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August to August to August

Often times when I feel that I’m making slow progress, I have to take time to see where I came from to determine if I’m actually headed in the right direction.

One of the best ways for me to see if I’m headed in the right direction or if I should change my course is to look at my numbers. Numbers have a way of cutting to the chase.

Just like numbers, this requires no further intro…let’s cut to the chase:

August to August to August to August

Income Source August 2007 August 2008 August 2009 August 2010
Residual $242.29 $533.26 $1,537.44 $2,168.84
Non Residual $12.24 $383.54 $0 $150
Total $254.53 $936.80 $1,537.44 $2,315.84

Modifications as Required

I periodically check my numbers to see if they’re telling me the story I want to hear. In my mind the only story I want my numbers to tell me is that I finally reached my first goal of earning $5,000 a month in residual income. As you can see from my numbers above, I only have one part of the story right. My August 2009 income was from residual sources only. Now, its time for me to get the other part of the story in line…increase the numbers three fold and more.

Slow and SteadyStick With It

My numbers show a slow  and steady progression. I probably could have earned more money quicker if I had spent more time learning SEO, researching hot topics and concentrating on putting up more articles. I have no regrets over my slow and steady pace. My modest earnings surpass those of my last part-time job (not to mention that I don’t have to spend money on gas or clothes to comply with the office dress code).

Stick with It

The only way to earn more money as a freelance writer is to stick with it. There will be ups and downs, but in the long run, I believe the ups win out over the downs. If I can earn $1,537.44 in residual income in one month, you can too. Stick with it. Think long term. Who knows what next August will bring?

Update: 1/26/11: I came across this post and decided to update it with my 2010 numbers. As you can see, I couldn’t resist a few easy Demand Studio articles. 😉

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Elizabeth September 10, 2009, 8:59 am

    It is so exciting to see that your dream is slowly coming true. It makes it a real possibility for the rest of us. Thanks for the inspiration, now I’m off to write!

    .-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..Splitting Time Between Writing and Jewelry =-.

  • Deanna September 10, 2009, 10:47 am

    I think your Aug. 2009 numbers look really good. When you consider that you are earning that much on work you have already done, and that you would probably continue to earn close to that for quite a while even if you didn’t write another word, that is a good investment of time. I do, however, hope you are able to reach your goal of $5000 a month in residuals – that would be incredable!

    .-= Deanna´s last blog ..Writing for LoveToKnow.com =-.

  • Grandma September 10, 2009, 12:42 pm

    You are positively an inspiration, so add that to your non-monetary income, inspiring others by your examples. Now I really must get busy and do the same. Setting goals and planning are maps to success. Measuring your project outcomes does tell you where to focus.

    It is a surprise to see the non residual income fall to zero, however. There must be a reason. One would expect the residual income to steadily increase. It probably depends on determining where your time benefits you the most.

    • Felicia September 10, 2009, 1:04 pm

      I find that checking the numbers helps me to remain focused.

      As far as my zero non residual income goes, it was planned. I do have the time to write for up front pay, but I choose not to. I probably can double my monthly income if I wrote for Demand Studios or accepted other off line writing assignments, but I am a self proclaimed mentally unemployable person.

      Non residual writing reminds me of having a job. Been there, done that and prefer not to go that route again. In my eyes, residual income is my only alternative.

  • Kristine Brite September 10, 2009, 1:42 pm

    Do you write mainly for content sites that offer residual fees, or is most of your income from your own niche sites? I’m trying to do a little of both, but so far have found I’m not earning anything from my own sites.
    .-= Kristine Brite´s last blog ..I didn’t wanna write this post, but I did it anyway. Work at home motivation. =-.

    • Felicia September 10, 2009, 2:04 pm

      Kristine, I’d say about a little less than half comes from my own sites. The rest comes from writing for content sites.

      The dividing line gets a little murky because my affiliate links are added to my own sites and on articles I write on content sites. I’d say my earnings are approximately 45% from my own sites and 55% from content sites.

  • Heather September 10, 2009, 3:16 pm


    If you don’t mind my asking, do you happen to know how many Suite 101 and eHow articles you had online in August 2007 versus August 2009? I was wondering how your article growth has compared to the increase in income.

    Also, you mention that your content site articles contain affiliate links. Do you happen to know the percentage of affiliate income generated by the links on those sites versus the income that you have received from ad clicks? Does the affiliate income make up a large portion?

    I know that Suite doesn’t allow affiliate links, so I was wondering if the links that you have been able to place on the other content sites have generated a significant amount of revenue.


