When I first started writing online back in 1997, I didn't understand this concept. In fact, I ran a highly popular website for 3+ years and my main source of income came from Amazon.com. This was great, except I took a major hit in 2000 and sales were slow to pick up after that "oh shit" moment.
I then began learning about pulling in incomes from multiple places. I began writing articles for a few other websites. The pay was meager, but it was something. In 2008, I got a job writing for About.com. Great! The pay was very nice at that time, but I wanted more. Fast forward again to 2014, and I am publishing Kindle books, running blogs, and I am still writing for About.com. The only difference between now and then is that I am finally pulling a decent income from each of my income streams.
Find a Contracted Writing Job
It sounds easy, but the truth is that the competition is high. Back when I was looking for a contracted job, About.com was owned by The New York Times. I tried out for one of their writing positions and did not get it. I tried again, and the second time was the charm.
Getting a contracted writing job is a great goal to have. The income is a bit more reliable than other income streams, and you can use your contracted job as a back up while you test out and build up other revenues.
I made good money back in the days of writing for eHow. As soon as it was bought up by Demand Studios, that income stream dried up. Another article website is HubPages.com.
Is it worth your time to write for these websites? Yes and no. Some people make a good extra income from these websites, ranging from a few extra hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars a month. Other people don't do as well.
From my personal experience, I feel it is fine to concentrate on just one of these article sites (also called content mills), but don't rely on them too heavily. The extra bit of income is nice, but not permanent.
Writer mills are places like Demand Studios and iWriter that pay you a set fee to write an article. If your article is accepted, you get paid for it. I have tested out both of these writer mills. I made some good money at Demand Studios, but iWriter was not worth my time. None of the writer mills provide a consistent and reliable income.
While I pretty much pissed on article websites and writer mills, I will change my song for blogging. I feel that all writers that want to produce multiple incomes should break into blogging. I am not talking about blogging for self promotion, although that certainly never hurts, I am talking about creating one or multiple blogs on popular subjects. What you blog about can range from homeschooling to fishing. All that matters is that it is a popular subject that people search the internet for.
Blogging won't make you big bucks right away. In fact, it will take about 3 months of hard work for your blog to get recognized. If you can make it that long without giving up, you will up your chances of creating a decent income from your blog. This means posting a blog pretty much every single day, maintaining tweets and a Facebook page, and whatever other social media you choose.
You can monetize your blog with Google Adsense and with other affiliate programs. I have found that Amazon.com and CJ.com work best for me. I have thought about using ClickBank because a lot of people make money off of the affiliate program, but I have also found that many of the sellers are unwilling to let me do an honest review of their products. I can't personally promote something unless I know it is good, so I am not working with ClickBank at this time. You, of course, may feel differently about this, and that is okie dokie with me.
Writing and publishing ebooks is now my number one source of income. I publish exclusively on Kindle, but there is also Nook, Smashwords, and other online publishing platforms. What I love most about this income source is that I can reach millions of readers with little marketing on my end.
Some people are making great money creating online courses. I would recommend udemy.com. There are free courses on how to create udemy courses, and you can mix up different media for delivering your course - text and video. This is a great way to produce an income from your talents.
You can set up your own online business. There are many free and paid for scripts online to choose from for your business. Subrion.com, for example has an article script available for a reasonable price. HotScripts.com has thousands of free scripts you can use to start an online business, ranging from classified ads and auctions to games and virtual communities. Setting up your own online business is another great way for writers to create a diverse income.