I’m walking you through the complete step-by-step of how to create a digital product for your online or freelance business. This is perfect for freelancers or service providers who already work with clients in a done-for-you or 1:1 capacity and want to add a passive revenue stream to their business. You even get a sneak peek at the A to Z Digital Product Development Plan, which is a bonus inside one of my own digital products (how meta).
Watch the video below or keep reading for ideas, inspiration, and to get unstuck coming up with your first digital product idea, then creating it.
If “grow and scale your business” is the main goal on your list this year, you have a few directions to choose from.
✨ Build an agency structure. Layer on more clients as you develop a team to help you support that booked work.
✨ Sell 1:many offers. Digital products, online courses, group programs, and other offers that allow you to impact more people simultaneously.
✨ Sell a premium, productized service. Things like VIP days or weeks, high-end audits, and consulting fall into this category.
I’ve done all of the above. Usually, I talk to you about the micro-agency growth side of things, but there’s more going on behind the scenes over here. Not only have I built my own digital product shop (you may know The Biz Bar), but I’ve helped handfuls of clients create and sell digital products too. All this to say, I’ve learned a lot not only through my own growth, but helping clients create and sell digital products as well.
While brainstorming ideas is the fun part, so many aspiring digital product creators get caught up in the actual creation part—what idea will you start with?
And that leads to other questions like:
It can be overwhelming. I get it because I’ve been there. You have so many ideas, and not enough time to execute them all. Especially if the plan is to continue to take on client work as you build and launch a digital product. It’s a lot!
My goal is to make all this work a little less overwhelming for you.
So how do you create a digital product while juggling everything else in your online or freelance business? By working strategically through a step-by-step, proven process—skipping all the messy bits and wrong turns. No, it won’t be perfect the first time you launch. But you can make the learning curve easier on yourself. Then refine and relaunch until your digital product becomes a viable stream of revenue.
While I don’t want you to get stuck in the planning stage as you create your first (and future) digital products, I do want you to spend some intentional time here. With proper planning, you’ll eliminate a lot of the trial and error later on.
Strategic ideation of your digital product is really just planning. It’s asking your audience what they want and need, creating a unique solution that fills the gaps in your industry, and developing the messaging around an offer that’s actually going to solve a problem for someone.
This YouTube video gives a sneak peek at a bonus that’s inside one of my digital products, The Digital Product Sales Pack. While it’s not the main event of this product—the copywriting templates to launch and sell your digital product on evergreen are the main content inside—it’s a helpful tool to stay on track.
For a quick summary, the digital product creation process looks like this…
✅ Refine and Relaunch
Let’s get into the “Ideation” and “Creation” stages more here though you know what’s involved each step of the way.
When you’re brainstorming your first (or next) digital product, stay focused with this question: What’s in it for them? If you always prioritize your audience—their transformation and results—then whatever idea you choose will sell.
The offer comes first. Any marketing or sales tactics are useless without a solid offer, so that’s why we start here. In my copywriting studio, I won’t even allow a full service project for anyone without a proven offer. It’s a much better use of your time to go all in when your offer is validated and proven—meaning it’s made legitimate sales. When you know people want it, we can dig into the messaging to maximize those sales.
If your digital product isn’t good, it’s not going to sell (sorry, not sorry!). So don’t skip through this stage trying to just launch something fast.
Step-by-step of how to come up with a digital product idea:
When you take your time through these steps, creating your digital product is so much easier.
If you want to work efficiently, you need to know where you’re going. My best productivity hack in general is having the entire plan mapped out prior to starting. This is especially true when taking on a project as big as creating a digital product can be. Planning eliminates any of the potential guesswork, forcing you to switch gears when you’re in creation mode. Instead of stressing about how the video you just winged fits into your larger script, you can sit down and follow your own pre-determined instructions.
So if you’re wondering how to create a digital product, always start with your plan.
Next, I typically follow these steps of how to create a digital product:
Note: If your digital product IS a template, you may want to start here versus with the scripts and slides. Maybe you don’t even use video! I like incorporating video for all digital products to help different types of learners use the tools.
The overall idea here is to group like work with like to make things easier for yourself. Jumping between different parts of your digital product or steps in the journey will make it much more difficult.
