This week, we’d like to share with you our dead-simple path to go from $0 to 7-figure writer.
And guess what?
- You don’t need a college degree
- You don’t need 10 years of experience
- And you don’t even need a mentor
In fact, the entire path of becoming a successful writer is very simple. Unfortunately, most writers don’t have a talent problem. They have a time problem (”This is taking too long!”), a consistency problem (”I don’t want to do this every day!”), and/or an ego problem (”I worked hard on this—people should read it no matter what”). But if you can overcome these obstacles, then the path to becoming a widely read and highly profitable writer becomes clear as day.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Write For Free
Every aspiring writer wants to know, Day 1, “How do I make the money? Where’s the money? When does the money come? Who pays me the money?”
But the irony is: obsessing over these questions actually makes it harder for you to monetize your craft.
Instead, you want to start by writing for free:
- Write on social platforms for free.
- Write your newsletter for free.
- Even write for clients & customers for free.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “WHAT?! No way! I deserve to be paid for my hard work!”
Ah, young grasshopper—this is precisely the belief we need to break.
You see, writers who make a lot of money don’t get paid for their hard work. They don’t even get paid for their time (as we’ll explain in a second).
They get paid for the RESULT they are able to deliver for the reader, customer, or client.
Which means, before you should even start worrying about how to make money, you first need to PROVE that you can…
- Answer people’s questions in clear and compelling ways
- Solve people’s problems using easy-to-understand or implement solutions
- And write things people actually want to take the time to read
How do you learn how to do these things?
Well, the single-fastest way is to remove “cost” from the equation (don’t charge people to teach YOU whether your writing is valuable or not), write for free, and let the market decide.
Step 2: Don’t charge for the information. Charge for the implementation.
Here’s another mindset flip that takes some time for writers to wrap their heads around:
Readers don’t really buy information.
What they buy is:
- Personalized explanation
For example, nearly all of the “content” that is inside our cohort-based course, Ship 30 for 30, exists elsewhere on the Internet. Our frameworks, our mental models, our favorite headlines and hooks, our processes and ways of doing things… we’ve written about all of it somewhere else.
The problem is: we have no idea where, and neither do you. (You could consume all the same content inside Ship 30 for 30 for free, on your own. But it would probably take you around 800 hours to sift through all our Twitter, LinkedIn, Medium, Quora, and YouTube content to find it all.)
So, why do people pay for Ship 30 for 30?
Some of the value is in the information, of course. This is where we share our frameworks, mental models, and writing processes in their most refined forms.
But the REAL reason people pay for Ship 30 for 30 is for:
- The organization of all the content: “Here’s all the right things, in the right places.”
- The implementation of the content: “We’ll hold you accountable so you put this into practice.”
- The personalized explanation of the content: “Join us on live calls where we’ll show you examples that apply directly to your situation.”
Which means continuing to give away 99% of what you know for free, at scale, on the Internet, is your greatest marketing vehicle.
Step 3: Sell implementation as a service, first.
If you are asking yourself…
- “What’s the fastest way to earn a living as a writer?”
- “How can I make enough money to quit my 9-5?”
- “What’s the secret to earning enough money to pay my rent?”
Here’s the answer:
Start by selling a service, not a product.
- Sales copywriting
- Content writing
- Website copywriting
Obviously both paths work, however it’s way easier to get 1 person to pay you $5,000 than it is to get 500 people to pay you $10—especially when you’re first starting out, still building an audience online, and continuing to master the fundamentals of Digital Writing.
For 2 reasons:
First, selling a service forces you to learn what “specifically” people are willing to pay for. Providing a service means needing to keep clients happy, and clients will GLADLY vocalize all the things they’re unhappy about to you on a regular basis (giving you tons of opportunities to figure out what’s working and what’s not).
And second, selling a service is what makes you aware of how you do what you do. It’s fertile ground for creating your own processes, frameworks, mental models, and approaches to problem solving you likely would never have come up with on your own.
Your first flywheel here is to give away your information “for free,” at scale, but then charge people to “rent your pen” at a premium—and implement your information for them as a service.
This is how you get to $100,000+ per year as a writer.
Step 4: Productize yourself.
Providing a service is what teaches you unique & highly differentiated skills.
But very quickly, you will reach 1 of 2 ceilings:
- Time: There are only so many hours in a day, which means your inventory is fixed (you can only sell so many hours).
- Cost: You can only charge so much per hour, or even per project.
It’s very common for writers & creators to take this path and quickly increase their income to $100k - $250k per year, but then hit a brick wall. It’s extremely hard to get above $300k as a writer or creator by selling a service (even if you try to scale yourself by starting an agency, hiring employees/contractors, and using labor leverage).
So, what’s the solution?
You have to productize yourself.
You must divorce your income from time, energy, and effort.
You can’t sell hours. And you can’t sell projects.
You need to sell your unique & highly differentiated Intellectual Capital—ideally in the form of digital, infinitely scalable products.
- eBooks and books
- Asynchronous and/or cohort-based live courses
- Access to a niche, valuable digital community
The goal here is to sell your “mind.”
For example, selling Intellectual Capital begins with questions like these:
- What are your unique processes for solving a specific, valuable problem?
- What mental models have you created to spot, understand, or take advantage of a specific and valuable opportunity?
- What are your time-saving, effort-saving, cost-saving frameworks?
In short: how do you do what you do?
(To be clear: this isn’t just something you “do,” but something you do that you KNOW is valuable to other people—because you’ve been doing it as a service, and getting paid well to do it.)
Step 5: Create a barbell pricing model.
Now, you can “sell” information.
- ($) Low Cost: “Here’s what I do. Now go do it on your own.”
- ($$$$) High Cost: “Here’s what I do. And I’ll do it for you.”
Your low-cost digital products are what allow lots of people to access your unique & highly differentiated Intellectual Capital.
And in the context of your low-cost digital products, your high-cost services are what allow you to command pricing power, be more and more exclusive about who you work with and on what terms, and charge a premium that is impossible to charge when you’re simply providing a service with no clear net-new Intellectual Capital.
Basically: you need to prove to the world, at scale, why YOUR unique approach is worth 10x-100x more than market value.
To keep increasing your income, you then repeat this process over and over again:
- Write for free
- Learn what questions people have & what problems they value being solved
- Answer those questions and solve those problems manually as a service
- Create net-new Intellectual Capital while providing your service
- Productize yourself, and turn your Intellectual Capital into infinitely scalable, digital products
Every single person on earth can do this.
What keeps so many writers from ever achieving 6 or 7-figures, however, isn’t their talent.
And it’s not because roadmaps like these don’t exist (we just gave you one!).
It’s because this approach requires putting your ego aside, considering you might not have anything “valuable” enough to share (yet), and putting in the effort required in order to unearth that gold—by writing for free, by working for free, and by providing a manual service long enough to teach you something “new” worth sharing with the world.
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