We all have skills.
Some of those skills match up with what we do in our day jobs, and other times they are completely different. Either way, though, we owe it to ourselves to maximize those skills for our own personal benefit, right?
I’m not saying everyone should be seeking a side gig and income, because each of us has unique circumstances, more or less time, bigger or lesser needs, etc. But, if it’s something you’ve been thinking about, and the only thing really holding you back is something like fear of failure, then now is as good as a time as any to potentially give it a whirl.
Which brings me to writing, and attempting to monetize it.
Now, I know there are long lists out there that run through a number of great examples and ideas on how one can monetize their writing skills. My goal isn’t to outdo, but to perhaps add my own personal experience and flavor in hopes of truly inspiring to someone to take that next step.
What does monetizing your writing even mean?
First of all, let’s get on the same page. Monetizing your writing means getting paid for the the work you put together. That could mean an immediate transaction of client hiring you to create something, and them paying you upon delivery, or, it could mean posting a blog post to your website and earning affiliate income from it.
And that’s the point—you don’t have to be a blogger, or get get frustrated with bidding on freelance jobs only to get turned away. Sure, those things work for some people, but not others, and that’s fine.
With all of that said, here are a few ways I’ve monetized my writing, and a few ways I’ve struck out.
First, though—there are a lot of ways to get paid to write:
But for this post in particular, I’ll be focusing on how those can use writing as a side gig to earn extra income.
Freelance writing on Upwork
I’m putting this first because it was the first stop for me on my monetization journey. Frankly, I didn’t know any better…I knew I wanted to write, I thought someone might hire me for it, and I just needed the opportunity.
Well, back then it was called Elance, and I also used Guru.com a lot. Now, I only use Upwork, and think it’s worth it; others don’t, and you might be totally against having to pay Upwork fees, etc. but at the end of the day, it’s still a way to monetize your skills.
In terms of getting started, I encourage you to also read these posts.
Freelance writing on Fiverr
I initially thought about combining these two sections into one since they are similar, but the more I reflect on my experiences, the more different they really are.
When it comes to Upwork vs. Fiverr, a big distinction is how a job is acquired. On Upwork you’re basically going to the client and presenting yourself, and on Fiverr, you’re doing what you can to get the client to come to you.
So, in terms of controlling your destiny, you can go harder with Upwork by bidding on whatever you want, but on the flipside, have to put less upfront effort into getting hired on Upwork. Additionally, you can really zero in on the jobs you want to be doing with Fiverr. Meaning, on Upwork, you’re bidding on the jobs presented to you, but on Fiverr, you’re creating a gig around what you’re good at, and waiting for clients who fit the need to come around.
There are of course myriad differences, so if you’re asking which should you do, I’d definitely say both. One, you want to be able to experience the two to see where you find success. For me personally, I was 100% focused on Upwork for quite a while, until I gave Fiverr a shot and got hired. And two, you can set up your Fiverr gigs, and basically “set it and forget it” while you go back and actively bid on on Upwork jobs.
So again, for me, now, with less time on my hands, I don’t want to put in the effort of landing a job, and I want to ensure the jobs I’m doing are jobs I’m good at and can efficiently complete.
Creating a book
Writing a book seems like such an impossible task, right? I felt the same way, and still do to an extent…but I feel better about it than I did a few months ago.
It was then that I made a decision to start small, by writing a kids book. I was riding high on the feeling of success and achievement, and then I remembered I had to illustrate it! After some trial and error, I illustrated my own children’s book for KDP using Canva.
The moral of the story is, I thought it was impossible, so started small. I then finished, and learned a ton along the way. Does the book sell for a ton? Nope. But, I at least laid the ground and am giving myself the opportunity.
You can learn more about how I went about it through the previous links, but there also other, perhaps easier ways you personally can go about it, whether that’s focusing more on an eBook, etc.
Creating your own blog
When I first started blogging, I was surprised at how easy it could be to earn a few bucks here and there. But, I was also surprised at just how many costs go into maintaining the site, etc. So, to be honest, this is a tough one, or at least it has been for me. I do see how it can really work for others, though, and maybe you’re one of those people.
If you don’t have any idea what I’m talking about in terms of how your blog can be monetized, here are a few basic ideas.
Affiliate income: You place ads on your site and can earn a commission if site visitors click those links and make a purchase
Paid ads: Not to be confused with affiliate income where you’re getting paid on purchase, you can also sell space on your site to other sites and products, for say, $250/month for a 300×250 ad
Sponsored content: Also, others will pay you to write a review for their product and post to your blog, etc.
Selling a course or materials: One other big thing I’m sure you’ve seen around is bloggers selling courses or memberships with exclusive content memberships, etc. I’ll be honest, I don’t have much experience here, but I’ve purchased plenty, and I know a number of people who go this route and have found success.
A course can take a variety of forms, whether it’s something you set up for users to traverse on their own through an online platform, or a step-by-step email send. It could even be live video recordings, or a simple PDF.
You have the skills
You have the skills, and now you just need to find how to make the most of them. If you get discouraged, just remember that anyone who found success started in your very position. Few things happen overnight, and few things are nailed on first try.