Last week, I talked about how I lost my job (twice) and how it was the best thing for my writing and editing career, It’s also been really good for my family time, and that is super important to me.
This week, I’m going to share all the ways I’ve made money online writing and editing. You might be able to take some of these ideas and use them yourself.
I currently make most of my money editing online for Editage, an English language editing service for members of the academic community for whom English is not a first language. The work is interesting and rewarding, and the pay isn’t bad.
I’ve been working with them for over 5 years now, and I don’t really have too much to complain about. The quality control process can be a little inconsistent and sometimes confusing, but overall it’s been a great company to work for.
When I applied, you had to have a master’s degree in a scientific field. But there are some other companies that may hire you if you just have a bachelor’s degree. I think ProofreadingPal is one of these (but it turns out you DO have to at least be a student in a postgraduate program). ProofreadingPal doesn’t pay quite as well, and they have more rigid time commitment expectations, but the range of papers you’re editing is broader, and that’s a cool thing.
Another online editing company I’ve worked with is FirstEditing. They offer an even broader selection of projects, including fiction. And you only have to have a bachelor’s. I made some pretty decent money with them for a while – until they let me go because I didn’t convert enough sample edits.
That’s right. They offer sample edits to their clients that they expect their editors to complete and turn into full-paying jobs. You may do the best job you can in the edit. The client just may not be ready to buy at the time. But the company considers that to be YOUR fault. Incidentally, after they let me go I had one of their clients contact me via email and hire me directly based on the sample edit I did for her. So, there’s that …
Way before that, back before I was actually trying to make a living with writing online and was just doing it as a side hustle, I worked with some academic essay writing companies like this one. I loved doing it because reading stuff and writing about what I learned was my favorite part of the college and grad school experience.
I was doing it for the money AND the pleasure, but then I realized – I was writing someone ELSE’S paper that they were going to turn in for a grade. They were supposed to be using my paper as just a “guide to follow,” but in all actuality I was probably just helping those people cheat for a grade. I hadn’t really thought about it at first, but once the thought occurred to me, it stuck in my head and I couldn’t get rid of it. And I started looking for other ways to make money writing about the things I loved.
HubPages and Other Ad-Driven Profit Sharing Sites
I turned to sites like HubPages and the now-defunct Squidoo. The thing I love about HubPages is that they have so many different categories you can write under. It doesn’t matter what you’re interested in, you can write about it and post it on HubPages. Turns out, though, that that’s the thing I started disliking most.
My article page started looking like a disconnected hodgepodge rather than a cohesive representation of me as an individual. I was just writing about anything and everything, and it really started to show. So, I stopped posting there over four years ago. I’ll still check in and update things every now and then because I’m still making some money from HubPages. It’s not much (like, $50 every 3-6 months), but that’s not bad considering I don’t even promote any of those old articles.
Recently, sites like Medium have developed what looks like a similar ad- or view- profit-sharing program. I’ve just recently signed up with them. I haven’t posted my first article yet. I just haven’t had the time, given my other pursuits. Not to mention the fact that, as much as I loved writing things for HubPages, I never made much money posting there, so I can’t imagine the Medium experience would be much better (and I know I would probably have to stick to one topic to build any sort of decent following). Still, I’m not completely convinced it wouldn’t be worth a try.
One of the things that led me away from writing for HubPages was the fact that many people on that site were saying you could make more money writing blog posts on your own sites using affiliate links. As a HubPages member, you sign up for an Amazon Associates account, and you can use that same account to promote any Amazon product on any site or any social media channel you choose.
You may have noticed that, from time to time, I’ll use affiliate links on this site to send you to products that I love (and that, hopefully, you’ll love too). Affiliate marketing is a fairly easy way to monetize your blog (which can be especially nice if you’re actually spending money to set the blog up), but you’re not going to make a ton of money. Well, you might. I just don’t. I make a few dollars a month with affiliate marketing. That’s nice, but it’s not going to pay any bills. And speaking of not paying the bills…
Freelance Content Marketing
Content marketing is basically the same thing as blogging, except when you are a freelance content marketer you’re blogging for other people. A lot of freelance content writers get sucked into writing for content mills.
I’ve done it.
Basically, you get paid a penny per word for work you’re giving away all the rights to. It’s kind of like being a blog ghostwriter, except you don’t really get to choose your own rates, meaning that the pay is pretty pathetic.
Still, if you’re looking for something to fill in the writing gaps that isn’t incredibly demanding work, you might want to check this option out. Here are a few of the best content marketing companies to work with:
- BlogMutt pays about $8 for a 300- to 400-word article.
- CopyPress pays between 4 and 6 cents per word.
- WriterAccess pays between 1 and 7 cents per word. They also have jobs for editors.
Other Freelance Writing and Editing Gigs
There are also some online companies whose soul purpose is to connect freelance writers and editors with people who need their services. A couple of these I’ve worked with are Guru and Upwork (which used to be oDesk).
It can be hard to get jobs on these sites. There’s a lot of competition. And sometimes the pay isn’t all that great. Still, I’ve had more good experiences than bad working with these sites. I think it’s definitely worth a look.
I’ve also found some freelance writing and editing jobs on job sites like Indeed.com and Monster. Still, with these freelance projects you’re generally not able to claim ownership of what you’ve written. I’ve found the best way to do that (besides maintaining your own blog) is what I’m going to talk about next.
My Own Books
Eleven years ago, I wrote and published my first novel. Since then, I’ve published one novel, one novella, and a couple of nonfiction books. Now, I’m not making a ton of money by any means from any of these books, but I do bring in a little each month. And that helps. Plus, it’s residual income that will keep coming in year after year.
I discovered a long time ago that I prefer the self-publishing model. You probably know by now, after reading this blog post, that I like to live on my own terms. Self-publishing is a great way to do that. Amazon makes it so easy these days. And there’s Smashwords to help too, if you don’t want to be exclusive to Amazon.
I’m currently working on the sequel to my first book, and I have ideas for several other books as well. I just need to find the time to write them. But that’s a topic for a future blog post.
Have you tried any of these ways to make money online writing and/or editing? Have you tried anything else? Let me know in the comments.
And if you’re a mom who’s trying to build a writing career while you’re raising your family, I’d love for you to join my Write.Mother.Thrive email community. Each week, I’ll send freelance writing jobs, writing tips, and parenting advice direct to your inbox. Let’s start improving our lives, relationships, and finances together!