With spring right around the corner, many individuals will be cleaning out their homes, garages and basements. Many more will be wondering how to cash in on their spring cleaning treasures.
Most people are aware of eBay as a place to sell their items; however, the effort involved in properly staging, photographing, listing and shipping items can be too cumbersome for many. Also, eBay sellers need to have an excellent feedback score.
Because of the work involved in selling on eBay, you can start you own eBay consignment business and make good money by selling other people’s things. Here is how you can start:
1. Obtain a seller’s eBay account.
Nearly anyone can buy stuff on eBay, but you need to have an account with a feedback score of at least 50, and that’s as close as possible to 100% positive, before buyers will trust you. Incidentally, you also need to have a 50 interactions before Paypal’s $2,000 buyer protection plan kicks in.
To this end, you’ll need to make some purchases on your buyer’s account first. Yes, this is an investment of time and money. However, if you already shop online, it just means diverting your preference to eBay above places like Amazon, Groupon Goods, etc.
2. Obtain business supplies.
Anyone who has sold items online knows that one of the most time-consuming steps involved is shipping. Standing in line at the USPS or other shipping service wastes valuable hours of your day, especially when there is a holiday and there may be dozens of people waiting ahead of you.
To alleviate this pain point, purchase a weight scale and digital stamps for home use. Doing this will enable you to weigh, package and pay for your shipments ahead of time. You then only need to drop them off at your local USPS or other shipping location.
If you don’t yet own one, you will need to purchase a good digital camera. eBay items should feature at least one photo, and expensive items normally feature a half dozen or more photos.
3. Price your services.
How much you charge for a commission will depend on what it takes for you to make a profit versus how much similar local services charge their customers. To find out what your competitors charge, go to the eBay Trading Assistant Directory and look up your state. In most states, the commission range is 20%-40%.
4. Start advertising your consignment business.
It doesn’t take a lot of money to advertise your business. For example, you could start advertising by printing and posting some flyers around your neighborhood and/or in the local newspaper. Tell your family and friends about your new business and offer a cut of your commission in exchange for a referral.
Don’t be afraid to tap local consignment shops, Goodwill stores, etc. These stores also often are stuck with merchandise they can’t sell or house and may be very willing to go online with their wares.
You might also consider creating a website and displaying it on your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media accounts, or just advertising your services directly through social media.
5. Pay some in-home/business visits to potential customers.
As you start getting interested customers calling or writing to you, the best way to assess the true value of their items is to visit them at their homes or businesses. Take your digital camera with you and catalog the stuff that you are being asked to sell.
When you return home, research those cataloged items on eBay and learn about their last selling price. This can be done by going to eBay’s Advanced Search area and checking ‘Sold listings.’
Doing this kind of research ahead of time will reduce your risk of listing items that never sell or that sell at too low of a price.
6. Create a contract with your customer.
Whether or not you end up taking your customer’s items back to your house or just listing them on eBay, you need to prepare a contract and have your customer sign it. Having a contract in place, complete with your commission rate and allotment for selling costs (e.g., eBay selling fees, Paypal fees) will protect both you and customer and help ensure that you both make money from this business arrangement.
7. Stage, sell and (optionally) ship your customer’s items.
If you haven’t done so, take photos of your customer’s items and publish those photos on eBay along with the product descriptors, dimensions, shipping information, etc. As each item is sold, record its purchase price, shipping, insurance and final value fees, and possible refund and damage information. This is the information you will eventually need to provide to your customer and use to calculate your commission.
Your customer may prefer to ship his own items in exchange for a reduced commission, or the items may be in a different geographic location and/or otherwise unable to be shipped (at least by you). Different business arrangements can provide you with much needed insight on which ones work best for you and maximize your profitability.
8. Invoice and pay your customer.
One of the benefits of having an eBay consignment business is that you pay your customer, not the other way around. This reduces your risk of being stiffed on payment. However, you should still maintain detailed records (with shipping receipts) and note every transaction as it occurs. This way, you’ll reduce the chance of suspicion by your customer, and it will also tell you if your business is actually profitable.
America’s love of pets is widely known, but maybe you weren’t aware of how awesome this is for marketers.
According to American Pet Products, the estimated amount of money pet and animal owners spent in the US in 2015 was $60.59 billion!
That’s a whole lot of cash!
The rough breakdown of this figure is:
Food – $23 billion
Supplies – $14 billion
Vet care – $15 billion
Animal purchases – $2 billion
Pet services – $5 billion
Obviously some of those broad niches are hard to get into, veterinary care for instance will take some study, but that still leaves a wide area that anyone can navigate to make money from.
Here are my top 15 ways to make money from pets and animals.
1. Pet Sitting
One of the simplest ways to make money is to look after other people’s pets.
If you have a healthy respect and love for animals of all kinds, and space to host them, then pet sitting is an ideal way to get involved in the animal industry while making money.
This is often an ad hoc way to make cash, but if done right, could turn into a fully-fledged business.
2. Animal Training
Are you awesome at teaching animals to do things? Do you have skills to turn problems pets into well behaved ones?
As there is no state or federal qualifications required to become a dog or animal trainer, pretty much anyone with a love of animals and the will to put in the time and effort for self-training can jump on this idea.
3. Dog Walking
People don’t have much time, and often their pets suffer because of this. Dog walking is an easy way to pocket some extra cash while hanging out with some cool pups and getting them the exercise they need.
There’s no qualifications needed barring a love of dogs and poop! Being in good health and loving the outdoors are also factors that should be considered.
4. Animal Masseuse
The idea of helping pets overcome chronic pain via massages is a pleasant one. The idea of earning $50 to $1,000 an hour might be an even nicer one!
This way to make money with animals is a little harder than the rest because there are, sometimes complicated, state laws about who can practice formal massage therapy on animals and who can’t.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has some advice for you regarding any form of complementary or alternative veterinary medicine, but you should also check your local state veterinary medical board for further advice.
5. Animal Grooming
Even if the idea of giving a dog a hairstyle turns you off, the animal grooming niche is wide enough to cover a variety of animal lifestyle and health choices.
For example, most animals with claws need regular trimmings, and some breeds of dog require haircuts just to be able to see.
You can offer things like:
Bathing and hair brushing
Nail and paw care
Face and ear care
You can even offer complementary products that can earn you a nice markup!
The main downside for this style of work is you do really need the space and tools to get started. Sure you could probably start in your garage, but you would need to look at commercial properties, especially if you want to bag the higher end of the market.
6. Animal Antics
The internet loves videos of animals, and if your pet has the tendency to act the fool video it!
Sticking up funny videos on places like YouTube can turn you (well your pet) into a viral star!
Earnings from YouTube adverts can start to rack up quite quickly if you can garner millions of views, and there is also the potential for your pet to be picked up for corporate sponsorship and other work.
Just ask Grumpy Cat…
… who has made his owner millions (allegedly $99 million…) via pet food deals, two books and even a movie! All this after hitting the limelight on YouTube (19 million views and counting).
7. Pets Shows & Competitions
Perhaps considered a more conventional way to make money with your pets, pet shows and competitions are a fun way to show of your beautiful animal and perhaps make some cash too.
Be aware that you’re not guaranteed to win, or even win money with this method, so as long as participation is fun for you it’s worth a go!
For example the winner of The National Dog Show only walks away with $1,000 bucks.
Not to be sniffed (no pun intended) at but it’s certainly not going to buy you a condo!
There may of course be follow up sponsorship deals after such an eminent win which could increase earnings.
8. Pet Models & Film Stars
If your pet is good natured and can handle a crowd, why not consider pet modelling or film work?
Finding an agent is likely the best way to get started, such as Animal Actors whose website showcases their animal stars.
Your pet obviously needs to be in good health, trained to obey at least basic commands, but don’t worry if you’re pet isn’t the pick of the litter, as pets with unique features can get just as much work as perfect looking examples of the breed.
