Free PDF: The top 3 course-selling mistakes to avoid at all costs

The 10 Most Profitable Digital Products To Sell (+Where) in 2023

Want to start selling digital products online? 

Here, you’ll learn what the most profitable digital products are and how to start selling them today. 

Want to learn more? Read on.

What is a digital product? 

A digital product is an intangible product that you sell online.

It’s a broad category of multiple different types of products, such as online courses, software, eBooks, and even online services.

But if you’re looking to start an online business, why should you consider selling digital products

Pros of selling digital products

  • Low upfront investment: Because your product is made, marketed, and sold entirely online, there are no inventory, shipping, or production costs. This means creating and selling physical products is far more expensive than digital products. 
  • No extra skills required: The best digital products are just a portion of your expertise repackaged into a downloadable item for sale. Beyond some software knowledge, you can pretty much get started with the knowledge you have and create a product. 
  • Highly profitable: Digital assets can be replicated a million times over without any extra labor from you. You create the product once and can keep selling. This means you can sell a ton of volume of one product, which offers a great ROI.
  • “Passive” income: Look, no income is truly passive. Every product or service requires work in the beginning. But selling digital products is as passive as it gets if you have the right traffic sources like SEO.

So those are the benefits, but what are the drawbacks?

Cons of selling digital products

  • Piracy: It’s hard to protect your content because anyone can download your product and copy it. But there are ways to keep your digital products safe. I use a company to monitor thefts and make sure no one infringes on my copyright.
  • Your products vs. free content: There is a LOT of free content out there that may contain the information you’re providing. But I’d argue this isn’t a problem if you want to sell high-quality digital products. Your product is going to deliver a higher quality result and curate information that would take months or years to learn for free.

The top 10 most profitable digital products 

How much can you earn selling digital products? 

Well, your potential earnings depend on what you sell, how well you market your products, the pricing, and the volume of sales. 

Learn the top 3 reasons course creators fail

(and what to do instead to sell out your online course)

The traffic sources you use to sell will also impact your bottom line. 

Think about it:

Yes, you can use ads to scale. But they’ll eat into your profit margins. 

On the other hand, search engine optimization, or SEO, is a highly scalable and profitable traffic source because you don’t pay for every visitor. If you’ve optimized your site in the right way, people find you organically on Google – not through ads. 

In today’s creator economy, many people earn five, six, or seven figures. For instance, many of my students have successfully launched and sold their own courses based on things they’re incredibly passionate about. 

Here are some of their results

Ultimately, the digital product industry is in high demand and growing fast. 

For example…

So the market for digital products is huge. And so is your earning potential if you create the right type of product and market it well. 

What digital products can you create and sell? 

Let’s talk about the digital product ideas that are most likely to make you money.

The top 10 most profitable types of digital products are:

  • Online courses
  • Online services
  • Templates
  • Software and apps
  • Educational downloads
  • Digital art
  • Digital audio and images
  • eBooks
  • Web assets
  • Subscriptions

We’ll look at them next. 

Online courses

Online courses are the most profitable digital products. They’re fairly simple, too, because you don’t need to have a lot of funding to create your course. All you need to do is pour the knowledge you already have into a clear step-by-step process for your students to follow. 

You create the course once and continue selling it for years, so this product is highly scalable.  

Best of all, you don’t need a huge audience to get started – even a few hundred email subscribers can make you a profit. 

An online course can cost anything from $100-$10K+. Around $500-$2,000 is the sweet spot. 

However, to create an online course, you need to understand your audience. So start with coaching or consulting first which we’ll talk about below. 

How to get started: Outline your content and decide the format of your course. It could be text, slides, video, or a combination of all of them. Create an MVP version of your course and deliver it in real-time to get feedback from your audience. Here’s my guide on how to create your course. 

Difficulty: Beginner 


  • Highly profitable 
  • You don’t need a huge audience to get started
  • You can use your existing skills


  • There’s an art to launching a course successfully
  • More time-consuming to create than smaller products like stock photos
  • You need to add a lot of value to compete with free content


1. Become a freelancer

2. Build abs 

3. Become a graphic designer

4. Create a successful blog 

5. Build tiny houses

6. Invest in real estate

7. Take beautiful photos

8. Learn how to use Excel

9. Write novels

10. Use artificial intelligence to improve productivity

11. Learn how to land speaking gigs

12. Get a promotion at work 

13. Reduce your stress 

14. Learn yoga

15. Learn to knit 

Online services

Online services can be really profitable. You only need a few clients to replace your 9 to 5 job – especially if you’re coaching or consulting. 

