Creating passive income as a POD artist.
You hear the question all the time, "can you really make money doing print on demand designing?" And the answer is yes, but. "But what?" You say? Well, but if you think you won't have to work for it or that it will magically happen overnight you would be wrong. I personally design for two of the major Pod sites, Redbubble and Zazzle and I can tell you from experience that if you are not willing to put some time and effort into your designs, your presentations (stores or portfolios) and promoting your work, you will seriously limit the potential to make any profit from your designs. There are no hard and fast rules for how to be successful but there are some tips I can share with you that I have gleaned from my experience and also the experience of others.
1. ) Design the best quality original art that you are capable of. If you use stock images or public domain try to alter it to make it your own original version so you stand out as an original not just a copy. This also limits the chances of any copyright issues. You own the copyrights to any original or derivative works you create, while on the other hand, using works that are believed to be in the Public Domain can be risky. if you are going to use them or Creative Commons DO YOUR HOMEWORK! There are many great articles on copyrights, Intellectual property rights and trademarks and really no excuse not to be well informed.
2.) Upload high resolution files to your POD site so that they look as good as they can on the final printed products. Each site has guide files to help you with what sizes and dpi you need for each product.
3.) Put some thought into what designs will look great on what products. Don't just stick your design on a bunch of stuff if it doesn't really fit. You want your products to look as professional as possible and here less really is more! Thousands of cheesy looking products are not as appealing as a few dozen really great, well thought out designs.
4.) Learn to write great titles and descriptions of each design using lots of keywords thus optimizing your chances to be easily found by search engines like Google as well as the sites internal search engines. This helps your products come up in the top pages instead of being buried at the bottom somewhere. Also try to create your products individually when possible so that each one has a unique title and description, and don't forget to use relevant tags! Try to learn how to be a power tagger, using descriptive tags to increase your visibility. Getting seen is the name of the game. Which leads to the next point...
5.) Promote the heck out of your work! Share share share! Especially using the built in share buttons (that build links for you) and using your associate referral id if you have one! Share on social networks, join groups to share with, blog about it, gram it, tweet it, post it in forums and shopping sites like wanelo. Wherever you can share and get your work seen, do it!
6.) Be patient and never give up! The sales don't usually start right away. Some sites like Redbubble are more social than others and it helps to make a lot of connections with the other artists by following, joining groups and sharing each other's work. Sites like Zazzle are more store oriented and it takes some effort to make your store look great and engaging while at the same time promoting it to get some traffic. But one advantage Z has is the associate program for all designers that encourages us to promote each other by allowing us to make referral commissions on any sale from a link we create whether it is our product or not. In fact even if you are not a designer on Zazzle you can still make money as an associate.
7.) Read forums and articles by other POD artists to try to learn as much as you can about what works for others and then try it to see what works for you! If something isn't working be brave and try something different. But above all remember that the goal here is not to get rich quick but to build up a steady passive income doing something you love to do! There is a potential to make money but it is proportional to how much effort you are willing to put into building your business, because that's what it is, a business.
I wish you all the best and hope I have helped you some! I am still building my own business and far from my goal, but I am having a blast with it and have had enough sales now to keep me from giving up! Cheers, and keep dreaming!