If you’re like most Barefoot Writers, you know you want to make money writing. And, you’re stoked about the kickbacks that brings, like the freedom to decide your daily schedule.
But, let’s say you only want to write part-time, whether that’s part of the week or just a few months out of the year. Or, you’re a bit intimidated at the idea of working for clients.
Well, one of the advantages to life as a Barefoot Writer is the capacity to earn a good income with — or without — a client. It’s possible to build a successful client-free writing business.
In this article, I’ll show you three ways you can break out on your own and still make a great living as a writer. You can also use these client-free writing opportunities to set up a passive income stream on the side while you pursue client work.
1. Publish Your Own E-Newsletter
If you have a specific passion or an area of expertise that you would enjoy writing about, you can create an e-newsletter on that topic.
It all starts with setting up a website that has an opt-in device where prospects leave you their names and emails. This is how you build your list. Then, on a regular basis, you send your e-newsletters to that list.
As your subscriber numbers grow, you can start to monetize your e-newsletter in a variety of ways. Depending on your topic, you could
- Recommend other services related to yours
- Include affiliate links to products
- Develop your own products
For example, let’s say you run an e-newsletter about art projects for children. If a contact of yours offers an online class for teaching photography to kids, you could do a write-up of that person’s services and then receive a commission from any purchases made by your readers.
Or, in your mailings and on your website, you could list art supplies you love — from a kid’s art easel to trays of watercolors. Affiliate links from Amazon can help you build a steady passive income from those recommendations.
Finally, you could use this approach to promote a book you write on the subject of art and kids, or any other type of product you develop.
Ben Settle is a good example of someone who made this approach work for him. He developed a paid, subscriber-based print newsletter… and he promotes it through his free daily e-newsletter with great success!
As writing projects, email newsletters tend to be short, often between 700 and 1,000 words. Most e-newsletters are pure content, and though the copy is informational in style, it’s also casual.
Yet, e-newsletters are one of the most effective marketing tools for any business out there.
Part of this has to do with the fact that they’re interactive. E-newsletters can be forwarded to a friend. Questions can usually be submitted. Most of the time, there are links to click on. Readers can print or archive them.
All these elements combine to make e-newsletters an engaging, enjoyable form of communication, with what feels to the reader like a two-way dialogue.
And, engaging dialogue typically increases sales.
To begin, consider a topic you’d love writing about. Then think about any relevant advice, tidbits of inspiration, or stories that keep your topic interesting and pertinent to your audience.
You could also launch this idea in the form of a blog. Just make sure you offer readers the option to subscribe to your posts via email so they don’t miss any of your content. This has the added advantage of keeping your information in front of your subscribers.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to launch your own income-producing e-newsletter, take a look at Creating Email Newsletters for Professional Service Firms — and read it with your own professional, client-free writing business in mind.
2. Write and Publish Your Own E-Books
Thanks to digital publishing, it’s easier than ever to publish and distribute your writing.
You can become an author without a book agent or publishing deal. All you need is a good idea, a computer, and the discipline to write out your masterpiece.
Some major advantages come with writing e-books, including:
- A boost in credibility, since you’ll be seen as an expert on your book topic
- Increased visibility if you’re trying to make a name for yourself in a specific industry
- Full profit from all sales if you self-publish in PDF format
- The freedom to work on your own terms from wherever you please
- Royalty payments if you publish through Kindle or other e-publishers
- Respect — because if you think about it, most writers dream of publishing a book… but few actually do it
According to well-respected, multibook author and copywriter Bob Bly, e-book-writing is one of the quickest and easiest ways to make a sizeable income in a relatively short amount of time.
Once you have a few e-books under your belt, and you’ve established a buying audience, it’s feasible that you could bring in a few hundred thousand dollars a year in passive e-book earnings.
Here are the steps you’d take to get started:
1. Pick Your Topic
As this is a money-making venture, I recommend a nonfiction topic that resonates with the audience you have in mind. Figure out what they want to know. You could start by asking on relevant forums and Facebook pages. For example, do you want to write about Chihuahua training techniques? Visit a Chihuahua group Facebook page and ask what owners struggle with the most.
2. Write Your Content
You can write from scratch or ask for contributions from professionals in your proposed field. You even can put together a collection of your own past articles if they’re relevant to your topic. Or, interview experts.
3. Invest in Quality
If your long-term goal is to create an e-book you can profit from, you need to make your book as credible and professional as possible. It’s worth investing in a professional editor, proofreader, and cover designer. At the very least, make sure you have one other person read over your content to check for errors.
4. Choose a Publishing Route
You can convert your e-book to PDF format and sell it through your website, or you can self-publish it and sell your book on Kindle and other e-book platforms.
5. Set up Your Platform
This could be as simple as building a website that tells people about your book. Or, it could mean putting together an entire social media campaign that drives prospects to your site, asks them to share their email addresses, and then sends them through a multi-email autoresponder.
The digital age has brought numerous advantages to writers, and being able to put together a book, publish it, and sell it all on your own is one of them. It’s another excellent client-free writing project.
If writing and publishing your own e-books sounds like the perfect opportunity for your lifestyle goals, check out Bob Bly’s Ultimate Guide to E-Book Writing Success.
3. Build Your Own Money-Making Website
Have you ever noticed just how many great consumer goods and information products are sold online these days? The answer is in the millions… and each one needs to be promoted to land a sale.
That’s where you come in – if you’re interested in writing great content about your favorite subject.
A money-making website is an ideal income-generating project if you’re willing to put together a website focused around one particular topic. Then, via ads placed throughout the site, you can make money promoting other people’s products.
Let’s use the example of our earlier topic on art projects for kids. Taking this approach, you could set up a website with multiple pages related to kid-focused art projects. Maybe you could even feature step-by-step instructions on how to complete different art projects.
Then, thanks to Google Adwords and other easy-to-navigate ad placement systems, you can set up your website so ads for related products — like art supplies — are featured automatically on your website. The ads could be in the sidebar or scattered throughout your content; you decide.
Anytime a visitor comes to your site and clicks on one of your featured ads, you pocket a portion of the sale. For example, if you promote a $97 product that pays out 50% commission, you earn $48.50 for each sale.
Get a few hundred visitors each month and you’ll be surprised how quickly those commissions add up!
The best part of monetizing your website is that all of the sales materials are done for you. All you need to do is drive traffic to your site to get the clicks and sales, which you can do by writing targeted, interesting content.
If you’re looking for the fastest way to get up to speed on money-making websites, you’ll enjoy reading How to Write Your Own Money-Making Websites.
The Golden Advantage in “Combination Opportunities”
I often advise writers to try different opportunities on for size to see which one best fits their interests and goals.
The same is true for these client-free writing opportunities. Consider each one as an individual project to see how it might fit your lifestyle needs. Or, combine the opportunities. You could easily:
- Pick a topic and blog about it
- Send those blogs out as e-newsletters, with links that drive readers back to your website
- Post blog content on your site alongside relevant ads
- And then, when you’re ready, write and publish your own e-book and sell that on your site, too!
Remember, as a Barefoot Writer, you have the unique advantage of knowing how to persuade with words. Persuasive writing is one of the best — if not THE best — skills to have if you want to create an income-producing career as a writer, with or without clients.