What are digital products?
Digital products are any intangible goods that you deliver electronically rather than physically ship. They are usually shipped through email or as a direct download from the Internet.
So what are the different types of digital products you can create? There are soooo many, so please take a deep breath before I unleash the avalanche of ideas!
Ready, set, go!
- Software & Apps
- Online Courses
- E-publications such as eBooks, Workbooks
- PDF Guides
- Scripts & Plug ins
- Creative Design Resources (stock photos, templates, illustrations, graphic elements, and more)
- Online Conferences or Summits
- Subscription Services
- Email Courses
- Digital Templates & Patterns
- Online Workshops
- Online Communities
- Membership Sites
- Use your imagination!
Digital products are great for online businesses because of their formats and they make for great passive income streams.
Advantages of creating + selling digital products
There are many great reasons to sell digital goods. I highly recommend my clients to build online businesses that sell digital products as it maximises the leverage you can get from key world trends and technologies.
When it comes to digital products, it’s pretty much "make once, sell multiple times." The cost of selling one item is usually the same as selling thousands of items. This is one huge advantage over a traditional business model of selling a service or physical goods. Once you’ve developed the e-product, you’ll be able to sell it over and over again on autopilot without any direct increase in cost of goods or materials. And this, my friend, is your first class ticket to get out of the time-for-money cycle!
Lower start up and production costs = lower risk
Since nothing physical is produced or shipped, digital products are far less expensive to produce. This also means less risk for the business.
Developing a digital product is generally cheaper compared to physical products. Most of the cost will go towards developing the contents - design, copywriting, photography, illustrations, website development. You will want to pay attention to the quality of the design and there are many options available ranging from premium quality designers to affordable freelancers to bootstrapping DIY solutions. You’ll be able to create your digital product even if you have a modest shoestring budget.
If you are a designer or web developer with the necessary skillsets and already have the programs/softwares required, you could even create your product at absolutely no cost. The only thing you need is time, creativity, and energy.
In the worst case scenario, if there’s a “crickets” situation and no one buys your digital product, you’ll be out of your time, but not necessarily much money.
No to low maintenance cost
Say whaaaa!?!? You mean unicorns do exist!?!?
Once the product is created. There is no need for warehousing as you’re not dealing with physical goods. Digital goods are non-perishable, which means they have an indefinite shelf life (but it’s always a good idea to continue to upgrade and evolve a digital product so that it stays current and relevant to your buyers).
Say goodbye to shipping. Say adios to tedious order fulfilment. And say sayonara to the biggest nightmare of all for online retailers - return of goods! Set up automated systems that will see through a sale from start to finish without you lifting a finger. Sit back, relax, and watch the cash till ring. Work less, make more. Ahoy!
Instant delivery and customer gratification
In this new economy, everything is about instant gratification. Consumer attention spans are short, and when they want something, they want it now. Digital products are perfect for immediate delivery and fulfilment. All that’s needed is for the customer to push on the BUY button.
This amazing ability to satisfy desires immediately also leverages on the consumers’ propensity to impulse buy. I'm not advocating that we abuse and exploit human weaknesses here, but if your product is going to truly benefit your customers, you'll want them to have a wee bit of impulse so you can reach out and help them.?
The internet doesn’t sleep. Imagine waking up from a solid 8-hour sleep… and you start your morning routine ... wash up … meditate ... grab your green smoothie/coffee/your own choice of morning poison …. sit down at your desk ready to start your work day... you crank open your laptop and holy cow... you've made a few hundred bucks overnight, while you were sleeping! How's that for starting the day on a right note?
This isn't a pipe dream. This is what's possible. I know because that's what my day is like!
You see, an online business is open round the clock, 24/7, 365 days a year. Eat that, brick and mortar shop!
The world is your oyster
The internet means the whole world can potentially be your customer. No geographical boundaries, baby! So you only need to nail a niche to make a living. "Niche?” Is that enough, you ask. Yes purty, when the world is your oyster, a niche can be a pweeety big deal.
The beauty of an online business is that you can run it from anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection. You used to need a laptop and an Internet connection. These days you can well run an entire business from a smart phone! How cool is that – Having your entire business in your pocket (for those prone to losing your phones, you might want to buy a leash!).
Easy to upgrade
Digital products allow for tweaks and improvements to be made easily. As you collect feedback from customers about what they like/dislike, what they would like to see more of, you can "upgrade" and "update" your digital source files. The beauty is that's the only copy you need to update! There's no need to start from scratch as you basically "build on" what's already been created.
This is not possible with physical goods which requires an entire batch to be disposed and a new batch created whenever an "improved formula" comes along. This is costly, and may as a result, deter swifter product iteration.
Disadvantages of creating + selling digital products
The biggest concern and drawback business owners have when it comes to selling digital products is illegal sharing and in some cases, illegal re-selling of your products (yes that has happened to me many times!).
The nature of digital format means that they can be easily copied, ripped, repurposed and shared. You do not have full control over your products. That’s just a risk that comes with the nature of online businesses. However, please don’t let this deter you. From my experience the benefits faaaarrrrrr outweigh the risks. ?
You probably won’t experience this when you’re starting out. After you’ve built authority and when people start ripping off your work, that’s actually a really good pat on the back! So think of it as a “good” problem and a form of validation. You have made it to the big leagues, my friend!
It is my dream to see more people living the life they want, working less (but smartly) and making more. If you’re passionate about making paper dolls (and cute outfits for these paper dolls), fun sheets for kids, dance videos, cooking shows, bunny training e-course, whatever you can think of which is fun for you – go for it!
The internet makes so many business ideas viable, which certainly wouldn’t have been in the old economy, for all the reasons discussed above.
No matter how small your start up capital, where you live or what your background, you can now potentially turn your passion and hobbies into your business.
Now go forth and multiply!
When you wake up every morning and remember you run a fully automated online business. ?
“Best thing since chai poh omelette!”
- Dan's Grandma
Did you enjoy this article? If you did, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter for more lovegrammes on creativity + business + happiness. Grandmas know best!