Entrepreneur + Writer = EntreWriter
An EntreWriter is first a Writer, then an Entrepreneur.
You first have to be passionate about writing in order to make money writing. You have to write to express, not impress. Then you also have to “find the convergence between your passion and what people want.”
If you’re a writer, you naturally want to make some money from your passion and all your hard work.
This post will look at 7 ways to do that.
1. Get published
First off, “writing books is a terrible revenue model for authors,” writes Tim Ferris, “precious few books sell more than 25,000 copies, so it’s unlikely you’ll make even $75,000 a year from book royalties. In rare cases, you might have a perennial bestseller, but this is less than 1% of all books sold and not a good bet to make.”
For a book that can take anywhere from 1-3 years to complete, this isn’t anything to get extremely excited about. Yet, I would still suggest trying to get published even though it doesn’t make the most financial sense.
Why? Because there is still a certain magic and credibility gained once you become a published author. And also because it helps you grow your platform, which I’m convinced is the secret to long term success. Writing ebooks can be a good way to gain credibility, but I still feel getting published will go even further in helping you build your platform.
- Secure a book contract by writing a powerful, compelling book proposal.
- Writer’s Digest: Write Better, Get Published, Be Creative
- The 11 Secrets of Getting Published by Mary Demuth
2. Brute-force method
You could simply help publications and companies communicate powerfully with their readers and customers.
It won’t be easy though. Here’s a rough guide (based off how Carol did it at makealivingwriting.com):
- Build up your own blog – which means consistently writing at least 2-3 articles per week on your blog, and going through a process of improving your own writing skills (finding your voice, gaining blog focus, etc).
- Pitch loads of high-traffic sites and try to get on as a regular, paid blogger. Refer them to your site and possibly other published articles you posted on guest sites.
- Write tons and tons of posts. Carol noted she had to write a total of 58 blog posts in order to generate a total pay of $5,100. That’s a heck of a lot of writing in one month, but for 5k, could be definitely worth thinking about.
This is really a short-term focus strategy to making money, and possibly not the smartest way to generate long term success that building your own platform would afford you. Yet, if you need cash, this is definitely something to consider doing, even if you’re only going to do it for a season.
- 10 Sites For Writing Articles and Making Money
- 8 Tips for getting published in magazines
- How to get published in a magazine
3. Make your own ebook (self-publish)
Selling ebooks is a growing trend these days in the blogging world. But who’s going to buy your book when you are new to blogging, and don’t have big audience? No one knows you yet. You have no influence.
To make decent money, this route will likely involve years of steady improvement in writing, blogging consistently, guest blogging, and providing free ebooks or training in order to gain a viable number of regular readers. You will find yourself having to give and give and give all your best stuff freely, for quite a long time.
Once you got a sufficient number of these regular readers, you give them an ebook to buy from you. I don’t really have a good idea how much money you can expect to make from your first ebook, but if you’re selling it for only $5, I wouldn’t quit your day job just yet. You’re going to need a pretty huge audience, along with support from big bloggers, to really make a killing.
- How to create an ebook in 7 steps
- How to write ebooks that sell
- The Process of Writing an Ebook & Sharing It With The World
- Why & How I Self-Published A Book
4. Product and services method
Chris Guillebeau is a good example of the product and services method. He’s got a great line of unconventional products for you to buy. Chris publishes most of his content for free, but there is also enough people willing to pay for his products to be able to support him quite well.
This approach can also include creating podcasts, videos, webinars, and/or courses.
The webinar approach is interesting to me. What most do is provide a free webinar and then pitch the audience on a special product or service offering at the end. Some can get quite car salesman-like in their pitch, but others are quite clever in getting you interested in their product offering.
5. Paid subscriber method
The best example I know of is a website I’ve subscribed to for several years now called The Kirk Report. It’s for stock trader’s.
The paid subscriber method seems to work better in certain niches, but I really believe they are an awesome way to make a great living. It is something I plan on doing in the future for my audience.
Consider this: if you charge $100 for a yearly membership, and have 1,000 subscribers…well, you do the math! Things get really juicy when you reach the 5,000 membership level. Sure you may have a lot of turnover as trends change, but this method is powerful because people value information more when they pay for it. And if the site delivers, as Kirk does year after year, you have a nice career ahead of you.
- Is the future of blogging paid access?
- How to use the paid subscription model on your website
- People pay for value – their value, not yours
6. Advertising model
This is the oldest form of making money from your online content, but still very effective if you have huge traffic to your site. And I mean huge traffic.
Depending on your niche, adsense is known to have been paying anywhere from $0.01 to $3.00 per click. So you are going to need tons of traffic. That’s going to take a while in such a saturated market. You also need to be ranked high in google (preferably number 1-3), and you need tons of useful and fresh content as well.
A better approach would be to do something similar to Michael Hyatt, where you have specific sponsors to support your site (placed in your sidebar). Finding dedicated sponsors isn’t easy though, because no one is going to pay good money for an ad on a website generating little traffic.
7. Hybrid model
Or you can combine some of the above methods. Michael Hyatt does a combination of ad sponsors, affiliate marketing, and ebooks for passive content. May others do this also. Leo Babauta of zenhabits.net does a combination of ebooks and services. Many do a combination of adsense and products also.
It’s smart to adopt a hybrid model because you get that diversification effect. What happens if your ebook totally goes through a dry season? What if your product is a flop? You’ll be happy you have some support from sponsors, or another income stream.
Question: what are some ways you made money from writing? Please share below.