Ready to start earning passive income and making money without having to work every minute of your life? This list of the 15 profitable digital products to sell in 2023 will help you make money in your sleep!
Passive income is the key to achieving financial freedom and doing what you love without worrying about money.
Here is a secret: one of the best ways to earn passive income right now is by selling digital products online.
Why? Because after you create a digital product once, you can sell it an infinite number of times!
Plus, the popularity of digital products is skyrocketing.
Today, “digital goods commerce is growing twice as fast as physical goods commerce.”
If you are considering selling digital products, you’re probably wondering which sells best. And that’s why you landed here.
Below are the 15 best digital products to sell in 2023, along with tips to start making money today!
What are digital products?
Digital products are electronic assets or media that can be stored digitally and sold or shared online.
Things like PDFs, ebooks, music and video files, and online courses are all digital products.
Why sell digital products?
The best reason to sell digital products can be summed up in a quote from Warren Buffett:
“If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”
Simply, selling digital products is one of the best ways to earn passive income – you create them once and then sell them forever!
On top of that, selling digital products is just easier than selling physical products.
Since you don’t need to purchase any physical inventory, startup costs are low, and you can quickly scale up your business as you grow. Plus, the profit margins are higher since you don’t have to worry about production mistakes or shipping costs.
Best of all, there are so many types of digital products that sell.
So, let’s dive into the best digital products to sell right now!
15 Most Profitable Digital Products To Sell Online
1. Online Courses
Arguably, the most popular type of digital product to sell right now is online courses.
Seriously, the global e-learning industry has exploded in recent years, nearly doubling in size between 2019-2022 and expected to triple in size from 2022-2030.
The best part is that anyone can sell online courses because, well, we are all good at something!
Current popular online course categories include:
- Creative writing
- Content creation
- Business and entrepreneurship
To get started, use platforms like Teachable, Skillshare, or Udemy, which make it easy to create your online course and start selling.
Ready to take the next step? Check out this free webinar from Teachable. It will give you the training you need to launch your own online course and start making passive income in no time!
Nearly three-quarters of American adults read at least one book per year.
More than ever, the books they’re reading are in a digital format. In fact, by some estimates, ebooks already make up more than a quarter of the total book market!
In other words, now is the perfect time to make money selling ebooks online.
And it’s not just novels. Things like recipe books, travel guides, and books on finance or marketing are also very popular right now, as are shorter texts like DIY guides and fitness programs.
The best part is that once you’ve written the content, ebooks are so easy to create and self-publish using platforms like Kindle Direct Publishing, meaning you can start selling right away.
Fun fact: The number of authors earning $50,000 or more in royalties with Kindle Direct Publishing increased 40% from 2020 to 2022.
Digital printables are downloadable products customers purchase online and then print themselves.
Think about digital files of planners, chore charts, stationery, repair manuals, meal plans, or recipe cards.
You don’t need to be a graphic designer or tech expert to make money selling printables.
Just look at my friends Julie and Cody, who each quit their job in the corporate world to start selling printables a few years ago. Things went so well that they launched Gold City Ventures to teach others how to build a lucrative printables business from the ground up.
Want to know their secrets? You’ve got to check out this amazing (and totally free!) ebook.
It contains their “secret list” of best-selling products and teaches you how to capitalize on trends to make more sales, even when you’re just starting out!
Get started on the road to a lucrative printables business today with The Seasonal Products Secret ebook.
4. Digital Art
Today, there are so many ways to make money with your artistic talents by going digital.
Think about things like printable wall art and posters, digital graphics, or surface pattern designs – artwork that repeats in a pattern designed for wrapping paper, fabric, wallpaper, etc.
Want to know more about how to make money selling digital art?
Check out the incredible free resources at The Abundant Artist. They will teach you everything you need to know about becoming a well-fed digital artist with a steady stream of passive income.
Bonus tip: Another great option to make extra income from your art is by putting it on items – think t-shirts and mugs, greeting cards and notebooks, home décor, and more. Just head to Printify, which makes it so easy to put your art on pretty much anything and start selling!
Like artists, musicians now have so many options to monetize their work with digital products.
The era of hoping for a record contract with a big label is over. Instead, anybody can list their songs on platforms like Bandcamp or SoundCloud and make money every time someone purchases their work.
