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How to Make Money Freelance Writing

I'll earn $1,500 in passive income from one article this year. So could you...

By Matt CatesPublished 7 years ago 15 min read

(This content was originally published on Why Are You Still Working?)

So, you want to make money freelance writing? Greedy savages! Well, me, too. So here's what I recommend...

Some of you may’ve read my posts for Jerrick Media’s OMNI, Geeks, Longevity, Potent, Journal, or Filthy…If you have not--a pox upon you!

Well, now Jerrick just launched their new author platform for writers to sign up and submit articles.

Anyone can sign up and submit directly. If their editors approve the submission then it gets posted and monetized. Yes, monetized. Got your attention, did it? (said in a polite British accent)

Jerrick Media / Vocal doesn’t pay upfront for articles (unless they hire you outside of the Vocal submission platform) but, if a piece does well, then the writer gets paid by performance.

I was lucky enough to have been writing odd pieces for them here and there when they decided to launch a Beta version of this new platform, which – again – they call Vocal.

UPDATE: I was offered a referral link from Vocal; so if you do decide to check them out and submit an article, feel free to use this link!

Getting Your Voice Heard Through Vocal

So I still got paid during the Beta phase, but now that the platform has gone live, I am, in essence, just like any other authors out there who want to contribute. You, for instance!

I am paid not by per piece but by performance of each piece. Here’s a shot of what the console looks like. NOTE: This is from my actual dashboard!

You can see my Total Views and Total Earnings… My Available Balance is not much, because I already withdrew the rest and it paid directly into my bank account. I would say I average $1 to $2 each day, and most of it is coming from one very popular article.

Sneak Peek at Vocal's Dashboard

Here is a snippet of some of my actual published articles from the platform. You can see the View count on the side; some do much better than others…

A Smattering of My Articles

By far my best performing article to date is ‘Most Underrated Sci-Fi movies,’ most likely because they boosted it or promoted it somewhere. I am not certain about that, however. It is possible that the article is just highly optimized and comes up a lot in search engine queries.

Either way, I highly encourage you to check it out if you’d like to see an example of what they are after, at least in terms of listicles…

If it was a boost that, er, boosted the views then my hope is the same little boost will happen to a few of the others...but I know Vocal / Jerrick Media have lots of other writers and pieces to deal with. That is why it is really incumbent on the writers to promote their own work (via Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, Facebook, Reddit, etc), with this and any other freelance endeavor!

Note: I just checked, and yes, my underrated sci-fi article is the first result which comes up if you type "underrated sci fi movie" into Google!

Google 'Underrated Sci Fi Movie' and You'll Find Me!

I occasionally put out a few new articles, such as Top Ten Classic Comic Batman Trivia Tidbits…and What to Buy to Actually Become a Superhero… but these are not exactly topics which people search a lot for. So by and large, they aren't pulling a large view count (though they were fun to write!)

Vocal lets you track the performance of your posts, so, like me, you can see how well (or not) each piece is doing on a daily basis…and, at least so far in my case, I can see what my earnings are.

They have a few online mags to choose from; after you create your post, you submit for review and it’ll ask which magazine you are submitting to…

UPDATE: Vocal has just added even more sites, The Swamp (about political news), Feast (about food, natch…), Beat (music), and Proof (booze), making it a total of 10 sites to choose from! The others, as I linked to above, are OMNI (science), Potent (cannabis), Longevity (life extension), Journal (work), Geeks (sci-fi and pop culture), and Filthy (sex!).

A Cornucopia of Offerings at Jerrick Media

As far as drafting the actual articles, it is pretty intuitive but they have built a few training posts to help writers figure it out. For me, one of the coolest bits was being able to copy an Amazon product URL and paste it into their product placement cell… It automatically links to their affiliate code.

I doubt that any products sold from the affiliate link will translate to shared profit for the author, and many of my own posts didn’t ever contain product placements… But there was never any pressure to include product placements anyways. Indeed I never had any pressure in any of my dealings with them.

It’s always a highly pleasant experience working with their staff! (And no, nobody asked me to write that. I’m not on their paid staff, and have never even met anyone in their office, except via Google Hangouts).

So sometimes in my posts on Vocal did include product links; sometimes not. My earliest posts, yes, because those were listicles or "best of" articles that they specifically had asked for. And those types of posts do perform well, based on the stats I’ve seen. I realize they aren’t always the most fun things to write, but then again it was always interesting for me to research and to learn about new books and videos.

And again, those are the types of evergreen content that people search for!

So I recommend starting off with something along those lines, even if it does mean researching your buns off. Hey, one way to look at it is, the more money Jerrick Media makes, the better they are able to advertise…and thus more traffic for your monetized posts!

Actually I encouraged a friend of mine to write an article for them, so he did a long piece on Asimov, for their OMNI site. So far it has been very well received and lauded, so he's strongly considered doing a follow-up piece.

UPDATE: In case you missed it above, I was recently offered a referral link from Vocal / Jerrick Media; so if you decide to check them out and submit an article, please use my link! Their referral program is relatively new, so I'm a Beta tester for this concept, too.

