What is a digital product? And why should an entrepreneur focus on digital products instead of just their physical counterparts?We live in an increasingly diverse marketplace. People are earning money from a variety of endeavors, whether they hang out a single online or start a brick-and-mortar business.I believe that digital products offer the easiest and least expensive point of entry for any aspiring entrepreneur.
A product is any item that you can sell to someone else in exchange for cash or barter. It could be a piece of produce, an electronic gadget, or a comfy couch. A digital product is any product you sell online that doesn’t have physical form or substance. You can’t hold a website theme in your hand, smell an e-book, or taste a software program.
However, you can turn digital products into physical products. For instance, many people buy e-books in PDF format, then print them on their computers. The product becomes physical, but it started out in digital format.
1. Make More Money
Let’s get real: This is probably the #1 reason most people decide to sell a digital product. Many people hear about these crazy 5-figure launches and just can’t resist! While most people shouldn’t expect to sell hundreds of thousands of dollars – especially on their first go – there’s no doubt that selling digital products can be a great way to earn passive income.
2. Spend Less Time Working
Who doesn’t want to spend less time working?The beauty of digital products is that you create them once and then, can sell them again and again.Selling digital products means much of your work is done upfront, leaving you more time for working on other parts of your business – or better yet, doing something fun!And if you’re really smart, you’ll automate much of your work, leaving you even with more free time. Do this through building out an amazing sales funnel, engaging affiliates and hiring someone to do the rest!
3. Help More People
If you’re a service-based business owner, you already know that there are only so many people you can serve.There are only 24 hours in a day, and this limits how many people you can work with.With a digital product, you can serve an unlimited number of people. Once you’ve created your product, anyone can buy it, anywhere in the world, at any time of the day.
4. Work From Anywhere
If you’re currently selling physical products, you likely have to spend much of your time at the office – managing inventory, dealing with customers, shipping products, etc.One benefit of selling a digital product is that you can literally work from anywhere in the world: from home, from the bus, even from the beach.
5. Start Selling Quickly
One of the things I love most about selling digital products is how easy it is to make money quickly.With physical products, you need to source your products, upload photos and descriptions to your website, manage inventory and shipping, etc. With digital products, you pretty much just have to create them, upload them to your site, and you’re done.This means you can literally create your product one day, and start selling it next!
6. Low Overhead
I’ve alluded to this above, but it bears repeating.When selling digital products, you won’t have most of the overhead costs that are associated with a brick and mortar or even physical product-based business.
A complicated e-commerce website
Employee salaries and benefits: While you still may employ staff or contractors to help run your business, you’ll likely find you need far less hired help when selling digital products.
Selling digital products means skipping out on most of these expenses, which means much higher profit margins, and more money directly in your pocket!Selling digital products means skipping out on most of these expenses, which means much higher profit margins, and more money directly in your pocket!
7. No Middleman
When dealing with physical products, you usually have to work with manufacturers or wholesalers who will supply your product(s). Depending on your strategy, you may also be working through an online marketplace like Amazon…which just adds another layer of complexity and cost.
With digital products, you can often just create your product and sell directly it through your website.This means you’re not sharing your profits with anyone and can maintain a direct line of communication with your customers!
8. Unlimited Stock
Ever worry about running out of stock?With physical products, running out of stock can seriously hurt your reputation, sales and even your search engine rankings.When selling a digital product, this isn’t an issue. Once you’ve created your product, you can sell an unlimited amount, and never have to worry about running low on inventory again.
9. Leverage the Audience You’ve Already Built
Do you have an audience online who trusts you, listens to you and always wants more from you? If so, creating and selling digital products is a great way to leverage this important asset.Create products based on what you know your audience wants, and then let them know about it via your email list, website, and social media following.By doing this, you’ll find that not only do you make more money, but you provide more targeted, relevant help to your audience!
10. Opportunity to Flex Your Creative Muscles
If you love writing, teaching, videography, design, or app creation, selling digital products will give you tons of opportunities to use these skills and passions.As you come up with new ideas, you can continually create new content that you can sell. So, not only are you able to “flex your creative muscles”, you’re establishing a consistent source of revenue – all while doing what you love!
PROFITABLE DIGITAL PRODUCTS
An online course is just like an in-classroom course except that you teach online via text, video, and audio assets. Your customers learn via distinctive modules based on the name of the course and the material you want to convey.
Customers can take your course in their own time without having to worry about meeting deadlines or stressing themselves out. Plus, you can create courses of different sizes and at different price points.Some customers create dozens of courses, while others stick to one flagship course. It’s entirely up to you. Plus, down the line, you can create other digital products that complement your courses.
