I’m not the best writer.
I get asked all the time, if I had to start again what simple steps would I take? Here’s my answer to help you write online.
Step 1: Find a massive pool of people
LinkedIn and Twitter have the biggest sources. I’d pick one and go hard. I’d be relentless and make it my main goal. Every spare minute would go into being active on the platform.
Step 2: Choose a backup platform
Any platform can decide to ban you before you’ve even gotten up to do a poo. It’s happened to me and, I’m sure, others you know. So essentially you’re going to run with both Twitter and LinkedIn.
Step 3: Take a short course to learn the nuances
Social media apps look deceptively simple.
Underneath the sexy user interfaces are layers of nuance. I call it “reading the room.” Too many writers don’t do it. They just show up and do a big smelly dump with their work, then wonder why everyone evacuates.
Do a course from a teacher who has social proof. You’ll grow your writing audience much faster if you do.
Step 4: Post daily for a year
The writing habit is half the challenge.
If you can just show up for long enough you’ll do well. Get an accountability partner and force yourself to write for 365 days straight to change your life.
Step 5: Make friends in the DMs
Friends = content distribution
Reach out to other writers with small audiences and appreciate their work. Jump on Zoom calls. Chat to them in Slack. Share their work without asking for anything in return.
Then over time start to support each other’s work. Not in an organized fashion but in a way that friends would do it. Drop the expectations too. And don’t force anyone to engage. If my fellow writers didn’t share my work, I’d be nowhere.
Writing is a team sport masquerading as a solo pursuit.
Step 6: Curate the best content on your favorite topics
… so you don’t run out of writing ideas.
Dump all the ideas, quotes, and references into a personal database. I use Roam Research. Use what evs.
On writing days, use the database as a source of inspiration.
Step 7: Write hooks and headlines every day
Hooks and headlines produce 70% of your results.
Write a few draft ones every day. On writing days just take the one you’re most drawn to and run with it.
Pro tip: tests hooks and headlines as tweets.
Step 8: Write a short eBook
6 months have now passed. Take your best-performing content and make it into a short eBook.
One chapter equals one article.
Slap up a free ConvertKit landing page and allow people to download it in return for their email address.
Step 9: Funnel people into a newsletter
In step 8 you accidentally built an email list. Now you’re going to email that list every week with a newsletter edition. It’ll ideally have a story, a few tweets, a wrap-up of what you’re writing about, and other interesting stuff.
Step 10: After year one, start to offer services
Services are where you sell your time.
Sell your writing skill to others. Or coach people two steps behind you with your writing skill. Or write content for hungry businesses that need to be everywhere and don’t have the content.
Start free. Offer people the first three pieces of content at $0.
Use your one year’s worth of writing online as your portfolio that proves you’ve got what it takes.
Step 11: Add a paid tier to the newsletter
Now it’s time to add a paid tier to your newsletter.
Keep the regular free version going but charge a monthly and annual fee for those who want more. Publish this second paid edition of your newsletter every week. $10 a month or $50 a year is a good place to start.
Step 12: Layer in a private community
Your top readers love to hang together. Let them.
Launch a paid community and offer it to your paid newsletter subscribers first. See who bites. Get feedback. Then launch the paid community to the rest of your email list and have a helluva time.
Step 13: Take what you write about and teach others
Assuming you write non-fiction, some readers will want to go deep on a topic your write about. Let them.
Offer a paid webinar for $150 USD. Launch it to your email list. Do plenty of prep. Give a damn. Overdeliver. Make people feel like the webinar was worth $1000.
Survey everyone afterward. If the feedback is mostly good then turn this webinar into a paid course, either live or self-paced. If the webinar sucked then repeat this step until a webinar hits with the audience.
Step 14: Raise prices
Now it’s time to move away from manual donkey work.
Start to raise prices of services. Or cut them out altogether if your other income streams are doing well. Tell the cheap clients see ya lada, pal.
Make webinars and courses more expensive. Raise coaching prices or quit this too.
Step 15: Outsource the admin tasks
With the extra money you made in step 14, use it to buy your time back. Outsource the boring admin stuff to VAs and project managers. Be relentless.
Prioritize free time so your writing creativity can skyrocket.
There’s my blueprint all laid out for you. Steal it. Or make tweaks and tread your own path. Just don’t sleep on the huge opportunity of online writing.
Writing can create a full-time income when the focus is being helpful, not tryna make millions of bucks like Zucks.