Creating Your First Digital Product — The 5 Step Guide

As I threw my son into the pool for what felt like the hundredth time, my watch buzzed again.

Ignoring the cries of “again, again!” I glanced at the now very familiar looking Gumroad notification.

Another sale. Nice. That’s the third one today.

Before you get the wrong idea, this isn’t a rags to riches tale as I take a vacation in some luxury resort.

I’d created a digital product a few months earlier and it got mentioned somewhere and I was getting a flurry of new sales.

Whilst chilling on a family vacation.

I say chilling — I mean trying to keep up with my kid, hyped on free ice cream and wanting to spend every waking moment in the pool.

This is the greatest feeling — I created something months ago and it’s selling today without my involvement at all.

That’s the actual pool. Nice spot.

If you want to see sales notifications popping off when you’re hanging with family, you can also create a digital product.

I’ll show you, in 5 steps, how to create a low cost product that isn’t a full on course.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. Finding a problem
  2. Choosing a solution
  3. Creating the product
  4. Pricing and getting paid
  5. Marketing and selling

Are you ready…?

1. Finding a problem

We need a group of people with a problem we can solve.

And as an additional qualifier, we need to be able to get our final product in front of those people.

If you already have an audience or are part of a community for anything, start there.

Who are they and what problems do they have?

Brainstorm everything you can. Doesn’t matter how big the problem might be or how small — you just need to get into a flow and keep flowing.

If you don’t have any audience and aren’t part of any communities, then you need to pick who you want to help (and could get in front of) and go through the same process.

I would also suggest you join some communities for insight and start contributing.

At this point you’re going to have a long list of problems for your chosen audience.

Go through them and cross off anything that’s ridiculous — we can’t do world peace, we can’t repair the roads near my house so I don’t keep getting flat tires, etc.

From what’s left, choose a problem you know something about. Something you think you could solve.

An example…

I had a small audience of newsletter operators on social media.

I wanted to create something for them and one problem I know very well is growing your subscribers from day 1. Going from zero to 1000 subscribers.

That felt like something I could help with.

I could have gone for something about creating high converting opt in pages or getting sponsors. And a number of other things a newsletter operator would potentially struggle with.

This is the product I created

If you are struggling with finding an audience and finding a problem, read this article where I laid out challenges new creators face.

And a final tip — look at the course modules of big courses related to your audience (look on Udemy). Each module probably solves a single problem. Pick something from there.

If you need more help I created Idea Finder with 8 platforms to find ideas and video walkthroughs.

At the end of this step, you will have written down:

  • A problem
  • An audience

Well done, you’re already ahead of most people who want to create their own products but never take action.

2. Choosing a solution

Next we need to choose the solution and the format of the final product.

A reminder…we’re not planning on creating a full blown course. So, we might only be able to solve a part of the problem we’ve chosen or give a very high level solution.

If your problem feels too big, break it into parts. Solving one piece of the problem can be valuable.

Back to my example to hopefully make this clear.

I chose the problem of not knowing how to grow newsletter subscribers from zero to 1000.

There are many ways to solve this.

I could’ve created a full blown course to handhold a new newsletter to the 1000 subscriber goal.

I didn’t want to as it was too big. I was looking to create a simple product and not spend weeks scripting and filming video content.

I could’ve solved it by providing info on one of the social platforms, or how to use content or to cold email, etc etc.

They would’ve all been good products.

One question I saw amongst my audience was “I’ve done XYZ to find subscribers but I’ve plateaued and I don’t know what else to do.”

A solution is giving them a whole bunch of ideas of what they can do and to point them in the right direction to learn how they do it.

That’s something I can solve from personal experience and knowledge of being connected with other people building newsletters.

Go back to your problem. Make it a smaller problem if needed.

And think about how you could solve it.

  • Can you give step by step instructions?
  • Can you provide templates to make the problem much smaller?
  • Can you share hard to find information about solving the problem?

The format of your solution could be:

  • eBook
  • Template
  • Database
  • Checklist
  • Resource library
  • Creative assets (images, music)
  • Software tools
  • Webinar
  • Course (video or text based)

You don’t have to create a course. Or get on video or do a webinar. That’s not the purpose of this guide. But I included them as options — you may prefer that route.

For my product I created a resource library and I used Notion to deliver it.

Finalize your solution and how you will deliver it.

By the end of this step you will have:

  • A solution to the problem
  • The format of your digital product

3. Creating the product

Now it’s time to get your head down and create the product.

Specifics depend on what format you choose but some pointers:

  • Choose the right format for your audience — if not tech savvy don’t use an Airtable, use a pdf.
  • Making it easy to consume — lots of white space vs big blocks of text, get to the point quickly, images help, logical navigation.
  • Design matters but don’t get hung up on it — use Canva templates, customize colors to your brand.
  • Make it easy to contact you for support — add email or social profile in an intro.

Think about how you would want to get this product if you were in the shoes of your customer.

Final point — you won’t be happy with the outcome and you’ll want to keep improving and adding to it. Don’t. At some point you have to say it’s done and start selling.

You can change things later if needed.

Even use this as a selling point — you’ll add to the product and continue making improvements. Buyers will get all the updates.

At the end of this step you will have your digital product.

Congratulations!

4. Pricing and getting paid

This is a small product solving a single problem. We don’t want to spend forever trying to decide on the perfect price.

Go for something around $20.

If it saves someone at least an hour of time it’s worth it.

You can raise prices later once you’ve started selling and get a feel for how people respond to the price.

For now we need to get it out there.

We also need a way to accept payments and deliver the product.

I recommend Gumroad for simplicity. It’s easy to get up and running and it’s trustworthy.

At the end of this step you will have:

  • Decided your price
  • Added your product to Gumroad or similar platform

5. Marketing and selling

This is where it gets exciting… Getting your product in front of buyers.

First of all, on Gumroad you will need a sales page.

Keep this simple. You can iterate and improve as you go.

I’d suggest a structure like:

  • Problem — what’s the problem your ideal customer is experiencing. Spell it out
  • Agitate — what’s the result of not solving that problem.
  • Solution — what’s your solution and how can they get it.

Then… shout from the rooftops 😀

Wherever you’re already posting on social, include your product.

Create posts about the problem you’re solving, tease some solutions and mention your product.

Add your product info and link in your social bios.

If you have an email list, include your product in your newsletters.

Post in communities about the problem you’re solving. Like social, make sure your bio includes a link to your product.

When you can post promotions in communities, post your product.

That first sale will come in with a bit of effort.

And when it does, you’ll feel on top of the world — a stranger gave you money in exchange for something you created.

A warning — it becomes addictive and you’ll want to sell more and create more 😂

There you have it, a simple 5 step process for creating your first digital product.

  1. Find a problem
  2. Choose a solution
  3. Create the product
  4. Price it and add to Gumroad
  5. Market and sell your product

What are you thinking about creating?


My newsletter helps creators figure out how to build financial freedom online with digital products. You can get it here

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