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It’s a well-known fact that creating your own product is one of the greatest ways to make money from your website, YouTube channel, or podcast.
You build something you already know your audience is interested in, and offer it for sale.
More so than any other product you’ve promoted before, buyers pull out their credit cards, because they already know, like and trust you.
After all, the free content you put out is already great, so whatever you’re charging for must be really freaking good.
However, most bloggers don’t offer their own products for sale, which perplexed me a little bit. After asking a bunch of bloggers, YouTubers, and podcasters why this is, the response was almost always the same:
“I don’t have time to create my own product. Besides, I can just offer other people’s products as an affiliate.”
This post is going to destroy that excuse once and for all. In this article, I will share with you 5 product ideas you can start and begin selling this week.
Before We Begin – The MVP Strategy
Even people who choose to create a product, often don’t end up following all the way through until release.
Why? Because they spend too much time on it. They chase perfection, especially if it’s their first product, without realizing that a perfect product doesn’t exist.
I’m going to tell you to do the opposite of that – release the absolute bare minimum you need, so you can get going faster.
This is called the minimum viable product strategy and was popularized through the book The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.
The idea is that you get a bare-bones product out into the marketplace, then refine and improve upon it over time, as you receive feedback and ideas from customers.
It also prevents you from investing too much time in a product that may not be a huge hit, so you can minimize your losses and bounce back from something quickly.
In essence, it minimizes your risk, both in time and money invested. As someone creating your first product, this is even more imperative. Let’s face it, the real reason you haven’t created a product yet is because you’re afraid it wouldn’t be worth it. If you thought it would be a monster success and 10x your income right away, you would have done it long ago. Everybody would have.
Therefore, this strategy is almost always worth pursuing, and in fact, I still use it for all of my products today.
5 Quick-To-Launch Product Ideas Worth Considering
1. eBook / Downloadable PDF
Perhaps one of the most common products content creators sell, eBooks still work surprisingly well at generating revenue.
You’re already putting out content that people are spending time to consume. Not only that, your audience likes it so much, they come back regularly to consume more of it.
This makes an eBook tailored to your niche a wonderful choice for a first product.
eBooks have several advantages to take note of:
- You should have a good idea of what problems your audience is looking to solve. Therefore, you know a demand is there for the product.
- eBooks are very straightforward to create. Come up with a topic, write the content, pay for a book cover, and publish it.
- eBooks can bring in additional exposure to your brand, especially if they’re well done. Selling your book on marketplaces such as Amazon, Google Play, and iBooks will bring in entirely new people who have never heard of you before.
- If selling the book yourself, or on a marketplace that makes this possible, you can start building a ‘buyers list’ – a segment of your email list that consists of proven buyers. These people will be easier to sell other products to later on.
- eBooks are a fantastic tool to generate leads for your company, and can funnel people to more expensive digital products later on.
See: How Publishing An eBook Can Push Your Blog To New Levels
Even better than an eBook in many situations, you may consider producing and releasing a course.
Courses have a few huge benefits over eBooks:
- You can charge more, even for the same content.
- It’s easier to up-sell or cross-sell other products you offer in the future.
- Courses are more easily updated as new information becomes available.
- Courses are better at building connections with buyers.
- You can include interactive elements, such as tests or quizzes.
That being said, courses are generally believed to be harder to create than eBooks, due to everything that goes into the recording process.
Like eBooks, courses can be created on any topic imaginable, but technical, informational courses with actionable takeaways tend to work best.
I highly recommend checking out my own courses – particularly the blogging, email, and success mindset courses, as these will help you increase sales of your own as well.
3. Membership Site
If you have the resources to do it, building a membership site can be a fantastic way to pull in additional revenue, and provide even more for for your audience.
Membership sites are closed off sites that typically offer a monthly subscription for access. In exchange, the member gets some key benefits over non-members.
Common examples include:
- Extra guides, resources, or tools.
- Better access to the content creator – be it group coaching, priority support, one-on-one streams, etc.
