In the words of CEO George Manousakis POD-Frenzy is “a website that offers high quality, ready-to- sell designs, tools and automations that help you start or scale your Print on Demand business”. But when you listen to him talk, you quickly realize that POD-Frenzy is much more than that: POD-Frenzy is not just a business, but a community and George Manousakis seems genuinely concerned about helping people.
While POD-Frenzy is still fairly new in the world of Print on Demand and whether it will stand the test of time remains to be seen, one thing is certain: George Manousakis has a story to tell. A story full of ups and down. A very human story. And he tells it in such a straightforward, honest way, that you can’t help but wish him and his company all the success they deserve.
Who is George Manousakis?
Having studied engineering, the Greek-born self-made man started out working as a marketeer in a big German company. Once the economic crisis hit, he decided to take a leap of faith: With only 500 Euros in his pocket, he got on a plane to seek a better tomorrow in Scotland.
His new business model was simple but effective: Go to supermarkets, buy things that are on offer, list them for sale on Amazon and eBay and sell them with a small profit. While hustling, he kept his eyes open: Once he noticed that the Dropshipping model was gaining popularity, he created Hydra Lister. This project, which helped dropshippers list items fast, ended up being one of the first listers in the worldwide market. Following the rapid growth of HydraLister, George Manousakis and his partner relocated to Bulgaria. They expanded their tools and services and even founded a second company, specializing in Virtual Assistance. At first their initial success continued and both businesses grew until they employed around 50 virtual assistants, developers and marketeers.
But their success was not made to last:
Their business model was focused on eBay Dropshipping only, which, according to George Manousakis himself, was “a big mistake”. Once eBay decided that they don’t want this business model to be part of their marketplace they started banning their customers and putting obstacles into their tools. After two successful years followed by one year of struggle, HydraLister was forced to cease its operations.
Once again they had lost everything.
But George Manousakis did not let this derail him. He moved back to Greece to regroup his thoughts. Noticing the rise of POD, he started selling Print on Demand designs on Etsy and Shopify. In less than a year he became a top 1 % seller on Etsy, convincing him that POD was a viable business model. He noticed, however, that there was no platform to help people start out on their POD journey. In order to fill this market gap, he created POD-frenzy.com, a website that seeks to combine all the services needed by POD entrepreneurs in once place.
Let’s hear it from a man who has really been through the good, the bad and the ugly…
The interview with George Manousakis
“Stay humble. Hustle hard”
George, you say that your motto is “Stay humble. Hustle hard”. How did you arrive at this philosophy?
“After we lost almost everything, I realised that instead of focusing on making money, you have to focus on helping other people succeed. Showing off your brand new (rented) Ferrari in order to convince a few naïve customers to give you 1000$ makes you just another scammer. This covers the “Stay humble” part.
Instead of focusing on making money, you have to focus on helping other people
The “Hustle Hard” part means that nobody will give you what you deserve if you don’t work hard for it. Print on Demand (like most things you need to do as an entrepreneur) is not easy. You need to work hard, fall, rise again, cry, laugh and enjoy the journey. You must not give up.”
You need to work hard, fall, rise again, cry, laugh and enjoy the journey
What differentiates POD Frenzy from its competitors?
“That’s a great question: First of all, POD-Frenzy is not just another website that sells designs. We want to build a solid community of people who share our mindset and love Print on Demand as much as we do. POD-Frenzy is more than a platform: It’s a community.
Secondly: POD-Frenzy combines a large number of services in one place. Yes, there are many websites selling digital artwork. Yes, there are many people who sell their training and we also know that there are tools that help you grow your business. But as far as I know we are one of the few, if not the only place that offers all of this in one place.
Thirdly: Most competitors have hidden terms of service. For example, you cannot use their designs if you cancel your subscription, you can’t use their designs for Print on Demand or you cannot modify them. We hate these terms of service as much as our customers and have tried to make everything as simple and transparent as possible: Once you join POD-Frenzy you can download up to 200 designs monthly, get access to our tools and even if you cancel you will always have access to these designs.
We really want to build a healthy community where everyone will grow. We don’t want to hide behind terms of service for profit and end up with unhappy customers.”
What were the biggest challenges in starting the website?
“The hardest part was designing quality artwork that sells.
Our competitors were years ahead of us, offering thousands of designs that didn’t convert. But, of course, the customers didn’t know that.
We really want to build a healthy community where everyone will grow. We don’t want to hide behind terms of service for profit and end up with unhappy customers
They preferred to join a project that has, let’s say 100k low-quality typography designs instead of joining us with 2000 designs that actually would bring them a lot of sales. Being the CEO of the company, I decided to delay the launch of the project for one year instead of releasing low-quality artworks that wouldn’t convert and end up disappointing people.”
Now that POD-frenzy is up and running: What does a normal workday in your life look like?
“As CEO I want to be and stay involved in every aspect of the project. At the start of the day I analyse our ads from the previous day, synchronize our designers to design relevant artwork for upcoming events and brainstorm with my partner about our business strategy for the upcoming month.”
