How Much Can You Earn Working as an Email Marketing Specialist?

Email marketing is another career path for writers looking for a niche in the wide world of home-based employment. It takes a special kind of skill to be able to write newsletter campaigns. Aside from the e-mail campaign’s goal of promoting a service or product in hopes of a conversion, the specialist must also balance the art of copywriting engaging content, manipulating a particular target market, creating buzz, and generating leads for the business.

It’s a tricky job, but an email marketing specialist is one of the most lucrative work-at-home jobs available for writers today.

Here’s why:

  • 95% of companies that use a marketing automation program take advantage of the benefits of email marketing. (via Regalix)
  • Over 75% of email revenue comes from segmented, targeted emails focused on a particular respondent, instead of one-size-fits-all campaigns. (via DMA)
  • 74% of marketers claim that personalized e-mail campaigns increase customer engagement. (via eConsultancy)
  • Email is 40x more effective at obtaining new customers than Twitter or Facebook. In fact, about 72% people prefer to receive promos via email, compared to 17% who prefer social media. – (via McKinsey & MarketingSherpa)
  • For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI. (via Campaign Monitor)

Companies spend a lot of money in lead generation and use mostly e-mail marketing to acquire targeted leads.

If you’re looking for a career change, or want to explore email marketing as a specialization, continue reading…

Everything You Need to Know about an Email Marketing Job

Email marketing specialists are self-starters. They are exceptionally good at research – from keywords to market research – and back up their email campaigns with solid data. Because email marketing specialists are responsible for solving a particular problem (how to turn leads into buyers, how to add more subscribers, how to encourage people to click an ad, etc.), they must be particularly goal-oriented and juggle several tasks effectively.

As an email marketing specialist, you must have:

  • Top-of-the-line copywriting skills
  • Proven ability to design, launch and monitory email campaigns
  • Ability to interpret email analytics and other relevant data
  • Advanced knowledge of various CRM systems, HTML, CSS, etc.
  • Proficiency in email marketing programs like SalesForce, InfusionSoft, and more
  • Experience with A/B testing

A marketing degree isn’t really a requirement, but can be a plus. If you’re a professional writer switching to this career path, the best way to land this job is to show successful email campaigns as part of your portfolio.

Day-to-Day Tasks of an Email Marketing Specialist

The role of an email marketing specialist involves dozens of small tasks. But they’re all covered under these main categories.

Developing Strategies

  • Content strategy (what every email is about)
  • Campaign calendar (when to send every email)
  • Contact strategy (which target audience receives a particular email or campaign)

2. Creating Campaigns

  • Oversee email design
  • Write engaging content
  • SEO-optimizing links
  • Keeping the campaign’s voice aligned with company’s branding, vision, and sales goals
  • Ensure email campaign’s functionality on mobile and desktop versions
  • Report or fix technical issues related to the campaign

3. Managing Lists

  • Editing contact list throughout the campaign
  • Monitor performance of targeted audience

4. Analyzing Data

  • Analyze campaign performance
  • Identify weakness and strength from past campaigns
  • Create in-depth reports about the email campaign

The day-to-day tasks of an email marketing specialist can vary, particularly if you’re working as a team or alone. Those working as a team member may focus on a specific element of the campaign – such as copywriting or list generation. However, those working alone may need to juggle all tasks on their own to launch an effective email marketing campaign.

How Much Can You Earn from an Email Marketing Career?

Email marketing specialists who are office-based and employed in the U.S. earn an average of $55,000 per year. Senior email marketing specialists (those with over 10 years of experience) receive up to $65,000 annually.

Home-based, full-time specialists can earn $30 to $50 per hour, depending on skills, experience level, and other factors. Salary of freelance email marketing specialists could be higher (if they’re working alone on the campaigns), or lower (if they’re part of a team). Benefits are nonexistent in home-based positions, but in some rare occasions, companies may extend their benefits to remote workers like you.

The Bottom Line

Email marketing is one of the oldest techniques in the book, but companies continue to use it simply because it works. The job outlook of a specialist in this field is high, particularly since no other marketing strategy can compare to the ROI email marketing achieves. There are also a lot of companies hiring freelancers for this role, so if you have mad copywriting skills and the ability to lead successful email campaigns, you can go far in this field and earn a substantial income from the comforts of your own home.

How to Make Money Online with mTurk

Mechanical Turk (or mTurk, for short) is one of the oldest micro job sites around. It’s been around since 2005 and has been providing people with a platform to make extra income online by performing simple tasks. It’s backed by retail giant Amazon, so you’re in good hands.

It’s one of those too-good-to-be-true statements where you can work from the comforts of your home in your boxer shorts, pajamas and fluffy slippers and earn real cash. But unlike other scams online, mTurk is legit and has been paying people on time for easy-to-do tasks for years.

Getting Started with mTurk

Mechanical Turk has two kinds of users – requesters (the people who assign and pay for tasks) and workers (those who will complete the tasks). Requesters are the ones who will accept or reject completed tasks of workers. Amazon doesn’t have a say on this, but mTurk simply provides the platform to connect these two category of users.

To get started completing tasks on Mechanical Turk, you’ll need to create an account. But note that not everyone will be accepted. mTurk has an approval process, which has been notorious for denying some users for no apparent reason, but if you’re lucky to have your application accepted, you can continue filling up your account info. If your application gets rejected, you can try again in a few days.

As a new mTurk worker, you’ll be under 10-day probation with a maximum cap of 100 accepted HITs (Human Intelligence Tasks). All workers must complete at least their first HIT to begin the 10-day count. Once you finish the probationary period, you’ll be given a daily cap of 3,800 accepted HITs.

One of the most important parts of your mTurk account is the dashboard. This is where you’ll see your worker ID, how many HITs have been approved or denied, how much money you’ve made so far, and your entire HIT record.

Note that all workers have to provide their tax details and other personal info like driver’s license number, SSN, etc. If you’re not from the U.S., you have to send mTurk a filled-up W8-BEN form.

All About HITs

The HITs are on a first-come, first-serve basis, but requesters will only give you the HIT if you qualify for it. There’s a qualification tab on every HIT, so it’s best to check it out first. These vary completely depending on the requester, but common qualifications include taking a test, completing a qualification HIT, or “approved HITs greater than 500, 1k, 5k, or 10k+.

These 500, 1k+, 5k+, or 10k+ milestones are important, since your approval HIT rate refers to the number of HITs that have been approved compared to the number of HITs that have been rejected.

Qualification tests pay as little as one cent upon completion, but they are important if you want to turn mTurk into a lucrative full-time career.

You can find three kinds of HITs on the platform:

  1. Data Entry (converting image formats, filling out captcha, etc.)
  2. Surveys (Answer surveys from requesters)
  3. Transcriptions (transcribe content)

Some HITs are grouped in Batches (two or more HITs posted in one HIT). Workers should choose HITs carefully, especially if they’re still in the probationary period, since Amazon can close your account if it sees something wrong with your account.

Some HITs must be completed in just 3 minutes upon acceptance. Others have an hour, a day, several weeks of completion time, but if you miss this time frame, it will be counted as an expired HIT. It’s important to note that workers with high expiration rates won’t be able to qualify for HITs with higher pay.

