5 Legit Ways to Make Money on Twitter

Twitter has been with us for over a decade, and like Facebook, there’s no stopping the social media network anytime soon. If you’re looking for new ways to make money online and have a pretty active personality on Twitter, why not monetize your presence there? There are several ways to do this, but first… here’s a Twitter success story for you.

Kris Sanchez joined Twitter in 2009 to follow Britney Spears there, but to share something on his private space, he decided to tweet interesting daily trivia. By 2011, his UberFacts account was spurting out “facts” every 15 minutes. But when his followers turned 200k, he began receiving offers from ad networks with $500 to $1,000 checks each week.

In 2015, Sanchez was making $500k a year from Twitter. Today, his Twitter followers are over 14 million, plus almost 5 million on Facebook and 1.5 million on Instagram…and UberFacts is likely cashing in close to a million dollars per year.

Of course, UberFacts is a rare breed, but this doesn’t mean you can’t take a small slice of the Twitter money pie, right? So here are several legit ways you can make money using Twitter:

5 Ways to Make Money with Twitter

1. Sell products or services

The easiest thing you could do to earn money via Twitter is to sell your products or services. Twitter may be limited to 140 characters with each tweet, but this shouldn’t stop you from promoting yourself on the platform. You can also use images, videos and other types of multimedia to increase engagement with your potential clients.

Provide samples of artwork if you’re selling a custom painting or graphics, links to a website if you’re offering web design services, and more, but don’t overdo it since like in the real world, people hate annoying salespeople.

2. Push Affiliate Marketing

If you don’t have products of your own, or a service you could advertise, you could still earn commissions by becoming an affiliate marketer. What you need to do is join an affiliate program, check out what products you could promote that would be appropriate for your followers, share links directing them to the products, and cash in every time someone buys.

Note that affiliate marketing can be too obvious to your Twitter followers very quickly. And no one wants to be used as a cash-cow, so make sure to get creative. For example, you can buy the product you want promoted first, take a picture or video of the item, and showcase it in a way that would interest your followers. Make it funny, or inspirational, or shocking, as long as you’d know your followers would appreciate the work you just did.

3. Be the Voice of Local Brands

One way to target a following properly is to decide on becoming the voice of local brands. Because you’ll be championing local companies and their products or services, you have the flexibility on how to go about the promotion. An effective way of garnering a lot of followers quickly is by hosting a contest on behalf of a company. Ask for a percentage of the sales that could come in as a result of the contest, or a one-off fee for managing the contest. Make it easy for people to join contests.

If you’re not an influencer level yet, you can check out SponsoredTweets and find people/companies willing to pay you to tweet about their products in exchange of a fee. Keep a file of all sponsors you’ve had business with, so you’d know how to tweet on the side without burning bridges.

4. Find new Leads

If you have a business, Twitter can help you find potential customers based on their tweets. Use the Twitter search feature with keywords specific to your business and connect with people mentioning a product you’re offering. You can crowdsource ideas, offer coupon codes, or just simply know of your presence by saying hello. If you’re selling educational toys, search Twitter for mentions about various kinds of toys, then begin finding leads.

This trick will also work if you don’t have a business, but is offering lead generation services for third-party companies. The main difference is that you receive a fee or hourly compensation when you embark on a mission to find relevant and targeted leads.

5. Get a Social Media Management Job

For those who need a stable income, they can also opt to find a Twitter manager job. In 2012, it was reported that Delta has a small team of customer support agents manning Twitter 24/7 for issues. You can find other companies looking for Twitter management on FlexiJobs or Indeed. You can also use Twitter to find employment via contacts made on Twitter, or find jobs using the TwitJobSearch service.

Just recently, Twitter released Premium APIs to be used by developers to access a more in-depth history of Twitter data. Companies or developers can use this tool to get more leads, improve customer engagement, and more.

The Bottom Line

Needless to say, 4 out of the 5 ways of earning through Twitter would only work if you have a large enough following. Tweeting your way to success can happen, but it does require a lot of work at first.

When adding links to a tweet, make sure you shorten the URL to make it fit the 140-character mark. Follow Twitter rules at all times, and think of the community with every tweet you send out. Remember, like in most social media networks, the attention span of users are quite challenging to capture, so focus on crafting interesting tweets and increase your chances of making money on the platform.

8 Tech Subsectors with Increasing Work-from-Home Opportunities

The tech industry is among the first industries to embrace telecommuting and remote positions, but majority fall under helpdesk or customer care jobs. Today, you can find a plethora of work-from-home tech jobs as varied as social media management to cloud engineering with pay rates almost comparable to their office-based versions.