But regardless of whether you want to become a coach long term or if you want a thriving digital product business, I recommend you start here. Why? Well, it’s the best way to learn more about your audience. 

You can test your methodology and learn what tools would be helpful for your target audience. Then you can apply everything you’ve learned to create a course and scale.

How to get started: Create a package for your services that aligns with your target audience. Market your services by posting consistently on social media and guest hosting on podcasts. Here’s my guide on how to start a coaching business.

Difficulty: Beginner

Learn the top 3 reasons course creators fail

(and what to do instead to sell out your online course)


  • The best way to learn more about your ideal audience
  • Highly profitable
  • Low investment to get started


  • Not passive income
  • Not as scalable as traditional digital products
  • Requires more ongoing time and energy 


1. Interior design consultations

2. Personal training online

3. Career coaching

4. Virtual reiki healing sessions

5. Relationship coaching

6. Financial coaching

7. Mindset coaching

8. Proofreading & editing

9. Virtual assistance

10. Translation services

11. Parenting coaching

12. Graphic design services

13. Web design services

14. Health coaching


Customizable templates, checklists, and workbooks are simple to create. A few examples include digital wedding invitations, productivity planners, and resume outlines. Templates tend to sell for no more than $5-10 each. So to make these digital products profitable, you need a good sales funnel with a wide audience.

How to get started: Canva has many ready-made templates you can adapt to your branding and content. Or you can create the template from scratch. Export the document as a PDF and list it for sale on your website or online store. Read this guide on how to sell templates.

Difficulty: Beginner


  • Very easy to get started
  • Lowest time investment of all digital products
  • Most passive income stream


  • Requires a high volume of sales to be profitable
  • You need a good sales funnel to have recurring revenue
  • Competes with free content


1. Web-based graphic design templates

2. Canva templates

3. Notion templates

4. Social media graphics templates

5. Printable planner templates

6. Printable meal-planning templates

7. Customizable resume and cover letter templates

8. Wedding invitation templates

9. Virtual assistant templates and checklists

10. Customizable business card templates

11. Excel spreadsheets

12. Customizable event ticket templates

13. Customizable newsletter templates

14. Stock motion graphics templates

15. Customizable social media profile templates

Software and apps  

Software and apps are some of the most profitable digital products. But it takes a lot of skills, time, and money to get started. You could probably create a template in a couple of hours, but software can take months to create. 

This type of product also requires more maintenance once you’ve launched the MVP version of the app. Typically, software and apps require more funding, and you usually need a team to scale and grow your business. 

What’s more, as your product will sell for around $10-$100 per month, you need enough traffic to make this business model work. And you need to retain those users. 

How to get started: Think of a gap in the market for a useful app, game, or SaaS product. If you can code the app yourself, get going! If not, source a tech development team to help. Market your software or game on popular app stores such as The App Store or Google Play Store. Here’s how to start an app business. 

Difficulty: Advanced


  • Good for monthly recurring revenue
  • Innovative software can make millions
  • Software brands can grow beyond being small businesses


  • Requires coding knowledge or a team of developers
  • Higher upfront time and money investment
  • High failure rate


1. Virtual event platform

2. Meditation and mindfulness app

3. Virtual reality (VR) game

4. Travel planning app

5. Personal finance management app

6. Online dating platform

7. Mobile game

8. Language learning app

9. Fitness tracking app

10. Task management app

11. Interior design tool

12. Online course platform

13. Home automation control app

14. Online marketplace for local services

15. Personalized news aggregator app

Educational downloads

Educational downloads are usually PDF documents or video series that teach the audience a specific skill or roadmap to a desired result. Like templates, these require a lot of traffic to make a profit, as most sell for $10-$20. 

It’s not impossible to make over six figures creating e-guides for popular tools or methods. But you need a large audience and high-quality content to make that a reality.

How to get started: Think of the questions you get asked the most in your line of work. These questions are the perfect topics for your downloads. Spend time writing high-quality guides. Use Canva to customize the look and download them as PDFs or EPUBs (depending on where you decide to sell your product). Here’s how to sell PDFs online.

