While I'm ultra excited about the advances in 21st Century technology and where we're headed.
I'm also terrified.
I'm terrified in the sense that there are millions of jobs that are going to be replaced due to automation. It's estimated that by 2030 (cough — that's ten years away) about 20 million global manufacturing jobs will be replaced due to robotics and automation. 1.5 million manufacturing jobs could disappear in the United States alone.
Maybe I'm biased — I mean I come from a manufacturing family. My grandfather started a metal finishing business in 1979 and my father started his own in 1997 (yeah — if you're like me and weird with numbers you find it peculiar that the nine and seven flipped for them).
I've seen first hand both the positive and negative changes in the manufacturing sector.
I saw how my father, who isn't college educated, had to get an hourly job working at a local print shop during the 2009 Great Recession while simultaneously keeping his factory afloat just so me, my brother, my sister and my mother could eat.
It's made me obsessed with venturing into spaces in the global economy that are going to be safe against attack when it comes to artificial intelligence and the subsequent displacement of jobs.
That obsession led me to writing about 7 years ago. It helped me start and grow a sustainable and functioning online writing business that helps me generate figures in income each month — about 45% of that coming from digital sales of my ebook.
In this article, I'm going to go over exactly how I created and automatically sell my ebook that helps me work for myself creating the content I love to share with the world.
Let's get into it…
Why creating and selling an ebook is your best bet
Writing is a safe profession — at least in terms of the next few decades.
Hubspot notes that writers only have a 3.8% likelihood of being replaced by AI (compare that to a telemarketer which has a 99% chance).
This is due to the artistic nature writing entails. We're still relatively far from the introduction of General Artificial Intelligence (AGI),
"the hypothetical intelligence of a machine that has the capacity to understand or learn any intellectual task that a human being can."
In fact, a survey of AI experts recently predicted the expected emergence of AGI or the singularity by the year 2060 — however this isn't a general consensus as we still don't even have a full understanding of how the human brain works (which is our reference point for creating AGI).
Regardless — it appears that writing is a profession that seems to be out of the crosshairs of AI and automation.
"But Jon — my dad always told me, writers don't make any money!"
I see you and I raise you.
This isn't your father's economy (mine father's either for that matter). Writing has taken many different forms — most of those going digital and online.
First, the growth of blogging in recent years shows us a trend that more and more individuals and businesses are entering into the fold. The image below notes that the amount of bloggers who update their blog at least once a month in the U.S. has grown from 27.4 million in 2014 to 31.4 million [expected] in 2020 (source: Statista).
Furthermore, ebook sales keep rising. It's noted that ebook sales for the month of June 2020 were up 39% compared to the same month of 2019 and the total ebook sales were up 12.7% for the first 6 months of 2020 (totaling $544.5 million).
As more and more people enter the blogging/online writing arena, more and more opportunity awaits.
How receive automatic payments selling your ebook
If you are already generating traffic and an audience with your online content, you can actualize this strategy with relative ease.
And just to prove to you all that this is possible, take a look at the notifications I receive on my phone:
As you can see, I am getting both Stripe and PayPal payments for the sale of my ebook (as well as a course but that isn't the focus of this article).
I want to be as clear as I possibly can: I don't include this to brag, gloat or rub this in anyone's face. I include this to establish credibility.
I personally cannot stand when I get to an article and read a bunch of lofty ideas about "how to achieve X" and it only includes theoretical ideas.
My girlfriend actually gave me some feedback on my articles recently to include more visuals (as it helps her) and that is what I am trying to do with both this visual (left) as well as the graph (above).
Now I get notifications like that when I'm sleeping or even when I'm taking a dump.
Yeah, I wanted to paint a vivid picture for you.
Actually, let me take a step back — I don't technically get these notifications anymore. That's because I turned them off as I started to feel like a prisoner to the "buzz" of the notification and a potential dopamine dump. I wrote more about that here.
Now as for the technical steps you need in order to accomplish this for yourself, let's dive in.
Step 1. Write your ebook
It's never as simple as just "writing your ebook".
I cannot tell you what to write — that's for you because you're writing for a specific audience and teaching a specific skill or relaying some specific type of knowledge.
I can, however tell you how to create it.
You do this by:
1. writing the book via GoogleDoc
Write the book in your traditional format in a GoogleDoc. This is so you have the book ready before we actually publish it.