You are currently developing a new course. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
“We are constantly creating new and updated courses. The first course was created by me: It teaches you how to create your Print On Demand shop through Shopify. For a free course, it has tons of value. I included everything a newbie needs to know. The course shows you how to build your website, design simple artwork and even includes some basic facebook marketing strategy.
The course I am currently working on will be for ETSY and we will get feedback from our community on what they want to learn next.”
What are your plans for the future?
“My plan is to help as many people as I can in these difficult times. Following the pandemic, the “working from home” model has become more popular. We will try to improve our products and services in this direction to help more and more upcoming entrepreneurs achieve their goals.
We are writing the year 2021 and, as you’ve mentioned, the “working from home” model has become more widespread. Do you think the POD market is oversaturated?
Not even close: There are 7,9 billion people in the world. Most of them want to have nice and unique T-Shirts or hoodies to wear.
The worldwide apparel industry market continues to grow about 5% per year and I don’t think this trend will stop. And POD is not just about apparel: POD businesses can focus on a variety of products like mugs, keychains and pillowcases. Then, there is also the possibility to sell on multiple marketplaces and even set up your own shop.
Asking if POD is oversaturated is like asking if the music industry is oversaturated. The answer is No, because new trends and artists appear all the time. Of course, you need to think a bit out of the box and have better designs or better brand awareness than your competitors. Pod Frenzy and our community can help with that.”
What advice would you give a person looking to start their own POD business at this moment in time?
“My suggestions is to start with an ETSY Print On Demand business. It’s a great way to start, because ETSY will bring a lot of free traffic to your store. Once you make about $200-$300 profit per month, you should move to Shopify and slowly start building your brand.
Asking if the POD market is saturated is like asking if the music industry is oversaturated
It’s important to have patience: Don’t expect to get rich within 1 month. Building your brand takes time. Even a company like Nike spent decades building theirs. My last piece of advice is to test different designs, prices, market places and mockups in order to find the sweet spot for your business.
What are the most common mistakes people make when starting their POD business?
They try to find the easiest and cheapest solution and then give up after only a few days. You cannot build a solid brand if you don’t invest time and money in your business. What you should do instead is follow the path others have taken and work hard at it. The question should not be “Will this work?”. Instead, you should ask yourself: “HOW and WHEN will this work for me?”
Of course, it’s impossible to move from a 9 to 5 mindset to a full-time entrepreneur mindset within a night. You need to be self-aware and ask yourself the right questions, if you want your POD business to succeed. Start by asking yourself:
“Why am I doing this?”
“How important is this for me?”
“What am I willing to sacrifice to build a successful brand?”
Building your brand takes time.
Even a company like Nike spent decades building theirs.
If you don’t have clear answers to these questions it’s better not to get involved in POD.
We’ve talked about the POD market, the challenges you’ve faced and the hurdles you had to overcome in starting your business. What makes it all worth it?
I find it most rewarding when a customer says one simple sentence: “Thank you, George”.
In all these years we helped over 10k people make sales, which means that we have helped a human being move closer to his dreams. It’s these small moments that feel the most rewarding.”
Overview of services that George Manousakis offers
As mentioned in the interview George Manousakis offers a lot of different courses and tools to start with print on demand or to grow your print on demand empire. We have created an overview with the tools and courses he offers:
|Designs||POD Designs||With over 20 different categories and hundreds of designs, this is a great place to start collecting high quality designs to sell for your print on demand business.|
|POD Design Bundles||If you like value, make sure to check out the section with design bundles for print on demand. There are some great deals to find there.|
|Services||Marketplace setup||This service is perfect for anyone who needs help to setup a store or account at ETSY, Redbubble, Teepublic or Teespring.|
|Shopify & Woocommerce store creation||Always wanted your own print on demand business, but don’t know how to setup Shopify or Woocommerce? Don’t worry as George and his team have over 7 years of experience in creating print on demand websites that convert! As a bonus, the service even includes finding the ideal niche for you, creating the website and guiding you for your first advertisement.|
|Custom Unique Design Creation||If the designs offered on his website aren’t enough, or if you need more specific designs for a certain niche, then you can hire design capacity to let his expert team create unique designs based on any niche.|
|Consulting||George has over 10 years experience in dropshipping and in the print on demand industry with over 2 million in total sales. Do you need help starting up your business? Or to scale it up? This is a great way to get help from an expert in the field.|
|Tools||Niche Calendar Finder||The Niche Calendar Finder is a great tool that contains over 4000 events. The tool helps to discover new hot selling niches and is great to get inspired for new design ideas.|
|Niche Rank Analyzer||The Niche Rank Analyzer is a premium tool that contains 1160 niches & subsets. It’s perfect to get more insight information, like search volume (potential) and an advanced star rate system for clothing, phone cases and more.|
|Course||FREE Shopify Course||This FREE Shopify Course has 2 hours of content and helps you covering all the steps you need to start your own print on demand business. Even though the course focusses on Shopify, it also covers topics like niche research, choosing a printing provider, designing and marketing.|
Want to read more interviews with Print on Demand experts? Make sure to check out our interview with Ryan Hogue!