Okay, there’s my plug for Vocal / Jerrick Media. It wasn’t asked for, but I felt like sharing because I do think it’s an intriguing new option for niche writers. So I recommend giving it a try! As a part-time freelancer, I must say I haven’t seen a platform quite like this in my ventures to date (well, maybe Blasting News?). Not saying it is 100% unique, because if I say that some wiseass will prove me wrong… But it is new to me in any case.

Well, honestly I’m not doing much freelance writing these days, due to pain in my arms, elbow, wrists, etc… Sometimes I’ll write a new post for my site I also periodically do articles for other sites; I was even published in Forbes (and wrote an article on How To Get an Article Posted on Forbes…).

Oh, I almost forgot! How do you get paid, you may wonder… Vocal / Jerrick Media uses another site,, which processed payments directly into your bank account. I cannot confirm that it will take accounts from any country or not; based on my reading, it looks like they take several but some are being beta tested and some weren’t listed all all. But for US-based writers, or those with US bank accounts, you’ll have no issues…

How Jerrick Media & Vocal Pay Their Writers

Are you still not convinced?


Because I thought by now you'd have stopped reading and started drafting your first article for them. Okay, no prob. Let's get into a numbered list of why you should do this thing... By the time we get to the end, I think you'll have made up your mind!

But first, you wonder--why the hard sell on my part? Well, sorry if it comes off that way, but I genuinely believe it is a great opportunity for freelancers of all backgrounds and experience.

Here's six examples of what I mean:

#1 They make it so incredibly simple!

Sign up for free at the Vocal platform website, and start writing your article! You can use my referral link; I want you to! Helps me out, too…

#2 Vocal pays you based on views!

They encourage their authors to promote their own work. So the better you are at self promotion, the more you can make. It isn’t just a one-time payment type of thing. You can earn passive income for potentially years on your articles!

In my case, most of my work was submitted before the advent of Vocal. So I was paid per article, as I said. But Jerrick Media was gracious enough to include all my old freelance articles into the Vocal system, thus allowing me to earn extra money off those pieces. It’s fantastic; I’m literally getting paid twice for the work.

New contributors won’t have that option, but regardless, you can submit an article and watch the views rack up and your earnings grow…and a lot of that depends on your own initiative. Jerrick does promote authors, as well. Their sites get traffic, plus they do promote on social media, such as Twitter. And I believe they also occasionally boost preferred articles, ones which have evergreen appeal. My most popular article has been Most Underrated Sci-Fi Movies!

But other popular articles are listed on my OMNI author page!

#3 Jerrick Media is becoming well known!

Launched with their reboot of the classic OMNI magazine, Jerrick Media has since grown to encompass over a dozen new sites! They are all over the web!

Vocal incorporates The Swamp (about political news), Feast (about food, natch…), Beat (music), and Proof (booze), OMNI (science), Potent (cannabis), Longevity (life extension), Journal (work), Geeks (sci-fi and pop culture), and Filthy (sex!).

#4 Jerrick Media’s variety means they need all kinds of articles!

No matter what you want to write about, there is almost certainly a home for your work with Jerrick Media. Vocal lets you craft your article, inserting photos and videos and affiliate links along the way. Then at the end, you decide which magazine you’d like to submit to!

Again, here’s that list of sites:

Vocal incorporates The Swamp (about political news), Feast (about food, natch…), Beat (music), and Proof (booze), OMNI (science), Potent (cannabis), Longevity (life extension), Journal (work), Geeks (sci-fi and pop culture), and Filthy (sex!).

#5 Their staff is amazingly friendly!

Anytime I’ve reached out to their editor or other staff, they’ve always been super helpful and responsive. They’re also encouraging and offer helpful feedback.

Basically it seems that their honest goal is to help writers succeed. I am not just saying that. And believe in, in the freelance world, such help is a blessing!

#6 They are continuing to grow, so now is the perfect time to get your foot in the door!

I was an early content producer for Jerrick Media, and so when they launched their Vocal platform, they offered me a chance to beta test it. It was easy to learn and they have tutorials built-in. Not much harder than typing my work onto a Word doc and emailing it in. In fact, I felt like Vocal was better. I had more control; I was driving the bus! And again, it allows you to insert the photos and other media you want, where you want.

Naturally this is all contingent upon the staff accepting your submission. 95% of my articles were accepted, with only minor tweaks ever made. That doesn’t mean they don’t care about quality. Just means they’re efficient!

So there you go. And again, if you do sign up, do me a nice favor and use this link!

Because that’s another feature that is great about them–in some cases, they offer referral links to help authors earn even more extra income, if they bring new writers into the fold. Guess I should’ve called this article 7 Reasons to Write for Vocal & Jerrick Media!

If this article was helpful, please share it on social media with your fellow writer friends…

And also check out my other articles on my personal blog, Why Are You Still Working, such as How to Make Money Online Selling Creative Services! And while you're surfing the web, if you're a fanboy or girl of sci-fi and villains, read something over at Scum Hive! The site, like me, is desperate for love... Awww...