I wrote an entire blog post recently about digital product ideas that you can read here. For freelancers or other online business owners who already have a business setup, it’s much easier to use what you know to develop another stream of revenue. You can leverage your current audience, brand, and more to make a digital product to sell.
That’s not to say you can’t start an online business from scratch with a digital product as your sole offer, but you are looking at a bigger challenge of building a business at the same time too.
All that said, I’ve found that developing digital products for your freelance business can truly feel like you’re building a second business from scratch sometimes! So go easy on yourself if it feels like an uphill battle at first.
Regardless of your starting point, coming up with a solid digital product idea is step 1, and hopefully the resources and insight shared here will help you with that.
My first digital product was available on my website for years. It sold from the first time I launched it, and eventually just didn’t align with the other work I was doing and the brand I had built. That’s why I first reorganized that digital product to be included as a bonus inside another offer. Then it was only a fast-action bonus during launch periods for my online courses. Then I ultimately decided to retire it.
What was this digital product? It was a bundle of Instagram caption templates, prompts, and other tools to help people better connect with and convert clients on Instagram. That’s not a main topic of discussion for me anymore, so it was time to retire!
The point is that the first digital product you choose won’t be the only or the last. You do want to plan and create a digital product with longevity in mind, but know that it doesn’t need to be locked in forever.
Arguably one of the biggest roadblocks I see for those who are just starting out adding a digital product to their business is the tech stuff. Specifically, figuring out how to actually sell and deliver the thing.
👉 Your checkout tech.
👉 Your delivery platform.
👉 And the followup to give access to all.
Which leads to this tip for those who are new to selling digital products: When you start selling an offer like this, you may need to set up a different payment processor.
I did a ton of research on this and tried a few platforms over the years.
Ultimately, I settled on (and love) ThriveCart for a few reasons…
✅ It’s a 1-time payment, which lowers my monthly recurring expenses.
✅ For my fellow Canadians who need to charge and remit location-specific sales tax, ThriveCart can calculate this automatically at the checkout.
✅ It’s highly customizable in terms of checkout design, the fulfillment page, and more.
✅ And it talks seamlessly to my email marketing platform (ActiveCampaign) for the attached product delivery sequences.
Another reason why I love ThriveCart: There’s a built-in LMS now too, with a free version (but I upgraded to Learn+ and it’s 100% worth it). I used Thinkific for years, but ultimately felt the quality of customer service didn’t align with the increasing fees. Also, the pay per user per month model (on top of the baseline fees) wasn’t the best option out there. ThriveCart Learn+ is a 1-time payment just like the checkout purchase is.
I use ActiveCampaign to deliver access to my digital products. When a customer makes a purchase, ThriveCart completes that purchase and enrolls them in the Learn+ platform for the specific product. From there, ActiveCampaign queues up to send emails with all the information they need to get started.
Since integrating ThriveCart and ActiveCampaign directly, I don’t even need to use a third party connection tool like Zapier to make this all run. It works so much better than before when Zapier was necessary to have ThriveCart and ActiveCampaign talk to Thinkific.
Because I genuinely care about the customer experience for anyone who purchases one of my digital products, I have delivery email sequences set up for each of them. These provide important housekeeping information, provide extra insight to get the most out of the product they purchased, and more.
If it weren’t clear by now, there’s a lot of work that goes into how to create a digital product. I like to make things easier for others, so that’s why I created the Digital Product Sales Pack. You focus on how to make a digital product, and this template pack will help you with all the sales and delivery copy—everything that needs to be written to get ready to launch. There’s checkout copy, launch email copy, funnel prompts, and more.
The Digital Product Sales Pack includes a Notion guide and checklist of every single step involved in how to make a digital product to sell. It goes into even more detail than this blog post (as if that were possible, but yes!). From ideation to creating the offer, setting it up in your platform of choice, launching the first time, and collecting feedback to refine and sell it again.
Even if you’re a seasoned online business owner or freelancer, there’s a learning curve that comes with creating and selling digital products online. Remember that just like anything, it gets easier. If you’ve built a successful business before, you can build this model too. It’s just a matter of deciding if this is the best option for you: Is it worth it for you to add a digital product as an additional revenue stream in your business?
Only you know the answer to that.
Leave your info below to join. You'll be added to my email list, but can opt out at any time.