Scripts and Why You Need Them

You have to understand that at any given time, there are millions of HITs available on mTurk. The great thing about mTurk is that you can filter these HITs according to your needs (such as expiry date, reward, time allotted and more).

New workers should familiarize themselves with the platform first, before taking on HITs. Ideally, those in the probationary period should choose easier HITs.

Once you get the hang of mTurk’s platform, it’s time to use various scripts that would take your turking to the next level.

The three must-have scripts you should install and why you should use them:

  1. Tamper Monkey for Chrome or GreaseMonkey for Firefox – These browser extensions allow you to install all other scripts that will make your turking life manageable.
  2. Turkopticon – Available as a Chrome or Firefox extension, this script lets you see workers’ reviews on requesters. This helps you avoid scam HITs and requesters who have made it difficult for mTurk workers in the past. Requesters listed her are given ratings for 4 factors (rewards, fairness, generosity and communication). Workers would be on the safe side if they choose requesters with over 90% ratings.
  3. MTurk HIT DataBase – Automatically records every single HIT you’ve completed.

There are tons of Mechanical Turk scripts and plugins available for workers to use. You can check out a huge list of them here. Others let you auto-refresh the HIT screen automatically, some makes browsing for HITs more effective by personalizing parameters, others alter you via text or browser. Some scripts are aimed at advanced turkers (such as Scrapper or PANDA).

Whichever scripts you decide to use, these tools would help in increasing your productivity, calculating profits, improving HIT numbers, and providing a history of all your HITs. Simply put, if you wish to earn $500 per week on Mechanical Turk, you have to take advantage of scripts.

How Much Can You Earn from mTurk?

The income potential of mTurk may seem week, since HITs range from cents to dollars, but if you give enough time and work your way up to higher qualifications (10k+ milestones), the payment you’ll receive will definitely increase as well. Many turkers have done this as a side hustle to start, but are now banking on six-figures yearly from doing simple tasks.

Withdrawing money from Amazon requires your SSN and address proof. You can request for Amazon gift cards, or have your earnings transferred to your bank account. Your mTurk funds should be transferred to Amazon Payment on your Amazon account, before it will be withdrawn to your chosen bank. Note that bank transfers take 24 hours.

It’s recommended to transfer your mTurk funds weekly, since Amazon can terminate your account for some reason or another and all income you’ve generated from Mechanical Turk will be lost.

There are tons of resources to increase your mTurk income, such as Reddit (/r/HITsWorthTurkingFor), mTurk List, CloudMeBaby, and mTurk Grind, among others.

The Bottom Line

mTurk is a legitimate platform that lets you earn real money from simple tasks. Earning your way up to higher-earning tasks may seem daunting, but you can always do this on this side and focus on mTurk alone once you’re able to earn higher rewards.

It’s an awesome platform, and if you’re still mulling if you’re going to join or not, don’t. Do it now and reap from future rewards by turking today.

Master Ad Campaigns and Become a Rockstar Social Media Manager

Many companies know the power of social media and marketing their brands through platforms like Facebook can provide quality traffic, leads and sales. If you’re a pro when it comes to social media, you’ve had successful Google ad campaigns in the past and you’re interested in a career change, becoming a home-based, social media manager can be an interesting position for you.

Should You Consider a Job as a Social Media Manager?

Like most jobs, a social media manager position requires special skills that not just anyone can perform. While millennials were born into the social media world, this doesn’t automatically make them the ideal candidates.

Social Media is an Exciting and New World

If you love the challenge of exploring new things from the ground up, social media is the best space for you since it’s still a young ‘industry’ with plenty of potential for growth.

You’re a Social Creature

Not everyone has a knack for talking to people. If you have that trait and you’re confident that you can speak to anyone no matter the age, gender, or affiliation. The job entails a different kind of customer service, since social media makes communication quicker, so you should have what it takes to handle inquiries, orders, or complaints with grace, even while under the pressure.

Use Your Marketing Background

Digital marketers would be perfect for this role, since they’re already in the know about how the internet works in terms of selling a product or service to a specific type of audience.

What you’d find ironic about this job is that although you’d have to be an exceptionally social being online, you’d be working alone in real-life since home-based positions are usually a one-man’s job. However, if you’re planning to apply to an office-based company, you’ll be leading a team of social media experts.

What Do Social Media Managers Do?

A social media manager designs, implements and monitors social media ad campaigns. He/she is responsible for creating objectives, providing visual content (image posts, ad design, etc.), and ensuring the brand voice is reflected on every content published.

The social media manager also handles long-term content and promotion strategy, which means he/she will be keeping a calendar for all the necessary marketing posts, sale announcement, and more.

Ensuring engagement is also a key role, since those social media accounts are made to build relationships of existing and would-be customers. Beyond engagement, the social media manager must also have a conversion strategy in place, so that Facebook, Instagram or Twitter followers can turn into buying customers.

Day-to-day tasks of a social media manager include:

• Craft content for publishing
• Save to Hootsuite (or similar social media management tools) and schedule posts for future publishing
• Conduct surveys, promos and other engaging gimmicks throughout the company’s social media networks
• Ensure the brand’s online presence is healthy
• Oversee design-related content (for profile pictures, ads, thumbnails, Facebook cover, and more)
• Answer messages and posts from customers across the board
• Plan, implement and monitor ad campaigns
• Monitor trends in social media apps, tools, strategies, etc.
• Analyze ad campaign data and analytics
• Create and review marketing reports
• Track and measure benchmarks of all marketing efforts, such as funnels, ads, social media posts, and more
• Coordinate with other social media team members (video, graphic designer, writers) in crafting content

Are You Qualified?

Ideally, a social media manager should have extensive digital marketing experience, superb written communication skills, excellent time management skills, and analytical skills. You would have to be results-driven and keep up-to-date about current marketing trends, social media and everything about monetizing digital content.

When it comes to experience and technical skills, you should have:

• Social media marketing experience
• Content marketing experience
• Experience in leading high-ROI ad campaigns on Google, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc.
• Advanced knowledge in sales funnel marketing
• Expert in testing practices (such as A/B, etc.)
• Facebook Ads Manager certification
• Facebook Power Editor mastery
• Advanced knowledge of interpreting data and analytics

A bachelor’s degree isn’t a major requirement with this position, but you’ll have an edge over your competition if you have a degree in marketing.

The Bottom Line

The social media manager position is relatively new, but thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social media platforms that continue to affect our daily lives, this job is here to stay.

The demand for a social media expert remains high, but those with proven experience in creating and implementing ad campaigns on these platforms have a better future in this field because that’s where the money is. If you’re results-driven and up for a challenging position, the social media manager is a perfect job with a great job outlook.

Take Photos with Your Phone and Sell them at Foap for $5 a Pop

If you have an eye for photography and can quickly identify an interesting subject, scenario, or event, then you better make use of your phone to snap pictures and earn cash on the side. Foap is an Android and iOs app that lets anyone register, upload photos, and sell them for real cash. It was founded in 2012 with its corporate locations found in New York, Sweden and Poland.

Foap serves as a platform for casual photographers to sell their work to companies and brands. Calling itself as “the next wave of stock photography,” Foap also distributes photos through partners, such as Getty Images.

How Does Foap Work?

