“How Much Money Does Deb Ng Make”

How much money does deb ng make

Hah! Caught your attention, didn’t I?

The title of this blog post is also a search term recently used by someone landing on this site.  This isn’t the first time someone has publicly wondered how much I earn, either.  The truth is, it’s none of your business. When you’re a professional blogger or person who shares writing tips on a regular basis some people feel it’s good transparency to disclose their income. I think there’s a difference between being transparent and keeping personal information personal. I’d never walk into a CEO or co-workers office and ask how much they earn. I don’t ask other freelance writers and professional bloggers how much they earn either. It’s none of my business.

However, I can tell you this.

  • In 2006 I was featured in a Salary Stories profile as earning $20,000 – $30,000 per year. However that was as a freelance writer and didn’t include any of my income from this blog.
  • For three years in a row I publicly made it my goal to earn $10,000 more each year than I did the year before. In each case I reached or exceeded my goal.
  • In 2008, I gave up most of my writing clients to take on a full time community manager gig. So I earned less as a freelance writer, but more as a professional blogger (with this blog and a couple of others). Both of these income streams supplemented my full time salary.
  • When I no longer had a full time job in mid-2009, I didn’t return to freelancing full time. I only took on a couple of clients and instead focused my attention on my own projects. I’m earning more with my own projects now than I did as a freelance writer.

While we’re discussing these things, let’s bring up some other questions asked of or about me in web searches and emails.

Is Deb Ng really a freelance writer?

I still write for clients, yes. Do I write as many for clients now as I did in 2003? No, because this blog is a full time job and I’ve taken on many personal projects. Right now I have a total of two freelance writing clients.

Is Deb Ng qualified to give advice?

Is anyone who blogs qualified to give advice. I really don’t claim to be an expert.  What’s going on here is that I’m sharing the tips that worked for me. When I talk about cold calling, or researching the places in your area that may hire writers, I’m speaking from experience. Things I don’t know about like writing press releases or grants, I don’t pretend to know anything about but I’ll hire writers to discuss them with you here. I wore a variety of hats in a couple of NYC publishing houses for almost fifteen years, had a regular newspaper column, and a variety of web and print based clients. I’m a freelance writer for ten years and a professional blogger for just as long. I have many happy former clients and I’ve been the sole breadwinner for my family since July. If you find all of this useful, I’m qualified. If you don’t, there are plenty of “experts” out there and one or two are sure to share your vision.

Is Deb Ng an expert writer?

Nope, and I never claimed to be. I’m a successful writer but I’m no expert.

What else would you like to know about me? You don’t have to Google it – ask away…


  1. says

    Kudos to you for have the guts to say NO to nosy people who are asking you how much you make. In most cases (and especially with bloggers and internet workers) income is totally individual so a person shouldn’t be looking to your salary in order to decide that that is how much they are going to make online, should they attempt to blog or write.

  2. Kathleen says

    I thought you were going to say someone emailed and asked you how much you earned and I was about to fall out of my chair. :) I guess you can’t blame people for wondering, but I agree. It is no one’s business. Just knowing that you can support your family while your husband searches for work tells me enough. You are successful and an inspiration to many.

  3. says

    Back in ’06 or ’07, I decided to publicly chart my income in an effort to demonstrate the viability of writing exclusively for online markets. I set a nice lofty six-figure goal and went to work.

    It was an interesting experience, but the downside was the fact that my progress toward the income goal became the only thing about which people wanted to talk to me.

    Luckily, I ditched the online world for other pursuits prior to completion of the experiment, allowing me to escape all of those emails, comments etc.

    It’s definitely something I wouldn’t do again.

    • says

      Carson, I remember your $125,000 challenge. While you didn’t reach your goal, I remember you did very well.

      We had some good times in the early days of FWJ/CDB, didn’t we?

  4. says

    That’s awesome that you are earning more with your own projects now. I actually never wondered what you were making, because I figured if you were keeping things going while your hubby looked for work, it had to be enough . . . which is something that changes completely from family to family.

