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Long Term vs. Short Term

You guessed it. This is another post on earning residual income.

The other day I was listening to an old copy of a Brian Tracy CD that my hubby had. My hubby is the ultimate positive thinker. The glass is ALWAYS half full with him. That’s a wonderful trait, but every once in a while I secretly want to see the glass as half empty. It doesn’t happen too often, but I’m guilty of having a half empty day here or there.

I guess I was having a glass half empty day so I pulled out the Brian Tracy CD about The Miracle of Self-Discipline . Now, I’ve listened to the CD countless times before, but every time I hear it, something new hits me. This time it seems that long-term perspective caught my ear.

In essence, he mentioned that successful folks think long term. They sacrifice short-term gratification for long-term gain.

My Long Term Plan

Of course, when he mentioned long term perspective I could have sworn he said: “Felicia, evaluate your up front pay and compare it to your residual earnings.” So, being the stats junkie that I am, I started looking at my stats (anything to get away from writing for a bit. I wasn’t quite in the writing mood).

I collected all of the data on my blogs (even the ones that are performing poorly), articles, websites and even Demand Studios. I found that I wrote 625 pieces last year. When I factor out the 197 articles I wrote for Demand Studios and deduct the $2,955 they paid me, the remainder of my work is averaging $37.85 per piece. The astonishing thing about that per piece figure is that it includes my blogs that get one or two visitors a day, my non earning eHow and Suite articles and even my InfoBarrel articles that have never earned a dime.

With so many duds in my residual writing portfolio, my time is still better spent writing anywhere other than Demand Studios (I don’t know why I keep going back there).

Plans Going Forward

After evaluating my last year’s writing, I realize that I spent way too much time on Demand Studios and non performing blogs (I wrote a total of 240 blog posts last year and only 142 of them were on NJFM). If I had written the 197 DS articles and 98 dud blog posts elsewhere, they stood a better chance of increasing my per piece rate. I could conceivably cut my writing in half and still increase my per piece rate.

Follow YOUR Dream

My dream is to earn money writing what I want when I want. I also like having the option of not writing when I don’t want to. I’ve done the high-paying corporate thing and I’ve also done the low paying not so corporate thing. MY dream is to set things up so that I can do next to nothing and still get paid while doing it.

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot…

Lesson learned? Statistics can be a big time waster, but an online freelance writer is lost without them.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Julie @ Write for eHow March 16, 2010, 2:22 pm

    So interesting, Felicia! Thanks for sharing the stats.
    .-= Julie @ Write for eHow´s last blog ..Read an Ebook Week: My eHow Ebook Recommendations =-.

  • Deanna March 16, 2010, 3:39 pm

    I absolutly love this post and needed it today! I keep going back and forth between residual and up-front pay too, even though I know in the long run that residual is the way to go. Lately I’ve been re-evaluating all of the sites I write for and trying to decide which to drop and which to keep. It makes more sense to focus on 2-3 sites instead of trying to keep up with them all. Maybe I will do the numbers game like you did and really see where my income lies. Thanks for the “nudge” to think long-term again.
    .-= Deanna´s last blog ..Break Studios Update =-.

  • Crystal March 16, 2010, 7:44 pm

    Thanks, Felicia. This is just the boost I needed today! I’m off the up-front pay and focusing on the residual this month but it’s tough at times. I so appreciate the reminder to think long term.
    .-= Crystal´s last blog ..Choosing the Right Structure for Your Home-based Business =-.

  • Krista March 17, 2010, 9:42 am

    Great post – I have been thinking the same thing.

    I have basically ignored my niche sites for too long (I wanted to see the money immediately rather than work, work, work and watch as the money trickled in. Slowly but steadily.) I now see the benefit of writing and posting consistently and then waiting (patiently lol)

    I think there is something to be said for spreading yourself to thin and trying to write for every website that pays. So in the next six months I am going to focus only on my own niche sites as well as Suite101 and Hubpages.

    Thanks Felicia I love your site and your relaxed and encouraging writing style.

