Tips For Writers By Mary Jaksch Creating a sustainable writing income is a struggle. I’m sure you know that! But maybe it’s important to look at some less-obvious applications of your writing skills. Check out what Danny Iny has to say about this in the following interview. As you may know, Danny is a blogger who started four years ago with no connections and no subscribers. He’s now become one of the most successful entrepreneurs on the Net. What gives me the most pleasure about his rapid rise to the top is that he’s done it with integrity. You can download the interview here (right-click the link; for Mac users, control-click), listen to the interview here on the page, or read the transcript further down. (Don’t miss the 07:40 mark where Danny talks about less obvious ways to use writing skills to create a sustainable income!) http://wtd.s3.amazonaws.com/WTD-interview-Danny-Iny-2.mp3 The Transcript What is the secret of your stellar success – and how could it apply to writers? Actually, it comes down to what we’re teaching through the Course Builder’s Laboratory. The core idea is pretty straightforward. What most people do in the online world is that when they have a great idea, they retreat to their cabin in the woods for six months or a year to create something. Then they emerge, hoping that people will want it. And often, people don’t. Then they repeat the cycle, if they have the stomach for it. Because, frankly, it’s difficult to work hard for a year, have it rejected by the world, and then try again. And that’s exactly what I did when I started out! I spent an awful lot of time building a course that I thought was going to be amazing. I think it was a good course, but it wasn’t what people wanted. And then I stumbled onto an alternate way of doing things—and it’s something I did by accident with Write Like Freddy and more intentionally with Audience Builders Masterclass. The idea is that instead of retreating to a cabin in the woods to work for such a long time to create something—and hope people will want it—you invite people to vote with their wallets, so to speak. To raise their hands and say, “Yes, I want to be a part of this!” So you do this by selling a pilot offer. You ask them, “Do you want this? This is my first group of students so it’s still going to be a bit rough, but I’m going to give it to you at a discount and I want you to help me make it better.” Maybe it sounds a bit premeditated when I describe it like this, but honestly, with Write Like Freddy, I’d been burned previously by this big course that went nowhere, and I wanted to hedge my bets. It worked really well. It allowed me to validate that I was on the right track, and get feedback from my audience to make my product that much better. And, even more importantly, it allowed me to bring in some money upfront, which gives you the fuel to keep on going. And that’s the process that we teach in the Course Builders Laboratory. We teach it in a lot of detail as an implementable, step-by-step process. How to figure out what the market wants, validate through pilot offers, deliver the live pilot, get feedback, correct the course, and then turn it into a final, market-ready product. In your webinar, you said a goal everyone could aspire to is to “create a leveraged and scalable income by making a massive transformative impact.” What does this actually mean? Let’s take a look at the audience of WritetoDone. It’s writers. If you’re following the work that Mary and all her wonderful guest authors contribute to the site, you’re a writer. You care about writing, you enjoy that pastime, and want to build your skills. And you’re most likely interested in monetizing your skills in some form or other. Now, there are different ways you can make money from your writing skills. You can be a freelance writer, you can create articles to go on websites, you can do copywriting. There are many ways you can get paid for writing. Some of them are very lucrative; they come at a very high hour-to-dollar rate. But in all of those cases, the time that you work will directly govern the money you make. If you stop working, you stop earning. That’s not leveraged and that’s not scalable. Because there is a limit to the number of hours you can work in a day. That’s a problem because, first of all, it limits your income—which is problematic for many people. Secondly, it also limits your impact. The fact that you are a writer means that you have a skill set that allows you to take ideas and knowledge, and put them together in a way that impacts other people—without your having to be there. There’s something magical about that! That’s the closest that any one of us gets to telepathy: you take an idea out of your mind and put it in someone else’s mind, across space and time through the vehicle of the written word. That’s incredibly powerful! What that allows you to do is to take the impact that you can make, and multiply it through different people, who all receive value from it and pay you for it if they’re receiving legitimate value—without your having to do the work again and again. So that’s what we’re talking about when we say “a leverage-able and scalable income.” You can make more of an impact, and make more of a difference to other people. When you do that, you’re necessarily going to be making more money. There’s a quote by Peter Diamandis which I love: If you want to make a billion dollars, you’ve got to solve a billion dollars worth of a problem, or solve a one-dollar worth of a problem for a billion people. The more of an impact you can create, the more you can take your knowledge and expertise and package it up to help more people, the more return will necessarily come to you—if you just follow the basic principles to make that happen. You said recently that one of the things that drives you is your desire to serve. What does this mean for you? We all live in a community. Maybe we’re part of a small community, or maybe we belong to a broad, global community. But the only way life is going to get better for all of us is if we take the skills and abilities we have, and leverage them to lift up the people we come into contact with. And that is really about service. It’s not about making yourself subservient; it’s about taking what you have to offer and serving the people you’re able to touch to make their lives better in one way or another. For me personally, the way I can do that is through business training. I’m good at looking at business experiences and business processes to see what has worked, and boiling it down to clear, obvious patterns that I can explain to other people. Fundamentally, my skill set is that of a teacher. I can find the patterns and empower people to do great things in their lives. For many writers it’s hard to earn an income with their craft. What advice can you offer? I think what it comes down to are the obvious and less obvious applications of a skill. So when you look at the obvious application of the skill of writing, it is writing articles, writing copy, writing books—all the things writers traditionally look at as an income opportunity. Being a writer means that you know how to communicate ideas effectively. Being a good writer in the realm of non-fiction, means you have expertise and knowledge that other people don’t have, but which they value. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas with us, Danny! Thank you for having me. I’m always excited when I can contribute to the WritetoDone community!