9. Pet Party Planner
Before researching this article, I never knew pet part planners exist, let alone that the term is searched for about 50,000 times a month!
Pet parties are booming, and like with any other celebration, they take work. Here enters you as the party planner!
Organize an appropriate venue, with facilities. Provide fun and interesting games for the animals. Order (or produce) high quality animal food and treats for the guests to chow down on and make sure you have a videographer grabbing all the antics. Job done, earnings made!
There are a remarkable amount of themes you can offer and there are even opportunities for pet weddings (and bachelor parties!).
The preparation for this can be done at your or the customers home, with you hiring a separate venue. Just make sure to pick up insurance, because who knows what will happen with a room full of dogs, cats or both!
10. Pet Taxi
Become the next Uber but for dogs! Seriously though, often people struggle to get their animals to veterinary or grooming appointments because they are at work, or perhaps don’t even have a car.
You can, for a fee, provide collection of the animal, delivery to the proper place and delivery back.
Easy money but you will need a vehicle suitable for the job with comfortable cages, and insurance.
11. Animal Photography
If you have a knack for taking awesome photos at just the right moment, then animal photography could be up your alley.
Most photos would end up on a stock photo site, but there are opportunities to sell to big media as well.
Another option would be to sell the photos back to the owners of the animals.
The legal area of taking a photo of a pet and using it for commercial use is murky. In theory, the pets have no rights; however as per the American Society of Media Photographers owners “do have rights and could claim that your photo of their property has caused harm”.
As such, try to get a release if you intend to use the photo for public consumption.
12. High Quality Pet Snacks
It used to be that pets got the scraps at the table and that was that. Nowadays though, more and more people want their animals to have the highest quality food possible, even human level quality food.
That’s where you come in. You can produce vegetarian/vegan/organic/nutrient balanced food appropriate to the animal and sell it.
You could sell direct in markets or via local pet stores. Or you could set up online and bake to order!
13. Pet Blog
As a marketer, there’s no way I could leave out the good old blog. Making money from a blog is fairly easy once you get the traffic: use adverts, affiliate marketing, and sell your own products/services or a combination of them all.
Just blogging about your pet and their antics is usually not going to cut it, there are simply too many cat lovers out there!
However, you can put a spin on it to make your content enjoyable or informative.
Take Simon’s cat. The creator turned his cat’s antics into a wonderfully funny comic strip. Or you could discuss how you overcame issues with your pet, such as stopping your dog from barking all the time, or how you kept the cat from spraying everywhere.
This sort of informative content draws other perhaps less experienced pet owners and could net you some sales on the side.
14. Sell Pet Supplies
Most people might think that pet stores have the monopoly of selling pet supplies, but it’s not true.
You can easily set up an e-commerce site through WordPress and be going in ´no time.
Product wise you could:
Order wholesale and sell those
Use drop shipping via the manufacturer
Create your own products and sell those
You’re not limited to selling via your own site either; you could use Etsy for hand crafted good or eBay to shift products you bought in bulk.
The Bottom Line
Owning a pet can be a lucrative way to make money, or to at least offset the cost of owning a pet! Even if you don’t have an animal yourself, but simply love them, there are many ways to turn that passion into a profitable job.
Posting in a public space on the internet can leave one vulnerable, especially since we’ve all learned that everything you post on the internet becomes available to everyone, forever.
Fortunately, online moderators exist.
They’re the ones who keep forums and other online communities safe for everyone who participates in them. They reply to comments and emails, address complaints, penalize violators of established community rules, and generally do everything possible to keep discussions flowing.
In today’s article, learn what an online moderator does, how much they earn, and where to apply for legitimate online moderator jobs.
What does an online moderator job entail?
An online moderator oversees one or several social media platforms, forums, blogs, or other online communities where members are likely to go and interact with the posted material through likes, comments, emails, surveys, etc. By overseeing these platforms, the moderator may perform the following tasks:
Respond to comments: Members who post comments deserve a response and/or thank you. The moderator is in charge of replying to thoughtful comments, reposting them as needed, or even rewarding members with a gift/offer.
Answer emails: There may be confusion about a brand promotion or a question regarding its terms. Customer emails regarding products, prices, quantities, etc. are answered by the moderator, and usually by following a script provided by the company or business owner.
Address complaints: Some members may have issues with the product or service, shipping, selection, etc. These complaints can quickly go viral if not addressed respectfully and quickly. Moderators take the conversation offline and resolve the problem.
De-escalate ‘flame’ situations: An insensitive ad or comment by another member can create a hostile environment that causes other members discomfort or anger. A keen moderator takes heed of and refuses the situation by removing the cause.
Engage in search engine marketing: Seasoned moderators integrate current events with matching social media content that improves site SEO and resulting search rank.
Conduct metrics analysis: Seasoned moderators use software tools to measure and report on the popularity, views, conversions, etc. of a given post or offer. They also report on trending topics in forums, chats, etc.
Some online moderators work at the company’s physical location, but that’s usually only the case if they were hired to complete a range of duties that happen to include online moderation. Most contract/freelance online moderators work remotely and set their own hours.
How much does an online moderator earn?
The average pay for most online moderator jobs is $15/hour and can to up to as much as $30/hour depending on your skills and experience.
The key to getting more money is in knowing how social conversations can be used for marketing and sales (i.e., the bottom line). To this end, some of the below-listed recruitment companies provide paid on-the-job training, and some even have entire “universities” dedicated to this effort.
Otherwise, you should take advantage of free ecommerce and online marketing classes offered through sites like Udemy and Study.com.
Crisp Thinking was founded in 2005 and offers online harm detection services via social media community moderation to individuals and companies who are on social media.
Social media moderators with this U.K.-based company earn £10/hour, which is the rough equivalent of $14/hour. Currently, there are no vacancies for social media moderators on the company’s website; however, you can apply online by submitting your resume.
The Social Element, once known as Emoderation, is a global social media management company delivering high-quality, multilingual social media management, customer care, social listening, insight, and consultancy.
They have been around since 2002, and their clients have included Lego, Toyota, Maxwell House, HBO, Smirnoff, and even shows like Game of Thrones.
The Social Element periodically offers Community Manager positions, which pays around $15 to $16 per hour to start. They require experience in community management or social customer care. If you speak multiple languages, you can potentially earn more.
Currently, there are no vacancies, but you can still put in your application for an online moderator job and they’ll contact people in the pool when a vacancy comes up.
Khoros is the result of the merging of Spredfast and Lithium to create a powerful customer engagement platform to offer customer care, community engagement, and social media management solutions.
They periodically open full-time and part-time remote social media coordinator positions. If you live in Austin, TX and you’re willing to work in an office, you can apply for an in-site position as well.
The salary ranges from $16 to $21 per hour, and 1 to 3 years of experience in social media management or community engagement is required.
Founded in 2007, this global company maintains a moderator force of over 10,000 and works with many well-known brands. It used to go by the name of Metaverse Mod Squad but then shortened its name to ModSquad.
Not only will you get to work with the hottest brands but you’ll also get to keep your day job if you wanted to; the hours are pretty flexible.
According to GlassDoor, ModSquad moderators make at least $9 per hour. To apply, you’ll be asked to simply fill out a form and attach your resume.
This social media marketing company is often on the lookout for part-time, remote employees to represent their clients as online moderators. Pay is by the hour.
To apply as an online moderator, you do need to be a US resident. Applicants with experience in social media moderation and the ability to speak more than one language are highly preferred but these aren’t required.
Aussies living either in Australia or abroad are needed to fill social media and online community manager roles at this social media monitoring company. International applicants are only entertained if they demonstrate the right skills and a deep understanding of Australian culture.
