Ready to get started with passive profit? Validation is the key even when figuring out what kind of product to sell. Before you choose, make sure to ask your audience, the brands you want to work with, or your potential customers what kind of product they need and want.
This very post is a direct result of validation! Survey after survey has shown that my customers and audience prefer to read my content over watching a live training or even listening to an audio recording. Most of what I teach about is very in-depth and step-by-step style training which can be hard for making notes and revisiting key concepts. So while every guru on the planet says I need to create videos, I decided the customer knows best. 😉 So here you have it!
Let’s dive into the top ways you can start selling now!
01. digital downloads
In the land of passive profit, this is probably the most passive category of them all! With a digital download, you take out the middleman and let your customers get what they need and make it happen with a wave of a magical wand download link in their inbox. My entire shop is created with digital downloads a plenty! You can create:
done for you downloads
These products are the internet version of straight out of the box and use it now downloads. Stock images and Printables are great examples of done-for-you digital products. You don’t have to do anything for them to be ready to go. Just plug, play, and get pretty!
These products are semi-done for you that save your customers a lot of time and headaches! 90% of my products fall under the template category from easy-to-edit marketing templates all the way up to exclusive full Showit 5 Website templates. The key here is to make them as easy as possible for your customers to download and edit! Template downloads are less passive in nature than their Done-For-You cousins as you’ll have to check in on them often to ensure quality.
e-books and guides
These helpful products give your customers valuable information they need to solve problems and make moves. You’re reading one right now! E-books & guides can be great entry-level products to establish that like, know, and trust factor with your customers that is vital for repeat purchases!
02. digital courses
Courses are all the rage for educators everywhere since you can share your knowledge with a whole lot more people than a traditional classroom can hold. There are plenty of options for creating an e-course from self-hosted on your own website, to a series of webinars on a platform like Crowdcast, to an e-course builder like Kajabi, and shared platforms like Creative Live and Skillshare.
Friendly Heads Up: There is STEEP competition here. Info products aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but as more and more courses flood the market, buyers are becoming more and more overwhelmed. Don’t forget to validate your course idea before you spend countless hours producing it!
I spent over a year validating my signature course, Websites that Convert, to ensure it was a needed product and to structure it in a way that was both sellable and easy to learn!
03. membership sites
Membership sites are quickly growing in popularity. They’re an enticing spin on courses because you get more interaction with the content creator and have the added benefit of built-in community. The drawback? Membership programs are semi-passive in comparison to courses as they typically involve regularly giving your members fresh content. But with the *red ocean of courses growing, I think membership sites are going to continually gain momentum!
Looking for a business-focused membership community you can plug into? Check out Creative 24/7! I’m in there and would love to see you inside!
*Red ocean = Saturated and cut-throat competitive market. It is quite difficult to enter a red ocean and see quick traction. That’s why it is so important to know your core values, establish your unique value proposition, and know your ideal customer like your best friend.
Starting a shop online is easier than ever with robust programs like Shopify. To keep it really passive, you can sell those digital downloads covered above or create a drop-ship storefront.
drop ship store
A drop-ship store is basically a middle-man between a manufacturer and the consumer. Your customer visits your store, purchases, and if set up for passive automation, the order would be sent to the manufacturer who then packages and ships the product direct to the customer. Drop-shippers are akin to curators. Do you like cute office supplies? You could seek out companies who make office supplies with drop-shipping and link their products to your branded storefront!
A print-on-demand shop is similar to drop-shipping in that you don’t carry inventory. You create an original design and find a printer who will print your design on a product (example: a mug or t-shirt) every time a customer makes a purchase from your store. Many printers also have drop-shipping built into the process so it stays more passive on your end. This is a great way to get into e-commerce, but your profit margins are likely to be slim with one-off printing.
bulk product store
Simply put, you design a product, find a manufacturer, and order in bulk to increase those profit margins. Bulk ordering inventory can be a big financial gamble. You run the risk of your products being poorly produced or just plain not selling. But if validated and monitored well, it can be a big pay off! These e-commerce shops typically start off heavily hands on (aka non passive) with the creator designing, proofing, marketing, packaging, and shipping products, but can transition into a passive operation as the shop grows!
digital download/course store
Digital products are typically sold two ways:
1) A limited time cart open and close sale (you are seeing this A LOT right now!) or
2) As evergreen products in an e-commerce shop.
The former can produce a high-volume of sales in a short amount of time, but are much more labor-intensive than the latter. I do a blend of the two. Year-round, my shop is open and products can be purchased, but occasionally I’ll do a “launch event” highlighting one of my shop products or courses to build buzz around it!
05. collaborative products
Collaborating with other brands to create products that would mutually benefit both customer bases is a great idea for some passive income! You can create any of the above product or store ideas and jointly market them for more exposure.
For example, I collaborated with my good friend Laura Foote to produce a Lifestyle Collection of styled stock photography for the SC Stockshop audience (like the image below!). The gals at the SC Stockshop help us determine what to create and manage the delivery and customer service side of the shop while Laura and I work to produce new imagery!
06. license your designs & products
Similar to a collaborative product, you can also solely create a product and license it to another company to sell. You can license out virtually any type of product! It is very popular in the graphic design industries. For example, big retailers often license work from surface designers to create those graphic tees you love to buy!
07. influencer marketing
With the rise of the personal brand swaying consumer purchases worldwide, influencer marketing has blown up! Big brands are seeing mega sales by focusing less of their marketing dollars on traditional advertising methods and instead are hiring micro-influencers with captive and engaged audiences to rep their products. This form of marketing is a little more work than traditional passive income as you’ll have to consistently create content and pitch brands to pay you, but it can lead to increased success in the more passive version of…
08. affiliate marketing
Similar in nature to Influencer Marketing, affiliate marketing is easier to get into when you have a smaller audience. Many companies invite content creators of all audience sizes to rep them with affiliate income potential. Once you create the content, you can scale the foot traffic to consume it, therefore increasing your odds of earning more.
Friendly Heads Up: Although probably the easiest barrier to entry of the passive income world, affiliate marketing isn’t always a home run ordeal. Affiliate splits are often extremely low which means you need a whole lot of clicks and/or buys to see a considerable return. It can be hard to achieve that with a small audience. In my experience, it has been much more fruitful to work with a few affiliate opportunities that have a return on click rate of $100 or more and highly compliment what I sell in my business. That way I don’t have to go out of my way to create extra new content, but rather seamlessly can work in affiliate earning placements in the content I’m already producing.
Influencer Marketing and Affiliate Marketing often go hand-in-hand. Big brands may hire you to create sponsored content (influencer marketing) and also give you a special commission-generating link for your audience to click to purchase (affiliate marketing). It can be a winning combo of passive income if your brand and audience are primed for it!
This list is just the tip of the iceberg of passive profit revenue ideas, but they are the easiest and quickest ones to jump into! As a family, we have additional revenue streams coming in through buying, flipping, and selling homes and long-term residential rental properties. You can learn all about our real estate adventures HERE.
It is safe to say The Martins have caught the passive bug!