How can a writer generate income out of side projects?

I have passion for words. I love writing and I believe I'm here to write novels. I'm working on my first novel -- I also have a 9 to 5 job but it's not exciting and doesn't pay well like the rest of entry-level jobs. (I'm a fresh grad) Lately, I've been thinking about running a side project that enables me to make $1000/month. I value entrepreneurship but I don't have enough experience to draw my own idea and have a solid business plan to generate monthly revenue. All I know is this: writing is my strongest asset. Any idea/help?


Loving something and being passionate about it, doesn't always mean you are good at it. Fictional writing and professional commercial writing are two separate things. If you are a good writer, there are opportunities for freelance writing gigs (copywriting, technical writing, catalog work, long form, short form, blurb, sales, etc.). It is a competitive space, but a good online portfolio with writing samples and consistent perseverance can lead to more work. If you don't have any commercial experience or samples, proof-reading jobs are a good place start.

Answered 5 years ago

If you're a strong writer and willing to learn some new skills, I'd recommend that you consider writing white papers for B2B companies. White papers are typically 5-12 page reports (including basic graphics) that discuss a solution to a business or technical problem for about 85% of the document and how a company's service, product or technology solves it for the last 15%.

As a new grad, you are unlikely to successfully "author" a white paper, but you could use your writing skills to capture, organize and present a subject matter expert's information. Two great ways to do this are 1) interviewing the people at the company who know the material but don't have time to write or 2) using information from one of the company's webinars as the basis for the white paper. You could offer add-on services like blog posts and social media blurbs to promote the white paper.

Unlike freelancing blog posts, which is popular among new grads but typically only pays $25-50 per post, you can typically charge $400-$800 for a well-written white paper.

To get started, you should choose an industry area that interests you and start reading as many white papers in that niche as you can find. Get a feel for the language, the style, the length, the approach, etc. Try writing one or two from webinars on spec to practice your style and get some experience. Then start reaching out to marketing directors and marketing consultants in the niche to build a clientele.

Good luck!

Answered 5 years ago

Hey - I would highly recommend checking out Contently or one of the other content marketing companies that uses contract writers. The company Contently is amazing and they have like 50,000+ contract writers like you.

Answered 5 years ago

We're co-passionate then.

Pity we're addicted to what is rarely remunerative, but there are ways to parlay your writing into a side income. Nearly every commercial industry depends on writing in some form or other. And content marketing is quite important online these days for any website.

Contently is probably a good suggestion. I can't speak from experience, since I'm not a freelance article writer. But many people earn well above $1000 per month that way.

You could become a specialist: technical writing, grant writing, editing. Editing pays very well, I believe, if you can stomach it.

I might be able to suggest a few other directions for you to consider if I knew more about you. Don't know if that would be worth a 15-minute call or not, but that's how I'd handle it.

What's the 9-5 job? Apart from being a novelist, what other hobbies, interests, experience, knowledge do you have?

Answered 5 years ago

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