Should You Trust Davison Inventions with Your Big Idea?

If you have ever had an idea for an invention, you’ve probably had an online encounter or three with Davison Inventions. This company has operated under several different names since 1989, including the following:

Davison Inventing Method
Davison & Associates Inc.
Davison Design and Development, Inc.
Manufacturer’s Support Services, Inc.
Davison International
Davison Innovations

What is Davison Inventions?

Davison is an inventor services company that advertises that it will help develop and market your invention idea to manufacturing companies for eventual distribution of the actualized product to stores. Davison provides a number of invention services, including patent research, patent filing, product development/design, manufacturer research, commercial/retailer match, and royalty negotiation.

Here is an example email I recently received from Davison:

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If you go to the company’s website, you’ll find the following information displayed:

Davison

For an aspiring inventor who is struggling to get her product to market, Davison sounds like a good idea. The company offers to help with the invention patenting process, find manufacturers to create the product, and even negotiate with area stores to stock and sell the finalized product. Davison even features several videos highlighting inventors who turned their ideas into store products.

So, why would you not trust this company to help you realize your big idea?

The problem with Davison Inventions

Unfortunately, the company has been criticized numerous times by burnt inventors, who state that they paid thousands of dollars to work with Davison and saw nothing come of their collaboration. Online complaints include the following:

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To be fair, Davison has faithfully replied to and addressed many of these online complaints. However, there are many upon many such complaints, and far more than would be normal for a standard invention help service. Searching online, one finds many scam and review sites listing complaints about Davison.

Back in 2006, the complaints reached a crisis level and the FTC became involved. The FTC case against Davison, as well as its resolution, is posted here.

My personal experience with Davison

A while back, I submitted a product idea of my own to Davison. The product in question was what I called a “Human-Powered TV.” This product converted energy generated by an exercising human into voltage that could be used to power a device such as a TV.

Davison emailed me immediately after I made my submission. Keep in mind that I had not yet paid any money to the company at this point in time.

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I found it heartening that Davison had addressed its involvement with the FTC and had provided at least an acknowledgment of its many critics.

I replied to their email and emphasized my concern about paying thousands of dollars for services that might result in me getting no closer to a realized product than when I’d first begun putting my idea to paper. I also asked why Davison had hundreds of online complaints about its services.

Within a day, I received a rebuttal email that addressed some of my concerns. Here is an excerpt:

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While this is a great rebuttal to some of my concerns, it doesn’t completely answer why there are so many complaints about Davison even on third party review sites. Shouldn’t such review sites be populated with all kinds of reviews- negative, neutral and positive?

I eventually had a phone call with one of Davison’s agents; however, at this point in time, I decided to ask other key questions. For starters, I asked which specific companies would be approached about my invention idea.

My Davison agent, to his credit, provided me with actual names of existing manufacturing companies. He did not say if these companies had been approached about my specific invention, however.

We then discussed whether Davison had ever blatantly refused to develop any invention idea. This topic came up because one of the criticisms about this company is that it will claim any and every invention idea has potential and is worthy of being marketed. I also asked how my invention had been deemed worthy of being developed.

Davison’s agent was more vague about answering this particular question, stating that it would be up to the manufacturers to decide.

The agent then gave me a ballpark figure for moving forward with my invention. I would need to pay  $600 to initiate a patent search on my idea. Prototyping would run another $5K-$8K. There was also a “marketing package” that would require development and cost $1K-$2K.

I replied that I would “need to think about it” and the conversation ended there. I received a few more emails and voicemails from the Davison agent, but after a month had passed, they ended.

Why did I not pursue a collaboration with Davison?

Sloppy research

Davison presented me with a good pep talk for filing an invention patent and building a prototype. Everything sounded great until I happened to do an online search for human-powered devices, including TVs. Without too much effort, I quickly discovered that human-powered electronic devices had not only already been introduced, but even sold.

Had Davison chosen to do even five minutes on pre-research on my behalf, we would’ve known that my invention idea was a bust.

So, had I agreed to pay for a patent search, I would’ve already been out $600, and for information that was freely available through Google.

Numerous complaints

Although every company has its share of negative reviews, the many complaints against Davison are worrisome. Likewise, there are no review sites or former Davison clients providing positive reviews about this company.

