It’s fair to say that Jeff Goins has never really lived his life with a plan. And yet, he’s achieved so much. He makes a good living from doing what brings him the most joy in life, which is writing and educating.
He may have spent his whole life writing, but it took him a long time before he could identify himself as being a writer.
But it was that moment when he changed his life. However, all the different experiences he has had have shaped the person we know him as today – as a best-selling author.
At Grad School, he studied Spanish and Religion. That allowed him to become surrounded by interesting ideas to write about, and people willing to challenge him.
It even took him to Spain for a semester where he interviewed over 100 locals to help put together two papers.
And after he graduated, he joined a band and spent a year touring the United States, included time in Taiwan.
But he soon found himself in Nashville chasing a girl (who became his wife) and looking for a way of earning money. But it was just one email that led him onto the path we find him on today.
Since then, he’s quit his job, written 4 books and has earned over 7 figures.
How has he achieved all that? Well, he tells us how. And it all starts by not having a plan.
Discover Who You Are
An old boss told Jeff that your 20s are just a series of internships. You try lots of different things and acquire a bunch of new skills. That’s means by the time you reach your 30s, you should have discovered something you’re good at.
Well, a brief look at Jeff’s life before he was a writer, and after, surely acts as proof.
It was when working in a call center in Nashville that he was emailing bloggers, whose work he admired, asking for advice.
And it was an email to Seth Barnes at the non-profit organization Adventures in Mission, which changed everything.
He is the first person to identify Jeff as a writer after reading his résumé. And soon after, Jeff was part of a project where he captured the stories of people who had gone on missionary trips. And then started writing for their online magazine.
After 5 years, he had become marketing director at the organization. However, that meant he has moved away from the writing and publishing, which he missed.
So he started up his own blog and wrote for his own benefit. He had discovered how much he enjoyed writing.
It doesn’t matter how supportive your parents are, you need to find yourself. You’re unlikely to have someone to tell you exactly what you’re good at and what you should be doing.
He didn’t know what he was good at and had no big dream. He had become a writer and marketer purely through consequence.
Benefits Of Commitment
All the way through our lives, we go through dips. We may find ourselves in a low mood, with money problems, or feeling a bit trapped by our work lives. And that’s especially the case when we’re young.
We spend all our time through school and college making changes every semester. The subjects we learn, the teachers we’re with, and variations in our cohort. But once we start work, those regular changes stop.
We no longer hit refresh every six months, and as such, we often become restless around this time.
The temptation is to go off and try something new. But you shouldn’t. Jeff ended up working for Adventures in Missions for seven years.
He worked through it and started to appreciate the gift of commitment. When you stick with something for longer than you necessarily want to, you get a lot back in return.
And this is the case for almost every aspect of life.
Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life
Jeff never had an aspiration to be a writer. It was something he became. Seth Barnes was the first to say it, and Jeff soon noticed it himself.
Once that happened, he became to live into that identity. You see, how you think about yourself has a much bigger impact on yourself than you might ever think.
The names we call ourselves can have repercussions. The title you give to yourself is how you will become to identify. And then soon, you become it.
Activity follows identity.
At 27, with a lack of confidence, Jeff recognized himself through his job. So he worked harder. And harder. But still, he found something was missing. An itch which he couldn’t reach to scratch.
He had a sense that he wasn’t fulfilling his true purpose, and felt he had more to give.
It wasn’t until he found out that a friend had assumed Jeff’s dream was to be a writer that he realized. Feelings of conviction, guilt, and fear all hit him the moment he heard it. It was at this moment that Jeff feels he ‘turned pro’.
You don’t have to want to be a writer to be a writer, you just have to write. But, you can’t call yourself a writer if you’re not writing.
So the next morning, Jeff woke up at 5am to write. He behaved as he felt a professional writer should.
Have A Genuine Why
Just like everything else in Jeff’s life, he didn’t set out to be an entrepreneur either. You may have noticed a theme —
He just spent a year writing a blog post every day. In that time, he’d built an audience of around 10,000 email subscribers and had a publisher approach him about writing a book.
But he read that if you have an audience, you can make money. And with a baby on the way, he found himself forced into starting a business as a way of making ends meet to have the lifestyle they wanted.
He saw an opportunity to teach people how to write, which is something he’d been doing for years in his job.
But even at college, he had a part-time job as a writing tutor where he helped other students who were struggling with their assignments. It was something he enjoyed, and something he still enjoys now.
It’s important to do what you’re good at in life and to have a story.
If you don’t know yours, then call up 5 friends to ask them what they think you’re good at. Jeff promises, something they say will surprise you.
They’ll be a quality that you didn’t even realize people valued. That’s because what you find obvious may seem completely amazing to someone else.
Small Things Grow
When Jeff was trying to work out what to sell, he surveyed his audience to find out what they wanted more of from him.
He discovered that they’d like blogging advice for writers, in the form of an eBook, and were willing to pay up to $20 for it.
So he released two eBooks which they could buy for $2.99 because he was afraid of asking for money. But over the course of that one weekend, he’d made $1,500. This was the start of the new world he’d found himself in.
But he wasn’t proud of what he’d produced. So he took them down and decided to combine them into one eBook entitled You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One).
With the advice from a friend who had earned $40k in two months from an eBook she’d launched, he produced his own product which he self-published. In six weeks, he’d made $16,000.
Relaunch, Relaunch, Relaunch
Off the back of this book, he had people emailing him and leaving reviews asking for more. He found that his readers wanted walking through the process he’d discussed in the book.
And that’s where the idea for his online course Tribe Writers came from. With a deadline to release it in September, he’d only half completed it. So he started to sell it whilst still making the second half, using the feedback he was getting.
That made him $25,000, which he was very happy with.
But it was on the advice of another friend, Derek Halpern, that he made the decision to relaunch the product, rather than focusing on the next thing.
That’s because Derek had made Jeff realize that there were still lots of people out there who needed this product, which hadn’t purchased it. Jeff had set his goal too low.
And he made another $36,000.
Up until this point, he’d achieved everything whilst still doing his day job. But this is what made him finally quit.
Since then, he has relaunched the course numerous times, each time with improvements, and has made more money every time. Over the next few years, he ended up making $2.5million.
So imagine how much money he could have missed out on if he hadn’t taken Derek’s advice.
The True Art Of Work
You have a calling and a purpose. Everyone does.
But you cannot start with the idea of what you want to do, otherwise, you may find you’re holding yourself back. People think you should have a big dream.
In reality, people are struggling and they don’t have a heart’s desire. They’re just going through life.
Instead, you must listen to your life, asking what things are obvious to you and awesome to others. Do less of the things which hold you back.
Live life true to yourself.
And that’s exactly what Jeff helps people to achieve with his book The Art of Work. It’s sold 50,000 copies and focuses on the seven stages you need to go through to achieve what’s best for you.
When you visit The Art of Work website, you can sign up to benefit from lots of bonuses which Jeff has there for you.
It even has an online community of readers who help and give each other the encouragement they need. Plus there are workbooks which help you to work through the stages he teaches.
Don’t forget to check out Jeff’s other books either. They’re all full of incredible information which you can’t help but benefit from, and are so well written. You Are A Writer, The In-Between, and Wrecked are all great works.
You can also learn a lot more from Jeff by visiting his website and signing up to his newsletter. You’ll then see a fantastic example of how to write a thank you page. Plus you’ll get a free eBook to help you build a popular blog.