The First Step to Making Money as a Writer

Mar 3, 2020

“Success has a barrier and the only way to overcome it is through consistent effort.”

Have you ever asked: “How do you get started making money as a writer?” This video is for you!

Discover the three non-negotiables you need to succeed in your business.

Watch the video to get the full training.

Learn what made Local to Local (one of Joshua’s first companies) fail, and why you don’t ever have to make that mistake.  

Full Transcript

How do you get started making money as a writer? What is the first step you need to take to really begin your career?

Every journey has a first step. So, what is the actual first step? 

Now, a lot of times, people come and tell me like, “Well I really wanted to be a writer, so I have done this, and I have done this, and I have done this, and I have done this”, and they layout like 20 million different things that they’ve done and the reality of it is, none of those are the first step.

So, they’ve taken… well, sometimes they’re not even steps that are actually in the sequence of things you should be doing in the first place. I mean, the real kinds of things that move the needle to help you make money as a freelance writer. 

They’ve done a lot of activities, but they haven’t accomplished a whole lot, and so I have to tell them, like, “Well, did you know what you need to do is you got to go back to the beginning and start right here. This is actually the first step you need to take.”

So I want to explain what that first step is. Maybe you’ve already taken it. If you have, then awesome. You can move on to the second step. 

But, if you haven’t taken this first step, if you’ve done a whole bunch of other activities or participated in a whole bunch of other seminars or trainings or discussions or programs or lots of different things. If you’ve done all those things, but you haven’t taken this first step, then you got to go back. 

Now, I’m telling you this because I’ve had an opportunity to coach with thousands of writers and helped them move forward in their career, make a whole bunch of money as writers and live their dreams, live that dream lifestyle. 

Now, my name is Joshua Boswell, and I’m the founder of Copywriter Marketer, and we are focused on creating lifestyle for writers. Not just helping you find money or to build writing skills or to get some clients or to have a nice portfolio.

 All of those things are awesome, but the reality of it is, if I know you, you want to have your writing skills turn into an amazing lifestyle, and that is what we focus on. That’s what we specialize in. 

And there’s a number of different ways to do this. If you haven’t seen our 10 Predictors of Success which is basically a road map to help you get to that point, that’s a great thing to check on. You can see that at

But, here’s my point, there’s a first step you need to take to move forward. I learned this the hard way. I learned in all serious business ventures, there is a first step, it’s a foundational step that lays the groundwork that really says, “Okay, I’m gonna build my house. I’m gonna build my career on this new venture”, but what’s the groundwork? What’s the foundation to actually make this happen?

And I learned how important this foundation was way back in, like, the late 1990s, early 2000s, when I decided I was going to start a business. I called it Local to Local. 

It was this idea that I had about taking the World Wide Web. If you remember back in the 90s, the World Wide Web was like the rage to talk about the WWW, that it was all over the world, and you could be in your little town and you could surf on the internet, and you could buy stuff from all over the world, and you could talk to people all over the world. 

It was the World Wide Web, and I had this idea of using the internet, harnessing the power of the internet to help local businesses, local communities communities, gets stuff shipped and marketed and the build up local businesses, and so we created this company called Local to Local. And it kind of sounds like loco and I think it was kind of loco, little crazy with how I did it.

But, I have started this business and I got an investor and then I got some family and friends to invest, then I partnered out with my brother and another friend of mine, and we started putting this company together. 

But, you see, we started and we did all this without me, personally, who was running the company, establishing this one core foundation. 

And so when we did a lot of activities, like one of the things we did is we printed out several thousand flyers and we went around to local neighborhoods and we handed out flyers on doors that gave them a website that they could go look at local merchants and local businesses and local customers and local deals and discounts and offers and, you know, stuff that’s totally common out there but it was unheard of back then. And the response rate was pretty good, but I got to tell you, eventually, that company tanked.

It tanked hard and that cost me thousands and thousands of dollars and tons of time, and the reason it tanked is because I didn’t have this core foundation. 

Well, I did a couple of other businesses where I did not have this first step in place and those businesses tanked as well, and when I found out about writing business and started looking in being a freelance writer and a copywriter, I was like, “Okay, I learned my lesson here. I learned the lesson of creating this foundation and doing this one thing, and so I’m going to put this in place so that I can have success.” 

