5 Ways to Earn Money Writing

One of the ways I’ve continued to explore earning income beyond the confines of a traditional office job is through freelance writing. Have you ever seen that person hanging out at a Starbucks during a weekday hammering away at their laptop while sipping on a latte? It’s possible they are a writer of some sort and the coffee shop is the closest they are going to come to setting foot in an office. It seems like an enviable position to be able to work where you want and when you want. But how are they getting paid?

Well, when you step outside the traditional means of office W2 income you may find that there isn’t just one standard way of getting paid as a freelance writer. So what the ways some people are doing it? Here are some examples below.

1. Start a Blog

There’s an extremely low barrier to entry for starting your own blog or website.  In fact, the only thing you really need to do to have a blog is basically

  1. Find an available domain name, and buy it,
  2. Then get hosting for your blog which typically runs between $50 to $100 a year.
  3. Choose a theme and start posting.

So while this is a bit of a gross oversimplification of the process, this is basically all you need to do to self-publish your writing on a blog.  But you’re published; so now what?

You’re published. So now what? Could these be bloggers checking their phones to see if they’ve made any money? Maybe.

2. Earn Affiliate Marketing Income

Well if your content is good enough and you start to gain some traction, you start to gain readers and eventually you find yourself with an audience.   An audience has the potential to be a customer and as a blogger your in the position to direct a message to your audience.   That could be to try a product or service you recommend as an affiliate.  It’s not hard to do if you have their attention.  Do I have your attention?  If so and you want to start a blog you could do so just by clicking here.    See what I did?  I just recommended Siteground as a host because I’m an affiliate.  They’re good and I use them.  So imagine you, dear reader, signed up.  I’d make some money.   Just like that.

If one of your readers signs up for one of your affiliate products or services, you earn a commission.   If you have a large audience you may start to receive several commissions a month, a week or even daily.

3. Write for Others

So writing is entertainment and it educates or informs but first and foremost, it should captivate the attention of the reader.   And if it’s doing so, that writing has value in a way that is similar to the way that TV, Netflix, movies, or the news captivates.   So just as studio’s pay directors and writers and actors to produce content that has value, there are website owners, news organizations, and publishers that are willing to pay for others to write content.   If you want to be a writer, you’re going to want to do two things:

  1. Find the people willing to pay for your writing.  (or let them find you)
  2. Demonstrate that you can write by showing them a bit of proof.

Now if you are reading this, you may be detecting a bit of irony in that this writing is probably a bit on the mediocre side.   Well, what can I say, it’s like I said, there’s a low barrier to entry to blogging.  So while my writing might not be Shakespear, I’m confident my ideas are good.  Hopefully, I’ll continue to improve and look back on this in a few years as a shining example of how far I’ve come.  If nothing else we can at least say I used the word “ironic” correctly which is more than I can say for an angsty 90’s singer.

4. Find the People That Will Pay You

If you’re looking to do #1 and find the clients that could use you as a writer you’ve got to recognize that to some extent, like so many things in life, it’s a numbers game.  So do your best, but also put yourself in front of as many people as possible.

  1. Getting your writing out through your blog is one method.
  2. Reaching out to others that might be interested in your writing is another method
  3. Marketing your writing services on various sites like Upwork and Fiverr is another method. Sign up for Fiverr with this link and you’ll get up to $100 credit.

5. Show Them You Can Write

If you’re looking to do #2 and demonstrate you can write by showing some proof, you’re going to want to be published.   Early on, it’s not going to be easy.  But creating a blog has almost no barrier to entry.  The next step will be reaching out to others and seeing if they will allow you to guest post for them.   It’s a bit of a quid pro quo.   They get some free content which is hopefully your best writing, and for your efforts, you get a bit of exposure.  Exposure means reaching a new audience which means the potential to reach new customers or clients.

But what if your writing isn’t that good?  Well, you could stick to the office job.  Or you could remain unemployed.  Or you could push yourself to practice and get better.  There are tools out there like Grammarly which aims to help improve your writing.  It’s definitely helping me.

