Turning Your Content Into Cash Is Easy

Jonah Malin


Bzzzt, bzzzt, bzzzt.

“Hey, turn your phone off!” my girlfriend yelled in the dark.

I rolled over and saw the time: 2:03 a.m.

My eyes refused to adjust so I clicked do not disturb and passed out.

The next morning I woke up to a stream of notifications.

Over 70 people signed up for my online course out of the blue. I hadn’t done any promotion or marketing. The sudden growth didn’t make sense.

I sat in bed watching the numbers go up.

75, 80, 90, 130…

Then the panic set in. The thing is, I hadn’t actually built the course yet.

Why 99% of Creators Never Reach Their Profit Ceiling

Everyone wants to talk about innovation, marketing, and creating. We like to write about it, tweet about it, and let everyone on LinkedIn know we’re thinking about it.

Very few turn their talk into action.

We have an idea like writing a book, publishing a subscription-based newsletter, starting a digital marketing agency, or in my case, releasing an email course.

Then we wait. And edit. And wait. And edit. We talk about it some more, then tell everyone the book is coming soon, I swear! Instead of releasing it, we offer advice on how to write a book by reading what other published authors say.

We dance around the idea, delaying the process until everything is perfect.

At least it’s what we tell ourselves to make up for a simple truth: we're procrastinating.


Volume Wins in the Creator Economy

You need to make noise so people believe in you — not talking anymore but doing. By procrastinating, you’re allowing others to come in and disrupt your creative space.

Personally, I’d been putting off the email course for months, maybe even a year. The research and skill-building were done. I collected enough social proof to know the market value. I developed front-end content to establish credibility.

I could have launched it at any time — but I kept refining little details and postponing. I told myself I was too busy one week and wanted to re-write a section the next.

My email course unexpectedly became very public

I put a form up on my website with the intention of slowly collecting emails with little pressure to launch. However, I’d accidentally linked it in a Medium blog intended to link my newsletter.

Though the article didn’t perform super well, the topic was evergreen. A bigger, well-known publisher shared my article the next evening to its own followers. Eight hours later and I had a (growing) audience for something that didn’t exist yet.

I had to make a decision:

  • Launch and live with potential imperfections.
  • Let the momentum pass and keep working on it.

I chose the former.

Ten days in and the open rates are great. Feedback is better. Click-throughs are sitting above industry standards.

Most importantly, I pressed send.

Just Get Going, Then Get Good

Marketers like to make content monetization sound hard with lists of “how-to” advice and growth hacks.

Honestly, the formula is pretty straightforward:

1. Create content 
2. Generate demand 
3. Capture demand 
4. Service audience

Let’s say you’re a writer like myself. You write every day for a year and build an audience, ultimately generating demand for your content. To capture and monetize the demand, you need something else to productize your writing (courses, newsletter, training, etc.)

Everyone seems to get caught up between steps three and four. It’s the most exciting and intimidating phase — moving beyond content creation into the sphere of productization. That’s where the most growth potential lies. Once you stop trading time for money, your earnings become limitless.

Through conversations with other writers, it seems most avoid the final leap because they don’t know how, are afraid of failing, lack belief in themself as a teacher/leader, or think no one will take them seriously as an expert.

They just want to write — which is fine. Understand you're leaving money and time on the table.

“If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.” — Warren Buffett

Be Impatient With Actions and Patient With Results

Have an idea for a course? Launch it.

Want to write a book? Publish it.

Noticed a problem? Solve it.

Started a newsletter that isn’t gaining any traction? Release 25 more on different topics and see what sticks.

Just get going. Then get good. Collect feedback. Specialize your offering. Build a community. Promote it like crazy. Make your product better.

What’s the worst that can happen? Maybe you feel embarrassed for a few minutes or realize a word is misspelled. Neither of those is as limiting as waiting.

Just. Get. Going.

Everything else will fall into place.

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I am a content strategist, career advice author, and contributing writer based in Washington, DC. Join me as I explore health & wellness, productivity, philosophy, and life. Find me @Beyond Definition // Medium // Ladders // jonahmalin.com/barelyweekly

Washington, DC

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