  5. Sherry Z says

    Well, that’s all well and good for a small, private institution like yours; however, a CEO of a publicly traded company is required to publicly disclose his or her income. Sooo, I would ask that CEO what he or she is making, for sure. Relative to your situation, though, it may not be anybody’s business, but I can tell you it would give others a special incentive if they knew the ballpark of what you make, Debbie Ng. From what I’ve gathered through other blogs, your business has made the strides that others have only hoped for. Tips and tricks to your success are great to know, but knowing a ballpark (you do not have to be exact!) of your income would give others like me who are not critical of your success, but happy for you, a range to strive for. Good for you in your success. I hope you don’t stop where you’re at, but that you continue to grow and broaden the success that you have achieved. A pioneer, you are, indeed.

  6. says

    Hiya Deb,

    Once again, another classic post. I can’t believe the nerve of some people wanting to know your business. As you wrote, the important thing is to reach and surpass our personal goals. Whether or not we share those goals with others is another story altogether. I have to say that it’s wonderful to read about your success and it gives me great hope for my own future as a writer. Thanks for sharing. :)

  7. says

    I think it’s fairly ignorant for anyone to judge a person’s success based upon how much money per year they make. Ironically enough I just made a post on this a couple of days ago on my website looking at the determining factors behind success, and the actual definition of the word.

    Ironically, there are a great many writers out there in other countries (outside of the United States) who are far more “successful” making 40-50k a year then their American counterparts pulling in 80k a year and bragging about how much money they made. I’ve used my own example quite frequently, but anyone living the LIP lifestyle (Location Independent) can make a fraction of what is required to live moderately in the United States and live like a king in other countries.

    At the end of the day success is not how much money per year you make, but how close you are able to match your dreams with reality. Are you making 80k a year but paying 75k a year in living expenses between the mortgage, 2 car payments, health insurance, life insurance, gas, utilities, school payments, and etc.? That’s not really very successful. That’s simply living, barely scraping by.

    Meanwhile, there are people all over the world who are making 40-50k a year but have living expenses of only 10-15k, including entertainment. They are putting 30-40k a year in the BANK, yet the 80k a year writers in the United States just LOOOOVE to sneer down their noses and claim they are so much better because they made 80k a year (or whatever sum you want to input).

    My wife and I fully plan on putting 40k in the bank next year. That’s me working PART TIME hours and my wife starting a new business (she’s quitting her part-time job this month to focus 100% on school and her crafting business in 2010 making pottery and art).

    I’ve done the math, and based upon the types of jobs I pulled in late 2009, I could easily clear 100k USD in 2010 if I wanted to work full-time hours. That is, writing 8 hours a day. Would it be hard work? It depends on how you look at it. I enjoy every project I work on, because I only write about things I happen to be passionate about. Thing is…I don’t need to make 100k a year to be successful. I can work part-time, pull in 50k in a year, and only 10k of that goes towards living expenses.

    How much money you make per year doesn’t make a hill of beans to anyone but you. It is not a basis of success. Look at Nicholas Cage, for example. The guy has made literal millions but he’s up to his ears in debt and owes the IRS over 6 million USD in back taxes. Successful? I think not. He might have made millions, but he was living beyond his means. That is not successful, by any definition. That is pure stupidity. It’s just more proof why the amount of money a person makes per year has absolutely nothing to do with their success level. Instead, you should look at how well that person is living, how they are making their investments work for them, and whether or not they are happy with their lives.

    I’m happy. My wife is happy. We get to take half a dozen trips a year to various places throughout the world. As far as I’m concerned, that’s pretty damn successful, despite the fact that I’m not making more than 50k a year :) I purposefully work part-time hours so I can enjoy my life.

  8. says

    I think that search term is very funny. Because who in their right mind puts their salary online? Celebrities aside, no one publishes what they make. !

  9. says

    I’ve never wondered how much you make, but I HAVE wondered if you still write for clients or if blogging was your sole source of income. Good to know!


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