There is also the FTC filed lawsuit to consider, wherein Davison was named as one of 11 companies involved in an invention scam.

High cost of commitment

Davison asks for several thousand dollars up-front for services that may or may not result in a marketable product- or even a product at all. Meanwhile, there are far cheaper ways to build your prototype, including using an area hackerspace. You might also fund your invention idea by using crowdsourcing sites like Kickstarter or submitting your idea to a business pitch contest.

Summary

While it’s challenging to call Davison Inventions an outright scam, there is enough evidence and negative customer feedback that you are well advised to be wary when dealing with this company. If you do plan to work with Davison, don’t invest any capital that you need for essentials like food, utilities or your mortgage. Finally, keep in mind that seeing any invention pay off is a gamble no matter who is handling the marketing and negotiations.

Our Review of Work At Home EDU/WAH EDU

Work at Home EDU, or WAH EDU, starts out innocently enough, promising to teach you how to succeed in your “online business” through a “complete educational program.”

As you scroll down the WAH EDU sales page, you learn that you’ll be provided with 100 HD videos that teach you the “basics of an internet business.” You also get “general videos” about the internet marketing mindset, “basic videos” about linking strategy, and an introduction to the “fundamentals of an online business.”

The sales page notes that much of this information is ideally suited for those who are new to internet marketing and making money online. The sales page also mentions how the videos “cover more advanced techniques.”

At the very bottom of this form, you find a link to a checkout page. There, you are asked to pay $97 for 3 months of access to WAH EDU. Interestingly, the checkout page provides you with a 2-month satisfaction guarantee within your 3-month access subscription- however, you have just 30 days from the date of purchase to get a refund.

Why am I emphasizing how many times WAH EDU uses the terms “basic,” “general,” and so on?

Because it is my belief that WAH EDU provides you with a very generalized and dare I say, generic, education about how to make money online through Internet marketing. This education is available for free through other work-at-home and online marketing blogs and websites.

It’s also my belief that WAH EDU carefully crafts its sales page language to later market additional products to you as cross-sells and up-sells. It does this because it knows its basic information on Internet marketing will be insufficient to get you started at actually making money online.

WAH EDU: The tip of the scam iceberg

Here is the current iteration of the WAH EDU sales page, which incidentally looks a lot like the now defunct sales pages from WAH University, Online Home Careers University, and Work at Home EDU:

WAH EDU

The copy used on this page is fairly generic and simply promises to train you in the basic of Internet marketing, whatever that is. The page eventually notes that advanced concepts will include items such as social media, social bookmarking, article and video marketing, SEO, PPC, and media buying.

You also get unlimited support by phone and email, and a free subscription to a newsletter.

All this looks fine until you start to do some digging into the history of this sales page, which has been online since at least May of 2011. Using an archive tool like Wayback Machine and digging into the history of WAH EDU, I found out that there is a lot more going on with this site than first meets the eye.

1. Questionable refund policy

The WAH EDU refund policy states that it has a “rock solid” refund policy of either 60 days or 30 days.

WAH EDU refund 1

The policy also makes this one eyebrow-raising statement:

WAH EDU refund

When a refund policy tells me that customer service is going to contact me for “any additional details,” that makes me a bit suspect- especially when the initial refund page states that it has a “No Questions Asked” guarantee.

If I use the Wayback Machine to elaborate on these discrepancies, I find out that earlier WAH EDU refund policies noted that the refund would occur only if the member had used the provided materials in accordance with certain WAH EDU policies and procedures.

That doesn’t sound like a Rock Solid money-back guarantee to me.

There are also these comments to think about, provided by WAH EDU members who wanted to get a refund:

refund

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2. Up-sells/cross-sells

WAH EDU’s current Terms & Conditions page gives a very vague statement about how or whether it plans to inundate you with other sales offers. The old T&C page from early 2015 shows the following script, however:

WAH EDU1

Going through online forums, past WAH EDU members ad the following to say about how much they really ended up paying for the program:

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3. False news/spokespeople/testimonials

When you use the Wayback Machine to its full capacity, you can find links to pages that WAH EDU tried to rewrite and bury years ago- but never quite succeeded in doing so. These pages are filled with fake news and news videos, fake spokepeople that have their photos derived from stock image sites, and fake promises of big earnings.