  • Aimee Larsen Stoddard March 17, 2010, 11:35 am

    Great insights, Felicia. It is difficult to stick with the residual earning sites in the beginning because it takes a leap of faith. Sure, you can read that others are making great money with them, but does that necessarily mean that you have what it takes to make them work for you? Anyway, that’s where I am stuck periodically. I find that if I don’t get bogged down on analyzing the day-to-day earnings and focus on the upward climb of the earnings over time, that helps me to keep motivated. Thanks for the great post.
    .-= Aimee Larsen Stoddard´s last blog ..Are Hot Baths, Showers Okay While Pregnant? =-.

  • Felicia March 17, 2010, 12:07 pm

    Thanks guys for sharing your experience and comments.

    The one thing I think I need to say, though, is that up front pay has its place. As we all know, residuals don’t take off overnight. When I first started, upfront pay helped me to meet my monthly bills.

    When it comes to whether or not to spend time on upfront or residual writing gigs, you have to rely on the age old adage “A gal’s gotta do what a gal’s gotta do.”

    When my daughter comes home and tells me that she wants to sign up for another tumbling or dance class, a few DS articles helps to defray the cost. Writers get to enjoy the best of both worlds. 🙂

  • Shannon March 17, 2010, 9:44 pm

    I consider myself an “advanced beginner”, Felicia, but I’m still really struggling with motivation. Particularly with eHow, I see miniscule earnings — even though I’ve studied SEO strategies like crazy. Upfront pay sites like DS are not the ideal long-term solution, of course; yet it’s frustrating when residual income just trickles or is zero. I really connected with your post on minimum wage goals (which I’m a long way from!) and feel grateful that DS is there to make up the difference.
    .-= Shannon´s last blog ..NY Times: Legal Apiaries Are the Bees Knees =-.

    • Felicia March 18, 2010, 7:55 am

      Shannon, I feel your pain.

      I know exactly how you feel. Some time ago I wrote a post about measuring success in percentages. Looking at the dollar amount (or lack there of) day after day can be very discouraging. Measuring in percents over a period of time is more motivating.

      My first month (yes that’s an entire month) of online writing I earned 63 cents. My second month I earned $2.63! No, I couldn’t quit my job with that amount, but that increase told me that I was moving in the right direction so I kept on.

      There are times even now when my earnings are pretty pitiful, but then I pull out my stats and look at my last year’s numbers. Every time I do that I’m so glad that I didn’t give up. Each year through the ups and downs, I end up making more money than I did the prior year.

      Shannon, I’m not sure how long you’ve been doing this stuff, but if its more than a year, compare this year’s numbers to last year’s. If you’re not moving in the right direction (even if its by a small amount), then it’s time to re-evaluate what you’re doing. But, if your numbers are moving up, then keep tweaking to help it increase a bit quicker.

  • Beelissa March 20, 2010, 6:56 pm

    Felicia, this is an excellent post. Thanks for the great comparison, it’s really motivating to see those kinds of numbers.

    However, I very much need money now. I write at least 10 articles for DS just about every week and don’t have much time for residual income ones (I also have a half-time job outside the home).

    Can you maybe give some tips on how you schedule yourself to write residual income articles? I mean, do you have a weekly schedule of how many articles you write for each site and how you stay on top of your blogs as well?

    .-= Beelissa´s last blog ..New Year’s Resolution =-.

    • Felicia March 21, 2010, 11:56 am

      Beelissa, my writing schedule changes depending on what’s going on in my life. There are times when I write like a mad woman and then there are times like now when I seem to find every excuse not to write (I hope to rectify that shortly).

      When I first started freelancing, I wrote more upfront than residual. If you have room to write 10 DS articles a week, try writing 9 DS and 1 residual or, 10 DS and 1 residual. Do what you can when you can. Keep in mind that residual income doesn’t happen over night so stick with DS until your residuals build up.

  • Tiffany March 23, 2010, 11:26 pm

    I used to freelance write for only upfront pay and got really burned out trying to keep up with it and then I realized that my efforts should focus on the residuals. So, that is what I have been doing this year and I couldn’t be happier about it. I get a lot more work done because I only do what I want to do and don’t have to report to others.

    Good luck with your residuals and keep plugging along and I’m sure they are going to keep going up and up.
    .-= Tiffany´s last blog ..Passive Income Opportunities – Selling PLR Products =-.

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