Writing may be the most accessible skill anyone can benefit from. But making a fortune from writing takes hard work. It takes your sweat and tears to make a full time income from writing. Frankly, if hard work isn’t your thing, you want to stop watching this video right here because this video won’t pander to your desire for instant gratification. But if you are open to learn and deal with whatever challenges that may be standing in your way of making a living as a writer, I’m going to share some lessons I picked up along my journey from building a six figure revenue business with writing skill. I will also share with you the three most important steps a writer must take to succeed with your skill. Before we get right to it, be sure to subscribe to After School TV for more insightful videos like this.
I have been writing professionally for over a decade now, and entrepreneurially for over 5 years. I’ll explain what that means in a moment. On my personal blog, I have written about writing and self-publishing, and constantly receive emails from writers wanting to monetize their skill or publish a book. I have watched a mentee grow from zero to six-figure income and I’ve also watched some writers continue to struggle after several years. From my experience and personal study, I can identify a few reasons why some writers breakthrough to make a full-time living from their skill and why the majority of writers are struggling.
Why Most Writers Are Broke
An overwhelming majority of writers are either just broke or really broke. Take for instance, the statistics of digital book sales on Amazon. Over one million books are published every year. But less than 0.01% of them will sell more than 1,000 copies. On Medium – a popular platform that pays writers – only about 8% of writers earn over $100 per month. On blogging, over 81 percent of bloggers have never made up to $100. In other words, while writers may be talking big with their content, their effort is mostly not reflecting in their bank statements. The primary reason for this is because most writers are hobbyists. And they don’t grow past that stage. They are overconfident in their raw talent and don’t take the time to train their writing skill. The first step to earning a living as a writer is to move from hobbyist to professional writer.
Move from Hobbyist to Professional Writer
A hobbyist writer is someone who writes for relaxation or pastime. You are just like someone who loves to sing, or play football and does that when you feel like it. As long as you continue to treat a skill as a hobby, you shouldn’t expect to make a living from it. You may have the raw talent of writing but you lack the refinement to be a professional writer.
What separates a hobbyist writer from a professional writer is that a hobbyist writes when they feel like writing; a professional writer shows up and writes every day whether they feel like it or not.
You don’t become a professional writer when you start making money from writing. You become a professional writer before you can start making money. It’s the same way a medical doctor doesn’t become one because they are getting paid; they become one before they start getting paid. And this applies to every profession. I don’t see why most people think writing should be different.
So how do you move from a hobbyist to become a professional writer?
- Train yourself in the art of writing by studying and writing every day. Getting good with writing is like working out. Consistency is better than once in a while activity. Be deliberate about improving your writing skill by making it a daily routine, whether you feel like it or not.
- Move from making your writing about you to making it about your readers. People read your works for personal reasons; it could be to be inspired, entertained, to gain knowledge, or to feel understood.
- Master the art of writing. There is a quote I always share with writers I work with. “Great content is not written; great content is assembled” Writing is not just about putting your thoughts into written words, it’s about conveying those thoughts in the most compelling, engaging, and irresistible way possible. To get to the point where you start making a good income as a professional writer, you have to become skilled at assembling ideas, stories, and concepts into a written piece.
All these translate to subjecting your talent to training to develop the hidden treasure of writing professionally.
Choose Your Trade
Subjecting your writing ability to training is just one piece of the puzzle. It’s not enough to build a six-figure income. You have to decide how to trade your skill and take decisive action on it. In other words, you have to decide how you are going to make money as a writer and become a professional in that field. For example, if you want to pursue a career as a freelance writer, you have to develop marketing and sales skill to win clients consistently and repeatedly. If you want to pursue a writing career as a blogger, you have to develop the necessary blogging skills including content marketing, search engine optimization, social media, and email marketing. If you want to pursue copywriting, you have to develop skills along these lines.
Many writers make the mistake of wanting to try anything that could bring in the money at the moment. They end up sacrificing their skill development over short term gains. When I started writing professionally, I chose to blog as my writing trade. I turned away from freelance writing, copywriting, and any other form of writing. My strategy was to build a passive income from my writing skill; so I sacrificed immediate income for long-term recurring income. It took a long time to achieve, but I have built a business out of it with a team of up to 15 writers and other skilled members. This brings us to the third important step you have to take to build a six-figure income from writing.
Move from Pro-writer to Entrepreneur
As a writer, you love to write. And will write even if you are not getting paid. However, when writing becomes your major source of income; and you have to write before you can earn, you have just created a job for yourself. There is nothing wrong with that because, unlike the majority of people, you are actually getting paid for doing what you love.
But if you want to turn writing into a passive income stream – where you don’t have to write to make money each month – and make your creative effort work harder for you, you have to start thinking like an entrepreneur. In other words, you have to go from seeing yourself as a writer to seeing yourself as an entrepreneur who writes. This is the most important mindset shift of a writer who wants to build a six figure income stream. How do you start thinking as an entrepreneur who writes?
I started writing about career development when I began to write. While researching scholarship opportunities to apply to study abroad, I discover a missing gap for information on funding opportunities for education. Further research showed that there was no platform for a particular demographic of a potential audience, and if I was looking for this information, chances are that there are other people looking for the same information. So I decided to focus my writing skill to build a platform for Africans looking for funding opportunities.
When you start thinking like an entrepreneur, you move from writing for the sake of writing to writing to fill a market need. You may not be fortunate to stumble on a niche that isn’t already popular, but you can identify a different approach to writing about the same thing. I’ll like to refer to a quote by Richard Davis, “The secret to good writing is to say an old thing a new way or to say a new thing an old way” The point here is to identify and take advantage of niche Opportunities in a unique way.
Next is to Use Automation Tools. I believe there are two types of professional writers; those who get paid once for a writing job and those who get paid endlessly for a writing job. The first category of writers depends on their personal effort and recommendation to continue earning income; while the second group uses tools to make their writing work for them consistently. These tools like content management systems for blogging, YouTube, Apps, Email auto responders and so on. To become an entrepreneur who writes, you have to get good with using automation tools to make your writing work harder and longer for you.
As your income grows, you may have to hire freelance and full-time workers to free up your time so that you can focus on leading your team and scaling your business. That’s how I know to build a six-figure income from your writing skill.
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