For example, Michelle Robinson is touted as one of the satisfied customers of WAH EDU. Interestingly, this woman’s photo matches the photo provided for Bobbie Robinson of Work at Home Institute and Michelle Withrow of Work at Home EDU. The photo in question is derived from iStockphoto.

work_at_home_university_istock_image

There is also a list of news sites that have supposedly featured this program:

wahedu.com _ Refund Policy

However, this exact same sticker has been used on other scam work-at-home sites, including Work at Home EDU. As for the actual news, there is no way you can find it and the sticker itself has no link.

The fake promises of big earnings clearly conflict with the disclaimer areas of the site, which state the following:

guarantee

Work At Home EDU

Last but not least, WAH EDU has resorted to using “buy now!” sales tactics in order to hurry potential customers along in the sales process before they get a chance to consider their actual purchase:

wah edu sales

The Bottom Line

WAH EDU is just another iteration of “work-at-home” sites such as Work at Home University, Work at Home EDU, Online Home Careers University, etc. The scammers operate out of Houston, at least according to the “support” phone number provided on the checkout page. However, that support line is merely a cover so that you call it and become inundated with cross-sell and up-sell products.

My advice is to steer clear of WAH EDU and its various other versions.

Our Review of Bobbie Robinson’s Work at Home Institute

Work at Home Institute (WAHI) has been online since 2013 and makes a very bold claim: By following this program, you can quit your job and make a “sizable income” from home.

What exactly are you doing to make this sizable income?

From unemployed single mother to millionaire

First, you get to read about the rags-to-riches story of Bobbie Robinson, a single mother who worked “really hard” and got laid off. Luckily, her daughter pushed her to not give up, and “soon after the nightmare began, I discovered the internet.”

Following along with Bobbie’s story, we learn that she eventually met a man who worked from home. This man told her how he managed to work part-time yet make a comfortable living. Bobbie applied to whatever site this man was working for, and just three months later, “I now had an easy work at home job that required 4 hours or less per day.” Best of all, “I make millions per year…I am able to buy what I want, take long vacations, and give my daughter the life she always deserved…”

What is this amazing work at home job that makes Bobbie millions per year for part-time work?

The ‘big secret’ is link posting.

Apparently, big companies don’t have the resources to hire additional employees to post online links for them, so they contract the work out.

Work At Home Institute

How does link posting make money for you? Here’s how WAHI explains it:

  1. You log into your WAHI account and copy the link codes that are supplied to you.
  2. You go to an area of your WAHI account where “customer records” are added and where you can post your copied links.
  3. You fill out a “few simple details” and post your links.
  4. You go see how much money you’re earning from your links.

WAHI’s sales page then shows you what a “typical account” would earn in a week:

Work At Home Institute1

As yet more “proof,” the WAHI sales page showcases Patricia Feeney, another work at home mother. WAHI also claims that this program has received national media attention.

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However, when you listen to the minute long report, you hear nothing regarding the WAHI program. The video is also heavily edited and just introduces the generic concept of working from home.

Likewise, the WAHI tries to make it appear that it’s been the subject of major news networks such as these:

Work At Home Institute4

This is a common tactic used by many work-at-home opportunity sites to make you think that they are legit. However, the sites that actually have been featured on the news include an actual link or story to that news network. Within the WAHI sales page, you can’t click on the news network sites and have no way of verifying what exactly was reported.

So, why else am I skeptical of WAHI’s claims?

The customer photos are fake.

WAHI showcases photos of customers along the right hand side of the sales page, along with their glowing testimonials. Some examples include these customers:

kyleh

testipic3

testipic5

testipic2

testipic4

However, when you do a Google image search of these individuals, you quickly learn that they are all stock photos.

fakephoto

fakephoto2

fakephoto1

The program availability is fake.

The WAHI sales page does what a lot of scam programs do when convincing you sign up- it creates fake program availability for your geographic area. Somehow, regardless of where you live or even if you input a fake zip code into the form, there are always just 3 positions left in your area:

Work At Home Institute2

These 3 positions never go down to zero, no matter how many times you refresh this page.

