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Preparing for the Dips

Dips and DropsThe longer I stick with this online freelance writing, the better I am able to prepare for the dips (This post was inspired by Ken’s recent comment).

When I first started writing online, I would compare last month’s earnings to this month’s earnings to get an indication of how well I was doing. In my first year of writing online, it was the only method of comparison that I had.

Senior Year of Online Writing School of Hard Knocks

Now that I’m nearing the end of my senior year of online writing (I’ve been at it for just shy of 4 years), I compare my numbers in a much different way. I compare apples to apples instead of apples to oranges. In other words, I compare January 2007 earnings to January of 2008 and so on.

I’ve found that comparing my December numbers to my January numbers doesn’t give me an accurate picture of my earnings growth. Seasonal fluctuations should be compared to other months with seasonal fluctuations. Doing so will allow you to better prepare for the dips.Progress?

Learning Your Dips

I’ve found that one of my sites seems to do well in June, July and August, drop in September and October and then start to pick up again in November in December. That December high is followed by a January low that lasts well into May. In my first year, I worried myself sick thinking that I did something wrong or that Google had pulled the plug.

I worried for nothing because the site followed the exact same pattern the following year. Only the second year’s numbers were better than the first. That site taught me three lessons:

  1. Worrying is useless (I knew that, but apparently I needed a reminder)
  2. Build up content during the dips so that when the boon times come, they’ll be boonier (I know that’s not a word, but you get my drift).
  3. Build an offsetting site.  An offsetting site is a site has a different set of seasonal fluctuations. If Site A does well in the summer and winter, Site B is targeted for the Spring and Fall, this way there’s a steady stream of income all year long.

Stats and Numbers

This all leads me to encouraging you to take time to track your numbers. It may seem like a royal pain at first, but it is well worth it if you want to work smart. Although I started tracking my numbers in my freshman year of online writing, it wasn’t until my junior year (last year) that I started seriously tracking my writing efforts in addition to my income.Ren and stimpy

Tracking each separately is good, but they become a powerful duo when you track them both. One without the other is like Batman without Robin, or Ren without Stimpy or Bert without Ernie or…(uh oh, too much coffee…sorry).

Keep the Big Picture in Mind

There’s not much I can guarantee when it comes to online writing, but I can guarantee there will be dips. You’ll see them daily, weekly, monthly and seasonally. In your first year those dips can throw you for a loop because you’ve got nothing to compare them to.

Take heart and just keep pushing on. The first year can be the toughest because you’re not quite sure what to expect or what you’re doing, but stick with it. Don’t let the dips stop you.

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Ira January 10, 2011, 8:47 am

    Hooking up Google Analytics to your site is a great way to track those ebbs and flows over time. That’s definitely something I would recommend, especially if you just run one or a few sites.

    Of course, tracking online writing through websites like Suite, TB, etc, can’t be tracked the same way, but there’s methods to doing it. (you’ve obsessively proven that, Felicia rofl) (for which we love you!)

    Depending on the field you’re in, you’ll see those dips even in the day-to-day tracking. Some things, for example games and gadgets, do WONDERFULLY on the weekends, and then slow down quite a bit in the week. Things regarding entertainment, like movies or TV shows, do similarly.

    Searches relating to finances, loans, business, insurance, etc, do exceptionally well in the week, and slow to a crawl during the weekends.

    So, knowing how to track these types of things can not only let you tailor websites based on seasonal flows, but day-to-day flows, as well. You could set up sites based entirely on bringing in weekend income, and others dedicated to weekday items, which are then tied to seasonal flows, as well.

    Numbers are the bane of my existence rofl 😀

    Great post, Felicia!

    • Felicia January 10, 2011, 9:13 am

      Ira, your comment reminded me of a post I did a couple of years ago on the subject of Google Analytics, StatCounter and Sitemeter. Yep, I was a numbers junkie even then. 🙂

      Good advice about the weekly traffic flow.

  • Jennifer Holik-Urban January 10, 2011, 6:56 am

    Great post! I just started my online writing career early November and found you mid last month. I’m a dedicated reader now because you provide such great information, especially for those of us starting out. Thanks!

    • Felicia January 10, 2011, 7:30 am

      Welcome to NJFM, Jennifer. The first year can be the toughest, but it’s also the most fun. I remember the elation I felt when I discovered that I could truly earn money online without having to spend a lot of money. Just stick with it.

  • Ken January 10, 2011, 10:39 am

    Great advice as always Felicia. The part about not getting discouraged by the dips in your first year is one thing newbies need to hear. It is a process, and one that we continue to learn every day, every month and every year no matter how long you have been doing this. It is a business. All businesses have ebbs and flows. Writing online is no different. What is nice however, is we can change our strategies without having to spend money to do so.

