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This story originally appeared on DollarSprout.
Are you looking for a way to scale your business and increase your income without being in the office all day? Digital products could be the solution you are looking for.
There are endless digital product ideas that you can use to start your own business, take your business to the next level, or just make extra income.
A digital product is created, sold and used digitally. There is no physical product. You will only use it online, on your mobile device or in your web browser.
There are many reasons why selling digital products is one of the best and easiest ways to generate passive income.
The start is inexpensive. There is no inventory to buy in advance, no store to rent, or packages to ship. You can use free and inexpensive tools to make a product. Often times, the only investment is to pay fees to the sales platform you use.
Digital products are passive. You can make a product once and sell it again and again, whether you work or not. Selling a service online is a great way to start your own business. However, this can be time consuming and you may only be able to serve a few customers. With digital products, you can sell and make money online anytime of the day to as many people as you want.
Digital products are scalable. When selling a service, your income is limited by the number of hours you have to work in a day. When you sell a digital product, you can grow your business exponentially without increasing the number of hours you work.
19 Digital Products That You Can Sell Online
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There are many types of digital products and they all differ in how passive they are. Some put it in and forget about it, while others require maintenance. You can divide most of them into three categories:
- Completely passive: You have invested the time to create the product once and sell it indefinitely. These products are usually cheaper and income can be sporadic.
- Semi-passive: The product is passive, but it may occasionally need to be marketed or updated. These are high-ticket digital products and the income opportunities are greater.
- Occasionally active: These are usually subscription or membership-based products. Income is more consistent, but you need to actively maintain it at least once a month.
A combination of these three passive income streams is best, and there are many digital product ideas that can be used to create a range of products that will suit your business and increase your bottom line.
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If you enjoy writing, there are a number of ways that you can generate passive income through e-books. You can self-publish a range of novels or non-fiction books on Amazon, record an audiobook on Audible, create guided magazines or coloring books, or sell digital books on your website.
You can even make money by giving away your e-book by adding a special offer to your readers on a more expensive service or digital product. Russel Brunson gives his books away for free (you just have to pay shipping costs) to teach people how marketing funnels can increase sales and also sells marketing funnel building software.
2. Online courses
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More than ever, people are discovering the value of online courses for learning skills and training. You can create a text, audio, or video-based course and publish it on a course aggregator such as Coursera or Udemy. A better option might be to sell a course from your own website through a platform like Teachable or Outschool.
Do you think there is already a course on your expertise? Don't be intimidated. People may still want to hear what you have to say. For example, there are many courses on freelance writing, but each has its own set of benefits. This is why someone would buy yours from a course already on offer.
Any knowledge or skill can be converted into a course. Alec Steele teaches blacksmithing in several courses, all of which are offered online.
Many courses are "evergreen," which means that the content is always relevant and not tied to a date or event. These courses are usually completely passive. However, you can often make more money by “starting” your course at certain times throughout the year. The time-limited offer gives people a sense of urgency and can increase sales.
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If you don't have the time to write an e-book or create a full course, consider creating a workshop instead. You can host a live or recorded workshop, also known as a webinar, once and sell it on indefinitely. The webinar can also serve as a guiding magnet for the later sale of a higher-priced product or service.
In general, once you've recorded the webinar, you don't need to update it unless you want to change the content or information. To increase sales, you can set up automated ads that drive traffic to your workshop.
4. Instructions or tutorials
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From archery to zoology, if you have experience or specialized training in anything, you can make money selling short guides or tutorials with step-by-step instructions to do or learn.
Tutorials are similar to workshops in that they usually teach one skill, as opposed to a course that teaches multiple. Instructions and tutorials can be written, created as a video, or a combination of both.
Most of the skills that you would write or record a tutorial for don't change often, so this product is completely passive.
5. Membership page
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A membership page or monthly subscription is a digital product that members pay for monthly and get something new every month. New content every month may not sound like a passive income source, but there are a number of ways you can set one up to be largely passive.
You can create all of your content for a year in advance and let it fall out a little each month. Or, you can create a course that students pay monthly for and post content for a specific number of months.
You can even create a membership page with some digital product templates like video courses, meal plans, and exercise routines. The developers at KetoConnect have created a membership page with courses, e-books, recipes, and videos that are not available on their website and have made a new video available to their members every week.
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Selling worksheets, checklists, schedules, games, or coloring pages is a great way to generate passive income. If your prints are complex, you can sell them individually or bundle simpler prints into sets.
Printouts are usually inexpensive products that Canva lets you create for free without limiting the number of copies sold.
The great thing about printouts is that you can sell them on Etsy and take advantage of existing traffic without having to create your own. WeCreatePrints is only available on Etsy and has only been sold since 2019. The printable murals have already been sold almost 2,000 times.
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Designing templates for printouts, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and graphics for social media can also generate passive income. You can design templates for free in Canva or Google Sheets or Slides and add instructions on how to copy the template for customization.
You can sell them on your own website using software like SendOwl and websites like Creative Market or Etsy.
8. Commercial music
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Videographers and editors are constantly looking for royalty-free music and sound effects for YouTube videos, commercials, and possibly even movies. If you are a musician, you can make residual income by licensing your music for commercial use.
