How Much Can I Earn Writing Online?
Everyone and their mom wants to be a freelance something-or-other these days.
And why not? Everyone is sick of being abused by some company that doesn’t pay them what they’re worth, doesn’t appreciate them, and flirts with disobeying labour laws. (Be here 15 minutes before your shift to open. No, we won’t pay you.)
But can you really make money writing online?
Well, some people make tons of money, but it’s the same way that some people start businesses and make tons of money: through a combination of smarts, perserverance, and the luck of starting something at the right time, their blog gains a gazillion followers and they sell it to someone for enough money to retire at age 30. Will that happen to you?
Sorry, but probably not.
That doesn’t mean you can’t earn decent money, even a liveable income, from writing online if you have some talent.
There are websites out there to help you. Some are so legitimate that it’s like having a “real job” except you can still do it in your pyjamas. If you have the time and effort to learn the “system” for sites like elance, odesk, and demand media studios, you could earn a living wage if you spent the same amount of time per day working at home as you would if you worked outside the home. This assumes that you can write technically correct pieces and have a strong (and I mean native strong, not “may I help you” strong) grasp of English.
Some websites are legitimate, but not in a “we’ll pay you a set amount for everything you write” way. That’s because these sites are not nearly so picky, and you can toss off short articles all day. In which case, you get paid based on how many people view your articles, with a chance to make more money or upfront money if you prove that you’re worth it. Sites like Helium and Factoidz tend to fall in this category. If you are a good AND a fast writer, you can actually make a living wage on these sites. Some people do. In the interests of full disclosure, I’m not one of them, but I don’t really have the discipline to properly work from home with a baby is by turns cute and demanding distracting me.
Then there are the sites I like to think of as the “look, I published my poem!” sites. These sites will take anything. They often say they’re looking for quality content, but they publish rubbish that looks like it was translated from one language to another by a blind person who only understands one of the languages in question, or crap about nothing. They usually pay based on how many people click the ads they plaster around your article, not based on how many people read it. Wikinut, Triond, and Bukisa fall in this category. (Although I believe Triond offers a penny here and there for article views.) These sites are great if you want to get something off your chest, or want a platform to publish your creative stuff no one will read, but you likely won’t make real money. Not unless you’re a genius at SEO and have “please click the ads; my children had to eat their shoes today I’m so poor” hidden in the middle of each article. If you’re a really good writer you will make more, but if you’re a really good writer, don’t waste your time, go write for the sites that pay you what you’re worth!
The moral of the story is, you can make money writing online. You can even make a living. Last month, I made $175 from Helium, $135 from Demand, and $8 from Factoidz, and something like $0.68 from Triond, which made me a little over $300 richer. It pays the utilities and the phone bill, with some left over. Each month, as I learn more about self-discipline and what people want to read, I make more. So I’ll keep you updated!
Hint: if you’re interested in Helium, please let me know so I can send you an invite!