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How to Actually Make Money Writing Online?

If you’re reading this, I assume you’re probably thinking about becoming a full-time writer or blogger. You’ve probably already made the decision to leave your day job, and while the idea of quitting your corporate America desk job and becoming a freelancer or independent contractor may seem attractive, it can be hard to actually do once you’ve made the leap. In fact, according to a 2017 report from the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) Future of Advertising In-house Agency, 83% of in-house advertising agencies in the United States have not increased their virtual team (i.e. freelance writers, bloggers, and social media marketers) staffing since before the pandemic.

Freelancing and blogging can be a fun and exciting way to make money, but unless you’re already doing it, it can be difficult to know how to get started or how to find enough clients to make it worth your while. Hopefully, this article will help you figure out how to actually make money writing online so you can live your best life and pursue your dream of being a full-time writer.

Create A Niche

One of the best ways to make money as a writer is to specialize in a niche market or topic. If you can become known for your expertise in a certain area, you can potentially charge more for your work because there will be a smaller pool of potential clients that can afford your services.

A good niche or topic will usually revolve around something that interests you as a person and something that is relevant to your target audience’s lives. For example, if you’re passionate about food and drink, you could potentially specialize in restaurant critiques or food truck reviews. If you have an interesting story to tell about growing up in Brooklyn, you could write a personal narrative about your life there. If you love to travel, you could become a guide to other countries or focus on itineraries for solo travelers.

The thing about specializing in a niche is that there will likely be a lot of competition in your area of specialization. Although you may not love to eat gluten, for example, you won’t be able to charge as much for restaurant critiques because there are already a lot of specialists in that niche. But by becoming the go-to person for your area of expertise, you can set your price and terms of engagement and still have a significant amount of work.

Niche specialization doesn’t need to be limited to writing either. If you’re an expert in a certain area, you could potentially develop an online store or blog that sells products related to your niche. For example, if you’re a food expert, you could create a blog that focuses on food trends or recipes. Or if you’ve become well-known for your travel writing, you could create a travel blog that focuses on advice for travelers or a store that sells travel products.

Find Your First Client

While it’s important to specialize in a niche so that you can become known for your expertise in a certain area, it’s also important to keep your options open for work. Even if you don’t have any experience and don’t know how to get started, you should still be able to find a client or two to help you get your feet wet.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that since you’re just starting out, you don’t need to rush into taking on too much work. Instead, focus on finding at least a few clients who are willing to pay you for your time. Once you have some money in your pocket, you can afford to take on some more lucrative projects. You should also make sure that you’re not violating any copyrights or trademarks by doing freelance work for clients. This is especially important if you plan on selling and/or marketing the products that you review or critique.

Make Money Through Affiliate Marketing

One of the simplest and most effective ways to actually make money as a writer is through affiliate marketing. Essentially, affiliate marketing is when advertisers pay you (usually through an affiliate program) to promote their products. You’re essentially just picking up something small like a physical product or a beverage and then selling it for a commission.

There are a variety of affiliate marketing platforms like ClickBank, Amazon Associates, and Patrondoor that can be accessed through a simple sign-up process. Once you’ve made the effort to get a WordPress account and are familiar with how the affiliate marketing system works, you can start making money through affiliate marketing by simply creating affiliate product listings for stuff you buy or love (e.g. Blue Jean Jeans, Starbucks, etc.). You’ll then need to track the sales of your affiliate products so you can get paid through commission.

Make Money With Your Smart Phone

One of the best things about the internet is that it has leveled the playing field for writers. Thanks to the rise of online freelancing and blogging, any talent can make some quick cash with a laptop and a WiFi connection.

But to be effective, you’ll need to have a reliable source of income and a steady stream of work. Luckily, there are multiple ways to make money with your smart phone. You can take advantage of your existing social media platforms to make money through a variety of methods.

For instance, if you’re a skilled photographer, you can use your talents to take stock photos for businesses and bloggers to use on their sites. For details, check out this WordPress tutorial on creating a corporate blog or this guide to starting a stock photo business.

Make Money With Your Computer

If you’re tech-savvy and have a decent amount of disposable income, you can also become a virtual assistant, proofreader, or editor for businesses and bloggers who want to increase their productivity. In most cases, you’ll be given a specific set of tasks to complete (e.g. edit a manuscript, clean up a website, or design a marketing campaign) and be paid per piece or based on the overall size of the project.

While not everyone can be a full-time writer, anyone can become a freelancer or independent contractor by specializing in part-time writing projects and pivoting when opportunities arise.

Choosing to be a full-time freelancer or independent contractor can be a lucrative decision, but it requires a significant amount of upfront work to find your niche, develop your network, and find your first client. Ultimately, it’s all about creating value and being valuable.

Written by Sherry Carranza, CPA, CGMA, MBA –