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Selling digital products is a great way to start an online business with relatively no startup costs.

Okay, you might have to pay for website hosting and a subscription to a design service (like Canva – my favorite design tool to use) but it’s only $12.95/month.

But essentially, you can get started with very little funds.

But let’s talk about what a digital product is before we get into the nitty gritty of how to create and sell your own digital products.

What’s a Digital Product?

A digital product is a non-physical product you can sell online and have customers download (rather than shipping out a physical product like a book or t-shirt).

Digital products come in a variety of forms and you may have even heard of people making six figures selling digital products.

The key is that the digital product has to solve a problem or fill a need.

If not, you might have wasted your time and effort and may have to go back to the drawing board.

Do some research to determine what people are searching for. Try AnswerThePublic.com for a free way to discover what the public is searching for online.

That’ll give you an idea of what type of products would be most useful and profitable.

How to Sell Digital Products

Selling digital products isn’t that difficult at all. All you have to do is follow these steps to get started.

1. Choose an eCommerce Provider.

If you want to take the easy route and not have to pay anything upfront (minus the $0.20 fee to list each of your digital products), then Etsy might be your best bet. If you have some money to spend on eCommerce tools, Shopify is a top contender. There’s also Big Commerce and WooCommerce.

2. Find a Platform to Design Your Products.

Once you know what you’re using to sell your products and you’re all set up to sell, start creating your products based on the research you did earlier. Make sure to double check everything for spelling and grammar errors.

3. Upload Your Digital Products.

After you’ve created your digital product, you can upload it to your chosen platform. I currently use Etsy to sell my digital products, but I plan on moving my store to Shopify soon because it has more features that can help sell digital products.

4. Start Marketing Your Products.

Now that you’ve got a few products in your shop, you can start marketing your products so you can make some money, because that’s the goal, right?

You can use social media ads, Google ads, Etsy advertising, etc. to market your new digital products business.

What Kind of Digital Products Can I Sell?

1. Notebooks.

Notebooks are pretty easy to make when you use design tools with drag and drop features. And I hate to name-drop again, but Canva. I can’t stress how easy it is to create things in Canva.

Start creating your own notebooks and sell them online – Etsy, Amazon, Gumroad, etc.

2. Journals.

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Journals are another great way to earn some passive income online and they’re easy to design. All you really have to do is design the cover and then create the lined pages.

And voila – a journal that hopefully somebody will buy.

Rinse and repeat.

3. Resource Guides.

Resource guides for business owners can be a tremendous help so if you can put together some resource guides that you know would be helpful for business owners, you could sell them online for a decent profit.

Do some research before you dive in so you know what you’re creating would actually be useful for the people you’re trying to sell them to.

You can also try gift guides.

Related: How to Use Gift Guides to Create Passive Income

4. eBooks.

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The eBook market has never been hotter thanks to Corona, but even before that eBooks were gaining traction, especially on Amazon.

I write and publish short eBooks on Amazon and make a nice passive income doing it. I try to create two to three eBooks per month (or more if I can).

Try to publish as many as you can, but be sure you’re creating high-quality eBooks and writing about things people actually care about.

Research profitable topics for your eBook before you begin writing. The last thing you want is to spend hours creating an eBook only for it not to sell.

5. Workbooks.

Workbooks can help give people step-by-step instructions and a little hand holding as they work toward reaching whatever the desired goal is.

They’re also great ways to earn a little extra money on the side.

You can create workbooks for self-improvement, marketing, as an educational supplement for kids, etc. There are so many different topics you could use to make a workbook. Consistently create workbooks and you could start seeing a decent passive income.

6. Short Guides.

Short guides that teach people how to do something they want to learn can also be useful. You can give away a little bit of information for free and then make people pay for the more in-depth guides.

Sell them on your website, Shopify store, or on Amazon (or all three!).

You can also use them as lead magnets to build your email list.

7. Online Courses.

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Online courses are extremely popular right now and thanks to sites like Thinkific, Teachable, Udemy, and Coursera, you can create courses online pretty easily.