To get started with Foap, download the free app from either iTunes or Google Play. You’ll also need to create an account using either your e-mail address or Facebook account. You can’t start uploading photos yet though. You need to check out other photos first and rate at least five images with 1 to 5 stars. Once done, upload any photo you think people would find interesting, write photo description, license information, and relevant tags.

For your uploaded photos to be included in the Foap Marketplace, other users must rate your photo until it reaches 2.5-star rating or higher. The website has a rating system in place, wherein higher-rated images are seen more frequently.

The idea seems pretty easy, right? Well, Foap has two customers – the casual photographers who are uploading content into the app, and the companies or other people who need to purchase images. The demand is there. In fact, Foap claims to be partners with brands like Bank of America, Air Asia, Nivea, Absolut Vodka, Pepsi, Volvo Group, HoneyMaid, Heineken, Sony, Mango, Garnier, and more. But do these partnerships translate into earnings?

How Much Can You Earn?

Photos in the marketplace are sold at $10 each, but the money is split 50/50 – $5 goes to Foap and owners of the photos get to keep $5. The only good thing about this is, you can sell the same photo over and over as long as it’s hosted on Foap.

If you join Foap Missions – the company’s version of photo contests – you’ll get a chance to sell your photos to brands that started the mission. Companies often use the photos chosen for marketing campaigns. In return for being chosen, users may receive cash (somewhere from $50 to $500) or rewards, depending on the Mission description.

In order to get paid, you’ll need to cash out earnings before the 15th of the month. You then have to wait until month’s end to receive it via PayPal (No other payout options are available).

Things to Like about Foap

Foap isn’t the most novel idea, but there are several things to like about the app. For example, users do not need to complete a ton of requirements – all you need is a smartphone and photos that follow basic guidelines, and you can upload as much photos as you’d like.

Other notable things to like about Foap include:

  • Mobile in nature – Snap photos and upload, even while on the go
  • Huge community – Because the app is free to use, you can expect thousands of Foap users. This is a particularly great feature, especially for budding photographers who want free exposure of their work. Fans won’t translate to earnings, but it sure can help to get their names out there.
  • Photo contest Missions – The money isn’t all that great (common prize amount is $100), but it’s one way to gain exposure if a popular brand uses your photos for marketing.
  • Learning platform – Foap can be used for market research – what kinds of photos are people interested in? What kinds sell the most? The Foap rating system gives you immediate feedback of your work.

Things NOT to Like about Foap

Foap has a lot of potential, if the company changes these three things:

  1. Rating system – The rating system has received a lot of complaints from users, since it’s basically free-for-all. Your photo may look award-winning and all, but as long as users rate it low, it won’t have a chance to be seen by a wider audience. There has been complaints that users can be competitive and down-rate others with obvious photography skill.
  2. Require plenty of effort – If you’re a phone cam addict who takes over 20 snaps throughout the day, Foap can be a cool platform to showcase your work. It may not be worth the extra effort for people who aren’t fans of using their smartphones for picture-taking.
  3. Price and Prizes – If Foap changes the rating system and more “worthy” users are featured, the company should also change pricing and amount of prizes to attract more brands and budding photographers to the community.

The Bottom Line: Should You Join Foap?

No one can earn enough money and turn Foap earnings into a full-time income. The Foap app is worth checking out if:

1. You’re only after passive income
2. You’re a professional photographer
3. You are willing to spend time and effort uploading photos (one at a time)
4. You excel in a competitive environment

Personally, I think there are better ways to spend your time in order to make money. Click here to see what I recommend most.

FB Freedom Cash System: Is It a Scam?

Facebook has to be one of the most well-known websites on Earth; after all it boasts over 2 billion user accounts with 1.3 billion people logging on daily.

It’s also highly lucrative as many businesses and even individuals make money via the platform, either through the normal method of using Facebooks advertising system or maybe by being “found” through a viral video.

Such popularity also means that it is also leveraged in many unethical and scam systems.

One particular system I came across recently might well be one of those scams: FB Freedom Cash System (also referred to as Facebook on Fire).

FB Freedom Cash System Stage 1

The sales pitch for this system is broken up into two stages.

Stage 1 is designed to get you interested enough to hand over your email address (in order to send you sales emails no doubt).

It starts off by asking you if you’d like to make $300 per day by “fooling around” on Facebook. This sounds amazing as I’m pretty sure that like me you spend at least some of the day browsing FB. It would be awesome to get paid for things like that!

FB Freedom Cash Facebook on Fire 300

This is literally the first few seconds of the video and I bet it got you interested right away! I have a lot of experience looking at various systems and scams online and I know for a fact that there is no system out there that will pay you $300 a day for browsing the web. If you’re very lucky you might get a few cents per hour for it.

The video reinforces this exaggerated claim by saying that $300 bucks is actually the lower end and that you can make $1,000 or more per day with no experience and for less than an hours work a week.

Are your alarm bells ringing yet? If not they should be. Let’s be realistic here, no one can earn $1,000 a day for a few minutes “work” of logging into Facebook.

FB Freedom Cash Facebook on Fire 1000

The 0.0001%?

According to the narrator, Joseph Magnum, he was in a secret meeting between Mark Zuxkerberg and Bill Gates where they explained, and laughed, over how people are missing out on the $2.8 billion that is “buzzing by you” when you’re on Facebook.

FB Freedom Cash Facebook on Fire 1percent

While you can’t rule out that the person behind this was in the same room, I highly doubt they spoke about this. I see this as merely a ploy to make you envious of people with a lot of money.

Skillset

According to the video the only skills you need to make $1,000 a day is:

  • The ability to click a mouse
  • Basic typing skills
  • High speed internet
  • A computer/smartphone

This is BS. While you can make money with just those skills it will be far less than even $300 a day. Let’s face it, people who make a lot of money have a bunch of other skills from networking, to coding, to being able to see trends and ideas, and much more.

The above skillset is good for data entry and that’s about it.

Psychological Tricks

Sales pitches always contain tricks to target you on an emotional or subconscious level and FB Freedom Cash System is not subtle about it.

FB Freedom Cash Facebook on Fire no more work

As well as that it hooks into your dreams of financial freedom: no more debt, or worrying about bills.

While this might not seem like much it’s designed to make you think about your life and how you deserve better, maybe enough to make you angry or frustrated and to lose an important think for a few short seconds: rationality.

If you’re not being rational then you’re more likely to buy into schemes like FB Freedom Cash System.

Free Money

One of the last things about stage 1 is that if you do hand over your email to get to Stage 2, by watching the Stage 2 video you’ll be given $500 cash.

This tactic has been used on countless other scam sites and I’ve never heard of anyone receiving the money so I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.

FB Freedom Cash Facebook on Fire 500 dollars

FB Freedom Cash System Stage 2

Apparently there’s a guarantee that this video, Stage 2, will be the most exciting video I will ever watch.

I’m not sure about that but I’m definitely keen to get my $500!

You Deserve Better

Stage 2 really kicks the psychological tricks into overdrive, and covers a wide base. Apparently this system is for you if:

  • You no longer want a boss who doesn’t care about you
  • You’re in a debt spiral from hell
  • You’re behind on bills
  • Your work-life balance is slanted towards work
  • If you want to travel whenever and wherever you want
  • If you want to give your spouse gifts
  • If you want a brand new car
  • If you want to pay off your mortgage

These items cover pretty much anyone watching the video!

