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The Stupidly Simple Strategy to Go from $0 to 7-Figure Writer

by | Apr 8, 2024 | Writing

The big idea here is 7-figure writers aren’t special.

It’s less about being entrepreneurial and more about following a proven path. The 7-figure writer club is small:

  • Dan Koe
  • Justin Welsh
  • Nicolas Cole
  • Dickie Bush
  • Jon Morrow
  • Nat Eliason
  • Ayodeji Awosika

And of course, myself. I’ve studied all of the 7-figure digital writers over the last 10 years. I’ve met every single one of them, too. And some of them I even call friends.

(Warning: do not read about this topic from amateurs. It’ll do you more harm than good.)

Here’s the blueprint to become a 7-figure writer (even if you’re average).

It bizarrely starts here

Start out with imposter syndrome.

Piss your pants every time you hit publish. Feel the whole world is watching you, as if you’re the Donald Duck president on a reality TV show with Kim Kardashian as your cheeky romance.

We all feel this way when we start. Even me. Even your hero writer friend Dan Koe.

Insert James Clear’s philosophy

I’m gonna go all cliche and cheesy.

There’s not a single 7-figure writer who didn’t start with a daily writing habit. Not one.

James Clear taught the daily habit religion in his book Atomic Habits. You’re probably sick of hearing about it for the 1 billionth time. Soz.

Writing daily is the start of everything.

It helps you do two things:

  1. Defeat imposter syndrome. When nobody gives a sh*t or emails you when you hit publish, a big weight lifts off your shoulders.
  2. A big roadblock is choosing a niche. A daily writing habit helps you create the “niche of you.” Multiple interests combine and the data helps you decide what topics to write about.

Do this part-time (instead of bet the farm and YOLO)

None of us 7-figure writers started writing full-time.

It’s too risky. We gotta eat. The best way to start is before and after work hours. Your salary pays the bills, your writing side hustle builds your future. Anyone who says otherwise wants you to go bankrupt.

Friendship group

Writers who go it alone fall over and die. Joking not joking.

The early days of writing online are hard. No one reads. Smart ass platforms tell you how to write. Hustle culture gurus tell you to work harder and stop being a lazy ass.

Then there’s the “How I Made $1.39 and You Can Too” crowd. God help me.

If you’re not careful you will write, get no traction, become frustrated, and give up. There’s one solution all 7-figure writers have found:

Write with a group of writers.

I did this later in my journey, but I wish I did it at the start. Being in a group with other writers prepares you for the rejections and the failures.

When stuff goes bad — and it will — you go to your group of writers and ask for help. Being around others with a similar writing goal to you is a superpower. You can obviously pool each other’s audience, too, by sharing each other’s writing. BAM.

Multiple platforms is the only way

Too many writers get cheated.

They break their online writing virginity with one platform. They then tie the knot, exchange rings, and have a steamy honeymoon together.

But times change. Recessions happen. The Creator Economy shifts. New writing platforms enter the scene.

If you’re not careful, you get caught up in one of the big algorithm changes, or huge drops in earnings or audience size. I’ve seen it happen so many times. The first one was Facebook.

Pages like Nas Daily got millions of followers. They made millions of dollars. Then one day … SMACK … CRASH … all gone.

Zucks woke up and decided to prioritize ads instead of users. Party over. Bentley gone. Game over. Don’t be one of these writers. Expect platforms to change. Expect to get screwed over. The antidote is to write on two or more platforms.

Choose places where lots of people are:

  • Substack
  • LinkedIn
  • X

That’s it. Easy peasy. Later, go to Youtube and make your writing Youtube scripts. Read the script and record it for Youtube. This is what Dan Koe does and it got him 612,000 Youtube subscribers. Nice.

Build this one thing and don’t dare question it

Social media is nice. But it’s rented. A bunch of billionaire millennials are your landlords.

The only path to 7-figures is with your own email list.

It’s the #1 thing you must build above all else. It’s the path to ownership of your writing, audience, and income. Read that 6 million times.

The easiest way to start is with a weekly newsletter. Choose a platform — probably Substack or ConvertKit — and get to work. Link to your email list everywhere. Offer a free lead magnet like an email course or eBook.

