How to Make Money From Nothing by Writing Online

Updated on May 27, 2020
Chriswillman90 profile image

Krzysztof is a 8+ year YouTube researcher who spends hours researching, analyzing, and uncovering YouTube trends, challenges, and media.

Should you become a writer?
Should you become a writer? | Source

Should You Become a Writer?

It took me 17 months to write 100 articles on HubPages and accumulate 60,000 views, but what does that really mean?

In the real world, it means absolutely nothing because I can't live off those stats, but at least it's taught me something. I know I have the ability to become a writer even if it takes years to do so.

But what about you?

Would you be able to grind out dozens of articles over a year's time and live with getting almost nothing for it...would you continue writing if it took months to generate any views or recognition....are you a writer?

Hard Facts About Freelance Writing

Any given day there are millions of writers trying to stand out from the crowd, but only the top dogs can make a living from it.

Freelance writing is extremely difficult in today's saturated market.

Online writing isn't a get-rich-quick scheme, it's not something you can do sporadically, and you can't give up your day job to do it.

Freelance Writing Statistics

The amount of time and effort that you have to sacrifice to generate one article that no one may read is unbelievable, and it doesn't end there. I don't think there is any job more difficult to break into than content creation particularly when you're starting out.

It's not for the weak and unmotivated, and that first year can be a nightmare.

It starts with the first article.
It starts with the first article. | Source

Surviving the First Year

Your first year of writing will be filled with depression, self-doubt, zero recognition, and little-to-no money.

This isn't the case for everyone but unless you're an expert at SEO and a gifted writer, then it's going to be very rough. I think the hardest thing for new writers to accept is that they'll be getting no money for the work they put it.

You won't have any way to monetize your website, articles, or blog because companies like Google don't take-in people so easily. You need to develop an online reputation and build up your portfolio before you even have a shot at monetizing.

Remember these three rules towards monetization:

  • Write full length, original articles that are not plagiarized
  • Make sure every article has little to no grammar mistakes or misspellings
  • Be consistent with your writing and establish several niches

Search engines reward those who write lengthy, original articles that contain few to none grammatical or spelling errors. They also love it if you write consistently on a niche topic.

If you'd rather scope out writing gigs, then you'll still need tons of experience unless you're satisfied with earning no more than a couple of dollars per article.

Reputation and experience is the key to a successful online writing career.

Year Two
Year Two | Source

Year Two: The Snowball Effect

As a writer in my second year, I've discovered something amazing known as the Snowball Effect.

When you start small it takes a lot for you to increase in size, but as you start growing, you start to increase much more rapidly. Think of a snowball rolling down a snowy mountain, what happens over time?

In content creation, you usually don't reap the benefits of your work until the second year.

If you do the right things as described in your first year, then you'll see progress.

This progress may happen very suddenly as it has for me. For the first 14 months that I've been on HubPages, I've never earned more than a few dollars a month, but then something began to change.

In the following months, I witnessed an exponential earnings increase as my viewership began to soar, and it felt crazy.

I've read articles about writers who've discussed how quickly things began to turn around for them, but I never believed it until I myself witnessed the same sudden growth.

This effect also works with the number of gigs you obtain and the subsequent pay increase per job.

How to Survive the Statistical Ups and Downs

So you've been writing for well over a year and things are looking up, but then you start to see your views rapidly descend and/or jobs dry up.

What's going on?

I call this the statistical roller coaster and it sucks.

You think things are going great, you see your stats rising, you see your earnings rise, but then things start to drop and you panic.

You won't notice this for the first year because your views and income is going to be very low, but you'll definitely notice once everything appears to be increasing. The results of this up and down ride can make or break a writer.

I've seen writers that have survived the first year only to quit going into their second because they don't understand what's going on. Such an up and down battle can be extremely demotivating and demoralizing after putting in so much work/time.

What all creators need to realize is that there'll always be ups and downs, but you have to keep going. You can't let a sudden decline affect what you're doing otherwise it'll destroy you.

In fact, during these hard times, I recommend branching out with your writing. Maybe you can start writing a book or learn technical writing. Each venue will unlock new skills that can improve your writing talents, and if you're lucky, it could even lead to additional revenue.

