Creating Residual Income From Freelance Writing

There's a lot of talk about creating residual income from freelance writing, and I seriously agree with the basis behind it. Residual income, or passive income, is money that keeps coming in, month after month, long after you've finished the work.

There are lots of great reasons to create residual income. Any freelancer who's serious about turning a love of writing into a lucrative career should learn very quickly how to maximize passive income whenever possible.

I personally have several forms of residual income coming into my freelance business. It's this passive income arriving each month that pays my mortgage payment and my utilities bills each month.

As with every other area of freelance writing, there are ways to seriously boost your residual income through the stratosphere and then there's slave-labor version of residual income. For those writers already determined to stick to the slave-labor versions of making money online, then I suggest you stop reading this post now. I'm about to TRASH Associated Content, Helium, Triond and sites just like them a lot.

Before I get into my slave-labor site-bashing, I will remind you that I did conduct an experiment at Helium to verify my findings. You can find my original experiment here: http://ravens-writing.blogspot.com/2008/10/writing-at-helium.html

I read a post on a networking site from a writer who only writes on revenue-share sites. This writer's logic went as follows:

100 articles written and submitted could bring you $100 per month in residual income. Wow. That's $1,200 a year! You just need to get 10,000 page views of your work to make it happen.

Um... I don't know about you, but getting 10,000 page views takes an awful lot of work, time and effort. You also have NO guarantee that you're going to reach that massive amount of page views, which means the average writer is going to earn significantly less than $100 a month from these options. What happens if you only get 100 page views? That adds up to a princely sum of UNDER $10 for 100 articles. That's hardly 'passive' income any more is it?

Besides, 100 articles sold at $50 each should have made me closer to $5,000 in upfront payments that could be paid off my mortgage right now, which would save me significantly more than $1,200 in interest payments in half the time. Or I could go on a nice vacaction with $5,000. Or I could buy a new computer. And that's without me having to worry about getting ANY page views!

Or I could aim at even higher paying markets and sell them for $100 each. That's $10,000 for 100 articles. Yes, that really is possible. I've already pointed at lots of places for you to find markets that pay this high - and higher.

Gee - I could even be contrary and aim at the really low-paying end of the market and still earn more money. Even at $10 per article, that's $1000 in guaranteed upfront payments without worrying about promoting it or finding page-views.

Writing so much and working so hard for a pathetic amount of a few cents per article at a revenue-share site is also nothing to do with creating a real, reliable residual income.

There are much easier ways to make residual income than writing hundreds of articles for a few cents each.

Types of Residual Income

Passive income, or residual income, doesn't have to come from writing activities. In fact, investors have been generating residual incomes for themselves for decades. Here are some ways to build residual income.

- Rental Income from buying investment properties

- Dividend Income from shares/stocks you own

- Interest Income from savings at the bank

- Royalties from selling a book/ebook or writing music or inventing things

- Recurring commissions from selling affiliate products on the internet (affiliate marketing)

- E-commerce websites or online stores

- Advertising revenue from creating effectively, correctly monetized websites

Hmmm... from what I can see, none of those methods of creating and building residual income have anything to so with slaving away, day after day, writing, submitting and promoting hundreds and hundreds of articles for a few cents IF you can generate thousands of page views.

However, if you read those options carefully you would have also noticed that four of those options have to do with working smarter online instead of harder. One of them is directly related to freelance writing.

Freelance Writing and Residual Income

Writing and selling articles is the 'bread and butter' of my freelance writing business. I write an article and then I research markets until I find one that will pay me properly for my time and effort. I receive an upfront payment for the highest amount I can possibly find. That's not residual income. That's bringing cash flow into my freelance business NOW so I can continue to pay my bills on time. That's making sure I have enough money in my accounts so that I don't have to go back to a day job any time soon.

Residual income is the 'cream and sugar' of my freelance writing business. I do receive quite a lot of residual income each month as well as my upfront payments. My residual income comes from ebooks, affiliate sales, paid ads on several blogs, royalties from anthologies as well as a few well-placed investments. It's a vital part of my total freelance business income.

Writing and selling short stories and fiction creates both a little bit of upfront money as well as residual income. Most short stories sell for between $40 - $100 upfront, plus you get paid royalties if you sold the story to an anthology that sells well.