It’ll take some time to create your course, but once you do, you can make money from it over and over again.

8. Coaching Services.

Although this is not a product, you can sell your services online and create packages for it on your website or on third-party sites like Etsy.

I sell service packages on Etsy, but I plan on migrating my services to HoneyBook soon because it’s an all-on-one solution to sell services. They’ve got contract templates, invoice templates, email templates, and more.

And it’s just too complicated to offer services on Etsy unless you’ve got an easier method than using a PDF to provide a link to a questionnaire prospects can fill out to give you an idea of what they expect from your services. That’s how I’ve been doing it and it’s a bit of a tedious process.

9. Planners.

People buy new planners every year so capitalize on that and create beautiful planners that people can really enjoy.

Try to make your planners stand out by adding a little something unique. Maybe you could create some original drawings for the cover if you’re an artist. Think outside the box and try to make your planners different from all of the other planners out there.

10. Stock Photos.

Stock photos are a popular way to make some semi-passive income that doesn’t require a whole lot of work once you’re set up.

You just have to keep taking photos regularly and uploading them.

Sell them on stock photo sites like Pexels, Pixabay, Unsplash, or a similar site.

You can stick to one niche or take photos of any and everything.

11. Printables.

Baby shower games anyone? Baby shower games are popular on Etsy so you might have to do something a bit different to stand out.

But making printable of any kind (activity worksheets for kids, crosswords, games, puzzles, etc.) can be a lucrative way to make money online – that is, once you reach a certain amount of printables. Don’t expect to make $5k a month if you only have 10 printables in your shop.

Related: Why Opening an Etsy Shop Could be a Good Source of Passive Income

12. Web-Based Apps.

Web-based applications can be a great way to bring in money. If you know a little something about creating web-based apps, this could be a great way to bring in some extra money.

As with anything, figure out what people need and what other web-based applications are lacking and create something better, that’s more user-friendly, or that has better features. You get the idea.

Improve upon an old idea or create something fresh and unique. Find a problem that hasn’t been solved yet and you could make a killing.

13. Music.

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Indie musicians can actually make a decent side income with music. You can sell your original songs, beats, drum kits, or sound effects.

A lot of beginning artists use Sound Cloud to get noticed. You can also put your music on streaming services like Apple Music.

Tik Tok is another great way to get discovered. If someone uses your sound, it could really start to garner attention. I’ve actually found some pretty great artists and songs on Tik Tok, like Tyla Jane’s Energy and Free by Perri Jones.

You might also be able to sell your lyrics by entering songwriting competitions.

14. WordPress Themes.

You can make six or seven figures selling WordPress themes if you’re a designer. Take a look at some professional designs to get some inspiration by looking on Envato or scrolling through WordPress themes created by other designers.

You can price your WordPress themes as low as $40 or as high as $300 (maybe even higher – don’t quote me on this).

15. Tutorials.

Tutorials are usually free, but if you make ones that are longer and more-in depth, you could sell them. People will pay for them when it comes to complex programs or products that they really need to learn.

So do some research and figure out what products or programs people are really struggling with and then create some tutorials that’ll help them get the hang of whatever it is they need to get the hang of.

16. Audio Files.

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You can actually get paid to record audiobooks, which is essentially selling audio files.

Check out ACX.com for tips on how to get started getting paid to record audiobooks. Other sites like this include Voices and Voice Bunny, but a quick Google search can help you find even more companies that’ll allow you to do this (as long as you have the right kind of voice for the projects you want to work on).

17. Research and Data.

A lot of people really hate doing research (including the people who run the world’s top companies). So do the heavy lifting for them and create research reports for specific industries and sell them.

Figure out who your target audience is going to be and then start creating research and data reports that can help your target audience make important business decisions. That’s truly an invaluable resource for companies that rely on this kind of data.

