As the name suggests, passive income describes any earnings that require little to no effort to acquire. However, the term can be somewhat misleading. In most cases, passive income streams require a significant upfront investment of time and/or money to get off the ground.
This investment quite often offers no guarantee of return, so your hunt for passive income streams needs to be tempered by plenty of self-confidence and faith in the avenues you’re taking.
Why writers need to establish passive income streams
As a content writer, your ability to scale your work is often limited. You can generally only write for one client at a time, and though you may receive ongoing ad revenue or royalties from some publications, it’s often the case that you’re paid for your work once, and then that’s it.
If you want to free up your time and uncap your earnings as a writer, creating passive income streams is your best and most accessible avenue. Today, we will explore three viable options and the platforms on which you can establish them.
The best ways for writers to create passive income are:
- writing behind a paywall
- creating eBooks
- using your words to design products
Let’s take a look at these passive income strategies in detail by exploring the best platforms to pursue them on.
Writing behind a paywall: How writers can make money on Medium
By now, you’ve probably read at least one article on Medium. As a writer, you’ve probably even looked into the publishing platform as a potential income source. Maybe you’ve even written a tentative article or two to test the waters.
Launched in 2012 by former Twitter CEO Evan Williams, Medium is made for bloggers, journalists, and content creators who are motivated to post new articles regularly.
The platform is intuitive and easy to navigate, making it a breeze to create beautiful content that’s optimized for internet audiences and their reading behaviors. The key is that you need to post regularly and keep pressing on in the early days when your readership is low and you’re still figuring out how to tweak your topics and headlines to create viral content.
There’s a consensus among most successful Medium writers that the vast majority of their content doesn’t really do much for them. However, the small percentage of articles that do really well earn them enough money to justify the rest.
If you’re wanting to get a head-start, begin by creating your content in one of the most popular topics on Medium. These include:
The key to making money on Medium lies in getting claps for your work.
To be able to read freely on Medium, members pay a $5 monthly fee. When you get claps for your articles, this directs a portion of Medium’s overall membership pool to you. The precise algorithms behind article sharing and financial distribution have not been revealed as Medium is determined to prevent people from gaming the system.
Creating eBooks: How writers can make money on Amazon
The beauty of creating eBooks for Amazon is that every writer can find a niche in which to shine. Creative souls can publish poetry, short stories, or novels, while more technical content creators can focus on guides, educational books, manuals, and other works of non-fiction.
You can use pen-names to keep your various niches separate, meaning you could have a successful line of crime thrillers under one name, romance novels under another, and small business guides under a third.
In determining the perfect niche to target, Amazon’s Best Sellers List is an indispensable guide. Though you don’t want to go too broad, you do want to appeal to a wide enough audience that you’ll be able to rake in consistent sales.
By perusing some of the top-selling books in your niche, you’ll also be able to get an idea of the word-count, style, and formatting you should be aiming for.
Next, use Google’s Keyword Planner to hunt for the most-searched terms within your niche. This will help you tailor your content towards solving the problems your target market is facing. You will also need to apply these terms in your listing to ensure your SEO is on-point.
Unless you’re a graphic designer who’s skilled in the intricacies of book cover design, it’s worth hiring a reputable professional and investing a decent amount of money on getting a cover design that pops. There’s a reason why the cliché of “judging a book by its cover” exists, so make sure you get it working for you, not against you.
Putting your words on products: How writers can make money on RedBubble
Did you know that all those clever one-liners, jokes, and random ideas you jot down in your notebook could be monetized? Sites like RedBubble make it easy for you to design anything from t-shirts to coffee mugs with your musings on display for the world to appreciate.
Once you’ve set up your account on RedBubble, you can determine your own commission, which will be added to the base cost of producing your products, allowing you to earn what you feel is fair for your work. You can tweak this amount at any time, meaning you can easily adjust the price to boost sales.
RedBubble offers templates that make it super simple to upload your joke or slogan to their catalog of products. Though a bit of skill with design and typography does help, you don’t need to be a graphic designer to create quality products that sell.
If you don’t want to fork out for an Adobe Photoshop subscription, Gimp is a fantastic open source application which you can download for free to tweak your words into a compelling design.
Generating passive income as a writer
Though it can be difficult to scale up a freelance writing business, there are plenty of ways for creative thinkers to develop passive income sources. Doing so will free up your workdays, allowing you to relax, enjoy a more expansive social life, and dedicate more time to your personal projects.
Are you a writer with a passive income stream that wasn’t mentioned here? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to drop a comment below or contact us directly if you’d be interested in sharing your story with Hope For Finance readers.
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