15 min 51 sec

Weekly Recap: How to Find Manufacturers for Your Product

In our fifth recap of Season II, we'll highlight the lessons learned in this week. Also: listener Q&A!
Alibaba Lessons Manufacturing Weekly Recap

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Notes from Chris

Episode 400

Today's recap explores a question that has been coming up a few different times. We've had a number of episodes featuring side hustlers who are manufacturing something from factories overseas, often doing some kind of customization or personalization, and putting a private label on it. The common question that comes up with this is "well, how do you find these manufacturers?"

I got a listener call-in message recently that I think explores this question really well, so listen to the recap for more on this concept.


Today we have a listener question from Jessica:

  • Jessica has been wanting to launch a print on demand side hustle for a while now, but she's overwhelmed with all of the platforms that she can use for something like this. How do you know which ones are real—which you can trust?

    If you're like Jessica and are looking to manufacture something for a print on demand side hustle, I'd recommend using Alibaba (check out their free trade assurance) to locate a manufacturer that you can trust will give you what you pay for.

    It may also be worth looking into this Alibaba 101 Guide from Shopify that gives you detailed steps that will allow you to safely source products from the world's biggest supplier directory.

    And for further examples of manufacturing side hustles, check out episodes 390, 394, and 398

If you have something you'd like to ask me or an update you'd like to share, I'd love to hear from you. Head on over to sidehustleschool.com/question and your question may be featured on the show!


Here's what we heard this week on Side Hustle School! Listen to this week's recap for a more comprehensive highlight reel.

  • Ep. 394 - Men’s overalls that double as sweatpants: yes, this is a thing—and an experiment to sell them brings in $64,000
  • Ep. 395 - A runner decides to create his own relay race, and then a marathon. Three years later he works full-time on producing 5 annual races
  • Ep. 396 - Turn up the heat! An electrical engineer becomes the cover model for an indie romance series. This leads to a side gig that pays an additional $20-50,000 a year
  • Ep. 397 - After leaving her day job to care for a new child, a music therapist also creates a new source of income
  • Ep. 398 - Tired of look-alike flag patches, this carpenter and frequent traveler creates his own designs based on a modern style with a nod toward 1920s luxury travel
  • Ep. 399 - In search of a way to improve his personal finances, this TV producer discovers a profitable project helping bloggers rid their posts of grammatical errors
Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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  • After seeing a mean comment on Dolly Parton’s Facebook page, a woman bakes up a hilarious and ironic side hustle
  • After answering the same questions over and over, this freelance writer opens an online school to help others break into the business
  • After two friends create a podcast for fun, it turns into a side hustle that generates $100,000 in its first year, multiple six-figures in year two, and a book deal in year three

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Quote of the Day
"Finding an overseas manufacturer for a custom product isn’t always simple, but there’s a specific process you can follow."

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau