Wednesday, 27 September 2017

#264 Can you feed yourself by writing online?

I made a bet with myself last Friday night. I wanted to see if I could earn more money online than I spent on food, for a week. It was a daft experiment. The kind of wager one might make in a pub, then regret when the buzz wore off. That's what made it fun.

Don't get me wrong. These days it's perfectly possible to make money online. A living, even but not with no experience. Not with no contacts. Not on a whim. So I decided just to try and fund three square meals a day, for seven days, to see if how far I'd get. They had to be full, balanced meals and if I missed one, it was game over.

We're five days in. I'll be able to last until tomorrow lunchtime. If I can earn more by then, I'll probably make it. If not, well, five days ain't bad. So how have I been funding this ridiculous experiment?

Copify. That's right, I know about its reputation. It's a content mill. Cheap labour writing cheap blog posts about cheap subject matter. Well guess what? This week I've eaten cheaply but not entirely poorly and I've written cheaply too but not poorly. I was able to afford what I think is a reasonable supply of fruit and veg, which is inexpensive if you know what to get and where to get it. Pasta. A mix of fresh and tinned meats. Value wholemeal bread and cornflakes for breakfast (37 pence in Asda). Even some chocolate.

I'd used Copify before and had written about about how to save money on car insurance, the postage requirements for mailing goods and documents to Sweden and the perils of wifi piggybacking. This time, I picked some similarly diverse topics, including the surge in worldwide demand for lithium and the benefits of hiring a barrister rather than a solicitor. The clients were quick to approve my posts. Only one had some minor feedback about adding subheadings.

Each article required between thirty minutes and an hour of research. The asking word count tended to be around 350 although it could be as much as double that. After researching, I could hammer out 350 words in under an hour, continuing to learn and plan as I wrote. It worked out much less than minimum wage but after factoring in travel time (zero) and travel cost (also zero), it wasn't quite so bad.

The requests on Copify don't run like water. Often the only pieces available are product descriptions, which look like they require specialist knowledge or would be way too boring to research and write. I doubt very much I'll make it to the end of the week without using alternative funds but it's been an enjoyable experiment. With more research into similar sites, I'm sure I could earn enough to eat for a week. Maybe even a couple of beers too.


The above bet was made for fun, not out of necessity. Do not attempt to fund your own diet by writing online unless you are an experienced digital nomad. The author accepts no responsibility for any consequences arising from the activity of any readers foolish enough not to heed this advice. 

23 comments

Fizzfan said...

Well done but I can't get 37p for cornflakes out of my mind. Did they taste OK?

Running on empty said...

Keep up the good writing work, Dan.

Dan Copping said...

Yeah, they're not Kellog's but the ingredients are the same: Maize and suite of B vitamins. Everything a growing boy needs.

It's the 31p Jaffa Cakes I'm worried about.

Dan Copping said...

Cheers, you keep it up too :)

Fizzfan said...

You always have to worry about Jaffa Cakes, even McVities.

Running on empty said...

Why? Can you get swine flu? Mad cow disease? Acne?

Running on empty said...

Your encouragement helps me, Dan.

I'm snowed under with this party. Three sellers to get to in the city this weekend, all in one day, on public transport. A lot to carry, two candelabras, one large print of cupids (I was resisting, but only $4, ) a clock, 14 iron candlesticks, two large vases, a raincoat, hoodie, Mexican drinking glasses, numerous fushia and pewter organza bows, two cream brocade cushions, and something else I can't recall.
Oh and the dj pulled out, so I have to find another. He said he can't get time off work to set up on a Friday.

Fizzfan said...

They are not what they appear to be......

Running on empty said...

Ok, I'm more intrigued...

Fizzfan said...

They're naughty little cheapskate con artists. MacVities call them cakes so they don't have to pay tax on them, but would you stick a candle in one and give it to someone on their birthday?
You always find them in the biscuit aisle too.
MacVities won a big court case by claiming they are cakes because they go hard when they're stale rather than soft like biscuits.
I can see their point and am left confused as to my true opinion, but I just don't feel I can trust them :D

Running on empty said...

I looked them up. Most interesting .

Dan Copping said...

Is there much slack in your timetable or will you always be this busy?

Dan Copping said...

A cheesecake is a cake but it has a distinct biscuit base. However, if you were to replace that base with jaffacakes, it would no longer be a biscuit base. Their texture is too soft to be included in the biscuit category. Granted they are unusually firm and more closely resemble stale cakes than fresh ones but cakes they resemble nonetheless.

Dan Copping said...

Sorry, forgot the exclamation mark... "!"

:) :) :)

Running on empty said...

Getting busier. Sunday got put off to three seperate trips!! A lot of travel!!

Running on empty said...

The good thing is, I teed up another helper to set up on the day, a friend of Acerules, so that takes more stress off me.

Fizzfan said...

They do not resemble cakes. They're too flat and small. You can stack them on top of one another and they come in biscuit shaped packets. They resemble biscuits much more than cakes!
As for cheesecakes, this is yet another imposter/misrepresentation because they're not cakes, they're desserts, which is why you find them in the chilled dessert cabinet.
I'm sticking to my where you find it argument.......Youre just a woolly liberal ;)))

Running on empty said...

How are liberals woolly?

Fizzfan said...

Is it something to do with having to wear warm jumpers when they sit on their fences?

Running on empty said...

We do have a saying here "dyed in the wool" which I thought meant immersed, serious about the subject.

Dan Copping said...

Yeah, use minions.

Dan Copping said...

The only things woolly around here are your Jaffa Cake arguments. See how easily they unravel:

1) Flatness: what is one of the most popular cakes in the entire world? The pancake.

2) Smallness: size matters in the bedroom not the kitchen. Judge Yoda by his size do you? As well you should not, for his ally is the force and a powerful ally it is.

3) Stackability: a wide variety of cakes can be stacked including sponge cakes, brownies, our aforementioned friend the pancake and of course, ring doughnuts.

4) Packaging: this is the crumbliest argument of them all. A lady of your good sense and wit surely knows better than to judge a product by the wrapper in which it comes. I could store my Jaffa Cakes in a biscuit tin for a week and they would still be cakes.

5) Desserts: oh dear, please ignore comment 4) about the packaging argument being the weakest. This one is much weaker. All that has to be done is to Google "Is cake a dessert?" and the answer is plain to see.

I hope this rather critical examination of your views is of use. I do find that when someone holds a belief very firmly they are sometimes unwilling to listen to reason. Still, I live in hope. xx

Running on empty said...

I'm paying them, so technically not minions.