"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.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Residual Writing Income Journey: Reflecting on Two Years

Two Years of Passive Income Writing Online

I've been trying to think of something to write my next freelance writing blog post about, and while hemming and hawing over which direction I should go next or what idea on a list of blog post ideas, it completely escaped me that the end of June marked my second year of writing for passive income. My writing for residual income started back in June of 2008, with a very inauspicious beginning as I wrote six blogger blog posts, put on some AdSense, and started link building. I looked around at websites like Squidoo, HubPages, and eHow, and started focusing on the pay per view aspect of Associated Content. But I have to be honest, it didn't start out strong at all!

The main reason was I had a great full time job in Austin, Texas, and at the time I made the most money I ever made, was in a great living situation, and really dug the town. I was spending most of my free time starting to think about where I really wanted to go in the future, if maybe in Austin I finally found a place to settle down (my apartment in Austin was the first address I had stayed at more than 12 months since I was 17 - a total of 10 years at the time), and working hard core on my fiction and some creative projects.

Because of all these things, my efforts towards passive income probably amounted to about two Squidoo lenses, a single HubPage, one how-to article, and I made 33 cents on AdSense. That's it. As the months went by I tried to put in 15 hours a week on passive income of some kind because even though it wasn't necessary, the thought of earning extra travel money seemed nice. The thought of trying to earn full time passive income didn't even occur to me at the time. Looking back, it was very safe to say I was too comfortable, and in retrospect (and granted, that's a big one since my job was eliminated mid November of that year) I wish the full potential of what passive income could be had hit me back then.

Thankfully, at least I ordered an audio book that had a huge impact on my life. Ironically I ordered the audio by accident, but I'm glad I did because the audio version of Timothy Ferriss's The 4 Hour Work Week became my constant background noise around September, and my efforts towards passive income grew.

That 33 cent month in June with AdSense became $40.77 by the month I was laid off, and I was already making that much on eHow, as well. Obviously a lot has changed in two years. I try to spend at least a quarter of my time on passive income work. After two hard years of work, and even seeing a six month span where freelance writers couldn't find work (and I had never even heard of a market like that) or struggled to get by, I know that working on articles, websites, and blogs that keep working for me even when I log off is the way to go and the way towards financial security. If it wasn't for the ridiculous amount of student loans I have to pay off (fat lot of good college did me), I would spend 75% of my time on passive income. Yes, it's that important.

So where am I after two years? I'm a heck of a lot closer to a full time income than 33 cents a month, that's for sure. There have been very few times over the last two years when I've been able to give the attention to passive income that I wanted, and because of a ton of bills to educational loans, medical bills, and credit cards (look at #2 to explain how this happened) the actual freelance writing has to come first. I'm not making enough in passive income yet to be to the point where I can work on what I want, but here are some numbers from June that have me very optimistic that things will work out:

Some passive income from June:
eBay: $29.62
Amazon: $40.75
AdSense: $237.52
eHow: $162.16
Squidoo: $75.14
ejunkie: $25.00
Constant-Content (referrels): $83.60
Associated Content (PPV): $36.92

This all adds up to $690.71, which is still a long way from full time, but living in the Midwest that's an awful lot of money for no work. And by no work, I mean that's a lot of money to get paid for not having to do any new work, because writing for passive income is very labor intensive. There are also some other affiliate programs building towards pay out that aren't included on that list.

What's most encouraging to me is that this year I've seen a huge jump in passive income, and I'm fairly easily seeing 10% growth a month right now. I also know that I've done more work in May, June, and July then in the past 12 months before that combined. This means that in 6 months when all this work starts paying off, things are really going to start getting pretty freaking cool. In fact, with the way the passive income is growing, it's going to free up more of my time from full time freelancing to do more residual income work, which will make more money, which will free me up even more, and the writing momentum and compounding continues!

This month has been an absolute bear as far as work goes, and the end of summer isn't going to be getting any better for me. I guess I want to finish this freelance writing blog post about passive writing income online with just some tips I'd give to anyone else who is looking at the same options, or just beginning to realize what earning 2, 3, 5, or even $10,000 a month in passive income would mean as far as security and a complete lifestyle change.

  • Be ready for the long haul. Building passive income is very labor intensive, and you often hear that you don't see the full impact of your work until 6 months after it's done.
  • Be persistent. Writing 300 words every single day and making it a habit is much better than a stop and go, stop and go approach.
  • Always make AdSense a major part of your passive income plans (and make sure you understand all of their terms and conditions).
  • Diversify, but not so much that you end up feeling slogged down.
  • When in doubt, put most of your effort into making your strengths even stronger, not into fixing weaknesses.
  • Don't underestimate what being an Amazon affiliate can mean in December.
  • If you feel lost, spend six months making one HubPage a day, then spend the next six building links to all of them.
  • Always keep learning.
  • Find the goal that will keep you running through obstacles during all the hard times.
  • Expect that most people won't understand what you're doing.
  • Celebrate the small victories. This is critical to making it full time.
So that's some degree of reflection on where I've been and where I'm going. The coolest thing about passive income is that once you finally get stuff moving, it tends to avalanche in your favor after a certain point. So I'm going to post this, get back to work, and take a little bit of time to enjoy the ride. Keep at it, and don't give up! It's worth the work.


  1. WOW, I really enjoyed reading this article. It has taught me a lot on how hard work pays off eventually with residual income. I need to start putting some action into my work so that I too can reap the rewards in the future. Thank you!

  2. Hi Madison,

    Glad you liked it! I think the hardest part for many people in earning residual income is that it takes so much work and so many hours up front, and then to not see the results for months can be really hard for some people. I've even had plenty of periods of stop and go where for weeks or even a month or two at a time I switched between freelance writing and burn out without doing any work on my passive income stuff. Just keep at it, do what you can consistently even if it's small, and use that happy encouragement when you hit a new milestone to really use that momentum to have a few killer days or weeks. Even when you lose it and go back to just an article or two a day, eventually that burst of action is going to pay off for you with another milestone. Thanks for the kind words, and keep up the good work! It's definitely worth it!

  3. I just found your blog today. I really enjoyed your article and it has encouraged me to keep plugging along with building a passive income. I had the problem of starting and stopping a lot, but this time, I realize it would be much easier for me to just set a goal for each day and stick to it...

  4. Hi Cvillelady,

    Glad you enjoyed the article. Don't let the "stop-go" get you down, I'm guilty of this quite often. For me the best way for getting more consistent and building more momentum with passive income is to remind myself that I don't have to have a "killer day" every single day. None of us have good days all the time, so the best thing to do is set an easy to accomplish "minimum amount" each day like 500-1,000 words and just do that. Any huge days are just bonus after that and not only do you work better when you're in a better mood from accomplishing your goals, but you're still doing enough work to make noticeable progress over time. Thanks for the kind words. Take care.


    Master Dayton

  5. Keep up the awesome posts, MD. The thing I like the most about you is there is no BS. No one can walk away from this blog thinking that you can reap rewards without putting in the hard work. Thanks for being one of the few honest voices out there on passive income.

  6. Hi Prudence,

    Thank you for the kind words! I really appreciate them. I try to be as honest as possible with friends and people who are interested. Yes, I love the freedom and the income and the potential with passive income and a freelance writing lifestyle BUT (capital letters necessary) it's a LOT of work and no one should have any illusions about that side of things. Keep up the good work and thanks for stopping by!