One of my absolute favorite ways to make passive income online is by selling digital products. I sold physical products for years but eventually no longer wanted the hassle of managing inventory and shipping. Selling digital products resolved many issues and provided me the nomadic lifestyle I wanted to build.
Digital products are intangible goods in the form of a digital file such as a .pdf, .mp3, .mov. They are often referred to as “info-products” notably if they are in the form of courses or educational eBooks. Digital products can consist of courses, eBooks, music, templates, code, games, and more.
Selling digital products online can be a very lucrative passive income business. In my case, selling digital goods makes up 20% of my passive income! I love selling this kind of product and I hope you will enjoy it as well 🙂
We will cover choosing a niche and a product to sell, creating it and selling it for passive income, as well as marketing it! Let’s dive in.
1. Chose A Niche You Are Passionate About
If you already have an idea of who you are selling to, especially if you already have a website or a YouTube channel on the topic, feel free to skip to step 2.
Choosing the right niche is essential to be successful in selling digital products online. As a general rule, in order to choose a digital product niche, take your skills and personal interests into consideration as well as seasonality, popularity, and how evergreen your choice is.
Personal Interests & Skills
It’s important to take your personal interests and skills into consideration when choosing a niche or target market. It’s even better if you are part of the niche because you can better understand their needs. If you have a personal interest in the niche you chose, it could also be easier to stay motivated to build a successful passive income stream.
Your skills are also important to consider since this will impact how long it will take you to create the digital product. For Example, if you would like to make a Lightroom preset but you’ve never used Adobe Lightroom before, it will take you much longer to actually create that digital product. Graphic designers, developers, musicians, and artists may have an easier time creating digital products because they already have the basic skills to create the content.
If you do not have the required skills to create a digital product, you could use Fiverr to find someone who already has the skills you need. Fiverr is a marketplace of creators who can create a wide variety of content including digital products for a low cost (usually $5 upwards). Outsourcing on Fiverr can save you time and effort if you lack the required skills. You can learn more about Fiverr in the following article on our blog.
Seasonal Digital Products
If your digital product can only sell a few days, weeks, or months out of the year, it is highly seasonal. Holiday-related digital products like Holiday cards are highly seasonal. Try to avoid seasonal digital products or beware that your sales will fluctuate depending on the time of year.
You can also use Google Trends to see how popular your niche choice is. If there are no searches for it in Google or YouTube, it’s probably best to choose a different idea. If the overall trend is heading downwards, it’s important to know that this niche is losing in popularity. Keep this in mind when making a choice.
Evergreen Digital Products
Evergreen content is content that will still be relevant a couple of years from now. So for example, if you create a recipe eBook, it will probably still be relevant a few years from now. However, if you create a digital product with the latest VR technology, it will probably be outdated in a few months.
It’s important to keep this in mind depending on how passive you want your digital product sales to be. The less evergreen, the more often you will have to update your digital goods.
2. Decide Which Digital Product(s) You Would Like to Sell
You can tell a wide variety of digital products online for passive income, including ebooks, graphic designs, DIY patterns, templates, educational content, code and audio files.
110 Digital Products Ideas For Passive Income
Here are 110 digital product ideas you can create and sell for passive income:
- Coloring Book
- Recipe Book
- Meal Plans
- Quote Prints
- CV Templates
- Children’s Stories
- To-Do Lists
- Meal Planner
- Invoice Templates
- 3D Object Templates
- Fiction Book
- Comic Book
- Graphic Designs
- Birthday Card
- Art Prints
- Wedding Invitations
- YouTube Covers
- YouTube Video Transitions
- Business Cards
- Lightroom Presets
- Phone / Desktop Wallpaper
- Social Media Templates
- Printable Envelopes
- Stock Photos
- Stock Videos
- Wall Art
- Holiday Cards
- Party Banners
- Powerpoint Templates
- DIY Content
- Gift Tags
- Clothing Patterns
- Crochet Patterns
- Embroidery Patterns
- Knitting Patterns
- DIY Wood Project Patterns
- Leather Working Patterns
- Quilt Patterns
- Sewing Patterns
- Sheet Music
- Fortune Teller Templates
- Craft Templates
- Cut-out Box Templates
- Origami Patterns
- Tattoo Templates
- Spreadsheet Templates
- Budget Calculator
- Idea Lists
- Corporate Templates
- Project Management Templates
- Social Media Tracker
- Business Planner
- Purchase Planner
- Weight Loss Tracker
- Timeline Template
- Gantt Chart Template
- Time Card Tracker
- KPI Tracker
- Mortgage Calculator
- Editorial Calendar
- Educational Content
- Video Course
- Video Tutorials
- Educational Games
- Homework Books
- Reading Books
- Architectural Content
- Office Layout Plans
- Tiny Home Plans
- “Build Your Own Furniture” Plans
- Rent Receipts
- Tiny 3D Village DIY Cutouts
- 3D Landmark Cutouts
- Coded Content
- WordPress Themes
- WordPress Plugins
- Shopify Store Themes
- Shopify Apps
- Ecwid Apps
- CSS Templates
- HTML Templates
- Digital Assets For Game Devs
- 3D Renderings
- Audio Files
- Ghost Music
- Background Music
3. Create Your Digital Products
Once you know exactly which digital product you would like to create, and the audience that you would like to sell to, it’s time to actually create your digital item. Below you will find tutorials and ideas to help you create your first digital goods.