Difficulty: Beginner


  • Easy to create
  • Low time investment
  • Uses skills you already have


  • Generally difficult to make profits without a high volume of sales
  • Competes with free content
  • Requires strong marketing to continually bring in revenue


1. Wedding planning guide

2. Marketing strategy guide

3. Fitness and workout guides

4. Recipe guide

5. Pet training guides

6. Budgeting guide

7. Gardening and plant care guides

8. Social media guide

9. Homeschool guide and resources

10. Knitting or crochet stitch guides

11. DIY guides

12. Language flashcards

13. Relocation guides

14. Skincare manuals

15. Business strategy guides

Digital art 

Digital art allows you to make a living by creating artwork you love. NFTs and digital art can be high-value products. But to get to that point, you need more than just the product – you need a brand. 

To sell your art, you first need an audience who wants your products. That’s why the threshold to getting started is slightly higher than with some other digital products. But once you’ve built up that audience, you can build a full-time or part-time business out of your art. 

How to get started: Build a following around your creative work on social media. Also, build a mailing list of fans who are more likely to purchase your new creations. Create original digital artwork that can be purchased as prints or downloads. Post your work for sale on your website, Etsy, and/or art-based platforms. How to start your digital art business.

Difficulty: Intermediate


  • Good passive income stream
  • Can be highly profitable
  • Boosts your brand awareness


  • It takes time to build a solid brand from your artwork
  • Few artists make huge amounts
  • Highly competitive space


1. 3D printable designs

2. Original music

3. Digital sheet music

4. Commissioned digital art

5. NFTs

6. License-free music

7. Printable coloring books for adults and children

8. Printable wall art

9. Posters and flyers

10. Printable paint-by-numbers overlay

Digital audio and images 

Unlike selling your creative music, stock images, video, and audio are meant for creators to use in their own work. You need to sell a high volume of assets to make a profit because most stock assets sell for very little. You also owe a percentage to the platform you host your products on.

How to get started: Create a variety of photos, videos, or audio that align with what people are searching for. For example, parenting magazines are looking for images of families and business sites use photos of professionals. Host your content on your website and a popular platform like Unsplash or Pond5 for more traction. Read this guide on how to sell digital files online.

Difficulty: Intermediate


  • Uses skills you already have
  • Low time commitment
  • Can build your creative brand awareness


  • Highly competitive
  • Difficult to be profitable without selling high volumes
  • Only viable if you use a platform unless you have a huge social media following


1. Digital photo editing presets

2. Stock video

3. Infographics 

4. Stock audio sound effects

5. Stock photography


Got an amazing story to tell? Why not self-publish an eBook? Of course, you need a talent for writing and the time to write it, but if you’re strategic, you can make money with eBook sales. 

However, this business model does require a big audience and a lot of eBooks before you make any money at all. 

To be successful, you need to create a following on Amazon, Wattpad, or other platforms for self-publishers. Find a popular niche and produce eBooks for that niche.  

How to get started: Write a good book within a popular self-publishing genre like romance, thriller, and non-fiction. Format your book on Canva and sell it on popular platforms like Amazon or your website. Build a following around your writing on Medium and popular social media channels. You will also need a mailing list to market your book effectively. Here’s how to start an eBook business.

Difficulty: Intermediate 


  • Low-cost investment 
  • Passive income
  • Builds your personal brand


  • Time-consuming 
  • Requires high sales to make profitable
  • Difficult to make profitable without selling on platforms like Amazon


1. Self-care and wellness journals

2. Fiction book

3. Relationship workbook

4. Meal plan workbook

5. Business fundamentals

6. Productivity book

7. Spiritual guidance book

8. Gardening book

9. Pet care book

10. Repair manuals

11. Language learning books

12. History book

13. Children’s book

14. Digital marketing book

15. Instruction manuals

Web assets

Web assets are digital products that your audience can use to improve their online creations. Examples include filters, fonts, video graphic effects, and more. If you have the skills to create these, they can be a highly profitable source of passive income. But you need to grow a loyal following to make asset sales work.

How to get started: Create useful customizable assets using popular software and host them on digital graphic platforms. Build a social media following to help sell your particular style of assets. As a bonus, bundle the asset with a PDF guide on how to customize it. Here’s how to make money from web assets.

