How to Overcome the Fear of Selling Your First Digital Product

Visual Freedom

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

As a content creator, you can have various income streams:
Advertising products (brand collaborations), running ads on your content (Youtube), asking for donations (Patreon), publishing your content behind a paywall (Medium), or selling products.

Most creators prefer the first four options: ads, donations, and paywalls. I love the path less traveled: Selling.

I prefer selling digital products because that’s the only way I can control 100% of the outcome. If you’re selling a digital product, you’re responsible for:

  • Creating an epic product
  • Building an audience (preferably an email list), that’s interested in that product
  • Creating a killer sales page
  • Writing kickass copy
  • And so much more

Once you’ve gone through all these stages multiple times, you’ll eventually end up enjoying them. But if it’s your first time creating a digital product like an ebook or online course, the selling part of the game might seem frightening.

When I launched my first product in 2018, I hated every second of the journey. Today, I’m in love with the process and can’t wait for my next launch to further improve my skills.

Here’s what helped me master the fear of selling my first digital product:

Be crystal clear about the value you provide

First things first: This article is not about helping you sell products or services that are crap. It’s about helping you spread your valuable insights, expertise, and experience through epic digital products.

And the first step to overcoming your fear of selling is asking yourself whether your offer is truly valuable.

If you’re convinced that your product will positively impact your customers' lives, sending sales messages will feel comfortable and exciting.

I pour my entire brain and heart into my online courses and only sell products I would happily buy myself. Before designing a digital product, I spend days analyzing the competition and comparing existing offers so I can create something way better.

The easiest way to know whether your product is valuable is by asking your audience.

Ask them what their struggles, questions, and pain points are and what kind of information or advice they’re missing.

Run surveys, conduct interviews, and take your community on the journey so they can create the product with you.

If you know that your audience needs your support, sending sales messages will feel so much better.

If you’re not 100% sure whether your product delivers its promise or want to go the extra mile, offer a money-back guarantee. That way, you know that you’ll only make money if people love what they buy.

If you’re selling a product for the first time, you can also give it away for free to a small circle of people and ask for their honest feedback.

Being convinced of the value you provide will naturally boost your confidence during the sales process.

Understand the psychological factors that drive sales

One of the most frightening thoughts during your first product launch might be: What if nobody buys?!

The harsh truth is you won’t know whether people will actually pay for your offer unless you give it a try.

The good news, however, is that you can give your best to understand why people buy products in the first place. According to copywriting expert Jim Edwards, people buy because of ten reasons:

  • Make money
  • Save money
  • Save time
  • Avoid effort
  • Escape mental or physical pain
  • Get more comfort
  • Achieve greater cleanliness or hygiene to attain better health
  • Gain praise
  • Feel more loved
  • Increase popularity

Most digital products promise to solve at least one of these problems. The more problems you solve, the better.

Of course, some products and services solve other problems — or no real “problems” at all.

A comedian, for instance, doesn’t promise to help you make more money or achieve greater hygiene. Yet, he might still sell thousands of tickets for his next show.

But in the world of online business, most digital products offer a solution to one of these problems.

If you understand which problems your product solves, you’ll be able to craft a compelling sales message and ensure people really want to swipe their credit cards.

Ask yourself whether your product can help your audience solve any of the ten problems and how exactly that process looks like.

Understanding these psychological factors is also the key to writing compelling sales copy, which is inevitable if you want to sell digital products.

Be a consumer (or get mentored)

You can’t create a compelling online course experience if you’ve never paid for an online course yourself.

Before trying to sell a digital product, make sure you first consume other creators' products, preferably those who are way ahead of you.

Analyze their courses and try to understand why they do certain things. Look at their welcome sequences, how the product is delivered and structured, and what kind of information they share.

Exploring other creators' paid products will help you ensure you match their standards and create something even better in the long run.

If possible, get in touch with someone who’s already created a similar product and ask them for advice. There’s nothing more powerful than getting supported by someone who’s already been there and done that.

You could read a hundred books on online sales and still fail to understand why you need to do things a certain way. Someone who’s already done it in the past can help you save lots of time, effort, and probably even money.

Don’t compare yourself to the big boys

Investigating other creators' products is helpful; getting intimidated isn’t.

Don’t try to match their quality on your first try. You don’t need perfect lighting and the most epic background when recording your first online course.

Start where you are and move quickly. Over time, you’ll improve your skills and equipment anyway. In our fast-paced economy, done is almost always better than perfect. In the end, a perfectly recorded online course isn't worth a penny if you can’t sell it.

Learn from people who’re more experienced, but do the best you can with the resources you have right now.

You can always update a digital product anyway, so move fast, sell quickly, and improve along the way.

You’re a creative mind, not a charity

If you’ve been creating free content for years without ever pitching a product to your audience, you might face a shitstorm if you finally try to sell something.

Many of my creator-friends received frustrating messages when they sent their first sales pitch. Their audiences got so used to receiving free value that they found it bold when the creator wanted to sell a paid product.

But here’s the reality: As a content creator, you’re a creative mind, not a charity.

You might need to provide some value for free to attract an audience and build trust, but you certainly don’t need to give away all your insights and secrets for free.

If someone’s not willing to pay for my products or gets angry because of a product pitch, I’ll happily delete him from my email list.

Just because some people don’t understand the value you provide doesn’t mean your ideas and products are worthless.

As a creator, you don’t need to survive through ad payments or paywalls. You can turn your creative mind into your primary asset and an income-generating-tool.

You deserve to get paid for the work you do.

Don’t get intimidated by frustrated people. Focus on doing your best work, mastering the craft of online selling, and serving people who’re willing to pay you for your efforts.

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek

As content creators, we’re all seeking the same thing: Freedom.

We have a burning desire to do our own thing. We want to be independent, openly share our thoughts, ideas, and experiences, and explore the vast opportunities we have.

Yet, most creators fail to create that level of freedom because they don’t know how to monetize their expertise or passion.

They’re stuck finishing projects for clients, creating content for paywalls or platforms like Youtube, and can’t scale their income without working more hours.

Most creators leave their day jobs to follow their passion but end up creating their own rat race.

If you refuse to spend most of your time hustling, you’ll need to find a way to scale your income regardless of the content you produce. And the most effective way to do so is by selling digital products.

This will help you scale your income and your impact.

Free content will never have the same influence as paid products. Typically, we don’t take free stuff seriously and put more value on paid products and services.

I barely watched a Youtube video or read an article that transformed my life. Paid online courses, however, helped me build my business.

Next time you find yourself feeling afraid of creating and selling your first digital product, remind yourself of Joseph Campbell's beautiful words:

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”

If you’re seeking financial and mental freedom as a creator in the 21st century, there’s no way not to sell your own products. And the sooner you start, the better your chances to succeed.

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