Earn More Writing Review

A Deep Review Of Holly Johnson's Course For Online Freelance Writers

Earn More Writing – Key Points
  About

Earn More Writing is a course for freelance writers looking to boost their income.

💰  Price

$199.

😍  Pros

Excellent credentials, realistic approach, clear and concise info.

😩  Cons

A little dated in places, no text version of video lessons.

  Verdict

We recommend Earn More Writing for people who are serious about building a freelance writing career.

Overall Rating
4.5/5

Table Of Contents

Earn More Writing – Background Information

Earn More Writing is an online course that teaches the business side of online freelance writing.

Professional blogger and columnist Holly Johnson created the course in 2016.

It features 8 modules of mostly video-based content (~3.5 hours watch time), plus bonus materials and access to a private Facebook group (700+ members).

This Earn More Writing review aims to help you decide if the course is a good fit for you.

This review is a joint effort between Niall Doherty (founder of eBiz Facts) and Leanne Gorman (travel blogger at Countries To Go).

Our process:

  1. We paid $199 for access to the course (the “Standard Membership”).
  2. We both went through all the course materials and took notes.
  3. Leanne joined the private Facebook group for members and had a look around.
  4. We jumped on a call and discussed our impressions of the course, what we liked, what we didn’t like, etc.
  5. We agreed we were happy with the course overall and would not be requesting a refund.
  6. We searched online for other reviews of the course to see if there were any key points we missed.
  7. We wrote a first draft of this review.
  8. We sent the draft to our Freedom Business Builder community and asked for feedback.
  9. We sent the draft to the Earn More Writing team and asked if they had any comments or corrections.
  10. We made our final edits and published the review.

Note: We earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase through referral links in this review. Read our full disclosure here.

Pros Of Earn More Writing

1. Created By A Highly Successful Freelance Writer

By all accounts, Holly Johnson seems to have done very well for herself as a freelance writer.

Holly Johnson – Earn More Writing Review
Holly Johnson

Her journey looks like this:

  • Back in 2010 she was working a regular nine-to-five job (unclear if the job was related to writing) and earning $35-40k per year.
  • She started her freelance writing business on the side, in her free time. She built up her own blog and portfolio and wrote some articles for free. Her first paid gigs were $50 per article.
  • In October 2011 she earned $11,660 from freelance writing and has consistently been earning $10,000+ per month as a freelancer since then. Nowadays she earns up to $1500 per article.
  • In 2015, Holly invoiced her freelance clients for $180,000. In 2016, when she released her course, she was on track to invoice for $225,000 in paid writing work.

Holly has achieved this success working from home and raising a family – she and her husband have two young daughters – and apparently take up to ten vacations a year (!!).

She has written for well established publications such as Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The Simple Dollar, and U.S. News and World Report Travel.

Some samples of her writing we found online:

Together with her husband Greg, Holly also runs a popular blog at ClubThrifty.com. The blog has amassed a large following on social media (100,000+ combined on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter).

Within the Earn More Writing course, Holly also shows several screenshots of invoices she sent to one client:

Holly Johnson earnings – Earn More Writing Review

All that to say, Holly certainly seems to have the credentials to teach others how to build a profitable online writing business.

2. Solid Course Structure And Format

The course consists of 8 modules (plus bonus materials) that are well organized and structured to guide you through building your freelance writing business.

Here’s how everything is laid out:

  • Getting Started: Tools and Resources
  • Module 1: How to Establish Your Blog and Brand
  • Module 2: How to Build Your Portfolio and Pitch Clients
  • Module 3: Defending Your Workday
  • Module 4: How to Transition from Broke Writing to Rich Writing
  • Module 5: Finding and Keeping Your Dream Clients
  • Module 6: Actually Getting Paid
  • Module 7: Get More Work by Making Editors Happy
  • Module 8: Taking Your Income into the Stratosphere
  • Bonus Materials

Here’s how it looks inside the course:

Earn More Writing Review

The videos are all slideshow format, with Holly talking over the slides. Simple but engaging.

There are ~3.5 hours of video in the core 8 modules, plus a 26-minute video on Ghostwriting in the bonus module.

Here’s a 15-second snippet of audio from the Module 1 video to give you a feel for it:

At the end of each video, Holly does a quick recap of the material and specifies action items, making everything very clear.

There are also worksheets provided for each module, which are essentially short PDFs you can download and print out. We didn’t find much value in these personally, but it doesn’t hurt to have them.

Here’s the full list of materials in the Bonus Module:

  • Bonus Video: Get Rich Ghostwriting for CEOs
  • Worksheet: Module 9
  • Guide: What Editors Really Want 
  • Guide: The Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post
  • Guide: The Actual Pitch Letter I Sent to “The Simple Dollar”
  • Guide: List of Businesses with Blogs

3. Real World Examples

Throughout the course, Holly draws from her extensive experience in the freelance writing business.

That means:

  • Lots of examples of challenges Holly faced and overcame while building her business.
  • Scripts and email templates you can use for pitching and communicating effectively with clients.
  • Screenshots of pitches and emails Holly has used effectively herself.

