Do I Need My Own Product To Make Money Online?

There is no straight answer to this question in my view, as if that were the case, then there are a lot of small businesses that will go down the drain, quickly. Just think of any business that works as a “middle man” and you will see what I mean. A computer store that resells software, for example, is a “middle man” and like this, there are many that are quite successful at it. In the online world this is also known as an affiliate… Are you following?

First, let’s separate product from services. Products are usually something tangible, while services is something you normally provide that is somehow associated with a certain field of expertise, like Consulting. For example, if you are a comfortable great designer, you can absolutely use these skills to help people who are looking for help in this area, like creating logos. This “help” is called a service.

On the other hand, most common products could be something like a software, an eBook, a course, premium themes, skins, plugins, etc.. With the exception of a few, you require special skills and sometimes capital, to develop a product of your own. Sure you can have an idea and outsource someone to do it for you, but should you take this route, be aware that there are many hurdles you have to overcome.

While having you own product is obviously great and ideal, unfortunately, many do not have the technical expertise, the knowledge, or even the drive to make one. Most of the time, non technical people will tend to create an eBook as their first choice, because it is “apparently” easier. By doing so, be absolutely sure that you are going to provide “quality content”. By quality, in this case, I mean something that will truly add value and meet specific needs of its potential readers. Selling something of poor quality, can only damage your reputation, along with all the problems that may come your way. Note that I am talking selling and not “offering” eBooks for free. Offering eBooks for free can be used an a marketing strategy and serve as a “launching pad” for possible income in the future. In any event, even if it is free, please do not confuse “free” from being crap.

What Do I Do Then, If I Don’t Have My Own Product?

You basically have two choices. Doesn’t seem much, does it? Read on…

1) First, selling other people’s products. There are people who work hard to create good products. Most of them are looking for help to promote these products and ultimately convert to a sale. For the effort of being a “middle man” who successfully brings them a sale, you get compensated for it (usually via a commission). This method is widely known as affiliate marketing. Just make sure that you know how to find the right product to promote. Do your research to find out how to, as there are many great articles out there that will guide you to the process. Recently, I wrote a guest post that covers an important aspect of selling products online, which is, to stop selling to people what they don’t want, but instead, offer them what they need…

2) Second, sell services. This is where a lot of things can happen. Examples of services you can provide include, but are not limited to, the following:

Website design/development/management – if you have the technical expertise, this is absolutely a great choice. This could also include building websites, performing tweaks, website redesign, first time installation, etc..

SEO Essentials – From basic to advanced. If you have the necessary skills and knowledge, it is a service that many are looking for. It could be as simple as installing and setting up basic SEO plugins, to link building, website audit, keyword and domain name research, content optimization,  etc.

Writing Articles/Reviews – If you love writing, have great copywriting skills, and know how to properly research, there are many who require this type of services. You can do sponsored reviews, ghost writing, article marketing, paid guest post, and so on…

Consulting/Coaching – Pick something you are really good at and provide solutions. The good thing about this type of service is that normally, you limit yourself to making recommendations. The implementation is your client’s responsibility. If they want you to implement what you are recommending, that’s another possible service you can provide.

Translations – The internet has virtually eliminated many boundaries, but there is still the matter of different languages. This is something you can offer, providing you have the skills.

Create your own team – This is a longshot but you can offer virtually any other type of services if you consider yourself to be a good manager and an organized person. Surround yourself with “experts” in many areas and use them when an opportunity presents itself. You do not have to incur any cost by doing this, just outsource it.

And a lot more… use your imagination, have a sharp eye, know how to detect business opportunities, and you might be surprised.

Question: Here’s a quick question, as I deliberately left it out above.

Is selling advertising spaces, a product or a service?

Once you answer this question, you will immediately discover another business model that can generate you a good amount of income. This method is my #1 performer on this blog.

As you can see, having your own “marketable” product is absolutely a good way to go, but do not get discouraged if you think you don’t have or can’t create one.

That’s it! Do you know of any other ways to generate income, which does not rely on having your own product?


DiTesco is a Business and Inbound Marketing Consultant, and founder of iBlogzone's main objective is to help startups and small business owners achieve success in their online ventures. | More About Me and my Digital Marketing Services in SP Brazil.

36 thoughts on “Do I Need My Own Product To Make Money Online?

  • I do not have my own product, but my goal is to have a product of my own over time. By having your own product you have the control yourself, and are not depending on trusting your affiliate provider. I often suspect commission shavings, when I have large numbers of leads but no sales. But in order to offer a product it have to have a quality you can stand for. This is the same for services and products…

    • HI Bjorn. I agree, if it is possible to have you own product, then all the better. But as I said, there are some hurdles you have to overcome and face by doing so. It is stuff but very rewarding, specially if you have “the” product. As for commission shavings, I too believe that there are some out there that are less serious and this is the reason why I am very careful with whom I work with 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Nowadays, almost anything and everything can be purchased and sold online. Just look at those websites wherein you can hire people to do something or get products for as low as 3 USD.