The benefits of work-at-home tech jobs over office-based positions are obvious. Aside from skipping the hassles of daily commute, these jobs allow flexibility to students, single-parents, primary caregivers, or other types of employees that couldn’t support their lives’ special requirements if they’ve stayed behind a cubicle.

The downside though is that pay rates for home-based work are often lower than their office counterparts. But if you’re OK with this fact and you’re after the flexibility of working in your pajamas full-time, discover what kinds of jobs are in store within these 8 underrated tech sub-niches with increasing work-from-home opportunities:

8 Work at Home Tech Opportunities

1) App development – The world of apps has a long way to go. Even if it seems that iOS and Android is already saturated with apps, you have to understand that as long as smartphones exist, there will always be apps that need updates and apps that need developed. Read up more about an app developer’s job here.

2) Consulting – Consulting is the best gateway to home-based work and can be a career path chosen by any senior IT employee. Consultants are paid for their opinions, assessment, and any other input an organization requires. This can be as simple as being quoted in a magazine, or as contributor of a third-party project. Consultants may earn up to $80k/year or more depending on the amount of projects.

3) Cyber security – Ever read on the news about kids hacking Facebook or discovering Google bugs, only to get rewarded in the end? The field of cybersecurity is a lot like consulting, since experience and skills weigh more than education. You can go about this as a freelancer or “bug bounty hunters” as they passionately call themselves, or find a work-from-home position instead.

4) QA – The tech industry is big on quality assurance, from assessing relevancy of search engine results, to testing websites or apps before launch. If you love perfection and have the skills to put to good use, the QA route will give you a ton of options. The SQA (software quality assurance) team, for example, is responsible for monitoring engineering processes and methods used to ensure end-product meets guidelines set by the customer. QAs are available in every subsector, so discover opportunities in your line of work first before anywhere else.

5) ecommerce and mcommerce – ecommerce will continue to get a huge chunk of the business sales pie. With this continuous demand, expect many home-based opportunities for web designers, creators, internet marketers, and other related fields. The cool thing about the ecommerce/mcommerce industry is that job requirements would vary significantly depending on the type of ecommerce store.

6) Cloud – The demand in work-from-home cloud engineers will increase, as more and more companies adapt to changing infrastructures and server virtualization. The roles will depend on the type of cloud-based technology and programming languages used, but expect to be paid higher than ordinary computer engineers. Of course, you should be very familiar with leading cloud-based tech such as Windows 10, Office 365, Azure Active Directory, and more.

7) Software and web programming – Like app development, software and web programming remains an in-demand field regardless of how saturated it may seem. IBMApple and Microsoft often entice highly-skilled programmers with telecommuting options for their office-based positions. But if you’ve been handling projects on your own for years, it will be more lucrative if you go freelance and work under two or more clients at a time.

8) IT project management – There will be a 15% projected growth in managerial positions as more IT teams are assigned on telecommute and work-from-home jobs. Salaries of IT project managers or “virtual managers” are in the $120k range, but can go higher depending on the number of team members assigned to the manager.

The Bottom Line

More and more people prefer work-from-home careers because they are able to reduce stress, juggle parenting with work, manage a chronic illness, and generally find more time at home, or play. And since the opportunities available for home-based tech jobs now go beyond helpdesk and customer support, people with varying levels of experience have more choices.

If you’re interested telecommuting to one of these careers, FlexJobs or Indeed.com are probably the best job search sites to begin your search and find something that would fit your skill set.

7 Search Engine Evaluator Jobs That Pay Up To $15 Per Hour

How would you like to get paid up to $15/hour working a search engine evaluator job?

Every day, Google receives over 3.5 billion searches from all over the world, which translates to 1.2 trillion searches per year.

Of course, people turn to Google because they know that Google results are relevant.

Aside from Google’s algorithms, search evaluators are there to keep these results high quality.

There are 7 companies that are currently looking to fill web search evaluator positions.

Jump to them now or keep reading to learn how to be a search engine evaluator and how to maximize your earnings.

What is a search engine evaluator job?

Search Engine Evaluator Jobs

About 90% of online activities begin with a search engine query.

By the time you finish reading this sentence, Google will have successfully handled over 1 million different search results.

Search engines work with advanced algorithms and crawlers but can still experience bugs every now and then, even if regular folk like us don’t really notice.

Search engines hire contractors as QA analysts because bots cannot detect such search errors on their own.

Search engine evaluators are responsible for searching various terms (sometimes given by the company or sometimes based on your own search history) and judging the quality of results obtained. Other companies may also require you to check the format, relevance, and quality of online ads.

