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Passive Income for Freelance Writers

Updated on February 12, 2015

Passive Income 101

Passive income refers to money you earn off of assets you have created. These assets might be blog posts, YouTube videos, ebooks, and more. There is a lot of information on the internet about what constitutes passive income and how to earn it. Of course, there are a lot of scams so it's important to be informed and aware before committing to a new opportunity. The very fact that you have time available to devote to passive income is one of the pros of being a freelance writer, so it's worth spending some time exploring it!

Passive Income = Freedom

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Ways to Earn Passive Income Freelance Writing

There are a number of ways to earn passive income. For writers, popular methods include:

  • Earning passive income through revenue share platforms (like HubPages)
  • Earning money through a personal or professional blog that runs advertisements
  • Selling content for usage rights through a site like Constant Content - You can sell the same article over and over again for usage rights only, earning money without creating new content
  • Writing an ebook and selling it through Smashwords, Amazon's Kindle Store and other outlets

Earning passive income through revenue share platforms - This tactic has a low barrier to entry. All you need to do is sign up for a site that offers revenue share, create content, and post it online. These sites typically advertise for you, make your content available through Google Search, and generate more traffic (because they have more content and are seen as more authoritative) than you would get on a blog. However, you typically earn less. HubPages offers a 60/40 split. Seekyt offers a 70/30 split.

Earning money through a personal or professional blog that runs advertisements - This ensures that you receive all of the revenue earned from advertisements or affiliate programs. However, this strategy does not pay off for a long time unless you roll it out on a blog that's already popular. If you're starting from scratch with a new blog, be prepared to create content for a period of months before realizing any income.

Selling content for usage rights - This is a good option for repurposing content that you have written but not sold. If you write an article for a client and the client decides not to publish it for whatever reason, you still own the content. You can post the content to Constant Content and sell it once for full rights. Or you can post it for usage rights, use the content on your blog (where it's earning ad revenue) and potentially earn money if a client decides to buy it. This is a good supplementary strategy.

Writing an ebook - Writing an ebook can be a good way to earn income. There are stories of writers earning more through ebook publishing than they would ever make in traditional publishing. When approached by publishing houses, they even turn them down. However, this is the exception rather than the rule. Most ebook writers do not earn very much from one ebook.

Top Myths About Passive Income

Passive income expert Pat Flynn maintain a popular blog devoted to passive income. According to Flynn, top myths of passive income include:

1. It's Easy - Passive income is NOT easy. You have to put a lot of unpaid work up front to reap passive income. In other words, work for free now for the potential (not even guaranteed) to earn later.

2. It's Fast - Passive income is NOT a get rick quick scheme. Again, you have to put in a lot of work before seeing any money. In some cases, you have to spend money before you can make money. For example, if you're putting out an ebook you might hire an editor to proofread it or a graphic designer to create a cover for it. This is money spent before you've earned anything.

In general, passive income should be one strategy for freelance writers. It should not be THE strategy. This Freelance Writing Jobs article has useful information on the downsides of writing for revenue share sites and can offer some food for thought.

When Passive Income is a Scam

Generally speaking, if something sounds too good to be true it often is. If you read the fine text of many revenue share websites, they don't promise that you will earn money. They say you CAN earn money. It's in your hands to create the content, promote it, and hustle for that money.

Be wary of any website that asks you to pay for training or membership before you can earn. It's probably a scam.

Read over the contact information and full website text of any opportunity. A reputable website will have company contact information (including address) on the page. It will have an About page that describes the company and the opportunity.

Finally, if you still aren't sure, Google the website name + scam or website name + fake. If you see lots of negative reviews of freelancer forums or sites like Yahoo! Answers, it is probably a scam.

Think Critically Before Committing to a Passive Income Program

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