You will need to submit a resume and cover letter, and a short video is highly recommended if you wish to stand out from the crowd of wannabe ‘Quiipees.’
You’re probably familiar with this site and used it once or twice. They offer many Community Ambassador positions to individuals who live in select cities. Occasional attendance at local events is a requirement for these jobs.
Does An Online Moderator Job Feel Right For You?
If you like being on social media and feel you can diplomatically deal with heated online situations, then an online moderator job may be right for you. As you gain experience with specific brands and industries, you might even make online moderation a career with a particular client or company and work as a full-time remote employee.
Other Social Media Jobs
If you like working with social media but an online moderator job just doesn’t feel right, read these articles on our site and look over social media jobs you can do:
There are numerous ways to make money with a website, from affiliate marketing to selling your own goods.
One way to make money is with an often overlooked style of website: the directory site.
A directory site in its most basic form is a site that lists and links out to other websites and businesses within one or more niche.
Probably the most famous directory site out there is Dmoz, and it’s huge and covers a wide range of niches.
The thing is, not everyone is going to succeed with a directory site, so I’ve compiled some of my tips and ideas to help you get a head start with your directory website.
A Business Not a Blog
Most people who try their hand at directory sites fail. The simple reason is that they think that they can stick up a site and it will just work.
You absolutely must treat any directory site like a business, otherwise you will fail.
You need to make sure you have a plan in hand for how to generate traffic, how to generate listings and how to capitalize both to generate income.
Not being serious about the venture will end up costing you time and money.
Let’s be frank, you’re not going to build a site like Dmoz easily, so like most things in internet marketing you need to narrow your niche down.
For example, you could focus on:
You could even narrow this down (initially) to just a single state or city if it’s large enough.
Having a specific niche will help with everything else you need to do such as traffic, SEO and listing selection.
As with any niche selection you need to be sure of two things:
Is there a market that is interested in finding quality sites?
Will someone pay you for it?
I once made a directory site that failed. It wasn’t because no one was interested; it was simply because the target market had no money to spare: the ones seeking the websites didn’t want to buy from the advertising, and the websites themselves ran such small margins, they didn’t want to pay to list.
Therefore, make sure you vet your niche before proceeding to make sure there’s at least some potential for earnings.
Traffic is Key
One of the most important things you need to realise is that building a directory site from scratch is a tremendous amount of work.
How do you attract people to list on your site when you have zero traffic and zero other listings?
Do you see the problem – without traffic people aren’t interested and without listings there’s no traffic!
How then can you get past this chicken and egg scenario?
Well, there are a few ways:
Start by hand selecting some sites/businesses and simply list them with basic details. It’s a good idea to contact them and let them know, both for marketing and so they can de-list if they wish.
Offer free listings. Everybody on the internet loves freebies, and free listings can help build up the site content quite quickly.
Promote the said free listings via social media and any sites that cater to your target location (remember, start small).
As well as starting to list sites yourself and reaching out to communities, you should be making sure your SEO is top notch.
A directory site rarely has much in the way of content, so SEO can be a pain to put it mildly, but there are ways to counter this.
Categories & Tags
Using a solid category structure helps both search engine bots and users find what they need quickly and easily.
It’s worth spending time in the early stages planning out your category structure to make sure that it will be efficient, easy to understand and just as importantly, scalable.
The last thing you want to do is to have to change your category structure later down the line as this can cause numerous 404 errors.
Tags also need to be considered as well, more from a user point than anything.
Sometimes called schema, meta tags allow search engines to understand your website content in semantic terms. This means that they should know that a listing for one of your sites, is regarding a particular niche.
If you’re a WordPress user, WordPress doesn’t come with the ability to use meta tags, but some smarts minds out there have created some great plugins such as the All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets, which can enable schema for you.
I’ll be honest, these things are a pain in the ass to get setup and running correctly, but they offer so much potential SEO benefits it would be stupid to set up a directory site without schema.
Even though directory listing sites have very little content on a per listing basis, it doesn’t stop your from having a side-blog that can have more detailed content and help internally link your directory categories.
For example, you could write a monthly showcase featuring a particular site, talking about the website or business in detail and perhaps interviewing the owner or staff. This can then be linked back to both the website listing and the listing category. It’s a win-win for both the site/business as they get a spotlight, and you get the much needed content.
Another method of generating traffic is to use PPC or Pay Per Click advertising.
There are two potential routes you can go with this: advertising to get people to list and advertising to get traffic.
To begin with you want to get the traffic, as you can manually add listings. Later on down the line you may want to advertise to promote your money generating listings.
PPC is a risk as it costs money, but if done right you can get some targeted traffic to your site.
Every directory site runs one major risk: having too many BS sites listed. This is why it’s important for your or a your hired help to manually check each listing and to review them every so often.
The manual check weeds out any undesirable listings from the outset (even paid for listings).
Sometimes websites fail, and sometimes their domains are re-purposed for spam, or porn or maybe just another website. This is why regular reviews are worthwhile, because the last thing you need to have are links that send your traffic to malware ridden sites, or even just to the wrong site.
I’d also recommend having strict terms and conditions for both free and paid for listings that gives you enough leverage to reject and remove listings and covers your back legally speaking.
The all-important question every marketer wants to know: how the heck do I make money from a directory site?
Luckily, there are a few ways.
The most obvious one is for promoted listings. These are just like promoted posts in your Facebook feed: highlighted listings to grab people’s attention.
You can charge anywhere from $50 to $1,000 per promoted listing depending on your niche, and the listing placement and length of stay.
Ultimately it will be down to you and your niche knowledge to figure out the best pricing model, but if you have enough traffic and an affluent niche, higher prices are quite viable.
There are two types of adverts in my mind: Networks like Google Adsense, and Private adverts.
I’m loathe to recommend using network advertisements. This is because they are so poorly paid, that people end up getting carried away in the effort of trying to earn something and plastering the site with ads.
This can become a very negative thing, because it not only looks tacky to your visitors, but you can’t guarantee what adverts will show up.
A better option, though not always easy to implement especially in the beginning, are private adverts. This is where you sell advertising space to sites that list on your directory. These can be pitched differently to the promoted listings as they allow the sites to use visual imagery or even video to promote their sites.
There are several WordPress plugins that can assist with controlling adverts, whatever type you decide on, such as the excellent AdRotate.
The Bottom Line
Directory sites can make money, of that there is no doubt. They do however take some planning and determination to succeed with.
Finding the right niche is only the beginning of your journey and traffic generation is paramount. If you can achieve that, then a directory site can be an excellent way to make money online.
The sports industry is absolutely huge the world over, and the amount of money that gets passed around is staggering.
Most people think that the only way to make money in the sports niche is to be lucky, skilled and healthy enough to make the team and build a career from it.
Most sports fans though are not usually geared for actually playing, so how then can a sports obsessed fan make money from their favorite pastime?
Here are my top six ways to make money with sports, without ever touching a ball, or getting sweaty!
Make money on the side as an influencer:
Brands are always looking for feedback from influencers and ambassadors to develop their product lines and the sports industry is a perfect match.
The following companies pay CASH.
Create an account with all three to start making extra money each month.
1. Sell Sports Memorabilia
As a sports fan, you will likely have some memorabilia of your own. Rare items can easily fetch thousands at auction, and even things that aren’t so rare can still be turned for a profit, if obtained at a good price.
Finding memorabilia isn’t for the faint hearted. The internet and sites like eBay have highlighted to the masses exactly how much sporting memorabilia can go for, so these historical items have become more widely sought.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t find stuff though.
Some of the best places to go looking for memorabilia are:
Normally the flea markets are your best bet as it’s likely the sellers don’t know precisely what they are selling.
You will definitely need to know your stuff when trying to find memorabilia, and learning as much about your sport helps.
