Monday, August 29, 2016

A Welcome Surprise: Additional Passive Income

So a few weeks ago I'm just going about my daily routine, checking email, when I see a notification that HubPages has sent me a payment. 

Say what?

Yes, I had actually received money for doing...nothing.  Okay, not exactly nothing.

I wrote about HubPages before on this blog in a post about earning passive income. HubPages is an article-writing site, where you create web pages called hubs about various topics. (You can write about anything you like.) Several years ago (before I turned my hand to novels), I had started writing articles on various sites, including HubPages. I created what I consider to be a fair number of hubs in a short period of time, and - as proven last month - those hubs have continued to produce income.

To be frank, however, my start on the site was rather inauspicious. My first month, I wrote one article. It earned me a penny that month - nothing to get excited about.  However, the next month, with me still doing nothing, that article earned something like 20 cents. Now it was getting interesting - not because of the amount of money, but because now I had a better idea of the potential.

Liking what I was seeing, I wrote something like a dozen articles after that, which earned me around three bucks the following month. Shifting into high gear, I cranked out 25 articles the next month, and earned about $8. I did almost nothing the month after that (6 articles) and made (drumroll please)...$60! Yes: dollar sign-six-zero! Needless to say, that was a major leap forward and validated what I had been doing in terms of trying to earn passive income.

Fast-forward a bit in time, and at the end of my seventh month on the site I had written about 80 articles, which were earning me about $40 per month. (Not a whole lot of money, but better than nothing.)  Since then (about 4 years ago), I've written exactly one article on Hubpages.  However, my work is still published on the site and continues to earn me money every day.

How much money, you say?  Well, after the last payout (which was - as I said - unexpected, because I haven't done anything on the site in years), I went back and looked.  Turns out my 80 articles were no earning me roughly 7 cents per day.  Yes, 7 cents.  Go ahead: yuck it up.  But if you put $1000 in a savings account earning 1% interest (which is well above the national average at the moment), you'd only earn $10 after a year.  My 7 cents a day would total over $25 at the end of a year - twice what someone would earn with a grand in a savings account, and I didn't have to lock up thousands of dollars to do it.

Anyway, I blame Google for the diminishing returns I'm getting from my hubs.  Google seems to update its algorithms regularly, which tends to have an effect on the discoverability of articles on sites like HubPages. (If I find myself with time on my hands, I may go back and tweak my articles to make them more Google-friendly, but I prefer to devote that time to writing novels these days.)

That said, the fact that I'm still earning passive income on work that I did years ago speaks volumes about the potential of sites like Hubpages - especially for someone willing to put in the time to write decent articles.  I figure that a person with just a little hustle could write a decent article every day capable of earning at least what I was getting early on (which was about 50 cents per article per month).  So, at the end of a year, you'd have 365 articles earning $6/day, or almost $2200 per year. But if you can manage that for two years (or write 2 articles per day), now you're earning $12/day.

Or maybe you can write killer hubs capable of earning more than $1/month each. It's certainly possible. When I got started with Hubpages, I wrote an article for my wife that - early in its life cycle - was earning over $1/month. In fact, during its best month, I think it earned $3. Again, it may not sound like much, but imagine that you've written 100 articles like that, or better yet, 1000. Now you're talking about earning $1K - $3K per month, which is far from chicken feed. And, if you can stay on top of things like Google algorithm changes, you might keep earning that amount indefinitely.

But even if you can't maintain that level of earnings, whatever you get is still free money. (Or as close to free money as you can get.) And to be honest, when it comes to free money, I'll take it - even if it's just 7 cents per day...

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