Products have gone digital, and selling eStuff on the side could earn you big bucks.
An FKD Feature exclusive

If you spend any time on Pinterest, you’ve definitely seen pins from bloggers who have made an absolute killing selling digital products. If you think a digital product side hustle might be just the thing to top up your income (and score you some sweet digital skills in the process), you’re in the right place.

While digital products aren’t as well known as their physical counterparts, they can bring in a great side-hustle income if you’re ready to do the work of learning about them and creating them.

First and foremost, what is a digital product?

To make sure we’re all on the same page here, and to give you some ideas of what digital products include, here are some of the most common types of digital products that you can buy today. You might even own a few of these already!

Digital files. If you’ve ever seen an Etsy store that sells you files that you can then print yourself, you’ve experienced digital-file sales. The sellers save money on printing and shipping, and the buyers save time because they get their files right away and can print them locally. This can apply to anything from art prints to worksheets to Excel files and more.

eCourses. If you’ve heard of Skillshare, or Lynda.com, you’ve heard of online courses. While this kind of training isn’t new, necessarily, it is growing quickly in popularity. Online course creators are ready to teach people everything from hand-lettering to technical marketing skills, and many are making pretty decent money doing it.

eBooks. This is the Big Kahuna of digital products, and we’ve all heard of Kindle. If you’ve got something to say, publishing an eBook has never been more accessible, and you can even get it up on Amazon as an indie publisher.

What makes digital product side hustles so great?

OK, we’re on the same page about what kinds of digital products you can sell, but why would you even want to?

Digital products have some serious advantages over physical products when it comes to building a profitable side hustle. For one, digital products are very scalable: You generally create them once, and then you can sell that same digital file or experience as many times as you want. There’s no need to worry about restocking your inventory!

For similar reasons, you can also generate a pretty big profit margin on digital products. Because your cost of selling one additional unit is tiny, the more of them you sell, the more profit you make.

Lastly, it’s never been easier to get started selling digital products as a side hustle. There are marketplaces and software available to help simplify almost every part of the process, from creating your product to selling it.

So what’s the catch with digital product side hustles?

That’s not to say that digital products are this magical unicorn of a perfect business idea, though. There are definitely some common costs you’ll need to watch out for and consider before you dive right in.

You’ll need an online presence to sell digital products, which might include costs such as  hosting a website or paying for a Shopify store. Almost every platform, including Etsy and eBay, will charge miscellaneous fees to let you sell on their marketplace as well.

Next, you’ll want to look at the transaction fees you’ll pay, whether you’re paid via credit card or Paypal. Those will typically run you about 3 percent of the total purchase price, which adds up over time!

Lastly, you may have software costs to help you create your digital products. Maybe you work in Photoshop to edit your art prints, or you need Final Cut Pro to edit videos for your online course. Those costs need to be considered before you dive in to your digital product side hustle.

There are also some unique challenges to a digital product side hustle

If you’re on board with the costs of starting a digital product side hustle, there’s one last thing you need to know about: There are some common challenges you’ll face getting your side hustle off the ground.

Specifically, digital products can be hard to price and differentiate. There are a lot of options out there, at wildly different prices, so it’s hard to figure out how much you should charge, and what makes you different from the next eCourse your students might take.

To overcome these challenges, you’ll need to have a solid marketing plan in place to get people’s attention and convert that attention into sales.

Still want to start a digital product side hustle? Here’s how.

The only two things you really need to jump into the digital-product industry are a way for people to purchase your products and a plan to get people’s attention.

When it comes to how people can buy from you, the options range from easy-to-use to super-complex, but if you do a bit of research, you should be able to find something that’s a great fit for your current level of technical skills.

Then, it’s all about getting people’s attention for your stuff through a combo of social media, paid promotion and other strategies. But, at the end of the day, if you have a great product that solves a real need, you should be able to sell your stuff, no problem.

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Header image: Adobe Stock

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Posted 03.21.2017 - 03:27 pm EDT