7 Simple Steps to Turning Your Writing into a Thriving Online Business

make money writingGreat writers are in short supply.

And very few are willing to put in the time it takes to build an online business around their craft.

It takes hard work, but the rewards are great.

Build an online business and you can work from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection.

You have the freedom to do what you want. You control your time. You get to decide what your life looks like, not someone else.


Here are seven steps to help you make it happen.

1. Intersection

First, you have to find the intersection between what you’re good at, what you love to do, and what others are willing to pay for.

This could be teaching small businesses how to use content to grow their business.

It could mean helping dentists leverage newsletters to get more clients.

The possibilities are endless.

Whatever you do, avoid getting stuck in the planning phase. You will make tremendous progress when you take action and make mistakes.

2. Platform

Once you’ve found a viable niche, it’s time to build your platform.

Your platform will often be a blog or website.

This is where you attract an audience of people that are interested in what you have to offer.

If you’re the dentist newsletter person, then dentists are the people you want to attract.

When you build a platform, you don’t have to figure out what people want. Once you’ve got a few hundred people, you can just ask.

The downside is that building a platform takes time. But you don’t have to wait for it to grow to start making a living as a writer.

3. Freelance Work

You can get freelance work right away.

When I was starting out, I got freelance writing gigs. I still do freelance work because it adds variety to my day.

Again, if you help dentists, you have to go out and find them. You have to hustle to get clients and show them the benefits of having a web presence.

You could even work at a discounted rate, or free, in exchange for being able to use that first dentist as a case study.

Most small business owners know that utilizing blogs, content and newsletters is what they should do, but they don’t have time.

That’s where you come in.

And while you’re getting freelance clients, you’re building your tribe.

4. Tribe

And by tribe, I mean your email list.

Have you ever heard someone say that the money is in the list?

Well, it’s true.

Your email subscribers will often be the most interested in your content, products, and services. Make sure you start building a list from the start.

It is what makes this business model work. It will make it easier to figure out what problems your audience has, and then create products around the solutions to those problems.

5. Information Products

This naturally leads us to information products, such as ebooks and online courses.

We’re writers, so creating online courses is a breeze. And because you’ve built a list, you know what topics to cover.

Then you can sell it to your audience directly.

The key with information products is to test your ideas as quickly as possible. You don’t need a 200-page ebook.

You need to listen to your audience. Figure out what their biggest problem is, and offer a simple solution.

A short ebook is a good start. If people like it, you can expand from there.

I’ve done this with several of my products. One of them started off as a $9.95 ebook, and I’m just in the process of upgrading it into an online course.

6. Affiliate Marketing

Let’s not forget about affiliate marketing.

You can easily recommend to your audience products and services that complement what you offer.

As long as you keep it ethical, you should be fine. I only recommend products I use or have experience with.

When you look at how you can help your readers move towards their goals, everything becomes so much easier.

Then it’s no longer about your products, affiliate products, or anything else. It’s about how you can help them move forward.

7. Rinse & Repeat

Once you’ve reached this stage, it comes down to constant improvement.

Look at what you’re doing right. And ask yourself questions like:

  • Where can I improve?
  • How could I get more clients?
  • How could I add more value and raise my rates?
  • What are my income goals? (And how can I get there?)

You may even want to work with a business coach, like I do, to constantly keep you on your toes and pushing your boundaries.


One of your tasks ahead is to create an author business plan.

From there it comes down to how willing you are to face your inner demons.

It’s not easy to learn how to sell or get clients, but like any skill, you can learn it.

Most people aren’t willing to put in the work.

They aren’t willing to build a platform or get freelance clients.

You don’t have to do everything right this very moment. You can start small. You can get your first client this week.

But whatever you do, do something.

Start somewhere.

That’s how you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t.


About the author:

Henri Junttila is a freelance writer and the founder of Wake Up Cloud, where he helps people turn their passion into a thriving online business. If you’re interested in learning more, grab his free special report.

Image: Couple by Bigstock

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30 thoughts on “7 Simple Steps to Turning Your Writing into a Thriving Online Business”

  • Sandra Sealy says:

    Dear Henn:

    I’m a Caribbean writer/blogger who subscribes to quite a few newsletters and must admit I only read a few. I was happy I read this one because it was encouraging and presented the information with clarity and FELT achievable.

    I’m partly there and this helps.

    Thank you.

