It’s about time you read what you really should do to build your writing empire
According to a recent 2019 study on employee satisfaction, nearly half (46%) of American workers are dissatisfied with their current work experience. In other words: one in two people are miserable at work. That's unreal.
Considering people spend a third of their day at work, think about the trickle-effect it has in the rest of their life:
- A father not being able to enjoy his son's baseball game because he brings his discontent home with him.
- A girlfriend who can't appreciate the nightly dinner with her partner because she knows she's coming home feeling unfulfilled.
- A daughter who feels like she isn't enough and isn't making her parents proud because of the title she currently owns.
To make matters even worse — to take our minds off the rigmarole of work, we generally turn to social media and the like to help distract us — all we get are other humans telling us the various ways they became millionaires selling Bored Ape NFTs or via sponsored Instagram posts peddling white-labeled beauty products.
This piles up, day in and day out and makes you want to cry,
"What's wrong with me? Why can't I seem to figure this all out?"
Rest assured — there's nothing wrong with you. Furthermore, to help ease your worries — the internet is full of frauds trying to pass off a "perfect" life.
I've been building my online writing business since 2017 now. I've made enough money along the way to quit my job, focus on the work I find fulfilling, and create the freedom to work when and how I choose.
It wasn't either (and it definitely won't be easy for you). There are a million different things you can do to help you build a profitable online writing business.
“How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable?”
― Seth Godin
These things will help you do them faster, however.
Everyone is capable of utilizing this unsung superpower
I'm a firm believer that all human beings are creative.
The harsh truth: most people are [unknowingly] selfish with their creativity. They have wonderful, amazing, creative ideas but they use them for themselves.
They know full well that their creativity should be used to help other people, but they cannot get past the hurdle of articulating how this creativity is beneficial for someone else.
To put this another way, people email me all the time telling me about their ideas and the things they want to write about.
People have told me some pretty personal stories about achievement, triumph, and excellence. On the flip side, people have shared anecdotes of failure, despair, and misfortune.
After reading every email, I send (a version) of the same response back,
"That's unbelievable, thanks for sharing. I'm curious — with all that being said and considering that story, what lessons do you want to teach? Who are you going to teach those lessons to? And how are you going to teach them those lessons?"
Writing can be a very intimate craft. You put your thoughts out for the world to see. Perhaps you have trauma that you've overcome — that's amazing and I applaud you. If you want to turn that into a business — the trauma becomes less about you and more about the person you're going to help.
- The same goes for the way you traveled on a budget.
- The same goes for the way you transformed your body.
- The same goes for the way you quit your job and went into business for yourself.
What's the superpower I'm hinting at?
Make your audience feel like they're the hero in the story. As much as you might want to be Luke Skywalker, you need to be Obi-Wan. Guide your readers through their own Hero's Journey.
Making your first $2.99 can change your life
In his first year blogging, with an email list of about 10,000 people, Jeff Goins only made about $200 (primarily from Adsense revenue). He thought he'd maxed out his ability to make money blogging. Perhaps this would be just a nice side hustle.
After talking to a fellow internet entrepreneur about his earnings and his email list, he was told he had a six-figure business,
"What are you talking about?" he said, "I have a three-figure business. I only made a few hundred bucks"
"No — you have a six-figure business," said his friend, "you just need to figure out what your audience wants."
So after sending a survey to his list, he figured out what his audience wanted. So, he created a PDF ebook and sold it to his email list. He offered the book for $2.99,
"And with that first eBook, I made $1,500 in a weekend. An entire paycheck in two days. I couldn’t believe it.
That $1,500 changed my life because it showed me what was possible."
— Jeff Goins
Most people unfortunately don't believe in their abilities. Furthermore, they don't believe that other people are more selfish and less willing to help than they are. Most people don't believe that they have something the world wants. It's a shame.
That's why I recommend starting small. Start with a product that is a few dollars. Sell that product to people looking for it and see what happens. Is it going to make you a millionaire overnight?
But imagine where you'll be in 12 months knowing you made this tiny purchase today…
After you make that tiny sale, do this to magnify your growth
Like I just said, selling $2.99 products isn't going to help you build a job-quitting online writing business.
It's just not in the cards. The economies of scale are just too difficult to reach.
If you wanted to build a six-figure online writing business, you would have to make around 33,000 sales a year. Or 91 sales an hour. It just doesn't work out that way.
So what do you do instead? Work backward from your end goal and experiment with the numbers. If you want to make $100,000 you can:
- Sell 200 people one $500 course each
- Sell 100 people one $1,000 group coaching course
- Sell 20 people one $5,000 one-on-one coaching experience (yes — you can do this).
Now the further you go up in offering, the harder the sale is going to be to make, but in a way, the easier it is to reach your end earnings goal.
Millions of people are already begging for your work
You just have to show up and give them what they're asking for.
If you're looking at your screen right now with a ten thousand mile stare, let me backtrack a bit and explain myself…
The digital online content creation market topped out around $11 billion by the end of 2019. Recent predictions forecast the industry is poised to blossom to an astounding $38.2 billion by 2030. That's a growth of 12% year over year throughout this decade.
