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How to Generate Passive Income from Selling T-Shirts

(Credit: Unsplash) How to Generate Passive Income from Selling T-Shirts
June 15
6:46 PM 2020

Earn money while you sleep? That seems like a wonderful prospect, isn't it?

That's the potential of passive income. Don't scoff on that idea just yet. If earning a side income without putting too much effort or huge upfront investment seems like something you want in on, then selling t-shirts in various designs may just be something you can do.

Passive income has long been the ideal way of generating income for entrepreneurs looking to free up their time to generate healthy income revenues without the pressure of daily duties and responsibilities. 

Revenue from passive income means that it requires very little or no maintenance to keep the money flowing. This doesn't mean that maintenance can be forgotten or completely ignored. It's extremely important to track every bit of passive income you have no matter how automated it is. 

Your biggest hurdle is to achieve a decent amount of cash flow from a revenue stream that's automatic. This is an uphill task that very few are willing to bear.

Passive income, once achieved, is easy, but to get there is hard. Firstly, to achieve passive income, you need to invest some amount of time to get things started. The truth is, time is far more valuable than money because time can only be spent once, then it's gone forever, but money can be earned every time.

What is it?

There's one item that's universally accepted by men, women, and children everywhere: t-shirts. These items are a staple that everyone (no exaggeration here) owns at least one piece of, if not several. Take a look in your own cupboard and count how many t-shirts you own. Whether they're worn in the summer, underneath your jackets in the colder months, or for lounging in the house, t-shirts are a constant in everyone's wardrobe. That's why selling t-shirts online is a great passive income idea. You're selling something that everyone needs. How could you go wrong?

Who doesn't love t-shirts with empowering, funny, or motivational quotes on them? Better yet, if you're creative with design software, go one step ahead and create custom and personalized designs that can be printed on your t-shirts easily. 

It may seem like t-shirt designing and printing is a dying art, with all the large retailers out there to compete with. But then, if you do have that tenacity in you, this form of passive income can turn into something lucrative enough where it brings you income to spend a few weeks on vacation or put a down payment to your house. Passive income is a great way to earn extra income and extend your purchasing power. 

How much can you earn?

It depends on what your initial cost is, and which platform you're selling your t-shirts on. For example, the cost of your t-shirt was about $12 on average, and you wanted to sell your t-shirts on Amazon. If you log into Amazon, you'll see that the suggested selling price for a t-shirt is $19.99. This means you could potentially earn around $8 in profit from just one t-shirt alone. Depending on the volume of t-shirts you sell, the more you sell, the more you earn. 

Is selling t-shirts online a good passive income idea? Yes, but this opportunity isn't necessarily suitable for just anyone. The ones who are going to benefit most from selling t-shirts online as a passive income option are people who love being involved in sales, artists, illustrators, and designers because they've got the creative advantage of being able to design their own unique t-shirts without having to outsource that part of the business, and anyone who's willing to commit the time and the effort to selling t-shirts online as an extra income stream. 

Many customers favor one-of-a-kind and unique t-shirts, so if you often find yourself doodling or creating designs on your notebook, how about transferring that creativity into something wearable? There are also specific sites that cater to the creative community, such as Patreon, where you can showcase your t-shirts and artwork.  

How does it work?

The beauty of selling t-shirts online is the wide audience base you have at your disposal. Men, women, teenagers, children, even babies, there are so many categories you could get involved in, potentially tripling your sale options. If you're looking to get into this business, here are the steps you'll need to go through:

  • Step 1: Let's get one thing clear. T-shirt printing is a vast industry. The fact that everyone wears a t-shirt makes it easy to create demand. This also means the supply is saturated. How are you going to stand out? You need to find your focus. At the early stages of setting up your passive income business, you don't want to overkill. Customers nowadays value uniqueness and home-grown brands. Start with one or two offerings focusing on a specific target age or target interest. Some examples could be designing t-shirts for high school varsity teams or university sorority and fraternity houses. It could also be t-shirts for church groups. The idea here is to define your target audience. Who are you selling to? 

  • Step 2: When you know who you want to sell to, it's time to refine your niche market and who you intend to cater to. Are you only targeting a specific group? Or more than one? Where's your customer base located? What's the demographic you're dealing with? What are their needs?

  • Step 3: Once you've identified your target audience, do your research to find a need you can fulfill. What is it that's lacking right now? What does your audience want to see from you? What can you offer them that your competitor can't?

  • Step 4: Set up your online store. It's the easiest and more cost-efficient way to reach a targeted crowd. With this, there are two ways you can go about it. The first is to set up your own websites, and the second is to sell on platforms like Amazon, eBay, Shopify, AliExpress, and more. It doesn't take long to set up an account either, and if building a website from scratch isn't your cup of tea, you could consider this option instead. 

  • Step 5: Be detailed in your product description and use as many keywords as possible. The more SEO-rich your content is, the better your chances of appearing in the first few pages of the search results that Google pings back to a customer searching for a product just like yours.

Among the challenges you might face selling t-shirts online include having to constantly come up with fresh ideas that keep your target audience interested. Often, when you work with the right t-shirt printing supplier, they can help you develop new designs, and even suggest new and improved printing methods to keep your t-shirts in trend. If you're looking for a t-shirt printing service, try Thrive. Working with a printing supplier specializing in fabric printing can help you explore more product options to offer your customers. Who knows, now, it will be t-shirts only, but next, you can be printing tote bags, hats, towels, and other fabrics. 

Because t-shirts are purchased so often, and fashion trends come and go before you've even had a chance to blink sometimes, keeping your products fresh, on-trend, and in line with the current interest of your target market is how you keep them coming back for more. 

Another challenge is going to be, of course, the high competition. Google "online t-shirts for sale" or "buy online t-shirts," and you'll end up with more than a hundred thousand results listed in front of you. Competition is tough, and you're going to have to do a lot of hard work to get yourself in front of your customers, especially when you're starting to get traction and momentum.

Myths concerning t-shirt selling

Like with many passive income stream ideas, the biggest myth with selling t-shirts online is that it's a way for you to "get rich and get rich quick." It's not. It's going to take a while for you to build momentum, especially when you're not going to be the only person selling t-shirts online. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of other online shops and people who are selling t-shirts online, too. Bust out of that myth that it's going to be an easy side hustle business, too, because it isn't. Competition levels are high, and if you want to make money, you're going to have to get active in promoting your merchandise for sale. 

This passive income idea takes time to build an audience, but once you have a niche audience that knows you and values your designs and work, you can reinvent to add other forms of printed products in your repertoire.

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