Don't be a perfectionist.
Don't be a perfectionist. | Source

Should You Write?

I've talked about the hardships of being an online freelance writer, but what about writing skills and passion.

Can anyone be a writer?

The cold truth is no; I don't think everyone is capable of being a writer.

I'm not saying you're not talented enough to try because anyone can learn to write and use proper grammar, but not everyone has the drive to do it.

You cannot be a writer if you don't have the passion for it. You can't be a content creator if your sole focus is money. I've seen so many people try to do this for a week or month and they quit instantly.

They thought all they had to do was write a few articles and get paid, but then realized it wasn't so easy and they stopped. There are much easier pathways than writing for those who want to get paid quickly.

So no you shouldn't write if you don't really want to do it. Do something that you're passionate about.

Year Three!
Year Three! | Source

Year 3+: Exploring the Next Steps in Writing

I'm now in my 4th year and the pursuit never stops. The ups and downs continue, but a few new doors have opened as well.

If you do everything right in the first two years, then more opportunities will open up by your third or fourth year.

Obviously this won't apply to everyone, but from what I've gathered, a lot of writers received more opportunities in their third year. Some have even been able to make freelance writing a full-time career though that's a very rare feat.

I survived the worst of it, and I want to keep going. I don't want to have wasted all that time and effort for nothing, and I encourage all writers to push through.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but only if you're willing to traverse through the darkness.

P.S. Thank You

I want to thank everyone who has ever read any of my articles; I'm truly grateful and amazed that over 6,000,000 people have clicked on them. The fact that I could share things with so many people is what made me want to write in the first place, so thank you so much.


September 2017 Update

Since I've written this article, I've garnered over 3 million views from my initial 60,000.

I'm writing this not to gloat about my numbers, but to show creators what's possible if you put in the time and effort over 1-3 years.

Also the Snowball Effect is in full force as it initially took me 11 months to hit 10,000 views vs. 100,000-200,000 per month afterwards.

I hope this will encourage others that there is hope even if you produce 50-100 articles or videos in the first year that get little traction.

Sooner or later someone will notice.


September 2019 Update

As of mid September 2019 I'm at 6+ million views versus 3 million from 2017 with nearly 200 articles on the Hubpages/Maven network.

There was a surge in views in 2017 to mid 2018 but things have subsided since then. A lot of that's due to the decrease in popularity among some of my most viewed articles as well as numerous Google algorithm changes that favor certain articles over others.

On the other hand I've begun writing for a new niche that's allowed me to test new products and write reviews for them. I received multiple emails from successful companies that provide me with cool, innovative items in exchange for thorough reviews.

It's a fantastic outlet because I get to do what I enjoy with added perks.

My passion for writing went through trials and tribulations but after getting back into the groove, I've never been happier to continue writing.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Riffat Junaid profile image

      Riffat Junaid 

      4 weeks ago from Pakistan

      Amazing article. I am also working very hard to be a writer, your article will help me.

    • profile image

      Daksh Haldhar 

      9 months ago

      This is amazing. I am just starting out as a writer and blogger and was getting second thoughts but this cleared the air aoaroundund it.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      21 months ago from USA

      Congratulations on that snowball effect! May it continue to grow massively!

    • Chriswillman90 profile imageAUTHOR

      Krzysztof Willman 

      2 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      I appreciate the comment.

    • profile image

      Imran Khan. (pen promulgates) 

      2 years ago

      Quite encouraging.

    • profile image

      Marisa Wright 

      3 years ago

      The article no would-be writer wants to believe! It's so true, though. A professional blogger once said to me, "what you write today will make money in a year" and although there are exceptions to that, I think there's truth in it.

    • Chriswillman90 profile imageAUTHOR

      Krzysztof Willman 

      3 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Wow 20 years! That's very impressive and I concur that similar opportunities like that came up some good some bad. It's tricky when things like that come up because you don't know if it's legit or not.

    • profile image

      Tessa Schlesinger 

      3 years ago

      I find what you say interesting. I have been writing on the web for 20 years and a few weeks ago, for the first time someone approached me from China to write reviews for their product. Reward was the product. I gave it a miss.

