This is my biggest business secret...
First of all, I wanted to thank you all so much for your comments and questions on last week’s post! (CLICK HERE to revisit the post if you missed it!).
In my last email, I told you a bit about the discovery that changed my life three years ago: your income doesn’t have to be attached to your time!
Selling digital products totally changed the game for me – it gave me the freedom to create what I wanted without client interference, grow my income without having to book more client work, and take care of myself without feeling guilty about taking time off.
I listed my first font for sale on Creative Market on 7/9/16, and two months later, I was making a living designing fonts full-time! It took a lot of hard work and being willing to fail, but I believe any skilled graphic designer can make extra money selling digital products/design resources.
If there’s any secret to making this happen, it’s this: minimum viable product.
This concept is truly the most valuable thing I learned while getting my Marketing degree. A minimum viable product (or MVP) is a product with just enough features to satisfy your early customers, while giving you an opportunity to collect really valuable feedback and data for future releases.
This is the principle on which I founded my Creative Market shop. It’s how I was able to put out 20 fonts in my first two months. My first products were “good enough” instead of perfect, so I was able to hustle for the first few months and get all these benefits:
create exponentially more content in less time
get feedback that made future releases even better
learn more about my audience
build brand familiarity with regular releases
collect far more data in a short period of time
get a better idea of which products “work” and which ones don’t
Maybe you have a product idea, but the what if’s keep spinning in your mind: Isn’t Creative Market already saturated with other shops? How am I supposed to stand out? What about the time it takes to make a digital product? What if it doesn’t sell? Is it actually worth it?
First, Creative Market definitely has an overwhelming number of shops, and that can be scary. But what sets you apart from them is your willingness to be consistent. If you are willing to publish products consistently, that already puts you in the top percentage of shops. You stand out by being one of the few stores that sticks with it. You see a problem that needs to be solved and consistently offer a solution.
Thinking about the time invested can be scary too, but let me emphasize one thing really quick: time invested. It’s a risk and it does cost you your time; however, the goal is to see returns on that investment. Also, if you’re creating minimum viable products (especially in a field you’re already at least acquainted with), you should be able to create products relatively quickly.
You may not see a return on every individual product, but if you stick with it, you will likely see a return on a few that make the rest worth the investment. Not every product is successful – even with the heavy hitting shops! What makes it worth it is sticking with it.
Think about it this way: If one product makes you $40/month, that’s not necessarily life-changing money and may not be enough to keep you moving. But if 10 products can make you $1500/month, that’s where things start to get exciting. I realize that math doesn’t “add up” – but that’s been my experience. Generally, 20% of your products will generate 80% of your earnings, and each product you create is an opportunity for you to find those occasional home runs that earn your 80%.
You’ll get another email later this week where I’ll show you how one of my underperforming products became one of my top-sellers almost overnight, and how you can be thinking of ways to create products that will actually sell.