According to a 2017 Gallup poll, two-thirds of Americans are disengaged, meaning they feel no real connection to their jobs or worse, causing them to do the bare minimum in their roles and responsibilities.
Heck, I know back in 2014, I was a member of that group.
I was working for a website that did reputation management. The office was just outside downtown Boston.
Of course, when I started, things were great!
I was 24 years old, I was a few years removed from college, I had just moved halfway across the country to a new city. I was making just under $500 a week after taxes (and I thought that was good money for living in a major American metropolitan area).
And after about a year or so, reality started to settle in…
- I was showing up to work every morning a few minutes late.
- I was "checking out" during company-wide meetings.
- I was dreading opening up my "tasks" label on Salesforce.
- I was showing up to the office and had to sit a few yards away from my ex-girlfriend (who cheated on me — yeah, that might have been the worst part).
I don't share all of this in an attempt to receive any sympathy or moan about the past.
I share this because, holding for a few specifics, I know it's all too familiar of a story for millions of people who are working jobs they hate, for bosses they don't respect, earning wages they feel they are underpaid for.
It started to get so bad that I completely became a shell of myself.
You see, I was showing up to work.
I was making the calls I was supposed to (I was in sales and had a quota for the number of calls in a given day to present and future clients).
Except, the reason I was meeting the calls quota is because I would call numbers I specifically knew would be sent to a landing number, i.e. "for sales, press '1'; for service, press '2'…"
When I hit that landing number, it would register a call, I would get my quota and everything was peachy.
Until it wasn't…
I remember getting called into my boss's boss's office.
The "Big Guy."
My boss and he had a thick stack of stapled papers in front of them. It was a dossier of all the "fake numbers" I called in order to fluff my numbers.
They had me dead to rights…
Needless to say, I owned up to everything. I was let go from my position and as cliche as can be — it was the best thing that ever happened to me.
I needed that push.
It got me to take a chance on what I really wanted to do. And that was work for myself.
It started my journey into online content writing and blogging.
Now, I have been able to amass a living of $5,000 per month through various income streams. In this article, I will go over those income streams, how I build them, and how you can too.
So let's get into it…
How to make over-average money using an ordinary strategy
While there may be many ways to make money online (drop shipping, Youtube, selling SaaS products and more), we're going to focus solely on content writing and selling digital products through content writing.
Why are we going to do that?
Because those are the only things I have expertise in.
A brief backstory on how I got here.
After the aforementioned fire and subsequent soul-searching and trial with more soul-sucking jobs, I found myself taking a chance on writing online. I committed to myself that I would write, no matter what, every day for at least 30 days straight (it became way more than that).
One thing led to another and this led to me writing on Quora.
For those of you that aren't familiar — Quora is a Question or Answer based online platform. Think of it like Yahoo Answers; however, the content can actually be viable.
Anyway, I wrote enough on there to later become the most viewed writer in the subject of Self-Improvement (see figure 1.1):
In the course of only a few months, I went from completely unknown writer to one of the most viewed in a very popular category and I was able to amass over 3.5 million views of my content.
This helped lead to a new direction in writing. Through meticulous reverse engineering of how I did this, I started to realize others wanted help in this pursuit.
This brought me to Medium.
How to make money with Medium
I know I know…
And I'll address it right away.
Another article about how to make money using Medium that is written on Medium?
Well yes — but only in part. I want to include it here because this is our launchpad that we can use for the rest of the money we can generate online.
Straight away, as 99% of you reading this will already know, you can make money with the Medium Partner Program. In fact, as of June 2020, Medium claims that,
- "63.1% of writers or publications who wrote at least one story for members earned money."
- Furthermore, "5.7% of active writers earned over $100."
- And finally, "$33,617.89 was the most earned by a writer, and $6,386.48 was the most earned for a single story." (source: Medium Writers Newsletter: "Summer writing, summer learning" 07/10/2020)
And while you may be thinking,
"Uhh, yeah Jon — but look at the second statistic… it claims only 5.7% of writers earned more than $100. So what?"
And sure, I'll lay claim that $100 (even though the statistic says over) isn't enough to live off of — let alone call home about.
But it's the exposure that Medium offers, while simultaneously working towards payment, that we're interested in here.
I make, on a given month, anywhere from $2,000 — $3,000 a month on Medium (and working on growing that — like you should be). So I guess you can say I'm in the nth percent of the 1%.