  • Love it! Learn what to do by doing it wrong… Not by thinking, analyzing… thinking again…. asking friends…. Thinking…

    That is what most do. Get stuck in the research phase. Way to put it in a way that speaks volumes Henri! Put in the work!

    • Henri says:

      Yes. At some point you have to dive in and realize that the water is kind of warm and nice.

      The lizard brain will make its entrance and want to stall, but just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you’ll make progress.

  • Liz says:

    Hi Henri,

    I think the best advice there is to get out of the planning phase and just start doing. I think that’s one of the best things about creating a blog, specifically a WordPress blog. Once you have a few pieces of information in place, like what you want to blog about, your domain name and an idea of how you’d like to make money, in this case ‘writing’ you can easily create your blog and start posting.

    Some folks hesitate to do that with out lots of concrete planning, but it’s OK for your blog to be a work in progress. Each time you make modifications, add content and promote, you’re making progress towards boosting your blog or website rankings.

    Liz 🙂

    • Henri says:

      Couldn’t agree more, Liz.

      That’s how I built my business. It’s been an experiment from the start, and it still is. You don’t have to be perfect to get paid to do what you love.

  • Jevon says:

    I like the intersection point. Getting paid for something you like to do would certainly make things easier.

    Building a platform is always an important point.

  • Richard J says:

    One of the more interesting step plans I’ve read.
    No nonsense, just straightforward actions.
    And that is the point of the message – just do it!

  • I an interested in your articles, on inspiring writers to get to their goals.
    I’ve written many blogs, but no ebooks yet.
    I believe, your works should help my online prospects.
    Thank you.

  • I don’t really understand this subject. I am very interested in the idea of writing (did you mean copywriting?) from anywhere in the world, even in making a living writing, but otherwise this subject is so new to me and it seems that you are writing for people more experienced than myself…So you have lost me.


    • Henri says:

      Hey Valerie,

      You can use your writing in many different ways to make a living online. It could be copywriting, writing for blogs, or even creating online courses or ebooks.

      The lost feeling you have is actually good, because like you said, this is something completely new, and confusion is how our brains deal with that.

      Take in what you can and keep chipping away at it. And if you have any questions, you can always shoot me an email over at my site.

      Hope this helps 🙂

  • Priska says:

    Hi Henri,
    I love the way that you make it sound so simple but not easy.
    You are right, just keep doing it.
    There are the times of overwhelm, the fear of judgment.
    I have discovered that this is simply a part of the process of stepping up and taking the risk.
    It’s in the doing, repeating the steps that will gradually get you there.

    • Henri says:

      Yup, yup.

      Just keep on putting one foot in front of the other. Even when you’re scared. Especially when you’re not 🙂

  • Hi Henri,

    Your list is electric and your bottom line–get moving–great advice.

    I read somewhere that Amazon won’t sell your ebook if your material was published somewhere else
    first, like your blog. Do you know if this is true?

    Obviously, you can circumvent that by publishing and promoting your ebook from your blog.
    Thanks, Beth @ Boomer Highway

    • Henri says:

      I’m not an expert on Amazon stuff at this time, but I would imagine if that is a problem, you could just rewrite your material a bit.

  • Jack Dowden says:

    Nothing to it but to do it!

  • I love the bit about stop planning, start doing, and make mistakes!
    I’ve just started on a plan to quit my day job in 4 years time and writing and online marketing will be part of what Im going to do. I just subscribed to you blog and this is the first article I’ve read. Looking forward to some more posts.

    • Henri says:

      Glad to have you on board, Barbara 🙂

      I like that you have a 4-year plan. This usually takes longer than people think, but don’t be surprised if you get there before the 4 years are up.

      That is, if you keep taking action and making mistakes!

  • Absolutely agree that learning by doing is the way forward! Sure, we all make mistakes on the way, but if you’re not making mistakes then you’re not trying new things – and not improving. I’m quite new to freelancing, but I took the plunge to do it full time and I’m learning to run a business as I go (simply having the skill to write is not what makes a good freelancer!). The willingness to learn from mistakes is what makes learning succeeding.

    • Henri says:

      Great points, Phil.

      And kudos on taking the plunge. You learn when you really have to learn, and often we surprise ourselves by how fast we can get things done when we have to.

  • Of course one has to figure out two other things as well. One, pricing; two, how much you can write, with quality. We all need a living wage and yet we also have to realize that we’re probably not going to get it via one client. Until you can get some recognition, you’re probably not going to get the best rate for your work (trust me on that one) so you might need to write and write and write early on.

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