Should You Write Online: How to Make Money From Nothing
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?
Freelance Writing Is Hard
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.
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.
Freelance Writing: The 1st Year
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 a niche
Search engines reward those who write lengthy, original articles that contain few to none grammatical or spelling errors. They also love 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 dollars per article.
Reputation and experience is the key to a successful online writing career.
Freelance Writing: The 2nd Year
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 14 out of 17 months that I've been on Hubpages, I've never earned more than a few dollars a month, but then something began to change.
The last three 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 amount of gigs you obtain and the subsequent pay increase per job.
Statistical Roller Coaster
The Ups and Downs of Stats
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 a 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.
Is Writing For You?
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.
Freelance Writing: 3rd Year and Beyond
The Next Step to Writing
I'm still in my second year so I can't be completely honest about what the third year and beyond holds, but I can provide some insights from what others have told me.
- If you do everything right in the first two years, then doors will open up by your third.
Obviously this won't apply to everyone but from what I've gathered, a lot of writers have 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 make it into that third year. I don't want to have wasted all that time and effort for nothing, so I encourage all writers to push through.
We'll see what the future holds and 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 60,000 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.
August 2016 Update
It's been two months since I've written this article, and in that time I've garnered nearly 200,000 views or 255,00+ total views versus 60,000 in June 2016.
I'm writing that not to gloat about my numbers, but to show creators what's possible if you put in the time and effort over 1-2 years.
Also the "Snowball Effect" is in full force as it initially took me 11 months to hit 10,000 views vs. 200,000 in the past two to three months.
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.