If you’re an entrepreneur looking to sell digital products online, you want to choose products that are aligned to your talents and areas of expertise. Thankfully, there are a lot of options available in 2023. So whether you fancy yourself a coder, artist, or influencer, there are plenty of opportunities to earn a living online with minimal overhead and a product that can be duplicated infinite times at little to no production cost.
1. Online Courses
Online learning courses have been around since the dial-up days, but their popularity has skyrocketed since the pandemic. And thanks to online learning platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and edX, it’s easier than ever for knowledgeable individuals to earn a living sharing their expertise with the world. If you can record video and create presentations (and if you have an area of expertise to share), you can build profitable online courses.
The nice thing about an online course is that you don’t have to re-teach it every semester. Once you create the initial coursework, it’s available to be downloaded and reviewed for years to come. And while you might occasionally need to make updates or expand your coursework, this is much easier than having to continually re-teach the same material to new students.
2. Digital Art
If your skills lean toward the fine arts or graphic design, there are countless ways to sell digital art. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have become especially popular in the last couple of years, although the future of the NFT market is still uncertain.
One of the easiest ways to profit from digital art is to create virtual designs that consumers can print on demand. Sites like Society6 and Redbubble make it easy to showcase your artistic works in the online equivalent of an art gallery. Interested buyers can purchase and download your work at the click of a button. If graphic design is your thing, you can also create and sell templates for social media layouts, book covers, concert flyers, and just about anything else imaginable.
3. Stock Photography
While we’re on the subject of art, stock photography also remains a massive market. Take high-resolution photos and offer them on sites like Shutterstock, iStock, Dreamstime, or even your own website.
With stock photos, buyers pay for different licenses depending on the size/resolution of the photo and the intended use of the image. If you excel at taking eye-catching photos, this can be an extremely lucrative endeavour.
Making a comfortable living from podcasting is not easy. There’s a ton of competition out there, and you need a massive listener base to draw even a meagre amount of ad revenue. However, if you’re passionate about broadcasting and you have a knack for creating entertaining audio or video content, this might be the best digital product for you.
There are two primary ways to make money from podcasting. You can rely on advertising revenue, or you can sell your content to subscribers (the latter method is often done through a service like Patreon). Some podcasters opt for a hybrid model that incorporates both ad revenue and subscription-based perks.
Selling ebooks has never been easier. Thanks to on-demand services like Amazon KDP, you don’t even need to worry about details like book formatting, distribution, creating digital files, or acquiring an ISBN number. All you need is an idea and some basic writing chops. All of the technical details can be worked out at the click of a button.
Ebooks can include novels, memoirs, instructional guides, self-improvement books, health and fitness materials, and just about anything else imaginable. As with online courses, it’s all about finding your most knowledgeable niche and offering value to the people receiving the information.
6. Membership Sites
A membership site is an effective way to generate passive income from subscribers who can benefit from your service on a continuous basis. If your skills lie in software development, this is an excellent time to get into software as a service (SaaS)—cloud-based software that businesses and individuals can access online as part of a subscription. Consider that the SaaS market is worth $195 billion in 2023. Other types of membership sites can include life coaching services, premium news websites, and just about any area where subscribers would be willing to invest in content they can’t find anywhere else.
Consider some of the innovative ecommerce subscription models that are available, and find your niche in a market that continues to pay dividends month after month.
7. Smartphone Apps
Consumers spent nearly $130 billion on mobile apps in 2022. In addition, the average person has over 80 apps on their phone. Much like with podcasting, there are multiple ways to generate income from smartphone apps—the free ad-supported model and the premium pay-per-buy (or pay-per-month) model.
You don’t have to have coding skills to develop a profitable smartphone app. If you have an idea that’s unique and marketable, there are services that will design and implement the app on your behalf for an upfront cost. Then you can reap the passive income.
8. Virtual Events
If you have a knack for event planning, there’s also money to be made in organizing virtual events. People will pay for events like educational seminars, book club meetings, online speed dating, and many other types of events that are traditionally done in person.
If you work with a virtual event platform, make sure to acquaint yourself with the rules. Some platforms strictly forbid profiting from events. But if you’re dedicating your time to organizing and hosting events, and you’re genuinely enriching the lives of attendees, many will be happy to contribute financially.
9. Affiliate Websites
If you don’t have a digital product to sell but you know how to market like a pro, there’s still a lot of money to be made in affiliate marketing. As an affiliate, you promote someone else’s product on your website—usually while drawing traffic to that company’s site. Every time your endorsement lands a sale, you get a cut of the revenue. If you promote a lot of products and generate a lot of search engine traffic, it’s still possible to make a comfortable living from affiliate marketing. Think of it like selling physical products through an entirely digital channel.
There are downsides to affiliate marketing, though. For one thing, you don’t actually own the product, so your cut of the profits is small. Plus, it can be difficult to land prominent search engine rankings for an affiliate site (Google tends to assign less authority to these types of sites) unless you have a rock-solid SEO team working on your behalf.
10. Skilled Trades
This last item is more of an honourable mention since it’s not a “digital product” that can be duplicated without the intervention of the person providing the service. However, if you have a skill that you can offer on demand, like writing, voiceover recordings, financial accounting, SEO, or language translation, you can offer your services digitally using a service like Fiverr, Upwork, or SolidGigs.
By offering your skills online from the comfort of home, you’re essentially making yourself the digital product. And there’s significant profit potential if you have a truly marketable skill. As the saying goes: If you’ve got what it takes, someone is going to take what you’ve got.
Have a Strategy Selling Digital Products & Making Money Online
Whether you sell videos online, dabble in NFTs, or run a subscription service for mental health, you need to have a game plan for your online business when you create digital products. Make sure to research the competition, constantly fine-tune your product, and focus on providing real value to consumers.
And if you want to maximise your profits, skip the large online platforms and build your own website with ecommerce capabilities. All you need is a good merchant services provider like Unicorn Payment to handle the payment transactions on your behalf.
Creating digital products can be richly rewarding. Just make sure that the product aligns with your passions, your skills, and public demand, and you’re already halfway to success.