I should add that another programmed feature of this program is its instant price markdown when you try to leave the sales page. The program drops from $97 to $77, and then $47. This happens no matter how many times you leave the page or return to it.

Bobbie Robinson is fake.

The spokesperson for this program is portrayed on the sales page as a 20-something woman lying in front of her laptop. However, when you perform an image search on her, you learn that she also goes by the name of Michelle Withrow of Work at Home University and Stay at Home Revenue, among other work-at-home scams.

Oh, and the actual photo of Bobbie/Michelle? It’s actually a stock photo.

work_at_home_university_istock_image

Link posting isn’t exactly how affiliates make money.

WAHI tries to convince you that you can make lots of money by posting a few links a day and collecting huge referral commissions when people click on and buy products via those links. While link posting is one way that affiliate marketers earn money, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. True affiliate marketing involves creating websites and filling them with valuable content, emailing subscribers, blogging, creating informational products, publishing product reviews, etc.

True affiliate marketing can make money, but it won’t happen just by posting links, like Bobbie claims.

WAHI offers no real people who back up their claims.

The WAHI contact area is a generic 877 phone number that leads to an outsourced customer service line. You have no way of contacting the actual creators of this program and, as already mentioned, the spokesperson herself is fake. Should you run into any challenges along the way with the WAHI program, you are out on your own.

The WAHI program offers very generic information on who might even be around to help you. Supposedly, after you sign up for the program, you are matched with an “Internet expert.” But why would you need an Internet expert and not someone proficient in affiliate marketing?

Also, you supposedly gain access to a WAHI members area called Startup Freedom Club. There is no mention of how many members are in this club and if any of the program’s creators help answer questions, etc. A club made up of members is fairly useless if all those members also have no idea how to get started and make money through affiliate marketing.

The Bottom Line

Our team has done hundreds of reviews over the past 10 years here at I’ve Tried That. When we review programs, we focus on looking at the three core components that are needed to build a successful business online:

  1. The online presence you create: What presence is the program helping you build? Typically you are given a website, store front, or blog.
  2. The training you’re being taught: What do you do once you have that presence and are you given step-by-step instructions on what to build?
  3. The support you’re being offered: How well will the product creator assist you in building your business and is there a community to turn to for discussion?

If you want to truly succeed online, you need a combination of those 3 things.

Work at Home Institute does not hit any of the three. You aren’t building a meaningful presence, the training is deceitful & will never work, and there is absolutely no support or customer service being offered. This is nothing more than an attempt to grab as much money from you as possible.

Do not fall for this one.

If you are truly interested in learning how to build a real business online, let us help you get started. This site was founded in 2007 and we’ve helped millions of our visitors find their way online. Click here to learn more.

How to Start an Online Interior Design Business at Home

Do you have an eye for interior design and enjoy redecorating and/or rearranging rooms? Are you good with Photoshop or already use it to create new room designs and finishes? Then you may have what it takes to be an e-interior designer and operate your own interior design business from home.

Online interior design is a growing trend because it offers clients an economical approach to redecorating and refurbishing rooms. Instead of committing to someone for a full range of services that can run into tens of thousands of dollars, the client works with an online interior designer who provides a master plan that can be implemented slowly and as finances allow.

E-interior design is also more convenient because the client works with digital files and room suggestions and doesn’t travel to showrooms or supply stores. Many e-interior designers offer online suggestion boards for furniture pieces and color palettes, as well as purchasing lists from recommended suppliers. This enables the client to be actively involved in the selection process right from home- and so be more aware of how the money is being spent.

How to get started as an online interior designer.

Know the difference between interior designer vs. interior decorator.

If you already have a degree in interior design and are certified in the field, you can call yourself an interior designer and set up your business as such. If you do not have an actual degree, you will need to check your state or province licensing regulations. Currently, 27 states (including Puerto Rico and Washington, DC) and 7 provinces require a combination of education, experience and/or NCIDQ exam completion to use the title ‘interior designer.’

However, you can get around this regulation if you call yourself an interior decorator or an interior home staging expert. Interior decorators, as opposed to designers, can only decorate and beautify an interior space. They cannot change the room structure (e.g., by adding/removing a wall) or layout (e.g., drawing a floor plan). While interior designers often work with contractors and architects, interior decorators usually only work with clients and furnishings suppliers.