We also appreciated that every recommended action was backed by sound reasoning. Holly not only gives you advice in the course, but also explains her reasoning for that advice. So you’re never left wondering why you should do A, B or C.

4. No-Hype Sales Page

One thing we like to do after going through all the materials in a course is refer back to the sales page and see if it’s an accurate representation of what we bought.

You can see the Earn More Writing sales page here.

We’re glad to say that this sales page is solid. It’s not very long and there are no outrageous claims on there. The testimonials seem legit and we checked that the URLs listed alongside them were from real websites.

The sales page and checkout are hosted securely on the Teachable platform, and there are working links to a privacy policy and terms of service.

If anything, the Earn More Writing sales page undersells the course. But we like that, and were glad to see the following in their FAQ section:

What if I am unhappy with the course?
We think you’re going to love this course and get a ton of value from it. Of course, we can’t guarantee your results. No matter how much knowledge we give you, it’s still up to you to make it happen. However, if you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we’ll give you a full refund.

5. Sets Realistic Expectations

In addition to the no-hype sales page, the course itself does a great job of letting aspiring freelance writers know what it takes to succeed.

There’s no sugarcoating the fact that lots of hard work is required.

Holly repeatedly emphasizes the importance of delivering exceptional value as a freelancer, and shows how that often comes down to things like:

  • Going the extra mile for clients
  • Responding quickly to emails
  • Turning in work ahead of schedule
  • Occasionally taking on very tough or “boring”assignments

As she says in Module 7:

“In my career, I’m the person to go to if you have something really shitty that you need written tomorrow, because 99% of the time I will do it regardless because being that kind of worker makes you the worker they’re going to hire for other things.”

But Holly is also quick to note the importance of setting strong boundaries and not being a pushover. She seems to have mastered the art of being assertive without being rude or pushy, and provides plenty of examples for how to deal with “nightmare” clients (and avoid them in the first place), how to ask for a raise, etc.

Cons Of Earn More Writing

1. Material A Little Dated In Places

Best we can tell, the course was created and launched in 2016, and it looks like it’s been updated very little (if at all) since.

This isn’t a huge problem, because most of the material has aged well and is still applicable.

However, here are three updates we’d love to see:

  • Using social media to build your freelance writing career
    Instagram would likely be useful in that regard nowadays, but there’s no mention of it in the course. Nor is there mention of Facebook Live, while the not-so-popular Periscope gets a nod. (Related: organic reach on social media has declined greatly since 2016, so it may not be such an effective tool for freelancers anymore.)
  • Best job sites for freelance writers
    There are a handful mentioned in the course, all of which still seem to be going strong. But it would be nice to hear about sites that have come along since 2016 that are worth checking.
  • List of businesses with blogs
    This list has links to 300+ business blogs that you can pitch your writing services to. We didn’t go through the full list but we suspect there are at least a few in there that are outdated by now.

Of course, when you join Earn More Writing you also get access to the private Facebook group with 700+ members. You’ll surely hear about things like the latest social media best practices and new job sites there.

  • We ran this review by Holly and she noted that Earn More Writing will be updated and refreshed at some point in 2019.

2. Minimal Text With Each Video

It would be nice to have a written version of the material covered in each video, or even a simple transcript. Instead you get only a few short paragraphs and bullet points.

So if you much prefer text to video, this probably isn’t the course for you.

Also, we found that whenever external websites and resources were mentioned in the videos, there were never links to them there on the same page for easy access.

There is a big list of external resources and links right at the beginning of the course, but it would be more convenient to have them linked below the videos that refer to them so you don’t have to go searching or typing in the URLs.

3. No Mention Of Keyword Research

We (reviewers Leanne and Niall) were both surprised to find no mention of keyword research in the course.

This is understandable in one sense, as freelance writers are usually assigned topics to write about by their clients, with target keywords already specified.

However, a big recommendation in the course is to start and build your own blog, and Holly also advises pitching prospective clients a few article ideas, two things which a bit of keyword research knowledge would help considerably.

Imagine pitching two articles to a prospective client:

  • The first article is based on an idea you had in the shower and which you think would be a hit with that client’s audience.
  • The second article is based on some quick keyword research which helped you identify a low competition target keyword that Competitor A is ranking #1 for, bringing 500 visitors per month to their website. “Would you like me to write a better article than Competitor A and help you steal their traffic, Mr. Prospective Client?”

As you can see from that simple example, keyword research is a powerful weapon in a freelance writer’s arsenal.

But again, no mention of it in Earn More Writing.

Fortunately, you can find inexpensive and highly-rated keyword research courses on Udemy and Skillshare.

(Related: not as glaring an omission as keyword research, but there was also no mention in the course of building an email list. Which seemed a little odd, given that Holly strongly advocates building your own personal brand.)

4 More Things You Should Know About Earn More Writing

  1. There is a 30-day full money back guarantee. As per the sales page: “if you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we’ll give you a full refund.”
  2. The Facebook group seems to be active and valuable. Here is what Zoë Biehl, a long-time member had to say about it:

“Holly posts daily what she is working on that day and how much money she is making. Everyone is encouraged to do the same. She explains in the course that the best way to hit your income goals is to break down how much you need to make each day you work, and do everything you gotta do to hit that goal each day.

