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My Not so Final Numbers for 2010

As you can tell from my last few posts, I’ve spent quite a bit of time analyzing my numbers.  I think this will be my last numbers post for awhile. Bear with me because I’m doing my end of the year analysis.

The Starving Writer

To some extent, we are all starving artists.  We start out writing tons of articles while still earning pennies.  However, because we love what we do and see the promise of more money to come, we stick with it.  I’m not rolling in the dough, but my pennies are turning into dollars now and I can drop some venues and spend a little more time on things I love to do.For the love of writing

For the Love of Writing

I love writing here on NJFM because there are absolutely no expectations (well, at least on my part).  NJFM is my morning coffee ramble and I seem to have found quite a few people who like to ramble along with me.  That’s the great part about writing here.  The down side is that it’s not lucrative at all.  I make a few bucks here, but this is a venture of love, not profit.

Writing for Profit

After reviewing my scattered and assorted writing venues, I discovered that in 2010 I spent my time writing for 29 different sites and blogs. Many of the blogs are my own blogs, but 29 is a huge number.  Talk about spreading yourself too thin.

With the pruning shears in hand I did quite a bit of soul searching and numbers crunching.  I’ve decided to put many of my projects on hold.  I’m not abandoning them; I’m just putting them on hold for 2011. I’ll come back to them when I’m able to spend focused time on them (focus is my new buzz word for 2011).

Narrowing the Writing Playing Field

The numbers speak for themselves.  Here’s a summary of my 2010 writing.  For those of you who receive my newsletter, some of these figures won’t surprise you.  But since writing the newsletter, I sliced and diced my numbers a bit more. Here they are (I originally drafted this post on 12/22/10 so my numbers don’t include earnings or articles since then):

Site Number of Articles % of Total Writing Time Income Percent
Demand Media 257 34% 15%
Dud Articles placed on $0 income sites 97 13% 0%
NJFM 107 14% 1%
Low Income Earnings 97 13% 4%
My top 4 writing sites 194 26% 80%
Total 752

(26% of my writing time yielded 80% of my total income)

Now, here are those same numbers viewed through the residual income eye (I’m dropping Demand Media Studios from the mix).

Site # Articles % of Residual Writing Time Income Percent
$0 income Articles 97 19% 0
NJFM 107 22% 1%
Low Income 97 20% 6%
High Powered Sites 194 39% 93%
Total 496

(39% of my residual writing time yielded 93% of my residual income)

After looking at the numbers, I examined my heart.  NJFM will always remain in the writing mix.  NJFM is more than dollars and cents; it’s my Moneymuse and helps to keep me grounded.  However, the $0 income and low income sites will go on the back burner for 2011. Well, all except for 2 of them which I believe are potential money makers if I give them the right amount of attention.

High Powered Sites

Of my high-powered sites, two I own and two I don’t.  It’s no secret that eHow and Suite 101 are my high-powered sites.  The revenue hierarchy, however, is changing. With Suite’s dropping numbers and my own site’s growing revenue, Suite is no longer my second best earning venue. My goal is to make my own sites my number 1 and number 2 best earners.

Online Writing Going forward

If you look at the numbers, I wrote over 750 articles last year and only 26% of them were real winners.  75% of my writing time was not efficiently used.  Now that I’m aware of the return on my efforts, if I double my winners, drop my losers and write nothing but residual articles for 2011, I could conceivably increase my income by writing half as much as I did last year.  Of course there are factors that we can’t account for, but in theory, it should work.

No Brainer Decisions

In 2011, I’m focusing my efforts on the top 4 sites that brought in the majority of my income last year.  Additionally, I have two blogs that are showing signs of becoming money makers. I’ll bring those two along as I continue to write here on NJFM.