Another popular option is selling licenses for your songs to filmmakers, content creators, and businesses using platforms like Pond5 or AudioJungle.
In fact, you don’t even have to sell entire songs to make money as a musician. Many have had great success selling their raw beats to other musicians on digital marketplaces like Airbit or BeatStars.
Don’t forget the e-learning industry. If you play an instrument or have a deep understanding of music theory, you can teach others these skills on Outschool, or by creating and selling an online course on Teachable, Skillshare, or Udemy.
6. Sound Effects
In a world of constant content creation, sound effects have become one of the best digital products to sell.
Everyone from YouTubers, podcasters, and musicians to audio engineers and marketers is looking for unique sound effects for their work. This means that you can sell your own proprietary effects through platforms like AudioJungle and Pond5.
Right now, transition sound effects – whoosh, bang, zap – are extremely popular.
But think also about nature sounds, everyday sounds like a keyboard typing or bacon frying, and so much more. Really there is no limit to what you can create and sell!
Did you know: One of the most well-known sound effects of all time was created by accident. Tasked with creating sound effects for the original Star Wars movie, Ben Burtt stumbled across the now-famous lightsaber sound when he walked by a television set holding a microphone, and an unexpected buzzing noise suddenly emerged.
If you’re an avid photographer, it is so easy to turn your skills into a source of passive income.
The secret? Businesses, newspapers, content creators, and website designers all need images for their work and their brands. To get them, they head to stock photo agencies online.
List your photographs with stock photo agencies like Shutterstock, and you will receive a commission every time someone downloads your work.
Though this commission is often small, it can really add up over time. In fact, to date, Shutterstock has paid out more than $1 billion to its photographers worldwide!
The best-selling photos are of everyday objects in use and people performing everyday actions, which are particularly valuable to marketers and content creators.
Also popular are inspiring landscapes and photos representing a concept like a snow day or working from home.
Check out my guide to the 15 Best Websites for Selling Stock Photos.
Bonus tip: According to Business Insider, one of the best ways to make money with photography nowadays is by selling photos of your feet online. Hey, it’s true, don’t shoot the messenger! I’m just saying…none of us have a money tree growing in our backyard, but most of us have feet …
8. Photo Presets
Have you heard of Lightroom presets?
Lightroom is an Adobe photo-editing program where photographers can create preset filters which can be added to photographs in the post-production process, improving the quality of their work and building a consistent feel throughout.
In a competitive world of content, photographers are looking for this type of advantage, meaning Lightroom presets are fast becoming one of the most popular digital products that sell.
How do you create your own custom Lightroom presets to sell? This handy guide will teach you everything you need to know in less than five minutes.
Don’t believe that selling Lightroom presets can be profitable? Check out the incredible story of Rachael Towne. She tried various side hustles from home while taking care of her young daughter before finally stumbling on Lightroom presets in 2019. In just her second year in business, she made $110,000!
9. Video Content
The average American watches almost two hours of digital video on their devices every day.
Simply, people can’t get enough video content these days, meaning there are so many ways for creators to monetize their work.
You could start a YouTube channel, or sell videos through a platform like Uscreen or Vimeo, or launch a Patreon and provide exclusive content to subscribers. You can even monetize your TikTok account!
What type of video content is most popular right now?
- Short films
- Travel documentaries
- Product comparison videos
- Music videos
- Comedy videos
- Gaming videos
- Behind-the-scenes footage and exclusive vlogs
Want to know more about monetizing your video content? Check out my breakdown of How YouTubers Really Make Money. And then, take a look at my guide to How to Make Money on TikTok.
10. Digital templates
These days, everybody is looking for tools to make their lives easier, which is why digital templates in pretty much every niche and category have become some of the most popular digital products that sell.
All you have to do is think about streamlining tasks that usually take people a lot of time, providing a framework for them to work more efficiently and effectively.
With that in mind, what type of digital templates could you sell?
- Resume templates
- Email templates
- Social media post templates
- Infographic design templates
- Ebook layouts
- Business cards
- PowerPoint presentations
The best part about selling digital templates is that they are so simple to make, even for a beginner.
In fact, many photo editing sites offer free and customizable template designs to get you started.
Need inspiration? Check out the best-selling digital templates on Etsy.