Incorporate your business and get licensed.

Before you start advertising your services and working with clients, find out whether your city or county requires a business license. If you plan on working with retailers and buying goods at wholesale for resale to clients, you’ll probably need a seller’s permit and a sales tax license.

Interior design and interior decoration are two types of businesses where you are best served by incorporating as an LLC at the very least. Doing so protects you from personal asset liability should you end up in court.

Finally, if you plan to employ people, you’ll need a federal employer identification number (EIN) too.

Obtain a PhotoShop license and set up your website with examples.

Now the fun begins! Purchase a yearly license to use Photoshop® 7 or later for creating design and decorational elements within residential, business, recreational and other spaces. You can learn to use this program by taking online courses through Lynda.com or by reading books like Photoshop for Interior Designers.

The PhotoShop program will take some time to learn and effectively use; however, because this will be your main tool for planning, drawing and showcasing client spaces, it’s a good idea to take the time to master it.

Once you feel somewhat proficient, use PhotoShop to generate some example spaces that you could see designing and/or redecorating. Consider the spaces you already know well or live in- how would you switch them up to be more modern, ergonomic, functional, or just different? All these examples can be uploaded to your website and used to catch the attention of potential clients.

Start small and advertise.

Unless you know someone who really likes your interior design or decorating work, it’s unlikely that you’ll land a contract right away. However, you can start advertising right away with your website, social media accounts, and even flyers posted around town. This way, you can reach just about anyone, from a college freshman moving into a dorm to a small business operating out of a leased building or office.

What can you advertise? How about a package deal complete with a table or board filled with possible furnishings, materials and decor, plus a product source list with items and prices? Add to that a color palette and fabric guide, top it off with a floor plan showing where the furniture and lighting would go, and you have a good start for anyone looking for design and/or decoration ideas.

Be sure to join organizations such as the International Interior Design Association and the American Society of Interior Designers. Having a network of members to converse with will help you find clients and scale up your online business much faster than going it alone.

Team up with area suppliers.

Being an online interior designer or interior decorator enables you to make money not only from your clients but from the suppliers that you will be promoting in your product source lists. Along these lines, you should contact those suppliers and negotiate your commission rates with the owners beforehand. After all, if you’re going to be acting as their salesperson, you should make a salesperson’s commission.

Because this is all happening online and your clients are probably going to order their furnishings online, you may wish to obtain referral codes in addition to standard commission rates for in-store purchases. You can then insert the codes into any product listings you provide.

Alternately, you might consider ordering the furnishings for your clients as part of your services; this not only lessens their workload, but it helps ensure that your suppliers know exactly who is promoting their products.

The Bottom Line

Interior design and interior decoration have gotten a bad rap in some circles due to their high costs and astronomical markups. Perhaps this is part of the reason why e-interior design and decoration have taken off. Because the services are more transparent, and the furnishings listings can be easily checked with what’s offered at area retailers, clients are less likely to experience “sticker shock” and can implement design and decoration changes as their budgets permit.

For the e-interior designer or decorator, this means that there are expanding opportunities to work with clients, including those clients that live in rural locations and/or don’t have large budgets.

By going online, you can reach out to various clients and work within their budget “comfort zones” to design/decorate anything from a studio apartment to a 50-room business building. These clients can slowly but surely become the backbone of your business through referrals to their friends and associates and through increased commission revenue from your vendors.

How to Use Quora to Your Affiliate Marketing Advantage

I love getting my daily Quora Digest newsletter because the emails are filled with answers to intriguing questions such as the following:

Quora questions

As you can see, Quora differentiates itself from Wikipedia because the questions and answers are a bit…unexpected. Maybe a bit on the weird or improper side.

Quora was the brainchild of a Faceboom ex-CTO and began its public life in June of 2010. The site operated fairly quietly until it happened to get its moment of fame from a mention in TechCrunch. While this information is self-reported by Quora itself and may or may not be true, the platform does get an estimated 1.5 million worldwide viewers each month.

What is Quora?

