The first time I tried to monetize by selling a digital product online, was probably sometime in 2008. It was an eBook that I put up for sale for $5.
At that time, I was dabbling, trying my hands on just about anything to try to figure the Internet out.
I had always known that information products were the future of eCommerce.
As a writer, I dreamed of a future where I earned money selling digital products that I didn’t have to touch or ship and lived a life on the beach working from my laptop every day.
Get this wifi bread right?
It wasn’t until the year 2020 that I decided I was going to turn my brain into a money maker. This was much earlier in January, before the lockdowns and quarantine.
I had just started a brand new Instagram page for my online business and I was determined to monetize on Instagram quickly by selling digital courses.
My driving principle was simple.
If I share enough valuable content, I’ll grow a niche audience.
If I grow a niche audience I can monetize by selling my digital courses and teaching what I know.
I believed in this so much that I jumped headfirst and committed myself to growing my Instagram page fast.
In the early days of my Instagram journey, I was teaching people how to create better content and grow on Instagram. It was what I knew a lot about and there was a big demand for it because everyone wanted to know how to create content.
One of the topics that kickstarted this for me was mobile videography.
I was very well skilled with just about any mobile device and I enjoyed teaching tricks with video creation on a phone.
So very prematurely, and without really knowing what I was doing, I created my first course.
It was a mobile videography course teaching people how to film and edit videos on a phone.
I spent a great deal of time putting this course together, compiling the video and content, and releasing it to my growing Instagram audience. I had no clue how to launch a course, how to make sales, or how to even validate a course.
I just believed that if I created it, the buyers will come.
This is the mindset that wrecks a lot of course creators even before they begin. That course flopped terribly, I got only about two or three sales and I very quickly got tired of the process.
I was disappointed, lost my mojo, and was back to square one with figuring out how I was going to make money with my Instagram page.
So I put course selling on the back burner for a little bit and began to focus on selling services instead. I opted to help people one-on-one by auditing their Instagram pages, offering Instagram coaching, and even doing personalized hashtags research.
These services began to gain momentum and soon the reviews came pouring in. My services were billed anywhere from $50 to $200 and it was nice for a while to see this money coming in.
Through my one-on-one interaction with my followers, I very quickly learned that the major problem for most people was understanding hashtags.
Most of my one-on-one clients wanted me to help them master hashtags or research their hashtags for Instagram.
This feedback helped me realize that I had a potential winner for an eBook so I got to work and began to write an eBook all about Instagram Hashtags.
First, I created a Free eBook to answer the frequently asked questions on Hashtags. It did so well, got a lot of downloads and this was all I needed to know that my Hashtags ebook was going to be a hit. It became my first official digital product and I released it to my followers and email list.
I initially put this eBook out at a mere $9 and gradually increased the price over time.
So far this one eBook on Mastering Hashtags brought in almost $5,000 in passive income sales. I was very happy with the result of this eBook, and because of the incredible reviews from students, I soon expanded it into a comprehensive digital course on Mastering Instagram Hashtags!
I also decided to try my hands on more in-depth one-on-one coaching experiences.
To start, I was offering hourly coaching and had people pay $100 – $300 per hour to coach with me via Zoom.
This quickly became hectic and I wasn’t having fun anymore.
I had more fun teaching group classes and workshops and was consistently doing more of those because it connected me with more people at a time.
So instead of hourly coaching, I decided to take on more immersive one-on-one coaching clients.
I billed between $1500 to $3000 monthly depending on the requirements for that specific client.
This single move helped me quickly increase my revenue that year as I was able to sign on four paid clients in a very short time!
One-on-one coaching is also a fantastic way to get real results for real people before making a move to create a digital course.
Again, I am not a big one-on-one coaching girl, and as much as I adore my clients and always have a good time coaching people, I still wanted to grow a business that did not require my presence.
This meant committing time to create better digital courses that I could sell on autopilot.
So I went back to the drawing board, researched my audience some more to understand what they needed, and pulled out the best results.
I took this feedback and like the first time, I first created an eBook for this topic.
As a writer, I always tend to create an eBook first before I make a course.
It helps me get my ideas down on the page and expand on them quickly.
Ebooks are also generally less expensive than courses and easier to deliver. They also provide your audience with a tiny valuable offer that they can easily pay for.
My new eBook guide on creating and selling eBooks sold well and I used this as a sign to create a comprehensive digital course on the topic.
The first time I sold this course, I sold it as a group coaching Live course for $597 per student and signed on nine students on the first day.
Not bad for the first time!
Remember, my very first course which was on Mobile Videography had sold for $45 per student and I could barely make five sales.
Over time, I had grown my business, my impact, and influence and could now command higher prices, and sell better.
I had also learned how to test my ideas, validate my courses and even make sales before my course was created.
From the very beginning, my biggest driving force has been to create an online business that required less and less of my physical presence and input.
This means less one-on-one coaching and more courses.
I have also opened up a Membership community for Digital Creators and this has quickly become one of my favorite income streams. I can serve my students and clients at scale, build a community, and have an immersive coaching experience with them.
They will grow with me over time and I can oversee their progress.
It is like having courses and coaching on steroids.
It also means I can earn monthly recurring revenue from my Membership, reduces the workload, and helps me serve more people at a time.
When I began selling digital courses, I fell in love fast with the process and created an eBook or Course on just about everything I was learning online.
However, the biggest problem with having so many courses is you become overwhelmed with having to sell this and that course and soon you stop having fun.
So now, I have just my Membership, which houses all of the courses I have created for digital creators who want to monetize online, and my main course on Sales Funnels.
Focusing on serving my membership and having only one main course was the best decision I could have ever made as it eases the overwhelm of having too many products out.
In all this time, I have learned how to create and sell different types of digital offers, services, eBooks, Courses, Coaching, and Memberships.
Each of these requires a different approach to marketing, delivery, and sales. But doing them all has taught me more than I could have ever learned from doing just one of these methods.
This is how I was able to earn over N17,000,000 ($30,000) in my very first year with my online business and it is how I continue to earn money today.