This Christmas sat in well-worn chairs next to a crackling flame and tending to a glass of Laphroaig single malt whisky, I came very close – for what would have been the first time in my life – to beating my father at chess.
Dad is 78 but he’s still as sharp as ever. He played chess competitively as a young man. He fought his way back into the game and it ended in a draw. Beethoven’s 7th symphony danced in the background. Dad prefers it to the 5th.
In those delicate moments when dad was “on the ropes”, on the other side of the board I had my own struggle. I realized you can only beat your dad at chess for the first time ONCE. I asked myself, deep down, if I really WANTED to beat him at all.
Because some things are better left as they are. Other things need adjusting. This is the beauty of a new day or week or month. And a new year? That’s the HARD RESET. A full reboot. Here’s mine.
I write… for clients.
I write… in other people’s voices.
I write… at the whim and pleasure of other people’s businesses.
But I don’t write enough under my own name. So in 2023 these “French Memo” broadcasts and my commitment to publishing 39 of them this year is a public way of fixing that. What are YOU going to gain by reading them?
How to leverage the written word for fun and profit.
Look, I’m a profit-first kind of guy. But never at the expense of autonomy, free-time, family, fitness, travel, and all that good stuff. Here’s a strange paradox:
1… There’s SO MUCH work and opportunity out there for competent writers
2… I know a lot of competent writers and most of them are BROKE.
Not because they lack technical skill.
Not because they have productivity issues.
Not because of the inevitability of ChatGPT.
Because they lack reality-based knowledge.
And they’re distracted by so many opportunities… (not all of them to do with writing) … that surplus becomes a constraint.
And that’s why it’s such a wasted opportunity that most newsletters are all sizzle and no sausage.
All ‘what’ and no ‘how’.
All tease, no PRESTIGE.
My guarantee to you is that when you open my newsletters you’ll close them 5 MINUTES LATER with a tactical, practical takeaway for your writing business. Yes, I’ll pitch offers every now and again. But I promise the memos will serve you independently of the offers.
So here’s today’s takeaway.
The Only 3 Moneymakers You Need For a Profitable Online Writing Business (In Order)
1… Service Offer: Life would have been much more simple (and far less stressful) for me if I’d built a focused service offer from the off. I got distracted writing blog posts, tweeting platitudes and tangoing with the promise of other random and regrettable things that had nothing to do with securing a favorable words-to-money exchange rate.
2… Email List: Start a list, build a list and keep it warm. Email lists are about retaining – for as long as you’re in the game – a slice of the value you create. Because they provide compound interest on your efforts, not starting a list sooner is the #1 regret of many creators out there.
3… Digital Products: When I first started on Twitter, I wanted to sell something ASAP. What I should have been concentrating on was my service offer. This was before I even got into copywriting in a serious way. But something strange happened. I took some advice to write an ebook about the most recent thing I had explored how to do, which was sleep properly. I stuck Sleep Like a Lion on Gumroad, it made about ~$500 and still sells the occasional copy even though I never promote it (the copy is hilarious btw.)
I got DMs from people saying THANK YOU! They loved it! What was I going to write next?! The game is this: always be learning and taking notes. Talk on social about the things you’ve learned that interest you the most. When people show up in your DMs asking you questions, it’s time to sell.
This is the golden triangle.
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