What is Print On Demand and why is it my main Halal Hustle?


My main halal hustle for a while now has been Print on Demand. I love this business model and will explain why in this post.

What is Print on Demand?

Print On Demand (POD) works as follow:

  • A POD service / platform allows you to upload designs which you want to sell on different types of Merchandise – e.g. t-shirts, mugs and tote bags.
  • You upload your own designs – e.g. A design about ‘The Words Best Big Brother’.
  • Products are then available to buy through that POD service – they usually have a website where customers can go and buy the t-shirt.  They usually also offer a way for you to sell the products on your own website.  The most common way to do this is to create a site using Shopify, which is a really quick and easy  to setup a e-commerce website.  This can then integrate with your POD using apps.
  • The product does not actually exist. This product will only get created and shipped out once a customer actually buys it.

What products can you print on

The list of products is growing all the time. The most popular are items are t-shirts, mugs and Hoodies. There is also Posters, Phone cases, and bags.

Getting Traffic

Some POD services have their own website and can drive traffic to your designs.  This is known as organic traffic.

Others just provide a backend service and require you to drive traffic to your designs.  In this case you need to provide your own traffic or pay for traffic, like Facebook Ads.

Therefore, I recommend starting out with POD services which already provide organic traffic for you.

Merch by Amazon

The quickest and easiest POD to use is Amazon’s platform called Merch by Amazon. As they have the potential to drive a lot organic traffic to your products and many people have made lots of money doing this.  However, the big barrier to entry to this is that there is a waiting list and it may be many months before they let you in.  Also, once you are in, you have to prove yourself with sales before they tier you up and allow you to sell more designs. I will talk about Merch by Amazon in a future article.

My recommendation is to apply for a Merch by Amazon account, While you are waiting for approval, you should try the Printful & Etsy integration. I will talk about this in a future article.

However, there are many POD platforms out there to try like Sun Frog and Red Bubble.

Low start-up costs

Because you do not hold any inventory, there are very low start-up costs. All you have to do is create designs.

The traditional model was that you would buy in a whole lot t-shirts and then try to sell them individually.  This  requires a lot of startup costs and you end up with leftover stock if you can’t sell everything.

But the POD model is better, the product does not exist until it is sold. This is one of the reasons why I love this model.

How much does it cost to use a POD service?

Most of the POD services do not charge a monthly fee.  You only pay them when you make a sale.

They will charge you a fixed price for printing and shipping the products.

So you keep the difference between your sale price and the fixed price.  F.g. Say you sell a t-shirt for $20.  The POD service charges you $13 to print and ship the item.  That means you get to keep $7 for each sale.

No physical inventory in your house

I have done businesses before where I had to hold stock in my house. This was clogging up my house and it was tiring moving the stock around.

Also, my wife was not very happy with me having stuff all over the place!

Do not have to deal with shipping

This is another amazing thing about this business. All the shipping is done by the POD service. You do not have to manually ship items yourself.

When I use to re-sell toys, I had to ship the toys to Amazon and it was very time consuming. I had to package everything up and then drive down to the UPS office regularly.

Is it Halal?

From the research I have done and from the people I have spoken to, I believe this model is Halal. As it is a business supply model.

As I am not a qualified person on the Islamic rulings of business, I can only give my opinion.

I do encourage everyone to do their own research.

It’s a numbers game – only a few designs will sell

This business is a numbers game. You have to keep throwing up lots of designs and see what sticks.

You can increase your chances of selling a design by doing more research. However, you never know until you put it up.

Before I got my first sale,  I had to throw up around 25 designs.  So this is something you just need to stick at.

Income is not based on my time

The business is not dependent on my time. Once I have a design up on a site, then then it could keep selling and selling. There is the potential to earn lots of money.

The right design could sky rocket your sales

One design could just sky rocket all your sales. During the 2017 Solar eclipse in the USA, I read about someone who made $40,000 profit from one single t-shirt.

I’m not saying this will happen to me. Even if I get one a sliver of that on one my designs then that would be awesome.

Also, remember that this is just one design. The more designs you have up the better chance you have of one really taking off.

Hard work

I also want to highlight that there is still hardwork involved. You have to keep creating designs and make sure you regularly put them up.   Also it may take some time before your start seeing some sales. So the key is that you have to stick to it and keep learning.

Outsource in the Future

Many of the top guys are outsourcing their process. The have Virtual assistants who do all the work for them. These are mainly researchers and designers. This means they can scale up their business very quickly.

My personal strategy is that I am building up sales and will only outsource once I am making a really good amount of money.

I enjoy this Halal Hustle

I have learned a lot about design and am really enjoying this halal Hustle. When I made my first sale I was too excited.

I have tried many different businesses but this is the one that I am fully focused on.

Give it try

If you like what I have said, then I highly recommend you give it a try. This is a great Halal hustle and I’m sure this opportunity is only going to get bigger and bigger.

Until next time, Happy Halal Hustling!

Iqbal,
Halal Hustle Guy