Teach English Online

Teaching English Online for Supplemental Income

Today’s guest post comes from Nate, a world traveler and entrepreneur friend of mine currently living overseas in Asia- Milton

The Online Classroom

The digital age is transforming education.  Particularly when it comes to foreign languages, people are trading in pencils and paper for laptops and computers.  They are foregoing rigid timetables in favor of flexible schedules.  And perhaps best of all, people are saying goodbye to traffic and rowdy classrooms, and instead enjoying the comfort of their own home while they teach.

Not too long ago a friend of mine was in the midst of a career transition.  He had had enough of the daily grind, and was giving it up to focus on art and writing projects.  A worthwhile move, to be sure, but he needed some supplementary income to aid his new pursuits.  I introduced him to online English teaching and explained how it would fit nicely into his lifestyle.  Now he teaches for a couple hours every morning and spends the rest of each day working on things he is passionate about.

I myself stumbled upon this same online teaching gig when I was between full-time jobs.  As anyone who has ever been fired or quit an unsavory job can understand, I was in no hurry to jump back into another grand commitment.  Online teaching allowed me to do some part-time work and earn a little money while I got out and (gasp!) enjoyed myself.  The thrill of having work done before noon (or in my case, being free throughout the day until teaching at night) was overwhelming.  I could learn new skills, take small trips, focus on getting in shape… the list goes on.

Note from site owner:  If you are interested in teaching English overseas, you may want to consider getting certified with a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate.  This can help you with being prepared and in some countries, it can boost your earnings potential.   I personally got a TEFL certificate through a company in Chicago called International TEFL Academy.  I recommend them and also think they have a great website for an overview of teaching in many countries throughout the world.  If you’re interested in getting certified you can reach out to my own advisor Cassie, here at International TEFL Academy.


On top of all that, the job itself was really quite fascinating.  Surely all of us are familiar with the traditional classroom setting, whether as teachers or students (or both), and are therefore aware of its shortcomings.  An online class removes some of the parenting or babysitting aspects of teaching, but maintains the interactive nature of language education that lets students read, write, speak, and listen.  It can be both fun and rewarding, and is an interesting way to gain insight into another culture.  When it’s all done, the commute is as simple as going from the computer to the couch, with maybe a stop at the refrigerator in between.

Work anywhere you can get online.

Eventually, I landed another job (when I was good and ready, of course), but online teaching is still part of my weekly routine.  My school offers a flexible mix of regular hours and optional extra hours.  It is a great way to tailor my teaching schedule to the demands of my overall week.  If I know next Friday will be a slow day, I can simply sign up for extra classes and make a few extra bucks.  Conversely, if things are a bit busy, I just stick with my regular classes.  The minimum required hours each week is 4, but there are well over 20 available, which means teaching can become anything from a side project to a full-blown job.  It sure beats having some boss tell me when and how much to work each day.

Online Teaching through DaDa

Specifically, the school I work for is called DaDa.  The company is based in China and offers teaching hours Monday through Friday 6:00-9:00pm Beijing time, as well as classes all day Saturday and Sunday.  They have their own special software and materials right on the screen, allowing even first-time teachers to easily navigate students through each task.  Additionally, they provide various sample videos and resources to help ease new teachers into their role.  The pay range is fairly wide but can be over $20 an hour, and the company offers an array of bonuses and rewards.  Consider checking them out here for more information or to apply for a job.

Maybe you were recently let go from your job.  Use it as an opportunity to try one of the many freelance activities the internet currently provides.  Teaching English online joins a list of pursuits such as blogging, programming, and video-making that are helping to free people from the constraints of the corporate world.  At the very least, it may provide some entertainment and extra income while you seek out that next big contract.

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links and site owner may receive a commission for International TEFL Academy signups.  Contributor, Nate, may receive a commission for DaDa school sign-ups.