E-books are growing in popularity month over month. In 2015, more than 220 e-books flew off virtual shelves, and experts predict that e-books will eventually take over physical books in terms of sales.You can write an e-book on any topic you like. The best news is that, once you complete the product, you don’t have to do any further work — other than marketing, of course. It allows you to earn passive income over months and years.
As the entrepreneur, you decide on the e-book’s length and content. You can either self-publish it on your website or seek a traditional publisher.If you already have customers who have bought your online courses and other digital products, you can introduce them to your e-book. You have a built-in pipeline of potential customers.
Since millions of people publish content on the web every day, there’s a constant demand for unique photography. Stock photo sites, such as Fotalia and iStockphoto, buy images from creators just like you.Alternatively, you might want to sell your photographs from your own websites. Many fine art photographers take this route so they don’t have to share their profits with established marketplaces.
A great way to get people excited about your photography is to post your images on sites like Flickr and Instagram. These platforms allow you to retain all rights to your photos, which protects your intellectual property while exposing you to potential customers.Keep in mind that you can sell photographs in many different ways:
Digital files only
Novelty prodthem with your images on them
Major labels no longer control what music makes it into the headphones of your average consumer. Indie musicians can make excellent livings by selling their creations by themselves.You can record your own music, then make it for sale anywhere you wish. The freedom to explore your own musical talent and to retain creative control over your output can be freeing as a creative.
Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about dealing with bureaucratic red tape. Instead, you can focus exclusively on your music.Since you no longer need to produce a physical product, such a CD, you can make your music available exclusively as digital files. People can then listen to them on MP3 players, their computers, and other devices.
5. Web Elements
There’s a huge demand for web elements in today’s economy. For instance, many people earn six or seven figures by selling WordPress themes.Premium web design templates create passive income because you only have to create the theme once. You might have to update it from time to time because of changes to the content management system (CMS), but that’s far less work than creating a whole new product from scratch.
Additionally, you can create as many web themes as you want. The more you provide, the more customers you can potentially convert.Other web elements can also prove popular in the marketplace. You might sell thematic elements for a web design, such as navigational buttons, header images, font combination suggestions, social sharing buttons, and more. If you’re creative and artistic, there’s no limit to what you can create and sell.
6. Research and Data
Conducting one’s own research and data can absorb considerable time. Some people don’t want to expend that energy to gather data in one convenient place.That’s where you come in. Selling data — such as information about your industry or the results of your own studies — can prove massively popular. People who buy that data can then use it to inform their own businesses.
7. Software Programs
If you’re a computer whiz, creating a new piece of software might launch you into the stratosphere in terms of potential revenue. People love software because it inevitably cures a pain point.These days, many software programs are sold as subscriptions instead of licenses. In other words, your customers pay a nominal monthly fee to use your software. As long as they pay, they retain access.
In many ways, the subscription model offers better revenue potential than licensing. If you sell licenses, you get paid just once. The customer never has to give you another dime. However, you can decide what payment model makes the most sense for your business and wallet.
Speaking of apps, it’s possible that mobile applications have become even more popular than software packages. However, they’re essentially the same thing — just one a different platform.For instance, people used to play games installed via CD-ROM on their computers. Today, they can play similar games on their phones or tablets via an app.
Some apps involve a small charge, while others are so-called “freemium” releases, which means that you can include in-app purchases for people who want more features, benefits, or information.You don’t even need technical skills to develop an app. You can hire a freelance developer to help execute your idea and pay a flat fee. Many entrepreneurs take this route.
Most podcasts are free. Entrepreneurs and creatives use them to promote their brands, products, or services.However, you can also create a subscription-based podcast that offers more features, in-depth guidance, and more. There are numerous ways to do this.
For instance, you could create a subscription-based podcast for which people pay you directly. It would work just like a traditional membership site except that the content is exclusively audio.You could also take the freemium route. People can listen for free, but if they pay, they get bonus features, extra audio, and other incentives. For example, many creatives use services like Patreon to fund their podcasts and other creations.
If you’re the crafty sort, creating your own patterns for cross-stitching, knitting, crocheting, watercoloring, and more can help you assemble a salable digital product. People are always looking for fresh, new patterns with which to create and decorate their homes.
Once you have a product to sell, you have to find a place to sell it. This can depend on what kind of product you make. For example, you’ll likely want to sell a digital book or audiobook on a platform geared for that like Amazon or Audible.
I recommend having your own site to sell digital products in addition to third-party marketplaces. That way, you have more direct control over the relationship with your customers. You can also often avoid the hefty service fee that many platforms solve.
Sure, you could set up a website on your own and create the backend needed to offer online courses, membership sites, and other digital products. Creating such a setup would take hundreds of hours of work — and that’s if you have the skills necessary to do it.