The Rags to Riches Story

Every sales pitch needs a good story and if the person happens to go from poor to rich as a result of using the system being sold, all the better!

In this case Joseph Magnum was broke, in debt to the tune of $30k and had failed at making money online 32 times.

He was then serving as wait staff at the Tech Crunch after party where he heard Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg in a heated argument. He placed his phone on the floor and recorded the conversation.

Apparently the recording led to him discovering a loophole that made him rich!

Yeah right.

Proof of Earnings

According to the screenshots provided by the narrator, this system has made him over $11 million dollars.

This proof though is no such thing as any screen shot can be edited, even directly on the screen if you know how.

FB Freedom Cash Facebook on Fire 11 million

There is literally no actual evidence this loop hole in Facebook exists or that it can be used to make money.

Testimonials

Social proof, that is other people telling you good things about a product, is a popular way to decide whether to buy something or not. After all if real people say it’s good, then that has more weight to it over a marketer telling you it’s good.

For FB Freedom Cash System uses video testimonials to show off how good it is. It’s a shame that these are all fake, bought for video testimonials!

FB Freedom Cash Facebook on Fire fake testimonials

The 100

Apparently only 100 people will get access to this system, which is BS as it’s obviously a scam system so why would they limit it to 100 sales?

$500

Near the end of the video you’re finally told how you will get you free $500!

FB Freedom Cash Facebook on Fire 500 redeem

Unfortunately it’s not cash in hand. It’s to do with the guarantee. If you don’t make $500 in 60 days, the person behind it will give you $500 dollars so long as you “show you made a fair effort”.

Not only did they lie in saying you would get $500 just for watching but the terms are very loose, and I’m pretty sure no one will ever get $500 as the “fair effort” is so vaguely worded.

A Lack of Terms

Not only is the $500 vaguely worded there’s no actual written terms, guarantee, disclaimer or company information.

Putting your money into a system like this will be basically like throwing it in the garbage.

Security? What Security?

Oh and just to top it off, the actual purchase page where you’ll be adding your credit card details has zero security.

FB Freedom Cash Facebook on Fire no security

This is pretty bad as not only will you have to hope that the people taking your details won’t you blind, but also that other hackers and miscreants won’t get that data too!

The Bottom Line

FB Freedom Cash System is, in my opinion, a scam. They lie from the start, offer false hope and a lot of exaggeration.

Even if their system was at least reasonable, it’s completely unlikely that you will make the sort of money promised with the ease they say you can.

As such I have no option but to recommend you avoid FB Freedom Cash System!

5 Reasons Why You Should Work-from-Home as a Lead Generation Specialist

In the B2B world, the work of a lead generation specialist makes a whole lot of difference in ensuring people who are interested in your products reach your website. It isn’t as simple as getting traffic to the site from thousands of people around the world.

Lead generation specialists narrow down quality leads from a massive group of people, allowing businesses to prioritize on marketing to guaranteed buyers, instead of freebie-seekers. So if you have 100,000 leads and a lead generation specialist works his magic with this list, businesses can expect 10,000 to 20,000 highly-targeted leads that are more likely to buy or subscribe to what your company is offering.

If you have a solid marketing background with lead generation as a specialization, here are 5 reasons you should go solo and offer your services to companies straight from your home office:

1. The Demand to Outsource is on the Rise

In a report by Brighttalk.com, over 61% of B2B companies state that the lack of time, staff and funding are the biggest obstacles they face when it comes to lead generation.

Companies are aware of the advantages an exceptionally-delivered lead generation can bring to their brands, and see outsourcing as a solution to their challenges. B2B companies outsource lead generation so that their sales team can focus on other more important tasks and act on quality leads that have been obtained by the third-party specialist or lead generation company.

In addition, companies can allocate budget properly, since they can control the number of qualified leads they want to “order” every month and pay only for the leads received.

While the demand is high, freelance lead generation specialists should take advantage of the opportunities available.

2. Experiment Lead Generation Techniques

If you’re an employee working with a lead generation team, your tasks are bound to what you are assigned to do. When you decide to go freelance, you can create your own lead generation campaign with a mix of content development, social media, advertising, and cold calling, among other lead generation techniques.

You can even offer lead generation packages and relevant services such as database management, market classification, data analysis, content syndication and lease lead generation infrastructure.

3. Use a Wide Range of Software

One of the cool things about being the boss of your own career is that you can use whatever lead generation software you feel a campaign requires. From the industry-standards InfusionSoft, Marketo and HubSpot to not-so-popular but still useful programs like LeadPages, Fyrebox, from outbound lead generation software like Datanyze and BuiltWith to data verification software, you are truly in control of how you can achieve your goals.

Because your lead generation efforts won’t be constrained by a company’s licensed software, you’ll be able to mix and match programs, maximizing the potential of every software available, instead of just using an all-in-one marketing tool.

4. High Earning Potential

As Australia-based lead generation specialist Tracie Dickson claims on her blog, she only takes in 5 clients at a time, but makes a huge income while working at home. In general, lead generation specialists who are employed with a company earn around $40,000 per year.

If your lead generation skills are advanced with over 10 years of experience in the marketing industry, there’s a chance that you’ll earn much more per annum when you’re working from home. Imagine handling two to three clients who will pay you $3,500/month. That’s a whopping $10,500/month or $126,000 per year.

Do note that since there will be no company to shoulder hardware and software expenses that may incur from performing various lead-generating tasks; you have to take these things into consideration.

5. Benefit from a Work-from-Home Lifestyle

Working a full time job at home is hard, unless you live alone, live on delivery food, and have help with household chores. It can be extremely challenging if you live in a house with kids below the ages of 5, and juggle cooking with generating leads.

But the benefits of a work-from-home lifestyle is worth all the trouble, since you’ll be able to kiss your kids anytime you feel stressed, or travel with the entire family while working on your laptop.

The Bottom Line

Anyone with a comprehensive marketing background can dive into the world of lead generation, but those who have specialized in internet marketing have more chances to become successful in this field.

Lead generation specialist is definitely a new type of job, but the demand for this role continues to rise. As long as lead generation specialists provide quality leads that could help companies save time, money and resources, companies will prefer to outsource the job and benefit from a well-researched and well-analyzed group of pre-qualified leads that would make the company’s sales funnels and marketing efforts more efficient.

Got an eBook? Double Your Money by Turning it into an Audiobook

Audiobooks are voice-recorded audio files that you can listen to while on-the-go. It is becoming more popular than ebooks because of today’s fast-paced lives. In fact, audiobooks are the fastest growing segment of publishing and estimated to be a $3.5 billion industry (as of December 2016).

If you’re an eBook author or planning to be one, do you know that turning an eBook into an audiobook can bring in more cash? Many people are doing it; some even go straight to audiobook format without writing an eBook first. And here’s why audiobooks can be lucrative:

Less competition

The ebook industry is packed with authors from all corners of the world. And tons of new authors are releasing ebooks on a daily basis. Because audiobooks require a bit of technical skill, money for software, and someone to narrate for you (if you don’t have that smooth, pleasing-to-the-ears voice), authors prefer ebooks instead (since it only requires a word-processing program and that’s it).

