Working From Home: Interview with Maria O’Brien


Maria O’Brien is a Catholic stay-at-home-mom and a writer who happens to be one of the top earning writers on, a site full of helpful “how-to” articles written by ordinary people. It’s one of the many popular websites that share revenue with those who help create the content for the site.

Here’s how it works. These websites rank highly in the search engines where people are looking for answers. They make money with advertisements on the site. They share a portion of this advertising revenue with the content creators. Those with the most popular or useful articles get the biggest share. People make anywhere from nothing to thousands of dollars a month writing for these sites. Maria make over $2000 a month.

She graciously agreed to answer a few questions I put to her via email (my questions are in bold).

Are you a full time Mom?

Maria: Yes, I stay home full time with my three children, ages 2 to 6. We do some homeschooling and they go to a Montessori Atrium one day a week. In the fall, they will be in a Catholic school/ preschool three half-days a week.

How are you able to stay at home and also earn money?

Maria: I started by freelance writing and grading English papers from home, doing about 10-15 hours a week while the children slept, or played quietly. Now, I earn money through online writing and marketing, earning more money than before while often putting in fewer hours. Residual income, through sites like, allows me to work less while earning more over time.

So anyone can write articles for eHow?

Maria: Yes, anyone who can write coherent sentences and knows how to do things (that’s virtually everyone, right?) can share their knowledge and earn money at

Is the Internet a God-send for men and women who need to stay home and still make money?

Maria: The Internet has been a huge blessing in my life as far as allowing me to continue writing, both for myself and for freelance clients, since deciding to stay home with my children after the birth of my oldest. Thanks to the Internet, I am able to generate a very good secondary income to help my family. Even for people who would rather make candles or sell crafts, rather than write, the Internet is an extremely useful and powerful tool to connect with buyers as well as suppliers. It’s hard to imagine modern commerce without the Internet.

What are the main benefits of using websites like eHow to create income?

Maria: There are many benefits to writing for sites like to create income online. The site is already well established and ranked by the search engines, so your content will start earning money more quickly than if you were to start a site from scratch. With content sites like eHow, you can write on virtually any topic and explore the profitability of so many niches at once. Another great thing about the site is that your content continues to earn money indefinitely, so your earning potential is very high compared to sites that pay a flat fee for content.

Isn’t everything on the Internet a scam?

Maria: No. There are scams everywhere, but there are also legitimate money-making opportunities and eHow, owned by the well-established Demand Media company, is one of the most legitimate, trustable online sites I’ve found.

What is passive income?

Maria: Passive income is money you earn from previous efforts and that keeps coming in without continuous work on your part. Or put another way, passive income is money you earn when you’re sleeping.

What is your advice to other Catholics who need to make some extra money?

Maria: Try several things to find your own niche. I personally love writing and marketing online, and think it’s an excellent way to make money and build a long-term passive income. But try several things to find what you’re good at, what works well with your family schedule, and brings you joy.
Maria recently shared that she has just made her last student loan payment using her eHow earnings, and about two years ahead of schedule! Maria also helps others to increase their web earnings with an ebook that she wrote that reveals how she earns over $2000 a month on eHow. Click here to check it out.

To see some other websites that pay money, see this article.

Brian Killian is a Catholic Freelance Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

Copyright 2009 Brian Killian


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