3 Ways Writing Helped Me Build a Business, Launch a Dream, and Find My Purpose

3 Ways Writing Helped Me Build a Business, Launch a Dream, and Find My Purpose

Reader Comments (60)

  1. You make some really good points here about writing as a profession and business, but too often we glaze over the fact that many talented people can’t afford to give notice and live off savings or other means for however long it takes until writing starts paying its way as a career. The notion is romantic but not practical for the vast majority of people, which is why fiction / writing as a career remains predominantly the domain of the well-educated, more affluent people within society. I don’t grudge your success at all, you’ve achieved something fantastic, but your friend is right – it’s rare, and articles like this often serve to highlight the vast chasm of opportunity that exists within the writing and publishing world.

    • There are a million reasons that we cannot accomplish our goals. The most successful people in the world are those that ignore those reasons, focus on the reasons why THEY CAN.

      The truth is, at the end of the day, anyone can accomplish their goals.

      Some people are just too afraid to admit that…because then the responsibility is on them. As long as they focus on the unfairness of life, it’s not their fault that they have never accomplished anything.

      The only reasonable thing to do is to grab life by the horns and do as you wish. Only then will you be able to fulfill your potential.

      This is as much for myself as anyone else, by the way.

      • Sara is right. The world, and this country in particular, doesn’t give everyone the same opportunities. Americans tend to believe in the “self-made man,” but no one makes themselves by themselves. Certain people do have it harder, and it’s not true that “anyone can accomplish their goals.” Find the documentary “Park Avenue,” for an example.

        I’m also pleased for Jeff that he made it, but Sara is right, there’s a vast chasm of opportunity.

    • I’m not sure what you’re referring to. I spent two years chasing my dream of writing on the side. I worked on early in the morning and late at night. Following the content marketing process I learned here at Copyblogger, I built an audience around my writing and then turned it into a business. This is something anyone who wants to can do. Which is very different from quitting your job and living off savings. I had no savings. I built something on the side and when it replaced my income I “took the leap.” In actuality it was more like building a bridge. I’m not saying life is completely fair or that there aren’t certain unfair advantages in the world. But if you want to write for a living you can figure that out. Lots of great resources for how to do that right here on this site. Good luck to you!

      • Correction: “worked ON it…”

        I agree about the self-made person thing. Nobody makes themselves. We all get help. But the opportunities to succeed at this sort of thing have never been better. So it may be true that some people have more opportunity than others, if you’re reading this, you can do this — probably not the same way I’ve done, but you can do it. You can build an audience through permission-based marketing, add so much value that audience wants to repay you, and make a living sharing your content with the world. We may all do this differently with varying results, but it is an opportunity available to the person willing to do the work. I truly believe that.

  2. Jeff,

    Inspiring story about your choice of career. I couldn’t agree more that working at a job you hate is not worth any amount of money.

    Your lessons and action plans are good takeaways. I see three steps for creating a successful online business:

    1. Write to think, which brings clarity to your mission.

    2. Write to connect, which builds an audience.

    3. Write to help, which develops empathy for others.

    That is what your post means for me. As someone just starting on the journey, I hope to experience these benefits and grow professionally.

    Thanks for sharing your insight on what dedicated writers can look forward to. I am still searching for my calling in life. Your post inspires me to keep looking.

    Blake Smith

    Web Content Doctor

  3. Thank you, Jeff. Just what I needed to read and follow right now. Simple, straight-forward and motivating.

  4. Great post, Jeff!

    I agree with you 100% that mastery of one’s craft comes through regular practise. When I first started writing, I was afraid of what others would think but after years of practise I have found clarity and am much more confident.



  5. Some really great lessons in here Jeff.

    This is so true – “all the money in the world isn’t worth doing something you hate.” And unfortunately, it’s a difficult lesson to learn until you give up the money and the thing you hate, which is scary. You are spot on with writing your way into clarity. For me, I always want that vision of what I’m supposed to do and be, but that clarity doesn’t appear until I’ve spent some time in the trenches. Finally, I love your advice about writing to an audience of one. This is a great point, “If you can make your work truly matter to a single person, you can make it matter to a million.”

