How I Made 10K from Digital Product Sales in 7 Months
Passive income has been on my biz bucket list since Day 1.
Over the years, I’ve seen dozens of webinars and read countless blog posts outlining the pros of passive income: Make money in your sleep! Fire your clients! Buy a Lamborghini! Watch money roll in from your private island!
Needless to say, I would love to own an island… Maybe two.*
So early on in my business, I made a point to set aside time that I could have spent chasing clients, and instead spent it creating my first digital product. The result?
In seven months, I’ve earned just over 10K in digital product sales.
I get questions about my digital product shop on the daily over on Instagram, so in this blog post, I’m breaking down the entire process of how I went from $0 to $10K in digital product sales, and how you can do it, too.
* Obviously joking about the island, but hey, a girl can dream.
Before I get into the how-to and the play-by-play, I should clarify…
What exactly is passive income?
Passive income is money that you earn on a regular basis with very little effort.
In the entrepreneurial online space, passive income is typically generated from digital products that are listed for sale, and purchased by people who land on your website and decide to buy while you’re off working on something else in your business – or better yet, binge watching Netflix, walking the dog, or even sleeping.
(Psst… Digital products are products that exist only in the online space, and don’t involve any physical element whatsoever. This includes courses, e-books, workflows, templates, membership sites, photos, website themes, creative assets… You get the idea.)
The best part about passive income is that the earning potential per product is literally unlimited. You could sell a digital product to a hundred people, or a thousand people, or a hundred thousand people and you wouldn’t have to do any extra work to make it happen.
Oooooh, the possibilities!
If you’re an online business owner, odds are you already have dozens of digital product ideas tucked away in a dusty Google Doc somewhere.
When I started my business, I wrote out my own list of products, and then created a list of criteria to help decide which one was going to be the best fit for me, the best fit for my biz, and the most likely to generate #allofthemoney.
Islands aren’t cheap, ya know?
Later, I turned the list into a formula based on what I initially used as the deciding factors for my first digital product, and what I know to be true based on my experience generating a steady stream of passive income from a select few products.
Want a copy of the formula?
You’re in luck! I typed it all out, made it look pretty (as designers do), and made it downloadable for you. You can get it for FREE right here:
Before I decided on my first digital product, though, I took one small but very crucial step that involved shifting my attitude and my mindset around passive income.
I simply decided that passive income was a possibility for me.
I decided, with total and utter confidence in myself, that one day I would achieve true passive income and make money in my sleep.
And you know what? When I look back and reflect on the journey that I took to get from $0 to $10K in digital product sales, I really believe that this was the one thing that propelled me forward, and that kept me going.
I notice that when I work from a place of excitement, encouragement and positivity – i.e. when I believe in myself – I do great work, and it comes easy.
When I work from a place of apathy, insecurity and negativity – or worse, when I’m in the mindset of “having to” work instead of “wanting to” work – I tend to drag my feet, do the bare minimum, and struggle every step of the way.
It’s not rocket science – it’s the law of attraction. #woowoo, but true.
The reason I wanted to include this step, even though it’s not really tangible, is because if you’re reading this blog post and you’re already thinking “there’s no way I’d be able to make this happen for me” – then you’re right, and you probably won’t.
But... what if you flipped your mindset?
What if you decided that passive income was yours for the taking? What if you were set on making it happen? What if you thought buying an island wasn’t so impossible after all? Imagine what you would be able to accomplish if the only possible result was to succeed.
(P.S. Still kidding about the island.)
I used the MVP method and made my first sales.
Okay, for real though, the first thing I actually did was select my first digital product: A set of 11 customizable Pinterest templates.
But, instead of going all out, I decided to create a minimum viable product (MVP) and use it to determine what I would do with my shop moving forward.
You see, up until this point, I had been targeting an audience of beginners, and people just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey. Based on what I knew about my audience, I doubted that they would all be interested in templates if they were offered in Adobe format. I had a hunch that my subscribers and followers were – like me – still in a place where they took the DIY route and cut costs as often as possible.
Not to mention, they weren’t designers. Duh.
I decided to offer my templates in both Canva and Adobe format to test my theory.
This was one of the best (and most profitable!) decisions I ever made, and one that is reflected in my Profitable Product formula, which you can grab for FREE right here:
I put my templates up for sale on my Squarespace website using the Shopify buy button, then sent an e-mail to my list, made the announcement on Instagram Stories, and officially “launched” my templates.
When all was said and done, I made about $700 in the course of a few days. And with a total of 47 sales, only one person bought the templates in Adobe format.
MVP for the win.
I put my products on Creative Market
A few days after I initially launched my templates, someone sent me a DM on Instagram and recommended that I open a Creative Market shop. This person also had a Creative Market shop that she hadn’t updated in years, but was still making anywhere from $50 to $100 a month from it, completely passively.
Looking at the stats listed on the home page of their website (27,000 shops and over 2.5 million product listings) I thought for sure that if I opened a shop on Creative Market, I wouldn’t get a single sale.
But since it didn’t cost any money to sign up, it couldn’t hurt to try.
Surprisingly, just two weeks after opening my Creative Market shop, I had been handpicked (my product was put on the homepage) and made $200. In the first 30 days, I made $650.
The best part? I did absolutely no work. The sales were all being generated from built-in traffic on Creative Market. I did it – I made passive income!
I put in the work
I realized that since Creative Market is well-known online as being one of the best places to buy creative assets, thousands of people go to the site every day, most often with the intention of buying something.
So, when someone goes to Creative Market to buy Pinterest templates, and they see mine, the odds of them making a purchase are fairly high.
I knew that if I did a bit of research about how the platform worked – the algorithm, search terms, keywords – and put in the work, I could replicate or even increase my results for the following month.
And I did!
I read dozens of blog posts, listened to several series’ of podcasts, and combed through online forums for tips and insights from other sellers. I continued to create products that I knew would sell based on my formula, and I also took suggestions from customers who asked if I was selling something, or requested to be notified if I ever did.
I also A/B tested my own products to test the theories I had learned from my research, and made some realizations of my own along the way.
In the process of testing out the platform and continuing to grow my shop, I established a product workflow that would allow me to create, package, list and promote my products efficiently, so I didn’t have to slow down the other parts of my business that were making me money.
And then everything changed
In seven months (March – September), I’ve made a total of just over $10K in digital product sales, and over $9K was generated from Creative Market alone. (I still sell my digital products here on my website, which is where the difference comes from.
In September, I made $3,200 selling social media and content marketing templates. That’s nearly twice the take-home pay that I made at my last “real job.”
What the what!?
Since starting my template shop, I’ve…
Made hundreds of dollars in my sleep
Taken days off at random without sacrificing my income
Created a product just for fun, then sold it
Bought a plane ticket for Christmas and didn’t cry about the price
I’ve reached a point in my online business where it no longer makes sense for me to offer 1:1 services, because the products I used to create for my clients in a few hours have the potential to generate 10x the revenue within a few weeks on Creative Market.
Not only that, but my templates are able to help hundreds of people accomplish the thing that one client would have been able to accomplish had I spent the same amount of time providing a service instead of a product.
But the absolute best part about passive income is...
The sense of freedom.
I can make up my own hours, create whatever the heck I want, avoid Skype meetings and deadlines, take spontaneous trips, and I can count on my bills being paid no matter what I choose to do with my time. And that, to me, is even better than an island.