I’m working less, but I’m working focused.  As you all know, my ultimate goal when I started this online writing stuff is to go 100% residual and to earn $10,000 per month from that residual income.  After 3 ½ years, I think I’ve got the first part of the goal in the bag.  I’m going 100% residual (with an occasional DMS here or there).  Now I have to focus on bringing in more money until I reach (and surpass) my goal of $10,000 a month.Happy 2011

Does Online Writing Work?

Some folks like to argue that it’s a waste of time writing residual articles. They don’t see the long-term dream. I don’t fault them for their opinion because it’s just that, an opinion.  If you’re just starting out, my suggestion to you is to decide what YOU want and go for it.  Sometimes you have to put on blinders and keep writing.

You have to protect your dream by staying away from Negative Nellies and forums/blogs that tell you it’s impossible to do.  As the saying goes “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Happy Writing in 2011!

(I’m not usually so long winded, but I had a lot to say today)

{ 38 comments… add one }
  • cadebe December 30, 2010, 6:51 am

    Thanks, Felicia, for always sharing your experiences. They truly inspire me to take my Internet writing/blogging to the next level.

  • Ira December 30, 2010, 2:00 pm

    See, Felicia, this is pretty serendipitous to my own thoughts lol

    I’ve started my blogs with the intent of putting out great information and earning through ad revenue or my own marketing items. (putting out info products that are actually useful lol). I’ve been considering doing Amazon, as well, but I am not sure yet.

    Anyhow, so far I am seeing results that are very pleasing. I’ve not made much yet, but the working word is, yet. I’ve only been at it a week and am already seeing returns… that’s not bad 😉

    Your idea of focusing on what brings it in for you is the best thing you can do, I think. Especially as long as you still do things here on NJFM. Your karma gets a great boost from having this resource available for us poor schmo’s trying to figure ourselves out haha 😀

  • Master Dayton December 30, 2010, 1:28 pm

    Another great post! Good to see you have a really great handle on where your effort is paying off. Have you ever heard of the Pareto Principle? I’m a fan of “The 4 Hour Work Week” and that introduced me to Pareto, whose theory was that often 80% or more of results comes from 20% of your effort. Your numbers really matched up in that neighborhood, so that’s what really jumped out at me. I’m figuring out my top 20% myself to make sure I’m making the most of my time next year, as well. Keep up the great work and I hope 2011 positively shoots past even your most optimistic expectations.

    • Felicia December 30, 2010, 1:34 pm

      Yep, very familiar with the Pareto principle. I find that it applies to just about everything (20% of the living beings in my house do 80% of the housework). 🙂

      • Ira December 30, 2010, 1:56 pm

        haha that’s a perfect analogy of Pareto haha

  • Will December 30, 2010, 3:21 pm

    Felicia, can you explain how and why you separate your Demand Media writing from eHow? Isn’t eHow owned by DM? What’s the primary difference in the content? Thanks.

    • Felicia December 30, 2010, 4:10 pm

      I separate the upfront payment from the residual earnings. The DMS articles were the $15 flat fee articles and the eHow articles were written on a residual basis. You’re right, they’re both for the same company, but the method of payment is different.

  • Deanna December 30, 2010, 4:22 pm

    I love that “focus” is your new buzz word and I plan on stealing that from you to use for myself. I agree with you on trimming out the low-paying sites and building on what works. After spending the last year-and-a-half trying different residual income sites, I also have decided to drop the low earners and build on the ones I have seen grow at a faster rate. Like you, I want to work smarter – not harder. Good luck in 2011! 🙂

  • Ken December 31, 2010, 7:24 am

    Ah, time for the threshing floor. 🙂 It is really amazing when you go back and look at your numbers, seeing where your efforts are better spent. 29 venues is a lot, but at the same time you don’t know what is lucrative or not until you try them. The focusing part is key. Felicia, I see you making huge strides in your residual income streams in the coming year. I look forward to your post when you let us know that 100% of your income is coming from residuals. That will be a celebration of celebrations.

    On a side note, I am really digging on your spreadsheets you shared earlier. I would encourage everyone to use them, no matter where you are in your writing career.

