A $528 billion dollar opportunity?

💰 How to capitalize by shifting from selling to creating

🌲 Welcome to Passive Profits! (listen to this post)

Did you know the creator economy generated $128B in 2023? 🤯

The majority was driven by solopreneurs and full-timers with side hustles. Nuts.

Now here’s the part that you and I should care about…

With a CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of 22.5% over the next 6 years, the market is expected hit $528B by 2030. And the biggest growth sector? B2B businesses (B2Cs not far behind).

2024 is our year to lean into this growth opportunity. To shift from viewing ourselves as founders who sell, to founders who create.

To educate and nudge you forward, today’s edition will give you a bird’s eye view of the types of no-code digital products you can create to grow your audience and income.

You’ll learn:

  • Top 6 digital products (+2 bonus products)

  • What each product is best for when it comes to growth

  • Recommended creator platforms to use for each product

Let’s get into it, but first…

I want to help you build your online business. To do that, I created the Product Bootcamp.

Use it to:

  • Find the right idea to productize

  • Create a unique and valuable offer

  • Begin growing your audience

  • Market and sell with confidence

I’ll work with you over six weeks to help you go from fuzzy idea to a launched online business. With my systems and dedicated support.

See how it works and apply today.

1. Newsletters

Best for

Newsletters are recurring, value-first emails you send to subscribers who have opted in to hear from you.

If you’re not yet in the newsletter game nor taking it seriously, newsletters are a foundational growth lever I recommend establishing in 2024.

While you may initially find and build your audience on rented platforms like LinkedIn, X, IG, and FB, the sooner you can move them to your owned newsletter, the better.

Before you build your course or sell your ebook, having a newsletter helps you build a relationship with your audience. Audiences that know, like, and trust you, will also buy from you.

Creator platform options

Email Service Providers (ESPs) enable you to create and publish newsletters.

There are several legacy ESPs that brands have relied on: Mailchimp, AWeber, Constant Contact.

Today, there are newer platforms that have disrupted the market — additionally enabling you to monetize your newsletter:

  • beehiiv: Manage and grow your email list, with advanced analytics and customization options to tailor content for your audience

    The Passive Profits newsletter runs on beehiiv… I love it

  • Substack: A simple and powerful newsletter platform that enables you to earn by offering paid subscriptions to your email lists

    I have a personal newsletter there. It’s OK. The settings sorta drives me nuts.

2. (bonus) Live Courses

Best for

For creators who have accrued experience with a set of skills, methodologies, and/or frameworks, a live course is a great way to package and productize your services into highly profitable offers.

Live courses are not digital products, but they’re a phenomenal cheat code for prototyping your online courses.

Creator platform options

You have 2 options for selling your live training:

  1. Marketplaces

  2. Self-hosted

The difference is comparable to selling on Amazon vs selling on your own:

Marketplaces

Marketplaces provide a well-known destination for people who are shopping for training. They go to the marketplace directly, or are driven there by their web search.

Once in the marketplace, your course will need to compete against other similar courses. But the platform has done the heavy lifting of putting your course in front of thousands of potential customers. In exchange, you pay the platform a fee and/or percentage of sales.

Here are 3 marketplaces I’ve used to promote and sell my training:

  • Maven: Beyond simply selling your course, they have a suite of tools to help you build demand and promote

  • Udemy: While you can teach anything on Udemy, their audience is largely tech focused

  • Skillshare: Similar to Udemy, you can teach anything here, but the audience is mostly creatives and entrepreneurs

Self-hosted

Alternatively, you could sell training on your own domain.

Event platforms like Eventbrite and Whova make this possible. This is best for well-established brands that don’t want or need to rely on a marketplace.

3. Online Courses

Best for

Once you’ve built up mastery teaching live cohorts, you can automate your training revenue by building an online course.

This is great for busy business owners who want to establish their thought leadership and domain authority while additionally supplementing their revenue with a new, passive income stream.

Whether live training or online courses, teaching is a powerful growth lever for getting new customers in the door. Likewise, teaching also helps nurture past and existing customers who don’t currently need your core (done-for-you) services.

The best online courses teach an important topic and additionally provide ready-to-use guides and templates. These practical resources ensure the student’s success by enabling them to apply what they’ve learned.

Creator platform options

Here are 3 online learning platforms I recommend:

  • Podia: Organize your course assets, sell/up-sell your course, and lots more — the platform I’ve been using since 2019

  • Teachable: Comparable to Podia — if I’m being honest, a bit more mature in terms of functionality and design

  • Thinkific: Also comparable to the previous 2 platforms and recently pushing Leap, their AI course-builder (it’s OK, but will get better)

4. Informational Products

Best for

In the online courses section above, I noted that the best courses provide practical guides and templates; i.e. informational products or “digital downloads.”

