"Master Dayton" might be humorous, (I mean if Ph.Ds are called "Doctors," shouldn't MFAs be called "Masters?") but in all seriousness I have made a living freelance writing and after several years I have tons of information I want to share to help out my fellow writers, regardless of age, experience, goals, situation, or background. This blog isn't pretty-but it will help if real freelance writing information is what you want.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A Busy Writing Summer Kicks Off

Insane Summer Writing Goals?

Regardless of what calendars say, to me June 1st has always been the "official" start of summer. As a new season begins, I'm also taking some time to wonder where I should go as far as my own specific writing goals. This isn't just about how much freelance writing work I want to get done this summer or how much I make, but also how I make it. While freelance writing and residual income are not necessarily mutually exclusive, they're not always the same thing, either. One website that is an example of where the two meet is eHow. You write all the articles and content, the website splits the advertising revenue with you. That continues even after you stop writing, making writing for eHow one way that ordinary online writing can be turned into passive month after month income.

I've been freelance writing in some form for about five years now, and I've managed to make a full time living at it since year one. It's not always the most financially comfortable living, but I've done all right and even had some quite good years in there, as well. I've been able to travel, enjoy freedom of schedule, explore the Northeast (especially Vermont), Alaska, and Austin Texas, and I'm on my way to the West Coast and Oregon in a few weeks here, once all the final ducks are set up in a row. But one thing about conventional freelance writing is you're always looking for repeat work, always looking for a new job, and after five years the "boom and bust" way that freelancing works can really wear on you when you're trying to create some form of order or semblance of stability in your life for the first time.

And this is where passive income comes into the picture. I've read Grizz's make money online blog and really appreciate his knowledge and honesty. I've followed a few Internet Marketers like Josh Spaulding and Jeff Herring, signed up for Court and Mark's Keyword Academy, and bought Marisa Wright's e-book on maximizing profits on eHow. I've been extremely happy with all the information this has gained me, and have been struggling between some health issues, personal issues, and family issues to put all of this information into action. I'm just hitting the point where enough has cleared up that this looks possible - although that move to Bend, Oregon, coming up in a few weeks is definitely consuming some major time.

So what's all this mean? It means that while I'm going to keep writing website reviews and giving advice on how to make a living freelance writing, I'm also going to be spending the next several months shifting most of my efforts to making passive and residual income: income that is going to keep paying me for my writing long after the actual blog posts, websites, articles, etc have been written.

Most of my writing the past year and a half was for an employer in Austin, Texas, who is an Internet Marketer. I'm withholding the name simply out of respect because I'm not sure what's considered "appropriate" or not. I was hired for 14 months and change, and then let go. There's no ill will: I was treated fantastic the entire time, had a great face to face talk about the situation and decision, received glowing endorsements of my work, and I still gladly freelance for them on a monthly basis. But that time in Austin was my dream job: get the writing done wherever and whenever you want, just get it done. Remote location working - and Austin is a great city to have that perk!

Then, it was over. So with passive income and residual income, imagine the security you would have if you knew you were making enough off of past work to make a full time living even if you didn't write anything new all year. Imagine if you had two or three different income sources that were providing you with a full time yearly income online. Aside from the obvious complete freedom of movement and freedom of time, there's also the security factor of not ever having to rely on someone else for your own livelihood.

So that's what I'm working towards now. When I first move into Bend, I'm going to have no TV, I'm not going to know anybody in the area, and no video games or other distractions. This makes it a great time to really buckle down on the work and see what I'm capable of producing in a short time period like a summer. My student loans are in deferment (I can rant again about the politics and waste of money grad school often is - but I digress), and I really don't require that much to live if I trim the budget down to true necessities.

So I've done a lot of really hard thinking about what I want to do as a freelance writer, what kind of writing really excites me the most, and what my writing goals for the summer should be to get me from another freelance writer struggling with this gawd-awful recession, to someone making a full time income off of passive online sources. Right now I can look at a couple hundred and change in completely passive income per month. I'd like to push that to three grand or more.

