We recently wrote a Deep Dive titled, The Dead-Simple Path To Go From $0 To 7-Figure Writer, walking through the 5 steps you can take to accelerate your income as a Digital Writer.
However, something that doesn’t get talked about very often is what happens when you go from $0 to approximately $100,000 per year.
You reach a ceiling.
Once you learn some of the foundational skills of Digital Writing—like how to write irresistible headlines, 10x the formatting of your content, and how to create your own niche, all things we teach inside Ship 30 for 30—earning $5,000 per month, or upwards of $10,000 per month as a writer/creator becomes very feasible. (All you need is 3 clients paying you $3,000 per month and you’re earning six figures!)
But then something unfortunate happens…
You get stuck.
- You can’t work “harder.” You are already working hard!
- You can’t sell more time. You only have so many hours in the day.
- And you can’t charge more per hour. You will eventually reach a breaking point of what people are willing to pay you.
So, what do you do?
Don’t work harder! Work smarter.
There are two traps freelance writers typically fall into:
First, they try to earn more by landing more clients. “If only I could work with 1 more client per month, then I’d go from making $100,000 per year to $125,000 per year!” But this requires them to work harder—harder than they are already working (meaning something has got to give. Usually sleep.).
Second, they try to charge more per client. This is a slightly better approach, but even still, clients will only pay you so much per hour, month, or project. At a certain point, your earnings will be capped again—meaning the only other option is to “work harder.”
Both of these scenarios are incremental at best.
While most Digital Writers can quickly elevate themselves and start earning $100,000+ per year, it is very, very hard to make more than $250,000 per year without some form of Digital Leverage. This means finding a way to work with more people without selling more of your time.
So, if you’re stuck earning $100,000 per year, here’s exactly what you need to do:
1. Productize Your Service
The first step to getting out of the hours-for-dollars game is to take whatever service you are manually providing and Digitally Productize it.
- Instead of being a freelance writer, can you teach other people how to become freelance writers?
- Instead of being an email copywriter, can you teach companies how to train their own email copywriters to be more effective and do what you do?
- Instead of being a ghostwriter, can you show you founders & CEOs how to train their personal assistant to become their personal ghostwriter?
- Instead of being a 1:1 teacher, can you turn your teachings into a curriculum and teach hundreds or even thousands of students at scale?
Basically: anything you spend time doing, you want to consider how you can show other people how to do what you’re doing at scale.
The true value of being a service provider isn’t to provide that same service for the rest of your life. It’s to use your experiences as a service provider to acquire unique, domain specific knowledge and then use technology to scale your knowledge on the Internet.
This is how you get rewarded beyond the constraints of time or the market’s value of your service.
2. Productize Yourself
Once you successfully Productize Your Service, a few things are going to happen:
- You are going to divorce your earnings from your time. This is going to allow you to work with more people (3 manual clients vs 30 or 300 or 3,000 digital students), and your income to rise—which is going to give you more optionality in your life. It’s very hard for someone providing a service (like a freelance writer) to rationalize taking more risks in their career when they are afraid to lose what little bit they have. But as soon they divorce their earnings from their time, and begin to unlock a new level of abundance, it becomes much easier to see which opportunities are “worth it” versus which ones aren’t.
- You are going to be rewarded for what you “know,” not what you “do.” All of a sudden, people aren’t going to pay you for what you for manually spending hours working. People are going to pay you for your expertise. Category Pirates calls this “becoming an Intellectual Capitalist.”
- You are going to increase demand, which is inherently going to make your “supply” more valuable. Once the Internet begins to realize that lots and lots of people value how you solve a specific problem with a unique, Non-Obvious solution, more and more of them are going to want to work with you. Which means you can not only raise the price of your infinitely scalable Digital Product (the productized version of your service), but you can also put a premium on working 1:1 with you.
This is how you go from earning $100,000 per year to $500,000 or more.
It’s a barbell:
- [Low Cost] Customers buying your Productized Service online.
- [High Cost] Customers buying and consuming your Productized Service online, and then paying a premium to have you help them implement the knowledge they just paid you to acquire.
3. Improve The “Value” Of Your Productized Self
If you can earn $500,000 per year for yourself as a Digital Writer/Digital Creator, you are absolutely doing something right.
And you should be proud of yourself.
However, once you reach this milestone, you will inevitably ask yourself, “What’s next? Where do I go from here?” And similar to the $100,000 ceiling, the $500,000 ceiling is just as difficult to break through.
So, how do you do it?
You need to consider whether the “value” of the problem you are solving.
You might have successfully productized & digitized yourself, but if the problem you are solving isn’t “valuable” enough, then you’re inevitably going to reach a pricing ceiling. (Nurses who want to quit their hospital jobs to become YouTubers might pay $1,000 or $2,000 or even $3,000 for productized knowledge of how to do that. But will they pay $10,000? Or $100,000? Maybe, but it’s unlikely.)
This is why learning how to start writing online, how to build a library of content, how to create a niche for yourself, and how to productize yourself is such a valuable skill. Because even if the first problem you solve, or first niche you create, isn’t the biggest or the “most valuable,” you now know how to do it. Which means once you reach your next ceiling, all you have to do is pick a new, even more valuable problem, and create a new niche around solving it—and you can do it again, and again, and again.
This is how you smash through the $100,000 per year ceiling, and eventually can earn upwards of $1,000,000 per year as a Digital Writer & Digital Creator.
Productized Knowledge + Digital Scalability + Solving A Highly Valuable Problem.
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