Passive income, it sounds amazing, right? Making money while not working, is that even possible? Side hustles that allow creators to sell digital products online can help lessen some financial strain and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you run a small business, struggling to make enough money each month because of lockdowns, restrictions and other issues thrown at us lately, then creating something that adds an additional income stream to your business is worth thinking about.
What can you make that could create passive income?
If you are an artist or maker, think of tutorials, online courses, subscriptions or downloadable prints in PDF format. If you are a teacher, could you bundle some of your knowledge in an evergeen course, or a series of downloadable worksheets? As a physical shop owner, could you write tutorials, eBooks or additional guides on the products you sell that are of value to your clients?
Think outside the box
You may only think about your current business or professional expertise, but what other things do you know that could help somebody else? Converting your talent (or quarantine hobby) into a lucrative side hustle is absolutely possible. Have you developed some amazing craft ideas for kids during lockdown? Share them! Easy DIY decor ideas to give your home office an update? Go for it! People digest information in different ways, so offering your expertise in various formats (PDFs, audiobooks, videos, subscription emails, etc) caters for more people than if you only stick to one medium.
Today I am explaining a bit about eBooks.
eBooks: where to start
Know how to put your knowledge into writing? Start creating eBooks and earn money. eBooks are digital publications, and content can range from tutorials and guides on professional topics to romantic novels and anything in between.
Creating eBooks as a creative business
If you know everything about interior design, smartphone photography, repairing clothes, doing up property, or permaculture, why not write an eBook about it? It doesn’t have to be enormous, you could write a really helpful step-by-step PDF guide on something in just 10 pages. If it is of value to your client, they will buy it. Remember, you are ten steps ahead of someone who wants to be in your shoes. Teach them what you know. And if there are already other people selling the same thing? Then it means that there is a market out there.
How do you price your eBook?
A lot of eBooks are priced around $3-$5, but you can ask what you want. It is your product and if your client is happy to pay more, go for it! I wrote an eBook of just under 50 pages on Moving to Valencia with Children, and I am selling it at $14.95. That is quite a high price for an eBook, but I am targeting people who feel anxious about moving to another country and are spending a lot of time researching online. My guide will give them everything they are looking for, in a PDF. So $14.95 is not a lot of money, if it solves their problem. What problem can you solve?
What software to create an eBook?
There are different ways to create eBooks. You can use Designrr, which offers the option to create an eBook straight from your blog posts. Handy, if you already have a lot of content. The only thing I found (as I am quite picky when it comes to layout and graphics), is that you’ll end up spending quite a bit of time moving content around to make it look the way you want. With the Premium version of Designrr you can publish straight onto Amazon Kindle and other eBook platforms.
You can also keep it simple (and free) and create your eBook on Canva.com. Most of you are familiar with Canva already, so you probably know how to drag and drop images, elements and text into a document. You can use templates (I use the ‘eBook cover’ template). Save the design as a PDF, download it, and publish it wherever you want.
Where to publish your eBook?
Before you run over to Amazon, WAIT. Jeff Bezos is already very rich, so let’s look for some alternatives first – we are creatives, after all.
Amazon KDP has gained a vast audience and hosts a massive library of eBooks. If you want to tap a wider pool of readers, this may be the ideal platform for you. You get a free ASIN number for your book (similar to ISBN), advertising tools, and higher royalties. However, your eBook will be exclusive to Amazon, which means you cannot sell it anywhere else. The royalty can vary anywhere between 35% to 70% depending on the price of the book.
Apple iBooks Store
It is a free self-publishing platform for your eBooks in iBook format. Apple iBooks store may not have a massive audience like Amazon KDP, but it’s fairly large compared to others on the list. You do have the alternative to sell your eBook on other platforms, unlike Amazon KDP. However, you will have to convert it into a different format such as text file, PDF or ePUB. Besides, to get your book hosted on the Apple iBooks store, you require a Mac system. You get an incredible 70% royalty with this platform, which is very high.
Smashwords is another publishing platform with a good reputation. Not only does it offer a free ISBN, but also gets your book on some of the biggest stores, including Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Apple Books. If you choose to publish it on the Smashwords store, however, you can get 80% royalty on every sale. If you choose a retailer, you will earn 60% of royalties from sales.
Payhip is a super simple platform I really like, which is a completely stand-alone site, so you have full control. It offers you the option to sell your PDF downloads, physical products and subscriptions (where you send members a PDF document – or a physical product – every month or less often). It’s free to use with unlimited product uploads, but with the paid plans you pay a lower transaction fee. Go to the Payhip website.
The free plan comes with a 5% transaction fee, or you can go up a level if you start to sell more, and pay $29/month for a 2% transaction fee. You can connect Paypal or Stripe as payment options. It obviously does not expose you to an audience like the others do, this part you have to do yourself. But I like the fact that you can easily create your own page showing all your eBooks or products, and link to this from your website, or social media.