- Digital products – affiliate products, or your own digital-delivery products.
- Physical products – affiliate, retail, wholesale, manufacturing.
- Coaching, consulting and speaking.
Digital products include anything that can be created and delivered electronically, via the web. So these include eBooks, audios, videos, teleseminars, webinars, tutorials, online courses, and e-reader books. For some products, you may create both a digital and physical version – CDs or DVDs are good examples of this.
If you don’t have a lot of working capital, or you want to keep things simple, or automated, it’s a very good idea to keep things as digital as possible, because that also keeps your costs way down and allows you to test things before fronting a larger sum of money for production (manufacturing, printing, etc).
Physical products are more costly and complicated to sell – unless you are using affiliate links to sell other people’s products. Amazon’s Associates program is a good example of an affiliate sales platform.
Selling products (physical or digital) via affiliate links is also a really good way to test your audience to see what they like, without investing any money. Check out Vishen Lakhiani’s story here: he made $1 million in 18 months from affiliate sales of products created by other experts! What he did so well – rather than create and sell a product – was position himself as the reviewer, the one who filtered the wheat from the chaff, so his readers could trust him to do the research for them and only present the best stuff.
Manufacturing Physical Products
If you want to manufacture your own products on a larger scale, you can either find companies like CafePress.com, Printfection.com or FineArtAmerica.com to handle production and order fulfillment (shipping to the customer and handling returns) for you, or, you can find a contract manufacturer and do it all yourself.
If you’re already in manufacturing, you know that if you are using a contract manufacturer to produce a line of t-shirts, or a supplement, or a board game, then you will need a substantial amount of money up-front. If you’re still just considering this route for your business, keep in mind that pretty much every manufacturer requires payment in full, up-front, for your first order. Once you have ordered a few times, they may let you pay 50% up-front and 50% upon delivery. Once you have a good track record, you can eventually get Net-30 days terms. That means that you place your order and have 30 days before you have to pay for it. Each manufacturer sets its order minimums, so you will have to check with each one individually.
Products and Programs You Can Sell On Your Site
You may have a certain process, or a tutorial, or a solution, or a collection of tips that are so good (or specialized) that people would pay money for it. Let’s call this thing your “product”. Keep in mind that there are many ways to package and deliver that product to your customer – it’s really up to your preference and what you want to charge for the product.
However, the same product (expertise) can also be packaged and sold in different ways, for different price points – it’s entirely your choice! Here’s a list of ways you can package and sell the same product (your expertise, your ideas, your help, your solutions):
- Audio Programs or CDs
- Seminars – live in-person or live online
- Online courses, DVD courses, training programs
- Consulting (usually pay-as-you-go)
- Coaching (usually ongoing or for a length of time)
- Mastermind groups
- Membership programs
- Speeches or presentations
Also, remember that people have different learning styles and preferences. So while some people prefer a book, or online course and workbook, others prefer learning via video or audio.
Lastly, you can sell your in-person expertise in the form of consulting, coaching, or speaking. Consulting and coaching do not need to be done one-on-one and many people offer a two-tier pricing strategy where clients pay a lot of money for one-on-one sessions, and far less for group sessions.
What’s Easy For You?
When you’re deciding which format (audio, video, written) to present your solutions or information in, it helps to take into account all of these factors:
- What do YOU enjoy doing? Do you prefer writing, or video, or speaking (audio)?
- What does your customer prefer, and what do they need, based on their lifestyle?
- What are you able to do, and what can you afford to do at this time? It is better to just produce something simple and get it out there, rather than waiting for your ideal scenario.
You don’t have to force yourself to write a book, for example, when you really enjoy and prefer speaking. Go ahead and produce your videos or audio – do what’s easy! You can always pay someone to transcribe either of those into a book at a later date. If you don’t choose something that’s easy, or feels doable for you, you’ll have too much resistance and are likely to procrastinate, or stall part-way through.