And now, here we are, almost two decades later, and I’ve got tons of success and get to live a lifestyle of my dreams. I’m not the richest guy in the world, I don’t drive around Ferraris, but I live the lifestyle of my dreams and it all comes from my writing, and I want you to have the exact same opportunity.

So let’s talk about what this one thing is, this one thing that changed, the one thing that I didn’t put into my business when I was up in Washington selling Local to Local. The one thing I didn’t put into my other businesses when I was involved in politics and fundraising and other things that I tried to do. I didn’t have this, and when I tell you what it is, I think you’re going to be surprised. 

You’re going to be like, “Well, that’s not… I don’t know, is that really a first step, a foundational step for business?”. And it really is because it impacts every aspect of your business, and just so we’re clear, if you want to be a serious writer and have a great lifestyle as a freelance writer, then, it is a business, it’s a serious legitimate business, and it should be treated that way. 

And now, if you’re thinking about doing writing business as just a hobby, then bless you, more power to you, that’s great, but I’m not really talking to you because I’m talking about making serious money and turning that money into a great lifestyle and that’s what this is about.

So, what is the one thing that changed? The one thing that changed for me is as I established what I now call non-negotiables. Non-negotiables. Okay. 

There’s supposed to be a ‘B’ right there, there we go. Non-negotiables. Now, non-negotiables are the foundation for all businesses. 

And the reason is because you have to make determinations about where you will spend your time, what you will do, what you won’t do, what’s acceptable, what’s good customer service policies, financial management policies, employee policies, all of these kinds of things that without establishing a handful of guiding principles or non-negotiables, things that are going to change your circumstances and situations. 

Then you’re really going to be constantly at the mercy of all these other things that go on because, have you noticed like I have that life tends to just throw tons of stuff at you, that like you can have unexpected things?


I remember one time we went on a vacation for two weeks and I have put a bunch of big, big business projects off knowing that when I came home, I can just dive right in and work like crazy. So, I focused on my family when I was with them and I came home… by the way, focusing on family while I’m on vacation is one of my non-negotiables, we will talk about that in a minute. 

But, when we came home, like there was stuff all over the floor, from the refrigerator and a horrible stench in the house, and we opened up the freezer and the fridge freezer had rever… somehow, like the… I don’t know how it happened, but it reversed itself so instead of cooling inside the freezer, it was heating, like some of the meat was actually cooked. 

It was all heated up inside there. I guess it was like a slow pressure cooker. It just warmed everything up, melted it all down. Then, we tried to turn the garbage disposal and that was fried, the stove was completely fried, nothing would work on, and there was kind of a burnt smell, the microwave was toast. We remember placing like a washer, a washing machine, a dishwasher, garbage disposal, the refrigerator, the microwave, and apparently, there had been a big storm and multiple lightning strikes that hit around and I guessed it had just fried the weasels out of all of our stuff.

Well, life does that, right? I didn’t expect that, I didn’t want that extra expenses, I didn’t want that extra time. You put a serious like cramp with my style, jumping into my projects and put me behind even further on stuff. I didn’t want all that stuff to happen, but it happened anyway, and non-negotiables are the things that guide your life and say, even when the fridge blows up and melts the butter and bakes the frozen chicken, even when that happens, even when the garbage disposal blows up, even when the cat gets sick, even when the car breaks down, even when all this stuff happens, like you’re going to do this, even when the clients say no or when clients say yes, like, there’s going to be some non-negotiables about how you run your life, how you run your business. 

And it can’t be a huge list of stuff because if you put in too many non-negotiables, it’s not actually gonna be workable, so you have to then focus on things that really matter most. 

I want to share with you three specific actions that you can take right now today. Three non-negotiables. I’m going to give you categories. You’re going to fill in the blanks on specific stuff, but I will give you three categories that you can put to work on today to really make a difference in your writing business and really start making some serious money.

So, let’s look at the first one. The number one non-negotiable category that I think you should have is I think you should create time for relationships. Okay, right. I think that’s it. Rela – there’s an A in there, holy mackerels. 

Anyway, that says relationships. I am a writer and not a speller, okay? So create time for relationships and specifically, family and friends. So, creating time for your family and friends. By the way, spelling is not one of my non-negotiables as you can see and could be one for you, it’s just not for me. But the point is, you got to create time for relationships.

Here is why. Of all the writers that I’ve coached and all the people that have gone and my personal success coaches that I’ve hired over the years, do you know what I end up spending most of my time on? 

