Kidgas’ comment on the recent Exceeding Minimum Wage post is the inspiration for this post. If you haven’t read his comment, please go back and do so (also, check out his Cash Flow Mantra blog – he’s got some great stuff there).
His comment inspired me to back up a bit and outline my inner struggle with residual vs. up front income. You see, early on I realized the value of residual income but real-life situations made it impossible for me to jump 100% into the residual income arena. I’m sure you all understand. We all have bills to pay, mouths to feed and children to clothe.
It’s impossible to pay bills, buy clothes or food on future promises. You need cold hard cash and you needed immediately.
Squirreling Away Time
When I came to the decision that residual income was way to go, I had to give up a few things. I had to give up some immediate cash. I also gave up a higher income. I know for a fact that I could have earned a lot more money early on if I had continued to write for up front pay. Eventually I would have sought out higher earning gigs and spent my time seeking and writing.
On the flip side, I chose the residual path because I didn’t want to continue writing more and more. Writers tend to get burned out when they’re not following their passion. I’ve found I could write for money for a certain amount of time but eventually I hit the wall. When faced with the wall, it’s impossible to write another word.
Residual income is a nice blanket to have when facing a wall.
Time and Patience
Below are numbers taken from my spreadsheet, which tracks my passive/active earning percentages. This section shows how I wrestled with passive vs. active income from 2007 to November 2011. You will note 2010 was a particularly tough year for me. I spent way too much time on active income.
At the end of 2010 I made a vow to myself. In December of 2010 I wrote the following on my spreadsheet and have held true to it, sort of:
eHow is no longer an option and Suite has been Pandalized, so now I concentrate exclusively on my own sites.
I know the year is not over yet but I do want to share some numbers. The numbers below outline my income/article count from January to mid November 2011:
|# Articles Written||Earnings||Per Article Rate|
In case you haven’t figured it out, the active income came from Demand Studios. As you can see, it’s really foolish for me to write for up front pay unless I get a minimum of $71.29 per article. I’m also at the point in my freelance writing career where $71 to write for someone else is just not enough. Remember, when you write for somebody else you don’t get to set the rules. When I write for myself I make up the rules.
A Personal Decision
You can float around the Internet reading forums and blog posts about the dangers of writing for content sites. It’s nice to read what other people think, but until you make your own decision and choose your own path, you’re burning valuable time.
While $25,000 in residual income may not be enough for a family to live on, but as my dad would say, it’s better than a stick in the eye.
Things to take from this post:
- You have to decide what kind of freelance writing career you want.
- You have to implement your plan of action and follow it (tweak it when necessary).
- Track your progress. This helps you to know whether or not you’re moving in the right direction.
- Keep planting residual seeds.
- Be patient. Residual income takes time.
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