  • Crystal December 31, 2010, 8:26 am

    First off, Felicia, thanks for not ditching NJFM because it doesn’t pay much – I am so relieved! This is my favorite morning hangout and I would really miss it. As for focus – I’m trying . . . But DMS sucked me in again with the Holiday Club. So I’ve spent time the past three days off the wagon and will submit a few more today. Then on to the New Year!

    I know I need to focus on my own stuff – grow my memorial quilt business and blogs, finish my quilt patterns and book. But then I get sidetracked writing for up-front pay and before I know what’s happened, a week or a month has gone by. I think for 2011, I’ll figure out exactly how much money I need to earn for the whole year, write up-front pay articles until I reach that amount, and then quit completely for the remainder of the year. That way I have no worries if my residuals grow slowly and can totally relax and enjoy the ride:)

    • Felicia December 31, 2010, 8:57 am

      Crystal, sometimes you have to go with the flow. I’ve been at this a bit longer than you and my numbers are telling me a different story than your numbers are telling you.

      I tried to ignore it, but I really have to stop spending so much time on the DMS up front articles because it’s costing me. You might not be at that point as yet, but you’ll get there eventually. Just keep track of what works for you and what doesn’t. I know how DMS can suck a person in and its hard to break the habit, but I’ve got to break free this year.

      2011 is going to be very interesting for all of us. 🙂

  • Kidgas December 31, 2010, 9:14 am

    I love the fact that focus is the buzzword for 2011. That is what I plan to do by focusing solely on HubPages since it is 80% of my income. I hope to look at my more successful articles and write more of them.

    LOL at the housework comment.

    Glad to see that you are going 100% residual this year. I know that your results will simply explode.

  • Jackie December 31, 2010, 12:52 pm

    Hi Felicia,
    I’ve been getting great advice from this site for quite a few months, but this is my first time commenting.
    First, I just want to say thank you for continuing NJFM and being a source of inspiration to all of us newbies!

    I would really like to build residual income and just wrote my first revenue share article at DMS. I was wondering if you still write revenue share articles with them, and if the earnings are equivalent to the old ehow earnings(before they switched to only DMS writers).
    Thanks again and happy New Year!

    • Felicia December 31, 2010, 1:37 pm

      Hey Jackie,

      So far I’ve written 8 revenue share articles for DMS. The last three I just wrote a couple of weeks ago so they haven’t earned anything as yet. The other 5 I wrote in June, July, August and September and they’ve earned $83.56 so far. I’d say that’s pretty good for 5 articles that are less than a year old.

      It’s hard to compare DMS to eHow because when I started with eHow, I wrote like a crazy woman. I put up 200 articles quickly (100 in one month alone). So, if you’re considering DMS’ revenue share, I’d say give it a shot, closely monitor your progress and then make your decision. As for me, I’ll continue on a slow and steady pace with them.

      • Jackie December 31, 2010, 2:07 pm

        Thanks Felicia! More proof that just writing more articles is key. I was discouraged that my one article has not earned anything in one week. But, it’s one article and I have a lot to learn about SEO! It’s good to know that significant earnings, like from your five articles, are possible from their revenue share program!

        • Felicia December 31, 2010, 2:12 pm

          Oh yeah, your one article probably hasn’t had the time to break out of its shell as yet. 🙂

          When it comes to residual writing it takes quantity, quality, time and most of all patience.

  • Moki of Moki's Fanfiction Blog December 31, 2010, 1:33 pm

    Thanks as always for your insights into the jungle known as writing online. I started writing for zero dollars (on my own blogs, just trying to gain experience), that slowly turned into making pennies and now I’m on the cusp of making dollars. Like you, it isn’t anything to get me rich but at the same time I always revel in the fact that I get up every morning and get to do something that I love.

    I can’t tell you how many times I have read one of your posts and sighed with relief, knowing that I wasn’t the only one to go through such trials as I struggled to make my way in the freelance writing world.