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Hi, Jeff

    It is always nice to read your inspirational articles. I am a regular visitor of Goins writer and I find it an amazing resource for young writers.

    I agree with you that writing gives you Clarity, audience, and Empathy. It has given me Patience.

    Thanks for Sharing!

  7. Jeff,

    I found this post to be one of the best I’ve read on the reasons to write. I started following my passion as a freelance writer just a few short years ago. And while I’m not in a position to quit my day job (yet), I’m inspired by stories like yours to keep on pushing. I’m constantly surprised by how strong the “desire to do more” is, especially when I’m working harder now than I ever have. Thank you for sharing. I will definitely re-blog so others can benefit from your insight as well.

    Debbie Dey

    Freelance Writer and Virtual Assistant

  8. Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for the really inspiring article. You made some thought-provoking points that apply not only to aspiring writers but to everyone desiring fufillment in life through work.

    I consider myself to be very fortunate to have discovered, just this year, that writing is one of my life’s calling. And as I tirelessly pursue after my calling as a writer, I am constantly inspired by stories like yours.

    Thanks for sharing your story with the world, and I can’t wait to be the next in line sharing mine.

    – Tola Jeds.

  9. Thanks for this beautiful and encouraging post, Jeff!! I’m aspiring to be a freelance writer too and I started my blog last year. I haven’t posted much however, partly I’ve been a perfectionist; but mostly, my long hours at work and the long commute. I tendered an extended notice to the company just last week and I hope to find a job that will give me more time. Thanks again!

  10. Inspiring stuff as ever Jeff!

    No 1 – Writing Gives You Clarity, was one that went by me initially until I realised I just felt better on the days and weeks I made time for writing. It doesn’t need to be lots of time but the world does seem a little clearer and brighter when you get some thoughts down.

  11. These are great tips and so inspiring. I have a blog and I agree that writing definitely helps bring clarity to my thoughts. I really like your point about how we should write about how we’ve helped ourselves first. It really helps connect you to your audience in a big way. Thanks for sharing this!

  12. Honestly my favorite part of this blog is that you found your purpose! I think many people in life don’t find it because even when it is right in front of them, they don’t have the guts to take the chance or risk to go after it. I have been on both sides of that coin so I have to applaud you for going after a new path and staying focused enough to follow through with it! Thank you for sharing!

  13. “If you can make your work truly matter to a single person, you can make it matter to a million.”

    That was just what I needed to hear (read?) today.

    With so much emphasis on planning, marketing and otherwise monetizing writing, sometimes the premise of successfully writing for a living looks like a hopelessly complex equation.

    This approach provides a window of clarity that I think can help many new writers looking to find their footing or experienced writers looking to figure out what’s not quite working.

    Thanks for the insights and sharing.

  14. Jeff, happy to see you here.

    When you say, writing everyday is the thing, it reminds me of Seth Godin. Practicing daily is the single best thing one should do.

    Writing brings in clarity, inspires people and help ourselves grow in the process.

    Beautiful write up. Stay Awesome buddy. 🙂

  15. Everybody Writes, as Anne Handley has long noted. Digital has created a democracy of writers. Some make money; many don’t. But anyone can write. If it will fulfill your “sense of purpose”, start today. Also, you may want to do some volunteer work:)

  16. Thanks for this insight, Jeff. I’ve been diligently practicing, writing daily about 1,000 words a day (at least) for the past year. My hurdle is in publishing. So much of my writing is unfinished and then new ideas take over before I have a chance to finish what’s in process. I suppose the only way out of that is simply to get over it and publish what I write in any form, even if it’s half thoughts and unfinished. But I question whether that truly serves others.

    Thanks for all you do!

  17. Wow…such an amazingly written post! I completely agree, begin to write has been one of the best (if not THE best) decisions I’ve ever made.

    There’s simply something really fulfilling about writing what you have to say, giving it your own personality and publishing it your own for everyone to see.

    I’d like to also mention that I absolutely adore that quote by Robert McKee, it’s true that great writing comes from dedicating your content to that one person you relaly want to connect. What I’ve found works wonders for me is picturing like I’m telling my best friend about something that we both are interested in…Great writing seems to just fallout whenever I do that.

