You read the title, you know why you’re here, so why don’t we just cut to the chase. You want to make money online, and we want to help you get there. Whether you’re selling your products or your personality, there are a plethora of ways for you to monetize. And this new series, Making Money Online, will give you a firm foundation to find the best one for you.
This first part will identify what you need before you start selling. We’ll walk you through finding your product (what you’re trying to sell), establishing a brand, finding the right platform, and more!
What are you selling? 🤔
Perhaps the most basic question, deciding what products you’ll sell is a fundamental first step in making money. It’s literally how you’ll make money, and opens the doors for a lot of other questions that will be important for you to consider. The “what” isn’t just limited to physical goods or products. As a content creator, you’re basically selling your personality and your content to viewers. Whether they pay with their cards or their time, you’re asking creators to “buy” something – and hopefully come back again. It’s important to figure out what that thing is and to make it clear and concrete.
If you’re planning to go the physical product route, it’s okay to start the process by saying “I’m going to sell digital goods”. In fact, that’s a great first step! But once you have that figured out, nail down the exact product(s) you’ll be listing. If you’re selling a physical product, maybe this is a digital planner or PDF habit trackers; if you’re making content, maybe you’re selling videos about collecting cards or organizing your house. These solid pitches are more than enough to start with and give you a firm idea of what you’ll be working on.
What if I don’t have an idea? 🤷
A lot of business-people and entrepreneurs start knowing they want to sell something, but aren’t sure of what that thing is. It’s totally fine if you’re the same way – it just may take you a little longer to start making money. You can generate ideas for what to sell by asking yourself a few simple questions.
What do you excel at? 👍
What is something you’re really good at? If you’re a skilled painter, consider offering courses or sharing videos of your technique. If you grew your social media following super quickly, try offering advice to your fellow creators. Find something you have a talent for and think of ways you can make money at it.
What interests you? 👀
If you have a natural interest in a specific area (and don’t mind spending more time with it) try making money at it. For example, if you love to read and talk about books, spend some time thinking of ways you can put that to use. Maybe you start reviewing books on your social channels, or you open a shop selling “blind dates with a book”. If you’re already drawn to something, lean into that and find fun ways to make it work for you.
What do you know a lot about? 🧠
You don’t even have to be an expert at something. If you know a lot about organization or cleaning, that’s a great place to start. Maybe you start by making digital cleaning trackers or digital guides people can use to organize their life. Or you jump on that super satisfying organization videos trend on social media and create content about organizing your bathroom.
What do you enjoy doing? 🧡
Above all, make sure that you enjoy whatever it is you’re doing. If you’re going to be making money at it, you’ll be devoting a lot of your time to it, too. You want to enjoy the things eating up your free time. As you start brainstorming, really pause to make sure that you want to spend time working on and selling the things you cook up.
No matter what, the more detail you have about your product, the better. It’s fine to start with a quick one-liner like “I’m selling digital planners”. But if you can amp that up and go into more detail about the kind of planner you’re selling, that’s even better. Suddenly you’re selling digital weekly planners with budget and finance trackers. Or that you want to create content about cocktails with historical influences. Again, this is not 100% necessary, but will help you a lot in the long run.
For the sake of this article, let’s say you already have something! We’ll run with the digital planner and mixologist content ideas. But now that you have a firm idea of what you want to sell, you’ll need to figure a few extra things out. And those of you that have been around for a while will recognize a some keywords.
What is your brand? 📝
Your brand is all encompassing. It covers everything from your product to your name, the colors and fonts you use, the music you select for your videos – everything. Knowing this can make it overwhelming, but you don’t need to have all of that figured out right away. Overall, you just need to have a general feel for your everything around your products. Do you want it to be fun, vibrant, and youthful, or dark and serious? Does sleek and modern fit what you’re selling, or would vintage and a little more hectic be a better match? Think of “brand” like your shop’s fashion sense!
Brand can also extend into the products themselves. Do you use the highest quality materials you can find? Do you package everything a certain way? Is there a certain tone or voice you use in written materials? Again, you don’t have to have all of this figured out right in the beginning, but keep it in mind as you grow and sell. You may stumble on your brand one day – and it may be completely different from what you had envisioned!
Who is your inspiration? ✨
Whether you’re selling products or yourself, you’ll want to have a couple of inspirations sources. These can be content creators who’s style or tone you really enjoy, other shops you like, or products that are inspiring your own. You don’t have to copy them – in fact, you shouldn’t! But having inspiration at hand will keep you…well, inspired! Don’t even worry about being in the same niche. In fact, finding inspiration outside of niche will help you approach your product from new angles.
What tools do you need? 🧰
The tools are everything you will need to create and sell your products. We suggest spending time before you even start selling brainstorming everything you’ll need for your product. That includes things you already have. You’ll find you have a lot of things you need to start.
For a content creator, you’ll need a camera, some kind of editing software/tool, and at least one social media platform. For the mixologist idea, they’ll need liquor, mixers, a shaker, a few types of glasses, and ways to research their historical figures. A podcaster will need a mic, proper editing softwares, a way to post their episodes, and a social media page to spread the word. For a someone creating a digital planner, they’ll need some digital creating tools (a drawing software, Canva, etc.), a platform to sell their products, and a way to deliver the product. They may also want to have some additional materials to help customers, like blog posts about goal setting, digital sticker packs, and other resources for budgeting. If you’re shipping physical products, you’ll need packaging, postage, and ways to track shipping.
If you aren’t sure what you’ll need to start selling, do some research! Even a quick Google search can yield some great results, and don’t forget to check social media to see if they have any helpful hints. Your content creator inspo may come in really handy here!
What platforms will you use? 📱
Depending on what you’re creating or selling, you may need to use a variety of platforms. Our mixologist may just have one social media platform, but they’ll also need other editing softwares. An author will use social media to market themselves, but they’ll also need a platform to publish the book and another to format it. If you’re planning to sell a digital product, you’ll need a storefront, a place for creation, and even a space to send out your products. You’ll likely have figured this out from the earlier question about tools, but do take some time to really consider what you’ll need.
Clapper streamlines this process for our creators, providing social media and online shops all in one. Creators can start a Clapper Shop from the moment they sign up. Here they can sell digital and physical products right from their profile, closing some of the gap between social media posts and sales. And what better way to have a cohesive brand than by posting and selling all in the same place?
For physical products: what’s the scope? 📦
If you’re planning to sell items that will have to shipped out, consider the breadth of your business. Do you plan to ship worldwide? Do you want to sell multiple kinds of products? Where will everything be stored before it ships? You may not be able to keep a giant inventory or ship outside of your state in the beginning, which is totally fine. But these are potential hiccups and hurdles you want to be ready for and overcome early if you can.
And if you’re selling digital products or just creating content, then you don’t have to worry about the scope!
In the next installments, we’ll discuss finding customers, making your products stand out, and more. If you’re inspired and want to read more about strategic thinking and content creation, read up with our Ultimate Creator Guide and our Content Planning series. Even if you’re planning to sell products, learning how to create content will be beneficial for marketing.