Not on business development stuff, it’s on relationships, and the reason is because when relationships are bad in our life, then it collapses our time and our energy to do things that are really important. And so, if we spend too much time on business and not enough time on relationships and managing those and making sure that they’re running smooth and that they’re supportive and supporting then it can crash us.

I have so many people talk to me about, like, “Hey, I am really struggling because my wife or my husband or my children or my neighbors or my friends, like, they don’t get what I’m trying to do and they’re hammering on me and they’re frustrating me and it’s dragging me down, and I’m like, “Look, you got to create non-negotiables.” 

So, early on, one of the non-negotiables that I did is, I have certain times where I sat Margie down and said, “Honey, I’m going to build this freelance writing business. It’s going to take a lot of time.” I said, “But, I want you to know, you’re the most important. So, let’s pick some specific times. Date night, other times when we have family times, so that you and the children know that during these periods of time, it doesn’t matter what happens, you have my full undivided attention.” 

And I anchored down in that relationship and gave time to that relationship to free me up to go do other things and have the support of my family when I was doing it. 

That way, when the children came in, or my wife came in during the day when I was working on projects, I could say, “Oh, I would love to help with that or answer that question or manage that thing, but right now, this is my business time and you know that tonight at five o’clock you’ve got my undivided attention”, or your Saturday afternoon or Wednesday afternoon on whatever we picked on the calendar, and I involve the family in doing that, and I involve the people that are important to me in that and I establish that as a non-negotiable.

That has been a major key factor in my success over the years, and not only my success but in my well-being and my quality of life because I’m not constantly being sat down and drained down by the emotions of negative relationships. 

In fact, I’m being lifted up and strengthened by the power of positive relationships in my life. So, this should be the first non-negotiable category that you establish. Look at your friends, look at your family members, look at those people you love and make time in your schedule, create that time in your schedule to develop and build those relationships. Okay?

Number two, number two, the second category that you want to establish non-negotiables in is in the action that you want to take here, is you want to establish personal fuel time. You want to establish personal fuel time. 

And you want to do this in a couple of different ways. Number one, you want to do this emotionally – so charging up your emotions – and you want to do this physically. And you want to do this like educational… intellectual – that sounds like the word. Okay. So, emotionally, physically, intellectually, you want to establish personal fuel time. 

I see so many people and what they do is they start off really strong. Have you ever started a project and you’re just like, “Whoa, you’re writing as fast as you can and you’ll scream like, “Yes, I’m excited on this thing, whoa”, and you’re just bucket it and then you’re like, “uugghh”, and you’re drained, you’re spent, you’re gone, and what happens to the project? Poof, out the window because if we don’t have the physical and emotional energy to finish a project then have staying power to last through the ups and downs because there will be ups and downs.

If you don’t have the emotional, mental, and the staying power to keep going through the project, you’ll never succeed, you’ll never win so you got to establish time. 

So, look at your calendar and set non-negotiables. So, for example, every single morning. I’ve got a specific morning routine, maybe I’ll cover that sometime with exactly what goes on inside my morning routine. 

But, this morning routine is designed for one thing and one thing only. To fuel me, this charges me up, this sets me up to win for the day. This sets me up to have emotional energy, physical energy, intellectual smarts to be able to do what I do every single day. This sets me up for my relationships, or for my financial management, my business building, my church service, everything in my life gets set up by this morning routine that is a non-negotiable. 

I get this done. If I’m travelling, I do this. If I’m at home, I do this. If I’m… wherever I’m at, like, if I’m at business conferences, I do this. If I’m on vacation, I do this. This is part of the non-negotiable routine that I have because I need to fuel my inner fire. I’ve got to have the capacity to accomplish what I know needs to get done. So, you got to establish non-negotiables in your life for your own fuel. You got to create that, okay?

Now, number three. The third non-negotiable that you need to establish to make great money as a writer is you need to create or set aside marketing times. You need to create marketing time. 

This was a game-changer for me. When I decided like, “Okay, here’s the deal. I’m going to get up, I’m going to do my morning routine and then from this hour to this hour, I’m going to market.” That’s it. For these four hours, I am going to market myself, I’m going to write, I’m going to make calls, I’m going to do follow-up emails, like this is non-negotiable marketing time, and I established that on my calendar, and it totally changed the game for me because I knew that I would show out.

Now, creativity and opportunity are funny things. They are funny things, they wait for us to show up consistently before the muse strikes, before the inspiration happens, before this help comes to work with us. 

