I Just Realised Writing Can Actually Help Me Grow Sustainable Passive Income

ByAzleen Abdul Rahim

I have been writing since 2013. The habit became a little bit serious in 2015 when I was invited to own a weekly column in Utusan Malaysia, one of the oldest newspapers in Malaysia. Then after the publication was undergoing a major restructuring, another prominent publication DagangNews invited me to become their columnist. I wrote for them for almost a year or so before I decided not to continue.

From those gigs, I was invited to work on several consulting projects—big and small. A number of people who read my pieces somehow acknowledged my expertise from the articles. And they reached out to me for coffee and offered me to be part of their projects. Yup, it is as simple as that. To me, writing quality articles can leave a very powerful statement to readers. 

Since then, I’ve been writing mostly for myself. Yet, only last year, I realised that I can actually create sustainable income from writing. This is way better than earning income from consulting work as I don’t have to be physically active to earn it. After doing some extensive research on it, I came to the conclusion that I should work on this quickly. The opportunities seem endless and the earning can grow bigger along the way. The caveat is one, I need to own a website, a newsletter or a platform. 

I think this time, I’m going to go for the newsletter route. This option, I’ve yet to explore. Once everything from the domain, hosting and theme of the newsletter is confirmed, I need to start the momentum going. It means I need to work on acquiring internet traffic—the more the better as it will help influence how fast I can build and grow the passive income from it. To attract internet traffic, I must double down on one thing; writing quality articles consistently.

With the help of the marketing strategy I called SKM, I strongly believe I can acquire and stabilise traffic growth within 12 months. SKM refers to Social Media Ads—KOLs—Media. It means a combination of efforts to distribute content through the power of social media ads, influencers and media play combined. Here, the balance of producing consistent content and distributing those content is pretty important.

What are the main income types I can earn out of writing via the newsletter? Well, there are a few. The easiest is from online ads, as in Google Ads, Mediavine or something like that. There will be ad boxes inserted into the newsletter next to the articles. This income however is the slowest among all as it is directly dependent on the incoming traffic generated. The slightly easier one would be to earn from sponsored articles. Usually, there are brands who would be keen to pay me to write articles related to them and insert strategic backlinks into their landing pages or website. Again, this too will be tied to the incoming traffic and other statistics—the better those numbers are, the more sponsors I can work with. Then, there is this subscription income. This is where I will gate the content that I considered premium or special. And there is a subscription monthly fee to access this type of content. I can also earn commissions by recommending other people’s products or services through affiliate marketing. This is also not bad. And last but obviously not least is the income from selling digital products. To keep this simple, I would prefer to work on either e-books or digital white papers. And people who are keen to read them would need to pay to download the materials. Ah, yes. writing on Medium pays good money too.

While I am presently earning good money out of my consulting work, I think I am going to give this idea of writing through a newsletter a shot and see if I could replace the active income with these. I know some people out there are decently earning sustainable income comfortably by doing things they love, and I think I can do the same too—through writing of course. And I seriously think the idea is doable, within my grasp. Wish me luck.

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