Almost everyone can write somehow which makes writing one of the most popular ways of earning alternative income. The main factor determining your probable success is how good you can write and how productive you can be. The good news is that you don’t need to be Shakespeare in order to make some supplemental income from writing. In fact, if you write for alternative income you must not be Shakespeare because most people will not understand your writing. If you want to make money by writing you must be able to write in simple, understandable and engaging style. That’s not as hard as it may look – most people who write blogs can do it. And you most probably can do it too.
What I want to answer here, however, is not whether you can write, but where and how to make money from your writing. There are many opportunities, some of which are really good earners.
You can chose to write for yourself and your own projects, or for someone else. Here, in the first section, I will cover the latter part; writing jobs, where you write for someone else. There are lots and lots of opportunities out there.
Write Per Hire
Most straightforward way to make money by writing (and by anything else, isn’t it?) is to write for someone and get paid for the job done. That isn’t the best way, but it’s the easiest because it doesn’t require a genius mind to find some writing work. Your options include but are not limited to:
- Paid blogging. There are lots of blog owners looking for quality writers. Check Problogger’s Job Board and you’ll see many open positions for professional bloggers. No, you don’t need to go into some office and work from 9 to 5 and yes, you will get paid for your writing.
- Getting freelance jobs. You can find a lot of writing projects on sites like Guru, Scriptlance and Elance. For more similar sites check Freelance Switch’s Monster List Of Freelance Sites.
- Writing for experts site. Sites like About.com and EHow.com are looking for expert writers for various topics and offer either a revenue share or fixed rate. The big advantage to write for such site as opposed to writing for your own blog or websites is that they already have huge auditory and good SE ranks. So it’s likely that a guide you write for About.com will make you more money than if you write the same guide on your blog. The experts that are accepted on About.com are paid $925+ monthly.
- Other writing per hire. You can also write for people who publish non fiction books and e-books – it’s common that some will just do the market research and invest some money and will outsource the content research and writing. You can make some money as a writer for newspapers and websites too.
On the writing per hire market supply exceeds demand which makes the prices low. There are cheap writers with decent English who will work for $2 – $3 per hour, so if you want to be paid well you need to find a way to distinguish yourself from the crowd.
With this method depending on your writing quality and talent you can expect to earn between $2 – $3 and $20 – $50 per hour (more if you are very good and productive).
Write your blog
A way to get better payment for writing gigs is to get known for your writing by establishing your own blog. But that’s not all – having a blog, of course, is also a direct method to earn alternative income. In my opinion, it’s one of the worst methods to make money for most people but regardless of that, some really talented (or just lucky) bloggers manage to make a lot more than living from it.
If you want to make money by writing your own blog, just good writing skills will not help you enough. You will need to put significant effort in networking with other bloggers, SEO, and advertising. You will probably need to write some posts that you don’t enjoy so much – like plenty of lists and controversial stuff – just to get some noise around your blog.
Writing a blog allows you to make money by advertising, PPC ads like Adsense, selling text links or selling affiliate products. Very often the bigger profits from blogging come in an indirect way. For example, as suggested in the beginning, your blog could bring you lucrative writing contracts (but that only if you are really good).
For more information on professional blogging better check Problogger.
You can expect to earn from $1 to $100,000 monthly or more – it all depends on how popular your blog will become. Unfortunately, the chances to earn $1 are much bigger
Write for your websites
Similar to managing your blog, you could write for your content websites and monetize them with advertising or affiliate marketing (that’s what most people understand as “make money online” anyway). The difference is that static or semi-static websites do not need to be updated constantly like blogs. Your focus will be more on providing useful and accurate information rather than on controversial and “hot” stuff.
Typically content sites are more “niched” and require serious search engine optimization work. The best thing about making static websites is that you can write 10-20 articles on a topic once and then enjoy the passive income for years. That’s at all not as simple as it sounds however – driving traffic and achieving good SEO positions is hard and becomes harder every day as competition grows. If you are planning to earn alternative income by writing mediocre or recycled content, most probably you will be disappointed.
After you create 4-5 static content sites you can expect to earn between $50 and $5,000 monthly depending on how good your writing and SEO work is and how lucrative the niches you have chosen are.
Write to sell
Finally there is more entrepreneur-ish approach to writing for alternative income. Instead of writing per hire for someone or writing for free and trying to earn from advertising like everyone else, you can try to sell your writing as a product. You can write and produce an e-book, paid report or self publish a paper book and sell copies yourself. Such a project requires more than just writing of course – you need to research the market for projects in demand, do the content research unless you are already an expert in the topic (and probably even then) and finally pack and promote the product.
The big advantage of writing to sell method is that you write once and sell many times. Recently this approach often evolves to selling access to information via membership sites. This model can be better than writing a book or e-book because you can start selling access even before you finish the entire product. You can monitor first users’ feedback and improve your site based on it. And the best thing, in terms of making money, is that when selling access you would typically charge a subscription fee rather than one time fee. If you think that means recurring income, you are right.
Everyone can make some money writing. The main question is how much you can make and whether it will justify the effort. The best way to understand that is to go ahead and try.