There will be times when you will pick up a forgery or replica; in fact there are so many forged signed items, it may well be worth avoiding them altogether unless they come with verification.
That being said, the return on a genuine item is well worth it.
2. Run a Fantasy League Site
First off, let’s ignore the betting side of fantasy leagues, there’s way too much legal gray area there.
Instead, why not set up a site that caters to those wanting interesting fantasy leagues for your favorite sport?
This site can become a money maker through various methods:
Good old adverts are an easy way to generate income, especially if the site gains traction and pulls in a large number of visitors.
Offer perks and added value and charge for it with a recurring monthly fee.
Like adverts, but for specific vendors. You can generally make more money by affiliating with sellers.
There’s certainly a lot of work that will need to go into making your own fantasy league site, but if done right you can generate a large loyal following and income as well.
3. Become an Online Commentator
If you fancy yourself as a pundit, why not give online commentary a shot?
You could use video or just audio via a podcast to pass on your knowledge and thoughts on the latest games to a wide audience.
There are numerous platforms you can use to give your view on sporting events:
This behemoth of a video site has many benefits when it comes to showcasing your commentating skills: a large user base and an easy way to earn money via its advert system.
This live streaming service has the potential to reach a large, mobile focused audience. The main down side is that it is hard to monetize, though you could use it in conjunction with other platforms.
Your Own Site
This is definitely the best option if you head towards the podcasting angle. While there are plenty of services for hosting podcasts, they are not easily monetized, where your own website is!
4. Start Taking Some Sports Photography
Sports photography is big business, but extremely cutthroat. While you may not be able to get a spot near the action and be able to take photos with cameras worth thousands of dollars, that doesn’t mean you can’t make money with sports photography.
One excellent way to do it is to take photos of the sports stars off the pitch/rink/court, and sell those on to sports magazines and websites.
Of course a decent camera will be needed if you want to take pictures of the action, but you can easily get started with a mid-range DSLR.
Use a monopod for stability
Use a telephoto lenses
Don’t stay in one place
Don’t get caught up in the game that you forget to take photos!
The main take away is to take interesting action shots of the players and even the crowd that would be worthwhile for magazines and websites to purchase.
5. Rent Your Driveway
If you live nearby to a stadium and parking is a premium, why not consider renting out your driveway?
Sites such as JustPark make it very easy to sell your driveway spot for a specified period of time. The site is based in the UK, but has branched out to the US and beyond.
It’s really easy money especially if you’re at work or visiting family and have no need for the driveway.
6. Write a Sports Blog
Take your knowledge and write about your favorite sports on a blog. Not only can you shape the content to match your views and opinions, but you will be able to reach a large fan base that shares (or hates) your opinion.
Just like with the Fantasy League idea, you can easily monetize the website with adverts, membership options and affiliate marketing.
With a sports blog you’re free to not only review individual games, but comment on the season and the general state of affairs in the game.
Setting up a site isn’t that hard, the only thing you need is a voice and a commitment.
The Bottom Line
While you may not be able to run a like the wind, or hit a tennis ball, you can still turn your passion for your game into a money maker. All it takes is the will to mold that passion into a business.
…he is the best guard of a camp who is best able to steal a march upon the enemy…he who is a good keeper of anything is also a good thief.
~Socrates, The Republic
Are you a whiz at cracking into systems and maybe even exploiting social media platforms like Facebook? You don’t have to admit to it here…but if you are a hacker, you can actually make good money while plying your craft.
And just who would be seeking out your services? Well, none other than social media platforms including Facebook, Pinterest and others. Major companies like Dropbox, Western Union and Tesla would also be highly interested in working with you.
Hacking for fun and profit
With crafty hackers constantly inspecting and injecting malicious code in an effort to hack passwords or obtain credit card information, companies have become increasingly alarmed about security breaches. To this end, they have invested in encryption, password verifications, etc. However, even these measures don’t always prevent a security breach.
One need only to think about the recent Ashley Madison reveal of user identities or the Target credit card breach to understand that, no matter how “secure” a site appears to be, there are always ways to get around that security.
This is why many companies have come to the conclusion that the best way to prevent hacking is to make friends with the hackers themselves. To this end, many companies are teaming up with hackers and asking them to deliberately exploit their passwords, platforms and systems. Successful hackers that manage to crack into Facebook, Pinterest, etc. are rewarded with money.
So-called white-hat hackers make anywhere from a few bucks to as much as $33,500 (according to Facebook’s payout to Reginaldo Silva) depending on the type of bug they find and report.
Here are some other companies that pay big bucks for bugs:
Western Union: $100-$5,000
Most companies have a security page on their website that describes their incentive program for finding and reporting security risks including the following:
Finding the big payers is hard work, and some companies won’t pay you at all, or will only acknowledge your efforts with a thank-you note and a T-shirt.
So, how do you quickly sift through companies and find those companies that pay the big bucks?
The advent of ‘bug finder’ websites
Recently, several “matchmaker” websites have launched with the goal of pairing white-hat hackers with companies looking to improve their cybersecurity. These websites accumulate hackers, coders and programmers and offer their crowdsourcing services to companies. In exchange, the companies pay the matchmaker website a user fee and a bounty to the hacker who finds and reports a bug in the software or online platform.
Here are four websites where would-be hackers can sign up and earn bug bounties:
This website pairs a community of over 22,000 white-hat hackers with major companies including Microsoft, Tumblr, YouTube, etc. Hackers can sign up on Bugcrowd’s website and then apply to work on listed projects. Hackers can also submit independent bug reports to the corporations via Bugcrowd’s secure platform.
This website pairs companies with a community of hacker researchers who send vulnerability reports whenever a bug or security issue is detected. The companies are notified privately, so that any security issues can be addressed and corrected before malicious hackers and other online criminals become aware of them.
Hackers are rewarded for their efforts with monetary bounties. Example companies that work with HackerOne include Twitter, LinkedIn, Adobe and Snapchat.
Clients like Optimizely, LendInvest, Auctionata, Nexmo and Weebly use Cobalt to set up and operate bug bounty programs that expose cybersecurity risks. Security researchers (i.e., hackers) can sign up to this site and work with its roster of clients to find and report bugs.
While this is a newer website and doesn’t have as many clients as Bugcrowd or HackerOne, it does offer decent sized bounties from its current client list, with many bounties ranging from $100-$1,000.
This recently launched company sets slightly higher IT standards for its “Red Team” members, and you’ll need to submit a resume and cover letter to apply for a position. However, if you have some IT training or experience, you should get some response. This is because Synack works with a team of cybersecurity experts who are paid bounties for discovering and reporting bugs.
The Bottom Line
Bug finder websites are a win-win for both the client companies involved as well as their hackers. The companies draw from a large pool of brainpower rather than one or two in-house IT experts. They also don’t pay by the hour but by the product, which in this case is the bug. The hackers, meanwhile, are paid a large sum of money for finding those security bugs and alerting the respective companies.
Being an internet marketer isn’t just about promoting other people’s products. Sure, there’s money to be made doing that, but there’s even more money to be made selling your own products.
Of course, selling physical products has a lot of issues, such as production, storage, shipping, staffing and more.
The overheads and risks for physical products can be quite high, so why bother with all that when you can go digital!
There are plenty of reasons why you should consider this option, but if you’re not sure here are my top 10 reasons to sell your own digital products.
1. Startup Costs & Overhead Are Minimal
Seriously, the cost of setting up a digital business, can be incredibly low, pretty much all you need is a computer, an internet connection and some time.
Most digital products that you will sell you can either create yourself or use ready made products like PLR content. Creating the products yourself is definitely the way to get started, and the cost is simply time and effort.
Even selling the products can be free by using marketplaces, free websites and e-commerce sites.
The cost of setting up your own e-commerce site can also be really cheap: some basic hosting and a domain, WordPress and Easy Digital Downloads and you’re good to go!
