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How to Start a T-Shirt Business with No Money or Inventory

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. If you complete a purchase through an affiliate link, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Sell products through an Etsy shop and use Printful to automatically print & ship the product to your customer. Need design help? Check out Creative Market for pre-made illustrations and other design elements, or hire a professional designer on Fiverr.

Whether you’re an artist looking to make a living or just a college student short on cash, starting a print-on-demand clothing business is a quick way to make money online. With enough hard work, you can even turn this side hustle into a full-time income!

Step 1: Open an Etsy Shop

While there are several ways to create an e-commerce website to sell your products, I recommend Etsy because it comes with a built-in customer base, rather than having to spend money on advertising to get traffic to a stand-alone website like Shopify. Etsy is also one of the cheapest to start with, costing only 20 cents per listing. Start with 40 FREE listings when you sign-up using my referral link:

Get 40 FREE Etsy Listings

Step 2: Sync with Printful

Once you’ve set up your Etsy shop, you’ll need a print on demand service to make the products and ship them to your customers. I recommend using Printful because your Etsy orders automatically sync to Printful, i.e. when a customer orders in Etsy, Printful prints the products, ships it to your customer, and updates the order status and tracking number in Etsy! They even include your brand name and logo on the receipt, so it looks like it came directly from you.

Printful provides a wide variety of items, including t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, leggings, and non-clothing items like coffee mugs. Check out Printful’s step-by-step tutorials for syncing your Etsy shop to Printful.

Sign-Up with Printful

Step 3: Create Products

Printful WYSIWYG text and clip art editor with a shirt that says "Look ma, no Photoshop!"
No design skills necessary!

When creating products on Printful you can either use their built-in text and clipart editors or upload your own images. Each product page also has a template for you to use in image creators like Photoshop or Canva.

Buying pre-made designs or elements from marketplaces like Creative Market is a great way to make lots of quality designs quickly, especially if your not an artist or graphic designer. Creative Market even gives away six free products week – download them now!

If you don’t want to spend time creating the designs yourself, consider hiring a designer on a freelance marketplace like Fiverr, where you can get designs for as low as – you guessed it – $5.

When you create listings in Printful, they are pushed to your Etsy store, where you need to publish them before they are “live” and available for purchase.

Step 4: Make Passive Income

After you publish products to your Etsy shop, there is very little work on your end, other than the occasional customer question. When a customer orders one of your products, Printful will automatically print and ship the order.

Etsy subtracts their fees from the money paid by the customer, and your balance is deposited into your bank account (the default is weekly, but you can change it to daily). Printful charges you upfront for the product they print, but you can set this to be charged to a credit card, so you don’t have to pay it until after you’ve received your income from Etsy.

So what are you waiting for? Head over to Etsy and Printful to get started!

Need extra some extra cash? Start a t-shirt business for free! #workfromhome #sidehustle #makemoneyonline

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