Writing entire books or ebooks can generate a very healthy residual income for a long time. You complete the work once and then you continue to receive royalties for as long as that book keeps selling. No hassle about getting enough page-views. No difficulties in finding something else to write about tomorrow. Just royalties coming in month after month.

Advertising income can generate quite a significant amount of residual income. I see a lot of people complaining about not earning enough from Google Adsense or Bidvertiser or Adbrite - yet imagine how much you COULD be earning if you wrote 100 articles and put them on your own blog? Instead of a few cents per page view, you could actually be keeping all the profits for yourself. (I'll give you a hint: this post is number 83 on this blog. I reach payout with Adsense every month.... )

I'll also write an entire post on creating ebooks in a later post - there's too much to add here.

So the next time someone advises you join a revenue-share site, think carefully about it. If you're willing to write hundreds of articles and spend large amounts of time generating more and more page views in order to earn a few extra dollars a month, then try it.

If you're willing to learn about real ways to create residual income that don't involve slave-labor, then perhaps direct your time and energy to options that can double your income without even a fraction of the work involved in working at those slave-labor sites.


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Anonymous said...

No comments yet? WHAT? How can that be? I like being first, anyway. There's one blog I've been commenting on for a few months now, and I'm always the ONLY one. I find that to be fun. Someone is taking the time to post and I like to imagine what that one person must be thinking, when I'm the only one who comments. But, I'm always putting in 'extra' effort to make my comment really good. Why? Because I'm trying to make a connection with someone. I'm trying to be influential and attempting to do the impossible. I want to be able to craft words in such a way, so as to make an impression on someone who is otherwise unreachable. And yet, I find it so remarkable when it seems like I hear my words 'echoed' from the person I'm directing my thoughts to, in a prestigious public forum. Now, you may be wondering, what does this have to do with what you've written. Or, more appropriately, I should just ask you, does this response make any sense to you? Well, let me clear it up. I'm captivated by words and the use of language. I've liked the idea of being a writer for a long time. I'm talking decades. And still, parts of what I've just read of your post, are interpreted in my head as la la la la la da la. This is no fault of yours, it's simply my seeming inability to, just, put it all together. It's a paradox. I'm so smart I can't figure it out. Let me just see if I've got this right. You have a bunch of links on your page. Are you suggesting to a reader, such as myself, to pick a few out? Do each one of the links offer actual assignments, or, will each link be another one like the one I've just read, yours. It's like the make a hundred dollars mailing envelopes, send one dollar to learn how. And you get instructions on how to post an ad to make hundred dollars mailing envelopes. Maybe, I'll just click on a few, and see what happens. Either way, I'm gonna add you up on a twitter and a facebook, yay! Thanks, I enjoyed your read.

Bianca Raven said...

Um.... yeah.

Perhaps you should try reading some of my previous posts and see if they sink in a little deeper?

Molly said...

Anonymous - la la la la da la

Bianca - Thanks! I was just getting ready to sign up at AC, and I'm so glad I decided to visit your blog today.

Everything you say always makes so much sense.

Lindsey Rainwater said...

Great post Bianca. I might borrow the idea for part of a post on my blog after this one isn't on your front page.
I don't always think of these great things to say. Probably because I'm still pretty much a newbie at this. :)
I also need to get Copyscape on my blog. I hadn't really thought about someone stealing my blog.

(By the way, let me know if I ever sound that mental.) :/

SmartEngineer said...

Hi Bianca.Just wanted to know if having the site copyscaped is free?Thanks.

Laura said...

Great post, valid points you have made!!

Bianca Raven said...

@ Molly - If you dig around you can find so many more options than to just aim at somewhere like AC. Every writer deserves a better chance at succeeding than to end up writing for places like that.

@ Linz - you're not mental. LOL. You're also well on your way to not being a newbie any longer!

@ SmartEngineer - yes, the Copyscape checks are free. You get 10 checks a month at no cost. That's enough for a blog.

@ Laura - glad I could help in some way :)

parsibagan said...

