Monetized. The moment when your webpage, blog, or article has the opportunity to make money. It's one of the major stepping stones when moving from hobbyist to professional writer, blogger, web content producer.
Two of the most common ways to monetize content is listed on the Writer's Resource page. Google Adsense and Amazon.com affiliate programs are two of the most popular ways to get started. By adding these links to a page the page owner gets compensated a modest sum for each time a page visitor clicks an ad link. For Amazon.com there is the ability to get a small percentage of profits from sales that result from visitors to your page clicking through and purchasing something from Amazon.com.
These are not ways to get rich, however they can offset some of the costs for paying for maintaining a domain. I was able to purchase my domain name with a little extra birthday money I got from relatives. (Thanks Aunt Mary!) It is important to make investments and treat your writing as a business if the goal is to move from hobby writer to professional.
Having ads is only the beginning however. The more challenging part is the marketing. In order to make dollars instead of cents on a site there must be traffic. That is the magic X-factor that everyone searches for. What do people want to read? What will bring them to my site? What will make them come back? That is the holy grail of information that every content creator, no matter which medium they create with would love to know.
Being able to add ads to this site is merely the next step in the journey.
I think the hardest part for me is consistency. It is easy when writing is just a hobby because it is something waiting for you. It makes no demands, sets no expectations. It is similar to the transformation in a relationship from dating to marriage.
Dating is purely voluntary. It is fun and exciting. You get to do it on your own terms. This is all the greatness of hobby writing. There is nothing expected of one another so there are no disappointments.
Marriage is career writing. Sure you love them, however there are fights over the checkbook and how much money is coming in. The stakes are higher which can make it seem at times not as fun. Production, consistent production is expected, is required. A writer must live up to the expectation the audience has come to develop of them. If a writer is not careful the art becomes an obligation. It does not do as well in that capacity. Art is like an untamed lover and thrives in that capacity. It does not do as well in the role of husband or wife.
Consistency in writing has to be there like a marriage to make it work, to make a living at it. That is part of the struggle or challenge of being a writer. The same challenge a married couple faces How to keep it fresh and new? How to keep the passion the excitement? How to do all this and be stable and consistent one that people can depend on.
A writing schedule helps. Writing minimums for the day helps. To be a pro one must show up and write everyday. A writer must be accountable to themselves because there is no one to answer to, with freedom comes responsibility. Joining a writers group can be good for this. Someone to be accountable to, to socialize with. Groups are great for that as long as they don't become a distraction to writing in themselves. Discipline, writing goals and accountability are the ingredients to consistent writing every time.
So my action item for today was to set up a QuickBooks file for my writing business.
Having accounting in order is probably the most difficult task of owning/ operating a small business or being self-employed. They sure don't make it easy, yet it can be done.
I was lucky to already have QuickBooks because my husband was using it for his business. There wasn't exactly one for freelance writer or at least not one that I have found yet. I'll continue to look. I just used the Marketing and Public Relations for now because it was the closest type of business to what I'd be doing. So we'll see how it goes.
If you are just starting out there are spreadsheets and easy accounting programs that can get you started for less money. However if you can invest in a good small business accounting program and get it set up by an accountant it saves a lot of headache down the road.
A few weeks ago I opened a really simple bank account that I'll be using for now and then upgrade as time goes by. If you plan to take your writing seriously enough to make it a prosperous business it is a really good idea for tax purposes to have a separate checking account to run your business out of and not to use it for personal expenses. This way easier to say than to do. However in writing, blogging and web content creation it is difficult to prove until you are making the big bucks whether it is a hobby or a business. Whether it is a hobby or a business means a lot as far as taxes and exemptions are concerned. Which I can talk more about on another blog. Anyway long story short don't mix business with pleasure financially or the IRS gets mad at you.
The other important thing I did was to start a business account with PayPal that is because that is the way I get paid by sites like Associated Content, Helium.com and others you can even receive payments from sites like this one on Weebly.com. Please see my donate key on the Home page. :)
So things are moving a long. I am working on the foundation work and it feels pretty good.
Well that is it for today. I have a few articles to write that need to be finished today.
Create an amazing day!
Sophia Tesch is a graduate of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. Sophia is a community advocate. She lives in San Tan Valley, Arizona with her husband and children.