20 Digital Product Ideas You Can Sell Online for Generating Passive Income
There is never a better time than now to start up a lucrative side hustle. With more people working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, all those hours we usually spend on a lengthy commute can be converted into a source of productivity.
One of the best ways to establish a sustainable side hustle is to invest minimal time for the maximum possible rewards. By selling digital products online, you can generate passive income without ever even needing to leave the comfort of your couch.
Once you have created your digital product, all you have to do is wait for the money to roll into your account. Digital products require low upfront costs, can be scaled to reach as large or small an audience as you desire, and have no expiration date.
What is Passive Income?
Passive income is revenue that you collect without doing a lot of "active" labour to keep it continuing. In turn, you can make money besides doing your other job upfront and putting some extra time along with the main job.
For instance, if you made a video tutorial, you just need to get views on your video to keep the money flowing in.
You've most likely used the phrase "making money online" or "making money when you sleep." That is the most compelling reason for people to gain passive income.
And when you're not working, you can produce something like a blog, online course, podcast, videos etc. that generates income. You may also invest in real estate or stocks to gain money without having to work, which is also known as passive income.
20 Passive Income Ideas to Build Wealth
You have the freedom to earn as much or as little passive income as you would like. however, this is not a get-rich-quick scheme plan. Initially, you'll need to invest some time, effort, and money to build a passive income stream.
The good news is that once you enable the passive income project, you can sit back and reap the financial benefits for years to come.
So what kinds of digital products can you put on the online market? Let’s take a look at 20 digital product ideas below.
Ebooks are a fantastic way to generate passive income. No matter what your area of interest or expertise, there is always an audience for your niche.
Whether your Ebook is a how-to guide, a cookbook, or a work of fiction, once you have written your Ebook, all you have to do is post it online, via Amazon Kindle, Google iPlay, Blurb or another digital bookselling platform. Then anyone who is interested in the subject you have written about can buy a digital copy, leaving you to reap the rewards. Ebooks allow you to explore your own interests, from poetry to academic research to children’s books, and get paid to share them with others online.
2. Online Course
If writing is not your strong suit, but you are still interested in sharing your expertise and knowledge in a particular area, you may want to consider creating an online course.
Through a combination of shared resources, video and audio content, and digital lessons, you can create a compelling and dynamic online course. Once the course is created, it becomes a package that can continue to be sold to curious new students forever, with no further active engagement on your part (unless you want to offer feedback or virtual office hours). You can upload your online course to platforms like Udemy, Teachable, or Kajabi, among many other options.
3. Video Tutorials
A simple way to share knowledge or skills is to create a video tutorial. Have you always considered yourself a Martha Stewart type, with creative skills in the kitchen?
Make a video showing how you cook your signature dish. Or are you a capable DIY fix-it kind of person, who always knows just how to fix whatever problems emerge in your home?
Film a video that teaches people how to plunge a toilet, drain a clogged sink, change a car tire, or stop a roof from leaking. A video tutorial doesn’t have to be glamorous, but videos are a great, straightforward way to share your expertise and clever tips and tricks. Youtube, Vimeo, Facebook Ad Breaks, and Daily Motion provide just a few options for where to upload your video how-to guides. You can have a look at some best free video tutorial tools for your next project.
4. Music and Beats
When you finish your day job, do you immediately spend hours and hours cooking up some fresh new beats? Have you always dreamed of being a pop star, a DJ, or providing a backup track for one of your favourite musicians?
If you are a musician, then recording and uploading audio tracks is a great way to supplement your active income sources. For original tunes and albums, you can upload your hits in the making to Bandcamp or Soundcloud. Future fans can buy access to your tracks and albums directly. Or upload your original drum beats, remixes, and audio samples to the site where people can pay to download them directly- that way your sample tracks can become the background to films, or part of other people’s musical experiments.
You can also create ringtones, voiceovers, stock sound effects (like rain, thunder, or the ice cream man), jingles, and beats of all kinds.
Podcasts are wildly popular these days. People love to listen to podcasts while they drive, wash dishes, fold laundry, go for a run- anything that requires them to have their hands free but still be entertained.
If your podcast is popular, you can monetize it by promoting products or services on-air and earning a commission each time someone makes a purchase based on your recommendation. Or find a sponsor, ideally a company whose values or products are related to the subject of your podcast. Then record, upload, and voila!
Audiobooks are another hugely popular source of entertainment for people- and a great way to absorb stories and information. As an audiobook recorder, you can choose your favourite books, upload them to platforms like ACX or AweSound, and let people purchase a copy to download.
Audiobooks can also provide a great resource for students who are doing research online. To target this audience, you can record high-quality academic texts and original articles, so students who excel at learning by listening can benefit from your vocal recordings, and you can generate more passive income from their patronage.
7. Nutrition and Meal Prep Plans
Finding a specific niche to fill is a smart approach to generating passive income. If you have a lot of knowledge and experience with cooking, grocery shopping, and creating a nutritious diet, you can create nutrition guides for people to purchase and follow.
Simply mark up some daily meal plan guides and weekly grocery shopping lists for people who might otherwise be overwhelmed by the prospect of figuring out what to eat all week long. You will be providing a helpful one-off service, and the people you are helping will be happy to pay for the guidance.
For those with a keen eye for design- or even just people who love to doodle in their spare time- selling your graphics online can be a clever approach to generating passive income. If you love to create simple illustrations, you can offer an icon bundle for people to buy online, featuring hundreds, or even thousands, of simple drawings.
Logos are also a great option; you can design a stock logo, or logo bundle with different formatting options, and list it for sale on a website like Etsy, then let various small businesses place the order.
There is a market already available for all kinds of graphic design elements, not limited to realistic or stylized drawings. You can also create new fonts and typefaces. Or play around on photoshop and make interesting textures that people can buy as a package.
