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Double O Club – An Expensive Ticket Price

Expensive TicketI’ve said it before, and I guess I’m not a quick learner, so I’ve got to say it again (more for my own benefit). I’m losing money by writing for Demand Studios.

Here’s the Scoop

As you know, I’ve been working on joining the Double O club this month. Because my residual income is below $100 per day, I have to supplement my residual income with up front pay. Since I’m already a writer for Demand Studios, I used them to close the gap. It’s quick, easy and with those few articles a day, I gained my ticket for entry into the Double O club.

Not the Wisest of Decisions

As I look at my numbers I realize that I should re-think the cost of the ticket. Here are the numbers. Tell me what you think:

October 1 – 20 Numbers

Venue # Articles Written Earnings for the Month Average Per Article
Demand Studios 66 $990 $15
Residuals 11 $1,256.94 $114.26

Keep in mind that I wrote this post early in the morning before my residual numbers for October 20th updated. So, in essence, the chart shows my residuals for October 1 through October 19th and my DS numbers include October 20th.

I Must be Crazy!Crazy Numbers

If I put ½ the effort into writing residual articles that I had put into the DS articles, I would probably enter the Double O club based on residuals alone. I like the immediacy of cash that I get from Demand Studios (or should I say my kids enjoy the immediacy of cash), but it doesn’t trump the peace of mind and long term financial gain that I’d achieve writing for myself.

I guess it’s time to put my entry into the Double O club on hold and get back to balancing my writing venues.

Reversing the Roles

I’ve been at this stuff for over 3 years. My recent writing stint reminded me of when I first started writing online. I spent my time looking for up front pay to cover the monthly bills. Back then I took low paying assignments (even lower than DS), and supplemented it with residual articles. I looked at the up front gigs as my bread and butter and the residual income as my part-time gig.

Now, the tables have turned. I have to look at the residuals as my full-time gig and my up front articles as my part-time job. It brings in a little extra cash, but it’s not my bread and butter. Fortunately, I enjoy my day job so much more than my part-time gig.

{ 38 comments… add one }
  • Will October 21, 2010, 9:16 am

    Felicia, I read a comment by the reader of an article about how freelancers are struggling in today’s writing landscape (which includes low paying “opportunities” such as Demand Studios). He said it’s time for writers to start see themselves as entrepreneurs. It’s a tough transition, but it’s one I’m in the process of doing. Residual income is where it’s at, and there are numerous ways of achieving it.

  • Crystal October 21, 2010, 9:32 am

    Well, Felicia, the numbers don’t lie – you definitely need to focus on your residuals! I’ve only been at this a little over a year (100% thanks again to you) and am reevaluating my strategy, as well. But the upfront pay is almost addicting – I find myself looking at DS titles when I have too many to write already and don’t even need the money. Then my adult-onset ADD kicks in and I totally forget the direction I plan to take. Hmm. Maybe there’s a support group I should join – but I’d probably get distracted and forget to attend anyway:)

    • Felicia October 21, 2010, 9:42 am

      Crystal, I’ll be right there with you in that ADD group. I’ve told myself in the past that I could earn more money if I wrote anywhere other than DS, but here I am again, banging out articles for DS.

      It’s easy to get side tracked, but my numbers are beginning to yell at me to stay away. I think I’ll listen this time, sort of. The holidays are right around the corner and a couple of extra bucks will come in handy. 😉

  • jen October 21, 2010, 10:44 am

    Hi Felicia,

    I was wondering which site the majority of your residual income comes from? Is it a writing site or your own sites? I am ramping up my writing for Suite, but I am curious about other residual sites that you are using.

    • Felicia October 21, 2010, 11:29 am

      Jen, unfortunately, eHow still is a large contributor to my residuals. After eHow comes my own sites/blogs and then Suite. Suite continues to make up a smaller and smaller percentage of my income as it continues on its downward spiral.

      I have a few articles on HubPages, Bukisa and a few on Orato, but they contribute very little to my overall income.

  • kidgas October 21, 2010, 12:11 pm

    You’ve done the analysis and convinced everyone but yourself. At least I don’t sense that conviction yet. If you don’t absolutely need to make upfront payments for bills, then you should be devoting 100% of your time to residual income.

    You have the skills and talent to do effective keyword research and generate the necessary traffic. You also have the time to devote to this pursuit each and every day. So what is holding you back? Addicted to upfront pay or is it more likely the fear of writing without a net?

    Don’t just “think you’ll listen this time, sort of”. Do what my football lifting coach would say. Get your head out of your butt and just start writing (although he would say lift that weight). Sorry to be blunt but we all need to be hearing this.

    • Felicia October 21, 2010, 12:26 pm

      Thanks, Kidgas! I appreciate the pep talk. You’re absolutely right!

      I’ve gone months without earning up front pay and then I’d fall back into it again. It’s time for me to stick with the residuals!

