Yesterday, when I tucked myself in bed, my mind began wandering. Why is it that I have not yet had my big break after writing for almost a decade?
I’ve sacrificed a lot, including a lucrative career and my dad’s help, to pursue writing. Now it feels like an illusion.
Why is it like that? What haven’t I figured out yet that would change the course of my writing career?
I know how to write; that’s what some people have told me. I, too, think I write well.
Once in a while, I read work I’ve written before, and besides a few errors, my writing is beautiful.
The flow, the balancing of short and long sentences, anecdotes, personal stories, and a few vocabulary. All these feature make me proud of my writing.
So, if I can write well, what then am I doing wrong that’s preventing me from making millions from my work?
Others have done so, like Adam Enfroy, Nicolas Cole, and Justin Welsh, just to mention but a few.
What am I doing wrong?
Something then crossed my mind, a principle I had learned a few times. “To make money, you must learn a high value skill.”
Basic writing is a low-paying skill. Billions of people can write. In fact, one of the prerequisites for completing your studies is being able to read and write.
So, I may have been focusing on the wrong thing: learning to write better and sound intelligent.
I don’t have a metric against which I want to compare my work, but I’ve desired to write stories that wow people.
And that goal seems like a mirage, or the goalpost seems to be shifting every time. Today, it’s on humor; tomorrow, personal stories, and then the next day, eliminating fluff.
There’s no issue with implementing these strategies to write better. The problem is, I’m letting the wind sway me to whatever direction feels right at the moment.
I can’t compare my work now and a year before and discern what has changed.
With the understanding that basic writing isn’t a well-paying job, what then is? A second thought popped up:
“If you want to make a lot of money, sell to people with a lot of money.”
Bingo! I had been writing for clients with a limited budget who could replace me anytime. While they are credible online publishers, the perceived value of my work is low, hence the low income.
Learning to sell to high-ticket clients is what I’m lacking to reach my desired income level.
But what entails sales in the digital world?
Probably, sending cold DMs to strangers, which from my experience, is gruesome. You can send a hundred cold DMs and get less than 5 responses. Of the 5, signing 1 client is commendable.
Why would I adopt a strategy with less than a 5% success rate? There must be a better way of approaching sales than sending DMs.
Then I remembered my current client, whom I signed less than a month ago. I was helping them build their newsletter. This is the only direct client I signed since I started DMing clients around August.
We first interacted on X (Twitter) when he shared a rebuttal of my article. Instead of being defensive, I recognized my knowledge gap and read his research.
Enlightened, I thanked him for shedding light on the issue, and published an article based on his research. We became friends.
So when I approached him a few months later, offering to help him launch a newsletter, he was open to my suggestion.
We had a cordial Zoom call, got everything straight, and decided to launch the newsletter.
Now, what if I took this same approach to acquiring new clients? Instead of messaging strangers with offers, I start by building relationships with them.
Sure, it might take months, but the success rate will higher. Soon, due to compounding effect, I’ll be signing 5-10 clients in a month.
The alternative is DMing hundreds of them, which is a nuisance. Very often strangers have pitched money-minting opportunities. Most are scams, so I delete and block them.
So why would I expect to convince a client who doesnt know me to pay me $1,000 for my services?
Alas! I realized my approach to writing was wrong. If I prioritized building relationships over writing better, I’d start earning more. I thought.