A checklist for what you need to stop doing immediately if you want to be a successful (and rich) writer.
If you look at the profiles of hugely successful online writers, you’ll see they have some things in common.
I recently went on a binge, reading the posts of some of the writers I admire the most.
Based on what I saw (and analyzing the hate comments they got on their public posts), I concluded that there are five things that no successful writer has ever done.
Curious to know what these five things are?
Read on to know the five things no hugely successful digital writer ever does.
1. Worry Their Content Might Annoy People
“If I post 6 times a day on Twitter, will I annoy the people who follow me?”
Sure, you might. But what about the thousands of new users you might potentially reach if you up your Twitter game to 6 posts per day?
This isn’t limited to only Twitter, but it is true for any platform. The more you publish, the more chances you’ll get to practice your craft. And the more you practice, the better you’ll get at it.
And it’s not just about practice. It’s also about reach.
Each post is like a lottery ticket. The more posts you publish, the better your chances are to win the lottery of digital writing success.
But what about the people who don't have the bandwidth to see so much of your content published in a single day?
Let them unfollow you. There’s nothing you can do that will please 100% of your followers you, anyway. Don’t think of the people who might find you annoying. Instead, focus on the users you can actually help with your content.
Focus on creating so much value that the world can’t help but sit back and take notice of the tremendous positive force that you are.
2. Make Fun Of Creators Earning Their Bread
“Nowadays, everyone, even their mothers, has a Medium course.”
Maybe they do, but who are you to make fun of them?
To make a course on a particular subject, you don’t need to be the absolute best on the planet in that subject. Rather, you need to know just enough that people who are a few years (or months) behind you in the game can benefit from you.
As a creator, it’s important to build more than one income stream. And selling a course that might be hugely helpful to your followers is just one step.
If you make fun of or mock a creator for helping others while earning some money, then you’ll have a mental block that will prevent you from ever going down the route of courses yourself.
If you think it’s not that big of a loss, did you know that creators on Gumroad, one of the internet’s leading creator-monetization platforms, earned $142 million in 2020, up 94% from 2019? These stats are insane, and there have been cases of people who crossed $1,000,000 from their course sales.
If you think courses are for losers, think again.
Creating courses and selling digital products are two avenues almost every hugely successful creator has dabbled in. Some have even turned it into their primary income source.
What’s stopping you from trying out the same?
3. Worry That Posting Pictures Might be Overkill
“I don’t post pictures online because I want people to respect me for my content, not my face.”
Sure, but did you know adding your face to your posts in the form of pictures or videos adds a personal touch to your content? It helps your readers connect your face with your words, thus making you instantly more relatable.
You can use your pictures to:
- Convey your brand colors,
- Portray confidence and add credibility to your words,
- Add in dollops of authenticity to your content,
- Optimize your images for Google search,
- Turn yourself into a brand.
It’s true that no matter how much you edit your pictures to fit your storytelling style and brand, there will still be people who follow you for your face. You’ll inevitably find the occasional trolls who send you marriage proposals, death threats, or the unsolicited d*ck pics.
But these are outliers. If you stop posting pictures for the fear that a select few might make fun of you, you miss out on the incredible branding opportunities that can help you build a loyal online community with ease.
4. Abandon A *BIG* Project After Two Years
“Algorithms suck. I’ve been making videos on YouTube for 3 years without making it into the YouTube Partner Program. I’m going to delete my channel. This no longer works.”
YouTube is just one example, but if you feel like quitting your *big* project before the results come in, you’re missing out on all the incredible opportunities that might come your way when the end of the tunnel is finally in sight.
You might cite sunk cost and say that it’s okay to abandon projects when your heart no longer is in it.
Yes, that’s true. But it’s also true that good things take time.
Hugely successful creators aren’t people who got fame and money overnight. They’re the ones who worked day in and day out on their big projects even when stats and earnings were low before they finally made it big.
I’m not hugely successful yet, especially on YouTube. Even after two years and 250+ videos, my channel isn’t monetized. I have made money on YouTube through sponsorships and other sources, but I haven’t been able to clock the 4000 watch hours required to break into the YouTube Partner Program.
By all standards, my channel is a failure and I should quit it immediately, right?
Wrong! Creating on YouTube is a *big* project, and I’m willing to play the long-term game.
YouTube is just one example. Not giving up before the results show is applicable to several other ways creators monetize their content, including publishing books, getting speaking gigs, building a paywalled community, etc.
If you lose steam after a few hard months and aren’t willing to play the long-term game, you might as well sign your own failure warrant.
If you want to be hugely successful, make sure to not fall into the trap of craving instant gratification and running after short-term success.
5. Give In To Envy
“I’m a much better writer than R. And yet, he’s making so much money. It’s all a game of luck, and I give up.”
If you’ve ever felt envious of another creator, then welcome to the club.
I have, too. And so has every creator I know.
When you’re writing online, you’re competing against thousands of writers who show up every day to publish their content on the internet. Needless to say, there would be several writers who aren’t half as talented as you make ten times the money you’re currently making.
In that scenario, what to do if your first instinct is to get jealous?
Tell your brain to calm down. Here are a few other things you can do when the green-eyed monster kicks in:
- Reach out to them and have a conversation. When you do, you’ll see they are also a fallible human like you, and their journey is fraught with difficulties. This breaks the “perfect” image you see online and reduces the potential for jealousy.
- Consume their content on a binge and try to analyze what works for them. Is it the themes they create, their posting frequency, or the way they captivate their audience? Reverse engineer their success and apply those principles to your work. See where that takes you.
- Talk to a fellow writer who’s on the same boat as you. Friendship creates a sense of camaraderie and you no longer feel so alone. Having a community to back you up will make you less likely to spoil your mood just because someone else seems to have it better.
- Collaborate with the creator you’re jealous of. This way, you get access to their audience and they get access to yours. It’s a win-win situation and can go a long way in making you more likable.
Hugely successful writers don’t waste time cribbing over things and factors beyond their control. Instead, here’s what they do:
- They post a huge volume of content online, knowing that quantity leads to quality.
- They don’t make fun of other creators trying to make a living.
- They show their face frequently and use pictures and videos to strengthen their personal brand.
- They play the long-term game and never give up before seeing a project to its completion.
- They collaborate and make friends with other creators, thus helping in each other’s growth, rather than making themselves sick with envy that someone else seems to have it better.
Did this list resonate with you? Are you guilty of doing one or more of the things mentioned here? Do let me know your thoughts in the comments.