Selling Digital Products to Make Money

It is a perfect activity if you want to sell on a global level and reach millions and millions of users. This is the greatest benefit of selling online as opposed to selling locally - the possibility to reach much more people. Different kinds of digital products could be sold online, such as music, ebooks, worksheets, tutorials, etc.

Sell Photos Online

Photography is an inseparable part of websites, blogs, online marketing campaigns, etc. which is why it is always an excellent option to explore, especially if you are looking for a passive income.

Ideally, you need to investigate the demand, detect what is missing and then create great photos. Of course, you will need some equipment for this, and perhaps some experience with editing photos. Alternatively, you could organize everything and then hire a photographer to do the creative part.

The rest is quite simple. You add your photos to the websites that sell photos, and this is how you create passive income for yourself. You do not need to take care of the management and sales process, as the websites do that for you (for a certain fee). Also, websites that specialize in photography already have this reputation and a significant number of followers, so it is easier to reach customers this way, then to try to find customers on your own.

• Shutterstock - One of the most popular websites for stock photography, where photographers can earn between 20 and 30% of the sale.

• iStockphoto - It offers a possibility to earn 15% from each sale, as well as an opportunity to become an exclusive contributor who earns between 20 and 45%.

• FreeDigitalPhotos - So far it offers the highest percentage as much as 70% of the sales price.

• Fotolia - The website enables contributors to earn from 20% to over 60% of the sales price.

• Alamy - The profit is shared 50/50, so contributors earn 50%, with no specific requirements, regardless if you are a beginner or a pro.

Besides the percentage of the sale you get as a contributor, the other thing you should consider is the exclusivity clause. Some websites require you to accept that you will grant the right to sell the photos on their platform exclusively. This prevents you from selling your photos on multiple websites. Other things you need to consider include the payment method, regular payment intervals, etc. Hence the need to explore the features each platform provides and go through the terms of use before becoming a contributor on any of those.


Ebooks are a great way for talented writers to get their work published and make some profit along the way, without the need to go through the publishing house. This way, they will have more freedom in the way they express themselves. Also, they will be able to offer the ebook to the international audience.
First, you will need to create an ebook. It can be on any topic you find relevant, interesting, or missing on the market. You can write it yourself, or you can hire a ghostwriter to do that for you. You will then need to format and proofread the ebook, as well as to create a book cover.

While your own website or blog should be the first place where you will be selling your ebook, other platforms enable you to do this, sometimes even more smoothly.

• Amazon - As the largest online store, Amazon is certainly a desirable place to sell your ebooks, as you get access to their massive, international audience. The company takes approximately 30% of each sale.

• Payhip - The platform offers various types of digital materials, including ebooks, and the charge of up to 5% is needed per transaction. The service enables you to create your landing page, share buttons, coupons, affiliate programs, etc.

• Blurb - Although it offers tools for creating and editing ebooks, Blurb allows several options to sell your ebook, regardless if you choose to do that through their platform, or Amazon, Apple’s iBooks store, etc.

• E-junkie - Here is another online service to host and sell your ebooks with an option to create sales pages, discounts, packages, etc.

• Smashwords - The platform enables you to publish your ebook on their platform and/or distribute it through their partners. You get to keep 80% of the fee from your sales through Smashwords, and 60% of your sales conducted through other distributors.


Music is also a digital product you can sell online. Much like photography and ebooks, it can be a source of passive income. You will need to invest time in creating music and making it available online. For the process, you will be using particular instruments, software, etc. all of which you probably have if you are already a musician. Certain parts of the creation process (or all of it) can be outsourced to other musicians or studios.

Once your masterpiece is done, all that is left is to release your music, and you can do so using some of these services:

• Ditto Music - The company offers you to release and sell music, while collecting 100% of your earnings. It distributes your music for you to major music online stores, such as iTunes, Amazon, etc.

• CD Baby - This global music distributor shares your music in more than 100 digital stores and streaming platforms.

• TuneCore - Another music distributor who will help you share your music globally while providing you with sales data to help you understand and evaluate the potential of your product.

Have in mind that big music stores and streaming services such as Amazon, iTunes, GooglePlay, Spotify, etc. do not directly work with independent musicians. This means that you would not be able to publish your music this way, but instead, you need to work with music distribution companies that will be able to distribute your music for you on those global services. Most of them allow you to keep 100% of your revenue, but they do require payment for using their services.

Other digital downloads

While these three types of digital products are probably the most popular ones, there are more digital downloads you can create and share with the world. Other digital downloads include:

• PDFs
• Worksheets
• Audiobooks
• Podcasts
• Tutorials (written, audio/video)

Anything really that you can create, make available online and allow people to buy, can be used as a digital product. Here are some popular marketplaces enabling you to sell, even if you do not have your website.

• Teachers Pay Teachers - An online marketplace that enables you to sell your origin educational materials related to any subject, such as math, science, languages, etc.

• Simple Good - The platform allows embedding a checkout on your website or creating a checkout page so you can sell even without having your own website.

• PulleyApp - It is the service that allows you to create “Buy Now” button and embed it to your website, email, social networks, basically anywhere you want to reach your audience.

• FetchApp - A solution for you to sell different kinds of digital products on your website, blog, social networks or e-commerce platform.

• Gumroad - This is an all-in-one solution to sell digital products, with pre-orders, coupons codes, multiple product formats, etc.

The final recommendation is to always weight in both the pros and cons of selling through marketplaces. In general, beginners are usually better off using this method, because it is easier, more convenient, and it requires less work related to management, organization and processing sales. Of course, this comes with a required fee or percentage of revenue each company takes.
If you have these kinds of products, but you want to conduct sales yourself, then go to the next chapter, where you will get a quick guide on starting your online store.


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