    So thanks again, not only for today’s post but for all of them and I look forward to reading what you have to say in 2011. I’m hoping to make it an even better year than 2010.


    • Felicia December 31, 2010, 1:50 pm


      We’re living proof that if you stick with it, it will pay off. I’m glad to hear that things are picking up for you.

      2011 will be an interesting year for all of us.

  • Ignatius December 31, 2010, 7:38 pm

    Thanks for the inspirational post. I hope you have a very happy and prosperous 2011.

    One thing that gave my income a little boost on a “still around, but not worth updating site” was to write a front page article that was a summary post with links to lots of posts on the site. For some reason, Google seemed to like that and my rankings went up for some key phrases. I can’t guarantee results, but if you haven’t already done something similar, you might consider trying an experiment on one of your dud sites.

    • Felicia January 1, 2011, 8:50 am

      Thanks for the tip, Ignatius.

      I’ve never tried it but will give it a shot (I’ve got quite a few duds out there).

  • Lissie January 1, 2011, 6:22 am

    Well done – it sounds like you are well on your way from the “job” of freelance writer to being a business owner of passive income producing web properties! You are one of the very few talented writers that I have seen make the jump (Master Dayton above is another) – its a huge reflection in your self-belief that you’ve made it

    • Felicia January 1, 2011, 8:53 am

      I like that phrase “a business owner of passive income producing web properties.” I’ve done the real estate income property stint, and didn’t like it too much (too much work). Online passive income is the way to go for me. Lis, I’m adding that phrase to my favorite sayings list. 🙂

  • Amanda January 1, 2011, 6:46 am

    2011 will be the year that I will start freelancing from ground zero. While it’s motivating to read some success stories, I still feel stressed because I have no clue as to how things will develop. I also have self-doubt. Will I be able to make a living from it? I am quite nervous.

    But I know if I don’t push myself to start something, I will be stuck in the same position forever.

    • Felicia January 1, 2011, 9:02 am

      Amanda, it’s interesting that your comment came right after Lissie’s. Click on her blog’s link for getting started motivation.

      And you’re right, if you don’t push yourself to start something, you’ll be stuck in the same position by the end of the year. Believe it or not, some folks don’t ever come to that realization. They allow their lack of confidence stop them from getting started. At least you’re on the right track.

      I’ve got several posts on here that talk about my initial lack of confidence (put the word “confidence” in the search on NJFM and you’ll see a bunch of posts). Read a few of them. Hopefully they’ll give you the kick start you need. Just don’t allow fear to stop you (do it afraid). If you haven’t done so already, download my ebook (purple tab to the left), it’s free.

      • Amanda January 1, 2011, 11:40 pm

        Thanks, Felicia. I will definitely check them out.

    • Ira January 1, 2011, 5:52 pm

      Hey, Amanda,

      I started my own journey about a month and a half ago at this point; mainly started it because I felt I had no choice. It was either this or nothing (I’m disabled “real life” otherwise). I had literally no clue what to do to earn money when I first got going.

      Now, the interesting thing is, that through Felicia’s wonderful work here, and my own investigations elsewhere (as well as some weird inspirations once I got started), I have now ended up making more in the past month than I have the past 4 years combined.

      Now, of course, your story will be different, because everyone’s is. But the point is, that until I started doing it, I was stuck in the same place and feeling worse by the day.

      The only way to get started is to get started. Being afraid is fine. It’s, in fact, totally natural, and I would be shocked to hear you weren’t. Shoot, I STILL am lol

      But, here’s a little secret into how our brains work… It will do anything it can to keep us doing the same things we are doing. Why? Because it’s comfortable, and it doesn’t have to work any harder to survive. When we decide to do something different, it doesn’t like it, because then it has to work.

      So it will trigger those feelings of fear and insecurity, because it knows those are powerful weapons to get you to STOP trying to make changes.

