, but ultimately the page, tab, navigation, etc is going to be the same.
Make your site look similar to others

Here you may need a graphic designer to customize everything, however, if you are a startup, you do not need this at the moment.

Promote your business with Online Marketing: You may claim to provide unique features to customers but what is the communication channel. It is of course “marketing”. Let your customers know what great products you sell, and it is time to start generating more traffic to your website.

Online Marketing

know what great products you sell, and it is time to start generating more traffic to your website.

Know Your Customer: Find your target audience. Communication plays an important role to reach the right buyers. Suppose you sell t-shirts but constantly about electronic gadgets like mobile phones, tablets, etc.  Remember! Your writing style depicts who you target and that goes wrong when visitors return without purchasing from your store.

Fill with high-quality content and real-life images: You may know “content is king”. It may appeal or frustrate. Choose a common product title that everyone can easily understand. Highlight the product description that everyone admires.

That is to say, know about the people’s problems and what they want to see at a first glance. More about images, that must look realistic and give real-life imagination. Animated or edited images do not give a clear idea of how the product looks on hands.

Choose a conventional web store design: Make your website clean and easy to navigate. A visitor has no knowledge where you place products, their details, checkout, etc unless you follow a conventional rule. Follow up big websites like Walmart or Amazon and design your website accordingly so that no visitor finds it frustrating to browse through your store.

Do add appropriate colors, fonts, images that everyone finds it pleasing to see. Poor web design may ruin your chances of success from the very beginning. Suppose you design a page that is fit to display greeting cards but ultimately depicts a gadget. You need to take care of graphics placement, i.e. right at the appropriate place.

Rank your page: If you have come across “SEO” i.e. Search Engine Optimization, then you would understand it better. SEO is all about optimizing your website by inserting relevant keywords, and getting your website ranked to the top on the first page.


For instance, a customer types in the google search bar “best-customized t-shirt” your website as a similar key phrase that puts it up on the top results on search engines. That is to say, your website is highlighted for everyone to access easily. Thus, you get huge traffic in the meantime. More traffic, the more leads you generate.

The psychology trigger- free shipping:  If possible, provide free shipping. The word “free” acts as a psychological trigger. When a customer finds something for free, they grab it irrespective of the fact that they are paying for it somewhere else.

Perhaps, you have another alternative to charging shipping fees for faster delivery. Moreover, free shipping also witnesses an increase in eCommerce revenue in the form of increased average order value.

In conclusion, above is my friend’s business story, David and his steps to start a print on demand business with the needed cost is about $1000. But if you are creative and enterprising, you can reduce these costs and optimize your business with just less than that money. In fact, what are the difficulties in implementation? Please allow me to be kept secret and shared in another tutorial. How do you feel about this tutorial, please leave a comment below the post to make this post more popular. Thank you and see you again in the next story.

Lynn Jones

Shop Owner
Lynn Jone, Digital Marketer, copywriter, and avid fan of Technology!

One of my favorite quotes is: "Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value" - Albert Einstein.

I graduated from foreign trade university majoring in Economics. However, it took me 5 years to find my passion for Digital Marketing. With over 5-years research and over 3-years practical work experience, I am confident that I can easily what problems your website is facing and suggest the best solution for your business.

I used to be an accountant, a salesperson, a banker even a receptionist. However, I just feel to be myself when I choose to be a Marketer, especially an SEOer. I have spent a lot of time studying and learning about marketing tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Ahref, Alexa, Similar Web, ... In order to understand customer behavior as well as to make a website to be on the top rank on the search tool.

"Content is king". Where advertising is about the sale, content marketing is about establishing a connection. The best content marketing will lure people to your brand and keep them coming back for more.

So let’s explore the wide world of ever-increasing content, and investigate how you ensure your message is well delivered to your target customers.