It’s very easy to create an eBook, especially if you know your way around Microsoft Word or Google Docs. Watch the video above to learn how to make an eBook for free using Google Docs:
- Go to Google Drive
- Sign in to your Google Account
- Create a Google Doc
- Create Your File
- Download Your File to Your Computer
An e-book can be a book, a novel, a guide, a story, a script, a journal, a coloring book, it could be a recipe book and more. Keep in mind that ebooks do not have to be “stale” in the sense that it’s just words or text. You can add images, you can embed videos and more to make it more engaging.
If you are looking to make an image-based printable on a budget, you can use Canva! Watch the video above to learn how to make a digital product you can sell for passive income using Canva:
- Go to Canva.com
- Create an account
- Create Your Printable
- Download Your File to Your Computer
Printables can be coloring book pages, maps, posters, checklists, designs wall art patterns for crochet for example. If you would like to make a text-based printable, refer to the video in the section above about making an eBook since the same concept applies: you can use Microsoft Word or Google Docs to create your text-based printable.
You can sell digital goods in the form of audio files like music, podcasts, recordings, beats, jingles ghost music, and background music for example. If you have musical talent, know how to play an instrument, or have the skills to digitize music you can sell your creations online.
This passive income idea is specifically for developers or people who have experience with code. But you could sell web elements, templates, assets, CSS or HTML code content, 3D renderings, and games. We have a full list of passive income ideas for developers that could further inspire you if you would like to learn more.
Tips & Important Notes
You can sell practically anything you can download as a digital product. However, it is very important to make sure that you actually have the rights to sell these things before you get started selling. Taking and selling other people’s content could constitute a copyright infringement that can result in a lawsuit.
For example, you can sell photos but you need to make sure to obtain releases from models if you have people in your images. You may require releases or authorizations to use or sell products depending on licensing, where you’re selling, and who you’re selling to. However, do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without first seeking legal, financial, or tax advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.
You can combine multiple passive income ideas. For example, you could sell a course behind a paywall on a membership site that includes checklists, videos, and podcasts! There are so many different things that you can include in a digital product package, as long as the content is useful for your audience.
4. Sell Your Digital Products For Passive Income
Let’s dive into exactly how to sell your digital products. This section covers what to do once your file is ready and downloaded to your computer desktop. We will cover creating your personal website, uploading it, and delivering it to your customer. It may sound complicated but it’s actually very straightforward.
How to Sell Digital Products For Passive Income
I have been selling online for over 15 years now and my #1 absolute favorite eCommerce solution is definitely Ecwid eCommerce. So much that I have a dedicated YouTube channel where I teach eCommerce (check it out here). Here is a quick overview of why Ecwid eCommerce is my favorite solution to sell digital goods:
- Extremely user-friendly
- Cheaper than other eCommerce solutions (like Shopify)
- Forever free plan
- Amazing customer support
In order to sell your digital products online using Ecwid:
- Go to Ecwid.com
- Sign up For a Venture Plan
- Click Catalog > Add New Product > Files Tab
- Upload Your Product
- Enter Other Product Information (Price, Description…)
Fully Setup Your Ecwid Store
We had to look at creating your digital products in Ecwid. But you also want to be sure to get paid. You may also want to further design your Instant Site, create categories, coupon codes, and more. Check out the video above to learn how to fully set up your Ecwid store.
How it Works
So your online store is up and running and you’re ready to sell your digital products. Once a client comes to your online store, places their order, and payment is confirmed, they will automatically and instantaneously receive their digital product by email.
Your client will be able to download the files directly from that message. Therefore, you do not have to be there to fulfill those orders manually. You can make sales at any time of day or night without having to ship anything to anyone. Selling digital products truly can be very passive income. It’s awesome!
Take Your Store To The Next Level!
Ecwid is an incredible eCommerce solution that allows you to do a wide variety of things. You can connect your Ecwid store to Etsy and manage all sales centrally from one place. You can automatically attempt to convert abandoned carts using their automated email feature and more.
If you would like to learn more and really take your store to the next level, definitely check out my Ecwid eCommerce Power Course. If you purchase the course, you will receive my digital goods and have the chance to test the Ecwid check-out process! 🙂
5. Tips For Marketing Your Digital Products Online
Digital products can make passive income but also be used for a variety of other marketing activities. Here are some ways you can market your digital products to grow your income and your business.
Blogging & YouTube
This is how I grew my audience in order to sell my digital products. I created a dedicated YouTube channel where I share useful content for the audience who wants to consume my digital products. YouTube is a great place to promote your digital products because people can get to know you much easier. It’s also the second-largest search engine after Google.
