Thursday, January 21, 2021

How to Build a $2,000 a Month Online Writing Side Hustle — Even If You’re Just Starting Out

I remember when I started with this online content writing journey.

I had no idea what I was doing.

It all started after I was working in a fine dining restaurant in West Los Angeles. It was an Italian joint run by a team of Romans. Sure, I was unhealthy, and I made $1,700 in tips selling dry pasta to the rich Hollywood Elite, but I was terribly unhealthy and incredibly unfulfilled.

Luckily — the restaurant I was working at caught fire in the ceiling electrical fittings and burned to the ground. I even got to serve a celebrity that I look up to:

 
The morning after the fire
The morning after the fire

After it burned down, I was, of course, jobless. But I was also filled with a lot of hope. I had this opportunity to do what I loved to do — write.

This was back in early 2017.

So the morning after the fire, I bought a domain and hosting with Wix.com.

I told myself that I was going to write every day for 30 days. It didn’t matter what I wrote — but that I followed through with my commitment and created content.

  • I wrote about my thoughts.
  • I wrote about food and drinks.
  • I wrote about my interpersonal relationship.
  • I wrote about whatever grazed my brain.

And that’s what started open help doors. I started to see opportunity in writing online content.

One thing led to another, and I was writing for paying clients. I was getting work featured on Forbes. I was generating hundreds of thousands and millions of views on sites like Quora and Medium. I was making thousands every month. It finally helped me quit the rat race of working a full-time job.

Before I quit, however, I was able to leverage my writing into a multi-thousand dollar side hustle: both by creating content and leveraging that content into the sale of digital products for an audience.

In this article, we’ll go over the steps and strategies I used to do that.

Here we go…

Why you should start an online content publishing side hustle

Making a living is tough right now.

The United Nations Labor Bureau estimates that nearly half the global workforce is at risk of losing their job or faces seeing reduced working hours as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have the ability — fortifying a part of your income through a side hustle can help alleviate some of the strain we’re experiencing.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with what a side hustle is — a side hustle is,

“a way to make money outside of your 9 to 5 job. It allows you to make more money that’ll give you the freedom to pursue your passions, buy things you need or want, and lower any financial worries.”

With the introduction of different 21st Century technology, adopting and implementing your own side hustle is easier than it was a mere decade ago.

One of the most popular ways of going about this is through online content writing.

What does that entail?

There are a few different areas that you could find yourself in when it comes to online content writing. To name a few:

  • Freelance content/copywriting
  • Self-hosted blogging paid by the sale of digital products and advertising
  • Blogging on paid platforms like Medium and Quora

For this article, we’re going to focus on the last arena, and we’re going to take it a step forward.

How to make an extra $1,000 a month with your online content writing side hustle

There are a few things to note as we get started breaking down this section.

First, you need to pick a lane of writing. This lane is also known as a niche. What is a niche? A niche is,

“A segment of a larger market that can be defined by its own unique needs, preferences, or identity that makes it different from the market at large.”

You need to write within a niche because essentially what you are going to form yourself into as an online content writer and blogger is a leader. You’re going to leverage yourself into a leader of your niche, and as that leader, you’re going to be responsible for helping your audience solve their problems.

This could be any number of topics. However, it is important to note that some niches are more popular and profitable than others. Some of the most profitable and popular niches are:

  • Health & fitness
  • Travel
  • Technology
  • Lifestyle
  • Self Improvement/Personal Growth
  • Faith
  • Business/Budgeting/Finance
  • Relationships

If you don’t see your niche on there, don’t fret. You can always do a quick Google search and see what sites are operating already in that space.

Many novice writers believe that they need to be the first in the niche to be successful. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. One of the beauties with this pursuit is how a different reader will respond to a different writer. Think about the YouTube channels you watch or the podcasts you listen to. There are hundreds of YouTube channels and podcasts talking about how to self-publish your own book. Maybe you like one podcaster or YouTuber more than the rest. That has to do with their own unique voice and take on the subject.

You can offer that same unique spin and take for your audience — regardless if the niche is already saturated.

Will it take a little more effort to breakthrough all the noise and clutter of the niche?

Sure.

But that doesn’t mean all attempts would be futile.

After you’ve selected your niche, it’s essential to direct your content towards the actual wants and needs of the people who will read your work.

This is a crucial step that many novice online content writers get wrong, unfortunately.

Many new entrants into the space believe that just because they write content that is important to them, it will be important to others.

This is false.

Everyone who is reading and will read your content in the future only cares about how it will benefit them.

They always want to know how the content will help them solve their problems.

In his recent book, “Copywriting Secrets,” Jim Edwards outlines the top ten reasons people will buy from you. Those ten reasons are because they want to:

  • Make money
  • Save money
  • Save time
  • Avoid effort
  • Escape mental or physical pain
  • Get more comfort
  • Achieve greater cleanliness or hygiene to attain better health
  • Gain praise
  • Feel more loved
  • Increase their popularity or social status (Edwards, J. (2018). Copywriting Secrets. Author Academy Elite Publishing.)

We can substitute “buy” with “read.”