Businesses and content creators are always looking for that perfect font, something which elicits a specific emotion, and feels uniquely them.
They find these unique fonts on platforms like MyFonts, Fonts.com, where they purchase them from people like you!
For beginners, an easy way to make your own fonts is by using free online tools like Calligraphr or FontStruct.
Just remember, when you’re creating a font to sell, think about designing it for a specific purpose. Fonts are not one-size-fits-all – a children’s font should look different than one for a technology company or a cooking blog.
Fun fact: According to a recent study, 73% of buyers are more likely to purchase a font if they see examples of it used in products or logos. When selling fonts, make sure to put in the time to create mockups showing your font used for its intended purpose.
12. Paid Newsletters
Paid newsletters are email campaigns purchased as part of a monthly or yearly subscription that offer buyers unique content that can’t be found anywhere else.
For sellers, they represent a great way to build your brand while earning a recurring income.
So, what could you offer in a paid newsletter?
If you’re already creating content, think about providing exclusive material like bonus podcast episodes or unreleased blogs, or behind-the-scenes looks into your operation.
Other popular ideas include:
- Monthly meal plans and fitness challenges
- Meditation, yoga, or self-help guides
- Video courses and learning materials
- Curated content like music playlists, news feeds, or market reports
Whichever you choose, just make sure it’s better than what people can find elsewhere for free.
Bonus tip: Paid newsletters usually sell for between $2-$15 per month, but don’t be afraid to look into your competitors and see what they’re offering their newsletters for.
13. Membership Sites
The cousin of paid newsletters, membership sites are private communities where members access exclusive content through paid subscriptions.
The most popular form of membership site is a content library – think of how you gain access to all of Netflix’s content with a membership.
If you create blog posts, videos, music, courses, or any other type of content, a membership site can bring together everything you’ve created in one place.
You might also offer premium and unreleased content, or exclusive personal access, such as to live events, coaching, or Q & As.
If you’re selling digital products elsewhere, a membership site is a great place to offer exclusive deals and discounts, as well as early access to new releases.
Like paid newsletters, the key to membership sites is offering something unique that people can’t find elsewhere.
Check out Shopify’s guide to How to Start a Subscription Business.
If you’ve got the technical skills, mobile apps can be one of the best digital products to sell.
The key is to not just create another Uber spinoff, but to look for gaps in the market and think about apps that will help people solve a problem or interact with the world differently.
Of course, building an app can require a substantial upfront investment – estimates suggest that even the most basic apps can cost between $5,000-$10,000 to create.
The good news is that once you’ve created it, you can earn money every time someone downloads your app, charge for a subscription, or offer your app for free but put ads inside.
If your app is particularly successful, you can even consider selling it for big money to someone else.
Did you know: Some 230 billion apps were downloaded worldwide in 2021, an astonishing increase of nearly 100 billion since 2016!
Rather than sell pre-made digital products, you can use your skills to create custom digital products for customers on a freelance basis.
While this will not generate passive income, it can be an easy way to start a lucrative side hustle.
If you are an artist, you might create custom graphics for businesses and content creators.
If words are your thing, you could offer copywriting, proofreading, or transcription services.
Or, if you’re a photographer, you might take product photos for marketers.
As a musician, you could create custom tracks for content creators.
The best part is that it’s so easy to find clients for your online services on freelance marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork when you’re first starting out.
Pro tip: If there are things your customers are constantly asking you to create, consider producing and selling templates for these things and turn your in-demand skills into passive income!
How To Start Selling Digital Products
1. Decide what to sell
Sometimes deciding what to sell can be the hardest part of creating digital products. It doesn’t have to be like this.
Start by thinking about what you’re good at and what unique skills you bring to the table. This will help you find the right product niche.
Then, think about common frustrations you have with existing products. These pain points provide insights into choosing a product that will actually help customers.
With these things in mind, brainstorm a list of your favorite digital product ideas.
2. Research your market and validate your idea
No matter how much you like an idea, there is no point in investing your time and effort into creating a digital product if you’re not going to be able to make sales after you do.
Consequently, the next step is to validate your favorite product ideas.
Start with tools like Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends to examine what keywords people are using to find similar products, and how many searches are being made for each.
Look for a sweet spot where there is some competition, indicating that a market exists, but not so much competition that it will be impossible to get your product seen.