Of course you will likely run into some costs as the business grows, but it’s easy to get started for under $10 a month – try that with a brick and mortar shop!
2. The Risks Are Few
Alongside a limited if any investment cost, the risks associated with selling digital products are quite few. At worst you would need to refund some people and cover the cost of your website. There’s no actual inventory to be concerned about or shipping costs to incur. In fact the only major issue you need to worry about is the law, especially regarding taxes.
3. Full Control
The absolute best thing about selling digital products online is that you have full control! You can decide what to sell and where, and you get to shape the products to be the best they can be.
It’s also the scariest aspect, but that comes with the territory!
4. Make Once, Sell a Thousand (Or More!)
If you had told people 60 years ago that you could make a product once and sell it a thousand or even a million times, they’d cart you off as a scam artist.
Nowadays though, all you need to do is create a product once and you can sell it as is numerous times.
You may need to do some tweaks and changes, depending on the product, software for example needs regular updates, and even e-books need to be tweaked occasionally to cater for changing information, but these will likely be smaller things that don’t impact too much on your time.
5. Passive Income
Earn money while you sleep! The great thing about digital sales is that they are automated, so you don’t need to actually be there to process the sales.
Passive income is a bit of a skewed term though, because you have to remember that even though the sales happen passively, you still need to actively promote and market your goods, even if you are using a third party marketplace.
6. Excellent Mark-up
Have you ever heard that most meals in a restaurant have anywhere between a 200% and 1000% mark-up?
Digital sales are the same. The cost to produce the content is usually very low, so the actual sales price has a very high profit margin. This is why you see so many internet marketing products with large affiliate commissions; they can afford to do it while physical product sales simply don’t have the room for it.
7. Helps You to Become A Brand
You may have heard it in the past where experts in the internet marketing field suggest that you become your brand. Well selling digital products allows you to do that.
You may have heard of the very successful WordPress plugin “WordPress SEO”. It’s made by a guy call Joost de Valk, more commonly known by his online pseudonym Yoast. He is so well known that the WordPress SEO plugin was eventually renamed Yoast SEO and everything he does has his pseudonym in it.
This is the power of branding yourself, and you can use your products to make your name in your niche.
8. Opportunities for Partnerships & Joint Ventures
OK, so having a digital product doesn’t automatically mean that you’re in a better position to find partnerships, but it makes it a damn sight easier.
You can easily add your product as a download bonus for others with little work, and no infrastructure needed (because they will just add it into their own e-commerce system).
9. A Powerful Affiliate Program
Mentioned briefly above, because you have a higher profit margin, you can afford to provide better affiliate commissions. This is turn leads to more people willing to promote your product (people are inherently greedy) and thus increase the number of sales you get.
Sure you get less per sale, but increase the overall number of sales and widen your market at the same time. It’s a winning situation.
10. Leverage Other Platforms
Even though setting up your own e-commerce site really isn’t that hard or expensive, sometimes you want to take advantage of existing traffic.
Digital products allow you to easily add the product to multiple online marketplaces, such as:
Amazon.com for ebooks
Themeforest for website templates
Google Play and Apple App Store for apps
Creative Market for design elements
and many more
These marketplaces have pros and cons. The biggest pro being you get a lot of free targeted traffic that should be interested in the type of product you’re selling.
The major con is that they will take a chunk of your sale amount, and it’s usually quite hefty – 35 -50% or more is not unheard of.
What Sort of Digital Products Can You Sell?
The other great thing about selling digital products is that there is a wide variety of things you can produce and sell:
Music and sounds
The Bottom Line
However you look at it, selling digital products is relatively easy, and has the potential to be very profitable.
If you are just promoting other people’s work, you really should consider starting to promote your own as well, as it is an excellent alternative revenue stream.
Even if you suck at producing content, you can always hire a freelancer to do it for you and release it under your own name (make sure you agree that with the freelancer though!).
Have you ever released your own products? How did it go? Let me know in the comments.
It never hurts to have a side gig or three that help you generate some extra money for emergency bills, outings and the like. However, aside from finding a part-time job, how can you quickly make a few extra bucks on the side?
Luckily, thanks to the Internet and smartphone apps, there are many upon many ways available for making money fast and without having to accumulate another W-2. Some of these methods are a bit unconventional, but they do work.
Here are just 10 of them:
1. Get tracked by Google.
If you’re OK with being monitored by the big G, you can install Google Screenwise as an extension on your laptop and have Google track where you spend your time online. There is a similar such app that installs onto your smartphone. In exchange for being tracked through all your devices, you’ll earn $6 automatically, and $3/week thereafter. You can exchange your earnings for gift cards.
2. Get a tattoo.
LeaseYourBody is a site that matches your body parts with advertisers willing to tattoo them. In exchange, you get money for being tattooed with a brand or company logo.
Fortunately, the tattoos are temporary. Through LeaseYourBody, you set up a user profile and name your price for putting a temporary tattoo on some portion(s) of your body. If an advertiser likes your profile and price, you’ll be contacted and paid to wear a tattoo for a specific length of time.
3. Turn your smartphone into a mini-billboard.
The lockscreen on your smartphone can become a billboard that pays you money through the Fronto app. This app displays small ads that you can swipe and participate in for money. For example, a swiped ad might lead you to a company website. In exchange for going to that website, you earn points. At 2500 points, you earn one dollar, which can be cashed out via Paypal.
4. Sell your textbooks to the highest bidder.
Sure, you can sell your textbooks online, but wouldn’t you like to get the best price for them? With Bookscouter, you submit your ISBNs or barcodes online and get the best price from up to 55 websites. Bookscouter is also available as a smartphone app, which features a handy scanner.
5. Play games for fun and profit.
Testing apps and games is a fun job, but someone has to do it. ErliBird is a website that allows you to beta test apps and games that are in the process of being developed.
The beta test typically involves you using the app or game for about 15 minutes and commenting on it during this time. Your testing and comments are recorded.
In exchange for performing a computer or mobile app/game review, you are paid $10 or $20, respectively.
6. Clip and share coupons.
If you’re into clipping coupons, then you’re in luck: CouponChief will pay you money for your clipped and shared online coupons and coupon codes.
To participate in this program, you’ll need to find online coupon codes and paste them into CouponChief’s pays2share program. When another site member uses that code, you’ll earn 2% of the resulting sales. You can earn up to $25 per retailer.
7. Listen to some tunes.
Websites like Slicethepie and HitPredictor reward you wish cash, gift cards, and prize drawings in return for you listening to new music releases and submitting reviews. Don’t worry- the reviews need only be two or three sentences long. Slicethepie is more cash focused, while HitPredictor does more prizes and raffles.
8. Become a fashion designer.
You can design your own T-shirts and other apparel and make a profit by selling them online through sites like Teespring. The only hitch is that you must set a sales quota, and then achieve it, by promoting your own designs.
If you have some good clothing design ideas, you can make a substantial profit by selling T-shirts online via Teespring. Also, there is no waste because the items aren’t printed until an order comes through.
9. Bet on your own weight (loss).
Sites like Dietbet and HealthyWage will actually pay you to lose weight. And typically, the more weight you lose and the longer you keep it off, the more money you make.
These sites have you do an initial weigh-in and then ask you to lose a given percentage of your weight. You bet a given amount of money on your success. If you win your bet, you make money. On some long-term bets, you can make back several times your initial bet.
10. Watch some TV.
You can actually earn money while watching TV through RewardTV, a site that pays money and awards prizes for your answering trivia questions about popular TV shows. This is done with the intention of tracking TV show viewership.
If you watch a good deal of TV and answer the trivia questions regularly, you can make about $20/month for your efforts.
The Bottom Line
There are many different and albeit strange ways you can make money online, even while doing recreational activities like listening to music or watching TV. With a little bit of effort, you can turn your recreation into a bit of cash.
