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Digital product ideas for interior designers: How to make a passive income

As an interior designer, you dedicate a lot of time to client projects, which can leave little time to work on attracting new clients or gaining additional income. 

One way of getting around this is to look at creating a passive income stream – and with your knowledge of interior design, digital products are the way to go.

Whether you want to free up time to focus on your clients, or you want to work less and earn more (let’s be honest, who doesn’t?), creating digital products that educate and/or inspire can help you do so.

In essence, digital products allow you to:

  • Earn a passive income 
  • Work less and earn more
  • Help others without eating into your free time

In this article, I’m going to cover:

  • What are digital products?
  • The benefits of digital products
  • Digital product ideas for interior designers
  • How to create and sell your digital product

What are digital products?

But simply, a digital product is any kind of product that is sold online and accessed digitally (as opposed to physically), be it a downloadable e-book or online course. 

Most digital products solve a problem or focus on teaching a new skill. They also offer a revenue stream that can be applied to literally any niche. Are there questions you get asked on a regular basis by your clients? Do family and friends come to you for advice on a certain topic? Do other interior designers often want to “pick your brains”? 

If so, you’ve got questions that need answering, the knowledge to do so and an audience that wants to hear your advice.

All you need to do now is decide which digital product avenue to go down. 

Benefits of digital products for interior designers

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of creating digital products (alongside the additional income, of course):

  1. Less admin than physical products 

While digital products do take a little time to put together initially, they don’t require as much ongoing effort as physical products – there’s no packing and posting orders involved and minimal admin!

  1. They don’t go out of stock

When you upload a digital product to your website, it’ll stay there forever (unless it’s a limited edition product, of course). It won’t go out of stock, which means you won’t let customers down or miss out on sales while waiting for new stock to arrive (or for you to create it).

  1. They can be used indefinitely

Once a customer hits the download button on a digital product, they can refer back to it indefinitely. Of course, information might change or become less relevant over time, or you may learn more about a subject that you wish to include, but the great thing about digital products is that you can easily update them and upload newer versions to keep them relevant to your audience.

  1. They’re cheap to create

If you’re happy to try your hand at anything and possess some creative skills, most digital products can be created single-handedly. Say you want to create an e-book – even if you don’t have the skillset, there are plenty of online resources, such as Canva, that can help beautify your idea. Putting together a digital product from scratch can take time though (which as a busy interior designer you may not have), so hiring someone to help may be the best option for you.

  1. Access to a large online audience

When selling products online you have access to a wider audience, but when those products are physical items, you may come up against shipping issues meaning you can’t actually get your products to everyone that wants them. However, with digital products, anyone who lands on your page can download your product with a click of a button. You may even find you gain new clients this way, too!

Tip: Make sure your website SEO is up to scratch so your target audience can find your product!

Digital product ideas for interior designers

There’s a whole host of digital product ideas for interior designers – these include resources for clients, the general public and other interior designers. Here are some of the most popular avenues to go down:

E-books

There are various aspects of your interior design knowledge that you can draw upon to create an e-book. Perhaps you’ve got lots of experience with different interior design styles or designing restoration projects. Whatever it is, if it’s something people ask you for help on, or something people are searching for online (do your keyword research), you can create a downloadable e-book on the subject.

Ideas:

  • How-to guides
  • Ideas and inspirations guides
  • Tips and tricks guides
  • FAQs with links to products

Online course 

If you’ve got a lot to say on a certain topic that needs more than an e-book or tutorial, why not create an online course? Perhaps you have a particular area of expertise that’s highly sought after from clients (or other interior designers). While you may want to help everyone, it’s impossible to respond to every request while working on your paying clients’ projects, so creating a detailed course that you can direct people to is a great option. The course could include a variety of content from videos and audio recordings to worksheets and printables.

Ideas:

  • Videos
  • Audio
  • Worksheets
  • Printable resources
  • Email course (series of emails) with links and downloads

Online tutorials

If you don’t have the time or resources to put together an entire course, you could create some shorter tutorials on certain topics for your audience. Perhaps you’re often asked for tips on accessorising rooms or how to choose the right lighting. You can create tutorials in a variety of formats, with video and audio being the most popular. 