      I do truly appreciate your candor. We all need a swift kick every once in a while! 🙂

  • Deanna October 21, 2010, 12:33 pm

    I’m just amazed at the fact that you found 66 titles at DS to write articles on in less than a month. I search and search their titles and can’t find any that are even remotely close to anything I would want to write about. Most of their titles make no sense at all. For that reason, it is much easier for me to stay away from DS. 🙂

    I agree you should forget about DS and work on the residual articles. You already have a great article base and income coming in – building on that seems the best way to go.

    • Felicia October 21, 2010, 12:44 pm

      Deanna, I used their search notification feature. I basically write in two topic areas. I set up 4 searches and turned on the auto notification feature. Every morning when I check my email I would receive notification of new titles fitting my search criteria.

      As a matter of fact, I found so many titles that each day I would return the ones that would take me more than 15 minutes to write in favor of those that would take 10 minutes or so. I only write on things that I’m very familiar with.

      The funny thing is that the topics were such a hand in glove fit that I recited the titles to my family and they looked at me asking “Are you kidding me?” That’s the only reason why I was able to write so many.

      My big mistake, as I look at it in hindsight, is that after writing and uploading the articles to DS, I felt like my day was done and I didn’t write many residuals at all. Since writing my post this morning, I’ve dictated and uploaded 4 residual articles to help compensate for my lapse in judgment.

      I still have a full queue of DS topics that I’ll finish off. I should really turn off the auto notification feature because as I see the easy titles, it’s tough for me to turn them down. I guess it’s all about balance.

  • steveB October 21, 2010, 5:51 pm

    Has anyone tried DS revenue share articles? I wonder if it is as good as Ehow. I came to Ehow late and only got about 100 articles up. I have been using DS quite a bit but want to give the revshare a shot.

    • Felicia October 21, 2010, 6:01 pm

      SteveB, it’s hard for me to compare. I’ve only written 5 self-generated titles under the DS revenue share program. So far they’ve earned a little over $40 over the past 4 months. I think it takes a lot more than 5 titles to really get a feel for how it works.

      I’d be interested to hear if anyone else has had success with DS revenue share.

  • Julie @ Residual Income Writer October 22, 2010, 1:37 am

    Felicia this post is very timely because I just decided to start writing articles for upfront pay again. My plan is to use the payments to pay down debt, thus freeing up cash flow and eliminating interest payments. After our non-mortgage debt is gone, I’m not sure if I’ll continue to write articles for up front pay, but in the meantime applying it to debt creates a sort of residual income for us.

    • Felicia October 22, 2010, 6:44 am

      Julie, that sounds like a wise move. Up front pay has its merits, but a strong residual base is even better.

      The up front pay comes in handy for school expenses that seem to crop up daily with my daughter. It also helps to build our “unexpected expenses” savings account. I look at up front pay as the opposite of a credit card. If a large unexpected expense comes up, I put in the time writing the articles (which would be the equivalent of making a credit card payment) and pay for the expense with cash (no lagging interest).

      As I mentioned earlier (somewhere on NJFM), we’re working on becoming debt free. It seems that you and I are aiming for the same goal. While the residuals are great for the normal monthly expenses, up front pay helps to knock out the unexpected ones.

      I’ve found that things were easier this month because we didn’t have to reach into our savings account when the mechanic told us it would cost $1,744 to fix our car. Thanks to the internet, I was able to drop the cost to $859. Isn’t it great how we can write about our experiences, help others and earn money from it?

      Until my residuals reach $100 a day, I guess I’ll intermittently write for up front pay and continue on the journey to becoming debt free.

  • Stacy October 22, 2010, 8:41 am

    Hi Felicia! Another great post! I am caught in the DS trap, as well! It’s so hard not to write a couple of DS articles for some instant money, but like you said…time flies and then you feel like your day is shot and you haven’t even written any residuals yet…lol! I’ve been seriousy thinking about letting go of DS right now and then just paying the bills (with NO extra spending money left-over) while I pile-up some residuals 🙂 It would be hard for us not to have any extra money, but I feel like I have step-up my game and make a big move…haha!

    • Felicia October 22, 2010, 9:14 am

      Stacy, time yourself to see how long that will last. 😉 It’s tough not having that extra spending money with 3 little ones (BTW, I love your blog).

      Maybe you can pay yourself to write residuals. For every residual article you write, you earn the right to write a DS article. That way you get the upfront and the residuals (hmmm, maybe I should try that myself).

