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Online Writing vs Investing

Sometimes in the wee hours of the morning before my brain is fully awake, my mind engages in a whirlwind of activity.  Some of the activity helps m through the day and some of the mental workout makes me wonder if my first task for the day should be to call a psychiatrist.

Yesterday morning my brain engaged in a tug of war between online writing and investing.  It even further engaged in the age old battle of time vs. money.  Let me preface this post by saying, I’m not an investor.  My little dalliance with stocks, trading and mutual funds ended when I took a bath years ago on Lucent Technology stock.  I won’t even mention the depleted condition of our 401K value.

My Mental Gymnastics in a Nutshell:

Startup Costs

What do you need to invest in the stock market?

You need both time and money.  You need the time to earn the money (usually from a job) to invest in the stock market and then more time for it to grow and show a profit.

What do you need to invest in online writing?

Time.  The time it takes to write an article and the time for it to earn money.

Potential Financial Return

How much profit can you expect on average from investing in the stock market?
Hmmm, it varies.  As I said before, I’m not an investor.  So let’s say that you earn 25% return on your money annually.  This figure is probably way off, especially considering the state of today’s economy.

How much is the average return with online freelance writing?

This is also tough to say.  If you invest $0 and you earn 1 cent, how much of a profit is that?  On the other hand, if you invest $0 and earn $10,000 at the end of the year, how much profit is that?  Are they both 100% profit?  Not quite sure how to quantify that.  Either way, the percent of return exceeds the return on stock market investing.

Online Writing and Investment Similarities

A wise investor will diversify, just as a wise online writer would.  Putting your eggs in one basket is a no-no.

Dollar Cost Averaging

Successful investors continue to invest when the market is up or down. If they habitually invest say $100 a month in stocks, when the market is down, they get more stock for the money, when the market is up the hundred dollars goes less far.  However, the value of the stock they purchased when the market was down has increased in value.  They slowly and steadily build their investment portfolio.

Successful freelance writers continue to plod along writing a set number of articles each day, week or month adding to their portfolio of online writing.  They spread their writing among various sites.  They don’t run from one new freelance writing fad to another freelance writing fad.  They find several legitimate opportunities and continue to write for them.  As their articles age, their income grows.

Unexpected Market Changes

If the stock market suddenly plunges, investors have lost not only their lucrative rate of return, they also lost their own hard earned dollars that they invested in order to get the return.  So, they have also lost their principal and their promise of income.

If a freelance writing site goes down, the writer has lost potential revenue, but an astute writer that has backed up her work has lost nothing but the promise of income.  She still has her principal (the original article).  She can always take those original articles that are no longer part of the defunct website and place them elsewhere, thus beginning a new cycle of profit.  Therefore, all she lost was the promise of income from that one particular site.  Since she did not place all of their eggs in one basket, she still has other sources of income generation.

Becoming a Lone Ranger

Unlike an investor, a freelance writer can create her own site and earn money through ad revenue.  Investors cannot create their own stock market.  Even if they do establish their own investment firm, they use the same Dow Jones and NASDAQ that the rest of the investors use, unless the name is Bernie Madoff.

Now I’m Awake

Once I woke up fully, I realized that this episode of my mental gymnastics wasn’t one of my crazier workouts. It was just a confirmation that I’m heading in the right direction. Where else can you earn so much by investing so little?

Another benefit of online writing is that if you stick with it long enough, you can become pickier about what writing assignments to choose.  As your residual income grows, you can weed out those assignments that you were forced to take because you needed the money.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Sher March 4, 2009, 9:51 am

    I recently (as in yesterday) found your blog and love all the tips and advice you share here!

    Shers last blog post..The Good Czech Housewife

  • Felicia March 4, 2009, 9:56 am

    Welcome Sher!

    Hopefully you’ll find info that will help you in your freelance writing career.

  • Kristi March 5, 2009, 1:48 pm

    I can honestly say that my writing investment brings in much more income per month than my regular investments so I’ll stick with writing and diversifying with various income streams (eHow, Bukisa, xomba, niche sites, etc). Great analysis as usual Felicia.


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