Gone are the days of a steady 9-5 being the only way to live a comfortable lifestyle. The internet has become such a prevalent way of doing business that anyone with the motivation to learn how can start a side-hustle selling virtual products online.
The “Great Resignation” has led to a massive shake-up in the job economy, and many people found they much prefer working from home instead of going into the office every day.
If you are among those looking for ways to supplement, or even replace your income, you may be surprised by how many revenue streams you can create with virtual products.
What is a Digital Product?
A digital product does not have a physical form that you can transfer or store. For example, you can’t hold a digital marketing course in your hands. Another example is a video created to only be viewed online.
Digital products are in demand because of the endless possibilities the internet provides. There are many problems that digital products can solve in a way that physical products can’t.
For example, digital courses make it much easier for people to learn specific skills by watching online tutorials or reading e-books that can be downloaded on demand.
The Age of Information has conditioned us to expect easy access to almost anything we need to find online. As long as people are willing to pay for access to these virtual products, there will be a market for selling them.
Most Profitable Digital Products
There is a huge demand for original images of landscapes, tourist destinations, cities, stock photos, and other pictures. Sites such as Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, Envato Elements, and Freepik will pay for professionally edited, original photos.
Packages and Creative Products
If you have graphic design skills or are proficient in specific software apps, consider offering your services online. Some examples of what people will pay you for are:
- Ready-made PowerPoint templates
- Logos and Icons
- Animated GIFs
- Adobe After Effects
- Sound effects videos
- Digital Calendars, To-Lists, Planners, etc.
All of these are digital products that are in demand. Even professionals who know how to create these products often purchase them instead to save time.
There’s a large market for digital prints that are print-on-demand. This means you don’t produce the product until it’s actually sold. The benefit is that you can outsource the production and never have unsold inventory to keep on hand. Customers place the order, along with their design choice. You order from your supplier and have the products shipped directly to your customer.
Some popular examples include:
- T-shirts, hoodies, caps
- Mugs, pens, tote bags
- Custom phone cases
- Dog bandanas
- Custom Jigsaw puzzles
There’s no shortage of websites for you to sell your print-on-demand products on, including Merch by Amazon, Printify, Prodigi, and Zazzle.
E-books are one of the most prevalent digital products available. You don’t need to write a novel to make money, either. While writing on a topic you are knowledgeable about is a great place to start, there’s a massive demand for all categories of e-books.
According to Statista.com, revenue in the eBooks segment is projected to reach US$17 Billion in 2022.
While literature and fiction (including children’s books) are the top-selling categories, there are many other types to consider. Could you write about any of these topics?
- Business and Money
- Self-Help (146)
- Cook Books, Food & Wine
- Politics & Social Sciences
- Health, Fitness & Dieting
- Parenting & Relationships
- Crafts, Hobbies & Home
- Education & Teaching
- Travel (Destinations and Itineraries)
Two of the most well-known platforms for selling e-books are Amazon Kindle Store and the Google book store. Other sites that make it easy to sell digital products include Gumroad, Payhip, SendOwl, and E-Junkie.
Enrollment in digital courses grew exponentially over the pandemic. Online sites such as Coursera reported a three-fold increase in new registrations, bringing their numbers to 71 million in 2020 and 92 million in 2021.
Educational courses can use videos, images, written texts, and interactive materials to teach students. There are courses for virtually every topic imaginable. (If not, you can create one!)
Are you a travel agent? You could produce an easy course on how to create your own itineraries. Are you skilled in baking, speaking a foreign language, or playing a musical instrument? You could write a course for others who want to learn and prefer a digital format.
You can make money selling digital courses on various platforms, including your own. Here are two options for you to consider:
- Use a specialized platform such as Udemy or Teachable to host all course materials.
- Design your own website and host your educational course files there.
There are many ways to create passive income and virtual products make it even easier. Digital sales are on the rise and those who want to take advantage of them can make enough to supplement or even replace their full-time income. There’s no limit to what you can produce and sell online with a bit of creativity.
Karee Blunt is a nationally syndicated travel journalist, focused on discovering destinations and experiences that captivate and inspire others through her writing. She is also the founder of Our Woven Journey, a travel site focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.