Either you’re intrigued by the thought of a digital product business, or you’re thinking, “why would I want to do that?” Either way, it may be worth your time reading through the article to learn more.
Everything seems to be moving online, even before we got hit with the pandemic. COVID, however, seems to have shifted us into high gear.
And that’s why a digital product business might be worth your consideration. No matter if you’re working for yourself, or if you’re employed, you could always start a digital product business as a side hustle.
And, if you, like many today, operate a virtual practice, it might be a good fit to add digital products to your current services.
Why Start One?
There are lots of reasons to start a digital product business. Here are some of the more obvious ones:
- A digital product is something you can sell with little overhead.
- While creating the product takes time and up-front investment, but once complete, it takes little time and money to maintain.
- The costs to deliver the product are negligible, particularly when compared to products and services offered in a brick and mortar store.
- Digital products work for you while you’re asleep; once set up correctly, they really can create passive income for you.
- There are minimal risks and costs involved to get started with this business model.
Before we go much further, here’s a word of warning. You see, when it comes to starting an online business, there is a lot of hype online
You’ll hear things like:
- It’s super easy: Yes, for some, it’s easier than others. There is a definite learning curve involved.
- You can make money in your PJs: Sure you can, if that’s your thing.
- You’ll have money coming in on autopilot: Once you’re marketing machine is working, sales seem to come in on autopilot; however, it takes time and effort to get there.
- Get rich fast: Very, very unlikely to happen. Like any other business, a digital product business takes time to build.
So what is a digital product? Well, it’s anything you can sell that has no physical presence or component. While there is a wide variety of digital product types, we will cover the most common categories here.
Chances are that’s what you thought about you heard digital product. Am I right? And even though they’ve been around for some time, Ebooks still have some advantages over other digital products.
- They are easy to create. Once you’ve completed the content, you add images and format the document before converting it to a PDF. Alternatively, you could hire someone to write the ebook for you.
- Ebooks are easy to sell on a variety of platforms, including Amazon, Apple Books, E-Junkie, Payhip, Book baby, to name a few.
To be successful with Ebooks, you must offer something genuinely useful to the reader. So if you have a skill to teach, helpful information to impart, or a unique experience to share, then selling Ebooks is an excellent option.
Compared to Ebooks, Software is at the opposite end of the spectrum.
On the one hand, unlike ebooks, software is far more challenging to produce and requires a fair amount of technical knowledge. And while there are app building programs out there, they will not give you the control you need to build something unique, powerful, and functional.
But on the other hand, while software takes more technical skills, if you have a great idea for a piece of software, you can always hire someone to develop it for you. In general, software tends to create more interest, encounters less competition, and is easier to market compared to Ebooks.
But there is a drawback. Software not only takes more work upfront, but it also takes more work to maintain.
You’ll have to provide ongoing support for those with technical issues, in addition to providing regular releases to keep the software up-to-date.
Courses & Video Tutorials:
Courses and video tutorials fall in between Ebooks and software. As before, to be of benefit to people, a course must be useful and help in some way.
A course may be delivered in the form of an email sequence, a written course, or as mixed content featuring a combination of written, audio, and video lessons.
Creating a course or video tutorial takes technical know-how and perseverance. While these types of courses take longer to create, they are perceived as more valuable and command a higher price tag.
While creating a course may seem like a monumental task, you don’t have to go it alone. You can always hire someone to help you write the course, create graphics, and find images for it. Of course, you can also hire someone who can create the entire course, from A through Z, for you.
How Do I Start?
Once you know that you want to create a digital product business, these are the things you must do to get started.
- Research the market you want to serve
You probably have a good idea about the topic you want to write about or what area of expertise you want to share with the world. Start by researching this market to determine if people have any pressing problems, they would like to have solved and if you could provide a solution.
Too many people start a business without ever thinking about their market; they have something to offer but have no idea if anyone is looking for their solution.
- Decide on the market you want to serve
Once you’ve researched the market and done your due diligence, it’s time to decide what it is you want to do and who you want to serve.
Don’t move forward until you’ve completed this step! This one decision, more than anything else, will be the foundation for most all your other decisions.
- Choose a domain & hosting
To work online, you must have some web presence, independent from social media. Your domain name and hosting are the fundamental elements necessary to build a website, so you can post articles, videos and stay connected with your customers.
- Pick your Web platform
Your website resides on platforms like Wix, WordPress, Teachable, Kajabi, or any other platform of your choosing. Every platform offers different features and benefits, so you must take some time to evaluate what is right for you.
- Choose a payment processor
A payment processor is a service that collects payments on your behalf. It’s where people enter their card details so that you can collect their payments. The best-known payment processors are companies like PayPal and Stripe, even though there are many others.
Do you need a payment processor? Yes, you want to use a payment processor because to process payments yourself requires the tightest encrypted security and steps to keep the financial information of customers safe; Believe me, it’s easier and safer to utilize a payment processor from the very start.
- Create your product & offer
Once you’re done creating your product and offer, you’re all set.
So, what is an offer? The offer is simply a page that tells the world what you have to offer and why they might want to buy it. It is carefully crafted content used by prospective customers to determine if they will or will not purchase your product.
Congratulations! You have everything in place to start selling your first digital product.
While you may not have considered it before, it might be worthwhile to start a digital product business or add a line of digital products to your current business.
While starting an online business is touted as easy, it’s not necessarily the case. Like anything else, there is a learning curve, and it takes many moving parts to get the business off the ground, which takes patience.
At the same time, please know that it’s possible to start an online business. As long as you are willing to learn, put up with the frustration technology is guaranteed to put in your path, persevere, and commit to staying the course.
I wish you all the best with your digital product business!
We’d love to hear from you… leave us a comment below.
By Johanna Hofmann, MBA, MAc., EAMP; regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog and author of “Smart Business Planning for Clinicians.“