If you think you're "too late" to the online content party — think again. More and more, people are flocking to the internet to help solve their problems, answer their questions, and build new things.
This isn't a new revelation…
What you should keep in mind, however, is the importance of spreading your knowledge, skills, and abilities via online content on as many platforms as possible. Many people like to stick to one platform and call it a day. However, you should note:
- Over 2 billion active users are flocking to YouTube every month
- It's estimated that Medium attracts roughly 100 million monthly users
- Quora boasts approximately 300 million unique monthly users
- Twitter accounting for 330 million active monthly users
I could add more platforms (BitClout, Facebook, Substack, etc.) but you're smart enough to get the idea, right?
Knowing these statistics can make you feel a bit daunting — I get it. What I would recommend is focusing primarily on one of the platforms during your first 9–12 months. For me, I chose Quora — but you can do whatever you want.
- Consistently post new content
- Share others' content
- Comment on the content you feel you can make a positive contribution
What you should do month 13 (and beyond):
Once you get a good footing on how this content works and you start to develop a modest following. Lather-rinse-repeat the process on these other platforms.
- Take a line from a Quora answer and post it to your Twitter account
- Edit a Quora answer and publish it to Medium
- Start driving readers to a Substack account (though I chose Convertkit)
You don't need to have every platform figured out from the get-go. You probably shouldn't. Focus on one in the first year and then expand on it.
You're done with school (but you're still taking tests)
I said earlier in this piece that it's important to take your $2.99 product, learn from it, and then sell a $500 product.
There seems like there's a huge gap in between that needs to be sorted out, right? You're probably rolling your eyes, super annoying that we have a glaring hole. Perhaps I failed you. At least let me try and make up for that hole here…
How do we get from $2.99 to $500 (or beyond)?
We do this by testing everything we create. Follow along with me. When you're just starting, how do you know if the first price point you set is the best?
Answer: You don't.
This is because "value" is a two-way street. It's partially contingent on you building a product you can stand behind. On the flip-side, "value" is heavily reliant on the perception by the person purchasing said product. It's a dance.
You'll never know how this product is perceived by the customer unless to constantly test everything you sell:
- You sold 100 units at $2.99 (totaling $299). Can you sell the same amount (100) at a price point two dollars more?
- Can you sell more total units if you market the ebook as: "[Ebook A] at $4.99 plus a BONUS ebook (free)?"
After having lunch with a well-known creator (that you probably know of) I told him about how I package certain knowledge into a course of mine. When I described in vivid detail, we had a conversation similar to the aforementioned conversation Jeff Goins had,
"Jon… what you just described to me — that's something I would be willing to pay $1,500 for. That knowledge is very specific. What do you have it listed for now?"
"$500," I said.
"You're undervaluing yourself tremendously. I'm not alone in being willing to pay fifteen hundred for knowledge like that."
Test everything you do. You don't know how much money you're leaving on the table.
This one trait is better than talent and ability combined
“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”
― James Clear
Thousands of people are going to nail me to the cross for this claim…
I think most people creating content in the online content space aren't that great. Sure, there are the outliers that stand out. Some people have taken and utilized real originality.
But most people are just good enough.
And that's what you want actually. You can be just good enough and have this other trait that helps catapult you above everyone else. Are you ready to know what it is? It's not surprising… It's the ability to continuously show up, day after day, month after month, year in and year out.
That's what's going to make your online writing business successful.
- It isn't about if you're a trained writer or a native English speaker
- It isn't if you have the most cunning and clever ideas
- It isn't because you have the most amazing mentors
- It isn't because you're special.
It's because you're in love and obsessed with the process. It's because you know the other alternative to this life is the current life you find yourself in. Most success is a result of the people who didn't give up — plain and simple.
Continuously performing and shipping your work is the most important part of the whole equation.
Imagine where you can be in 12 months having written a blog post every damn day…
Now start doing it.
Every Tom, Dick, and Sally wants to build a writing business. They want it so bad. They know, deep down in their soul, that if they can just get the right strategy, they'll be able to provide amazing gifts to the people looking for it.
Perhaps that sounds a lot like you…
The only problem — what strategy do you follow? Which advice do you subscribe to?
There's no one way to skin a cat (sub: build an online writing business). However, there are 6 ways you can do it faster. Those ways are:
- Always consider your [future] audience with everything you create. If you want to make this business about you — find another business.
- Find your $2.99 product. Your life can change with your first sale. Find it.
- Expand your earnings by selling more expensive products. To make $100,000 all you need is to sell a $500 product to 200 people (or mess with the math the way you see fit).
- Spread your ideas on every platform you can. Start with only one during the first 12 months. Master it. Then expand to other platforms.
- Test everything you sell. Let your audience tell you how much something is worth.
- Above all — stay consistent. Things won't change overnight. Show up every damn day.
Ready to make more?
If you want to excel and earn more than what you’re currently making by doing what you love — regardless of your experience — check out my guide.