Being a TV critic may be a dream job for you if you’re a huge TV fan.
I mean, what’s better than being able to watch your favorite TV shows and share your opinions with the world?
The skillset needed is quite basic: a good grasp of the written language, an eye for detail, great note-taking ability, good memory, and a keen sense of seeing subtle cues that showrunners, directors, and writers may add into their shows.
However, actually getting hired as a critic isn’t that easy. Competition for available critic jobs is fierce, especially if you’re trying to break into the job market.
The best advice here is to do it yourself!
The internet has empowered many people to get the experience they need or build their own businesses in their ideal niche without having to jump through job application hoops.
Start a blog or your own YouTube channel and broadcast your thoughts and opinions on your favorite TV shows and movies to the world.
When you gain traction, you can start getting money through ads and even sponsorships; some prominent television and movie outfits may be interested in paying you to critique their shows and movies.
And if you’re still interested in working as a TV critic for a company, your blog or vlog can be the sample work that you can show prospective employers.
4. Become a Netflix Tagger
This is one of the most sought-after “watching TV to make money” jobs.
It’s also one of the most difficult ones to get.
The basic idea behind tagging is that you sit and watch Netflix media (in your pajamas, in bed, of course!) and to tag each one with one or more keywords, such as “drama” or “sci-fi”.
And you’ll get paid for this!
The downside is you actually need to get employed by Netflix, and this job type comes up quite rarely, so keep your eyes on the Netflix Job Board.
You may also want to check out the job listings for other online streaming companies like Hulu, HBO, Sling.TV etc.
5. Make Money Watching Videos on YouTube
With the amount of time I spend on YouTube, it would be nice to get paid for my efforts.
Sites like Paid2YouTube and iRazoo pay you to watch YouTube videos. However, they dictate which videos you watch, and you only make pennies for your time.
These sites do pay, so they aren’t scams. But they pay very little in relation to the amount of time that you need to spend on them, so only do this if you have a lot of extra time to kill, don’t mind having a set video playlist to watch, and don’t expect a large payout.
6. Become a Care.com Companion
This is a more unique approach to getting paid to watch TV, but it pays.
Care.com has listings for companion care for senior citizens. Some of them have little to no special needs and are just looking for companions to sit with them during the day and watch TV.
While this job may have more duties than just TV watching, it’s fulfilling work that can lead to more opportunities down the road.
You might even gain a new friend out of it!
7. Work In The TV and Movie Industry
Okay, yes, technically you’ll be watching TV and getting paid for it, but this one requires you to get off your butt and actually working.
There are thousands of jobs available in the TV and movie industry.
You might think that only those involved in production get paid to watch TV, but it’s not the case at all. Everyone in the company—including those in IT, legal, human resources, administration, creatives, even from food services—has access to entire catalogs.
The purpose is to make sure that everyone in the company is familiar with their body of work.
It sounds like clickbait, but this is really a thing.
Professional TV watchers get paid to watch TV, but more than just passively absorbing what’s on the screen.
Pro TV watchers scan through different shows and newsreels to find clips for a series, talk show, or news show.
It doesn’t pay very much, sometimes even lower than the minimum wage, but it’s enough for some pocket money.
9. Transcribe shows for subtitles
This is another one of those jobs where you’ll have to do a lot more than watching TV.
Being a subtitler involves transcribing and translating TV shows and films, as well as other digital content like video courses and webinars.
Aside from transcribing and translating, you’ll be in charge of formatting, managing the timing and placement, and verifying your transcript against the original script, if available.
If you’re multilingual, you’ll be paid more. Plus, this can open up opportunities for future transcription and translation jobs.
10. Be an Entertainment Reporter
If you love watching TV and are obsessed with celebrities, watching their TV shows and video clips so you can write about them seems like a good fit for you.
You do need excellent writing skills plus the speed and flexibility to churn out stories as they happen.
There are a number of job listings in FlexJobs for entertainment reporters, and you can start applying today.
But even if you don’t snag a job through them, the good news is you don’t even have to be employed by a company to begin doing it. You can start a blog and publish your stories there.
Start Getting Paid To Watch TV Today!
Pairing up your love of TV and making money is not going to be easy, but it is possible to make a few extra bucks each month.
You can also check out my list of paid online surveys here as many survey sites have sections for watching videos, movie trailers, or previewing upcoming films. All you have to do is give your opinion and get paid.
The best thing about this is you can get started today!
Other ways to earn money from doing virtually nothing
Are you an accredited psychologist or a licensed professional counselor (LPC)? Have you completed earned a psychology degree or an advanced degree in therapy? If so, you could work as an online therapist or counselor.
What does online counseling involve?
Online counseling is just a form of mental health therapy that occurs online instead of at an office, clinic or hospital. The software platform used for therapy is secure and is accessed through a user email and password.
Counseling sessions can occur in several different ways, including email, texting, Skype or video chat. As a counselor, you might “see” a dozen patients over the course of a day rather than two or three. Each patient will have his or her mental history summarized in an online file; furthermore, all conversations are saved in a separate online file.
Some online counseling services enable you to simply email or chat with the patient over the course of a day. Other services set specific chat times/appointments for you and the patient, with IM or chat times added for good measure.
What online therapy and counseling sites are available?
Online therapy and counseling sites are multiplying, mostly due to the very real need of people to reach therapists and counselors without having to pay a lot of money or take time off from work.
Many online patients are homebound or lack a vehicle, while others are too shy to pick up the phone and make a face-to-face appointment. Still others enjoy writing out their issue (akin to journaling) rather than having to verbally explain it to a stranger.
This site was started in 2013 and currently has an extensive roster of licensed psychologists, clinical social workers, LPCs, and marriage/family counselors. The service plans that this site offers are in the budget category (as low as $35/week), so your pay won’t be at the higher end of the scale. However, because of the sheer amount of counselors here and patients, you will always be able to log in steady hours.
For just $20/month, you can sign up with iCouch and benefit from its software tools such as an appointment reminder, schedule/client/document manager, profile creator, and video therapy tool. You can also accept credit card payments without needing Paypal. The iCouch user interface is very straightforward and easy to use.
Should you need additional marketing, iCoach offers marketing and SEO services.
This site accepts therapists and psychiatrists from many different countries. Once you register with the site, it will enable you to create your own professional profile and website complete with reviews and a Paypal payment button. Site membership is $24.95/month. Each client that you retain after your 5-day free trial period is $29.
This site offers you the opportunity to chat with your clients via mobile phone or on the web. That may be an ideal arrangement if you’re on-the-go and can’t keep strict office hours. Clients pay just $25/week, which reaches into the budget range of online therapy. That also means that you won’t make as much money here as on other sites; however, it’s a good place to get your feet wet as far as online counseling is concerned.
This site enables you to work in several different capacities including strictly online, via phone, or by hosting a workshop, seminar or event in your local area. Theravive operates in the USA and Canada.
For an extra fee, Theravive will work with you to market your services and provide everything from SEO listings to custom blog platforms to announcements of your events, seminars and academic papers.
How much does online counseling pay?
Depending on your degree and years of experience, you could earn a base salary of $15-$25/hour for your services using a platform like Betterhelp or iCouch. If you have at least 10 years of experience, you could make up to $50/hour.
Once you’ve proven yourself through these therapy platforms and have a solid client list, you might try offering counseling services as a “solopreneur.” To do this successfully, you’ll first need a website. You’ll also need to advertise your services, and that advertising could involve everything from social media posts to Facebook/Google Ads to email marketing.
If you do start your own online counseling business, be sure to familiarize yourself with SEO, Google Page rank, content marketing, and even blogging.
