How I Made $33,801 Writing About My Passion

Michael Leonard

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I’ve been writing online since 2016, and after four-plus years, I’m convinced there is a niche for everything.

I’ve been paid to write about personal finance, golf, self-improvement, and digital marketing. When I quit my six-figure job in 2017 to go all-in on entrepreneurship, I had two goals: inspire others with my personal finance blog and pursue professional golf.

I dreamed of helping millennials master their finances and teach them all the things that college never did. The blog was supposed to pay the bills and afford the time and money to pursue professional golf.

But within seven months, my blog failed, so I pivoted to freelance writing.

After writing about personal finance on my blog and for clients, I began to resent the topic. I grew tired of writing 5,000-word mega posts about Roth IRAs, index funds, and home-owning. I still wanted to help people, but it was such dry topics that I began to resent writing itself.

So, one day while scrolling Upwork for writing gigs, I had the idea to search for golf writer gigs. I wanted to see if I could get paid to write about something I’ve been passionate about for 20 years.

That one decision led to $30,000+ since quitting my 9–5.

The best part?

It’s not my main niche, it’s my “side hustle” of writing.

I’m proof that you can get paid to write about your passion. So if you want to add a second niche writing about a topic you love, just know that it’s possible.

Here’s a breakdown of each client, how I landed the gig, and what I did to get paid.

Client 1: Golf Blog

Job role: Ghostwriting

How I landed the gig

I first got the itch to write about new topics in July 2017. At the time, I was three months into my entrepreneurial journey and had been blogging for 19 months.

I found this client through Upwork, applied, jumped on the phone, and was hired. The rate was embarrassingly low but at that point, I took anything I could get.

But this client made it all possible. Despite the ridiculously low rate, it made me believe that I could make money writing about my passion.

Remember, all it takes is one person to say yes to help you build unstoppable momentum.

Total pay: $120 ($30 per 2,000-word blog post: four posts)

Client 2: Golf Book

Job role: Co-author

Shortly after landing my first golf writing gig, I found another opportunity on Upwork. This was to co-author a short book for a “How to Expert” series. These are short books and eBooks where authors who are experts in a niche, teach others the fastest way to succeed.

Like the first gig, the pay was horrifically low, but I liked the idea of being a published golf author, so I accepted it. And as my blog was failing at the time, I had plenty of time on my hands, so I figured why not.

But once again, it built my confidence and helped establish credibility in my second niche.

Total pay: $150 (10,000-word eBook) + $50 for YouTube author interview

Client 3: Private Golf Course

Job role: Ghostwriter

How I landed the gig

At this point, I had a few golf writing gigs under my belt, enjoyed the writing, and saw the potential for it to expand.

Then, one day I’m browsing on Upwork for “golf writing” jobs, and I found a listing that seemed too good to be true. The gig was working with a private golf course to revamp their website.

I applied, had a few emails back and forth, and once again, got on the phone. Instantly, he could tell I was passionate about golf and used my previous two clients as samples.

I landed the gig and was tasked with writing five new website pages for $1,650.

I still remember when the invoice got paid — it was an “I made it” moment in my writing career. I saw the notification as I was on the treadmill and nearly fell off the machine — I couldn’t believe someone paid me that much to write about something I love.

Client 4: Golf Blog

Job role: Author

How I landed the gig

When it comes to making consistent money as a writer, I’ve found that blog clients are the best. As they need fresh content for their blog each week, it helps you forecast your revenue and map out your schedule.

I landed this client from a ProBlogger job post in May 2018. When I didn’t hear back, I did some research, found a contact form on his website, and followed up.

He loved my pitch (and tenacity) and chose me over 300+ applicants! We’ve worked together ever since and I have helped him grow his blog to over 100,000 unique visitors a month.

I’ve done just about everything with this client including:

  • Blog posts.
  • Lead magnets.
  • Email sequences.
  • Blog post rewrites.

This one client changed everything, but it never would’ve happened if I didn’t have the confidence from the first few projects.

Total pay: $28,797 (average $300/week for 96 weeks)

Client 5: Golf Blog

Job role: Contributing author

Another gig I found was from Upwork as well — Quintessential Golf. The creator is a retiree who travels the world playing the best golf courses in the world.