    • Felicia September 10, 2009, 3:44 pm

      Hi Heather,

      Here are my numbers:

      August 2007: 40 Suite 101 articles, 0 eHow articles
      August 2008: 96 Suite 101 articles, 0 eHow articles
      August 2009: 174 Suite 101 articles, 299 eHow articles (I had a little over 300 eHow articles, but a few got ‘swept’)

      As far as affiliates go, I don’t earn much with them. I don’t think I’ve quite figured out the trick to affiliate marketing. That’s something I put on my ‘to do’ list.

      Affiliate income makes up less than 10% of my monthly earnings and you can see my eHow Experiment to find out how much my eHow earnings progressed over the year.

  • Arvind Arora September 11, 2009, 9:27 am

    Hi Felicia, I am Arvind Arora, a freelance writer from India. I’ve been closely following your blog and I must admit your blog is one of the most lovable places for both budding and established freelance writers from all around the globe.

    Trust me, I was heavily inclined towards writing for upfront payment only before I visited your blog, but tonnes of thanks to you that your mind blowing residual income plan has simply swept away my thought process, so much so that I’ve decided to adopt your model of shifting base towards writing for residual income in a gradual manner.

    Still, there are a few questions as being a Non-U.S. writer most of the lucrative residual income writing sites, including eHow and Associated Content are beyond my reach. I would like to ask that will Suite101 (that simply appears to be the most promising one as far as residual income is concerned) alone be enough for me to bank upon in order to churn out a decent sum every month only as residual income? Also, even if Suite101 might be considered to be a bankable place, does there exist any sort of limiting cap upon the number of articles that we can write in a day? For example, if I am capable of writing 6 well researched 500-600 word articles every day for Suite101, will they allow me to do that? I am asking so because it is evident that the maximum numbers of articles upon Suite101 guarantee you a better and stronger income in a less amount of time. If I am thinking the wrong way round or if my plan lacks some practical substance that you can adjudge quite nicely, please let me know the real thing.

    Lots of thanks in advance for being that supportive that you always seem to be towards fellow writers!!

    – Arvind Arora

    • Felicia September 11, 2009, 10:02 am

      Hi Avrind and welcome to NJFM.

      After reading your comment, the only thing I could say is “Suite 101 would love you” if you are capable of writing 5 to 6 well researched 500-600 word articles a day! There are no limitations to how many you can write each day.

      I started quite some time ago, but I believe that now they have instituted a ‘prior approval’ review for your first article. After that I believe you can write as many as you wish.

      Keep in mind that initially there is a lot of editor feedback. The editors offer wise and helpful feedback. I credit them for helping me to understand how to write for the internet.

      I’m excited for you Avrind. I believe you’ll do extremely well at Suite 101 and I wish you all the best!

      Check back from time to time to let us know how you’re doing.

  • Tashana September 11, 2009, 10:09 am

    Felicia, thank you so much for sharing. I can not express enough the trials I’m going through right now trying to live out my dream of become a full time writer / educator. You are so motivating and encouraging. I love the fact that you really ‘tell it like it is’ and you don’t sugar coat the facts for personal gain. My grandmother used to tell me, “you can get more with sugar than you can with ‘that other stuff'” lol…at my age I translate that to mean you get more by telling the truth and cutting through the chase than by glossing over the realities. Again, very much appreciated.

    Can you point me to your articles that talk about how you make your residual income? Is that because you resell your articles – how does that work? And also, how do you find out what the hot topics are? I’m not being lazy here – but is there a site that exists that rates that sort of thing and you just start writing about it?

    Thanks again Felicia.

    .-= Tashana´s last blog ..When will we learn =-.

    • Felicia September 11, 2009, 10:33 am

      Hey Tashana,

      I’m going to give you the condensed version in answer to your questions. For a quick down and dirty on some of the sites I use check out the NJFM database. I list some of the sites I use and some I don’t. Search for “Writing Sites – Residual” and “Writing Sites – Upfront Pay.”

      I’ve written about all of my experiences and the sites I use here on the blog, so check out the menu option “Opportunities” and check out the “Legitimate” stuff I have listed (unfortunately, I’m still in the processes of tagging my posts so all of them may not show up there).

      As far as how I choose my topics, I use my own experience, the direction of the wind and Google AdWords tool. In other words, my topics vary depending on my mood and whether or not I’m writing for the money or the muse.

  • Tiffany September 12, 2009, 12:10 am

    Felicia, thank you for sharing this. I’m considering trying this type of residual income writing myself and it’s good to see that with work and time the earnings can grow. That’s a very hopeful thing in a recession where everywhere else it seems to be doom and gloom!