Quora is a knowledge center akin to Wikipedia and AskJeeves…except that it’s also a social platform akin to Facebook, Google+ and the old version of Helium. Users can ask questions via the platform, and other users can answer them. Good and informative answers are “Upvoted” and rise to the top of the site; some are even featured in the Quora Digest, a daily newsletter that is sent out to users.

In addition to upvotes, Quora enables downvotes, follows, shares and comments. In 2013, Quora enabled its users to become authors by adding a blog platform.

There is no anonymity on Quora, at least for its users. When you ask or answer a question, you are acknowledged online. Note the following answer submitted by Chris Elliott:

Quora answers

So, why is Quora a place that you, an affiliate (or other) marketer, should be taking advantage of? Because the platform offers several major opportunities that should not be overlooked. Here they are…

1. Authority

As an affiliate marketer, one of your major challenges is to establish yourself as an expert in your niche. You audience isn’t interested in someone who is a newbie.

That’s where Quora comes in. It’s fairly easy to become a Quora member- you simply provide your name, email and desired password on the site. You can also have Quora link to your Facebook, Google or Twitter account and import the information from there.

That done, you are provided with a profile page that can be filled out to include your bio, including your occupation, education, geographic residences over time, etc. You can also add your areas of expertise.

knowitall

Based on the topics you select, you will be offered the opportunity to follow users in your niche. Quora will also have you personalize your news feed and go through several layers of specifying exactly which notifications you wish to receive.

Once your profile is complete, you can build your authority on Quora by searching for and answering questions within your niche. You might also want to blog about niche-related topics. As your answers are posted, users will either upvote, downvote, comment on or share the content.

Because each of your answers will feature your profile photo and bio, a good answer from you in your specific niche will build your authority and number of followers. If you post your affiliate website URL or other information on Quora, users will eventually go there for more information. Which leads to…

2. Traffic

Arguably, one of the biggest issues that affiliate marketers face is how to generate traffic to their blogs, websites and product pages. Using Quora, you can list your websites and affiliate pages directly inside your bio by editing it:

quora description

Doing so invites users to visit your sites to learn more about your niche topic and products- and about you.

Quora is also getting noticed by Google. When I performed the following query on Google, a Quora-generated answer came up as the second search result:

Google love

To encourage traffic streams to your Quora profile (and beyond), you can easily embellish your profile with a host of goodies including your linked social media accounts, blog posts, outside content and posts, and even repurposed articles.

However, the bread-and-butter of your traffic generation is going to be the in-depth and carefully researched answers that you post to questions presented within your niche. Overall, you should seek out those questions that have few or no answers posted yet. You’ll get more traffic from those answers simply because you’ll be one of the few ‘answerers’ on that page.

Try to seek out and answer fresh questions that have a lot of upvotes on them. Once you do, you can answer them and then link back to your own Quora blog or website for more information. After all, the end goal of generating all that traffic is to direct it back to you.

3. Content

Content generation is relatively easy for someone who has a fresh blog or website and a head full of great ideas. Six months down the road, those great ideas have been exhausted and the impetus to keep blogging is long dissipated.

That’s when Quora excels. Because the site enables you to input questions and have them pre-filled with suggestions (much like Google search) prior to the completion of your inquiry, you can obtain lots of content ideas.

To start generating content ideas from Quora, start typing a question that contains some targeted keywords into the search area of the site. Then, focus on finding related questions that are getting lots of upvotes and attention and use them as launch points for adding content to both your own website(s) and your Quora blog.

Here is an example search I performed by asking how to make a cup of coffee:

quora coffee chat

If I had a blog focused on coffee, there are several related questions here I could use as an article-generator.

Quora isn’t like its oft-compared-to cousin Wikipedia. Whereas the latter features objective, heavily edited and reviewed content, Quora maintains a first-person collection of personal anecdotes, opinions, jokes and even biases. As a result, the content you read is more likely to be a true representation of user (and your customer) sentiment.

It’s also much easier to become a Quora contributor than a Wikipedia contributor, and to use Quora to subtly promote your business.

The Bottom Line

Quora is an emerging player in the quality content landscape that also incorporates key aspects of a social media platform. Therefore, you should consider taking advantage of Quora for your marketing efforts. At the very least, you’ll learn some interesting facts and end up engaging with a community of niche experts who’ll give you additional ideas on how to grow your affiliate marketing efforts.

