(Author’s Note: I was intially going to publish this post on Lazysouls but thought the tone and style would be too personal for that blog. Hence, it goes live here. I will write a prologue and epilogue to this one perhaps.)
How I started making money from writing is a funny story. After graduating from school 3 and a half years back, as is the norm in Indian society, I had to figure out a career for myself. Not really sure of what I wanted to do with my life, I decided, mostly to please my family, that engineering was a good, safe option. It had a huge ‘scope’ in a world which was increasingly becoming heavily dependent on technology for every little thing. So my father decided it was logical to enroll me in one of those crash courses where students are tortured for hours. I found myself trying to solve complex science equations and math problems in a coaching institute that prepared students for the tough IIT entrance exam.
The Guy at the Juice Shop
It was a bad time. They were forcing people to slog their asses out, 8 hours a day. And for what? It was definitely not my idea of a fun life. Science was supposed to be fun man. Make bombs and napalm from soap and orange juice. Fight Club shit.
And here it was pure cramming. That too with a bunch of people of hardcore geeks from day schools who were quite well versed with this type of studying. A week into the drill, I tuned off. Luckily, I met this guy called Rohit who was into rock music, played guitar and was heavily into the then unknown industry of internet marketing. As a freelance writer, he was making money writing for companies on the internet. He told me that there were millions of people making solid money online. Not only through writing, but a whole of things. I dismissed it as some sort of joke and thought this guy trying to act cool.
But he insisted and told me signup on Digital Point Forums – A bustling online bazaar of internet marketers from all over the world. My first reaction was quite negative. What bull, I told him jokingly. But he was as serious as the clergyman trying to reform a hapless soul. Still quite skeptical of the whole thing, I signed up but I wasn’t too sure of whether it was really possible to make a decent living online. He assured me it was. All one needed was basic English skills, patience and a little luck. I still thought it was impossible and he was cracking a joke.
The Nagging Voice
After the engineering coaching thing was over, I totally forgot about the whole thing. But it seems that God was bent on making me work my ass off instead of letting me sleep and chill in peace. This voice inside my cranium kept nagging me to go see if the whole making money through writing bit was really true. One fine day, I switched on, sat online and looked about. Somehow or the other, the online world started drawing me in. Yeah I was a computer literate and net savvy, but living in ancient Hapur, I hadn’t heard of a single person who made their living online. The idea somehow started growing inside my head. Maybe there is something to it, I thought. So I kept looking here and there. Rohit had told me to practice my rusted writing skills because the only thing I had written so far were school essays and some scraped articles for the school newsletter.
A Breakthrough, finally!
After two months of trying, I couldn’t find a single decent paying writing gig. The market was extremely crowded and competition was stiff. There were content writing firms from the Philippines, other Indians, Chinese internet junkies and lots of other people who were willing to work at half the rate I was. I had to really convince myself for days on end that I could find work. The first paying job that I finally got was a crappy forum posting thing at a sports forum. The moderator and owner of this online forum was willing to pay me 10 cents a post. I finally landed my first writing job! I was supposed to write about colon cleansing products and the guy was going to pay me a dollar for every 100 words I wrote. Pretty cool eh? Four hours later, I had written three nicely researched reviews of various colon cleansing products. The job was a little difficult – researching about stuff I had never heard before, putting it together in completely new language, making it sound professional. I now knew what a colon cleanse was and I had a cool 15$ in my PayPal account! A week later, I was overjoyed. My mum and dad were elated beyond imagination. There was no looking back thereon.
What was supposed to be my stepping stone into a world of science and engineering turned out to be a chance encounter into the fascinating (and highly profitable) world of writing!
Sure, I was happy because I had just earned a little financial freedom for myself. But more than the cash, what made me truly ecstatic was the new knowledge that I could achieve the impossible. It felt like heaven, accomplishing a task previously thought undoable.
How can one make money online by sitting in front of a darned computer? The question does not puzzle me anymore. I was just living in dark unenlightened times. The world is flat now. If you want to make money online, there’s good news! I have decided to start a blog which will chronicle, among other things, my journey into this industry. The difficulties I faced, how I solved problems, and how I came out winning. It’s going to take time because this is my first attempt at starting out an educational blog. Subscribe for updates!