Different writing side hustles come with different amounts of money you can expect to earn from them.
For example, don’t expect to make $1,000 every month writing for a content mill. Please don’t feel bad, Stephen King himself wouldn’t be able to do it.
Sadly, many of us writers don’t know how much we have the potential to earn before we sign up for a new writing platform. We usually hear about the opportunity through the grapevine and just give it a whirl.
Before you give your next writing endeavor a whirl, try looking at my pay experiences as a writer who made $12,000 last year. Not only could you discover a new writing platform, you might also discover ones not worth your time.
How much you can expect to make: $300/month
This is going to be your lowest form of income as a writer. I can personally guarantee that veteran writers wouldn’t make more than a couple hundred dollars a month with a content mill.
Specifically because content mills aren’t designed for that. Writers are getting paid a penny per word for 500-word stories for clients that aren’t expecting to get great articles. It’s an equal exchange.
While on one hand I’m a huge supporter of content mills like Textbroker for writers just starting out to make their first dollars, I suggest you move on quickly to other opportunities.
How much you can expect to make: Depends on how many articles you sell
Sure Constant Content looks like a content mill and feels like a content mill, but I promise you it’s not.
Instead of doing articles for clients who request them, you get free range to write about whatever you want and price it as high as you’d like.
The catch? Clients have to actually buy your articles for you to get paid. Your articles could be sitting for years before they sell.
I actually did a write-up about how much you can make on Constant Content if you’d like to learn more about the platform. It’s definitely better than content mills, but not by much.
How much you can expect to make: Anywhere from $5 to $500/month
Everyone’s favorite freelancer job boards rank above content mills, but that’s it. It’s because your experience on these platforms will either go one of two ways.
You’ll either create an account and never land an order or slowly get a few orders until you build an empire as a freelancer.
Which is more likely to happen? I’ll let you figure that one out for yourself.
However, here’s a pro tip I picked up from a friend. Try having a friend or family member request work from you. Complete it and ask your fam/friend to leave you a high feedback rating.
If you do this a few times then you might find more sales coming your way because you have a good rating for past orders.
How much you can expect to make: More than content mills after a few months
Now we’re getting to the point where not only are you earning money as a writer, you’re also growing your readership.
But first, let me say this: Medium and NewsBreak are on a higher level than Vocal.media. I REALLY don’t like Vocal.
By constantly publishing high-quality content on these platforms, you can build your readership and earn more. It will start out slowly but over the months you’ll see more money coming in as you publish more articles.
Except for Vocal. Yeah, it just made this level because it’s similar to Medium and NewsBreak and I suppose you could make similar money if you’re really lucky.
How much you can expect to make: $1 per subscriber each month
I recently listened to a podcast that said good newsletter owners aim for about a dollar per subscriber in payments each month.
These payments don’t have to come in the form of subscription links. Even though some platforms, like Substack, have payment systems as part of the platform.
The $1/month can also come from affiliate links or purchases of your other online assets.
How much you can expect to make: Varies
I know ‘varies’ isn’t a good answer for how much you can make from self-publishing on Amazon KDP. But hear me out, it truly does vary.
A couple factors go into how much you can expect to make:
- How many books you have published;
- If you’re publishing low content or high content books;
- Your marketing and launches for each book.
Low content books are books like coloring books and journals. It’s possible to publish dozens of these every day for very cheap and if you market yours the right way then you could make a couple thousand dollars every month. I’ve seen many self-publishers successfully do it.
However, if you’re a true writer and write your own books then you could actually expect more money with less marketing. But the goal is to compound your books so you have more of them and make more money.
I’ll be straight up here: You can make A LOT of money self-publishing the right kinds of books and using the right resources. But you have to do it right.
Your own website
How much you can expect to make: Thousands each month if done right
From affiliate links to domain flipping, the money is truly there with owning your own website. But just like every other writing endeavor on this list, you have to know what you’re doing.
Building a website by optimizing it for SEO purposes is going to add value to your website. You can include affiliate links and eventually even flip it for thousands if you build it up enough.
Owning a website is definitely one of the most profitable writing side hustles.
Write where you’re happy
For years I was happy just writing for content mills. It amazed me how much I could make every month from them.
However, it wasn’t until I branched out that I found I could be more profitable with the same amount of energy each month.
Nowadays, I’ve even pushed past where I can make the most money and just write wherever makes me happiest.
Related: Read our post about the best books for freelance writers.