If you are thinking of starting your own business or simply wish to supplement your income, making a profit from selling your knowledge, skills and creations has never been easier. No longer limited by their geographical location, consumers today have access to an unprecedented variety of products and information available at their fingertips, which means that no matter what you can offer to the world, you are likely to find your customer niche online.
And the benefits of selling digital goods online are plenty. There is no need for a large start-up capital and you can begin part-time, working from home or any other location. The items you sell will be available to your customer immediately, and your profit margin will be higher since there are no raw materials or shipping costs involved.
Of course, there are also disadvantages to online sales, like the possibility of copyright infringement and running into scammers. But if you take the right steps to insure your transactions are secure, there are no limits as to how far you can take your business. So if you are ready to start working for yourself, the most important thing to determine is what skill-set you possess that others will find valuable. In other words, how can you translate your talent into a digital sale? If you are unsure about the options available, here is a list of digital goods that are always in high demand.
Although their creation requires more time and dedication than a few of the other items on the list, videos can be extremely profitable. This format lends itself to just about any type of content: self-help videos, how-to guides, tutorials, vlogs, music videos, comedy sketches, etc.
If you are trying to decide if this is the right format for you, think about the time you spend online. How much of that time is allotted to watching videos? If you prefer this medium for your own entertainment, you will probably find it easier to create the kind of content that will be interesting to others, and therefore attract views and sales.
Of course, your job will be easier if you have previous experience with filming and editing, but even those who start from scratch should not find the learning curve too steep, as there is plenty of user-friendly film-making software available.
When it comes to making a profit out of your video, it is important to find the right platform to optimize your sales. Your choice here will largely depend on the type of videos you are producing. For tutorial-type videos, look into websites like Shopify, Mindbites, Viidya and Pivotshare. Vimeo recently added a feature whereby filmmakers can rent or sell their feature films. It is also possible to make money by uploading onto popular sites like Youtube or Dailymotion, both of which have programs in place that reward channels with high views and subscription rates.
The Internet is a fantastic tool for unknown musicians to get their music heard. If you have a song or an album recorded, you can use platforms like CDbaby or Tunecore to get your music distributed to major retailers like iTunes or Amazon for a yearly fee.
However, services like these will not be very helpful if you don’t already have an audience. The best way to make a profit out of your music online is to use multiple media to reach a wide variety of music lovers. This means connecting with a potential audience via blogging, and sharing your videos via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
Once you decide the time is right to put your work up for sale on iTunes, you should keep in mind that your music needs to meet Apple’s format specifications. The easiest way to ensure this is to sign up for an Apple-approved aggregator for a small fee, or use one of the distribution platforms mentioned above.
Although podcasts may have seen their best days, many consumers still turn to them on long drives or at the gym, trying to make the most of the time by refreshing their knowledge of a foreign language or learning about a chapter in world history. There are multiple podcast hosting services, like Libsyn, Podbean or Blubrry, each one of which provides different features to best fit your needs.
As with music, selling your podcast becomes easier the more exposure you have online. The best way to attract new listeners is by offering some of your content for free. You can provide two or three episodes free of charge, and ask for a fee for each subsequent edition. You can also offer a monthly, quarterly or yearly subscription. If you are not sure if the time is right to start charging for your podcast, try asking your listeners for donations. The obvious way to convince people to pay is to provide high-quality content.
Make your podcasts entertaining and provide ways for listeners to engage with the subject outside of the podcast; for example, if you are teaching a language course, offer worksheets or vocabulary lists for download from your website, as well as a forum where your listeners can interact with you and each other.
Selling your art in digital format can be very profitable, as long as you are able to market your work to the right audience. There are also countless microstock websites such as Shutterstock, iStockphoto and Dreamstime which allow you to sell your photography. Most of these websites adopt a curatorial approach, so you need to make sure you submit only your best work to be accepted. In the beginning, you can upload the same portfolio onto multiple stock sites to determine which one generates the most profit for you. Other factors to take into account when selecting a microstock service is the upload limit, the selectiveness of the site and its user-friendliness.
DeviantArt is a popular platform for displaying original artwork and photography, and will help you gain exposure among fellow artists. It also gives you an option to sell prints of your work, and with its recent addition of the Print Shop feature, it’s now even easier for artists to make money through the site. Fiverr can be a great outlet as well, most of the time generating more revenue that microstock sites. Another way to get your work seen is to upload a portfolio to sites like Flickr.
If you have experience writing code, your skills are more in demand than ever. And if you are also creative and in tune with what’s going on in the world of technology, there is no reason why you could not be the creator of the next smartphone app to go viral. All it takes is an innovative idea and dedication to see it come to fruition. If you haven’t quite discovered your big idea yet, or don’t have enough to invest in a big project, you can make money by doing smaller jobs, like creating themes for blogging services such as Tumblr, WordPress or the new up and comer Ghost.
Whether you have written a self-help guide or a full length novel, you no longer need to go through a publisher to get your work to your audience. With many people switching to ereaders and tablets, ebooks have never been more popular, making self-publishing easier than ever. Even so, writing and selling an ebook can prove a daunting task, especially if you’re taking it on all by yourself. Thankfully, there is a multitude of services online that aim at making the task simpler. Shopify provides you with professionally designed, ready-to-go templates and offers different payment plans from which to choose depending on the features you require.
If you are on a budget, there are plenty of free services like Payhip or Lulu, which will host your ebook and let you keep all or most of your royalties. Websites like Calibre provide all kinds of additional ebook management services: library management, ebook conversion and synching to ebook reader devices, among others. Although once it is published you will automatically own the copyright to your ebook, it is a good idea to consider registering your copyright electronically. For a small fee, registration will provide online tracking, and might make it much easier for you to defend your work in the court of law should someone infringe your copyright.
If you are selling your ebook through your own WordPress site and it is in PDF format, consider using the WordPress PDF stamper, which will allow you to stamp the footer of each sold copy with your customer’s personal details. This will make customer’s reconsider uploading and sharing your work onto file sharing sites among the other non-stamped material waiting to be stolen.