Build the list, email the list weekly.

Paid newsletters can be badass

One path to 7-figures is with a paid newsletter.

Examples:

  • Anthony Pompliano
  • Heather Cox Richardson
  • Packy McCormick
  • Lenny Rachitsky
  • Tomas Pueyo
  • Willy Woo

This is an optional step on the journey. Not everyone wants to be paid for the writing itself. I personally don’t mind it, and have a Substack with decent annual subscription revenue (and growing). You do you.

Just be aware this option exists and it’s a path many writers follow and succeed at.

The best newsletters focus on annual subscriptions (because monthly readers are flaky). They pull readers in by offering more than just writing, such as:

  • Exclusive Q&As
  • Paid communities
  • Audio versions of the writing
  • Access to courses and books
  • Podcasts and videos of the written content

A paid newsletter is the gateway to an online business. Write one for 12 months straight and watch it change your life.

Sell a service

At some point you’ve gotta go beyond writing.

This is where most writers get scared. They have romantic notions of the traditional writing world thats been nuked by the internet. They just want to write. Business is scary to them. They overthink it. They think they’re selling out or being self-promotional.

This type of writer starves. They stay at a 9–5 job forever and it leads them to enormous regrets of what could’ve been. Their only life raft is to fling poo at 7-figure writers like me because of their own failures.

The underlying belief that steals money from them and stabs their firstborn baby in the head is that they should sell information.

But we’re drowning in information.

We’re likely not buying any more of it. We can’t even open every email we get in a day. How the heck are we going to open your 10-part series on the election that costs $10.99 to read?

Amateur writers sell information. 7-figure writers sell results.

The published writing proves their credibility. Then they use it to offer a service where they work with readers who want a similar goal. Information is abundant, but implementation is scarce.

What people really want to pay for is implementation — and writers are a perfect fit to fulfill the role.

Some examples of services to inspire you:

  • Youtube coach
  • Fitness coach
  • Ghostwriter
  • Website builder
  • Systems implementation
  • Social media audience growth
  • Help save time with AI tools

Basically, you can coach anyone on anything. No joke.

Coaching saves people time and that’s what they’ll happily pay money for. Selling information robs people of time and that’s what they’ll only take for free (If that).

Turn your writing into a service. Get paid. Start with low-paying clients. As leads from your email list increase, replace cheap clients with higher-paying ones. Keep going until you hit at least 6 figures.

Productize the service

Writers are the best in the world at getting stuck on hamster wheels. The same way Uber treat drivers like slaves, big tech loves to do the same to writers (if you let them).

Write. Get paid. Repeat. Work forever.

Don’t become an Uber driver writer. The path out of this hell is to eventually productize the service you offer. What that means is you go from 1-to-1 … to 1-to-many.

Group coaching is a popular model here. High prices, lower effort. Another option is to turn non-fiction content into actionable courses. You can even teach live cohort courses related to the non-fiction topic you write about.

The ultimate level is fully async courses. When you have enough credibility you can solve people’s problems through pre-recorded content, books, checklist, systems, Notion templates, etc.

The options to productize your knowledge are endless.

This is the step where you divorce your time from your income and cross over into 7-figures a year.

Invest the money you make

I never see this one mentioned.

If all you do is make a writing income and spend it, you’ll be working for the rest of your life like a dog. All the 7-figure writers I mentioned above have multiple income streams that come from investing.

They take their writing money and use it to make more money.

This requires a basic financial education, which is one of the best decisions you’ll ever invest in.

None of them made millions selling a book

Did you notice this?

The average writer thinks you get rich with books. LOL. Books are a hard entry point for readers because you’re asking strangers to hand over 10, 15, 20 hours to read your book when they’re not sold on you.

Big mistake.

Books can make money, for sure. But they’re not the holy grail anymore. They’ll likely come later in your journey after you do the above steps.

Stop getting h0rny over publishing a book. It’s not gonna change your life like it maybe would have in 1996. It’s time to move on. The world has changed. We’re drowning in information. AI is adding to the bonfire.

Successful writers go beyond writing.

Work less. F*ck off and spend time with family.

That’s the final step. The end.

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