How To Become a Full Time Writer From Scratch
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How To Become a Full Time Writer From Scratch

Learn How You Can Become a Freelance Writer, Author, or Copywriter Even If You Have ZERO Industry Knowledge
3.7 (41 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
595 students enrolled
Created by Dan Johnston
Last updated 8/2017
Current price: $10 Original price: $200 Discount: 95% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 3 hours on-demand video
  • 2 Articles
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Be ready to start charging for your writing work (usually between $30-$60 an hour to start)
  • Find your first paid writing clients
  • Understand the writing industry and the best ways you can earn a living writing
  • Increase your current, and long term, writing incomes
  • Learn how to intelligently charge clients and make the most of your time
  • Be able to plan out a long and prosperous writing career
View Curriculum
  • The course is taught in relatively simple english, but can be used to build a writing career in any language or market.

Imagine being able to live wherever you want while earning a great living doing something you love.

From the beaches of the tropics to the bustling cafes of Europe, it is very possible to earn a full time income writing for 15-20 hours a week.

I know, I've been doing it for over 5 years.

In this course I'm going to introduce you to the world of writing and I'll share with you my own experiences being a full time writer.

Over this time I have worked as a freelance copywriter, article writer, and author. I've done everything from print advertisements to sales letters to website copy.

I've also published 11 of my own books which now provide a significant passive income, and I've also built a loyal audience through writing my own blog and newsletter.

In fact, writing has funded the last 3 incredible years of my life during which time I've lived all over the world...

Including the tropical paradise of Costa Rica, and literary destinations like Italy, Barcelona, Prague and New York.

I was inspired to create this course after working with aspiring writers and discovering how little knowledge they often had about the industry.

Which might I add, is huge.

Writing is essentially communication...which in a way is, well, everything. So this creates a tremendous opportunity for income, as well as a tremendous opportunity for confusion and mistakes.

So where is the best place to start?

  • Is it better to write books for yourself, or articles for companies?
  • If you're tight on cash, what's the best route to get started so you can support yourself?
  • What kind of clients are best to work with?
    • Who pays the best?
    • Who is the biggest pain in the ass?

There are all these different avenues to go down, all using essentially the same core skill: Your words.

The unfortunate thing, at least for those who haven't found this course, is there is huge gap between the different opportunities.

Some areas pay absolute garbage while offering little in the way of stability or satisfaction...

Whereas other kinds of writing work can be really fun and fulfilling, while paying upwards of a $100 dollars an hour.

Similarly, some kinds of work is great to start with an allows you to jumpstart your career at $40-60 an hour...but then you risk getting stuck there.

Whereas other areas are tough to get started, but once you do, the sky really is the limit in terms of income.

Once you join you'll learn about each area of writing as an income opportunity. You'll learn about the kind of work you can do, and the kind of clients you'd be working with.

From here you'll be in a much better position to evaluate writing as a potential career for you, and, if you decide it is for you, you'll be in a great position to plan out your next 6-12 months.

You'll have the knowledge you need from the start to bypass many of the hurdles and challenges facing new writers, and save yourself from wasting time and money.

Once inside, here are some of the things you'll learn:

  • You'll learn all the different kinds of work you can do as a writer, what kinds of companies you can work for, and what kind of money you can expect to earn. As I said earlier, there is a big difference in pay rates between different kinds of work, so this part is really important.
  • You'll learn the basics of getting new clients and marketing. This course isn't focused on this area, but I'll teach you enough to get started and get your first 2-3 clients, and at least $1,000 in income so you can get a taste of what it feels like to write for a living.
  • You'll learn about client management: The different ways you can be charging and how to bill. When should you charge by the word? The page? The hour? By the project?
  • We'll take a look at ghostwriting. When is it better to writer under the clients name, and when should you insist on writing under your own name?
  • You'll find out what your day to day life could, and perhaps should, look like when we go through lifestyle aspect of writing in terms of productivity and staying focused. You'll learn the best way set up your days to be a productive and successful writer.
  • I'll also share with you some of my own insights into what makes a successful writer. Why do some writers seem to breeze along making 6-figures while others are just barely scraping by? What is the real reason for this difference and how can you be the kind of writer that prospers?

There's a lot more, but I think by now you have a good idea about who I am and what this course is about.

By the end of this course you'll have a much better understanding of what life is like as a writer, and all the opportunities available to you today to begin your career as a writer.

By taking this course you'll avoid making painful beginner mistakes like:

  • Charging too little money.
  • Going through painful dry spells with no income.
  • Working in the wrong area, or with the wrong kinds of clients.
  • Doing work that kills your soul, when you could be getting paid better to do interesting work you actually enjoy!

By the end of this training you'll be well on your way to being a professional writer. You're going to understand the industry, the opportunities, and around how much you should charge prospective clients for different kinds of work.

