How To Start Earning Extra Income Writing Online

Earlier this week I wrote about low cost business ideas, focusing on some different ideas that follow a rather traditional method of starting a business. Today I want to focus on something a bit more cloudy, but something that can be far more lucrative as well as less expensive in money and time to start doing. That something is writing.

Becoming a writer used to be very different because publications were physical and cost money to produce. You couldn’t just start your own publishing company because that cost money. You would have to write and submit your writing to a publishing medium which usually only published the best of the best content. It was hard to succeed as a writer.

Now it doesn’t take much to start writing. You can start writing on your own computer, without any cost whatsoever. You can still submit your writing to big publications, but that’s not necessary to make a career out of writing anymore. All you need is a topic and a little time.

The idea of coming up with a topic for your writing may be intimidating, but believe me, people will read anything. Others have written about photographs you didn’t take, useless superpowers, and even statues that happen to have been crafted with side-burns…your imagination (or lack thereof) is your limit!


You probably know what a blog is, as you are reading one right now. You can get set up to blog for free, and just start writing. This way of writing will get your content out there fast. There is very little to set up and there are no costs. After you build a small audience, you can find ways to make money from your blog such as in text advertisement, sponsored writing and affiliate links that pay you when someone else clicks the link and buys something.

Just like anything else, the more time and money you invest into blogging, the more you are able to get out of it. By buying hosting, and a domain name, you can brand your blog and possibly build a complete business out of it versus just pushing out content and relying on advertisement revenue to build into a steady income.

Revenue Sharing Publishers

If building a blog from the ground up doesn’t sound appealing, or you don’t have a consistent flow of ideas to write about, you can try publishing services such as Triond or Helium. These services will pay you for your content regardless of how long you have been writing. They have certain criteria that your writing has to follow for it to get published, but it isn’t difficult to follow their guidelines and get your writing published in their network of established websites.

At Triond you are paid a percentage of the advertising dollars that the article brings in. If you promote your article well enough, a single article can give you a decent trickle of money that will continue to pay for a long time. If the article flops, you may not make more than a few pennies over a few years time. Triond also allows the publishing of photographs, poetry, or recipes and won’t hinder your creativity.

Helium has a different setup than Triond and the writing is a bit more structured. They have topics in a marketplace you can pick from and write and if the article is chosen among all that write about that specific topic, it is published. You can get paid by revenue sharing like Triond, or you can get paid per article. The payment type depends on the kind of content you write, the type of topics you choose and what medium they are being published in.

The best thing about these revenue sharing publishing platforms is that they have a solid base of content, traffic and advertisers already. You won’t have to build a base or spent too much time getting started, you just write and get paid.

Supported Freelance writing

I call this method supported freelance writing because you aren’t actually going at it alone. You are backed by a platform with this method too, but unlike the revenue sharing options above, the platform is a place to match you up with those that need content and you are paid on a one time. People that need a freelance writer, or content written, or books ghost-written will post a job listing. You can browse the job listings and apply for them. Once you land one of these, you pound out the content they want, ship it over to them and get paid.

To find these kind of writing opportunities, you can sign up to websites such as;,, and

Jobs on these platforms vary extremely widely in length, and pay. Some jobs are long term where you may end up writing for the same publisher for months, and the pay for some of these jobs is quite impressive. Others are very small jobs requiring very little research and only a few paragraphs of text but the pay is equally small.

The main advantage to these methods is that you can build a solid writing portfolio in the case that in the future you wanted to apply for a writing position at an established media source.

Using any number of these methods, or all of the above can help you start making side money or even a full time income from writing online and it won’t cost you a penny to get started.

Image by kevinzim

If you liked this, please subscribe to my triweekly updates via RSS or Email. Thank you!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

14 People have left comments on this post

» SamuraiNo Gravatar said: { Aug 6, 2010 - 02:08:34 }

Good follow up! I think if anybody put in a consistent 3 posts a week for 1 year, they should be able to make at least $300/month from blogging if not much more.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Absolutely. If you want to make more, just put in the time!

» EvanNo Gravatar said: { Aug 6, 2010 - 10:08:05 }

I was looking into hiring a freelance website design/programmer and I was shocked at how many "freelance writers" there were who clearly didn't have a grasp of the English language. If someone really wanted to make some side income I bet they could make a killing on the sites you mentioned.
My recent post Do You Need to Force Yourself to be Cash Poor to Stay on Track

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Yep, and I have taken some of those opportunities myself. I mean, when the competition is so bad that just by spelling your name with proper case, and using proper punctuation makes you look like a college professor in comparison, it's hard to resist!

» MFONo Gravatar said: { Aug 8, 2010 - 05:08:34 }

Awesome post. Like Sam stated, I hope to be making a few extra hundreds dollars a month off my blog at some point. I've been in existence since February, and hopefully by next February I'll at least have made $100.

great post!
My recent post Working Through College – Part 2 of 2

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

It doesn't take much more than getting started! I went a bit of a slower route, but with the Yakezie behind you (and me) profits are inevitable! Keep it up man

» Redeeming RichesNo Gravatar said: { Aug 10, 2010 - 01:08:26 }

Great post, I think one of the problems with writing with most folks is that they are like a flare – start out quick and bright and fizzle out pretty quickly. Sam's idea of 3 solid posts a week for one year, pacing yourself is a good one.
My recent post 4 Options for Higher CD Interest Rates

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Thanks for your kind words 🙂 I agree that people jump in like a firework, then explode and quit. Another problem is that many people are not confident in their writing ability. They think they have to be professors or something to write anything worth reading when in reality, everyone has a great story to tell regardless of how well they tell it. Correcting our poor grammar, bad spelling and punctuation is no longer a barrier as computers can do all that for us.

» MirandaNo Gravatar said: { Aug 10, 2010 - 06:08:21 }

Another place you can go to make a little money to start out is Associated Content, which was recently bought by Yahoo. You submit articles, and then you are offered money for them. If you do a good job, they will target you for specific articles at higher pay.
My recent post Personal Finance Product Review- Money Obedience

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

That is another awesome idea Miranda! I wasn't sure how Associated Content worked, thanks for the inside scoop!

» Money ReasonsNo Gravatar said: { Aug 11, 2010 - 03:08:27 }

Thanks for the great read, I never heard of Helium or Triond, or the other sites for that matter (except

I'm not making much with my blog, but it's a hobby that I enjoy.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Both Triond and Helium got facelifts last year, but before that, not many had heard of them. I did some creative writing on Triond a couple years back but felt I'd be better off starting my own site from scratch and taking 100% of ad revenue if that time came..and PFFirewall was born! 🙂

It may be a hobby now, but the more it grows, the more potential you have of creating a small business from your MR brand. Keep up the great content, and thanks for stopping by.

{ Oct 15, 2010 - 04:10:53 } Ultimate Side Income |

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.