    Love the post, can’t wait for the next! 😀

  18. You make some great points Jeff, good article.

    I absolutely agree that practice makes perfect and that you should just get in there and do it. I had never actually thought about the concept that your initial goal should be quantity and not quality, however the idea makes a lot of sense. Too many people end up stressing about getting those first few articles out when they should simply try to plow through them and improve with time.

    I also like the concept of writing with one person in mind and then finding a million.

  19. Awesome post, Jeff!

    I can really resonate with all three of the points you made. I’m actually a freelance writer for hire now since I discovered my passion for writing.

    I love being able to put my voice out there, add value to people’s lives, connect to people and make a living. All from the words and sentences I string together.

    Thanks again for the post. It’s a really good read, and also motivates me to keep doing what I’m doing and to keep improving.

  20. Thanks for your insightful article:) For me, blogging through writing allows me to tell people the truth about my disability and how reasons for not reaching goals are simply excuses. Just do it! (thanks Nike;)) I found your comment about ‘listening to the feedback on what you write’ interesting. There’s definitely a fine line between writing what you want and having no readers and writing what readers want and struggling to write.

    • I agree, Sandra. The way I see it, you write what inspires you and then see what resonates. As you do that, you find what connects with an audience and also fulfills you. It’s a both-and thing.

  21. Very inspiring stuff, as I try to figure out how to leave the job that I don’t like. LOL. My struggle has always been just continuing to believe that it can be done. You have definitely outlined the answers and laid out the process for becoming a full time writer. Thanks for the insight.

  22. Excellent post and I agree 100%, especially when it comes to writing giving you clarity. There have been so many times that I didn’t fully understand where I was going until I started blogging about certain topics, then at a certain point the path became clear. And the best thing is, the more you write the better you get.

  23. So awesome to see your writing here on Copyblogger, Jeff! This is absolutely one of my favorite sites to learning about writing. You are so motivating and have been with me every step of the way through self-doubt, writing, editing and publishing! Keep inspiring us! We need your voice. 🙂

  24. The reason people have success writing/blogging is because they love blogging and DON’T give up!

    If you have the idea that “Not everyone can be a successful writer” (which has some truth to it) rather than “I want to achieve my goals and will continue to pursue them”. Then you’ll find that you won’t achieve the results you want.

    Which is why I see being successful is a mindset, you have to keep chasing your goals. You have to know that you can achieve your goals in life if you keep going, even when it gets hard. This is the difference between successful people and people who give up! Passion is key, fulfill your dreams!

    Thanks for the motivational post, it’s keeping me going. Haha. 🙂


  25. “Write your way into clarity.”

    I have found this statement to be so true. There’s something about the kinesthetics of pen to paper that activates my mental processes. I have found the same to be true about conversation. Both serve to prime the pump for the fully formed idea.

    Thanks for the post, Jeff!

  26. I still remember 10 things to be a good writer from this blog:

    1- Write

    2- Write MORE

    3- Write EVEN MORE

    10- KEEP Writing

  27. Hey Jeff,I considered writing to be boring and myself as a “hey-i-can-definitely-not-be-a-writer”.

    But reading articles of James Alutcher and hearing from Robin Sharma has set me going.Also,i have made a Pact to write 500 words everyday,no matter what,apart from building my coupon site.

    Now lets see where the writing part goes.But you have managed to write the article beautifully

  28. Thank you, Jeff. I started my blog this past October, and it’s interesting to see it evolve from being mostly about me and my experiences to becoming a platform that includes more of humanity and global ideas. I have many interests but never expected to be writing about the environment so much. It’s satisfying to watch this transformation, but it wouldn’t be happening if I hadn’t simply started writing. Although I’m taking a break for a couple of weeks to work on SEO and keywords, I normally publish one post a week and a news-link post on Saturday’s, which is so much fun. I love gathering up relevant content about environmental projects and other topics from around the world. And the authors of these projects enjoy seeing their work posted on my blog, even though I’m still small potatoes. So I know what you mean about connecting with others; it’s ultimately one of the most satisfying parts of the process. Thank you for such encouraging words.

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