It was after doing an audit of my expenses for the month that I realized, “Holy shit, there’s $10,000 of income just from writing!” So here’s the deal: If I can make money from writing, you definitely can too. The reason for this article is that the most common questions I still get are:
How do I get started?
How does typing words actually make money?
So without any fluff, BS, broken promises, dreams of Ferraris, and selfies with Richard Branson, I’m going to tell you the answer to these two questions after doing it successfully for more than a year.
Ready? Let’s go.
Not a single dollar was made from blogging during these years.
Let’s be clear that the start is a slow burn. But the good news is that I wasn’t just a shit writer, to begin with—I was a really shit writer, and a lot of time was wasted. You can definitely do better than me by avoiding a few of the pitfalls.
- Don’t start your own blog, as it wastes your time and people won’t find it
- Write everywhere at the beginning (Medium, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram)
- Do not ask for help from other writers until you have a library of work (no one will help you if you have three published articles to your name)
- Pitch major publications once you have found your lane, not in the first week of starting
- Don’t take too long to pitch major publications, though
- Do not spend a dollar on logos, paying to boost articles or portrait photos
By avoiding these pitfalls, you can build momentum quicker than I did.
The two I chose were entrepreneurship and personal development. Write about these two topics and nothing else.
Make sure they are topics you know something about or at least have enough passion to research without getting bored.
Do not think about money
You can’t make any substantial amount of money from writing until you have put some time into your art.
Technically, you could make a few bucks on somewhere like Fiver, but the work will be so uninspiring that it will likely be the cause of you giving up. Sure you could make $20 for writing an article, but that is a poo change compared to the thousands you can make by getting good.
An excellent mindset to have is to write off at least the first year. Start by doing it for free because that will test you and reveal whether you really enjoy doing it. Without the pleasure you get from writing, you’ll likely give up.
Schedule the writing weekly
I chose Saturday at the start because it was the one day I wasn’t working. Pick the day that you know you’ll have time and set it in your calendar as a recurring event.
Bonus tip: For added accountability, tell a mate what you have committed to and agree that you will pay them $100 if you miss a Saturday of writing. (This idea came from when I had a personal trainer and often couldn’t be assed going to the gym, but the fear of him being upset, and the loss of $35 due to cancellation, was enough to get my skinny little ass to the gym and pump those weights.)
Use popular platform
I said before not to start with your own website for a damn good reason.
Having your own website will force you to piss fart around choosing website templates, engaging with web developers, paying for hosting, endlessly screwing around with column widths and a whole bunch of other BS that will not make you $11,000 per month later on.
Start with someone else’s platform.
I started on my mate from Western Australia’s WordPress blog. He did all the SEO nonsense, marketing, and traffic watching so I could do the writing.
Another way to start is by using a social media platform. Medium is the obvious choice, but people also forget some not-so-obvious choices:
- LinkedIn articles
- Long-form copy on Instagram next to an image
- Short posts on Twitter
- This one is really crazy: you could write a long-form article as a comment on someone’s post who has a big audience (someone like Gary Vaynerchuk)
That last point is very left-of-center, but I have genuinely seen people do it. Get creative as there are so many ways you can practice the art of writing.
The goal is to find a place where you can write without distraction and say something useful, inspiring, or entertaining consistently.
Through that process, you find what works and what doesn’t, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get a small audience.