Difficulty: Intermediate


  • Uses skills you already have
  • Low time commitment
  • Passive income

    Learn the top 3 reasons course creators fail

    (and what to do instead to sell out your online course)


  • Higher cost investment as you need software to create the assets
  • Requires a high volume of sales to be profitable
  • Highly competitive


1. Stock vector illustrations

2. Icon sets for websites or apps

3. Fonts

4. Procreate brushes

5. Instagram filters

6. LUTs

7. Twitch screen overlays

8. WordPress themes

9. InDesign palettes

10. Badges and emoticons

11. AR filters

12. Text effects

13. Digital wallpapers

14. Coding shortcuts 

15. Illustrator gradients


Subscriptions and memberships are amazing sources of monthly income. You can charge anything from $1-$1,000 per month for your subscription service depending on the niche, though the sweet spot is around $5-$20 per month. 

But to keep the money coming in, you need to have a dynamic membership that always provides fresh content to your audience. If you fail to deliver, you won’t retain your members. 

How to get started: Decide on the structure of your membership. Create a variety of tools, programs, and/or content around your niche. Build a social media following and a mailing list. Invite your followers to become subscribers for exclusive content and community access. Read this guide to start a subscription business. 

Difficulty: Advanced


  • Good source of monthly recurring revenue
  • Can be highly profitable
  • Builds strong brand loyalty


  • Not passive income because you need to continually nurture the community
  • Time-consuming
  • Can take a long time to build up a following


1. Email newsletters

2. Membership communities

3. Exclusive behind-the-scenes content

4. Vlogs

5. Digital magazine subscription 

6. Fitness classes

7. Software licensing & updates

8. Comic strips

9. Subscription-based podcasts

10. Weekly meal plans

11. Daily motivational quotes

12. Meditation subscription 

13. Short films or web-series

14. Weekly virtual art workshops

15. Digital course library

How to create digital products

Now you know the best types of digital products to create, how do you create one? Let’s talk about it. 

Research your audience 

The first step is research, which is key to knowing exactly what your audience wants. 

There’s no point in creating a digital product that no one wants to buy. 

To research your market, you can look at your competitors and how they are packaging their products. After all, if someone is already selling what you want to sell, that’s a good indication that there’s a market for your product.

You can also speak to your target audience. Get on the phone with a few people who could be potential clients and ask them about their struggles and what type of solution they’re looking for.   

However, there’s one market research strategy that trumps all others. 

And that is offering coaching or consulting. 

Here’s why:

By coaching or consulting your target clients, you get to know their struggles, wants, and needs intimately. 

You can then directly apply what you learn when creating your digital product. For example, you’d take your coaching methodology and turn it into an online course.

And you get paid for your research. 

Create an outline 

For small digital products like stock images and graphics, you don’t need to take this step.

But more complex products like courses or eBooks need a plan. 

Your outline doesn’t need to be complicated. You can read more about creating an outline here. As a quick overview, think through: 

  • Who is the product for?
  • How will it be delivered?  
  • How is the product structured?
  • What are the main topics of each section?

Once you have the skeleton mapped out, it’s a lot easier to sit down and write or film the content.

I also talk more about my process for outlining an online course here: 

Deliver your digital product

Delivering your product means creating a perfected version and releasing it to your audience, right? 


A better way is to create an MVP.

“MVP” stands for Minimum Viable Product. 

The MVP version of your course, eBook, or whatever it might be, is NOT perfect. 

It’s a bare-bones version that delivers on your promise but without any extra stuff.

This version will be enough to start making sales and get honest feedback from your audience. 

Let’s take a course for example. 

Instead of pre-filming your course and launching it for self-study straight away, you can deliver your course in real-time. 

That way, you get immediate feedback from your audience, and you can test whether your course actually works.

From there, you’ll improve the course for the next cohort until you create a final self-study version. 

How to sell digital products

So you’ve got your MVP – how do you start selling? Here’s the blueprint for successful digital product sales.

Decide on a digital product to sell 

First, decide which type of product you’re going to create. 

I recommend starting with online services or courses. 

They’ll make you the most profit and you’ll learn a lot about your target audience. 

Once you know more about your audience, you can create smaller items like templates, checklists, and guides.

Then you want to think about the right business model for you. 

Let’s say you’re selling an online course. You have multiple ways of selling it:

  • One-time purchase: Online courses are normally sold for one price with optional payment plans. You can increase the price as your audience grows. 
  • Bundles: You can create mini-courses and sell them as bundles. You could also sell your online course with extra checklists, tools, and templates as a package deal.
  • Subscription: Your course is evergreen, and people can sign up for a monthly subscription to access the course and any future content you add to it. This is a great business model because it gives you monthly recurring revenue. But you have to continually add to the membership to encourage people to stay.

