Most of the companies behind those ads are trying to sell you an eBook or a "system" that costs anywhere from $20 to thousands of dollars to teach you how to make money online. And yet how do THEY make money? By selling people like you and me their system.
I've been writing for the web since 1997. The opportunity for *residual* income, also called passive income, has been available since then, but only for a few writers. For instance, The Mining Company was new in 1997--it is now About.com, and their "guides" make a flat fee plus revenue share--they earn a percentage of all advertising earned via their pages. That is passive or residual income.
Passive income means that you write an article once, but continue to earn money for it in the future. You may post an article on a website, for instance, and one month 1,000 people click on your article. They view the advertisements on the same page as your writing, and some might even click on some of the ads. The total number of click throughs (clicks on ads on your page) plus page views (the number of times people viewed the page) generates a certain amount of money--Google, or advertising networks determine that amount.
You then earn that amount. It might be, say, $4. You wrote the article *once*. But you get that advertising revenue, or passive income, every month. Forever. (Or until the company who hosts your writing goes under. More on that issue in the future).
So passive income means that you can stop writing, but still earn money. It's like book royalties--writers publish one manuscript, but earn money based on how many books they sell. They could sell 500 copies every year for 50 years, and in that 50th year, they're *still* earning passive income. Even if they haven't written a single word for 50 years.
About 3-4 years ago, passive income for the average writer came about via websites such as Associated Content. Critics call these sites "content mills," for the lack of editing and the ability for anyone (and I do mean *anyone*, regardless of skill or quality) to publish their writing. Other sites, such as eHow, Bukisa, Helium, Hubpages, Squidoo, and so forth, are open to anyone wishing to publish and earn passive income, while sites such as About.com, Suite101, and others are open only to those writers to apply and are accepted after review.
I take no position on whether these sites are good or bad for the writing industry or for writers in general. I just care whether they help me make passive income. Many inexperienced writers have used sites such as Associated Content and eHow to start a writing career, and gone on to much higher-paying, higher-exposure assignments. Other writers gain personal fulfillment from publishing their personal stories and poetry and calling themselves a "published writer," while making $1.50 a year on residuals.
Still other writers use the sites to gain exposure and make residual income. That's where I come in.
My goal is to generate $10,000 per month in residual income. It may take me 10 years to do this. It may take me 2 years. I have no idea how long it will take, but I do believe it *can* be done, and that it can be done by anyone with a decent writing style, an hour or so per day, and persistence.
My goal is to be transparent. If you want to join me on my journey, you will be able to replicate what I do, and to understand how I do it. This includes successes and FAILURES. I won't blog only about the good, but will warn you about the bad, and share my experience.
This isn't a get rich quick scheme. This isn't my life's work. This is just me, at home, in front of my Dell with a baby nursing on a Boppy in my lap (see? transparency) starting a new project that aims to be fun and, in the long run, lucrative.
So here is what you can expect from this project:
1. Daily updates. I'll publish at least 1 post every day detailing articles I published, where I published them, and my strategy.
2. Monthly updates on how much I am making, and where.
3. Details on *which* topics are generating the most income.
4. Discussions on which sites are, and aren't, worth using.
5. Guest posts (in the future) from people who follow this blog and who are trying the same strategies I blog about. I think that learning from other people is crucial.
I tend, in real life, to talk and analyze things to death. So, I'll end this post and go out and start writing.