How to make more money as an online counselor
If you’re intent on increasing your earnings as an online counselor or therapist, you should specialize in a field like family or marriage counseling, a given type of psychological therapy (e.g., cognitive behavioral), or a specific malady like PTSD. Clients overall are more willing to seek out specialists in a given field rather than generalists. Also, by specializing, you narrow the pool of candidates/competitors and can make yourself stand out.
Some specialties require additional training and certification. You’ll need to do a cost analysis of what specializing or even sub-specializing is worth to you versus how much extra money you can expect to make. However, if you are considering starting your own online practice, having a forte will do wonders for your SEO and attracting clients to you.
Valentine’s Day may have started off with best intentions, but nowadays that one day a year is a commercial juggernaut earning businesses worldwide billions of dollars.
You don’t need to be a big business to take advantage of this day of lovers. In fact there are many ways you too can make a profit while everyone else is canoodling in a corner!
Here are my 9 ways to make money on Valentine’s Day.
#1 Hand Craft Some Cards
If you are of the arty persuasion, making custom handmade valentines card is a sure fire winner.
More and more people are swaying away from the mass produced greetings cards for Valentine’s Day, in an effort to prove their love. Custom cards can certainly fill that void, but you need to get in early, as last minute shoppers will surely just hit Hallmarks!
Etsy is most likely the best place to sell these unique creations of yours.
#2 Sell Flowers
The hardest part about selling flowers for Valentine’s Day is finding a good supplier.
If you do the leg work and find a florist or wholesaler who will sell a bunch of roses for $20 bucks or so, you can easily double or triple the asking price, turning a solid profit.
Sell them via a stand on the day or set up a website and do some social media advertising to bring in the punters.
Even if you decide to not bother selling them direct, there are numerous florists that offer an affiliate commission for leads that purchase. You can earn around 6% – 10% per sale depending on the florist, which is better than Amazon!
These florists offer affiliate programs, and there’s likely more that also offer one if you do some research:
If your artistry takes a more culinary bend, then why not offer homemade delicacies to people the day before and on the day itself?
The only downside to this is that you will need to make sure you follow any legislation regarding selling food stuffs in your area, so as not to fall foul of the law.
Couples love to spend some romantic time together on Valentine’s but those of us with kids generally have a hard time finding someone to look after the whipper snappers!
While you can only get the one gig, you can charge a premium for it. The average babysitting gig pays $12.45 per hour, but you can easily hit the $20 or more per hour for this special day!
#5 Serenade for Money
If you have a deliciously deep or exquisite voice, why not put that to use and offer a serenade at peoples restaurant tables?
Clear it with a few restaurants (perhaps by offering them a cut), and you can sell your singing services directly there!
Another option would be busking, but with a more romantic feel to the songs than those typically chosen by sidewalk artists.
#6 Singles Speed Dating (or Party)
Why lavish all your energy on those who will be celebrating? Why not consider those who are unloved on this overly romantic day?
You could set up either a meet and greet style party for single people, or go the whole hog and set up a speed dating night.
While most bars and restaurants will be focusing on lovers, you will be able to find other venues for to hire quite easily even if they don’t offer liquid refreshments (which is a plus if they do!).
Speed dating events can be quite the little profit maker and it could even become a regular gig if things go well for you.
#7 A One Day Taxi Service
With companies like Lyft and Uber making it incredibly easy for anyone to become a one man taxi firm, you could spend the night ferrying lovers to and fro and earning a solid amount of cash from it.
#8 Romantic Photos
If you have a good eye for a photo, pick up a Polaroid camera and head out onto the streets. Snapping some romantic moments of people on the street is a great way to make some cash.
Your average Polaroid picture will cost around $3, so selling them for $5 or more is a good way to make some quick cash.
You can even set up a stall with a romantic background for more formal photos.
If you’d prefer to reduce potential cost (taking a Polaroid and not being able to sell it), then why not use a digital DSLR camera and take down peoples details/deposit and print the photos later.
#9 Impromptu Poetry
The idea here is to take a few facts such as the couple’s names, when or where they met, interests etc. and turn it into some romantic or novel poetry.
You could sell these online, or if you’re good at creating on the fly, set up a small stall.
There are potentially a few options as well: just the raw poem, it printed on fancy paper, hand written on hand crafted paper and so on.
The Bottom Line
There are lots of ways to make money on Valentine’s Day that don’t require you to be a big business, and that can even lead to future gigs and earnings. A lot of it depends on your own skills and talents, but whether you’re a singer, a cook or a web expert, there’s no excuse not to cash in on Valentine’s Day (well, unless your other half has something to say about it!).
What’s your favorite way to make money in February?
Successful authors know that writing a book is only half the battle. There is also the marketing and selling of that book, a process that can take longer than the book-writing itself, and which can be fraught with frustration.
First-time authors with no name recognition and few resources often see their books make few if any sales. Brick-and-mortar and online bookstores are glutted with people trying to push their novels and how-to tomes. Frankly, without a marketing and/or PR agent, it’s next to impossible to get noticed.
Because of these challenges facing new and even seasoned authors, Nick Stephenson developed a training program and community called “Your First 10,000 Readers.”
This program includes a core training that consists of six video modules as follows:
Module 1: Rule the retailers
Video 1:Rule the retailers
Amazon, iTunes, Nook and Kobo operate more like search engines than traditional bookstores. To achieve top positioning for your book with these sites, you’ll need to understand algorithms, SEO and using metadata strategically.
Video 2: Merchandising
Sales channels outside of Amazon don’t implement search algorithms and metadata as much as Amazon does; instead, they promote books based on merchandising deals (e.g., “Deal of the day”). Non-Amazon retailers include Kobo and Nook; there are also distributors like Smashwords and Draft2digital. Nick explains how to reach out to these entities and establish “win-win” relationships with them so that you and they can mutually benefit from merchandising opportunities.
Video 3: Exclusivity vs broad reach
Amazon offers an exclusivity program called “KDP Select (Kindle Direct Publishing)” which features unique promotions including countdown deals, 5-day free book promos, and access to Kindle Unlimited. The hitch to using KDP is you cannot work with other sales channels (e.g., iTunes). Nick goes over what points you should consider with using KDP versus selling on numerous platforms.
Video 4: Pricing strategies
Pricing your book can be intimidating- do you price high for better profitability per book, or do you price low for high volume sales? Nick explains pricing strategies for Amazon, taking into consideration book royalties, sales volume, popularity and achieving bestseller status.
Module 2: Drive endless traffic
Video 1: Keywords & categories
Nick covers the processes of keyword and metadata selection that you should be using to narrow down your book’s audience. There are free and paid methods for accomplishing this objective, and Nick goes over both approaches. The free method takes more time to accomplish because you’re picking out suitable keywords, while the paid way takes advantage of KindleSpy and Kindle Samurai for more automated keyword selection and testing.
Video 2: Boost your traffic with Permafree
If you choose to give your book away for free, you can really take advantage of the extra traffic by working with top advertisers like Bookbub, Booksends, etc. to convert those customers to your paid books, or a paid version of your original book, following the promo. Nick discusses several ways of capturing the freebie traffic and converting it on a set schedule into customers that end up paying money for your book.
Video 3: Smart Promotion Tactics
Nick discusses the psychological tactics you can use to achieve improved book sales. Paid advertising, price drops, and other related promos can be combined to generate longer lasting traffic growth trends. Nick emphasizes how to time your promos so that your book gets at least 7 days of increased online interest, and to build up to your biggest promotion over that timeframe.
Video 4: Build your dream team
In this video, you are introduced to the concept of working with a team of authors within your writing genre to influence how Amazon features your promotions and cross-promotions. Recall that Amazon and other online sites feature “Also bought” lists of books…wouldn’t it be nice if another author’s book linked to yours as an “Also bought”? Nick discusses how to reach out to related genre authors and collaborate with them to cross-promote their and your books.