      Maybe keeping that in “mind” will help realize where the lack of confidence stems from. I know it does for me. I just tell my brain to shut up and keep working lol 😀

      • Amanda January 2, 2011, 9:50 am

        Thanks for sharing your story. I had my realization a couple of months before. I decided that if I didn’t do something, I might never have the momentum (if I don’t start now, why in the world would I start any time later?). So, I push myself to make some plans within the past months.

        Having a little bit of fear is good because it spurs me to work harder. But I remember not to let it rein me.

  • Emory January 1, 2011, 6:40 pm

    On a Demand Studios note, they raised the price of eHow Money articles from $15.00 to $17.50. Not a big jump but it all adds up.

    Still, Demand is more of a job than passive income so my 2011 goal is to spend less time on the Demand treadmill and devote more energy into my own sites.

    Thanks for the spreadsheet and Happy New Year!

  • Christina Crowe January 6, 2011, 5:46 pm

    Hey Felicia,

    You’ve made marvelous progress last year! I’m glad you were able to determine which sites are more profitable and where you should put your focus.

    To some extent, you’re even taking advantage of the 80/20 rule and only focusing on the 20% of your projects that count and earn you a decent income for the work involved.

    As for myself, I’m also going to focus on the residual income this year – there’s just a greater earning potential.

    Good luck!


  • Steven Hale January 11, 2011, 2:22 pm

    Dear Felicia,

    I was googling information about employment, etc., and I found your site – and I’m glad I did. This was just earlier…

    I have read just a little of your material, and I was wondering if you can recommend what to start reading first and where to go from there. I am curious if you write articles which are research/data rich, and how you choose your topics. In other words, I’m new here.

    Thanks. I really feel that you are offering yourself to others here, and that is always where the true joy is. Good for you – and your readers.


    • Felicia January 11, 2011, 2:40 pm

      Hi Steven and welcome to NJFM.

      There’s a lot of info on here but I think you should start by downloading the free ebook (pink tab to the left). That will give you a quick overview about writing online. After that, I guess it depends on what you’re looking for. As far as topics, most of us start out writing about what we know. Then we branch out from there.

      After you’ve read the book, come back and ask questions. If I don’t know the answer, I know someone in the NJFM community does.

  • William Tha Great January 17, 2011, 3:32 pm

    Hey Felicia,

    Thanks for the awesome article!

    I like the way you think. You not focused on seeing results right away, but instead more focused on the long term benefits of your persistence. That is in my opinion the best way to think! I wish I had that mindset when I first started blogging, but everyday i am building my motivation to keep on pushing, pushing, and pushing without looking back.

    I don’t want to be that person to know something was in reach, but not of had the patience to see it all the way out. If you persist there is really nothing you can accomplish. Itmight not happen right away, but you will get there most certainly!

    Thanks again!

    God bless,
    William Veasley

  • Reena February 14, 2011, 10:14 am

    I have a quick question about eHow. Did you receive a 1099 for your eHow earnings? I received one from Demand Media for my DS earnings, but nothing for eHow yet!

    • Felicia February 14, 2011, 11:01 am

      Your eHow earnings are reported on the same 1099 as your Demand Media earnings. Look under box# 2: Royalties for your eHow earnings and box #7: Nonemployee compensation for your Demand Media earnings.

  • Reena February 14, 2011, 11:09 am

    Box 7 gives my DS earnings.
    Box 2 under royalties says $651.44
    but my eHow earnings for 2010 is $700.28 and payments issued is $703.60 USD.
    Where did $651.44 come from?
    Thanks for all your help.

    • Felicia February 14, 2011, 11:29 am

      Reena, I’m not sure why there’s a discrepancy. Sounds like a question you need to ask Demand Media.

      • Reena February 14, 2011, 11:53 am

        Do you have an email address I can get in touch with them, or should I post it in the DS forum? Thank you for your help.

        • Felicia February 14, 2011, 12:36 pm

          Reena, check their website. There must be a “Contact Us” link somewhere.

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