One of the most popular topics of conversation for online business owners, particularly designers, over the past year has definitely been how to create more passive income. In fact, it’s such a big deal that in episode 66, we broke down a variety of ways you can do exactly that for your brand, including tons of examples.
We know that many of you are curious about how you can make passive income or even transition your business to solely passive income, so we invited Alysha DeMarsh from Basil and Bark onto the show!
In this episode she shares all about how she built up a successful shop on Creative Market, stopped taking on 1:1 client work, how she gets ideas for new products and more!
Alysha originally started at a small agency where she was focused on creating editorial work for one client. She loved it so much, but it was a super small agency so she went to work for a start up. Unfortunately, 8 months later she was laid off, and within the next 5 weeks she and her boyfriend packed up, flew across Canada, bought a house, and moved over.
At the end of 2017 she started freelancing, and Alysha shares that her project was creating graphics for a Pinterest consultant and her business just went from there.
Where her interest in digital products came from
Since her first client was a Pinterest consultant, she had created templates that she could use to quickly create graphics and send over to the client. The client told Alysha that it would be a good idea to sell templates even before Alysha had a website (talk about a great client!).
Around March of 2018, Alysha didn’t want to chase clients and was doing pretty well in terms of getting potential clients to come to her. So, she wanted to spend her free time creating products that she could just sell. Since a lot of people had been complimenting her Pinterest graphics, she decided to create her first products.
Why she started on Creative Market
When she launched her products initially, she just had a simple page on her website to sell them, and it went pretty well. However, another business owner mentioned to Alysha that she should put her templates on Creative Market, so she put them on the platform thinking that there were so many shops and products that no one would buy anything she sold.
Anytime someone asks her about selling on Creative Market, she recommends starting over on that platform and building up a good amount of income there before you transition everything on your website to mention your digital products.
Why she transitioned away from clients to focus on digital products
With the type of services she was offering, her clients wanted a quicker turnaround. So, Alysha always wanted to provide clients with the best turnaround, which meant usually within 3 days she would give something back to them. While that was good for her clients, that wasn’t something she wanted to keep up herself since she likes to have more freedom with the amount of work she’s doing and when.
She says she really enjoys just spending days playing around with making different products and selling them, which is her perfect job so she wanted to continue to focus on just doing that.
The steps she took to help make that transition
One of the main steps she took to make the transition from clients to passive income was to change her website copy. It took her a little while to change what she had created and build it back up with the new direction of her business.
Also, working on starting to become known more for her templates than her client work. Alysha shared that there were a lot of people messaging her on Instagram who were interested in getting her templates or were sharing that they had just purchased them. That ultimately made her more comfortable and confident since the audience she had built up was interested in her templates not just her services.
Alysha’s tips on growing her shop
She says there’s an idea that a lot of people believe about creating a product once and then just letting it sell itself, but she believes in taking the time to refine and improve what she’s selling. So she works on developing her existing products more as well as creating new products to sell.
Alysha also points out that if customers like the products you sell, why not give them more to choose from to keep them coming back for more? She uses a great analogy that a clothing store provides a lot of different options that make us want to go back and buy more, and you can run your digital product shop the same way.
How to get ideas for digital products
Alysha says even though it sounds really corny, it’s so important to know your customer. Once she figured out the exact point her audience was in their business and what they were really struggling with + what they’d be Googling to solve that problem, that was the point she realized what sort of system of products she needed to be selling. She says now it’s obvious to look at her ideal customer and know exactly what they need.
How she decides what to create first for her shop
She says part of it comes down to which ideas her audience has been asking for more recently because that means she has the opportunity to let those people know that the product is available. She’ll also try to look at product ideas that aren’t already on Creative Market or that aren’t terribly popular yet.
Tips on how you can get started with passive income
Alysha’s recommendation is to take a look at what your clients are continuously asking you for – whether it’s a specific product or a certain style. Her clients consistently were asking her for roadmap templates, so she made a roadmap template to sell in her shop.
She says when you have a client who asks you for something and are willing to pay good money for it, there are probably 5-10 people who can’t afford working with you 1:1, but they also need that thing that your client does.
Also, Alysha says check Creative Market to see if your product would fit there, which she says that as a designer it likely would.
Learn more about Alysha
Alysha is the designer behind Basil & Bark, a freelance design business turned template shop that she named after her pets. Through selling social media and content marketing templates on Creative Market and on her Squarespace shop, Alysha has been able to help thousands of online business owners instead of just the ones she could fit into her schedule. She’s also been able to triple her previous salary while living a life on her own terms. Alysha is also the founder of Digital Product Boss, an online course that teaches designers and creative service providers how to start and scale digital product shops with Creative Market.