Choose where you want to sell your product

Where you sell your digital product makes a big difference for your business.

The question is this:

Do you want to own your business, or do you rely on a platform? 

There are pros and cons to both. 

A platform can help you create your course faster. In some cases, you get more visibility by being promoted to the platform’s audience.

But you don’t fully own your products. For example, some platforms have pricing guidelines you need to follow. You can’t raise the price of your course, even if you improve it. 

If you host your products on your own website, you have more control. You build an audience you own and get to raise prices and brand your products as you want. 

We’ll talk more about how to sell your products on your website or choose a website platform in the next section.

Promote your digital products 

Follow these three steps to create a successful marketing strategy for your digital products:

Define your niche and ideal audience

Think about who you want to serve and get specific. 

Let’s say you’re creating a fitness coaching program. It could be a pre-natal yoga course. Or a weight loss program for over 50s. 

By getting clear on your niche and ideal audience, you’ll create a better product and have a clearer idea of where to market your product. 

Choose social media platforms wisely

Now you know who your product is for, think about where they hang out online. You might reach pregnant women on Instagram or Pinterest. Over 50s tend to hang out on platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook. Tailor your social media marketing strategy to your ideal audience. 

Build a mailing list

The number one best way to market your digital product is to build a mailing list. Look: email marketing is NOT dead. It still has a high ROI, and it keeps you in touch with an audience that is interested in YOU and your work.

Check out the video below for more tips on building your mailing list from scratch:

Where to sell digital products 

How do you set up your product? Here’s how to sell your products on your website or choose a platform. 

Selling digital products on your own website 

The best place to sell digital products online is your own website. 

The biggest reason is you own your products and audience. You control every aspect of your business.

Is it complicated to host digital products on your own website? 

No. If you have a WordPress website, you can use plugins like WooCommerce for online sales, and AccessAlly for course software

But if you’re not ready to create your own website, you still have free ways to get started. 

You can deliver your first “minimum viable course” in a closed Facebook group or similar. 

Social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram also allow you to sell digital products through the app. 

Best platforms to sell digital products 

There are also specific platforms dedicated to selling digital products. 

  • Online course platforms: You can build your course on Udemy and Skillshare. Udemy puts a limit on how you price your course. Most courses don’t sell for more than $10-50. Skillshare has a profit-sharing scheme. The more people take your course, the more commission you earn. But it’s still less than you would make if you were to sell your course on your own.
  • Stock image/video/graphic platforms: Sites like Getty Images, iStock, and Shutterstock are platforms for selling stock photos and videos online. Your earnings will depend on how much your content is downloaded.
  • Digital art and NFT platforms: Dribbble is one of the largest platforms for selling digital art. For NFTs, OpenSea is the most popular platform.
  • Exclusive content platforms: Passes and Patreon are leading the way for monetizing exclusive digital content from creators. 

To choose the right platform for you, think about where your audience is most likely to look for content like yours. 

Best course builders to sell digital products 

For courses, there are many no-code tools like Shopify, Thinkific, and Teachable

These are drag-and-drop tools to create, sell, and deliver online courses to your audience. 

While I don’t personally use it in my business, I prefer Teachable because of the features and overall customer service the platform offers.  

It’s a great all-round platform that helps you create beautiful online courses easily.  You can also sell digital downloads like eBooks, podcasts, customizable templates, and exclusive newsletters all in one place.

Next steps 

Now you know the most profitable digital products and how to sell them. 

Learn the top 3 reasons course creators fail

(and what to do instead to sell out your online course)

Your first step is to figure out what type of product is best for your audience.

Then, you need to sell it.

How? Get the three biggest mistakes course creators make when creating their course by downloading my free PDF. 

The Top Guide to Selling High-Ticket Courses

How to Launch Your Online Course

How to Sell Profitable Online Courses from Your Own Website

About Luisa Zhou

Luisa Zhou has helped thousands of students build and scale their own profitable online Freedom Business. Fun Fact: She used to work as an engineer for the Space Station and holds a B.S.E. from Princeton. Click here to learn more about Luisa.

Hope you enjoy this blog post.

Want to know the 3 deadly course- selling mistakes to avoid at all costs?

Want to know the 3 Deadly Course-Selling Mistakes to avoid at all costs?

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