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Written by Ramit Sethi Host of Netflix's "How to Get Rich", NYT Bestselling Author & host of the hit I Will Teach You To Be...
HomePassive IncomeTurn Your Creativity into Cash With This Home-Based Side Hustle

Turn Your Creativity into Cash With This Home-Based Side Hustle

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The allure of starting a home business has never been stronger, with many people either supplementing their 9-to-5 income or leaving their day jobs altogether to follow their creative entrepreneurial dreams. With the rise of easier-to-navigate ecommerce platforms and social media marketing, people are finding unprecedented opportunities to turn passion into profit.

One in three Americans report having a side hustle, and it can be easy to see why with all of the tools available to make entrepreneurial aspirations a reality. Starting a home apparel printing business is just one option for the more creatively inclined.

Though you may not have any idea of how to begin a home printing business, many people just like you begin with a little corner of their home, some equipment and a few good ideas to get started. With the right approach to design, quality materials and customer service, those who decide to begin home apparel printing businesses can enjoy wide profit margins, not to mention the satisfaction of being one’s own boss.

Related: Learn How to Start a T-Shirt Merch Business as a Side Hustle

A solid side hustle

Several aspects of the home apparel printing business make it an excellent side hustle option. Think about all of the places you go in a day — the grocery store, your kid’s soccer game, PTA meetings or your day job. There is one constant among people and what they are wearing: customization.

People love clothing that shows off their personality, their favorite band or a quirky saying that endears them to a particular social group. There is never a shortage of people who will be willing to shell out for custom-designed apparel, whether it’s fun t-shirts, team uniforms or accessories.

In addition, startup costs for a home apparel printing business can be relatively low compared to other side hustle options. Many custom printing machines can be purchased at a relatively affordable price, flexible payment options are available, and materials are readily available either online or even at your local hobby shop. You can stock up on t-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags or even hats and other accessories in bulk or take advantage of sales to get yourself started and enter the market without breaking the bank.

This side hustle is also extremely flexible and great for busy parents, people with day jobs or even those with other side hustles because it can easily be integrated into your existing schedule. Operating out of one’s home also adds further flexibility while reducing business overhead.

A home apparel printing business is also extremely scalable. As demand and access to resources grow, side hustlers can expand their businesses as they see fit. This can include growing the online portion of one’s business for more passive income, leveraging new community connections for larger custom apparel orders or offering new, unique printed products.

Related: This Former Stay-at-Home Mom Started a ‘Zero Experience’ Side Hustle That’s Earned Over $500,000 — and She Doesn’t Work More Than 1 Hour a Day

Getting started

To get started with a home apparel printing business, you must follow some key steps.

1. Research and plan

Do some digging into the market to see where you can add value that may currently be missing. There are multiple printing options available, and each has its pros and cons.

One of the newest and most popular methods on the market, particularly for home-based businesses, is direct-to-film printing. Also known as DTF printing, it does not require pretreatment of the garment, the hot melt powder that is used bonds directly to any material, and you can print on bulkier items that would be otherwise impossible with other printing options. In addition, DTF transfers can be cut and stored for later use, meaning decorators can print their most popular designs in bulk for a more streamlined customization process.

The versatility of DTF printing contributes to it being the most popular choice for at-home printing businesses overall. The demand for customized apparel has led to DTF printing nearing a market value of $1.7 billion by 2026.

2. Invest in the right equipment

Once you complete your research and know what kind of approach you want to take, invest in the best equipment for the kind of printing you’d like to do. Keep an eye on quality, first and foremost, to get your side hustle off on the right foot.

3. Design and creativity

Think about starting a portfolio of designs for your business. For example, if you are catering to local sports teams, they may have ready-made designs. Or if you have a great idea for a unique apparel design, you can easily take it from idea to reality with design software.

4. Marketing

Today, marketing is multifaceted and multilayered. Set up social media accounts for your new business, network face-to-face within your community, and get people to wear your creations where they will be seen and noticed. Sit down and work out a comprehensive marketing plan that can help grow your business to new heights.

5. Be ready to pivot

Even the smallest of side hustles need to grow and adapt. Within your apparel printing business, that may mean taking on larger commissions, going after group orders or hopping onto fashion trends when they emerge. The most successful side hustlers are the ones who can shift with the market.

Related: 10 of the Most Profitable Side Hustles You Can Start With Little or No Money

Those with an entrepreneurial spirit and a creative vision could thrive with a home-based apparel printing business. This particular side hustle goes beyond just t-shirts and printed designs — it’s about savvy marketing, brand building and chasing a creative outlet. The world is waiting for your unique vision, so roll up your sleeves, fire up your printer, and start your entrepreneurial journey on your terms!