    • Chriswillman90 profile imageAUTHOR

      Krzysztof Willman 

      3 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      That's not bad, in my first 3 months I don't think I even had 1K views. It takes a long time if you're new here, and all I can say is to keep going. Your hubs need time to grow and mature. For example I published a hub over a year ago that barely got daily views and it took 11 months before I started generating real traffic (from single to triple digit daily views). The time and effort you put into every hub or piece of content does matter. Thank you for the response.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Great article and so true. I have done well on other sites that no longer exist or pay but Hub Pages is a true challenge. My hubs do very little. I keep trying. Maybe someday. I have been here 3 months and have less than 2000 views. Pretty bad. Thanks for great share.

    • Chriswillman90 profile imageAUTHOR

      Krzysztof Willman 

      4 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      That's nice to hear thank you. Interestingly enough bouncing about is my specialty because I'm still searching for who I really am. If others can get something out of what I share, then it's been humbling. Get the most out of your experiences here because there's so much good to be found.

    • Chriswillman90 profile imageAUTHOR

      Krzysztof Willman 

      4 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Thank you so much. A lot of us can relate to the trials and tribulations of what we're doing. We're writing for different reasons yet have similar goals in the end. The act of writing is not impossible because anyone can learn but a writer never quits. They may take a break, even a long break, but eventually they keep going.

    • Aliswell profile image

      Allen Edwards 

      4 years ago from Iowa

      I have been in a world of the 'invisible mind travel' today on HP. My simple 'Look and Learn' hopping about has led me to you and another gentlemen that not ONLY have contributed greatly to my daily seeking of that which draws me closer to the Real Me, but subsequently shows me that because of the following- of you and the other referenced gentlemen -by IMO-the most 'Righteous Val', I am in the Right place!

    • ValKaras profile image

      Val Karas 

      4 years ago from Canada

      Excellent hub! So many of us in the first year of writing could recognize our case in what you are saying. Indeed, it does take persistence and, yes, not everyone is cut to be a writer. Time will tell.

    • Chriswillman90 profile imageAUTHOR

      Krzysztof Willman 

      4 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Thank you very much, I've been very fortunate and I didn't want to come across as me bragging about stats. I started with nothing and I want others to see that it is possible to accomplish something if they try hard enough. It's not easy to breakthrough online anymore, and beginners need to understand this. I want everyone to succeed.

    • Chriswillman90 profile imageAUTHOR

      Krzysztof Willman 

      4 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Me either it's been a shock, I'm so happy the team has gone in this direction because a lot of hubbers have been benefiting lately. I was trying to find articles about people's milestones because they inspire me, but yes they are getting harder to find. I guess people prefer action/show over talk nowadays. Thank you for your response.

    • Chriswillman90 profile imageAUTHOR

      Krzysztof Willman 

      4 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Thank you so much. It's amazing to think what one can accomplish when they start out with nothing, and that goes to all writers who've began somewhere. For everything you've written and the care put into it, you definitely deserve a lot more. I wish I had the ability to create engagement like your articles and poems do. However 150+ per month is excellent and I commend your efforts. I've looked into fiverr in the past but maybe will have to again.

      Appreciate the response thank you.

    • Kaili Bisson profile image

      Kaili Bisson 

      4 years ago from Canada

      Great hub. I think so many people start doing this and think they are going to get rich overnight when they can't even string a sentence together. You have done a good job pointing out that writing online requires hard work and dedication. Great stats btw! :-)

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 

      4 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      I cannot believe the increase in traffic that I have seen in hubpages for the past two months. I am very pleased. And thanks for the articles about your progress, for some reason people stopped writing them.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Chris, firstly congratulations on amassing 60,000 views in 17 months. I was writing at HubPages for three years before I even applied for an AdSense account, then it took me two years for my first payout. I have had an Amazon account for almost four years and until last month had not made one in the last six weeks I have had two....and that's after deleting most of my Amazon capsules from hubs. Anyway, writing on HubPages is just for pleasure basically for me, and to interact with others. I sell my freelance writing gigs on fiverr, and I agree with what you wrote about first year, second year etc. I think I made $100 in the first 12 months there, now into about 18 months and am up to around $150 per month and growing. Rarely does a day go past without at least one order. Good hub, with accurate advice.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)