Aside from freelancing, I have put out a couple Amazon books!

Here's a blurb for Haveck: The First Transhuman!

The Government lied to you. The Military controls you.

An Artificially Intelligent virus is stalking you... Your stepfather keeps trying (sometimes successfully) to kill you!

Your DNA is being rewritten by nanobots!! And your grandfather Paris? Yeah. He's probably the spy behind it all.


Like most young heroes he was born from catastrophe...

All California teen Hector Haveck wanted for the summer was to get closer to his attractive Robotics classmate, Yésica Brick. Instead he's forced to figure out his seven new lame superpowers. Each one only works for one day a week...

·Sundays: Glowing in the dark (Wow).

·Mondays: Bending spoons with his mind (Big deal).

·Tuesdays: Growing eyes anywhere on his body (Gross!).

·Wednesdays: Cooking objects with the heat of his mouth (Pointless...).

·Thursdays: Seeing the family tree and history of any person he meets (Kinda cool?).

·Fridays: Instant healing after two minutes (Now we're talkin'!).

·Saturdays: Manipulation of dreams and reality(Uh, that's weird. And spooky...).

...and these 'useless' abilities quickly become dangerous and out of Heck's control. He soon learns that a side effect of his last two abilities is the power to cross dimensions...which is exactly what he was built to do by 'The Fin,' a secret society obsessed with locating Oannes ReHav-Marre,the immortal king of ancient Atlantis. The problem is Oannes and his mermen legions will do anything to return home, even if it means erasing 10,000 years of human history!

With an intertwining story arc of Nikola Tesla, Godfather of the Electrical Age, and extended cameos by Rasputin the Mad Monk (personal healer to the last Tsar of Russia), Napoleon of France, Jack the Ripper, Adolf Hitler, Albert Einstein, and many others, this original, genre-bending tale tackles every global conspiracy conceivable--from Men in Black, the JFK assassination, the lost city of Atlantis, CIA and KGB mind control programs,trans-dimensional 'aliens,' and secret elitist cabals plotting world domination from Bohemian Grove, 'Haveck' finally sheds light on the puppeteers behind it ALL!

I like to blog about my "digital nomad" lifestyle, as an ex-pat living abroad and goofing off on my laptop. When I was 44, I retired...then I wrote an Amazon eBook about that, too, called Why Are You Still Working?

The blurb for Why Are You Still Working?:

Have you lost your mind? You want to quit work and YOUR age? Who said you could do that?

Get up and go to work, you bum! Go every day until you die!


After all these years, aren't you bored to death of the daily grind, of your boss, of the commute? Don't you really, seriously think you could find SOMETHING better to do with that 40-plus hours of your week?

Hmm, you may be on to something.

Because you know in your heart, life doesn't have to be like this; it SHOULDN'T be like this!

Don't work yourself into the grave. We all deserve our freedom at some point... So why not now? Right now!

So many of us are MUCH closer to being able to retire than we realize. In some cases, we are capable of it right this minute...but we feel like we're not prepared to make the leap. For me, it took a year to decide, but once I did there was no going back.

Here, in this book, is how I did it. There is no great secret to it. The only mystery is, what took so long!

At 44 years old, I left a good-paying job, packed up the family, and have been living a dream life on the Aegean Coast ever since...all the while NOT working, but instead focusing on taking things easy, spending lots of quality time with my family, and just plain old goofing off! (Yes, I did write this eBook in my spare time; I have lots and lots of spare time!)

You, too, have the ability to live life on your own terms, to 'do it your way.' But only if you really want it! You have to act; you must make it happen, because it won't happen on by itself.

'Why Are You Still Working?' clearly outlines the exact steps I took to go from living and working in one of America's most expensive areas to reassessing my priorities, downshifting and downsizing, and resettling in a place others only get to visit on vacation while paying the bills as a digital nomad with a pension. Not every tip will apply to every person; I realize that. Every situation is different. But most will apply, if we're willing to keep an open mind.

In this updated version, I've hyperlinked to the new Why Are You Still Working website, which offers even more in-depth tips and insights. There's no magic to it, and no schemes or tricks, and I'm not selling any over-priced online courses or trying suck anyone into a 'customer funnel.'

It's just down-to-Earth, common sense advice that any person can apply, plus tips to help anyone go from burnt-out employee to blissful beach bum... It's easier than you think--the hardest part is just doing it!

The second hardest part? Sticking to it! But trust me when I say, every day of my mega early retirement is better than a day on the job!

But Why Are You Still Working isn't only about retirement. It's about independence!

Maybe you still want to work, but haven't considered all the working from home, working freelance, working online, working as a digital nomad selling your services and products on your own time, from anywhere on Earth! This book explores a few such concepts, and links to resources to dig in deeper.

Give it a try! You've got nothing to lose...and a whole new life to gain!


About the Creator

Matt Cates

Freelance writer and owner of Cates Content and Copywriting; retired Air Force Veteran; former administrative assistant at Oregon State University; author of Haveck: The First Transhuman, the greatest sci-fi novel in the multiverse.

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