New generations of learners

Millennials are a tech-savvy generation, which means they take advantage of every possible technology that could make their lives easier. This extends to learning new things because audiobooks give them an easy access to knowledge.

Libraries make them available

With partnerships from Overdrive and other technology and publishing companies, libraries are making audiobooks readily available to the masses.

The cool thing about growing sub-niches like audiobooks is that new service providers pop up as well. For example, a company like Archangel Ink can produce an audiobook for you for about $25 for every 1,000 recorded words. Audiobook narrator freelancers are also available on Fiverr and other micro job sites with the possibility of splitting royalty fees as payment.

How Much Money can an Author Make with Audiobooks?

Sales of audiobooks are much lower than ebook prices. Those who have been in the ebook- and audiobook-selling business report that their audiobook sales are about 10% to 20% of their ebook sales. So if you’re bringing in $1,500 a month in ebook sales, you could expect to make an extra $150 to $300 in audiobook sales.

Of course, the amount would vary significantly due to various factors, such as following of the author’s blog, how popular the audiobooks’ topic is, and if the author already had success with other audiobooks (such as an installment of an audiobook series).

If you’re an Audible affiliate and you have a massive subscriber’s list, you can earn more by inviting your followers to listen to your audiobook without charge. They simply have to sign-up for a free 30-day Audible trial, listen to your book and you earn $10 for every listener. If one of them converts into a paid Audible member, you’ll receive $25 instead of $10.

5 Things to Consider Before You Dive In

1. Niche

Because of the nature of audiobooks, not every ebook can be converted into audio versions successfully. Books that rely on visuals, such as recipe cookbooks, many not sell as much as fiction. If you’re still on the ebook writing stage, various genres have been success over the years, and you could take a slice of the pie there. These include action or adventure, fantasy, fiction, How-To’s, and reviews, among others.

2. Book Length

The length of an ebook is one of the determining factors most authors face when deciding audiobook production, since the longer your book, the longer narration it would require, and the higher investment you’d need.

3. Investment Costs

In general, a 50,000-word ebook can be converted into a 40-hour audiobook. If you’re confident about your speaking voice, all you need is software to record your voice and a quality microphone. If you don’t have a decent speaking voice and would rather hire someone to narrate the ebook for you, such a service would cost per hour or per page. Special requests, such as British accent or female voice, may also affect the cost of narration.

4. Audiobook Pricing

Ebooks rely on agency pricing, which means authors have no say in offering discounts or promotions. The best thing about audiobooks is that authors have flexibility when it comes to pricing their products, so they could give huge discounts to bring in customers, or price it high when demand increases.

5. Growth Limitations

The problem with audiobooks is that review websites that focus on audiobooks are only a handful. Ebook review sites are plenty and helps drive sales to ebooks and even the ebook platform it is hosted.

The Bottom Line

Now that you are introduced to the world of audiobooks, it’s up to you to add another passive income to your portfolio. You may just earn as little as $5 per audiobook, but if you sold one a day, that’s about an extra $150/month or $1,800/year.

Earn Cash on the Side by Selling Designs at Print on Demand Sites

If you have a knack for designing catchy t-shirt designs, handbags, hoodies, mugs, pillows, phone covers and other products, there’s a very special place on the internet for you. It’s called Print On Demand (PoD) niche, and there are at least 10 websites that offer useful tools for designers like you to begin selling designs on your own shop. This industry has been around for decades, but has slowly creeped into the ecommerce industry, and is now here to stay.

5 Reasons to Join Print-on-Demand Sites

The Print-on-Demand websites provide a powerful platform for designers without a reputable name yet, or their own store to house their fruits of labor. But there are a couple of reasons why designers have stayed with PoD sites for years, even if creating their own store is a viable option. Here’s why:

1. Buyers Visit PoD Sites Directly

Traffic is one of the hardest things to obtain with having your own website. PoD sites know this. Designers are aware of this. Letting the PoD site handle marketing and traffic makes a lot of sense, particularly for new designers without capital.

2. No Need to Buy Printing Equipment

The problem with t-shirt manufacturing is that you’d need capital to buy printing equipment. But since PoD sites take care of producing the designs for you, you can focus on creating designs for your shop and never worry about broken machine parts, paint requirements, and a whole lot more.

3. PoD Sites’ Fees are Fair

Most PoD sites don’t ask for up-front payments, but earn from every item sold. Designers have some control on how items are priced, and they take home royalties for every one of their designs sold.

4. No Need to Find Distributors and Freight Services

Another benefit of joining PoD sites is that designers don’t need to find distributors of blank shirts, mugs, or other products anymore. They’re also not responsible for shipping the items to customers, which removes the need to find freight/shipping companies completely.

5. Huge Support from a Community of Artists

Every designer on PoD sites is part of huge community of fellow artists hoping to earn extra cash from their designs. What’s cool about this environment is that creatives support other creatives to make their PoD a great experience as possible.

Top 7 Print-on-Demand Sites for Designers

If you’re new to the world of POD sites, and don’t know where to go, here are the top 7 most popular websites that could provide you with a platform for selling your designs.

1. Zazzle

Zazzle is a true-blue American online success story, wherein father Robert Beaver and sons Bobby and Jeffrey Beaver launched the website in 2005 from their garage. Today, Zazzle is the most popular POD site that attracts over 30 millions of designers and customers a month.

What makes Zazzle Stand Out: The company gives sellers tons of customization options. In the marketplace, you’ll find designers who sell art as is, and makers who can personalize products for buyers. Products ordered are shipped within 24 hours, which is always a plus for buyers.

Earning Potential: Royalties range from 5 to 99 percent on top of Zazzle’s base prices. And because Zazzle offers buyers numerous ways to customize products, designers also earn extra whenever buyers opt for a personalized version.

2. DeviantArt

DeviantArt is one of the oldest communities of online creatives. Every member is allowed to post their art and share their virtual “galleries” to the world. It is more of a social network of artists who create designs, animations, videos, paintings, and more.

What makes DeviantArt Stand Out: The DeviantArt Print Service isn’t as popular as other PODs on this list because the website didn’t originally offer this feature. But if you’re a popular DeviantArt member and want to capitalize on your work, this platform is the way to go.

Earning Potential: Arists are paid 20% of the item’s retail price. Earnings would depend on the type of products designers put on sale.

3. CaféPress

Founded in 1999, this website was the ultimate go-to POD site before it turned off its own designers after changes in the pricing structure and terms weren’t received well. The company is still up and running, has fully recovered from the backlash and continues to offer an excellent POD platform to designers.

What makes CafePress Stand Out: Buyers flock to CafePress for customized products because the pricing offered is lowered compared to other POD sites.

Earning Potential: There’s two places you could sell on Café Press – the marketplace (where commissions are default at 10%), or your own CaféPress-hosted store (which offers more flexibility in terms of commissions and offer volume bonuses).

4. Redbubble

Launched in 2004, this Australian-based POD site is one of the most-visited POD websites today. Redbubble has mastered the industry to a T – they even provide returns to unhappy customers (an uncommon practice of POD sites due to the customized nature of products).

