From Zero Sales to $5000+ A Year — My Journey to Digital Product Success

Reflections on building multiple income streams as a writer.

From Zero Sales to $5000+ A Year — My Journey to Digital Product Success
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Reflections on building multiple income streams as a writer.

I started my online writing journey in 2014 by publishing content on Quora

Back then, as an engineering student, I didn’t have a vision of making a living out of writing.

I wrote about my experiences or topics that interested me, such as life as a girl in an engineering college, the sparks of first love, and a few short stories here and there.

Even when I wasn’t doing it intentionally, writing stories helped me build a portfolio. The validation I received from readers was a cherry on the top.

I got 100+ upvotes on almost every answer I wrote, and 1000+ new followers every day. This pushed me to double down on my writing efforts, and the results were incredible:

  • Got selected as the Quora Top Writer twice (2016 and 2018)
  • Built my online community to 58K+
  • Got paid writing gigs.

I tasted success through freelance writing and reached new heights only because I started publishing online. In this process, I also started getting lots of messages in my inbox from writers all over the world.

I wanted to give back to the community, so I answered all those questions.

After a while, I realized many of the questions were repetitive.

It wasn’t possible to reply to all of them manually. But, I still wanted to help other writers make a living by writing exactly what they wanted.

So, I collected all the recurring questions, answered them, and put them together in a guide. That’s how I built my first digital product- “How To Find High-Paying Freelance Gigs in 90 days.

I was looking for a medium to deliver this product to my audience or anyone on the internet who wanted to start writing.

That’s when I came across Gumroad, an eCommerce platform that allows creators to sell their products directly to their audience- exactly what I needed.

I received amazing feedback from people about how my product was helping them start their content creation journey.

Since then, Gumroad has become my go-to platform for creating a passive income stream through digital products.

By investing my time and effort just once, I can offer my digital creations for sale and make money consistently, even while sleeping.

In this article, I’ll take you through the entire process of launching your digital product and the behind-the-scenes efforts that it takes. Keep reading to have a roadmap to turn your skills, knowledge, or creativity into a source of passive income.

The landing page I built on Gumroad for my first digital product. (Screenshot by the author)

Launching on Gumroad 

Using Gumroad to launch my product was the best decision because it was easy to use as a beginner.

All you need to do is upload your digital product and embed the auto-generated link to your website. This quick and easy setup allows you to create your product pages and start selling with minimal effort.

The unique features of Gumroad streamline the entire process of earning from your digital products:

  • Complete customer information and in-depth analytics to improve conversion rate
  • Instant payment for each sale, without waiting for lengthy payout cycles.
  • Drag and drop feature to easily create your product or service
  • Options to provide discounts and coupons to your audience
  • “Pay what you want” pricing model that empowers fans to support the creator
  • Customizable personalized landing pages to match your brand and aesthetics.

These features were enough for me to get started with my digital product selling journey.

I also put in efforts to market my product by leveraging my audience on different platforms- my newsletters, Medium articles, YouTube videos, LinkedIn posts, and Tweets.

I had a slow start, but I kept promoting in a staggered fashion and always added links to my product at the end of every article and video I published.

The results 

The hard work paid off quickly with an unexpectedly large sale, and within a year, I earned over $5,000.

People kept coming back to my page and sent emails they wanted more.

That was enough validation for me to do this more to develop an easy income source while using my skills and experience to help others learn.

I ended up developing more and currently have 5 products on sale.

The best part is- you can build these products with a one-time effort, and people can use them for years. It becomes a lasting legacy.

The bottom line 

When you set out with the intention of helping others or solving a problem, you taste success as an entrepreneur.

If you’ve already grown a community online and now you want to start earning from digital products, follow this step-by-step guide.

  • Start small by creating an e-book or video course based on your expertise
  • Leverage a DTC eCommerce platform like Gumroad to launch your product
  • Decide on pricing or use the “pay what you want” feature for your audience
  • Market your product using your socials, newsletters, or YouTube
  • Share the product link to make it easy for your audience to buy.

Make sure your digital asset provides valuable content addressing common pain points, resulting in strong demand.

Following the same steps, I scaled my income from 0 to $5000+ in a year by selling digital products. Feel free to replicate this and build a passive income source that’ll give you long-term returns.

I just launched Freelance Superheroes: A training program for writers who want to earn from writing online without leaving their job, attract gigs outside Upwork/Fiverr, and become irreplaceable. Get it today!

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