    • Ira January 10, 2011, 7:26 pm

      I’ve given myself a mantra to live by, Ken… “Never fear, wait a year.”

      I am seeing traffic on my sites, and am getting some revenue, though it’s not a lot yet. But I also know that I am seeing myself rising in the search rankings, and am already on page 1 for some of my pages. That’s a good sign 😉

      But I also know that almighty G does not like to give new sites much of a break til they’ve proven that they are going to play nice with the other kids (not be spammy, etc). A site will not reach it’s best potential until it’s at least 6 months to a year old.

      So, that’s the mantra for me, and I am trying hard to maintain it in the brain hehe. When those moments of disappointment come, that thought gets me through. That, and knowing that if I can earn $1 on this, I can make $10k. Just a matter of doing what I’ve done, more.

      Unfortunately, 99% of the people trying to do this stuff don’t even wait for their first revenue strike before they give up, thinking there’s a quick and easy button to win. There’s not. It’s some of the hardest work you’ll ever do, with no reward. Until later. That “until later” is what stops them all up.

      • Ken January 10, 2011, 9:24 pm

        Hi Ira,

        Glad to hear you are seeing traffic and revenue. Good stuff. One way to help out with your Google ranking indirectly. Write a couple of keyword optimized articles for Ezine articles. You won’t get any pay, but you will get some Google love. Fill out a good resource (bio) box with a link pointing back to your main site. The Ezine article will make rank rather quickly, in essence putting you on the front page of a Google search for your keyword phrase. You can use an article you already have published on your blog, but not anywhere else.

  • Kidgas January 10, 2011, 3:51 pm

    Hey, Felicia. Are you reading my Hubs? This is in essence what I published this morning on HubPages. Just kidding. I know better. You have been at this long enough to know what kind of feelings many of us (including yourself) experience.

    I was having a rough weekend and was a little disappointed in my progress but had to look at last January. Although the earnings aren’t all that great a difference, the traffic has improved. So, I am optimistic about the rest of the month and will just have to see what happens.

    • Felicia January 10, 2011, 7:13 pm

      Haha. Kidgas, the one thing I’ve discovered in my time of writing online is that when folks “get it” meaning that they understand there’s no magic pill or get rich quick program that will take them from rags to riches, we all start thinking alike. 🙂

  • Jesica January 12, 2011, 5:39 am

    To be honest I am kind of new in this internet business and online writing. My husband has enough experience in this and he explained me that these dips are related to a season which is related to a niche etc. Just to give an example, the AI site my husband has dips down during June, July, August and September. It is an academic site no real revenue from it. Nevertheless, his clothing site went up during Holidays and dips down in these days. Very similar to yours.

    I guess the way to stay out of panic is by having several niches. One niche may support another mean while is on crisis. However, here is the issue of writing about different subjects.

  • Alina Bradford January 13, 2011, 3:58 pm

    I think one of the biggest reasons why many people don’t make any money with their own site or residual sites is because they don’t give it enough time. Comparing year to year is the only real way your can see how things are changing. I love it when someone says, “I made less this month than last month.” lol

  • Prerna January 14, 2011, 7:12 am

    I agree, Felicia.. Now that I’m in my 2nd year of writing online, I know what to expect and don’t fret unnecessarily.. But then again, I also have you to let me know what’s coming next and so, am better prepared as well..:-)

  • William Tha Great January 17, 2011, 3:42 pm

    Hey Felicia,

    Thanks for sharing with us!

    I totally agree with you here you make good points. I believe in any online journey there will be dips. In those times it will be hard for onto find the motivation to keep pushing, no matter how things are looking. When you develop the inner motivation to never back down from dips or challenges that get in your way, that is when you will true start to see yourself progressing.

    The success you see is all in the mindset you carry.

    Thanks again!

    God bless,
    William Veasley

    P. S this is my first time on your blog and I must say I’m liking what your doing here! Keep up the hard work. ( :

    • Felicia January 18, 2011, 7:03 am

      Welcome to NJFM, William.

      I stopped by your blog and it was just as I expected it to be. It’s enthusiastic, upbeat and motivational (just like your comments here). Keep up the good work!

      • William Tha Great January 21, 2011, 4:15 pm

        Hey Felicia,

        Thanks for the response!

        I’m happy you took the time to stop by my blog. It is great that you found my blog motivational. I hope to see you around the community more If you like what you see. I look forward to being a part of your community for a long time ( :

        Can’t wait to see what you dish out next!

        Thanks again!

        God bless,
        William Veasley

  • Robert February 3, 2011, 3:47 am

    It looks like my earnings follow the same pattern that you mentioned. I wish my expenses would go up and down, too. Sigh.

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