- Extra content you don’t publish on your normal platform (be careful with this – you don’t want to hurt the relationship you have with your existing audience.)
- Unlimited access to a collection of products (such as all courses the content creator has created, vs buying them individually.)
- Community access – invitations to a group of others interested in your niche, often for networking, friendships, or collaboration.
What makes a good membership site will be highly niche dependent. Ideally, you’ll be looking for an opportunity in which you can solve problems and add value on a regular, recurring basis. This will encourage people to sign up for longer periods of time.
However, membership sites have a few key benefits:
- You get money coming in each and every month, from the same people.
- If your website delivers on its promises, you should expect to retain these members over time.
- While there will always be members unsubscribing, ideally this rate should be lower than the number of new subscribers you acquire. This means that your monthly income should increase over time at a fairly predictable rate.
- You may consider dripping content out over time, meaning somebody always gets a certain piece of content X amount of days after signing up. This means that it’s possible to have all of your content done well in advance!
One of the quickest ways to begin bringing in more revenue from your company is to begin offering freelance services. It’s direct, it’s simple, and it’s easy to sell.
This can be providing a skill (such as writing, design, programming etc.) or something more tailored to the individual, like coaching, consulting, or tutoring.
In my baby product company, we’re going to be rolling out of a service to provide baby sleep consulting very soon, as this is a problem our audience has indicated that there is a strong demand to solve.
See, even if you’re not an expert at something, that doesn’t mean you can’t offer the service. You just need to be great at identifying true experts (who actually know what they’re doing) and bringing them in as part of your team.
Bring in clients at a price higher than what you pay out to others. It’s a service business at its most fundamental level.
For more information about why I recommend freelancing, especially as a first product, click here. You’ll also learn some tips about scaling a freelance business to massive levels.
5. Related Merch
One unconventional, but potentially quite lucrative method of making money from your website, YouTube channel, or podcast, is to sell related merch such as shirts, mugs, or decals that relate to your content.
For example, check out these products that one of my companies sells a lot of:
The data doesn’t lie – people love to make their passions known to others!
So why do I consider this to be a ‘digital product’ that you can offer when quite literally, it appears to be the exact opposite?
It’s because the entire process can be entirely outsourced, and you never have to actually touch the products you’re selling.
Let’s Work Together On This One
I own a factory based out of Ferndale, Washington here in the United States, and we’d love to work with you to get your products up and going.
The way this works is simple:
- You send us your product designs. Alternatively, we can make the designs for you at a fair price.
- You list the products for sale on your site.
- When you make a sale, you let us know. We make the product and ship it to the customer.
- We later bill you per the terms negotiated.
Depending on the price you choose to sell your products for, you can make significantly more than what we would charge for this sort of service, and best of all, it immediately gives you your own unique products to sell, without any of the hassle of product creation!
If you’re interested in this service, please reach out to me for more information. We can lock you into better rates now since it’s still so early on (in fact, this is the first announcement I’ve made of this service on this website.)
Within a few months, I’ll begin pushing this service heavily on my website, and will have to offer higher rates to new clients. Therefore, the best time to get in on this deal is now.
Every content producer needs to have a product of their own, to help fledge out their monetization strategy.
Product creation can seem daunting and difficult, but it is only that way if you make it that way. In reality, all it requires is creating something valuable enough that people are willing to pay for it.
I hope that this article has given you some ideas. As always, if there are any questions I can answer for you or you’d like to bounce some ideas off of me, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
And of course, once you’ve got your product up for sale, please do us a favor and share it – we would all love to see what you were able to create.
Looking forward to it,
– James McAllister
Review the main points of this article in the SlideShare below. Feel free to embed this on your site, use it in your organization, and share it with others! All I ask is that you give credit! (Download links are available from SlideShare’s website, which you can access by clicking the LinkedIn icon)
Oh my goodness have you touched a raw nerve in me with that post 🙁
TWO part-finished ebooks pending “somewhere”. I hang my head in shame. You’re right, I am a perfectionist and I shouldn’t be.
