4 Ways Your Writing Can Make You Money
Discover the Secrets to Passive Income
Listen to me closely. Stop selling yourself short. Quit telling yourself that your passion is not good enough to be more than just a hobby. Find a way to make money from it.
Nowadays we can make money from almost anything, and with the rise of the internet, new ways to do this are popping up at an increasingly rapid rate. Yay internet!
“But how?” I hear you ask.
“Pray, tell!” I notice you scream.
In this article, I’m going to discuss four practical ways that you can start making money from something you’re passionate about. It is important to note that there is no fast way to start making a ton of money right away. This is something, in the beginning, that will take hard work, consistent effort, but will hopefully be extremely enjoyable in the process! In order to make this article as concise as possible, I’m going to focus on one of my own passions, writing, as an example. Although many of the following tips are relevant to every kind of side hustle.
I started writing on Vocal during the Coronavirus pandemic. I had noticed that just how much doom and gloom had begun to encompass every aspect of people’s everyday lives. Although we tend to see a lot of negativity in the news anyway (a negative headline has long garnered more clicks than a positive one), the situation with Covid-19 had become so dire that even the news stations (in the UK at least) had started making a point of showcasing positive headlines.
I had also noticed how negative my own mindset had become, how I would see and call out injustices everywhere (horrified that they were even a thing) yet offer no potential solutions to such scenarios. A lot of us do it, it’s an action that comes from love, and calling out such prejudices is often the first step to starting a conversation that could be the springboard for real change. Though oftentimes these situations are incredibly complex, making it seem hard for one person to change, say, centuries worth of institutional corruption and injustice... If we never try to offer any solutions then we may as well just be screaming into the void.
Optimism often gets a bad rap because it is heavily associated with naivety. Because of this, people tend to call themselves Realists. But Realism is often marred with Pessimism, something which has come to be accepted as a necessary evil. I’m trying to change the above perspectives. When I decided to create Outrageous Optimism, it wasn’t because I thought we should ignore what is wrong with the world. Rather, I thought we should use that knowledge to learn, change and grow together. I believe that we can create a better world one step at a time, and we can do that through education, compassion, and proactivity.
“This is all well and good… but we came to learn how to make money!” I hear you complain, watching your face turn pink as you wait with bated breath.
Alright, alright, without further ado…
1. Create an Internet Presence and Build Your Portfolio
So, you have a love for writing, you have something to say, or a message that you need to get out there. You’ve spent time honing your craft and think you’ve gotten pretty good. None of that matters if you are the only person who sees it!
The first thing I would suggest is to find a website to showcase your work, preferably one that pays you per read, engagement, or article. You can do this on our very own Vocal Media. But there are also other sites such as Medium, Narratively, Listverse or Cracked (to name a few). Most of these sites will pay per read, which is a fantastic way to incentivise you to also learn how to market your work and discover what piques a reader’s interest – a crucial skill to have if you want to make serious money from your writing.
Some sites specialise in specific topics and pay very well. Copyhackers, for example, focus on networking, copywriting and starting a business. It may be slightly more difficult to get your article accepted onto their website, but if it is well-researched, they will pay you a straight $300 - $1000 fee for every piece of writing you publish.
Other things you can do include regularly submitting your writing to magazines, newspapers, and competitions. Most of the time, if your work is chosen, you will be paid for this and you get to expand your reach. Just remember to read the terms and conditions, as some organisations desire exclusivity with the stuff that they publish.
Even if you couldn’t find a website that paid you anything (although, we now know that they are out there), publishing your writing online is going to help you build up a portfolio which will give you something to refer to when applying to jobs, schools, and maybe even some of those higher paying – but very picky – media sites.
2. Utilise SEOs and Cultivate Return Readers
S.E.O, or Search Engine Optimisation. As mentioned in the introduction to this article, internet usage has continuously grown since its release to the public in 1991 (or 1993 – the jury’s out on that one). We use the internet for everything, it is one of the most efficient ways to learn since the library. That means a lot of searches! Every day potential readers, customers, or clients are making several searches that are related to your business or what you write about. They are using specific keywords to make these searches and every time a keyword is searched, websites or articles which contain those keywords are pushed further up the ranks of search engines such as Google, creating more traffic for your work.
