Though everyone has dreams of landing their dream job when they grow up, that sadly doesn’t happen often. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll have to stay stuck doing a job you dislike for the rest of your life. 

More and more people nowadays are taking advantage of the internet to start their own small businesses. But, while selling graphic art or being a freelance photographer is lucrative, there is nothing quite so popular as selling T-shirts online.

This simple article of clothing is not just a staple of casual wear. It’s also a part of people’s identities, reflecting their hobbies, interests, and values. Therefore, it’s not surprising that so many are willing to pay good money for a quality tee that will suit their unique style. And the best part is, you don’t need a big wad of cash to start an online T-shirt business! 

All you need is the right equipment and lots of market research to find your customer base! By capitalizing on current trends and giving customers what they want, you’ll be able to find your success without having to put in a crazy initial investment. 

So, if you’re stoked about being your own boss, start taking notes. Here is everything you need to know about how to start a T-shirt business with no money, today!

How to Start a T-shirt Business: 5 Easy Steps

Whether you have experience or not, starting a business is hard. There are so many things that could go wrong before you even officially open your doors to customers. Not to mention the enormous risk of failing. However, as the saying goes, the greater the risk, the greater the reward. 

Plus, if you plan everything out carefully, you increase your chances of success tenfold. So without further ado,  here are 5 easy steps you can take to start your T-shirt business,

Choose a Target Audience and Niche

Because custom T-shirt businesses are so lucrative, the competition is steep. Therefore, if you want to achieve success, you’ll have to come up with a way to stand out in a crowd. 

One of the best ways to do this is to target a specific audience and specialize in making niche designs. While you may think focusing on one thing severely limits your customer pool, it’s actually the opposite. A niche is how you build a steady stream of loyal customers to get your feet off the ground. 

It’s also how you stand out against the competition. Since most people will focus on churning out the most popular designs to appeal to a wide demographic, anyone who chooses to focus on one thing will automatically stick out like a sore thumb — especially if the niche you pick is very specific. 

But be careful! You want to go with a niche that will actually generate you business. While targeting an ultra-specific audience is great, it may not be too lucrative to sustain you in the long run. 

Therefore, before picking your market, make sure to evaluate the size of your potential audience. A quick scan through Facebook groups or subreddits will get you an accurate representation of what’s popular and the kind of revenue you can generate.

Pick the Right T-shirt Materials

Apart from choosing your market, you also need to choose the right T-shirt materials. A nice-looking shirt is important, but it will not matter much if it tears after one wash. So, to guarantee repeat business, you have to pick quality fabric for your tees. 

Cotton is the ultimate choice for any T-shirt print business for several reasons. For starters, it’s a durable and hypo-allergenic material. Therefore, it’s suitable for all customers, regardless of allergies and skin sensitivities. As a bonus, it’s fairly affordable. The average men’s T-shirt takes around 5 lbs of cotton to manufacture. 

With cotton going for 73 cents per pound, that amounts to $3.63! That’s not too shabby when you consider that even affordable retailers like Walmart sell T-shirts for $10 and up. 

The Print Technique Matters

The tee’s quality doesn’t end at materials. It also extends to the print technique you use to imprint your artwork. Consequently, to ensure your custom art looks good and stays on the T-shirt, you need to choose the right printing technique. 

Currently, screen printing offers the best price to quality ratio. It can print high-quality designs in large quantities in record time. Consequently, it’s perfect if you want to churn out a lot of tees at once. However, its biggest downside is that it doesn’t transfer highly detailed designs well. 

So if you’re planning on making epic abstract tees, then it’s best to go with heat pressing or direct to garment printing. Heat pressing, in particular, is ideal for a small, at-home printing operation since it’s easy to use and compatible with detailed designs. But keep in mind that it is a bit pricier than screen printing.

Create Your T-shirt Designs

If you’re an artist or graphic designer, then creating a design for your tees is easy — just grab your pen and paper and let the creativity flow! However, if you’re like everyone else, then doing it

 yourself isn’t feasible. In that case, it’s time to start looking into hiring graphic designers.

You have two options here — hire an affordable amateur off social media or go with a pro. An amateur can be a great option, especially if you’re on a tighter budget. However, don’t expect mind-blowing designs from them. Though laymen can be talented, they often lack the technical knowledge needed to create a truly stunning design. 

Therefore, a professional is a better option. A trained graphic designer takes into account not just the look of a particular design. They also look at the depth, the size, the detail, and how the graphic art will conform to different T-shirt styles and body types. In short, a pro will give you a design that you can actually sell. 

Granted, a trained graphic designer will cost you more. But, if you choose carefully, you won’t have to splurge your entire budget. ArtistShot has an entire legion of professional designers ready to help you create stunning designs for your small business! And the best part is, they will cost you just a fraction of what you will pay most other professionals in the business. It’s a win-win for everyone! 

Set Up Your Online Store

Once you have all the necessary materials, the last step is to open your own store. There are several ways you can go about doing this, but the most common one is to select an e-commerce platform. This is a type of software that allows sellers to make sales, take orders and generate an online presence. 

A good e-commerce platform will also give you the necessary tools to market your business as well as track and manage your inventory. Plus, it’s very easy to use, both for buyers and potential sellers. However, keep in mind that most quality e-commerce platforms cost money. Even the cheapest options start at around $9 a month. 

Nevertheless, when you consider all the benefits you’ll be getting in return, it’s a small price to pay to get your business off the ground. 

To Wrap Things Up

If you’ve dabbled with the idea of starting your own T-shirt business, we’ve got some good news. The demand for quality, custom tees is skyrocketing at the moment. So if you get into the game now, you’re practically guaranteed success.

However, if you’re short on funds, you probably have one major question — how to start a T-shirt business with no money? And the answer is, with a lot of planning, of course! With the right adjustments, good market research, budget-friendly designers, and e-commerce platforms, you can have your custom tee store up and running in no time!