    As per “Is selling advertising spaces, a product or a service?” I think it falls on both?

    • LOL… Hiring someone for $3 is very scary. I do know that it is possible and difficult to find people willing to do some serious work for that amount. I tried Fiverr for example and got frustrated, with the exception of one writer which was really good.

      Selling Advertise space is a service, in my view.

  • Actually, it is not necessary to have an own product to start earning money online. There are a lot of other good methods to make money of line. The most effective ways are listed in this blog post.

    • Thanks Terje. And indeed, the ones listed here are effective and work very well. Albeit, if you can have a product of your own, it is equally good.

  • This is very solid post buddy, nice alternatives.

    I find out that selling your own product is the most profitable, but at the same time the most painful as you have to manage the product and provide support which eats your time!

    Affiliate marketing in my opinion is the best second choice as a good alternative, at least you will avoid the headaches of maintaining your own product!

    But if you want a higher level of profits and you can take the pain, then another way to do is to find a good idea for a product based on your experience with what your community need, then hire skilled people who can do the job, so even for those who don’t have any experience in programming or development, they still can do it, they always can be the mind behind a successful product!

    • Hi Buddy.. I agree, you of all people will certainly know the “hurdles” I am talking about, by having your own product. It is also the most profitable as you can cut a lot of cost in the process 🙂

      Affiliate marketing is the easiest one I thin and it is also very profitable provided you know how to find the right product and promote it well.

      The last part is what I like best. The problem is finding the right people to work with as there are many dangers that one can come across. I have a friend who told me that his idea was stolen… can’t confirm that though 😉

      Thanks for stopping by my friend. I know you are a busy man and it feels good when you find the time to stop by and leave your much appreciated opinions and views.

  • Very nice and great post you have mentioned each and every thing like people who have something and who haven’t something, it’s not necessary we must have any technical product to do online marketing we can also do online marketing with others product also.

    • Hi Sam. My thoughts exactly… Good to know that we have something in “common” 🙂

  • Great informative post.I think if someone wants to make money online then he/she has to be good in SEO.If wanna make sale of any product,first target your audience by posting accurate information about that.Content help to keep visitor regularly reading and when they more about product make mind for buying it…

    • Agree… You mention really good and effective means of marketing and promoting “stuff” for your audience

  • I haven’t any online product yet.But In future I planed to launch a product and start internet marketing for it for earning revenue.

    • That’s a great plan Sarah and I hope that you see it accomplished one day. What is stopping you to do it right now?

  • “please do not confuse “free” from being crap.” ~ love that line DiTesco.

    I’ve been down the route of making my own physical product before and let me tell you, it’s no easy task. And definitely a very expensive path to be on. Although if you have something of great value that the public wants, then it can be an awesome way to make an income.

    Unfortunately mine did not work out as planned. But hey, in a way that experience as lend me to what I do now.

    Anyway, great post. Some solid, practical information for anyone looking to choose a business model that’s going to work best for them.

    Me personally, I’m all about making my own products… now if I can only find the time. 😉

    • Nothing but an entrepreneurial spirit minded person to wisely choose the term “business model”. That was basically the idea I had in mind, which was to encourage people to find the model for them. Obviously, having a product of your own can be very rewarding, but very difficult to manage and succeed. Creating services for example is probably much easier 😉

      Thanks for stopping by partner. hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend

  • hmmm!

    But I think affiliate marketing is really hard to promote on, and the margin in it is less too.

    But we still can find out the product depending on market needs and its popularity we can get something out of it if the product is not much saturated already.

    • Unfortunately, nothing is easy, and that is very true. However, if you do it properly, it might just be very rewarding. I don’t care too much about “lesser” margins on affiliate marketing. After all, my only work is to promote it and hope for a sale. If you do the math, sometimes it can be more profitable to market “other people’s” product, than your own.

  • A very good question and food for thought for bloggers. Most bloggers do no think about having a product. Well I don’t have a product yet, but I am on it and will be launching very soon.

    Until then I am already selling other’s products (that I have touched and tried) and am selling my own services. Sounds very decent to me 🙂


    • Very decent indeed Jane and it also has to do with having “multiple” streams of income. a bit here, and a bit there is good, right? that’s my tagline really, lol

      As for you product, yeah, I heard about it and can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeve 😉 Good luck!