However, another thing that’s held me back from publishing is that, once before I put a 50 page ebook on Kindle – VERY low price – that linked to my website which sold something. One reader left me an awful review saying my book was nothing more than a glorified sales pitch and I’d just copied everything from the Internet.
While it’s true it linked to my sales page, the idea was to give people information on the very scientific product I was selling. I had not COPIED anything from the Internet, I had referred to and para-phrased science based information that I had learned on a 3-year course I took. There was no way I could have “discovered” that information as I’m not a scientist and I didn’t pretend I had discovered it. I think I even offered a refund of the book price if they purchased the product. For various unrelated reasons I no longer sell that product anyway, so I removed the book from Kindle.
Sadly at the time I didn’t spot the review so didn’t reply to it – but certainly sales dried up for some reason and that was probably why.
So… at the moment my ebook is free and promotes a product (or it will do in a few minutes LOL). Putting it on Amazon would give it the traffic I need, but do I put it on there free and hope for affiliate sales, or put it on at a low price and risk the same type of review again!!
And that’s why my ebook is still sitting on my hard drive unpublished.
Joy Healey – Blogging After Dark
Joy Healey recently posted…PLR For Your Blog: Pros And Cons
Sorry to hear about the Kindle experience. I’ve published a lot of books on Kindle that have gotten similar reviews – not sure what people are expecting to get for $2.99 or less honestly.
People go in with too high of expectations, it’s silly. Even if you had just straight copied the text and put it all in one place, if the book is comprehensive enough, the time savings alone from curating the content is worth the price in my eyes.
Of course, not advocating copying or anything, but you get my point. Knowing you, I’m sure whatever you put out was well worth whatever you were asking for it and honestly, you had every right to try and upsell or promote another product.
But, this is the internet and we have to let people state their opinion, even when their opinion is a little far-fetched. No joke, I had a book lose its bestseller placement in its category on Kindle because a person left a 1 star review saying it was teaching ‘black magick’.
If the bulk of the money will be in the affiliate commissions, I’d go there – although you may want to recheck Amazon’s policies on this, they’ve gotten stricter with the requirements of promotional materials inside of books in recent years.
Thanks for stopping by Joy, it’s always a pleasure!
James McAllister recently posted…A Strong Personal Brand Is The Ultimate Safety Net – Here’s Why You Need One
I would like to say product development is not that easy but which 5 digital products you have mentioned are really impressive. I am already doing freelance writing. But I must say that last one i.e. Related Merch seems to be somewhat exceptional. I must try to do this stuff.
Thanks for sharing.
Hi Kaushal! Thank you for visiting!
You’re right, product development isn’t easy but it also doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s great to hear you’re already doing freelance work, perhaps by adding another thing from the list you’ll be able to make even more from the customers and audience you already have.
Thank you again and hope to talk more soon!
James McAllister recently posted…Future-Proof Your Business Before It’s Too Late With These 8 Strategies
Isn’t this post worth a product?
Maybe an ebook 😉
Quite seriously I enjoyed listening and reading the text with you made. As I’m currently working on my next product, a course, I feel so excited having to learn something new to help with it going live.
Let’s keep giving bro and happy weekend to you.
Hey Enstine! Thanks for stopping by.
That’s awesome, I look forward to hearing more about your course as its developed. If there’s ever anything I can do to help you out just let me know – I’ve published quite a few of them now and have learned a lot in the process.
Happy weekend to you as well! Thanks Enstine!
James McAllister recently posted…Don’t Wait 6 Months – Build A Profitable Business This Week, For Less Than $20
Hey James thanks for the learning you shared today on your post, looks like creating an e-book fits our career as a blogger. Thumbs up to you!
Hi Paul! Great to see you again!
Yes, an eBook is a fantastic choice and it’s no wonder why it’s one of the most common first products that bloggers release. It was my first product as well and although I do prefer publishing courses now over eBooks, I do have a fondness for that particular type of product.
James McAllister recently posted…These Are The 10 Skills All Solopreneurs Need To Master