9. Customizable Templates
Have you ever come across a very specific task you needed to do, like apply for a job within a certain industry, and you looked up how to fill it out online? This is where templates come in. If you have a strong working knowledge of how things should look and what kind of information is necessary for each element of a particular brief, then you can create customizable fill in the blanks templates for customers to use.
Templates are useful across a broad range of industries. You can create document templates related to applying for jobs like cover letters and resumes. Report or analytical templates are also useful, as are budgeting spreadsheets. Creative brief templates can help people who are drafting grant proposals or other types of creative proposal. And you can even create templates for email campaigns that focus on various elements: upselling products, offering special deals and discounts, providing opportunities for customer engagement, etc.
From slideshow presentations to email campaigns to websites, graphic themes are a helpful and pervasive way for people to spruce up their professional offerings. Design a theme or a package of themes and post it to a site like Template Monster or Theme Forest.
If you have a keen eye for design and some basic HTML coding skills, then the themes you design can become a great asset for generating passive income.
11. Stock Photos
If you have a knack for photography and some nice camera equipment, you can make your hobby into a passive side hustle by posting stock photos. Do a photoshoot of plants in the rain, closeups of flowers, cosy images of books or campfires, or peaceful landscape scenes. If you have friends willing to pose for you, take some images of them doing various activities.
Think about the kinds of images businesses might want to use for advertising, or individuals would want to use for creative projects. Then upload onto a stock image site like Shutterstock or Dreamstime and wait for customers to download your photos.
For those of us with tech capabilities, developing your own software is a smart and lasting way to generate passive income. If you can identify a lack in the market, create software to fill that gap. SaaS products, or “Software as a Service” products, provide solutions to consumers.
While SaaS products don’t sell themselves, remember that your SaaS products do not need to be absolutely perfect before you list them for sale and start advertising. Companies have come to expect that the software and products they use will continue to evolve, with regular system updates that show you are still developing the products towards their greatest potential.
13. Plug-ins and Apps
Everyone spends time on their smartphones and tablets using apps. Perhaps you have a gift for creating addictive digital games that users can pay to download and play. Or maybe you have a brilliant new idea for an app that provides a solution to an everyday problem, like dimming the lights on your screen at night or helping you translate phrases into different languages quickly.
Developing apps and browser plug-ins is a great way to market your digital products directly to consumers, through app stores and online plug-in shops, where consumers can browse through the options at their leisure, seeking a product that matches their need or piques their interest.
14. Daily Emails
For some people, the best way to start the day or week is to wake up to a daily or weekly email in their inbox. You can offer a daily dose of inspiration, with self-help tidbits and motivational quotes, then program these emails in advance. Once recipients pay to subscribe to your regular email blasts, all you have to do is sit back and let the emails send themselves.
15. Advertising Space
If you already have a blog or website online, but you are not yet making any money from it, you may want to consider monetizing your page. Set up advertising space through Google Ads or another platform. The ads will run without your needing to do anything, targeting likely visitors of your site or readers of your blog.
When people click on the ads from your page, you will earn a small commission. Particularly if your site is attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors a month, this can be a great way to bring in extra flows of money without doing anything different from what you already do.
For educators, parents, and child care professionals, printable activities are hugely helpful for entertaining kids. Foldable origami designs, printable colouring book pages, and printable games, mazes, and activity booklets are fun and easy things for kids to do, and people are willing to pay to download them.
You can make printables for adults as well- hop on the adult colouring book craze by designing intricate or interesting black and white drawings that can be filled in any way your customers choose. Other printable item options can include art prints, calendars, meal plans, gift tags, envelopes, letterhead, and other options.
17. Educational Materials
Develop simple lessons, activities, and workbooks that can enhance any curriculum and then sell those products online.
From lesson plans for young children to specifically targeted subject matters for adult learners, educational materials are one way to monetize your knowledge online without creating an entire course. Teachers Pay Teachers is one platform where you can upload your educational materials.
18. Customizable Items
If you find a pattern, design, or set of images that you think would work well decorating a variety of objects, then you can list those items for sale online. With one design or graphic, you can offer T-shirts, coffee mugs, notebooks, planners, pens, and more. Customizable items are great for souvenirs or party favours, so you may want to consider location-specific or event and occasion specific designs.
19. Greeting Cards
For every season, there is an occasion for people to give each other cards. Design a package of cards for different occasions and your classic designs will last all throughout the year.
Bulk orders, like wedding invitations and anniversary party invites, can allow you to scale up your earnings and production, while annual holidays allow you to promote the same designs again and again. Plus, you can offer the always classic options, like birthday cards, thank you cards, and general congratulations cards.
20. Sponsored Instagram Posts
If you are a social media addict and spend all your free time scrolling, snapping selfies, and sharing the funniest memes, then you might want to try to get your Instagram posts sponsored. Hop on a popular trend, like fashion, beauty tips and how-to’s, travel, or home décor. Or make your posts about something extremely specific and out there, like monkeys in space.
Be consistent with the content you post and post frequently. The more followers you build up, the more you will start to receive requests for sponsored posts. Just make sure your email address is listed on your account, so your followers and fans can reach out asking you to promote their products or services.
Step Back and Watch Your Income Grow
Whether you are using your creative skills, employing your tech and coding knowledge, or offering practical advice on how to fix things and create DIY solutions to everyday problems, there are plenty of clever ways to generate passive income. At any skill level, anyone can create a digital product to offer online.
From a side hustle that supplements your main source of income to a full-time salary, selling digital products online is a great way to boost your earnings with minimal effort and maximum rewards. The twenty ideas we have listed here are only starting points- let your imagination run wild. Chances are, any idea you think people might be interested in will find its unique audience out there waiting for it.