You'll also know which areas are the most suited to your current situation, based on the income potential, income steadiness, and the ease in which you can get started.

Watch a few of the free videos, or better yet, trust your instincts and join today.

Remember, you're protected by a 30 day money back guarantee so if you join and decide after a few days that you really don't like me, or the content isn't for you, you can always get your money back.

I think you'll find this course really inspiring and encouraging. It is something I'm really passionate about, and I hope that comes through in the lessons.

Oh, and one more thing. Once you're inside, feel free to ask lots of questions in the discussions. I'm here to help and I do my best to provide individual feedback for everyone, based on your unique situation.

Congratulations on taking the first step, and I look forward to seeing you inside.

Dan Johnston.

Who is the target audience?
  • Underpaid, or Under-Appreciated, Writers and Journalists
  • Aspiring Writers
  • Recent University Graduates, Especially Liberal Arts Majors
  • Travel and Freedom Lovers
  • Freelancers
  • Recent Retirees Who Finally Want To Start Writing
  • Anyone With a Passion For Words That Has Been Sitting Idle Too Long!
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
Curriculum For This Course
44 Lectures
Jumpstart! Let's Get Right Into Some Case Studies and Examples
7 Lectures 24:19

If you don't have previous experience working for yourself, the idea of freelancing might be intimidating. In this lesson you'll hear two stories of how freelancers got started with their first clients.

As a freelancer, the most important thing is getting clients and delivering great work. The other details, like accounting and admin work, is easy to learn and shouldn't take up much of your time.

Case Study #1

Order of Events:

  1. Published a Facebook Note
  2. Found Jobs on Elance
  3. Networked, Attended Events
  4. Gave Speech
  5. Created a Website

Read the Initial FB Note Here:

Case Study #2

Order of Events:

  1. Created a Website
  2. Promoted on Social Network
  3. Networked, Attended Events
  4. Reached Out Directly To Companies
Preview 04:38

How to Watch Videos at 2x Speed and Finish This Course in Half The Time

This isn't a common problem, but occasionally students have trouble with videos buffering due to file size. If you're on a slower connection, or experience this problem, just change the video quality to 360p instead of 720p. See the screenshot.

Troubleshooting: If Videos Are Loading Slowly / Buffering

$5,000 a Month

Learn about all the ways you can earn a great income as a writer. Later in the course we will go into the specifics of each opportunity.

Your Writing Options (An Overview)

This is a fun video with a little bragging about the great life I have been able to live since 2012 all thanks to writing.

Preview 04:33
Getting Started
3 Lectures 10:38

Learn why I created this course, what you'll learn, and how you'll benefit from this new knowledge.

Course Introduction and Overview

Curious who this crazy guy teaching you about writing is? You can learn about my story and experience in this video.

A few quick highlights:

  • I've earned my full time living as a writer since 2011.
  • Since 2012 I have been travelling the world. I have supported myself, through writing, while living in 7 different cities and travelling to many more.
  • Costa Rica, New York, Hamburg, Bologna, Barcelona, Berlin and Prague if you're curious.
  • I have written 11 books and they are sold in digital, print and audio form. I worked with a publisher on some, and self published others.
  • I have worked as a business coach with a handful of clients who were, or aspired to be, full time writers.
About Me

This course may be right for anyone who:

  • Has a love of writing, or a talent for it.
  • Recently graduated and wants to avoid a soul crushing office job.
  • Just retired and wants to pursue their passions while earning an extra income.
  • Is looking for a career change, or at least wants to explore than options.
  • Desires freedom and wants to travel, all while earning a great income.
  • Dreams of writing from the balcony of their apartment in Italy or their bungalow by the beach.
  • Wants to earn a real, sustainable income doing something they enjoy.

This course is also packed with great tips of aspiring and new writers in their first few years of business.

Is This Course For You?
Your Different Options, and How To Decide
5 Lectures 20:04

This is one of the fundamental distinctions between different kinds of writing. Will you be writing for, and being paid by, companies, or will you be writing for your own audience of consumers?

Working For Companies versus Working For Consumers

How To Interact and Provide Feedback In This Course

You may already have a clear idea of the kind of writing you want to do. For example, since childhood you could have wanted to write novels. But, what if you don't? What if you know you like to write but you don't know the right kind of writing to pursue in order to make a good income? In this and the other Choosing Your Path video you'll gain some insights into how you can narrow down and choose between all your different options.

Choosing Your Path - Part One

You may already have a clear idea of the kind of writing you want to do. For example, since childhood you could have wanted to write novels. But, what if you don't? What if you know you like to write but you don't know the right kind of writing to pursue in order to make a good income? In this and the other Choosing Your Path video you'll gain some insights into how you can narrow down and choose between all your different options.

Choosing Your Path - Part Two

Do you need to be a talented writer to earn a very healthy income as one? Find out what I think in this video and learn the difference between talent and skill, and how it can impact your career as a writer.

