Last Updated on March 23, 2022 by melissanreynolds
Making An Income online with a chronic illness is not easy. Well, loads of things are not easy for us, but I seek to break things down to help make them easier. This post is no different.
In this series Making An Income with Chronic Illness I am sharing ideas and my story in case it helps you in your journey.
Please note I am talking about making a modest, part-time income to support my family. Not get rich quick schemes or anything skeezy. It will take time to see any returns. Many never see any. But if you’re doing something you’re passionate about it may not matter to you.
Making an income online usually involves having a main content creation platform such as a blog or YouTube channel. Sending traffic to this platform (often from social media). And offering valuable, useful content once they are there.
This is a massive topic and every single option could be a whole series in itself. If you are interested in that, let me know.
In this post, I am summarizing and giving you resources for you to follow up on. Stay tuned until the end for how to make it chronic illness friendly too.
Let’s define passive income first
The value of an online income for those with chronic illness is the passive nature of the income. Passive income has taken a turn in online conversations, so I will define that I mean it’s not direct dollars for hours. You will spend many hours on content creation but you can mostly choose when to spend those hours. Therein lies the biggest benefit for those of us with chronic illness.
The tricky part for those of us with chronic illness is that it does take a lot of time and energy. And for most of us there is no, “just” get up at 5am to work on our side hustle!
Affiliate notice: Some of my links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Every little bit helps me keep these resources running.
The ways to make an online income with chronic illness
If you love writing and researching, then a blog may be for you. A blog can be a vehicle to an online income. It is a lot of work, however.
Essentially a blog is your content sharing platform where you share information about a specific topic for a specific audience.
A blog is a long term piece of work and is unlikely to make an income in days or weeks. There are many pieces of the puzzle to learn and put together. But in learning the various parts I have added some valuable skills to my toolkit – both on and offline.
So how do you make money with a blog?
- Affiliate links (sharing about products that you genuinely like and receiving a commission)
- Advertising (using a network or directly selling advertising to businesses)
- Your own products/services (we go into this more below)
What about Medium?
Medium and other done-for-you platforms where you just set up your office space and start writing can be great. There are several content creators who have made it big using Medium as a platform. But they also have blogs, YouTube and email lists.
Medium is rented land. They can change their algorithm whenever they like.
However you can, theoretically, start writing and make some money. Once you reach 100 followers, you can monetize and there are two ways to make money – affiliate commission from readers who sign up for a Medium subscription through your link and you can make money from the amount of readers who read your work. The percentage of writers who make much money is small and they write a lot.
You can upload content from your blog to Medium and it is a good way to get a different set of eyes on your work.
Resources for you:
- Ultimate guide to starting a blog is a free course from Problogger – a very well known blogging site and its a great idea for us to break it down like this into short, actionable lessons
- Greengeeks hosting – most people recommend the one they are with and like, this is mine. They are the ones I ended up with after I tried a couple of terrible goes. I am very happy.
- If you want Spoonie support and advice for blogging check out the Chronic Illness Bloggers Network
Podcasting appears to be the new darling. But here is the thing, searchability is not yet high. So if you want to start a podcast, I suggest you publish it on a blog (instead of blog posts, you will have podcast episodes). It will take a little more effort to write at least 300 words with each podcast, but the long-term asset you create will be worth it.
I am only just launching my podcast in 2022 and I am only launching it to make my blog more accessible for my readers. For some listening is easier, for others being able to listen and read it helpful for consuming the information.
Resources for you
I really like this dynamic duo from Pod Sound School – they have a great YouTube channel.
What about YouTube?
YouTube is a great content sharing platform but you don’t own it. At any moment they can change the rules and your channel could be shut down and income can drop. It also takes loads of work to create the kinds of videos that will enable you to meet monetization metrics.
It is a great supplement to your blog (i.e. My opinion is to do both if you can, with the blog being primary) and a great vehicle for traffic but know it will likely take a while depending on your topic of interest.
An efficient way to use your blog and YouTube well together is to record your blog posts as videos – I have a couple of places I can set up the camera and essentially read my blog posts (while trying to make it more engaging than that sounds!). You can embed the video into your site, giving more options for consuming your information for the visitor. And make use of the YouTube traffic at the same time.
Resources for you
This long video from Jessica Stansberry is Everything You Need to Know to Start a YouTube – it’s embedded on her site so you can see how the blog and video work together. You should subscribe to her channel, she is awesome and relatable.
As I said above you can create and sell products through a blog. You can also utilise market places online. Etsy is a well known example and where I’ve offered worksheets and templates for years.
More recently, I’ve started using Payhip as my own shop for my products. If you would like to sign up and check it out, you can do so here. I chose Payhip for several reason, the first (and most important) is that you can start with a free account. You don’t pay anything except a small payment processing fee after your sale. It is also very easy to use and they remit sales taxes on your behalf. As a very small business owner, this is important to me.
There are many other options. You can make merchandise using a place like Spreadshirt. Or sell books through Amazon. This is my book on Amazon!
But you need to be able to drive traffic to these places to make any sales. So you will want to choose a content creation option.
These are another thing you can sell through your blog/podcast. There are many kinds, here are just a few ideas:
- Freelance writing
- Coaching – I supplemented my direct experience with Life Coach certifications from Transformation Academy. Their courses are affordable and very easy to follow and implement. I also love their Online Course Revolution course. This is a worthwhile investment if you are considering creating courses as part of your online income creation. I need to write a post about the courses I have taken, because I have taken several and they have all equipped me well in a pain and fatigue friendly manner.
Affiliate notice: I am an affiliate for Transformation Academy, if you purchase a program of theirs using my link, I will make a commission at no extra cost to you. I am sharing my personal experience here and it is not influenced by this relationship.
- Virtual assistant – this course can help you start your VA business
- Social media manager – this course can help with email marketing skills
- Graphic designer
- Website designer
- Is there something you are good at? Something you did/do in your day job that people might need? This might be an option.
Do you need a blog/podcast to be a service or product provider? No, but you do need a way to share your expertise and tell people what you do.
How to make it chronic illness friendly?
- Break it right down into manageable chunks and keep it simple.
- Start with a plan (I can help you plan with the Paced Guide to Blogging).
- Then create a (manageable) to do list.
- Get help (start with a family member or friend, when you have the ability outsource).
Summary – How to Make an Income Online with Chronic Illness in 2022
We have gone through what platform you may like to start with and how you can make an income. We also looked at how to make it chronic illness friendly. I have this handy set of worksheets and checklists to help you get started – Paced Guide to Blogging. If you are keen to do it, get started with one small step today.
Are you considering, or do you make money online with a chronic illness? Share your best tips for making it energy-friendly.