10 Ways to Make Money Playing Video Games

If you love playing video games, I’m sure you’ve dreamed of the day where you could make money while playing all day.

Even now, I load up a game on the weekends to help burn off some frustration and tension that the past week has built up.

As a kid, I always wondered how I could get a job where I can play games all day. Then of course I grew up a bit and ended up floating around until finally starting my own online business.

Still, sometimes I dream of playing video games for a living…

10 Ways to Make Money Playing Video Games

As luck would have it, it’s now actually possible to make money playing video games!

In fact, there are some Twitch streamers out there pulling over six figures per month!

Granted, you probably have better odds winning the lottery than hitting those kinds of numbers. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any realistic options.

Here are some ways to earn that certainly have potential as moneymakers.

1. Play games at Swagbucks.

Did you know you can play games online and actually make money by doing so?

Swagbucks will pay you to play and it’s completely free to get started. In fact, they’ll give you $5.00 just for signing up.

They’ve paid out $337 MILLION dollars so far and you can get in on that action just by creating a free account.

Make money playing games at Swagbucks

2. Become a video game tester.

This! This is what I wanted to do as a kid, and I bet most gamers still want to do this, too.

Being a video game tester is the classic way to earn while playing video games, and most of the bigger game studios have openings for video game testers.

I mean, what could be better than getting paid to literally play the latest video games, spot bugs and glitches, and give your suggestions to game developers?

The position isn’t glamorous, though. In fact, just a few years ago, some companies advertised testing jobs in the $50-$100 per hour range, which was actually part of a scam. That gave the entire industry a bad rap.

Video game testers generally don’t earn that much money. Realistically, you can expect something between $10-$17 per hour.

Also, testing video games can become quite dull: you’ll often be asked to play the same section or level of a game over and over, you rarely get to play games you’re actually interested in, and the hunt for bugs is usually a priority than assessing gameplay or whether it’s even fun to play.

That being said, you’re still getting paid to play all day!

3. Farm for gold.

Farming in-game currency and equipment is another way to earn money from playing video games.

Many MMOs have a farmable in-game currency that players can earn within the game. However, this takes a lot of playing time, and players who can afford it would rather exchange real-life currency for in-game currency rather than play for hours.

Aside from currency, you can play for hours to get equipment, or to have your character level up. Again, these items require hours and hours of playing time, and a number of impatient players who can afford it are willing to pay to get these items without playing all those hours.

Most games, such as World of Warcraft (WoW) actively ban this sort of practice, but some games such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CO:GO) actively allow and even go so far as to promote it.

steam counter strike go

Steam offers an easy way to make money selling items.

Items might be more profitable, often one item can sell for $5 to $20 or more, but getting the drops worth selling takes time and patience. The Steam marketplace makes this sort of item sale very easy indeed.

Games such as Diablo 3 have made it even easier by having the real-life auction system built-in.

Quite frankly, it doesn’t pay much. For instance, WoW gold currently sells for pennies per 1,000 gold which means you would need to farm 300,000 gold to maybe make $100. Maybe.

However, if you’re spending hours playing the game and having fun anyway, this might be a good way to at least get some coins on the side.

4. Create “Let’s Play” videos.

With the rise of YouTube, Twitch, and streaming sites in general, more and more people are watching other people play games.

Let’s Play-style videos can garner hundreds of thousands of views.

You do need to be a talker, though. For instance, Amazon has a rule that you need to be commentating on the video throughout the playtime to be eligible for advertisement earnings. This probably has something to do with the games’ own distribution terms.

Your commentary can be the clincher or deal-breaker. If you’re boring, no one will watch your videos. Be hilarious, have plenty of personality, and people will lap it up and watch you again and again, even if you suck at the game!

To monetize your videos, sign up for advertising networks to earn ad revenue.

Exactly how much can you earn? To give you an idea of the possibilities, Twitch’s top streamers earn over half a million dollars per month.

Of course, you won’t earn that much at the start. But streaming your gameplay regularly can become a steady stream of money.

If this seems to be a good fit for you, look no further than our guide on how to make money on Twitch.

Let's Play style videos

5. Make video tutorials.

This option is perfect if you know a game inside and out.

