There’s a realization that every freelance designer must go through at some point: client work isn’t enough to ensure your long-term financial security. What if you get sick? What if you can’t find clients? What if you want to take a vacation?
One possible answer to this problem is earning passive income — i.e. selling products or services instead of selling your own time. A common way to do this is to sell digital goods such as eBooks, PSD templates, WordPress themes, icons, and so on. But how exactly should you sell them?
Although there are lots of marketplaces for selling digital goods, they often take a big cut of the profits. What’s more, they don’t let you customize the sales page, or let you use your own brand. This is where digital goods services come in. These services only take care of the payment, file storage, and download, and let you do the rest. This means you can easily sell your products from your own website, or through social networks.
I recently wrote an eBook about UI design and needed to find a way to sell it, so I compared five such services: Quixly, FetchApp, Pulley, E-junkie, and Gumroad. I’ll tell you which one I picked at the end… but in the meantime, here are the results of my research.
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How Does This Work?
First of all, let’s see how those systems actually work. Simply said, all these services let you upload some files, provide you with a link that you put on your site, and take care of the rest. The customer flow usually looks something like this:
Alice clicks the “Buy” button on your website
Alice briefly goes through the digital goods website, and is automatically redirected to the payment processor
Alice pays for your product with Paypal, Google Checkout, etc.
Alice is then redirected to the digital goods service, where she can download the product
Let’s take a moment to look at that second step. Most digital goods services do not deal with the big credit card companies directly, but instead go through payment processors such as Paypal or Google Checkout.
This means that you need to take into account the additional fees charged by these companies (the standard fee for both service is a 2.9% charge plus a $0.30 fixed fee per transaction).
The only service which does notgo through a payment processor is Gumroad, meaning it lets customers pay right there on Gumroad. Now that we have a basic understanding of how things work, let’s take a look at each service.