  • Definitely a great debate topic. I have seen this from both sides of the fence. For something like “Email Marketing” I think a quality product is essential. (as you pointed out quality is important).

    But using emails is not essential. You can market without it and still make an impact. In fact simply being an affiliate marketer for others can give you time to build the connections to really capitalize when you DO release a product.

    • Very well said Steve and I agree with you that it is highly a debatable subject. The idea is for people in general to know that there are “many” forms of making money online and finding the right “business model” is what its all about.

      For example, I prefer to promote a tried and tested product, from Top A bloggers, than a product that I do not even know or heard about..

  • Promoting other’s products is a good way to start and learn the ropes… Although its tough in the beginning,it tends to get easier with time..

    • I agree Sandeep.. the road to success is never easy, but overtime, once you master some of the basics, I think it can be a tad easier 🙂 What business model do you think is best?

      Thanks for stopping by.

  • Is selling advertising spaces, a product or a service?
    I think that your blog is your product through which you can now provide the service of selling advertising space.
    So Im still confused LOL

    Great post mate – I personally think that until you have your own product you are never really going to make it, certainly as a blogger that is.
    Affiliate marketing is all well and good but you are technically working for others and putting your financial security in THEIR products.

    Definitely need to get your own. I’m still wroking on turning BuRP into a paid product – now its about finding the time

    • LOL, now I am confused as well 🙂 Blog is a “means” among other things to promote your product and services?? OK, that’s that… haha

      I understand what you mean about having your own product Alex. Sometimes, it is just not possible and this is why I encourage the “creation” of services, that when bundled, could be a product. Affiliate marketing aside, services is much easier to sell, depending on your expertise. Take you as an example… You provide great services on BURP Consulting. Make sense?

      For example, if you are taking BURP to a “paid” service, you will really be providing a lot of “private” stuff in there. The service would then be, the paid subscription, so that they can have access to your services, articles, tools, etc.. OK, now you got me confused… and I had this all well laid out, lol. Anyway, good luck with that 🙂

      Seriously, my view about a product for example is “LINXBOT”, a software that helps find places for link building, and coaching a service. BTW, thank you very much, I purchased LINXBOT via your WSO link on WF. Is that not an affiliate link? Haha..

      • haha touche – of course now my brain hurts.

        Im going back to ramadama dingdong land, incredibly they made more sense there!?


        • LOL… I hear you. BTW, how is that project doing? Have not posted anything for a while now and I am loosing grounds on Swamp A$$… Dude, that’s a hard keyword to maintain on the first page 🙂

  • Good article! Unfortunately some people think that there’s money to be made online for doing nothing / very little. It doesn’t exist in the real world so it doesn’t exist online either I’m afraid.

    • Good one. Sadly enough there are thousands of products which truly start to convince you its possible. I`ve seen alot of those products. Sometimes i wonder if its true. But after a few minutes of dreaming I start to wake up agian and remind myself to get real.

      It is a big business of selling “get rich quick” products to everyone who wants to get rich online. I just doesn`t work like that. Online and offline same story.

      But selling a product will speed up your earnings. Working as an affiliate you need to compete with others selling the same product. But letting affiliate sell you product is like a franchise online. A good way to make money, if the product is a good one.

  • I think you should spread your this post as much as you can most of the people specially newbie’s thinks that online business is all about setting a wordpress blog then spread adsense all over the blog.
    Internet is not a rocket science of making money it’s basic is very similar to the offline business but internet facilitate you to do business anywhere you want even in your bed and also provides you the opportunity of advertising your business in very low cost

  • I have been providing service such as web design, logos and themes. I am planning on creating a site that sells ready made design and themes that would match my customers needs. I will not exclude providing designs according to what the customer suggest which means I plan to provide service as well. I think I have a gained a lot of experience to create quality designs that would satisfy a lot of my future customers.

  • Thanks For this Post.
    I must say, This is very informative post specially for newbies in online money making world.

    I think you should educate people about online money making scams, because since last few years lot of people wasted their hard earned money.

    I hope you will do that

  • For me, its not important that you own your products. You may do reselling products and earn money from reselling. If you know how to make strategies and be able to do online marketing then you can make money online and do not need to own products.

    • Hi Ron. My thoughts exactly.. so to show you that there are numerous ways to earn money.. the most important component of them all is “taking action” and constant “trial and error”… Eventually one will work 🙂

  • Excellent post. Of course every sell-able thing in the world is either a product or a service. Building a great product takes time in the initial stages, and once the product is ready you can just sit back and reap the benefits. With a service, the initial setup is easier but as you progress, the service quality has to be up to the mark or your clients will run away!
    Both require hard work and a little innovation 🙂

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