9 min 37 sec

Freelance Writer Starts School To Help Writers Start Side Hustles

After answering the same questions over and over, this freelance writer opens an online school to help others break into the business.
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What It's About

A freelance writer teaches what he knows and creates a tidy little side hustle.

Business Model
Skills Required
Writing & Communication
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

If you’re looking to start a similar business yourself, James recommend that you spend some time looking for your “x-factor.” This is the topic you spend the most time reading about, that your friends come to you for advice for, or where you have an above average set of skills. Everyone has something the can teach to someone else, and there is a market for almost everything. Whether you’re into baseball cards or pouring the perfect cup of tea, there is someone out there who is willing to buy an information product from you.

Fun Fact

James decided to start his own freelance writing business after reading my 279 Days To Overnight Success. Since then he’s worked from over 30 countries on four continents and completed a pilgrimage across the north of Spain.

Notes from Chris

Episode 403

For freelance writer James Johnson, it was time to make a change in his business. Although he loves the freelance world and the flexible life it affords him, he felt the need to do some work that was more people-focused. He knew that writing articles, blog posts, and books were helping people in one way, but he wanted to do something a bit more hands on.

For the first six months of 2017, James spent his days toying with different ideas of people-focused businesses he could start. He’d listen to podcasts—including Side Hustle School—and devour books to help him try and find his answer. But after months of false starts and bad ideas, he felt like he just couldn’t come up with anything that, well...fit.

Then, one day, a Facebook friend got in contact to ask for advice on how to start his own freelance writing business. He’d been following James in the background for years and finally wanted to start doing it himself. Always happy to help a friend, James jumped on a Skype call and walked his friend through how he should get started.

After he came off the call, James couldn’t help but feel he’d done this before. He checked his email and Facebook messages and saw that he’d helped people with the same problem lots of times since he’d first started out. He’d even been paid to write a few blog posts about it. That’s when the obvious idea dropped in his lap. If people were asking for this information, he thought, perhaps he could charge for it.

James set about creating a website where he could begin to share advice to people. He called it the Freelance Writers School.

Before creating any content for his website, James went out to research what people in his niche were talking about. He looked at blog posts and Facebook groups to see the specific topics they spoke about and made a Google Spreadsheet to record specific words and phrases they used. He then used his new database to create a homepage, an about page, and a welcome email series using terminology that would strike a chord with them.

Most people responded best to his content about getting starting and taking your first steps as a freelance writer, so James decided he would create his first two products focused on this topic.

James launched his PDF course to his email list. In his initial launch week, James made around $1,800 and continues to average $600 to $650/month through sales of his product!


  • Freelance Writers School: Class is in session, so don't be tardy! Head on over to James' website to learn how to fast-track your writing career
  • Bluehost, Wordpress, Aweber: The trio that James used to launch his website and setup his email campaign
  • Teachable: The educational teaching platform that James originally hosted his online courses on

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,




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Quote of the Day
"Where have you spent a lot of time and energy that most people haven't? And, what do you spend a lot of money reading about? This is usually a good sign of where you have more knowledge to teach."
—James Johnson #SideHustleSchool

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Chris Guillebeau