In today’s economy, I believe having a successful career should also include an alternate source of income. It appears I am not alone in this opinion; To date, there are more than 44 million side-hustles in the U.S.
The reasons behind this aren’t tough to figure out. The working world has changed drastically in the past twenty years, and true job security is more elusive than ever before.
And with so much business being conducted on the internet, starting an online business is one of the most logical ways to take the reins on your own earning potential. Even if you work full time for a company – as I do – it still makes sense to put some irons in the fire.
Simply put, it’s a smart strategy to start a side-hustle.
For the writer, blogging is one of the most attractive options to make extra money online. Often associated with terms like “passive income”, the allure of blogging is the dream that you can create content about topics you love and then just watch the money roll in through affiliate marketing and Adsense while you sleep. Of course, it isn’t that simple.
The other option for writers is to look into a more service-based side-hustle, such as freelance writing. This requires finding clients and completing writing assignments. Not quite as sexy sounding as the blogging dream, but hey, you can still do the work on the couch in your pajamas, so why not?
So if you have decent writing chops, which pursuit is right for you?
Short answer? Do both!
Long answer: As someone who does do both, I recommend you focus on freelance writing first. Here’s why:
** My blog posts contain affiliate links, which means that I may earn a commission on purchases you make after clicking on those links. (At no extra cost to you!) Full disclosure here. **
With few exceptions, blogging is a slow burn that requires a lot of consistency and patience before you start seeing results. You could be looking at months of painfully low user-sessions and click-throughs. And even after you start getting some traction, the yield can be disappointingly low.
One Problogger survey found that the vast majority of bloggers only average about $3.25 a month. (Not even enough for a latte from Starbucks. 🙁 ) That’s not to say you’ll only ever make chump change from blogging. There are lots of success stories out there too. But anyone who’s tried blogging for income will tell you that it’s hard work.
As a freelance writer, you don’t have to wait for the money to come to you. You go out and get your money by seeking and winning clients. Do the work, and you can see your first paycheck within weeks of starting your freelance writing business. And you don’t need to be a slave to low-paying content mills like Upwork or Fiverr. Depending on the article’s length and amount of research required, I currently get paid anywhere from $40-$130 per article. In that range, you only need to write a few articles a month to make it worth your while as a side-hustle!
And no, you don’t need a degree in journalism to start making decent money through freelance writing. (Although if you do, all the more power to you!) I’m a transportation nerd with a diploma in jazz trumpet. If I can make money writing on the side, so can you!
For any kind of writing you can think of, there’s a demand for it. Blog posts and article writing is perhaps the most popular, and what I specialize in. But the list doesn’t end there. There are thousands of business owners out there looking for writers to create:
- Case studies
- Video scripts
- Informational ebooks
- Ghostwritten novels
- Crowdfunding copy
- Press releases
- Webpage rewrites
There is no sign that this demand for written content will change in the coming years. Worried about AI robots replacing human writers? Don’t be. What business owners are looking for in a writer is the ability to creative, empathetic, conversational content, and a unique voice that makes a genuine connection with other human beings. In my opinion, that’s something no robot with a word processor will ever be able to replicate.
Lower Learning Curve
Skills you need to blog:
- Email Marketing and opt-in creation
- Image sourcing & editing
- Social Media Marketing
- Never Ending patience
Skills you need to be a freelance writer:
Okay yes, I’m over-simplifying. Those other skills I mentioned as a blogger are still extremely useful as a freelance writer. The point is, they aren’t strictly necessary. Case in point: I could barely figure out my website in the beginning, and I still managed to get clients because all I really needed were some solid writing samples and the determination to hone my pitching skills.
I’m not saying it doesn’t take time and work to learn how to make income as a freelance writer. But it’s a much easier earning strategy in the sense that it takes less research and time investment up front.
The Takeaway: Freelance First, Blog Later
Don’t get me wrong, I love blogging. It can be a great way to build your online portfolio and establish yourself within your niche. A blog can also help you extend your network and grow your business over time. And yes, eventually, a blog can help you generate passive income.
But if you’re a writer who is looking to start making money sooner rather than later, I would suggest you focus on freelance writing first.
How to Break into Freelance Writing
If you’re ready to start bringing in some extra moola with your mad writing skills, I’ve put together a free guide to help you get started, just fill out the form below and the download is all yours:
The guide can get you well on your way to becoming a freelance writer. And if you do your research and keep working at it, freelance writing is something you can figure out on your own (just like anything, really.)
But if you really want to dig in, avoid certain pitfalls, and fast track your success, take Gina Horkey’s course, 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success.
Do the work, and the course lives up to its name
To be totally transparent, I am an affiliate which means I get a commission if you purchase the course through my link. But I’m only an affiliate because this course was a Godsend to me. I had my first paying client within a month of completing the course, and I made back the money I’d invested in it within 3 months. Since then, I’ve continued freelance writing on the side for over two years and have added thousands of dollars to my annual earnings simply from writing for a couple hours on the weekends.
What are you doing to diversify your income? Have you tried freelance writing or have you ever wanted to try it? Let me know in the comments!