I have had some success with a part time business online. First about me, I’m full time employed but could use extra income to pay for things that I ‘want’ rather than what I ‘need’.
I have an MBA and a BS and wanted my part time business to be something fun and interesting. I’m into exercise and gadgets and decided to try my luck at writing on exercise and fitness tools.
I applied for a job at a website as their local fitness writer and after a background check and some sample writing I was hired. I wrote in my spare time, mostly nights and weekends and have earned a decent amount of money while enjoying myself.
What I have learned is that the key to success is to write quality pieces on topics a lot of people care about.
Quality comes from rewriting an article a couple of times before submitting it. Doing research is important as well.
Finding topics a lot of people care about is more trial and error. Write a lot on a lot of topics and eventually you will see what articles receive a lot of hits and a lot of feedback.
I also gained traction by including opinion polls and videos related to what I was writing about. I was good about responding to comments, even negative comments. I made sure what I wrote I believed in, and if I disagreed with a commenter, I didn’t remove the comments, just responded in a way that clarified my thinking.
I learned that there are definitely people out there who will try to infuriate you and say negative things about your opinions, but they are a minority. For the most part writing well thought out articles is rewarded by lots of hits on your site and these translate into higher compensation.
There are opportunity costs to writing during what would normally be free time. I’ve often been lost in thought while punching away at my laptop even though I’m in the presence of other people.
I know that can get annoyed with me, for example I might be writing an article while my significant other is next to me on the couch watching ‘The Office’ or ‘Lost’ and I am oblivious to what is going on. I’ve learned not to ask what just happened.
I also have learned that it is a good idea to just come out and say ‘you know what I didn’t hear your question, I wasn’t paying attention, I was writing’ rather than trying to fake it. These interruptions bring me to my last point, reviewing your work and then revising it is the key to doing quality jobs. Often I am interrupted while working. This causes quality issues.
Shutting down the computer for 12 hours and returning to the work does wonders for improving the quality of the job. I find this simple step before submitting work has vastly improved my finished product. It also caused me to develop a sense of pride when I send something into the world that I am proud to say I wrote.