What makes Redbubble Stand Out: The categories offered on the store are a lot, from the typical clothing and paper products, to super-niche items like duvet covers (in king-sized!). Aside from direct bank account deposits, commissions of designers can also be sent via PayPal (if that’s something you prefer).

Earning Potential: Redbubble lets designers choose the percentage of their royalties. So if an item’s base price (the amount of production of the item) is $30 CAD, and designers set a 30% makrup on their designs, they earn a $6 CAD commission every time someone buys the $36 CAD (retail price) item.

5. Design by Humans

This website first operated in July 2017 and has since been an interesting platform for both designers and consumers alike. It is one of the few POD business models that has landed licenses from major brands like Star Wars and Marvel.

What makes Design by Humans Stand Out: The company offers design contests (for $1,000 prize a pop) and features an artist’s work on “Shirt of the Day” for a $1,000 award. Design by Humans also has a strong social media presence, which brings in traffic to designer’s stores organically.

Earning Potential: Royalties are fixed from as low as 50 cents for stickers, and as high as $8 for framed artwork. You can check detailed pricing here.

6. Threadless

The company started operating in 2000 and is one of the best examples of successful crowdsourcing. Artists create the designs (about 1,000 are submitted weekly) and an online community gets to vote which designs they want featured. Threadless then weighs the votes, community feedback and their own reviews, then chooses 10 designs to be printed on t-shirts, other types of clothing, and various other products.

What makes Threadless Stand Out: Aside from the unique crowdsourcing model, this POD site also lets artists create their own stores.

Earning Potential: Artists who are chosen for the week’s prints do not receive cash, but are given $250 Threadless gift cards and 20% of the royalties based on net profits. When that same design gets reprinted, the artist receives an extra $500. When it comes to designer’s own store, they are free to price their designs they see fit, and keep profit minus base cost.

Many successful designers join 3 or more sites and house their designs on those POD websites simultaneously to increase potential royalties. Note that other POD sites put restrictions on uploading the designs you’ve submitted on their site to other similar POD sites.

Wrap Up

There’s money to be made in the POD business. And some even turn this side gig into a full-time career. Take Michael Essek as an example, who uploaded his first design on Redbubble in 2014 and earned $50 from his first month, then jumped to a whopping $7,000 by July 2016 with over 1,000 designs across various POD sites.

If you want to replicate his success, there’s nothing special you could do but to start designing, let your creativity speak for your work, and if you’re lucky, turn this into a lucrative career.

Make Money Writing & Selling Educational Courses on Udemy

If you have a knack for writing and you are exceptionally knowledgeable with a particular topic, program, or anything under the sun, one interesting work-from-home opportunity is to create an educational course and sell it on Udemy.

Udemy launched in 2010 by Turkey-based, self-taught International Math Olympiad Erin Bali. It’s a marketplace where teachers sell courses that students from all over the world could purchase and learn from. There’s no teaching requirement needed, as long as you’re offering something educational, your course would likely be accepted.

Benefits of Using Udemy

Many critics of Udemy claim that you can earn more from selling a course on your own website. Many site owners have done it with free eBooks, so why can’t you?

Here’s why Udemy would be useful:

• You don’t have your own website.
• You want to sell courses as soon as you’ve finished writing them.
• Your name isn’t recognized in your field.
• You don’t have a following on social media.
• You’re not financially capable of marketing your course.
• Udemy’s Affiliate marketing program (via LinkShare) adds traffic to your course.

Udemy gained 250k users in its first 3 years since launching. Today, the Udemy site is home to 42,000+ courses and receives 500,000+ unique visitors every month. With this in mind, Udemy is worth a look if you’re not sure how to sell your course online. Plus, the course gets free traffic (without investing a cent for marketing), or building a reputation (and following) online.

How Much Can a Course Author Earn from Udemy?

Udemy doesn’t ask teachers a fee for creating a course. Selling the course, however, is a different matter.

Since April 2016, all Udemy courses are required to have a price tag of $20 to $50 each. However, don’t expect the entire $20 for your $20 course whenever a copy is sold. Udemy is known to run promotions for students that discount courses for up to 50% off. Plus, Udemy also takes a cut on the sale, depending on various scenarios wherein the course was sold.

As you can see from the chart above, depending on how a student found out about your course that led to him/her buying it from Udemy, revenues will vary from 25% to 97%.

It’s important to note that every course can be sold multiple times, so if you make a career into crafting and selling courses (that you know would sell like hotcakes), Udemy can really provide passive income.

However, if you’re planning to release just one course, Udemy may not be the best platform for you.

How to Take Advantage of Udemy’s System

If you’re a researcher, writer, teacher, internet marketer, or any similar professional who would want to earn up to a whopping $1.6 million a year like the 10 teachers described by Udemy’s VP of Marketing Dinesh Thirupuvanam, here’s how:

1. Market Research

What’s cool about Udemy is that as soon as you reach the website, you’ll get to check out the top-selling courses, and highest-rated instructors. Perform market research from the data provided there. What categories do students choose the most? Which topics are in-demand? List all of the highest-selling courses from Udemy and indicate which categories they’re under.

2. Competition Research

From the list you gathered, choose at least 5 courses you find interesting. If you can, purchase some of the courses and see why they’re so popular. Is the instructor a reputable name within his/her niche? Identify what makes the course special. Did it reveal a unique idea? Did it teach a highly-technical subject? Determine what parts of the course lack information, and how it could generally be improved.

3. Out-Teach Them With Your Course

Once you’ve identified the category you want to attack, find a sub-niche of the course you took inspiration from, and create an entirely different course with better information, a more interesting method of teaching (either through stories, visuals, or more), and out-teach the highest-selling course with your own version. Of course, your goal is to ultimately provide a better learning experience to students who will purchase your course.

4. Market Your Course

While Udemy already has a significant amount of organic traffic, you should rely on this alone. Spend time and effort in marketing your course via social media, word-of-mouth, e-mail campaigns, your own website/blog, or even paid ads.

5. Keep the Momentum Going

If your course lands the front page, and sales begin to dwindle, offer promotions or discounts to keep the momentum going.

The Bottom Line

Udemy’s revenue-sharing model can be frustrating some people, but if you’re planning to create two or more courses within in-demand niches, the effort might be worth the sale revenues you’ll receive.

Udemy can be a useful platform to people who want their courses published or sold. Even big-named celebrities like “Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof are selling courses on Udemy. But what’s great about Udemy is that it lets even the small guys take a piece of the learning pie, share their knowledge to other people, and earn passive income in return.

Top 5 Micro Jobs Websites: Earn Real Money Online by Completing Simple Tasks

Need extra cash? The Internet has given us a ton of opportunities to earn real money online, and micro jobs are perfect for those looking for quick, easy-to-do tasks in exchange for cash.

Micro jobs have been available since the World War II, when men’s jobs were filled by housewives to survive the war, but the Internet changed how people search for temporary jobs. Today, micro jobs can be anything from signing up to websites, reading emails, sharing Facebook posts, watching videos, researching stuff online, classifying products, and more.

How Much Can I Earn?