Guess what? You can separately sell these info products — opening up another revenue stream for your business.

For example, one of the assets within my Design Sprint Course (which I sell for $250 via Podia) is the “Ultimate Design Sprint Guide.”

It’s a 60-page ebook you can use to learn how to run a design sprint. I sell it separately on Gumroad for a reduced fee.

Of course, you don’t need a course to create your info product. Many business owners create their ebooks by stitching together newsletters and/or blog posts into a single asset.

Creator platform options
  • Gumroad: Sell your info products, along with courses, coaching, and other product types within their store

  • Payhip: Similar to Gumroad, with the added ability to sell your products on your own domains; i.e. embedding it on your website

  • Notion: For those who specifically build Notion templates, you can additionally use their store to sell them

5. Community

Best for

The problem that plagues too many founders is the struggle to deepen their CLTV (customer lifetime value).

Over the 14 years of operating my consulting business, 90% of my customers have been one-time buyers.

While many enjoyed their client experience, there was no follow-on to keep them in my flywheel. Relationships were transactional. I was forever chasing the next deal… Always selling. Rarely creating.

Today, I know that we can address this in 2 ways:

When founders build community, they rally their audience around a mission for which they want to be associated with.

The founder believes something to be true. A topic that’s important and valuable that others aren’t yet paying attention to:

  • Codie Sanchez: boring businesses

  • Brené Brown: shame spirals

  • Wes Kao: spiky point of view

  • Justin Welsh: Saturday solopreneur

As you talk about your topic (real talk: for months and years) you inspire hundreds, then thousands, then millions to believe it with you.

At a point, your audience supports nearly anything you bring to market… Including, a paid community, where members pay a monthly subscription for exclusive discounts or extra access to you and your work.

Imagine the feeling of MRR (monthly recurring revenue) feeding your business from a paid community.

💡 Stay tuned for a future playbook on how to build your community

Creator platform options
  • Discord: It’s like Slack + Clubhouse, with the ability to join video/voice channels, plus lots of add-ons and customization

  • Mighty Networks: If you turned Discord into a well-designed website and gave it event organization capabilities, you’d have Mighty

  • Superwave: They’re re-thinking community to be built around your content + events — I’m building the Passive Profits community here (coming soon!)

  • Skool: One Founder-Creator told me that “it simplifies the entire community thing”

    🤑 Want 12 months free access to Superwave?
    » click Request beta access
    » enter “PassiveProfitsxSuperwave” in How did you hear about us

6. Memberships

Best for

Remember in the community section above I mentioned how an impassioned, loyal audience will support you and your work?

One way is by creating paid memberships for your audience to join.

This is for your true fans who believe so strongly in your mission, they’ll pay a small monthly amount to back you.

This may sound like charity. In reality, founder-creators worthy of paid memberships have spent countless hours creating, giving, and supporting their audience.

Your members acknowledge the work you’ve put in. They’ve received immeasurable value from you.

By becoming a member, they’re saying: “Thank you. Keep going so we can all win.”

Creator platform options
  • Ko-fi: Set up membership tiers, accept donations, open a shop and take commissions with low/no platform fees

  • Memberful: Freemium alternative to Ko-Fi

  • Buy Me a Coffee: Take donations, set up memberships, and sell additional products for a 5% transaction fee

    Wanna support me? Here’s my membership page.

7. Sponsorships

Today, you may be a business owner or solopreneur interested in no-code digital products to grow your business.

In time, as you establish your personal brand, ship products, launch a community, and build an online audience, you’ll feel more like a creator.

As you grow into a “household” name, brands will become interested in leveraging your clout to help promote it’s products and services.

When that time comes, check out Passionfroot.

It helps you attract, manage, and monetize your brand relationships through paid sponsorships.

8. (bonus) Kitchen Sink Platforms

In reality, many of the platforms you learned about today already offer additional capabilities, or will over time.

As they ship new features and acquire smaller platforms, they evolve beyond their core offering to support the expanding needs of their creator customers.

A few are already comprehensive (“kitchen sink”) platforms:

There are clear administrative and productivity advantages to consolidating your entire business onto a single platform.

However, as a platform mushrooms, it’s becomes increasingly difficult to deliver a best-in-class experience across all features.

Founder-Creator Corner

🧑‍💻 Learn alongside other creators by joining the first HeyCreator Summit.

📈 Want to grow on LinkedIn? Use Fruitful’s analytics to guide your growth based on data.

🎙️ In the background I’m building the Passive Profits podcast. I’ve been impressed with the quality recording StreamYard offers.

📊 Newsletter stats

Howdy to Steve, Ben, Cody, and 6 more founder-creators who joined us this week. Our little community is at 151.

Jay Melone
Creator-Founder @
Passive Profits
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