What do you do if you want to start taking steps toward building a passive income source with digital products? You NEED actions that fit with your REAL (and time-crunched) life. Not to mention, you need advice that isn’t just for people with flashy websites, high growth social media accounts and an email list.
Feeling stuck on starting line with digital products is a common trouble spot. Figuring out how to get started, what to sell, and if this is even a good idea are common concerns.
The problem is, most of the getting started resources are overwhelming. You don’t need to quit your job or put your life on hold to take significant first steps forward.
This guide has been created to help you take the first (and essential) actions to create a successful digital product.
Let’s get started!
What is a digital product and which type should I sell?
One of the challenges of getting started is figuring out what to sell. Should I create an online course? What about writing a book or hosting online workshops?
If you feel stuck because you have no idea what kind of product to create, that is perfectly normal!
Figuring out what type of digital product to create is less important than figuring out the problem your product will solve.The best way to package that solution (course, book, workshop, etc) can be determined later.
Step 1: Identify the problem you will solve
All successful digital products share a common characteristic. They offer a solution to a problem.
The truth is that no one is looking to buy a digital product. They chose to purchase an online course or guide because they believe it will solve a problem or provide a transformation they want to achieve.
The beauty of this step is that it requires no financial investment. It does require that you spend time studying the people that you plan to sell your product to.
What are their common complaints? What types of solutions are they already asking for?
This can be as simple as visiting sites such as Quora and Reddit. Other options such as Facebook groups and community sites can be used. These forums allow members or users to ask questions. Mining the questions asked on specific topics will yield a wealth of insight. Take careful notes about trends and specific language that is used to describe problems.
By focusing on the problem, you can hear loud and clear what people already want. It isn’t necessary to create a novel or brilliant product. You simply need to create something that solves a problem – ideally what is already being asked for.
Product Idea vs. Problem Solver – A Closer Look
It’s easy to fall into the trap of creating a product, instead of offering a solution. As you read and do a deep dive into the struggles that potential customers face, you immediately jump to what is needed to fix the problem. However, to create a successful product, you must first frame the problem it solves.
Here’s an example to demonstrate.
Product (what): I want to create a cookbook, Plant-Based Meals that Even Meat Eaters Will Love
Problem: Transitioning to a more plant-based eating style is difficult when one member of the family is resistant or prefers traditional meat-based meals. Unsure about how to modify family favorite recipes to include meat alternatives.
When you are studying problems, your natural tendency is to jump to a solution. You are going to fall in love with your idea! But to succeed with a digital product requires that you fall in love with the problem and creating a solution.
The key is to create a detailed list of problem statements. It will take incredible restraint to keep your mind from jumping to solutions and product ideas. Resist this behavior and note when you’ve started down a trail of creating a solution or product.
Once you’ve spent some time developing/brainstorming problem statements, it’s time to dive in and find out if your ideas are echoed by your target audience.
Step 2: Research your audience (identify/clarify your target customer)
Now that you’ve prepared a list of problem statements, it’s time to get laser focused on your target customer. To successfully sell your digital product, you will need to make customers feel your solution has read their mind. Their reaction should be “this is exactly what I need!”
The most common mistake here is being too broad. Your product won’t help everyone. If you jump past this step and create a solution without a crystal-clear target customer, your product will fall flat. Your customer isn’t going to reach for their credit card unless they feel what you have is “just what I was looking for.”
It can feel intimidating to define your target audience. There are entire books and courses devoted to this topic. Even simple worksheets can cause you to feel stifled and overwhelmed.
You can always improve your target client avatar. The key is to get started!
Here’s a simple approach to get past the “stuck” feeling that many of the complex tools can create.
Activity – Target Customer “Day in the Life”
Read the list of problem statements you created in step 1. Close your eyes and envision just one person. This person has the problems you described. Start from the moment this person wakes up in the morning. What is the first thing that she does? How does she feel?
Don’t open your eyes or take any notes, just try to get completely lost in the day, thoughts and realities of this one person. It should take you 10-20 minutes (or more) to complete this visualization activity.
Get granular, imagine details such as the type of home this person lives in, what she reads, type of food she eats, where she shops, kind of car she drives and favorite hobbies. Proceed through the entire day paying attention to how the problem might impact specific elements of her day.
Once you’ve finished this activity, spend time writing down a detailed account of your “day in the life.” Don’t worry about making it perfect. Just get all the juicy details down on paper. Congratulations, you now have your first draft of a target customer avatar!
Step 3: Write your solution statement
Now that you’ve created clarity around the problem you intend to solve and exactly whom your solution is a best fit for, you’re ready for the next step!
You need to write a solution statement. This is a powerful promise! It should clearly describe the improved future state that your digital product would provide.
From our previous example about plant-based recipes for meat-lovers, this solution statement might read: Feel the swell of pride when your family raves about the new recipe you tried at dinner! But you know a secret…this plant-based meal is good for them and good for the planet! Smile knowing they had no idea it wasn’t their meaty favorite – no complaints and no trickery!
Note that we haven’t yet talked about what type of product you will create. Creating a solution statement doesn’t require that you know if you’re going to create a book, workshop or online course.
The most important part of a solution statement is describing the improved future state that will be achieved. Just like with your problem statement and target customer, you want to get detailed. You want the customer to read your solution and eagerly respond with “where do I get this?”
Getting off the starting line with digital products is essential if you want to build a consistent passive income stream. You don’t need to know what kind of product you want to sell to get started. Start first by identifying the problem you will solve and then get clarity around your ideal customer. Once you have completed these steps, create a powerful promise that describes the improved future state that you will offer.
Ready for the Next Step?
If you’re ready to get started, signup for a free store on RD2RD. Use our selling tools and resources to launch a profitable store selling your nutrition resources. Become a vendor here.
Grab a copy of my FREE e-book + webinar, “Leveraging Digital Goods: More Money, More Business” with a BONUS getting started checklist.
Ready to learn more? We’ve hand-picked a few favorites from the blog.
- Definitive Guide to the Types of Nutrition Resources Dietitians Can Sell – Use this framework to decide what to sell. Whether you’re creating a passive income product or a free download to grow your email list, you want it to be a winner.