I don't write that to show off or brag. I write about that to illustrate that I'm an ordinary guy, writing about things that I'm interested in who is making top percent income.
Regardless, what the exposure of Medium allows you to do, will bring us to our next topic.
How to create and sell digital products
The creation and sale of digital products is a way to further expand on the money-making efforts through your content writing. Earlier in this article, it was noted that we were going to go over two facets of making money online:
- Content writing
- Creation and sale of digital products through content writing
The content writing works in terms of marketing and exposure of your digital products. According to The Hubspot State of Marketing Report, "70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing."
When it comes to you — think of your expertise as the business; and your content, the marketing machine.
What you want to market is the sale of digital products. This could take the form of ebooks and online courses.
What I'm referring to here is ecommerce. That same study further went on to note, "Global B2C ecommerce sales are expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021."
When you have a strategy with the content you're creating on Medium and Quora, you can use this content to illustrate your expertise as well as give foreshadowing into the digital products you create down the line.
Every time you create a digital product it has to solve a problem. Your audience will always be thinking two things:
1. What's in it for me?
2. How does this [article/ebook/course/etc] help me solve my problem?
So when creating these products, you always have to keep that in mind.
In terms of selling these digital products — take a look at any successful writing in your niche.
- Do they have a link in their bio?
- Do they have footers in their articles?
Many people get upset with content creators when they do this. I'm a firm believer that while there may be some deceit out there, if what you are providing as a content creator contains value and can help address the two aforementioned questions above, you can and should put include links and footers.
There is a responsibility that an online content creator — like myself — can take on and that is to help people through the creation of his or her content.
- Are you helping people with their anxiety with your content?
- Are you helping people write and create apps with your content?
- Are you helping people train for and pass The Court of Master Sommeliers Level IV test (hey — a guy like me can dream)?
If you're providing value through your written content and the creation and sale of your digital content, you should and will be rewarded for it.
Many who write on Medium believe that using the Medium Partner Program and generating an income is enough.
And perhaps it is — for some.
But what if you could increase your monthly earnings by 25%?
What if you could increase it by 33%?
What, if I dare say, you could increase it 100%?
You would — wouldn't you?
Of course you would. Creation and sale of digital products can help you do this. Plus, you'll be actually making money off ownership of a product, rather than just being held accountable to an algorithm.
I make around 30% of my total revenue from Medium and the sell of digital products combined specifically from selling an ebook. We're talking 4-digit sales every month that I would be missing out on if I was simply only using Medium's Partner Program.
When you build up enough content and you start gaining traction, you will start to capture the eyes of a totally different audience.
How to sell your content to paying clients
In virtually every industry, online content creation and the syndication of that content across various business channels is growing.
Recent surveys indicate that 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing. That same survey notes that of those marketers, 24% of them plan on increasing their investment in content marketing in 2020.
Content marketing keeps growing.
From a businesses point of view — especially with recent telecommuting changes within organizations — the need to hire full-time employees to write content isn't viable.
Now before you blast the freelance industry and it not providing the same benefits and security of a W-2 employee — I understand that. For me — that's the whole point.
When you can put your content up on sites like Medium and Quora, you will find people will come to you and ask for your services.
I currently work for a number of freelance clients. I make around $2,000-$3,000 a month from my freelance clients (depending on workload).
You know what is crazy? I never once went out and looked for a freelance client — they all asked for me.
Again, I don't tell you this to gloat. I tell you this to illustrate what can happen.
I've ghostwritten for CEOs and had my work featured on FORBES.
It all can happen — as long as you're willing to put in the work.
It starts with a simple decision
Like I stated in the beginning of this article, I made a choice after a tumultuous series of events transpired in my early twenties.
I made the decision to take a chance both on myself as well as to commit to an act for an extended period of time.
I didn't have it all figured out — far from it, actually.
But it led to me to a place where now I can actually see my career taking form. Maybe it didn't happen exactly like I planned.
But isn't that life?
You never know where you end up. But you need to get started.
- Your work may not be good at first, but it will get better.
- You won't have many fans, but you'll grow.
- You won't make thousands of dollars right away, but you'll start with a few.
And you'll achieve none of that if you keep waiting and never get started.
"Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday."
— Napoleon Hill
Isn't it time you took a chance on yourself so you could leave that job that brings you misery and aimlessness?
Isn't it time you stopped working for that boss who doesn't respect you?
Isn't it time you started earning what you're worth?
Then get going.
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