Pay rates for micro jobs vary significantly – some tasks take less than 5 seconds to finish but pay only 50 cents, while others pay $4 for every sign-up to a program. The fees are reasonable, considering most jobs are part time, require no other skill except for basic computing and Internet knowledge, and does not require any kind of obligation after the task is done.

Most micro job sites pay in cash (either via bank account or PayPal), but some pay in gift cards, reward points, services, or bitcoins. Payment is often advertised in US dollars, but it can automatically be converted into your local currency when paid through PayPal.

The cool thing about micro jobs is that you can do as little or as many tasks as you can, which means the earning potential depends totally on you. Some people even use micro job sites to get as much cash as they would doing minimum-wage work.

These jobs are ideal for students, homemakers, and anyone else looking for a way to earn without full-time commitment. Note that since these jobs are not fulltime and no contract will be signed, micro jobs also don’t pay benefits.

Top 5 Micro Job Websites

If you’re ready to start, there are hundreds of micro job sites operating online. But here are the top 5 we recommend the most:

1. Swagbucks

Swagbucks is free to join and gives you $5 just for signing up. You can earn SwagBucks (its virtual currency) by doing surveys, shopping, or playing games. The SwagBucks you collect are redeemable for coupons, gift cards, and more.

2. Mturk

Short for Mechanical Turk, Mturk is micro jobs platform that’s been around since 2005. What makes Mturk automatically attractive is that it is back by retail giant Amazon and is available to use free in over 190 countries. Requesters post jobs called HITs (human intelligence tasks), workers complete them and submit proof of completion, and then workers get paid. You can either receive Amazon gift cards, or cash via bank deposit or Amazon payment account. Plus, there’s no minimum withdrawal amount, so you can collect payment anytime you want.

We’ll talk about Mturk more in the future, so watch out for that post.

3. Clickworker

Launched in 2005, Clickworker has gained over 700k workers from 130+ countries. This website is free to join, but it’s more for people who have been up-to-date with online jobs for a while. Jobs range from easy (surveys, product categorization, etc.), to somewhat hard (video analysis, search relevance), or those that require specific skills (translation, competition research). Anyone can choose assignments to work on, but for those that require special skills, you’ll need to take assessments to prove your qualification. Payment is sent weekly from Wednesdays to Fridays with a minimum withdrawal amount of $5.

4. Fivesquids

If you’re in the UK, check out this website that provides a platform similar to Fiverr. Unlike other micro jobs sites on this list, the freelancer is the one who posts the tasks they could provide, and price his/her services somewhere between £5 and £50. Anything goes in this site – from voiceover gigs to animation, translation and writing, and everything fun and cheeky. Fivesquids pay in Pounds via PayPal with 2% or £1 fee.

5. Microworkers

Ideal for those with a marketing background or extensive knowledge in IM, Microworkers is a platform that connects employers to workers who are willing to fulfill small, quick, tasks for cash. The tasks include transcription, data matching/labeling/tagging, data mining, content evaluation, research studies, surveys, and more. Points are given to members every task is completed, which gives you an edge over other members when applying for future micro jobs. Microworkers is free and anyone from around the world could join.

The Bottom Line

Note that micro jobs aren’t for everyone. While the tasks involved sounds easy to do, remember that hundreds of people are eager to earn some cash as well, which means there could be plenty of competition for each task posted. If you know how to market yourself and love the challenge of competing with others, then start working on micro jobs and earn as much cash as you can.

Work-at-Home Job Spotlight: Mobile App Developer

A mobile app developer is a relatively new career that is offered as a work-at-home position, but it is one of the most in-demand jobs available today.

Mobile app development wasn’t even a term several years ago, although the idea had been introduced in the summer of 1983 by the late, great Steve Jobs. During a conference speech in Aspen, Jobs was still developing the first Mac, and he predicted a new digital distribution system where software could be downloaded over phone lines. He saw the future of apps and app stores, about 25 years before launching the Apple App Store officially.

If you’re interested in a career as a mobile app developer, read this guide to get you started.

3 Characteristics of an Ideal Mobile App Developer

  1. Up for a challenge – The world of mobile app development involves plenty of studying. Because technology is always evolving and every platform requires knowledge of a particular language and relevant technical skills, you’re likely to be researching for solutions throughout the app development process. If you’re always up for a challenge, this career could be potentially life-changing.
  2. Leader personality – While there are thousands of mobile apps already developed, there are more apps that haven’t been invented yet. If you are attracted to the idea of creating something new, and would like to become an innovator in a specific niche.
  3. Flexible – As a mobile app developer, your job might include traveling to attend conferences, learning specific skills at a third-party company, and communicating with other professionals in the field.

Mobile App Developer Job Requirements

Like most careers in IT, a mobile app developer job requires more than just a diploma. It’s a career that entails continuous learning.

  • Degree – Most employers require mobile app developers to possess at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Software Engineering, or a similar discipline. There are a few colleges that already offer Mobile App Development courses, but it is still rare. If you already have such degrees, you can study online training programs to become a Certified iOS App Developer or Certified Android App Developer.
  • Certifications – If you want to have an edge over your competition, obtain certifications such as OCA (Oracle Certified Associate), OCP (Oracle Certified Professional) or CompTIA Mobile App Security+.
  • Programming Language – Mobile apps are written in various programming languages such as Java, JavaScript, C, C++, C#, Objective C, SQL, Python, iOs, Ruby on Rails, and more. In this field, the language used in an app depends on the platform (such as Android, iOs) it is being created for. As such, you should be an expert in at least 2 or more programming languages.
  • Familiarity with Mobile App Development Platforms – In late 2016, TechWorld published the most popular mobile app development platforms being used in the market. Learning as many platforms as possible from that list helps in bagging your dream job.

Of course, these requirements would vary depending on what platform (iOs or Android) you plan to master, or which company you’d like to work for.

Tasks of a Mobile App Developer

Simply put, a mobile app developer turns an idea (such as creating a mobile-friendly program that could track how many 8-ounch glasses of water a person has consumed in a day) into a working app that can be installed on a smartphone. The job of a mobile app developer is to write the program, test, tweak the program, launch the app, and fix possible issues found after release.

The tasks assigned to a mobile app developer depend on:

  • The employer – If you’re a work-at-home freelance developer, you’re mostly going to work on it alone, with the instructions given to you by a client. If you’re employed with a company, it is often a team-based project and your tasks could vary depending on what parts of the app development is assigned to you.
  • Your skills and expertise – Of course, the task a mobile app developer performs would rely largely on the platform/OS and programming language you know.

Salary & Outlook as a Mobile App Developer

Full-time, office-based mobile app developers can earn anywhere from $90,000 to $125,000 per year. As a freelancer, mobile app developers can earn anywhere from $20 to $100 per hour, or $700 to $5,000 per project. Upwork, one of the biggest freelancing job board online, explains that “rates of platform-specific (iOs-only or Android-only) developers vary significantly”

With almost 5 billion mobile phone users around the world, the demand for mobile app continues to grow. Every company, big or small, wants its own app. Because of the rapid growth in interest, there are plenty of opportunities for mobile app developers, even those who prefer to work at home and go the freelance route.

It is expected that by 2020, the jobs available for mobile app developers would reach up to 300,000, but as of 2017, the demand for developers exceed the supply. Plus, global mobile app store gross revenue is expected to exceed $101 billion in 2020.