I also have a blog that accompanies my YouTube channel that allows me to generate organic traffic via Google. Organic traffic consists of people that find content naturally in a search engine like Google (without the site owner having to pay for ads.) No matter where I promote my digital products, I always try to provide my audience as much value as possible.
If you are interested in blogging or using YouTube to sell digital products, definitely check out Project 24 by Income School. Project 24 is a membership library of courses that contains a beginner and advanced course on YouTubing, and a 60 step course on blogging. We highly recommend Projet 24 if you want to learn more about promoting digital products online.
You may have a digital product that is super useful for your audience but might not be worth actually selling for a profit. In such a case, you could use your digital product as a lead generation magnet. Instead of selling your digital products on your website, you can offer them for free for an email or other information in return.
For example, someone could download a free printable from your online store and join your mailing list at the same time. You can then send them a series of educational and promotional emails to try to bring them into your sales funnel to help them eventually make a purchase in your online store. I use Zotabox for this.
Influencer marketing is a great way to get your digital products in front of a wider audience. However, influencer marketing does not work unless you are working with relevant influencers. For example, if you are in the food niche, work with other influencers in the same niche, not fashion influencers.
Also make sure that their audience is located in a place that you would like to target, that their audience is engaged with their content and that their account is active. Influencers usually charge a flat rate per post based on a number of factors including audience size, engagement rates, and more. You can learn more about how influencers make money here.
Affiliate marketing is another excellent way to get your products in front of an audience especially if you don’t have one at the moment. You can work with other bloggers, YouTubers, podcasters, and influencers by offering them the ability to make a cut on the sales they generate.
There are a few paid apps that allow you to do this with Ecwid Commerce. But an easy way to test this out for free is by using a coupon code. All you have to do is create a coupon code specifically for the affiliate(s) you are working with. Once a sale is made in your online store using that coupon code, you will know the source of the sale, and be able to pay out accordingly. Learn more about affiliate marketing in our affiliate marketing passive income guide.
Print-on-Demand Passive Income
If you created visually appealing digital products like logos, fonts, art, graphic designs, digital art, or photos, you may want to sell them on merchandise! This can be an excellent way to promote your digital goods while boosting your passive income.
Print-on-demand is an eCommerce business model that provides the ability to sell physical products to customers with fulfillment carried out by a third party that takes care of printing, packaging, and shipping the product to the end customer.
You can upload your designs to Printful and sell them on t-shirts, sweaters, hoodies, hats, pants, swimsuits, and jackets to other merchandise like bean bags, phone cases, towels, backpacks, flip-flops, keychains, jewelry, stickers blankets, and more. Check out our guides on print-on-demand for more information.
The Future of Digital Product Passive Income
NFTs are a new type of digital product and they are exploding in popularity! There are hundreds of people rushing to create, sell and buy them. NFT or Non-Fungible Token is a digital file whose unique identity and ownership are verified and tracked on a blockchain or digital ledger. NFTs are unique items that are non-interchangeable like fungible goods.
The difference between NFTs and digital products is that NFTs are unique and individually recorded on the blockchain. There is only one sample of each NFT vs thousands of copies of a digital product. NFT proof of ownership is tracked on a blockchain, rather than being accessible directly from a desktop computer like a traditional digital product. Learn more about NFTs in our blog article.
Selling digital products online can be a very lucrative passive income business. In my case, selling digital goods makes up 20% of my income! It took me a few years to get to that point, but it was totally worth it. I sell eBooks and courses to help Ecwid eCommerce merchants sell online faster, better, and cheaper, and my marketing strategy has been mainly focused on YouTube. I love selling digital goods, and I hope you enjoy it too 🙂
Check out our 50 passive income ideas for more ways to make passive income online or offline. We also have specialized passive income ideas for artists, illustrators, graphic designers, architects, developers, influencers, and photographers.
What are examples of digital products can you sell online?
There are many examples of digital products including ebooks, printables, graphic designs, patterns, templates, educational content, code, and audio files. Digital products can be in the form of .mp3, .pdf, .mov, .gif, .png, .psd files.
How can you sell digital products online?
As a general rule, digital products can be sold on marketplaces such as Etsy, or by using an e-commerce solution like Ecwid. Marketplaces provide exposure since they are search engines, and an individual website can be custom branded.
How can I protect my digital products?
As a general rule, ways you can protect your digital products is with license agreements, DMCA takedowns, and clear terms and conditions that are required to be read and accepted at checkout. Also, seek legal counsel in a relevant jurisdiction.
Are Apps digital products?
As a whole, apps can be considered as digital products since they are intangible and can be downloaded to a device for direct interaction. Developers with relevant experience can create and sell apps as digital products.
Can You Sell Digital Products on Amazon?
At the moment, digital content cannot be sold through an Amazon Seller Central account. All items here are required to be physical products that require shipping. However, eBooks can be sold on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.
Can You Sell Digital Products on Instagram Shopping?
At the moment, you cannot sell digital products on Instagram Shopping. According to Facebook Commerce Policies “Listings may not promote the buying or selling of downloadable digital content, digital subscriptions, and digital accounts.”