I get subscribers of my email list messaging me daily that they’re confused as to why they aren’t getting good traction and traffic with their articles. I ask them to send me over a draft so I can give feedback. I can always reasonably assume that the article is written for them and not their audience.

I don’t blame anyone for making that mistake — I did it countless times when I started.

When you’re considering your next article, however, ask yourself, “Who is this for?”

Suppose you wrote it for you — amazing. Just don’t be surprised when not that many others care about it as much as you do.

When you restructure your focus as to who the article is for, you’ll see a different reception of that article when you publish. That different reception will be more traffic and better engagement.

How to increase the earnings of your newly directed content an extra 30%

I’m terrified of the idea that the ability to share and be paid for content will someday disappear.

Maybe I’m paranoid — I don’t know.

I know there is a way you can fortify your earnings and overall business with the correct strategy.

Who knows where content sharing platforms are going into the future. I’m optimistic they are here to stay, but like the ancient Stoics used to say,

Premeditatio Malorum

For those of you who don’t know what that means, it essentially means “prepare for the worst.”

In this context, what that means is to develop a security net outside the content platforms in the case that something goes wrong like you’re kicked off or the platform goes down.

What is that security net?

The building of an email list and then selling proprietary products via the list.

The first step in accomplishing this is by building a list.

How do you do this?

When you’re creating content, make sure that you include a way that your reader can continue the conversation when if they desire. Give your readers a way to join your email list.

There are a couple of ways you can do this:

  • Ask them kindly to join your newsletter to stay up-to-date on all of your engaging and life-changing content
  • Incentivize them to join by giving them a valuable piece of information that helps solve their problem

Of course, both “work.” I put the word work in quotations because one works way better than the other.

Can you guess which one works better?

I’ll give you a hint — if you remember from earlier in this article, one of the methods involves the writer of the content, and the other involves making it about the reader.

I’m not going to spell out the answer explicitly — you either catch my vibe at this point or don’t.

Whichever route you choose, you can include this at the bottom of your content as a means to build your email list.

You do this through an email service provider such as:

  • Convertkit
  • MailChimp
  • AWeber
  • Sendinblue
  • Drip
  • And others…

What’s key is how to automatically pitch your digital product when someone subscribers to the list.

When someone subscribes to the list, of course, you’re going to start them on an email sequence. What you really should do is start them on an email welcome sequence. What is that you ask? According to Sleeknote.com, an email welcome sequence is,

“A group of emails that are sent to your subscribers when they just opt into your list. It’s your chance to make a stellar first impression. Your only job at this stage is to get subscribers hooked on you and what you stand for.”

In the email welcome sequence — what’s another digital product (course, ebook, guide, video series, etc.) that you can present to your new subscriber?

I have one right now configured in my email welcome sequence, and I experience a 30% bump in earnings due to the sales:

 
1 week sales report selling my digital products from the email welcomes sequence
1 week sales report selling my digital products from the email welcomes sequence

While there is no guarantee that the product will sell (some people won’t be interested, and you also have to sell the right product to the right person), you can see there will be an increase in your earnings.

What’s more is if you can hone in and develop something that your audience wants, you can increase your checkout conversions to upwards of 50% (see conversion rate in the image). That means that when people get to the checkout page, just under half of them are buying the product.
This is due to years of A/B testing the product, the page layout, the copy, and more.

Within your niche — what product can you create for your audience that will help them solve one (or many) of the top ten desires listed above?

If you can do that — your side hustle will grow.

Conclusion

It’s hard out there right now.

For countless people — it’s hard to make ends meet.

What if there was a way you could take a handful of hours out of your week that you generally put towards bingeing Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things, or some other mind-numbing Netflix show and put it towards increasing your own earnings as well as the livelihood of your family?

You would take that opportunity, wouldn’t you?

Well, it’s waiting for you.

It’s there for you if you have the right strategy.

What is that strategy?

First, — you should be creating content on blogging platforms like Quora and Medium. These platforms are free to join, and they are going to essentially act as your traffic engines. No one will know about your content if you don’t share them on the right platforms.

Once you’ve selected your content platforms, it’s time to strategize your content.

All too often, new writers make content for themselves.

If you want to create therapeutic, artistic or personal work — that’s fine, you just won’t experience a flocking audience (if you do, it’s the exception to the rule).

You must make your content about your audience. Furthermore, you need to direct the content towards your audience’s desires. Those desires are:

  • Make money
  • Save money
  • Save time
  • Avoid effort
  • Escape mental or physical pain
  • Get more comfort
  • Achieve greater cleanliness or hygiene to attain better health
  • Gain praise
  • Feel more loved
  • Increase their popularity or social status

Finally, you want to take that content and leverage it to make an email list where you will sell your digital products automatically.

You do this through showcasing and pitching your products through your email welcome sequence so that every time a new subscriber joins — they are pitched your problem-solving digital product.

I get it — it’s hard.

But you can do this.

You already have the skills.

You’re already an amazing writer and the writer that your future audience needs.

You just need a little guidance on how to make your writing marketable and how to expose it to the audience looking for it.

That was the purpose of this article.

My goal was to make this for you.

And I hope I accomplished that goal.

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