Tip: If you’re linking to a pre-recorded YouTube video, you could include affiliate links (more information below) in the description box to earn extra commission.

Ideas:

  • Pre-recorded video tutorials
  • Live video tutorials
  • Audio/podcast-style tutorials

Mood boards

As an interior designer, you’re passionate about curating spaces that work well together. But there are only so many hours in a day and so many clients you can help. So, by putting together a selection of mood boards for different colour schemes, interior design styles or seasons, you can offer your eye for design from a distance. You can also include a shopping list and shoppable affiliate links to go with your mood boards – though keep in mind things may go out of stock or become discontinued, so you’ll have to update the list occasionally.

Ideas:

  • Colour scheme mood boards
  • Interior design style mood boards
  • Seasonal mood boards
  • Furnishings mood boards

Resources and templates for other designers

If you’re experienced in your field, the chances are you’ve got answers that other interior designers are looking for. Perhaps you’ve found a method of attracting or retaining clients that works for you and that you think other designers could benefit from. Or, perhaps you’re always asked for advice on certain topics from your peers – use your experience and knowledge to put some resources or templates together for those that are starting out. This could include things like a new client questionnaire, welcome packet or project proposal template.

Ideas:

  • Contracts
  • Tips on pricing
  • Blog post ideas
  • New client questionnaire
  • Welcome brochure
  • Project proposal template
  • List of resources

A membership site

With membership websites, your audience – or ‘members’ – pay a fee to receive a certain amount of content each month. This is a lot more work than other digital products because it requires you to create new material on a regular basis. But if you have a good amount of members, it could prove to be pretty lucrative. As an interior designer, your membership site could include resources similar to the e-books and packages mentioned above, courses, podcasts etc. Basically, anything that’s going to help your audience and keep them coming back for more! 

Ideas:

  • Exclusive members-only content
  • Audio or video tutorials
  • Short courses
  • Resources
  • Templates
  • Printables

Affiliate marketing

While not a digital product as such, if you have a blog with a large amount of monthly traffic, or a sizable social media audience, you could go down the affiliate marketing route. When you sign up to affiliate platforms – be it for your favourite brands, or larger retailers like Amazon – you’re able to generate ‘affiliate links’ that when shopped through provide you with a small commission (usually around  5-10% of the product amount). While not always a lucrative income stream, if you add links to top performing content and regularly share affiliate links on social media, you can gain a decent passive income.

Tip: You could also include affiliate links in your other digital products. For example, if you created a guide to different paint types, you could include links to some of your favourites.

Ideas:

  • Add to blog posts
  • Add to moodboard shopping lists
  • Add to social media 
  • Create an Amazon storefront

Website ads

In a similar fashion to affiliate links, if you have a high-performing website, you could use an online ad platform, such as Google Adsense, to place ads on your webpages. The amount of traffic your website gets each month and the amount of ads you place will determine how much you earn – but avoid oversaturating your site with ads as this can put visitors off.

How to create and sell your digital products

So, you want to create a successful digital product, but don’t know where to start. Keep these three steps in mind:

1. Think of an idea

Is there a subject you’re passionate about, a frequently asked question that crops up or something people come to you for help on? Whatever the topic, it could be your golden ticket to a successful digital product!

2. Create the idea

Once you’ve got your idea, it’s time to create your product. If you want to create the product alone, there are tons of resources online that can help. But sometimes it’s worth investing in the skills of a professional in that area. This will free up your time for clients, too.

If you do decide to tackle the project alone, these resources may help:

3. Promote the product

If people aren’t aware of your product, they won’t be able to purchase it. So, after creating your idea, you need to market it.

  • Share it with your social media audience
  • Create blog content about the product
  • Do your keyword research and optimise your product page for search engines (SEO)

For each of these steps, make sure to communicate the benefits of the product, who it will help and how it will help them.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to digital products – as long as you’ve got a problem to solve and the knowledge to solve it, there will be customers who will buy your solution. Now it’s time to go out and create it!

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