You can create each title once and sell it indefinitely. However, you have to keep creating new music to generate repeat customers. You can sell royalty-free music and sound effects on sites like HookSounds and Bensound.
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Whether it's a raise or a best man speech, people are often at a loss as to what to say. Pre-built scripts for negotiations, speeches, sales pitches, fundraisers, and more can help people say whatever they need to say when it comes down to it.
You can sell these scripts on sites like Fiverr or your own website. Deeper Than Money's Chloe Elise makes $ 75,000 a month mostly passively. One of their digital products is a bundle of scripts that can be used to negotiate lower prices for over 20 issues.
10. B-roll footage
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B-roll is complementary footage used in film and television production. Thanks to YouTube's popularity, you don't have to have expensive cameras to earn passive income selling B-roll. You can shoot footage with an iPhone to create an affordable B-roll for YouTubers on a budget.
You can even post your videos on YouTube with commercially used music as meditations or background material. You'll earn residual income once you meet YouTube's monetization requirements.
As with music for commercial use, you can sell a scene of footage over and over again, but your greatest chance at scaling is when you have a wide variety of b-rolls to choose from. This means there are a few that you will have to create before you can create a database.
Read how beginners can make money on YouTube.
11. Mobile apps
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90% of the time we spend on our phones is spent with apps. Depending on the nature of your business, a mobile app might be the best digital product for you. You can make money through in-app ads, affiliate links, or simply by charging a fee to download or use the app.
Services like BuildFire will build an app for you, or you can use one of their templates to build an app without any programming experience. You need to update your app and add features to keep it working and motivate users to come back. Otherwise a mobile app is mostly passive.
Beth Moncel of the Budget Bytes blog made a mobile app with all of her recipes for $ 2.99.
12. Plugin or extension
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If you have a website, you probably know about plugins. If not, you may be using Google Chrome and have used or installed browser extensions. Many are free, but you can actually charge for specialized plugins and extensions.
WordPress plugins or Chrome extensions that use an algorithm to quickly complete an otherwise difficult task can be very lucrative and passive. Spencer Haws made over $ 4,000 in a week selling a Chrome extension that did just that with Amazon textbooks.
As with a mobile app, you need to update the plugin or extension regularly for it to work properly. That being said, it will passively make money.
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Businesses use photos on their websites, social media, advertising, and even YouTube channels. You can sell your photos on a photo website or start your own photo subscription service. You also don't need fancy equipment to sell photos. Your smartphone camera should be sufficient.
You can passively sell individual photos on sites like Shutterstock or Adobe Stock, or create your own. With your own website, you need to keep updating your portfolio to get the most out of the digital products business.
14. Animations and vectors
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While stock photography is the most popular for websites, more and more website owners and bloggers are turning to animation and vectors to make them stand out. If you can design animation and vector art, you can sell them on the same sites as stock photography. You can also create your own subscription services. You can design your images with programs like Canva or Adobe Illustrator.
Build a library of images to sell for a completely passive income or update your listings regularly and use some marketing strategies to convince companies to use animation and vectors instead of photography.
15. Website theme
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Since creating your own website with a premium theme is much cheaper than hiring a website designer, many blog and website owners prefer to design their own. This opens up the opportunity for you to generate passive income by creating premium WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace themes through your website or a marketplace like ThemeForest and selling them to business owners on a budget.
Creating premium website themes is mostly passive. However, you need to keep the themes updated in order for them to work properly.
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Calligraphy and handwriting artists can convert their handwriting into fonts to sell to brides, event planners, and business owners for use on invitations, flyers, or even menus. You can create fonts in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop and sell them on sites like Creative Market or MyFonts. Usually they don't need to be updated.
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If you are familiar with a tape measure and have experience in construction, there is a good chance you can passively make money selling construction plans for home projects. Tree houses, pergolas, dog houses, and chicken coops are popular DIY projects that you can create multiple designs for.
Selling PDF downloads of blueprints is an easy way to generate passive income for a business that is typically service-based. You need to buy software to make the blueprints, but you can quickly recoup that money by selling the plans you made.
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Social media is dominated by visual content, but the developers are not all photographers and videographers. Presets are a preset location for photo settings that give you the edited look you want.
With presets for Lightroom, Photoshop, and other apps, users can easily publish fascinating images.
You can create a preset once and sell it directly from your website using an ecommerce platform like WooCommerce or Shopify. Presets are versatile and out of the season so you don't have to update a lot. However, you may want to promote them on social media.
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Planners help people plan their meals, exercises, goals, finances, and more. You can sell printable PDFs or physical planners on print-on-demand websites like CreateSpace and Lulu, or in your own store. Blogger Sarah Titus has made over $ 10 million selling planner pages and other printables through her website and Shopify store.
Aside from automated advertising, undated planners are completely passive. You can sell outdated planners for a semi-passive company or even a subscription to new planners every month.
Digital items are never sold out
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Digital products offer an inexpensive way to generate passive income without having to worry about inventory, storage or shipping costs. You can sell your products to a global audience at any time of the day.
When you offer a service, you create some digital products to scale and grow your business.
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, sometimes we get compensation for clicking links in our stories.