I work best with a clear plan that still gives me freedom to improv my way there. In other words, I do best with general goals, but don't do as well when I break that down all the way to strict day by day guides.

So for the next three months, here's what I'm shooting for to try and make that transition from freelance writer to writing for passive income online:

  1. 22 niche websites monetized with AdSense or Affiliate links
  2. 10 micro niche blogs monetized
  3. 150 new hubs on HubPages
  4. 300 new eHow articles
  5. 10 Clickbank campaigns by using PotPieGirl's Squidoo lens strategys (50-70 lenses)
  6. Get this blog up to 100 visitors a day and look at monetizing it
These are the main goals, and not even listed will be the normal freelance writing work, more articles to add to Constant-Content, and the heavy amount of article marketing and link building to get these articles, hubs, lenses, blogs, and websites onto the first page of Google for their respective niche keywords. The link building and article marketing in theory should take even more time to get these all to first page Google than even the actual writing.

This is also in addition to moving across the country and picking up some extra freelance work from Guru.com in order to help pay for the expenses, as well as improving what I already have set up and earning for me. I'm not naive: getting all this done without outsourcing means I'm looking at 12-16 hours a day, almost every day of the summer. And you know what, to take a shot at the life that a full time passive income could offer me, I'm willing to do that. I can rest in September when 90%+ of my work will be analyzing results and building backlinks.

I posted those goals because that's a great encouragement to me. Now it's out there, published, where anyone can see it (and ask about it) later. I'll update my own progress over the summer while still adding posts that hopefully all the rest of you will find helpful.

I guess this post also points out something else I believe about freelance writing. This advice also works for probably any process that helps you earn money online. If you're going to go, go all out. If you're going to work for something, shoot incredibly high. If you shoot for the moon and miss, you might still make it up to space. If you shoot for the mountains and miss, you're still stuck in the hills.

Freelance writing isn't easy, but it has benefits I wouldn't trade for the world. That said, even the most happy traditional freelance writer, in my opinion, would be a fool not to also invest in passive income for now and the future.

That's all for now. I hope all of you are doing well, and keep on writing. As always, my one bit of advice is get started writing online right now!


  1. I know you will achieve just what you want..... Keep up the good work and keep pressing in the direction you need to go... Very proud of you!!


  2. Master D! (I hope you don't mind the "D") I've been reading your sight for the past month anxiously waiting for a recent update. Why??? I have questions and fears to face about becoming a Freelance Writer and I'm hoping you'll be my guide sort of. I am in the military about to transition home to chase my dream of writing again. Looking for some guidance through Google I found your site, the information you've written is invaluable. However, given that I do have some resume writing, grant writing, document review/editing experience and other writing experience (non-article types)I need to know how to evaluate the writing skills I do have and translate them into a new career and fast!

    Just the thought of re-creating the dream job you described in Austin, TX, the freedom and diversity of projects forced me to write before you move. I'm hoping to connect before you move. I hoping you will be able to help me to re-create myself. Thanks so much! Chief Scribe

  3. Thanks CJ, and thanks, Chief. No problem. I like Master D. I'll call that my DJ name, lol. To the Chief: I'm glad the site's been helping out. Things have been extremely crazy this week, but as things are settling out (albeit in a much stranger way than I thought) I'll be able to update more often and get up some posts that I'm passionate about. The fear with freelancing is very real and while I love the many benefits of being a freelance writer, the uncertainty can be very hard to overcome. It's really good that you already have some writing skills to fall back on. If you don't have a "writer's resume," definitely look at putting one together. The grant writing specifically could be very lucrative, and the resume writing is good to advertise, especially in a college town. Over the next couple weeks I'll brain storm and see if I can come up with a blog post on freelance writing that directly addresses some of the things you brought up in your comment.

    And many thanks for the service you've put in to your country with military service. Always an honor to be talking with a service person.


    Master D