To be a writer you have to invest in the art form.
A fellow writer argued with me the other day about spending $30 a month on LinkedIn premium which makes me 6-figures a year.
They don’t get it. The ability to reach anyone via a LinkedIn DM is worth way more than $30. This kind of scarcity mindset destroys writing careers.
Spend money to make more money.
These paid and free tools should make you (conservatively) at least 25% more cash in the next 2 years, according to my inner circle of online writers.
1. The community tool that stops people getting a firehose of content
This tool is controversial because many writers I speak to think email lists are enough. Heck, some of them don’t even have that and still think followers, likes, and views matter.
But a reader can easily unsubscribe from your email list.
Email lists are one-way communication tools. A high-earning writer knows the magic happens when they get their readers to talk to each other.
This can only be done by building a community around your writing. The easy way is to build your email list and then funnel people from there into a community app.
Traditionally writers have used Discord or Slack. The challenge is readers get hit with a firehose of content and become overwhelmed by notifications.
Writers in my inner circle are paying for a new community app: Circle.
It’s more of a forum-style layout that makes it easy to sort information and doesn’t overwhelm readers. My goal is to migrate my community from Slack to Circle.
Build community or die trying.
2. The simple outline tool
All forms of content require writing.
In my case, I collaborate with my buddy Todd. We write outlines for courses, webinars, live cohorts, Youtube videos, podcast interviews, and email marketing sequences.
The free tool we use is Workflowy.
The genius of Workflowy is it’s all bullet points. You can have nested bullet points within bullet points too. This makes it one hell of a tool for writing outlines.
Writers who write outlines look more prepared and professional in everything they do.
3. The email software most creators use
Writers who sell products or services need to send emails.
Otherwise, they have no way to subtly market what they do and end up starving. Most creators use ConvertKit to do so.
The main reason I use it is that it has easy automation you can set up in a visual way. And it comes with the ability to create as many landing pages as you want. You can even sell products directly without a website or checkout software.
Other providers like Mailchimp have tried to tap into the creator economy, but they just don’t understand what we need and how bad at tech we are.
4. The tool non-fiction writers can use to 3x their income
If you’re a non-fiction writer you’re a teacher by default.
That means you can take readers from newsletters, blog posts, and essays and over to an information product like an online course.
The difference with an online course is it’s more interactive than a piece of writing because it has:
- Guest teachers
- Organized lessons
- Video and text transcripts
- A community of students attached to the course
The tool many writers use to do this is Teachable. Not because it’s the best necessarily but because it’s easy & cheap to use compared to other options.
Teaching online can pay a lot more than writing.
5. The newsletter tool many writers misunderstand
Software like ConvertKit works best when you’re a writer running an online business. But if you want to offer writing directly to readers and charge for it, then a dedicated newsletter platform works better.
I use Substack for two reasons:
Their network helps me attract new readers I didn’t have before.
They A/B test the hell out of every page that gets readers to subscribe or buy a subscription. I’ve tried doing this on my personal website and never had the same success.
There’s an art to it, and all of the new Substack features, like pledges, help make it easier than doing it yourself.
6. The tweet enhancer
Posting tweets is a great way to get exposure for your writing.
But many writers don’t know that 3rd party software like Tweet Hunter lets you do so much more.
- Auto retweet every tweet
- Use AI to write new tweets
- Schedule tweets in advance
- Find the most popular tweets on any topic
- Send auto-DMs to share books and other digital assets in return for a reader’s email address
This tool is a license to print money once you understand it. There are others like Hypefury but I’ve found Tweet Hunter to work best for me.
7. A proof-reader almost as good as your favorite english teacher
I don’t have a paid editor because I’m not Tim Ferriss Denning.
So I pay for Grammarly to find errors in my writing. It doesn’t catch everything but it sure catches a lot. The key with Grammarly is to see its suggestions as optional, not marshal laws that must be followed.
8. A personal database to save time
Writing is hard work.
It’s ten times harder when you’re stuck for ideas or don’t have a library of quotes to choose from.
I get around this issue by using Roam Research as my personal database. Every piece of content I consume that’s good goes in here. I highlight the best bits, bold key lessons, and chop meaningless rants.
Then when I sit down to write I look in my database for inspiration. It’s never once failed me. It’s great for resurfacing old ideas from many years ago that I’d have forgotten without Roam.
Consume. Store. Write.
9. A kickass microphone
Online writers have to be more than writers.
You’ve constantly got to expose your work to new audiences. This can be done by jumping on podcasts or appearing in Youtube videos.
To master the other formats outside of writing your writer’s voice needs to sound good. That means you need a good microphone so people can clearly hear your ideas.
The best mic I’ve found is a Shure SM7B.
Stop showing up to video calls with bad sound and trying to act like a pro writer. It doesn’t work. Invest in a good mic.