While some gamers like to watch Let’s Play videos, others want to know how to get past a particularly difficult level in a video game, how to uncover secret rewards, how to unlock secret characters, or simply how to play the game from the perspective of a fellow gamer.

Basically, this is everything one couldn’t learn from the official tutorial of the video game.

Gamers want to watch tutorials from another gamer who is not only knowledgable about the game but also entertaining to watch. Most of all, they’ll listen to someone who genuinely likes the game and enjoys playing it.

To earn money, you can run ads on these videos the same way that you can run ads on your Let’s Play videos.

6. Sell your character.

In MMO’s, building up characters is a large part of the game. Kitting them out in end game gear takes time, effort, and mad skills.

What do you do, then, when you get bored of the character or just want to make some cash?

Why, sell your character, of course!

Be aware, though, that this is likely to be forbidden by most video games’ terms, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still do it.

Places such as PlayerAuctions allow you to offload your character for a profit.

Don’t be dismayed if it backfires on you or if you only get a paltry fee; people only pay for the best of the best when they are gaming the system (pun intended!).

7. Join esports tournaments

The rise in Twitch streaming has brought competitive video gaming into the limelight.

If you want to become famous in the community while bagging some serious, legitimate cash, then esports are the way forward.

The DOTA 2 International 2019 prize pool was a sizable $30 million, while Blizzard’s Hearthstone Championship Tour had a prize pool of $4 million.

The great thing about esports is that it’s open to anyone; you simply prove your worth by beating everyone else!

With that in mind, you need to play, and play a lot! You will need to know your game inside and out even just to have a shot at the prize money.

That’s a lot of unpaid hours just to have a chance at it, so esports is unlikely to pay your household bills unless you can get sponsored.

8. Coach other gamers.

When you know your favorite game inside out, and maybe even joined a tournament or two, why not offer your services as a video game coach?

You’ll want to target gamers who are gunning to be tournament players, so being an established video streamer gives you an advantage, even more so if you have tournament experience.

Having your own website makes it simpler to sell your coaching services, but you can also offer your services on freelancer websites, such as Fiverr.

9. Write Reviews

As a marketer, and frankly not that great of a video game player, writing reviews and opinions appeals to me.

The great thing about reviewing games is that you can choose what games to review and talk about, unlike being a video game tester.

Obviously you still need to have played the game, but you can do it at your own pace and style.

Making money from this method is pretty much like any online business: you sell your own products and services, affiliate with places like Amazon so people can buy the games, and sell advertising space on your website.

If you use video as well then there’s the potential for YouTube earnings too.

Unfortunately, writing reviews has a higher barrier to entry, and it will take some time to gain traction in the community so people can find your content and enjoy and share it.

That being said, this is likely the best way to make a stable, scalable, and profitable business out of all the options listed.

10. Start a Video Game Podcast

Yes, you’re here to make money playing video games, but you can also make some serious cash by simply talking about them as well.

Come up with a unique angle and dust off your microphone. Launching a podcast is easier than ever before and you can combine your love of reading about, talking about, and playing video games all into one show.

A unique angle like Gamers With Jobs or What’s Good Games can help you advance your podcast’s success quickly.

Consider Joining the Industry

You can turn your love of playing video games into a full-time career by going to the other side and working in the computer game industry.

Get started by checking out the career pages of some major companies like EA, Valve, and Blizzard.

Job listings at Valve

Most companies do require some college or even a degree. Experience in the industry is also a plus.

You will have to do some digging for an entry-level position. The best way to get your foot in the door would be to start with an internship and work your way up to a full-time job offering.

I also highly suggest looking through all of the remote positions listed at Flexjobs.

There are positions available from all aspects of game design, from writing the stories to actually writing out the code. I even saw a position listed for a video game guide writer. Take a look through and see if there’s anything in there that might catch your eye.

Can you really make money playing video games?

The bottom line is that your desire to play video games can go hand in hand with making money. But if you do decide to earn money this way, bear in mind that playing video games as a job rather than as a hobby can suck all the fun from it.

If you really enjoy spending long stretches on the couch, you may also want to consider reading my guide on how to make money watching TV.

Do you think you can make money playing video games? Or have you already tried? Share your experiences in the comments below!