18. Software.

Software that helps improve peoples’ lives in real ways is always going to be lucrative. If you can come up with an idea that can help change or transform the way people do things in a positive way, you could have a real winner on your hands – and some real money in the bank.

19. Digital Cookbook.

People are always looking for interesting new ways to eat their favorite foods (or new foods). If you’re a whiz in the kitchen, you might be able to make money selling your own delicious recipes.

You can even write your own digital cookbook and sell it on Amazon.

20. Templates.

People love done for you stuff right now. Anything to make running a business easier and the process for growing a business faster.

Create templates for startups and solopreneurs and sell them on Etsy, Gumroad, or Easy Digital Downloads.

21. Podcasts.

While the podcast itself would likely be free, you could use it to promote your digital products.

Or you could make your podcast accessible for a small fee.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure the content is something that provides value to your audience.

It could be about ways to make money online, ways to lose weight without exercising, or something else that helps people solve a problem.

22. Swipe Files

Swipe files make great digital products and you can make any kind you want. You can make one for copywriters filled with checklists, infographics, research, and more.

Marketers use swipe files to get ideas. Writers use swipe files to get inspiration. Creative entrepreneurs might use swipe files when they’re feeling stuck.

So create some swipe files and sell them to a specific audience.

23. Writing Cover Letters.

Know how to write great cover letters? Create a cover letter writing package offering your services or even pre-made cover letters that customers can edit themselves.

I have a cover letter writing package on Etsy that I plan to migrate to Shopify soon.

This is what mine looks like.

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24. Graphic Art Bundles.

New businesses are started every single day and that means new websites are being created every day. And those websites are going to need graphics so if you’re an artist, try creating and selling graphic art bundles.

Sell them on sites like Etsy, Gumroad, or create your own Shopify store and sell them there (which I highly recommend).

25. Author Bio Templates.

Authors hate writing about themselves. Trust me, I know. Selling yourself is like torture, like grasping at straws knowing they’re all the short one.

So write up some author bio templates (like I did) and sell them on Etsy. I’ve been selling them for $4.99, and I’ve been making sales on it. There’s no reason you can’t do the same.

26. Videos.

You can sell videos on pretty much any profitable topic you want.

You could focus on one niche or branch out and do random videos. Although niche-ing down might make you appear more credible.

You can easily create videos on Vimeo Create, Biteable, Canva, or similar sites.

27. Copywriting Templates.

New copywriters are springing up every day and they need to learn the craft. Why not create templates that can help them understand the craft (or to use in their own copywriting businesses)?

For example, you could create a sales letter template or a case study template.

28. eCommerce Product Descriptions.

Another service you can sell on Esty is eCommerce product descriptions. Most business owners aren’t the greatest writers so most of them are going to need someone to write the product descriptions for their products in a colorful, creative way that draws attention.

That’s where you come in. Practice by reading great product descriptions and reading articles about how to write great product descriptions.

29. Fonts.

Yes, it’s possible to create your own font. Just ask the people who’ve uploaded their own hand-written fonts on DaFont.com.

If you’re into calligraphy, you can sell your own fonts online and make a decent passive income doing it.

Start designing your first font today and research your options for selling your fonts.

30. Infographics.

If you’re good at creating infographics, you can make a business selling them to companies who need them.

I’ve seen several companies try to make them on their own and it wasn’t pretty, so trust me…they need people like you (whether they know it or not).

Start Creating and Selling Your Own Digital Products

Ready to take the leap and start selling your own digital products?

What kind of products are you thinking about creating? What products have you been successful with?

Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to share if you like what you read.

Author

Founder at The Ultimate Freelance Guide and author of The Ultimate Guide to Using Blogging to Boost Engagement and Drive Sales and Copywriting vs. Content Marketing: A Guide to Understanding the Difference Between the Two and Using Both for Maximum Engagement. Her work has been featured at USA Today and Small Biz Daily and she's written for clients like Columbia, LifeLock, eSurance, Anthem Health, USAA, Rev.com, Princess Cruises, and Rodan + Fields, among others.

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