  • Reena October 22, 2010, 12:24 pm

    Every month when I look at my eHow earnings, I feel so sorry for not taking it seriously. I have 61 articles there, and they get me around $75 every month. This was when I just started with freelancing and had no clue about SEO or generating traffic. Now that I am familiar and can play around, it’s gone! Ah…
    I like the Featured Contributor position that AC started. Not only we receive 3 $1o articles every month for each category, we make money on their performances too. I think you can apply for 4 categories… However, the articles are exclusive (you give all the rights to AC)

  • Alina Bradford October 22, 2010, 3:49 pm

    Wow, it’s great that you make so much in residuals. I want to be you when I grow up. It looks like pretty soon you won’t need up-fronts anymore!

    • Felicia October 23, 2010, 5:18 am

      Alina, that’s what I’m hoping for. I’m hoping that eventually I could totally rely on residuals. It’s definitely doable (If I can do it so can you).

      Laura, I think Kidgas should change his name to Coach! 🙂

  • Laura October 22, 2010, 5:05 pm

    Powerful words, Kidgas! And though they were meant for Felicia…thank you! 😉

  • Eric October 22, 2010, 9:42 pm

    It’s always amazing to me when I see my eHow WCP residuals each month. Even though they shut down the program, my articles still earn, and I retain full rights to them as per the WCP terms of use. Last month I earned $1300 off my 600 eHow articles for doing absolutely nothing. I can repurpose them for my own sites, Infobarrel, or Hubpages, and they will still earn!

    I have a couple of rev-share articles written through DMS, but they don’t earn like the Ehow WCP articles, and I don’t retain the rights to them. It’s hard to part with a DMS article for $15 when I know it could make $100, $200 or more over the course of a year, as MANY of my eHow articles do.

    Passive income is very discouraging at first because it takes a while for the money to come in. But once it does, man does it is so much more satisfying than writing for upfront pay.

  • Taki October 23, 2010, 4:56 am

    Great idea Felicia. I’ve started doing that myself. if I write two articles for someone else in a day I try and write two articles for myself that day as well.

    I have not tried writing for DS yet but I’m tempted to try and write a couple of revenue sharing articles. I really enjoyed Life123 until they closed their doors last year but its time to find something better than textbroker.

  • Judith P. October 23, 2010, 12:14 pm

    I got serious about writing about six months ago but like everyone else life came along and tried to find a way to stop me. I was working part-time which left me plenty of time to write and try to spread my articles between upfront pay and residual pay. Now because of a few set backs I’m working full time again. Not much time left over for writing.

    My plan was to retire in 3 years and that part of my plan hasn’t changed. So Felicia, I did what you do, I followed my earnings closely for three months and crunched some numbers, (not many numbers to crunch). Every time I add a minimum of 2 articles per week to my personal sites, my earnings go up about 8 to 10%. I know that doesn’t sound like much but over time it could be a tidy sum. My upfront writing has earned very little.

    Because I have 3 years to work with I’ve decided to go the slow and steady route and work on my own sites. Right now I’m writing so I can purchase my own Domain Name and a site of my own. One small step at a time.

  • Kayte October 23, 2010, 9:04 pm


    You’re not valuing the time it takes to built you business so you fall back earning “real” money to make you feel like you’re earning you way. I’m so afraid that’s what I’m going to do when I quit my day job next year. So, here’s what I need you to do for me (and everyone else who reads this blog) – put everything you’ve got into building your residual income business. You can make that happen because I need that inspiration from you.

  • Oceanside Blogs October 24, 2010, 2:56 pm


    On the topic of residual vs up front pay, what is your opinion of The Content Authority? I have searched your site, but couldn’t come across any mention of them (maybe I was looking in the wrong places?). I am trying to follow your example, and focus on building my longterm residual income, but I too am tempted by the lure of up front pay, which prompted me to check out The Content Authority. Do you, or any of your followers, have any experience/opinion on them? Thank you in advance for your feedback.

    p.s. Checked out your Zazzle store. Aren’t they fantastic? I produce my greeting cards thru them, and am always impressed by their quality.

    • Felicia October 25, 2010, 9:15 am

      I’m not familiar with Content Authority, but Willow Sidhe has a post about it on her blog, The Freelance Home Writer. Willow is a straight up type of gal and provides valuable information. Maybe her post will provide some answers.

  • Oceanside Blogs October 25, 2010, 1:32 pm

    Thank you Felicia; I appreciate the link to Willow’s post.

  • Moki of Moki's Fanfiction Blog October 25, 2010, 2:12 pm

    Felicia I’m wondering what you would recommend to someone who’s trying to figure out how to get started with residuals. I’m in a position right now where I have income coming in steadily until January 2011. So I was thinking I should probably spend the next couple months writing for residuals and only turn to upfront in January. Then again, since I can’t be sure how much income I will generate from residuals, this scares me a little knowing that I have no definite income after January.

    Any advice on where to start? I have two blogs but neither is doing as well I’d like at the moment. So my dilemma is do I work hard on the blogs, try to find other places to write residuals or crank out a bunch of upfront articles so that I know I will have income after January?

