How to Get Paid to Be an Online Advice Columnist

Employees in office

There is no one path to becoming an advice columnist, but there are a few tools you need to get started: the abilities to write well and express yourself effectively; logic and balance so you can offer meaningful advice; and the persuasiveness necessary to convince an editor -- and an audience -- to trust you. Having a degree in psychology is certainly helpful but not necessary. "Washington Post" advice columnist Carolyn Hax had no counseling background whatsoever when she landed her column. What she did have was writing experience, and a polarizing effect on her readers that has continued to generate attention.

Newspapers, Magazines, Blogs, Oh My!

Many newspapers and magazines have an online presence and, in fact, some are exclusively digital. Explore the ones you're interested in to see if they already have an advice columnist. If they haven't, get a sense of the publication's style and voice so you can pitch the right sort of column for its readership. Then approach the editor with your idea. If you're a published writer, offer him a collection of your best clips. If you're not published, create a sample of pretend questions and answers to give him an idea of how you plan to tackle readers' letters. You can skip the editor scenario altogether by creating your own advice blog. Over time, you can earn money by offering advertising space on your blog.