Ads claiming to make you hundreds of thousands of dollars a week “working from home!” are as ubiquitous across the internet as ones claiming to teach “10 simple tricks to lose that belly fat!” Everyone knows that both of those campaigns are basically bogus, placed there simply because people are fundamentally lazy and everyone’s looking for a way to make a quick buck or lose the weight without actually having to do anything.
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Recently, however, we learned that making the cash isn’t impossible… if you’re willing to put in the work: Andrew Sullivan, the force behind the super popular Daily Dish, just raked in $333,000 in 24 hours by breaking away from the Daily Beast and implementing a very loose, sort of optional paywall.
Mashable describes it as “more like a dilapidated garden fence” than a paywall because there are simple ways to avoid paying the requested $19.99 per year but, amazingly, people are choosing to pay for what they could get for free.
So how did he do it? What’s the secret behind rolling in serious dough while working from the comfort of your own home? Here’s a breakdown of what you’re going to need to do if you ever want to reach that level.
(Spoiler alert: It’s going to take awhile.)
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1. Build your personal brand
The very first step is to build a name for yourself online. This is something you can do all on your own, for very little money, but it’s going to take a lot of time and effort with no pay. Keep your day job, kids, but get working in your off hours.
Start by figuring out what field you want to be known for. Maybe you know a lot about lean startups or maybe you’re the human sexuality expert in your group of friends or maybe cars are your thing. Whatever it is, hone in on it and start writing.
2. Get guest blogging
Once you’ve got evidence that you know what you’re talking about in the form of a decent body of work, send out resumes to blogs with more well known names. You might not have many readers on your personal political blog, but you can bet that The Huffington Post does.
If you’re good enough and they’re looking, try to bag a permanent position as a columnist and, even then, don’t settle. There are always bigger, better, more popular websites. Keep climbing up the ladder the same way you would in a traditional job. Difference is, no one is going to offer you a promotion. You have to find it yourself.
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3. Stand out from the crowd
Now you really need to start working your ass off if you’re ever going to make it to Andrew Sullivan status. There are plenty of bloggers toiling in obscurity on hundreds of thousands of websites, including the more famous ones.
You need to tap deep into your creative well if you’re going to make your name known. Your pure intelligence doesn’t mean anything when it’s put up against all of those out of work Ivy Leaguers. What’s going to make your column more interesting than every other one out there? Do your research, scope out the competitors, and then make sure you’re doing it better.
The Andrew Sullivan Model
This is where Andrew Sullivan catapulted from. By working tirelessly on blog, the Daily Dish, while working at The Daily Beast’s website, Sullivan built up a loyal following of readers who value what he does. They’ve come to rely on his analysis and curation of the news, as well as his format for presenting it.
When he asked for $19.99 a year for only slightly more access to content that could be accessed for free, people gave an average of $8 more than requested. When have you ever heard of people not only paying for free content, but paying more than they need to?
I think we’ve got a new term, folks. Making it big in the blogosphere? You’re pulling a Sullivan.