Module 3: Convert traffic into subscribers
Video 1: Your book funnel
Email marketing is the best way to draw in new readers and future customers. This conversion tactic is essential if you wish to generate sales from committed fans. There are free and paid methods for creating a traffic funnel that results in an email list. The free method involves giving readers a free item (like book) in exchange for an email address. The paid method involves building a self-hosted website and using a subscription service, which may or may not include giving your book away for free.
Video 2: Optimize your author website
The best platform you have for converting visitors to subscribers is your author website. Nick covers different methods you can use to convert your visitors without forcing them to give up their email address. Various online tools are introduced towards this purpose, including DreamHost, WordPress, Mailchimp, and OptimizePress.
Video 3: How I added 16k readers via giveaways
How do you find thousands of readers for your book(s)? Giveaways! Nick talks about how you can structure your giveaways so that your target reader is actually interested in your book, not just the prize. He also describes how you can encourage your subscribers to bring in additional subscribers through viral sharing. Other tips include how to advertise your giveaway and to cross-promote it through other authors.
Video 4: Create an irresistible event
In this video, Nick describes the process he used to sell 300+ books in just one hour. How did he do this? By creating a unique, limited-time-only, and cross-promoted event. Nick talks about the various platforms available for creating and hosting such an event, what incentives you can offer to your attendees, and how to structure the event.
Module 4: Engage your audience
Video 1: Why readers don’t buy
There are four reasons why readers don’t buy: indifference, skepticism, worry and procrastination. Your job is to understand every one of these reasons and how to address/overcome them.
Video 2: Priming the sale
Once your readers are prepared for your book, they will not only expect your book, but will be waiting to buy it. How can you prepare your readers to buy? By offering your freebie item up-front…and gradually telling your readers that you have other items for sale. In a nutshell, you need to take your readers on a journey without being salesy and/or pushing a purchase too soon. And doing that is definitely an art form.
Video 3: Scarcity: the secret sauce
The idea of scarcity was first noted in video 1 as a way of getting reluctant readers to buy your book. Here, the psychological tactic of scarcity is explored in greater detail, and especially as a motivator for procrastinators.
Video 4: Social media mastery
The top 5 social media mistakes are: thinking it’s all about you, being a salesman, forgetting your posts are public, getting sucked into a time-wasting black hole, and not setting realistic goals. Nick’s advice includes focusing more on your email list than on spending excessive time on social media. He also introduces Facebook Ads as one advertising platform that could be quite profitable for you.
Video 5: Getting hundreds of 5 star reviews
Reviews are an essential component of getting readers to trust you and overcome their skepticism. To this end, you need to overcome skeptic and worrier buyers by getting good reviews. Also, reviews help your Amazon SEO. Nick explains how to garner reviews without paying for them or engaging in sleazy strategies.
Video 6: Your automated selling system
How can you automate your selling process so you have more freedom? Nick explains how to set up your autoresponder series using Mailchimp. He also offers up his own emails as a template if you’re not sure what to write to your subscribers.
Module 5: The ultimate launch template
Video 1: Build your launch team
One great way to promote your book release is to do it through a launch team. This team helps generate dozens or even hundreds of reviews for your book on its launch day; lots of good reviews help your book excel at SEO and overall visibility on sites like Amazon. You can assemble a launch team from your email list by offering an incentive and setting expectations. You should treat these superfans with respect and not forget to be grateful for their help.
Video 2: Building buzz
Most authors fail in creating any kind of buzz around their new book. Nick emphasizes that you need to not only create buzz, but you should prepare for your book launch at least three weeks in advance. A key part of successfully building buzz involves preparing your launch team and setting expectations. Nick provides swipe copy for you in case you don’t know what to write.
Video 3: Your launch day template
Your launch day is finally here- so what do you do? Many things. You can lower your book price for a limited time, have a giveaway, offer a book bundle, etc. Should you do a giveaway, you can use it to collect additional emails. Keep in mind that it’s illegal to obligate the participant to purchase your book in order to enter your giveaway (i.e., you must make your giveaway a ‘no purchase necessary’ promo).
Module 6: Facebook: profit on autopilot
Video 1: Intro to Power Editor
Facebook Ads enables you to direct your traffic to customized landing pages and increase conversions (and sales). The platform for this sales engine is Power Editor. Using this platform allows you to control the conversion process and analyze your audience. This beats just paying to boost your posts, and knowing very little about who is converting (and why).
Video 2: How to track results with pixels
Facebook’s pixel helper is a plug-in tool that helps you see exactly who is engaging with your message and who is converting. This is enabled through different individual tracking and conversion pixels. Nick shows you how to use this tool and to set it up for maximum data output.
Video 3: Tweak your ads for better results
How can you maximize the ROI of your Facebook Ads? By tracking your sign-ups via Facebook’s reporting system and using that data to tweak your ads. Nick demonstrates, in incredible detail, how to narrow down your audience and select only those segments that are likely to respond to your offer.
Video 4: Ninja tips
How can you get an email signup and a book sale in one ad? Nick shows you his powerful ninja trick for accomplishing both actions using just one ad. Here’s a clue on how this is accomplished: he uses a promo.
In addition to the core training videos, you also get to listen to in-depth interviews that Nick conducts with published authors. These authors include Mark Dawson, Nick Loper, R.S. Guthrie, Michael Maxwell, Bryan Cohen, Joanna Penn, an Simon Whistler.
In these interrogations, the aforementioned authors go over how they successfully performed their own market research, launched a dream team, built buzz, etc.
Nick provides video tutorials for a variety of marketing activities that you will need to do in order to successfully sell your book. The videos include tutorials on the following topics:
Anatomy of a landing page/How to build perfect landing pages
Automate your emails with Mailchimp
Store and deliver your reader magnets
KindleSpy: get traffic with keywords & categories
Automate Facebook Ads with AdEspresso
Run successful giveaways with KingSumo
Detailed keyword research with Kindle Samurai
The tutorials are quite in-depth and show actual examples of ads. For example, in this tutorial, Nick shows you how Facebook’s Power Editor can be manipulated to create and manage ads:
Another useful bonus that Nick gives you is his swipe files- in essence, these are copies of the emails and marketing messages that he’s used with his own subscribers and which he now hands off to you, to use as you see fit. Plagiarize them all you want- or switch up the messages to suit your tastes. These swipe files are a very useful benefit if you’re suddenly at a loss for (marketing) words.
There are also four group coaching calls that Nick provides for you. In these coaching calls, he does two Q&A sessions with his subscribers only, and two Q&A sessions with other authors and his subscribers.
The Master Classes
There are also two master-level classes that you can listen to and learn from.
Cover design and book page teardown
In this video, several students of the course offer their book covers and pages for critique by cover designer Mark Ecob and editor Rebecca Heymen. Lots of good advice and tips are provided by these two experts.
How to cold email and work with any VIP
You’re going to need a network of fellow authors and other influencers to successfully launch your book. However, you might be more than a little intimidated at the prospect of reaching out to them.
Luckily, Nick provides you with a video showcasing how master networker John Corcoran not only reaches out to VIPs but forms connections and gets results.
Private Facebook Community
Last but not least, Nick offers you the opportunity to join his private Facebook group, where fellow members (last count: 822) act as resources and help each other out. Incidentally, this Facebook group does not replace Nick; he will still offer his help if you email him directly.
I found Nick Stephenson’s “Your First 10,000 Readers” to be jam-packed with useful information and examples from Nick’s own experiences or those of his colleagues. No stone is left unturned when it comes to illustrating the information and then proving its validity.
Nick also provides real world data regarding his own book launches and corresponding sales, revenues, traffic streams, etc. This isn’t some guy who is merely conjecturing which technique or marketing message will work the best- he’s been in the trenches as a published author and has the experience to prove it.