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How to Make a Living as a Writer (Jeff Goins Shares Exactly How)

(click play on the video above, or click here if you’re reading this in email)

As the traditional publishing industry has shrunk over the past decade, some writers are actually finding it easier to earn a full-time living.

For Jeff Goins, it all started with building his own following. Once his audience grew, traditional publishers came knocking.

But getting published wasn’t the key to earning a living. Jeff was already on his way to earning a full-time income by that point, through self-publishing and selling his own online programs. Getting published was an itch he still wanted to scratch, but for different reasons.

In this interview, Jeff shares the insider details every aspiring writer should know about what it really takes to earn a living in today’s environment. In many ways there are more opportunities for writers than ever before.

Here’s some of what you’ll learn in the interview:

  • When you should “officially” consider yourself a writer (4:30)
  • How Jeff made a habit of writing every day for over a year (5:35)
  • When Jeff went from wanting to be heard to wanting to earn a living (7:30)
  • How much money Jeff earned from his book advance (8:55)
  • How to learn what your audience will pay for (9:50)
  • Why what’s obvious to you might be amazing to someone else (11:38)
  • Why “getting published” isn’t the golden ticket most writers hope for (14:06)
  • How much revenue an ebook can generate compared to a book deal (18:00)
  • How Jeff transitioned from simple ebook to full-fledged online course (21:37)
  • Where advertising and affiliate income fits in the overall picture (23:50)
  • How many revenue streams writers typically have (25:15)
  • Other options for income (speaking, coaching, ghost writing) (26:58)

““What’s obvious to you might be amazing to someone else.””

Make sure you watch near the end of the interview as Jeff talks about a very important concept that he calls the “portfolio life” (which is also the name of Jeff’s podcast). The idea is essentially that careers of the future won’t look like they have traditionally. Instead of earning a living doing one thing, most of us will have “portfolios” of projects and income streams based around a core expertise.

I’ve seen this transition to a portfolio-style career personally and among more and more of my friends and people I work with over the past decade. As William Gibson says, “the future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

For more on becoming a writer, check out our full guide on how to become a freelance writer, featuring advice from 25 experts.

What did you think of the conversation? Any questions about Jeff’s advice for writers? Leave a comment below.

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