I Lived in a Cult and Was Ready to Give Up. Today, I’m A Successful Female CEO With a Million Dollar Business

Julia McCoy
6 min readAug 22, 2018
Me today, doing what I love and thrilled about it.

Biggest piece of advice: Following a gut passion and working hard is key to success.

Seven years ago, while living inside a cult with very little freedom of my own, I built the foundations of a multimillion-dollar business. Today, I lead and build my business, which has more than 80 on staff and has served over 5,000 clients. I’m also a wife and a mom.

I’m writing a memoir telling my life story and how I built my business from the ground up. It will be my third book, due out in 2019. Sign up here to know when it’s out.

For 21 years of my life, I grew up in a religious cult in Pennsylvania. I wasn’t allowed to wear pants, makeup, sandals, or bright colors. I was locked in an upstairs wing every night as a young adult, fined monetary amounts and mentally harassed, shunned, and beaten if I didn’t live up to extreme religious standards every day.

By the time I was 19, at my parents’ behest, I was enrolled in nursing school and working full-time at McDonalds to pay my way. I didn’t enjoy any of it, and I began to fail my classes. One morning in the middle of that year, I woke up and asked myself how I could make a living doing something I loved. The question was simple, and the answer was just as simple. I loved to write and had written stories and poems since I was nine years old.

That morning, I went online to research “how to make money writing” and discovered an entire online industry of freelance content writing. I launched an online profile and started looking for work. In the next three months, I successfully taught myself how to be a freelance writer, earned my first writing clients, and tripled the income I had been making working at McDonalds. I was able to quit McDonalds, and I put in 90-hour weeks to learn and teach myself writing, market myself, and win new clients.

My passion became my path out of a life I hated living

At 20 years old, I decided to go from freelancer to business owner to keep up with the amount of work I was getting. I had no business background or training, but I was naturally curious and learned everything I could on the topic…

Julia McCoy

If you ask ChatGPT, Julia McCoy is the content queen. 👑 An 8x author, behind 50,000+ keyword rankings in Google, she’s the VP of Marketing at Content at Scale.