  • Wendy September 12, 2009, 11:07 am

    Hey Felicia!

    Thanks for adding a link to your very funny and very true article on being Mentally Unemployable! I needed that yesterday. You are so right…

    And I’d just like to chime in with the rest that your encouragement and open, sharing attitude is contagious and so welcome! Thanks!

    I’ve had an incredibly frustrating past two weeks (weird DS edits, slow Suite progress, failed Ehow payment (!) and my own website is as slow as molasses…)

    So in weak moments, I’ve taken to reading your posts and the posts of others here on your blog, and it has been invaluable. This whole thing we do is not easily explained to others “on the outside” so it is wonderful to have this place to come for solace and uplifting encouragement! Thanks…yet again : )

    .-= Wendy´s last blog ..Jul 28, How To Give A Massage =-.

    • Felicia September 12, 2009, 12:13 pm

      Wendy, glad we can help.

      Isn’t it funny how in the real world no one would ever willing talk about how much they make or help someone else make more? It’s just the opposite with online freelance writing. We’re a bunch of blabber mouths. 😀 We tend to like sharing what we earn in an attempt to not only motivate ourselves, but motivate others too.

  • Tashana September 12, 2009, 11:51 am

    Hi Felicia,

    I ran across a site last night, http://www.mindbounce.com that pays college graduates and/or professionals a fee to consult with current college grads on their research and writing. I’ve just signed up and it looks like I’ll have to be accepted based on my resume and the revision of a paragraph that they asked you to do. Have you had any experience with this site? If not, I’ll keep you posted, especially if I get accepted.

    • Felicia September 12, 2009, 12:10 pm

      No, Tashana, I’ve never heard of MindBounce.

      Looks interesting. Please keep us posted.

  • Grandma September 13, 2009, 4:50 pm

    Now I am motivated to start up my own website to sell my articles online as another source of possible income. Maybe I would even sell other writers’ articles too. Spurred on by my lack of sufficient work on what was reliable TB, I decided that on this slow day I would begin work on the text content for my new website. I hope to sign up for the domain name and website within a few days.

    The first bump in the road is pricing. How much per 100 words is not only reasonable but sellable? Many websites selling articles are charging up to 25 cents per word, which would be totally awesome. TB category 5 pays 5 cents per word to authors and that seems to be very nice when you can get it. On the other hand, most of the articles that are crying out to be written get placed there at less than a penny per word.

    Anyone have any suggestions? 5 cents per word for a reprint (over and over use) stock article seems reasonable until I remember that magazines would pay a ton more for a one time use. I would like to have a couple dozen articles for sale that I can sell repeatedly, as reprint articles. I believe I can surpass the custom writing rate that way with less work.

    • Felicia September 14, 2009, 1:58 am

      Grandma, I’m glad you’re motivated to start your own site.

      Setting prices has always been a bit tough for me (one of the reasons I love residual income). I guess you should look around at potential competitors to see what they’re charging.
      If your service is slightly better for a slightly lower price, it should attract buyers. Once things get up and running you can modify your rates.

      Anyone have any advice to offer Grandma?

  • prerna September 14, 2009, 5:39 am

    Thanks Felicia for sharing this. As someone, who’s been writing for barely 6 months, these figures are inspirational!!I’m tracking my progress with Suite and till now things look good. I do hope that I’ll make it to a FW slot since that will help boost earnings considerably..
    .-= prerna´s last blog ..Being a Woman: Reading and a Love for Books =-.

  • Wendy September 14, 2009, 10:37 am

    Hi Felicia and Grandma!

    I think Constant Content does an excellent job with their consignment approach. They are busy, the forums are well run and inspirational, and the writers and website owners are happy. Writers keep 65% of the price they set.

    I think one issue that CC comes across is the content being stolen. You may have to look into how to make sure that doesn’t happen often.

    Great idea Grandma! I say do your research and then go for it!
    .-= Wendy´s last blog ..Jul 28, How To Give A Massage =-.

  • Grandma September 14, 2009, 2:51 pm

    CC must be the one I looked at. I think their 35% commission is too much, and that is why I am thinking of trying my own wings. Traffic generation will be the biggest and most important issue.

    I don’t know how anyone can combat stolen content. There is nothing at all to keep someone from copying and using another piece of copy. Even the things we write for TB and other companies can be stolen once they are published somewhere, or rewritten slightly. You see article rewrite requests all the time.

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