If you have any kind of question or need guidance on anything, people are super responsive, including Holly. She responds to pretty much everyone. And I really appreciate her no-nonsense responses of how she handles her clients.”

  1. You DO NOT get lifetime access to the course when you join. All three packages only give you 1 year of access to the course materials (though we’ve heard from another buyer that you can extend access for a “nominal fee”). Access to the Facebook group is indefinite.
  2. Holly does offer a free workshop / webinar from the sales page, where you can apparently learn the “6 Keys To Online Freelance Success.” We didn’t sign up for this so not sure how good it is, but it should give you a feel for Holly’s teaching style and if her full course is right for you. Expect a sales pitch at the end.

Workshop – Earn More Writing Review

Do We Recommend Earn More Writing?

Yes.

Holly walks her talk and the course delivers as promised.

Everything is laid out clearly and concisely, you get access to a private community of freelance writers, and there’s a 30-day money back guarantee.

Hard to go wrong with all that.

Who Should Buy Earn More Writing

  • People who already know how to write but need help with the business side of things
    This course is about the BUSINESS of freelance writing. By design, there’s not much in there to help you become a better writer. It’s designed to help you become a more profitable writer.
  • People who are serious about building a freelance writing career
    If you’re already committed to your craft, this course should help you make a good living doing it.

Who Should NOT Buy Earn More Writing

  • People who don’t have much time to spare
    20 hours per week is probably the minimum you’d want to put into this. Holly got started in her spare time while still working a day job, but she’s a self-described workaholic. The approach she advocates definitely requires hard work and sacrifice.
  • People who want a flexible schedule
    You can be somewhat flexible but the more you treat freelance writing like a job, the more you stick to a schedule, and the more available you are to respond quickly to emails, the better.
  • People who don’t want to build their own brand or be active on social media
    Social media has played a big part in Holly’s success, and she strongly advocates building your own following and brand and leveraging that to boost your writing career.

If you’re any of those people, Earn More Writing wouldn’t be a good fit for you. See our alternative recommendations at the bottom of this article.

Pricing and Upgrades

The standard Earn More Writing course is available for $199.

There are also some upgrades available.

Full details:

Earn More Writing Review: pricing options

We bought the $199 Standard Membership and found that to be good value.

The pro bundle gives you access to the advanced Earn More Writing PRO course, while the platinum bundle includes a third course called Earn More Travel Writing.

We can’t comment on either of the additional courses, but we checked with Holly and she confirmed that if you buy the Standard Membership you are offered the Pro course at a discount later. 2

4 Tips For Getting The Most Out Of The Course

  • Take notes as you go through all the materials. This will force you to pay more attention, you can jot down tasks and ideas as they occur to you, and it makes it easy to find and refer back to parts of the course later.
  • There are more than 3.5 hours of video in the course. You can get through them much faster without losing comprehension using this free plugin for Chrome. (We watched many of the videos at 2.5x speed.)
  • Before following the recommendations in the course related to social media and job sites, ask in the Facebook group if the same advice still applies today.
  • Most important: ACTUALLY TAKE ACTION ON WHAT YOU LEARN IN THE COURSE! It takes more than watching a few videos to build a freelance writing career.

Do You Like The Sound Of Earn More Writing?

If so, click here to join the course or learn more about it.

If not, here are some other resources you might find helpful for building your freelance writing career:

P.S. Have you bought this course before? Please consider leaving a review below  – good or bad – doesn’t matter so long as it’s helpful to our visitors. Thanks for your support!

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About The Author

8 Comments

  1. Do you know how much the annual fees are for this course?? ‘Cuz it doesn’t provide a lifetime access.

    Thanks in advance :))

  2. Would you recommend the course for those who are already full-time freelance writers but want to earn more by finding higher paying clients?

    Is there ever any mention of how much people are making per day or per hour in the course?

    Thanks!

  3. I explored several course options before choosing Earn More Writing. None of those other courses rang true for me. Then I discovered the Earn More Writing course. Holly is honest that you will have to work hard and put yourself out there to succeed. Not only do I apply the lessons from the course to my freelance writing, I also apply it to my other freelance areas, including editing and web design. I find the information and guidance shared in the course and in the Facebook group to be invaluable to developing my freelance career. The first job I received as a result of the advice in the course more than paid for the cost of the course and gave me another marketable skill for my portfolio. It works if you work it!

  4. I found the course fantastic. Like you summarized, it teaches you to be a more profitable freelance writer. In my opinion, the most valuable aspect of the course is the Facebook group. I’ve gotten quite a few job leads from it, and am continually impressed with Holly’s level on engagement in the group.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Sandra.

      I didn’t get a look at the Facebook group myself but both Leanne and Zoë told me it is very active and that Holly is always posting and responding to comments in there, which is good to hear. That’s great as well that you’ve gotten a few job leads via the group.

      P.S. Your website looks good 🙂

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