Getting in on this research then and discovering the best keywords for the topic you are writing about is essential. One such free website you can use to do this research is Wordtracker. Effectively utilising SEOs will help get you regular clicks as you continue to reach new readers, and ultimately, make more money.
Other ways you can create return readers is by knowing your area of expertise and connecting with professionals in that field. Strike up a conversation about your work and how it might be helpful to them. Perhaps you might be writing about something they already know about, but they may pass your article onto mentees, students, or use it for training in the companies they own/work at. In the same vein, if you are writing about a company, brand, or influencer, let them know! A lot of the time, they will want to spread the good word about themselves too, which results in – you guessed it – more reads and an expansion of return readers. It’s a win-win!
3. Diversify the Way You Present Your Work and Expand Your Reach
Stop putting all of your eggs in one basket! Start to think about the different formats you can showcase your work in. Have you considered Livestreaming? You may be thinking, what does Livestreaming have to do with my writing? As it turns out, a lot. Livestreaming isn’t just for celebrities, YouTube stars, gamers, or those selling products – although it has proved infinitely useful for such groups.
‘Research shows that audiences spend 3x more time watching live video, and that 47% of people are streaming more live video than last year. It’s a monetization goldmine!’ (J. Johnson, 2020: Online)
With Livestreaming, you can expand your reach, get them hyped for your writing or about your ideas, and assess feedback in the moment. If you gain a good following, you can even choose to make it a regular occurrence and charge a subscription fee. Alternatively, your Livestreams may lead to sponsorship deals, which can then indirectly lead any audience you gain from this back to your writing.
Have you thought of making videos on YouTube? You’ve written your article, you’ve published it, but why stop there? Why don’t you turn your article into a video? In the description of your video, link your audience through to your blog. Alternatively, post the video version of your article at the top of your writing. This way you are giving your readers a choice, dependent upon how they prefer to consume information, to either watch the video or read what you have written below. Once you build up a following on YouTube and become eligible for their partnership program you can begin diversifying where your income is coming from. Whether your reader watches the video or reads your work, you will be getting paid either way – sometimes even twice.
Finally, utilise social media! Even if you are not initially making money from this, you are building an audience who will not only come back to your work time and again but also would potentially choose to stick around for more.
4. Ask for Support
Patreon has more than 200,000 creators already using it to their advantage, it has been essential for many in allowing them to continue creating high-quality work.
‘On Patreon, you can let your fans become active participants in the work they love by offering them a monthly membership. You give them access to exclusive content, community, and insight into your creative process. In exchange, you get the freedom to do your best work, and the stability you need to build an independent creative career.’ (Patreon: Online)
Memberful is similar to Patreon but goes further, allowing you to create any kind of subscription plan, choose what you pay, manage membership with ease, optimise checkout, and analyse your stats.
‘You are now funded, connected, and stress-free! Your most passionate followers are able to support your work in minutes, using a membership software that takes care of the hard stuff. It’s that simple.’ (Memberful: Online)
On top of this, there is no coding required – as they handle all of that for you. They'll also help you to diversify your revenue, and create a recurring stream of income. You can even sell memberships without a website!
Utilising sites like these will allow you to give your audience a space to go to keep track of your work and to support future projects if they like what they see.
So that’s it! The information above contains just a few ways that you can begin to make money from the stuff you are passionate about. Learning about how to make money from your work can seem daunting to anybody just starting out. The research can often seem long, and the answers you do find, conflicting. Writing this article has very much taken me on a journey. Mostly because the first thing they tell you in business is never to reveal all of your secrets. I decided I would screw that advice for this piece of work. Hopefully this has been helpful and will become especially useful to you on your own journey.
I suppose all that’s left to say is goodbye, and see you again soon?