What I enjoy most is the freedom to work on my own terms, in my own time and to have full responsibility for the work I put in and the rewards I receive. - Heidi Holvoet, SBI! member since 2008

Entrepreneur Spotlight: How to Turn Writer’s Block into a Writer’s Career

Written By: Bryan Cohen in Real-Life Success Lessons!, Success Stories | September 18, 2015


By Bryan Cohen, build-creative-writing-ideas.com

Tell us about your website, www.build-creative-writing-ideas.com. When and why did you start your site?

I started Build Creative Writing Ideas in December 2008 in an effort to defeat my personal writer’s block and help other writers achieve the same. I also hoped that I could earn a little extra money on the side to allow me to write more often. After two years of hard work on the site, I built up enough traffic to get my start selling info products, which turned into my first self-published books. Now I have over 40!

What do you enjoy most about being an online business owner?

For the longest time, the best part was getting monthly checks from Google AdSense and Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platforms as well as occasional immediate payments from PayPal. Nowadays, the best part is being able to tell friends and family members that creating one or multiple streams of income online is a completely viable enterprise. People are much more willing to take your advice when you’re a success story.

So far, what has been the biggest challenge for you?

The first two years were the most difficult. Building up content and getting into the habit of creating more is extremely challenging. If you can get your routine down and keep creating more and more pages, then you’ll likely have success faster than I did.

If you had to review SBI! for someone who never heard about it, which features or benefits would you highlight?

I’d say that all the keyword research tools are spot-on. If I hadn’t used them to hunt down valuable keywords, I never would’ve learned that so many visitors were interested in creative writing prompts. That keyword alone has been worth tens of thousands of dollars in info products.

Editor’s Note: Bryan refers to Brainstorm It!, a powerful keyword and niche research tool that is part of every SBI! and SBI! for WP subscription.

I’ve also had a lot of success using Content 2.0 pages to generate responses to my creative writing prompts that could be linked back to my info products. Pointing several hundred stories generated from the prompts to my books brought me a boatload of sales.

With the rise of mobile traffic, what steps have you done to give your visitors the best experience on their smart phones and tablets?

I hired a designer experienced in SBI design to help improve the site layout. I think there’s still more to do for me and a lot of SBIers, but it’s always good to have people to outsource these kinds of design issues. Especially when you’re dealing with hundreds of pages at a time.

Editor’s Note: Like Bryan says, outsourcing one-off tasks or tasks that would take you a lot of time to learn yourself, is a smart business decision. That’s what the SiteSell Professionals are here for, to help website owners with this highly specialized type of work.

Has your life changed since you started your site? Can you describe these changes for us?

When I started Build Creative Writing Ideas, I was a temp and a Starbucks barista. Now, partly fueled by the opportunities I’ve had from my SBI site, I’m a full-time writer. I’ve sold tens of thousands of books, some of which started as a collection of my site’s Keyword Focused Content Pages. By taking on writing full-time, I’ve been able to live out my dreams as a novelist, writing a series of young adult fantasy novels (Ted Saves the World) and spend more quality time with my wife and cat.

It all started with my site.

What one piece of advice would you give someone who is just getting started as an online entrepreneur?

Have some ideas about how you plan to monetize right off the bat, but also keep yourself open to new ideas. I never even considered info products until my site was nearly two years old, and I wish I would’ve started sooner.

Once you monetize, learn everything you can about how that form of monetization works. I didn’t become a full student of info products and self-publishing until three+ years after putting out 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts. I’d be much further along now if I would’ve started learning early instead of just cashing the checks and being happy with what I had.

Also, keep working. You’ll get to the end of the tunnel soon enough!

Editor’s Note: Going from writer’s block to accomplished author and publisher of over 40 ebooks — that is an impressive career, Bryan! And it all started with an idea, the wish to help others with the same problem, and a website. Thanks very much for sharing your SBI! review and success story with our readers.

What problem are you good at solving? Why not build a website and business around it, which not only earns you an income, but also touches other people’s lives in a positive way?

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Scan the wide variety of solopreneurs who are winning in real niches. Use it to get a feeling for what SBIers do, as well as to generate ideas. What do you know? Turn it into a business.

Bryan Cohen
Bryan Cohen is the creator of Build Creative Writing Ideas, a site devoted to helping writers and students defeat writer's block. He's now a full-time writer, author, and podcaster. His books include 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts, Ted Saves the World (the first in a series of YA fantasy novels), and the Post-College Guide to Happiness. His podcasts include The Sell More Books Show and The Split. He lives with his wife, his cat, and their Netflix account in Chicago.

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