    Would love help from someone who’s done it all. :o)

    • Felicia October 25, 2010, 3:07 pm

      Moki, residual income is great, but it’s not so great when you need money right away.

      If I were in your position, I would probably write for up front pay while I still worked on my blogs. It sounds that you have money coming in from now until January, 2011. The up front pay I earn now I would bank so that when January rolls around I had a little cushion.

      Working on your blogs is a good start, but in my experience it takes about a year or even more before some blogs earn consistent income. You don’t want to become frustrated and discouraged if you work on your blogs for two months and they’re not earning the amount you need to sustain yourself.

      My residual income stream was built up over 3 years of writing and it’s still not where I want it to be (hence my up front writing).

      So, to answer your question, keep working for upfront pay to pay the bills and carve out time to work on your blogs. Hope that helps.

  • Crystal October 25, 2010, 7:29 pm

    Great advice, Felicia. Having a financial cushion is imperative, especially when income fluctuates or is coming to an end. This is a slow process for sure – and for some of us, slower than for others. If it weren’t for the upfront pay, I would make almost nothing and I’ve been at it over a year. I’ll be the first to admit that my SEO skills are nearly non-existent and I mostly know and enjoy subjects that don’t pay well from a residuals standpoint. In my situation, that’s ok – we live cheap and owe no money. At this point, I’m about ready to chuck all my upfront writing and focus, focus, focus.

  • Moki of Moki's Fanfiction Blog October 25, 2010, 7:42 pm

    Thanks for the advice Felicia. I have written for Textbroker in the past and after reading about WriterAccess, I have just applied there as well. I applied for Demand Studios a couple months ago but was turned down, which really surprised me as I think I have a pretty good resume with lots of experience on it.

    One of my blogs has been up for over a year and the other has only been up since January of this year. I guess I do just have to realize that it takes longer than we’d like to get these things going the way we want. Also I do really need to work on getting a schedule together as I know I don’t update either as much as I probably should.

    Thanks again!

    • Felicia October 25, 2010, 7:53 pm

      Moki, have you looked into Consumer Research? I came across it a couple of years ago and have been threatening to apply ever since. If you like researching, they pay a minimum of $350 per project. It could help to bring some money in while you’re working on your blogs. And, as far as DS goes, I believe you can apply again. I think other folks have applied several times before they were accepted. I think the key is to use a different email address (and maybe a different sample).

  • Prerna October 26, 2010, 2:09 am

    Hi Felicia,
    Thanks for sharing these numbers with us. I’ve been doing the same this past month since I need the money to meet the bills and upfront pay is so much quicker.. And like you, once I do my upfront and priavte client work, I’m not in the mood to write for residuals:-)
    But then, my residuals don’t make half as much as my upfront (since S101 is my main site) so am not sure what to do?? I know that residuals are the way to go but upfront seems easier and quicker.. What a dilemma!

  • Moki of Moki's Fanfiction Blog October 26, 2010, 3:32 pm

    Thanks Felicia for the tips and the link to the Consumer Research site. I’ll definitely look into that and see if it’s something I’d be interested in doing. I did get accepted for Writer Access though it’s not very helpful as they have no jobs at the moment.

    I’ll try to re-apply to Demand Studios too, thanks for the tip about using a different email address.

    Thanks again!

  • Monica RW October 27, 2010, 5:33 pm

    Interesting discussion. I am trying to figure out were to focus my efforts for the future. A “certain” writing area I started in this venture on is frankly beginning to be a waste of time. My blog is growing.

    I know I need to monetize it better (a little lost on where to begin) but, working on it :). As for consumer research, that sounds like an idea to check out. Felicia, I will keep reading your blog for the great suggestions! Thanks.

  • Christina Crowe ( @CashCampfire ) October 29, 2010, 10:58 am

    Hi Felicia,

    I think you made a wise decision as well. There was a time when I was so obsessed with the immediacy of upfront pay and did the same thing you did – started writing tons of articles for Demand Studios.

    I don’t write much for them anymore, mainly because they frustrate me to the point where I could rip all of my hair out, but I do need to get the ball rolling with my residual income streams.

    Thanks for the wake-up call!


  • Kathy Gleason November 1, 2010, 2:51 pm

    Wow, I’m so impressed with your residual income! You give me hope. I have 90 articles on Suite 101 and the payout for the month of October will be the first time I made payout in only one month. For the last six months or so, I hit the $10.00 payout every other month. With numbers like that, it’s hard to remember that if I keep plugging away and studying keyword placement and all that, I might be able to get away from Demand Studios more. Thanks! 🙂

  • Lisa Russell November 17, 2010, 12:38 pm

    Kidgas- I think I’m printing your comment, I love it! I fully appreciate what DMS offers, but it’s way too easy to get off-track and approach this business like an employee rather than like an entrepreneur sometimes.

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