At this point, I had over 50 posts and tons of confidence so it was a no-brainer for him. We instantly connected and started working together.

I helped create an SEO plan, design lead magnets, and write blog posts. These are one-off projects but always fun to write about.

Total pay: $1,784 (four projects)

Client 6: E-Commerce Site

Job role: Copywriter

This client found me from my website as my golf writer page got ranked by Google. Now, if you search “golf writer for hire”, my writing website comes up on page one!

Not only did he like my samples, but he also saw my interview from my golf book I wrote (client number two). We collaborated to write product descriptions, emails, and sales page copy for his golf e-commerce store.

Total pay: $1,000 (four $250 projects)

Client 7: Golf Blog

Job role: Contributing writer

The final golf writing gig I landed was a guest I had on my podcast, “Inspire Your Success”. I interview Sean Ogle, who runs Location Rebel, and also a popular golf membership site, Breaking 80.

We instantly connected as he’s been an online entrepreneur for a decade and a golfer as well. This led to writing a few blog posts, with my name attributed, on his golf blog.

Total pay: $250 ($125/blog post)

Total Golf Writing Gigs: $33,801

What to Learn From This

I hope this post is inspiring and shows you what’s possible when you follow your passion. As you can tell, I was able to land each client because of the previous ones. Sometimes, you have to start small and climb the ladder when going into a new niche.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways:

  • Get clients on the phone: Looking back, I think the reason I got these gigs is that I got on the phone early on. Sometimes, it’s hard to convey your passion through email. But once you get clients on the phone, it’s easy to let your passion come through and makes it easy for them to say yes!
  • Switch up your topics from time to time: If you write about anything for too long, it’s easy to get tired of it (or resent it as I did). Whether you add a second niche about a passion or write on Medium about any topic you like, mix it up! Stepping away from your main niche will recharge your batteries, make you a better writer, and keep you motivated.
  • Start small and work your way up: Looking back, the wages I took for writing, in the beginning, were horrifically low. I wouldn’t suggest anyone going that low, but if you’re venturing out into a new niche, sometimes you will have to take lower rates in the beginning. Those eventually led to a client who’s paid me nearly $30,000 so it’s worth it. But if you accept lower-paying gigs, make sure to do a few to build your portfolio and then raise your rates ASAP.
  • Understand you can have two niches: While I agree the riches are in the niches, don’t put yourself in a box with only one niche. If you want to write about something else, dedicate a page on your writing website to your second niche.
  • There’s more than just blog posts: As you can tell, I’ve been paid to write more than just blog posts including lead magnets, eBooks, websites pages, and more. Don’t limit yourself to making money only one way! Check out 15 ways to make money as a content writer.
  • Write about what you love: If you don’t write what you love (or at least like), I think it’s extremely difficult to find long-term success as a writer. I know a lot of writers will disagree, but that’s just how I feel. Writing about something you don’t like just for the money is like taking a job just for the paycheck. To me, it’s not worth it.
  • Know your outcome in advance: Before diving into a second niche or writing on Medium, make sure you know your goal. For me, it was about writing on a topic I’ve been passionate about for 20+ years and getting paid to do it. Now, my second niche affords me to pursue professional golf!

Final Thoughts

When I quit my job in 2017, I never would have guessed I would’ve made over $30,000 as a golf writer — I just didn’t think that it was possible. Now, I’m planning to launch a golf brand later in 2020 as I’ve grown to love it even more.

The point?

Follow your passion!

Not only will you be amazed at the opportunities, but also by how much you enjoy writing about topics you love. It never feels like work!

Hopefully, this story shows that you can make money writing about your passion as there is a niche for everything.

But if you never put yourself out there and inquire about blogs, websites, and brands, you could miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime.

Remember, people with passion make the impossible happen!

*Photo provided by gstockstudio on Deposit Photos

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My name is Michael Leonard and I am the creator of Inspire Your Success. I'm on a mission to help readers build online writing businesses and quit their jobs to live a life of freedom!

Scottsdale, AZ
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