This job outlook means that if you have the skills and knowledge to pursue this career, it is the best time to do it now. Work-at-home mobile app development freelancers would fit perfectly in this field because you’ll be able to specialize in a particular programming language or platform, as you work your way up to handle more complex projects.

10 Things Sellers Could Learn from Dropshipping Horror Stories

Dropshipping can be a lucrative ecommerce model for sellers who don’t have much capital to start a business from scratch. What makes this model different than traditional online stores is that sellers don’t have to stock products in a rented warehouse, handle inventory, and process shipments. Sounds easy, right?

Dropshipping is actually not easy, which is why many people fail thinking that this ecommerce model can work with a “set-and-forget” method. Fortunately, many dropshipping stores do perform pretty well, despite having fierce competition. If you’re planning to open an online dropshipping store, here are 10 things you can learn from dropshipping horror stories:

1. eBay and Amazon Can Ban You Anytime

If you’re planning to sell products of a dropshipper/wholesaler/distributor via Amazon, eBay, or any other platforms, you don’t have much control about their policies. This means if a buyer reports you, or you receive negative feedback, the platform could ban your account anytime… and you can’t do anything about it. Some sellers even report disputing issues for months to years, but to no avail.

Solution:

Get a domain name, hosting provider, and build your own store. This isn’t the easiest solution, since you’ll be starting from scratch and there’s a ton of work involved, from uploading products to attracting site visitors, but it is worth it because you have 100% control over your store.

2. PayPal Shuts Your Account Down

PayPal is the most popular payment gateway, but it can be a nightmare once it decides you’re selling fraudulent items or that your activity is “unusual” (receiving $5,000, after weeks of just $200/day). When this happens, PayPal holds payment for up to 21 days “to make sure you’d have enough funds to cover for future refunds/claims.”

Solution:

Unfortunately, no payment gateway supports dropshipping. PayPal tolerates it, but others (like Stripe) ban it completely. Many store owners who have had success in dropshipping recommend not telling PayPal or Stripe that your store follows a dropshipping model. You do have to make sure your suppliers have prompt delivery, which in turn, lets you avoid chargebacks and keep your PayPal account in good standing.

3. Not-as-Described or Damaged Items

This can be potentially damaging to the reputation of your online store, since damaged or not-as-described items usually lead to negative reviews or refunds.

Solution:

Not-as-described items shouldn’t have been a problem if you bought samples of products you’re selling during product research. However, if the issue presents itself, there’s nothing left to do but to apologize and make it right. If the buyer really wants the item and is willing to wait, you need to check with your supplier and ask them to ship out a replacement. If not, send a refund immediately.

4. Shipping Delays

Most dropshipping horror stories are about delays in shipment. Because you don’t have control over inventory and shipping methods, you are at the mercy of your supplier and the potential wrath of your customer who is awaiting the delivery of his/her product.

Solution:

When shopping around for suppliers, it is important that you try out for yourself how fast they process orders and ship items out. Learn everything you can about their fulfillment, handling and delivery processes. Most suppliers process orders within 24 hours. The only way to avoid this problem is to find reliable suppliers with reliable delivery options.

5. Problematic Order Fulfillment and Returns

Sometimes, your customers may receive the wrong item or wrong quantity. If this happens, you can’t pass the blame to your supplier. You will always be responsible for communication with both the supplier and your customer. Your store’s reputation will always be the one to suffer from problematic orders.

Solution:

One surefire way of avoiding fulfillment issues is to order your top 5 selling products in advance so you could store them and ship items out locally. If capital is a problem, you can be upfront with your target market and declare that you source products from overseas and returns could take weeks. This way, customers wouldn’t feel trapped when order errors occur, or an item can’t be replaced quickly.

6. Bad Dropshipping Partners

The most important aspect of any dropshipping business model is having reliable partners. After all, the dropshipper stocks and ships the product you’re selling. If you partnered with unreliable dropshippers, you could lose money with refunds, chargebacks, or a ban on the platform you’re using. Such is the case of Vanessa, whose highly-rated eBay store got affected by a single customer after orders were delayed for weeks.

Solution:

Dig deep in finding reputable dropshipping partners. Sometimes, smaller obscure wholesalers take customer service more seriously than those that are widely-known. When choosing dropshipping partners, check if they offer:

• Access to real-time feed of their inventory
• Fair return and warranty policies
• Multiple shipping providers
• Tracking codes of shipment
• English-speaking customer representatives
• Sample orders (so you could check fulfillment speed)

In addition, work with multiple dropshipping partners, so you have an option to streamline order routing.

7. My Dropshipping Store Doesn’t Have Visitors

The problem with creating a store from scratch is the work involved in directing traffic to the site. It isn’t easy, but it’s possible. As such, don’t expect to make a sale at the launch of your store; you need to give months of leeway for organic traffic to pour in.

Solution:

Don’t be fooled by the “set-and-forget” statements you see when people encourage others to use the dropshipping business model. While passive income is definitely possible with a dropshipping store, you have to work on search engine optimization, automation of fulfillment, and other tasks involved in running the online store.

Proper training will go a long way as well. Proven Amazon Course has been my go-to recommendation on how to leverage the power of Amazon to build a successful dropshipping business.

8. Angry E-mail from Customers

Those new to the ecommerce business can be discouraged by complaints and angry emails from customers. Unfortunately, this is normal in this industry. You can’t please every one of your customers.

Solution:

If the customer is angry about delays, wrong item received, or other issues that is clearly your supplier’s fault, apologize and try to fix the problem by either a refund, replacement, or acquiring the item from another source. However, if the customer is at fault, learn how you could protect your store. Check how this eBay seller stood her ground when a customer wanted a refund from a damaged item, but didn’t want to ship it back.

9. Out-of-Stock Items

Suppliers run out-of-stock or items get discontinued completely and you’re left scrambling where to find a particular item your customer just ordered. This happens a lot in the dropshipping business and it is often beyond your control.

Solution:

Call your customer about the item’s status. Even if it is harder for you, customers would appreciate calls than e-mails. If you could source an item from another supplier, check availability of that item. Sometimes, customers may agree to alternatives, so research a similar product from your suppliers and recommend it to your customer. Know that if you don’t communicate these issues with your customer, it could lead to negative ratings or worse, chargebacks from the payment gateway your customer used.

10. Selling for a loss

Many people enter this industry aware that dropshipping businesses have a low profit margin, but selling for a loss is problematic, since you’ve built this business to earn money (and not lose more). Unfortunately, these things happen more commonly to online stores that follow the dropshipping model. The main reason for this is due to the number of hands products go through before it reaches the customer.

Solution:

You can either sell products that are priced above $100, or scale up your business to sell more items (even they’re all priced below $10). This is one of the most important decisions of a dropshipping store because you don’t have the luxury of competing on price. In addition, you’d have to be hands-on with customer service – ensure that products they receive are as-described, in good condition, packaged well, and arrived on time – to earn their trust and increase repeat business.

The Bottom Line

Like any other type of ecommerce, dropshipping is not an easy business. It has the potential to be huge, but you’ll need comprehensive research to find multiple reliable suppliers. Doing your due diligence avoids a lot of headaches and financial losses in the future.