If you have visuals and links (seeing as this is digital) include the links and visuals in the GoogleDoc.
You are going to want to use headers, sub-headers, proper grammar, formatting etc.
2. Format the book via Canva
If you aren't familiar with Canva, it is a free-for-use design platform that allows you to use already created templates to build and create your own digital/print marketing collateral.
See the image below. We'll be using the "book cover" template:
When you click on that template, you are brought to the design module where you can choose a specific template (depending on your niche) and create your book design:
You can see with the red arrows that if we were making perhaps a social media ebook we could use this template and would be able to edit the various elements.
Now, with adding the pages for the content of your book — you would follow the blue arrow and click "add page" where you would create a text box, copy and paste your content and add pages for when you need more space.
Once completed, you would "download" (top right) and save as a PDF.
3. Setup your Stripe and PayPal accounts
This is a minor step but a crucial one.
How are you going to get paid without a payment processor.
This has to be done on your end but make sure you go ahead and do this.
4. Setup your email service provider (ESP) and upload ebook
There are a bunch of email service providers in the digital market.
If you already have one — great — you can look up if there is a way to sell digital products directly through the platform (many of them do).
Speaking from my own experience, I use Convertkit and host my ebook through a Wordpress (WP) site. For the purposes of this article in particular, we aren't going to go through hosting the product on a WP site because we will get bogged down.
Fortunately, for Convertkit, you can sell directly through their ESP with their new feature, Convertkit Commerce. It is a feature in which you can upload your product directly into the ESP and sell it via the creation of your own product/landing pages.
To include the full setup of this in the article, we'd add an extra 1,000 words so if this is the route you're going to take — please read their product upload guide.
5. Set up email opt in
I know you've probably seen me write about this before.
But I cannot help but scream this from the mountain tops!
Have you ever wondered why the Top content producers always leave a way to join an email list at the bottom of their content?
It's because they know the money is in the email list.
And rightfully so. If a content producer is creating valuable work — they should be rewarded for it.
Now, I believe only a small minority are doing what I coaching you hear with (it will be our little secret — but we'll get to that in a bit).
Make sure you are always inviting people to join your email list by giving them an opportunity. You can do this at the end of your articles and even in your bio.
6. Create an automatic sale during the email welcome sequence
I've written about this before as well.
It's I guess my "secret sauce."
When you're building your email list, you should be utilizing "sequences." Sequences are,
"series of emails sent based on pre-set time intervals or trigger-based automations (or both). A time-based email sequence involves messages that are sent at predetermined intervals (e.g. immediately after opt-in, 30 days after purchase, one year after subscribing etc.)"
You'll see I've bolded "immediately after opt-in." That's because when someone opts in, you should fire off a sequence. This is so your new subscriber can:
- Get introduced to you and your list
- Go over what they can expect from the list
- Give them any "freebie" you promised
- Make an ebook pitch at the end of the sequence
Again — I've bolded a passage — can you guess why?
This is what you're going to do at the end of your email sequence.
Now, you're not going to get a sale on every email sequence. In fact, the sales are going to be quite low. I get anywhere from 10–15% sales from my subscribers on a good day. Starting off, you can probably expect 1–3% before you've honed the copy on your pitch emails etc.
In the end — You need to ask for money in exchange for your gifts
When I was a kid, I remember hearing men constantly say,
"You either born knowing how to make money or you're not."
As I've gotten older, I've learned that that statement doesn't really tell the whole story.
I guess what I mean is, sure — there are things that you need to know in order to make money.
First, you need to know that a product or service shouldn't be for you — it should be for the customer/user/audience.
Second, it should solve a problem.
The third element is more an internal characteristic.
You have to believe that your knowledge, wisdom, experience and point of view is valuable.
Whoever you are, wherever you're from and whatever your experience — there is some value in that if you believe in that value.
And I'm not talking about some Fugazi "Law of Attraction" if you think it, it will happen nonsense.
I'm talking about true belief. I'm talking about how if you believe that you're worth something and your experience is worth something — you shouldn't be ashamed in asking for money in exchange for that unique experience.
If you're putting in labor — you should be rewarded for that. Especially if an audience finds it valuable as well.
Did J.K. Rowling put in all that work and give away her universe for free?
No — she made a billion, jagillion dollars.
The same can be true for you — well, at least the labor and money but no promises on the billion, jagillion…
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