Life is like that. Success has a barrier and the only way to overcome it is through consistent effort, and I just knew that if I figure out how to consistently put my backside in the chair and do what I needed to do on a consistent, regular, non-negotiable schedule, then I can have success. 

Then I could get done what I needed to get done, and then opportunities. It feels like opportunity is out there and if I’m all random, it doesn’t know where to find me, but if I’m consistently having marketing time, then, oh, opportunity knows where to find me, right? 

And I can overcome that barrier of being inconsistent and I can have that success. So, especially in the beginning days when I was taking my first steps along the path of creating my writing business. Man, it was so important that I was like, “Okay, boom, this is non-negotiable marketing time.” 

Now, here, I’ve got a secret for you. Are you ready? This is my secret. 

If you follow the marketing systems and that plans that I subscribed you and that I teached to you, my writers, people like you, if you’ll do this then you’ll learn a very, very powerful secret and that is, when you create marketing time, the very… let me just back up and say this: One of the biggest things that I hear writers concerned about is, “What about my writing skills? Is my writing good enough? How do I get better at writing?”. 

And a lot of times, people think the answer is taking up the writing course, taking up the writing course, taking up the writing course, go to another conference, go to another conference, go to another writing course, and I thought: Okay, learning is really really important, but every doctor I’ve talked to, every nurse that I’ve talked to, every scientist that I’ve talked to, every engineer, every developer, like anybody in any serious practice, they will tell you school is great, but when I really started learning was what? When I started practicing, when I got into the game.

It’s very different learning about giving a shot, if… like my wife is a nurse, well she graduated with a nursing degree and has been a full-time domestic goddess homemaker. 

Ever since then, she worked for about a year, but, the point is, is that when she got on a nursing school, they had been giving shots to oranges which is a great idea and then learning about techniques from books. And when she got into the clinic and started giving little kids that were squirming or wiggling around, she was like, “Oh, wait a minute. That gives me a totally different technique here to accommodate for like the crazy complexities of giving shots to the little kids.” 

So, she learned that the textbooks that got her to a certain point, but until she actually started doing it, she didn’t really know.

And, when you do marketing the way that I teach it, what happens is your writing skills completely change. You start applying stuff and you start getting feedback from prospects. Are they answering your emails or not? If they’re not, oh, maybe you need to write a more persuasive email. 

Shocker, improve your writing skills and you will if you want the money or your sales letters. In other words, your information packet, your website, the things that you’re writing to market yourself to clients and to get that hire. Are they hiring you or not? If they’re not, guess what, you get the opportunity to increase your salesmanship and to beef up your writing skills.

A lot of writers, they want to get a whole bunch of clients, but they don’t want to work on the skill to get a bunch of clients – the writing skills. 

When… I’m telling you that if you will set aside non-negotiable time to do this, your writing skills will skyrocket. They will absolutely improve way, way, way faster than just learning about it or going to a conference or trying to figure out from a course how to write. 

Do this. Put your writing skills out there in the market and see, can you get someone to answer your emails? Can you get them to follow up with you? Can you get them to hire you? Can you get them to like the stuff that you print? Can you get the customers to like the stuff you print? 

Like this is where it happens, my friend. So, you should do this. Make this a non-negotiable and your writing skills will grow up.

So, here’s my challenge for you today. Take a look at how your relationships are and create time to develop those relationships. 

This will free up your brain more than anything else that I can tell you right now to do. You might not even realize it, but this right here will create more power in your life than anything else I can share with you. 

Number two, establish personal fuel time. Have routines and non-negotiables. 

Number three, create marketing time. Have specific times when you don’t do anything else but market yourself and you get those people to hire – to look at you and to read your emails and to follow up with you and to look at your website and to be excited about your information packet, and you write those things, you get them to like your articles or your content online. 

You write and you figure out… to write… you figure out a way to persuade them and then you keep doing it until the market responds. This is your best writing skill training right here.

Cool? Alright, it’s a pleasure sharing with you. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye now.


Joshua T. Boswell

Founder & CEO of Copywriter Marketer

He’s been the personal copywriter and business trainer for startup founders, authors, 
public speakers, entrepreneurs and over 5,000 clients around the world. His techniques have been show to dramatically improve career success, work quality, copywriting tactics, marketing skills, income and even overall life and relationships! Now Joshua Boswell can be YOUR virtual coach!

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