Hi Bianca, as usual I am later than others in replying back. I had the foresight to make long term investments in `mutual funds' when the index was quite low and they help me to manage my utility bills and some others. I have also invested in stocks of reliable blue-chip organizations when the market was quite low a couple of months ago. I am sure they will pay back handsomely (doh! how can a pay back be handsome) in the long run. But over the years I have made one investment that is priceless... subscribing to this blog... cheers Angel


~Jan. said...

I am learning so many bits and pieces along the way just by reading your posts. They are so insightful. I believe that knowledge is power and I appreciate the effort you put into sharing your knowledge with others.

Thanks so much!

jen said...


Help! I am writing on eHow and AC...more so on eHow. I have tossed around the possibility of creating articles and putting them on my own website. However, I do not want to be limited to just one topic. And I don't want to own millions of websites to write different topics.

Thus, this is why eHow appeals to me. I can write whatever. Could I put different topic articles on one website and add some adsense ads and be profitable? Do I have to have one niche topic per website to be profitable?

I am thinking that if each article is on its own page of my website, then the adsense ads would be generated according to the individual topics anyway. Am I correct or have I taken a wrong turn and fallen off of a cliff?

And also, if I did this, could this be considered as my online resume for future jobs? Or would it be considered tacky since the adsense ads are on the website?

Bianca, I am trying to lay the foundation for my writing. I want to have passive income, but I do not want my time to be wasted. If you suggest that I have to have numerous article directories....so be it.

Bianca Raven said...

Jen, Adsense alters the ads based on what keywords are used in the article or text shown on the page. You can write about anything you want on your own blog.

I choose to keep my blogs focused on one niche topic each because the ads are actually paid at higher rates when the site is focused.

Besides, it stops visitors from getting confused. Imagine how you'd feel if you'd come here to read about freelance writing and I started blogging about debt reduction?

For any other topics or articles I want to write about that don't fit here, I usually upload them to Constant Content and then charge $40-$50 for them. :)

Here's how Constant Content works if you haven't read it already.


Bianca Raven said...

Sorry - I forgot to mention - editors don't take 'beginner' sites like Associated Content or Helium seriously, so don't add work you've published on these sites to your bio. Editors expect that large portions of the content on sites like these has not been edited to a professional standard nor has it been quality controlled in any way.

For these reasons, writers using revenue-share sites on their bio are often overlooked for higher paying freelance positions.

Your personal blog - Adsense ads or no - is actually a more professional platform for your writing than beginner slave-labor sites.

jen said...


What if I took all of my articles from AC and eHow and rewrote them and started my own article website. The articles would be on separate pages, but listed on the homepage by category. It would be like jen's homepage or something like that.

I understand that adsense pays higher for focused topics, but how does a site like eHow do it? It has numerous topics.

I am going to try Constant Content. But, I have heard many say that their articles can sit there without any interested buyers.

Thanks for listening.

Bianca Raven said...

eHow is a website with dedicated separated topics within the one main site. This allows them to separate each keyword for maximum monetization. Anyone can do this with their own domain name and a website with dedicated separated topics.

A blog is indexed differently and becomes more difficult to monetize effectively with all sorts of different topics.

Besides - there are more ways to monetize a website than just Adsense. You could try Adbrite or Bidvertiser instead of Adsense. You could add affiliate links to Amazon or eBay for products that match your topic titles. You could scour Clickbank or Commission Junction for further affiliate links that compliment your content.

The choice is yours!

Gayze said...

Focus, focus, focus....

That's my problem. I get sidelined too easily. :-)

Thanks, again, for such a great article (and I'm sorry for commenting so late). I'd love to be able to blog, build more of a readership, and actually have people visit who'll click on ads!

I've yet to reach pay-out on any of the endeavors I've tried, and at this point, between the "much work for little profit" sites I'd joined before "meeting" you (which are just sitting there, haven't posted to any of them for a while now), and the more professional ones after (I've only had two articles accepted by Constant Content so far and no sales), I've got so many irons in the fire I can't remember where I put them all!

Focus, focus, focus....

Your blog posts help so much with keeping focused, Bianca. I'm getting better at it!


Aja Rossi said...

hey! there

I came across this blog from mylot. And one thing that's trikes me when I came into this blog was the templates which is exactly the same as mine.

By the way, I am just starting out and I am glad to have read this article first. Hope we remain friends. My mylot username is substance. Well! see you around and hope to get more writing tips from you later.