The Difference Between Talent and Skill For Writers
Working as a Freelancer
12 Lectures 52:31

Before deciding on the freelancer route, you should be away of the pros and cons. While it is my personal preference for getting started, it isn't for everyone.

The Pros and Cons of Freelancing

Before getting into the different kinds of copywriting, it's probably a good idea to know what copywriting actually is. Note that this term is often misused by both writers and potential clients.

What actually is "copywriting"?

Blogs, newsletters and social media content are some of the most in demand jobs for writers. Unfortunately, if you don't know how to navigate cheap clients you can end up earning less than a fast food worker. Luckily, if you know the right kind of clients to pursue you can earn good money while writing fun and interesting content.

Writing Blogs, Newsletters, and Social Media Content For Companies

Writing website copy for companies is one of the best ways to earn a consistent income as a copywriter. Personally, this made up a large portion of my income from when I started out as a writer right up until the last year.

Earning an Income Writing Website Copy For Companies

Good Karma

Learn more about this opportunity where you can earn from $1000 - $5000+ for writing books on interesting subjects for (sometimes) interesting people.

Earning an Income Writing Books and Ebooks For Other People

When you write for another person you run into a dilemma...who gets credit for the words? The simplest approach is often ghostwriting, where you as the writer get no public credit. Luckily, there are alternatives which you'll learn about in this video.

This lesson also talks about writing for companies, and whether or not you should be attaching your name to the work. This is a surprisingly common dilemma once you get started as a writer.

Ghostwriting and Other Approaches To Writing For Someone Else

Sales letters are often considered the holy grail of copywriting, and perhaps all writing, income. In the lesson you'll learn more about this opportunity where you can often charge between $2,500 and $10,000 for a single project.

Earning an Income Writing Sales Letters For Companies

Writing articles for magazines and online publications is a great way to supplment your writing income while exposing your work to thousands, if not millions, of new readers and potential fans.

Writing Articles for Publications

If you speak more than one language you may want to consider earning some, or all, of your writing income as a transaltor.

Earning an Income as a Translator

Perhaps you're not very creative but you love to read and have an eye for good style and structure. You could consider working as an editor as a way to be freelance and involved in writing without having to write yourself.

Earning an Income as an Editor

One of the biggest struggles freelancers go through is the "Freeze or Fry". One day they will be flush with money, and the next they're out of cash and hungry for work. This lesson teaches one strategy for achieving balance between a high income and a stable income.

Freelancing versus Contract Work - How To Find The Perfect Balance

Freelancing Quiz
4 questions
Getting Clients, Getting Paid, and Billing
5 Lectures 38:23

In this lesson you'll find out the best ways to charge clients for your work. I'll share why I think billing by the word or page is a terrible idea.

You'll also find out why you should never, ever count on profit sharing or bonuses for your copywriting projects. I learnt this lesson the hard way, so watch this lesson so you don't have to!

How You Should, and Should Never, Bill Your Clients

In this lesson you'll learn about billing in different currencies and what the best practices are. You'll also learn how you can leverage the internet and location independence to increase your rates and earn more money.

Lastly, you'll learn a bit about how to deal with cheap prospects who are "shocked" at your rates and the kinds of prospects you should be targetting instead.

Dollars, Markets and Local Rates

When starting out as a freelancer most people believe they need to run out and get a website, business cards and a logo. They end up spending $1,000s when they could get these things for $100s...not to mention, when they might not even need them at all.

This lesson will shed light on what initial investments are worth it, and which ones should be avoided when you're just getting started.

Initial Expenses To Avoid and Smart Investments (Mostly for Freelancers)

While this course is meant to be an introduction to the business of writing, I wanted to include some lessons to help you get your first few clients. If you apply one or more of these strategies you should be able to get your first 2-3 paying clients within one month of today.

5 Strategies For Getting Your First Clients and Making Your First $1,000

How $100,000 a Year Is Possible
Writing For Yourself
6 Lectures 24:32

Like freelancing, writing for yourself brings with it some serious benefits, and also some down sides. This lesson will introduce you to the most important pros and cons of writing purely for yourself.

The Pros and Cons of Writing For Yourself

This lesson starts with an introduction to earning a living writing "for yourself". Then you'll learn more about how people, and you, can earn money from their own blog.

Writing For Yourself and Starting a Blog

Did you know that most 6 or 7 figure writers earn a large portion of their income from other places? This can include workshops, speaking events, or personal consulting. In this lesson you'll learn more about these additional income streams, and your options if all you really want to do is write.

Earning More Money With Additional Products

While not a common route to take, some writers have done extremely well by creating a newsletter for a niche audience and earning their income through advertising or subscription fees.

Earning an Income Running Your Own Newsletter

How fun would it be to spend your time writing about a subject you're passionate about, and then getting paid top dollar for that knowledge?

