#158: A Quick Peek at What Six-Figure Writers Do Differently

I love to look for patterns. And recently I’ve been looking for patterns as I’ve talked with coaching clients and peers who’ve reached the six-figure income level.

Through those conversations, some interesting patterns emerged.

In today’s episode, I wanted to give you a peek into those patterns—because they’ll give you a good idea of what six-figure writers do differently when compared to lower-income writers.

Here’s the good news. The attitude, mindset, habits, routines and strategies that this group uses to increase their income can be applied by anyone. They aren’t something you have to be born with. They can be learned.

In fact, you’re probably ALREADY doing a lot of these things. But the difference lies in applying more of these patterns and applying them more consistently.

So use these patterns as a guide—as a way to shift your thinking.

Finally, please understand that not every six-figure writer follows every single habit or strategy I’m about to detail. But they apply more of them than the average writer.

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.

Pattern #1: They Have Clear Positioning

Writers at the six-figure income level are very clear their positioning. Specifically, they know:

  • What they offer
  • Whom they best serve
  • Why they’re different
  • Why those differences matter to their audience.

Many started as generalists, but over time they moved to clear, more targeted positioning.

This doesn’t mean you have to pick an industry! There are many other ways to define your audience.

Pattern #2: They Go After Markets and Clients That Solve Expensive Problems

Are your prospects solving expensive problems for their customers?

Let me give you a couple of examples:

  • One of my previous clients sold technology that helped their customers (i.e. construction companies) track and manage their tools and equipment. When you have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in tools and equipment across multiple jobsites—and thousands of them disappear or get misplaced ever year—that’s an expensive problem.
  • Another one of my former clients sold technology that allows food producers to track their product from farm to shelf. In the event of a food safety recall, they can pinpoint exactly where the problem product lies. That’s an expensive problem solved.

Other examples: Medical device companies help save lives. Financial service companies help their clients save money and live their dreams. Many training companies teach critical skills that can help companies avoid costly mistakes.

When you pick your target market, look for organizations that tackle bigger, more expensive problems … as opposed to nice-to-have products and services.

Companies that tackle big, costly problems are WAY more likely to use marketing copy and content on a regular basis than one that doesn’t.

Pattern #3: They Look for “Anchor” Clients

Anchor clients are clients that represent a good part of their income over a period of time.

This could come through recurring work, big projects and/or retainers.

Usually, these are long-term relationships.

The clients view the writer as a trusted partner. If the writer were to leave the client, it would cause some disruption.

However, you don’t want a client to represent more than 30% of your income. You want some diversity.

Pattern #4: They’re More Productive and Focused

No one’s perfect, but most of these writers take control of their day. They don’t wing it. They’re careful and deliberate in how they plan their days and weeks.

They build in buffer time and work in focused increments (e.g. 50-minute focus technique or the Pomodoro technique).

They keep track of their work capacity and have a good handle on it.

High income writers treat their time as a valuable, limited resource.

Pattern #5: They Set and Uphold a Set of Standards

See my recent podcast on this topic. High income writers are really clear on what they will and will not do.

For example:

  • I do not provide work on “spec” for any reason.
  • I do not begin work without 50 percent of the project fees paid up front.
  • I don’t work for ad agencies.
  • I don’t answer the phone every time it rings. To speak with me, clients or prospects must first book an appointment.

If you don’t take the time to think these things through in advance, you’ll make decisions based on your state of mind, which can get you in trouble.

Standards keep you grounded. They provide you with a system.

Six-figure writers are willing to walk away from opportunities when they don’t meet their standards.

Pattern #6: They Charge Professional-Level Fees

You can’t get to six figures by taking on a ton of clients at low fees. You’ll quickly burn out.

Six-figure writers continually bump up their fees and look for ways to earn more in less time.

Pattern #7: They’re Great to Work With

Six-figure writers are the kind of people that clients love to work with.

They have a strong work ethic. They’ll go the extra mile to provide great service. They really care about their clients.

They develop good relationships with many of their clients and often become personal friends.

Pattern #8: They Cultivate Referrals and Word-of-Mouth Marketing

It’s rare to find a six-figure writer who doesn’t get referrals. Many of them ask for referrals. Some of them have defined processes that they follow.

Often, their clients will hire them as they move from one company to the next.

Pattern #9: They Value Self-Improvement and Professional-Improvement

Six-figure writers continually push and challenge themselves. They’re always looking for better ways to do things.

They’re life-long learners. They’re always reading and learning.

They’re not afraid to seek help. They network with peers and share ideas.

Also, they’re not afraid of competition. They understand that their biggest value and differentiator is between their ears!


Real quick … I’m starting a new coaching group for established freelance writers. If you’re already earning somewhere around $2k – $7k per month (or the part-time equivalent), we’re going to work together to double your income and take more time off.

Want to join us? Send me an email ([email protected]) … put “DOUBLE” in the subject line … and I’ll reply with all the details.


By the way … whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:

1. Grab a free copy of my training class for writers who are new to freelancing.
It’s called “The 3 Magic Levers: How to Get Your Writing Business Off the Ground and Land Your First Paying Client.” Click Here

2. Download a free copy of my book for ESTABLISHED writers/copywriters.
You’ll discover how to quickly and predictably reawaken dead leads, generate new client opportunities and convert not-yet-ready prospects into freelance writing clients. — Click Here

3. Join our “Get Better Clients Academy”
You’ll get a personalized action plan based on where you are today in your business. Plus all the tools, scripts, checklists, cheat sheets and templates you’ll need to escape feast-or-famine … grow your income … and land clients who love and respect you. — Click Here

4. Get your website DONE!
If you’ve been struggling to get your website done … or if you’re not happy with what you’ve got today… let my team and me build you a beautiful website for your writing business. We’ll do all the hard work! Email me at [email protected] … put “WEBSITE” in the subject line … and I’ll reply with the details.