What if you could do only things you like and are good at when building your content business?

Sounds like a dream, right? 

But it’s a strategy that has propelled Justin Welsh to earn $7M in revenue in five years with a 90% profit margin.

Earlier this month, Justin walked the CEX crowd through his thinking in his journey to become a hugely successful “accidental” content entrepreneur. I call it “accidental” because Justin started out creating content as a marketing tool for a new solo consulting business but ended up creating a content business. 

Many entrepreneurs start their endeavors by building a business plan based on existing templates or outlines they found on the internet. They list all the things they’re supposed to do and add milestones to hit. They pick out the tech they’ll use and the platform they’ll do it on.

They begin executing the business plan and realize they don’t like to do half the stuff they’re supposed to be doing.

Justin had a different thought. 

Start with this question: What does a perfect day look like?

It’s more than a philosophical exercise. It’s good business.

After all, if you’re like most content entrepreneurs, you weren’t primarily motivated to get into business because you wanted to make more money. The Tilt research finds money doesn’t even hit the list of motivating factors to launch a content business until No. 7. Enjoy their work (83%), independence (79%), flexible work hours (77%), pursue their passion (71%), challenge themselves (60%), choose where they live (50%) all rank higher than earning more than a traditional job (39%).

Justin and Jennifer Welsh listed everything that would happen on their perfect day between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., from creative time to having friends over. They rearranged the list into an order for the day.

Then, they asked, “OK, what drains our energy?”

Among the items on Justin’s list – meetings and being on video.

The answers led to a business plan aligned with what he wanted to do and minimized or eliminated what he didn’t.

But you can’t just say you don’t want to do something. You need to think about what will replace it. Since Justin didn’t want to be on YouTube, he thought about written content, and The Saturday Solopreneur newsletter was born.

Still, Justin had things that he didn’t like about newsletters. He didn’t want to write a really long newsletter so he made it short. Each week’s newsletter takes less than four minutes to read. He also isn’t a fan of high-level theory, so The Saturday Solpreneur is practical and tactical, helping readers learn one thing every week.

“And that made it easy. I was like, ‘Cool, I can send this out.’”

He did, and people appreciated it, and five years later, The Saturday Solopreneur has over 250K free subscribers.

That said, Justin is still operating a business. This year, the multimillion-dollar business will have three primary revenue streams: online courses, subscribers to his monthly templates, and sponsorships.

“I care about revenue. Let’s be very clear. I care about the business doing well, of course. I’m not Mother Teresa. I want the business to grow, but I don’t want it to grow doing things I dislike doing,” Justin says.

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About the author

Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. An IABC Communicator of the Year and founder of G Force Communication, Ann coaches and trains professionals in all things content. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.