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So you’ve decided you want to sell digital products online as a side hustle. You’ve gone through all the videos on digital products you can sell on YouTube and you’ve even downloaded and checked our list of products to make and sell (use the subscribe form in the sidebar and you’ll get it as a freebie). You highlight the ones that call to you and those that seem easier to make.
The process above can take you anywhere from hours to months. I know, because I’ve been there. I loved courses and eBooks but they are hard work. I wanted something simpler that I could make and sell over and over again.
Once you have your product, let’s say a digital planner, you’ll have to go through several steps before you can come out with your new shiny product ready to package, sell and deliver. These steps are: research, planning & design and creation. I’ll talk a bit about all of them but what concerns us truly is the creation step.
You probably already did some research when trying to decide which product to make, but there are some things that are important to know. Is your product seasonal? Does it sell well on marketplaces like Etsy? Are sellers having success with this type of product?
There are some product specific options you might want to find out about like what colors are trending and what type of planners are best sellers right now (financial binders vs. self care planners).
It’s also important to research who your competitors are and what type of planners they are selling. Do they sell on Etsy or on their own website or Shopify store?
Planning & Design
I think planning and design go hand in hand but you need to set aside some time to do them with the end in mind.You will start with a general idea of what you want and will then hash out the details. Then you start thinking of design elements like color palettes, cliparts and fonts.
I really love a workbook that is given in the program Passive Income Profit Girl by Michelle and Aimee from the Secret Owl Society, where they help you unleash your “zone of genius” and prepare your design elements so that the actual creation of the planner feels seamless. I used it to create my Romantic Chic Digital Planner and I was very happy with the results. I talk about their program in this blog post “Building a heart centered business”.
Creation can be a little tricky. You watch all the YouTube videos and everything seems so easy! They know how to pick the right colors and how to make things happen in whatever design software they are using.
Here is where we get to the meat of the problem. How will you create your product?
Creating from scratch
I commend anyone that makes their products from scratch. Of course, once you have a template you can more easily modify it and make variations of the product but at the beginning you will have to make every line and add every design item into the product.
Digital planners are usually made with Keynote (Mac) and some compression tools. Others use Powerpoint (Windows) and other alternatives are inDesign (Adobe) and Affinity Publisher.
For every page in the planner you would have to make a special design (with lines, modules, grids and more). If it’s dated your work is cut out for you because of all the hyperlinking. I once made a digital sketchbook from scratch and getting the numbers in the calendar linked to each day page was one of the most boring tasks I’ve ever done. Not doing that again.
Creating using a template
Commercial use templates are all the rage right now and I love them. I’ve gotten them for creating digital planners and printables as well. Using them definitely cuts time from all of the steps you have to take. I created my Romantic Chic Digital Planner with Michelle and Aimee’s Digital Planner Template Kit. I love their products so much, I became an affiliate for them.
Take A Look At My Romantic Chic Digital Life Planner
Once you start customizing your digital planner you will realize how detailed the template is and how much you would have had to create on your own if you didn’t have it. From the stitching in the band that keeps the journal closed to the shadows of the pages so it seems like it has depth, they took all of that into consideration with their design. Unfortunately I did not time myself when I created the planner. I would have liked to compare it to how long it took me to make that digital sketchbook.
Outsourcing the work
I’ve outsourced a few things for my business in Fiverr and some have been great while others have been ok and some useless. Fiverr can be a bit of a gamble. I checked and digital planners can range from $5 to $400, but don’t be fooled, the $5-$10 price tags mean you’ll only get two pages of a planner, not a full one.
This platform is more expensive and you’d have to post a job and offer either hourly pay or pay a fixed price for the whole project and see what the freelancers prefer.
I made my first attempt at a digital planner following a tutorial on YouTube by a teacher named Miss Money who made it for her work (HOW TO MAKE A DIGITAL PLANNER 2021 (EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW)-. I only got the overall design made and maybe one or two pages but didn’t get further than that because it felt so overwhelming. What should go on what page? How many different trackers do I need? Should I include finances and budget sheets? What about extra pages (blank, lined, dotted), where do I get the graphics for that?
I really enjoy making digital products, but I quickly realized I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel to have an amazing product that I could sell. The investment was minimal and I could make several versions of the planner and sell it as many times as I could.
These days they even have pre-built courses (Ruzuku platform) so you don’t have to make them from scratch either. The only thing is you need to add the secret ingredient that is “you” and make that product your own.