As I mentioned in an earlier post, the month of August is a month of reflection and re-evaluation. If you don’t take time to look at where you’ve been, you’re bound to make a few errors in judgment going forward. So, in order to plan for the future, you must take the past into consideration.
From the Beginning
As you know, my true online freelance writing journey began in February of 2007. Back then I needed to get money coming in and fast because I had quit my part-time job. The part-time job was barely above minimum wage and I realized it just wasn’t worth the time and travel expense. I knew I could do better working online.
Prior to the part-time job, I had worked both in the insurance and technology industries. I was a full-time employee/contractor and made a nice salary. I hated every minute of it. The hours and the commute was a killer (5 hours a day commuting). The money was nice, but was it really worth it?
As fate would have it, my last full-time job moved south by about 1,000 miles and I was unemployed. Not wanting another job for which I had to spend half of my day commuting I worked a few local part-time jobs.
I just couldn’t get my mind around the slightly above minimum wage part time jobs. I mean, my clothing and gas costs chewed up a bit of my meager salary. Oh, and I won’t mention the cost of weekly contributions for office baby showers, going away parties, retirement parties, etc. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
Enough is Enough
I had been dabbling online playing around with websites prior to taking the last part-time job. In 2006 I earned $16.25 online from my dabblings. That meager $16.25 made me realize there was money to be made online. I just didn’t have the confidence or knowledge to know what to do and how to make the $16.25 grow.
After being forced to work the day after Thanksgiving and explaining that I already had plans for Christmas before I took the minimum wage job, I knew this job was short lived. Let’s face it, I was only making $8.35 an hour and after taxes, benefits, etc. I average about $125 a week, hardly enough to be worth the aggravation.
Throwing down the Gauntlet
I threw down the gauntlet and resigned. My last day of work was Friday, February 9, 2007 and that was the first day I started to take this online freelance writing stuff seriously. My initial goal was to replace my part-time job income.
So the Journey Began
Still having the work mentality, I found as many upfront paying gigs as I could find. I earned $5 per article and wrote until my fingers dropped. I also managed to land a magazine gig which did much to boost my writing income, but magazine gigs were few and far between so I concentrated on online writing.
I reached the burn out stage real fast. I was bringing in money, but I was working like the dickens. I managed to earn a little over $4,600 the first year but most of it was from up front pay sources. Only $1,400 of my income was residual income.
When I evaluated the numbers I knew I had to spend a little more time building up my residual portfolio. I wanted money, but I didn’t want to work my fingers to the bone to get it. I was beginning to feel that I traded the traditional job for a work at home ‘job.’ I didn’t want a job. I wanted money, but I wanted to enjoy my life too.
The second year, I tried to write a host of residual articles. I also took on assignments for up front pay because I needed quick money, but I knew in my heart residual was the way to long-term happiness. I worked hard, and my hard work started to pay off. By the end of 2008 I had earned $10,000 of which $7,000 was residual income.
By my third year I almost doubled my prior year’s income. I earned $19,000 of which $16,000 was from residual sources. $19,000 is a far cry from my $8.35 an hour part-time job, but it still doesn’t match the salary I used to make as a full-time insurance broker or a tech writing contractor, so the journey continues.
Time of Reflection and Re-evaluation
Now that I took you through that long and drawn out journey, here’s the reason for my post. My own history tells me that residual income is the way to go. Over the years I have diversified my sources. I write in varying degrees for content sites such as Suite 101, eHow/DS, HubPages and Orato. I also have 11 websites/blogs of varying popularity (most of them are not very popular but they still earn money).
On my own sites I use various ad programs such as AdSense, InfoLinks, Amazon and Text Link Ads. I also endorse a couple of books and a few affiliate products.
I’m going to continue to do more of the same. I intend to continue writing for the content sites I currently utilize but I’ll spend more time and effort in building up the content on my websites/blogs. I’ll probably start a new site sometime within the next few months and get back to writing my book. I want my own sites/blogs/books to make up the lion share of my earnings. I’d hate to build up several thousand dollars in residual income from a site that can one day pull the rug from under me.
My regular readers know that my goal is to increase residual earnings by $167 each month for the next 4 years to reach my $10,000 per month residual earnings goal. The wonderful thing about residual income is that if you put in the time and effort early on, it takes off on its own with little additional work
The Online Writing Secret?
From what I can see, the secret to earning money online is to keep writing and re-evaluating, Time will handle the rest.