Stunning Lessons on Why it Took Me 10 Years to Earn a $1000 as a Writer

Lessons that will help you make the transition as a writer.

Writing photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels

Around 2010, I was reading Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income Blog, and said I wanted to be like Pat. Who wouldn’t? Pat was averaging about $10,000 a month as an online blogger.

Shortly after I started reading his blog, I didn’t have an engineering degree like Pat to get my project started. My background was a degree in political science and I was playing Army.

Then my daughter was recently born and my son was four years older than her. Like many writers, time will be your worst enemy but you find a way to write a few words to push out a blog or an article.

For me, I found the time to create a WordPress blog, and that was my hobby at the time. If you ever created a blog, you know it takes time to create the blog, find the right plugins, domain, as well as the right theme.

Then on top of that, you want your blog to rank on Google.

After all that work, it wasn’t until recently that I crossed the $1,000 mark as a writer. This took me 10 years.

There is no quick formula to become a writer.

You could be lucky and hit the four-figure mark in a few months but for many, it will be a few years.

Sometimes, it’s also finding the right platform to help you get there.

With the move for more writers online, the demand is higher but so is finding the right gig. Instead of creating your blog, you might write for someone. The list of opportunities is endless.

Companies from start-ups to investing to education, and other companies are all looking for writers. The demand is not going to end anytime soon.

As for me, there were four reasons that prevented me from earning four figures a month as a writer.

The four areas were:

  • No focus
  • I didn’t trust the writing process
  • My day job kept me busy
  • My side projects kept me busy

You may have a similar experience preventing you from earning four figures as a writer.

When you start writing, not having a focus will prevent you from succeeding. You need to know your purpose as a writer whether you work for someone or you are a freelance writer.

My first blog was a tee-ball blog. I saw an area that had a need. Each year parents across the country were signing their kids up to play tee-ball.

When my son was two years old, I bought him a tee-ball set. A few years later when he was old enough to join a league, I volunteered as a coach. This was also about the time I was reading Pat’s blog.

Just as Pat created his blog four years before, I was reading as much as I could. I tried the different money-making tips he suggested.

As I was working on my blog, I was also learning to be a tee-ball coach. Time was limited and then as a father of two young children, your kids keep you busy.

When it came to my blog, I didn’t have a goal. I wanted to make money from the blog, but I didn’t figure out my goal for the blog itself.

My main goal was to get the blog ranked number one on Google, which I did in less than a year. I didn’t have a real goal for the blog other than to make money.

“When you’re chasing money, that is bound to lead you to failure. I didn’t have a why for the blog.”

When my son quit playing tee-ball after his second year, so did my blog. My blog came to an end after the second season and I didn’t renew the domain.

I didn’t trust the writing process

As I was watching Pat and other bloggers write and make money, I was starting to get frustrated. Each day I would read the blogs of John Chow, Seth Godin, Chris Guthrie, and others. Some bloggers were making thousands of dollars a month.

For me, I was hoping affiliate marketing would be my entry to make money as a blogger. Other bloggers were doing this.

Since my blog was a tee-ball blog, I was limited in what I could sell. I was an Amazon affiliate, but it would seem strange to recommend a computer when I was writing about a sport.

The most I was earning was a few dollars if someone bought a tee-ball set. I was lucky if someone bought additional items which did not happen very often.

Even with the Amazon link, I was barely making anything.

In my second year, I created an ebook, a guide for new tee-ball coaches. I thought this would sell and do very well.

By the end of the season, I sold a big fat zero ebooks.

Writing the ebook taught me a lot. I learned about the process to write the ebook and find freelance cover artists on Fiverr.

The most important lesson I learned was that I needed a list to help sell the ebook to potential customers. My list of online friends wasn’t very big, and I had a handful of people on my contact list.

To go from zero to making thousands a month as a writer is not easy. Your writing process takes time.

I mentioned if you have a day job, you’re probably busy. Earlier I mentioned I was in the Army. My job didn’t require me to deploy, but I was training other people to deploy overseas.

The tempo was fast as every week or every other week, a new group would come in. My free time was limited as I worked Sunday to Saturday some weeks.

Between work and my family, there wasn’t a lot of free time. The time that was available I was working on my blog.

When spring came around, it was time for tee-ball.

“Life will never work in your favor. Anything that could go wrong will go wrong.”

You have to be able to adapt to the changes that life brings.

A few times I had to outsource parts of my blog. Since I was stuck creating the blog, I hired someone to help walk me through some issues.

If you have dealt with WordPress you’d understand.

Everything I learned about creating a blog was new to me. I spent as much time as I could learning how to create and update the blog.

Once I had the version I wanted, then it was just finding time to write the next article.

Figuring out what you’re going to write isn’t your biggest hurdle.

Finding the time time to write is your biggest issue.

Time is your biggest enemy as a writer.

You need to find the time to write. Once you figure out the time where you can write, then you need to stick to that time slot to write.

There will be interruptions from time to time, but you have to do your best to simply write. You may not finish your first draft. If you can at least get the article started, you’ll be that must closer than you were before.

When the stock market and real estate market crashed around 2008, these two markets kept me preoccupied. I had money invested in both sectors and I was trying to figure out what was going on.

The stock market had some winners and losers almost like today. Then the real estate market was crashing in different parts of the country.

Then I wanted to buy another rental property. I started to lose focus on the blog.

Between my job, my family, my investments, I had little time to work on the blog. My writing took a back seat to everything.

After my tee-ball blog, I tried to start another blog but had a hard time figuring out the topic. I ended up experimenting with different blogs.

In the end, I wasted time and money.

An answer to help you as a writer

To help you as a writer, these are my suggestions. Your situation will be different than mine.

However, I’m sure these tips will apply to anyone trying to make the transition to writing full-time.