From there, analyze your competition and note what their best sellers are, then look at customer reviews and social media comments for similar products. Look specifically for places customers are dissatisfied or asking for more.
With this information, you will be able to choose a product that is both valuable and profitable.
3. Decide how you will sell your product
Once you have decided on a product, the next step is choosing where to sell it.
Here, there are two options:
a) Sell on an established eCommerce platform like Etsy, Amazon, or eBay: This option offers the advantage of an established base of potential customers numbering in the millions. Plus, you can start selling in a matter of minutes.
b) Start an online store: Starting an online store and selling through your own website is the option for those looking for a little more control and customization in selling their digital products.
The best platform to get this done is Shopify. They have an exceptionally simple layout which makes it easy to create your store, plus a number of design themes, templates, and tools to help make your store unique and easier to run.
You can start a 14-day free trial with Shopify by clicking here.
4. Market your Digital products
It doesn’t matter how great your product is if it doesn’t find its way in front of potential customers. Here are the five best ways to market your digital products and get them seen.
1. Use social media platforms
Did you know that customers spend 20-40% more with businesses they have social media engagement with?
If you’re going to sell digital products online, you’ve got to be active on social media.
This means not only creating great content but participating in the conversation and building a connection with potential customers in the online community.
2. Serve before you sell
Offer your customers something of value before you ask them to buy anything.
Try starting a blog or a YouTube channel devoted to talking about your niche. Or, promote a lead magnet, which is a light or trial version of your product you offer for free.
Establish yourself as a trusted source and industry expert, and customers will come to you when they are ready to buy.
3. Invest in paid ads
If you’re looking to take your digital products business to the next level, consider investing in a paid advertising campaign through Google Ads or Facebook Ads.
Paid ads are a great way to get your product in front of your target market. Facebook Ads, for example, allows you to create a custom audience based on preferences, behavior, and demographics.
4. Email Marketing
Fun fact: every $1 invested into email marketing can drive up to $36 in return.
Because email is the place where customers have voluntarily entered into a relationship with you, it is a great way to gain information about their specific needs and preferences and the best place to provide free content to build your brand.
A great way to get your foot in the door with new customers, and increase repeat sales with existing customers as your online business grows, is by running special offers and giveaways.
This could mean offering a discount on an existing product, a free product giveaway, or access to something limited edition.
Yes, selling digital products can be extremely profitable. Most digital products require a very low up-front investment and offer higher profit margins than physical goods.
More importantly, digital products offer an easy way to earn passive income and make money in your sleep!
There are numerous less-expensive digital products that can be sold in large numbers with minimal effort – things like digital templates, stock photography, or printables.
On the other hand, there are more expensive digital products that are harder to sell but offer higher profits when you do – think online courses, ebooks, or membership sites.
Whichever you choose, use the appropriate marketing tools to make sure your digital products sell the most.
To create a successful digital product, simply follow the four steps listed above – think of your idea, validate it, put your product up for sale, then market the heck out of it!
Don’t be afraid to utilize tutorials and courses which teach you about the product you want to make, or even enlist help creating your product from freelancers on Fiverr or Upwork.
Online courses, digital templates, and photo presets are hot right now.
But the most in-demand products are always changing, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on trends. Check out places like Etsy’s Best Selling Digital Products and Amazon’s Best Sellers in Digital Media.
Then, examine your competition and see what their best sellers are and what their customers are saying they want and need.
Ready to make passive income with digital products?
Selling digital products is a great way to start earning passive income and take the first steps on your journey to financial freedom.
All you have to do is choose one of the best digital products to sell from this list and start making money in your sleep!
In fact, why not combine multiple options together?
If you sell digital art, you could create a YouTube channel offering a behind-the-scenes look at your creative process, then build an online course to teach your skills to others.
Whichever way you choose, let me know how you make out in the comments!
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Ethel Wahid says
Hi, Carrie! Thank you for sharing your opinion. The point of dupes for most people isn’t trying to “fool” anyone into thinking that they have more status than they do. It’s because they like the style and want to find something similar for less. Sure, it might be more impressive if a wardrobe had a lot of designer items, but not everyone can or wants to spend designer money on items. And some people are not out to impress. That being said, I do agree that a knock-off (logo on a fake designer item) is a turn-off!