Writing Guides, E-Books and Reports

I've written 11 books since first starting in 2013 and their sales now makes up a significant portion of my income. Best of all, it's all "passive".

This video also covers the income opportunities and different challenges of writing fiction books versus non-fiction.

Writing Your Own Books and Reaping The Rewards

Writing For Yourself Quiz
3 questions
Bonus: Staying Productive, Focused and Happy as a Writer
3 Lectures 12:52

What's life actually like as a full time writer? How do you, or should you, spend your time? Learn my take on this, and the routine I had while living in Barcelona when I was at the peak of my productivity and flow.

A Day In The Life Of A Full Time Writer

A fun video covering the topic of lifestyle design and life as a writer. It also touches on productivity and scheduling.

The Lifestyle of a Writer: Freedom and Location Independence

Some Traits of Successful Writers Include:

  • Discipline
  • Drive
  • Curiousity
  • 2 of the 3 (watch the video to understand this one)
  • Proactive and Business Minded
The Traits of a Successful Writer
New Content - 2017 and Beyond
2 Lectures 10:32

If you've been working as a writer for one or more years and still not earning a decent living this video may explain why. 

The Most Important Part of Succeeding as a Freelance Writer

Making Writing a Daily Habit
Bonus Lecture *Updated* Summer 2017 Free Training and Content
1 Lecture 01:42

New Content & Free Training Videos

If you’ve enjoyed this course then you must subscribe and follow me on Youtube.


Discover The Life Design Approach™

Learn the philosophy that helped me become Location Independent, live in 6 countries and publish 12 books before I turned 30. Best of all, this 9 part series is totally free.



Other Ways To Connect With Me

The Best Way -

Personal Blog + Website – Dreams Around The World -

My Amazon Author Page -

Facebook Page -

Personal Instagram, For Travel Inspiration -

Business Takeoff Training (Free, 15 Part Course) -

Snapchat – Add thedanjohnston


One-on-One Coaching Services

If you’ve been struggling to achieve your goals and are tired of going at it alone, it may be time to invest in a coach.

I offer coaching to a select group of clients who are committed to achieving freedom on their own terms.

Areas of coaching include business strategy, marketing, personal development, confidence, and lifestyle design. I am also able to offer personalized coaching around any topic I teach in my courses.

Some recent client success stories include:

·         A writer and former employee who wanted to leave America and live in Europe while working for himself. Achieved in 12 months.

·         A retired teacher who wanted to rekindle her writing career and see the world after spending decades in a city that bored her. Her flight took off 4 months after coaching started.

·         An aspiring copywriter who wanted to reach an income of at least 1,000 euro per month in location independent income within 3 months of starting. Achieved.  

Coaching starts at $249 per month.

If you’re interested, the next step is to schedule a one-on-one consultation and determine if we are a good fit to work together. This consultation is no-obligation. To do this, please email me directly at or visit

Bonus Lecture *Updated* Summer 2017 Free Training and Content
About the Instructor
Dan Johnston
4.3 Average rating
692 Reviews
18,892 Students
8 Courses
Location Independent Coach, Author, and Business Trainer

I'm Dan Johnston. I'm a full-time writer, business trainer, and coach.

“That is seriously your life? You are literally living my dream. That’s insane. How can I do it?”

I’ve grown to expect hearing this every time I tell someone about my fairy-tale of a life. But trust me, it wasn’t always this way.

In 2010 I owned my own business and I worked like a dog with the dream of one day “making it”. I sacrificed friendships, health, family and travel opportunities all because I had to work harder for “just a little while longer.”

I just needed to “make it” and then I could I finally start enjoying life.

That was until my business imploded and left me completely, and I mean completely, broke.

At this point I could have taken a job, but it just didn't feel right. I had spent so much time trying to live my dreams, was now the time to quit?

So I decided to take one more risk, and in 2011 I started as a freelance writer.

The journey wasn't easy, but it sure paid off.

Using the same strategies I teach in my courses, I was able to generate a full time income writing within my first few months.

Then in early 2012 I decided to take another risk and see if I could continue freelance writing while travelling the world.

And it worked. It worked really, really, well.

Since 2012 I’ve lived in 7 places including Costa Rica, Manhattan, Barcelona, Italy, Germany and Prague. Each year I try to visit at least 6 new countries.

I’ve also crossed countless items from my bucket list including driving a Lamborghini on my birthday, learning Spanish, and driving a Hank Moody inspired Porsche 911 up Highway 101 in California.

When I was starting out and things got hard I had plenty of opportunities to raise the white flag and turn my back on the life I really wanted.

I’m sure you’ll have the same opportunities. Ignore them.

Don’t ever, ever think going for it, going after what you really want, will be easy.

But it will always, always be worth it.

And I'm here to help in any way I can.