Whatever the main task assigned, your job of checking relevancy and usefulness of searches aims to improve user experience.

The job requires the contractor to provide feedback with details about spam, accuracy, relevancy, and timeliness, among other factors.

Google is the main company that offers this kind of job.

In some cases, Google hires third-party companies to perform search engine assessments.

This job is seasonal, but since it is a work-at-home position, you can apply as a search engine evaluator whenever slots open up. Depending on the company hiring, this position may be called internet judge, internet assessor, ads quality rater or other variations.

How to Become a Search Engine Evaluator

Anyone interested in this position must have a working desktop or laptop and stable high-speed internet connection. Most positions allow you to be a work at home search engine evaluator.

A college degree is preferred, but often not required.

Requirements for this job may vary, but for local-based openings, the job may require you to speak the local language and familiar with local culture to be able to assess local search inquiries properly. This is often indicated in the job listing, so take note.

Some companies require you to take a search engine agent exam or go through unpaid training before getting started.

The perfect candidate for this job is someone who has exceptional research skills, a member of the top social media networks, and familiar with both foreign and local events and pop culture. For localized positions, you must be fluent in the required language.

Of course, you should be very familiar with how search engines work, especially Google.

Do note that most companies only allow one job per IP address, so two people from the same household can’t apply to the same job.

Once you pass the exam or training, you have to commit to at least 10 hours weekly until the project expires. For jobs that require you to use your own search history, you shouldn’t have privacy issues.

Payments are normally done through PayPal or Payoneer, so make sure to set these up before you apply to these jobs.

7 Search Engine Evaluator Jobs

In addition to the companies below, make sure you regularly check FlexJobs for new positions.

1. Appen

Appen Butler Hill, known simply as Appen, is an NSW Australia-based company that’s heavily invested in crowdsourcing, search technology, social media engagement, and language technology.

They offer localized positions for search media evaluators that require 4 to 5 hours of weekday commitment.

The application period can take 1 to 3 weeks and involves a three-step set of exams (search engine test, English test, and technical skills test).

Pay depends on where you live, but all are sent via PayPal. Africans and Asians are paid around AUD$7/hour, while US, UK, and other countries are paid AUD$13 to $14/hour.

Some projects offer US workers bonuses for completing a certain number of hours within your first 3 weeks, as well as bonuses when you successfully refer other people to work for them.

2. Lionbridge

Like Appen, one of Lionbridge’s clients is Google, which means you can expect search engine evaluator (or “web content assessor” or “internet search reviewer”) positions more regularly than other companies on this list. Lionbridge also has positions for raters, personalized internet assessors, internet analysts, social media search assessors, online maps quality analysts, and many more.

Do note you can’t work for both Lionbridge and Appen at the same time.

Based in Ballina, Ireland, Lionbridge has openings for independent contractors from various countries. Pay rates are similar to Appen. Workers from the US and European countries earning around $14/hour and Asians, Africans, and Indians with $7/hour.

3. Workforce Logiq

Florida-based Workforce Logiq (formerly Zero Chaos) hires web search evaluators and ad quality raters on a work-from-home basis, but only US citizens are allowed into the program.

The application process is easy and can be completed within a week, especially if you’re a degree-holder. However, openings are rare. Pay ranges from $14 to $15 paid via PayPal or direct deposit.

4. iSoftstone

This Fortune 100, Washington-based company hires online ad evaluators and search engine evaluators from all over the world.

Unlike Lionbridge and Appen that has maintained Google as a client for years, iSoftstone’s major client is Microsoft, so you’d have to be familiar with Bing and other Microsoft products. This also means that you can work for other companies on this list.

iSoftStone job posting

 

iSoftstone pays somewhere between $8 to $13, depending on where you live.

Payments are sent via PayPal. Aside from passing a series of tests, you’ll also need to provide a link to your LinkedIn account before you begin.

5. KarmaHub

KarmaHub is a service provider that partners with companies that need to collect and analyze data. They provide solutions involving artificial intelligence, cloud-first development and deployment, and the Internet of things.

They count Microsoft, Pfizer, Novartis, and AIG as some of their clients.

Currently, they offer internet analyst positions on their job portal. They are a bit vague on pay rates, but external sites and forums seem to indicate a starting wage of $10 to $11 per hour, which might go up to $27 per hour for internet analyst positions that require speaking another language.

6. mTurk

Amazon Mechanical Turk, or mTurk as it’s more commonly called, is different from the others in this list in that it’s more of a database of microjobs from many different companies.

Most of these jobs take only seconds to complete, and when you get good at choosing quick jobs that pay well, it’s possible to earn $15 an hour by accomplishing a variety of these small jobs.

There are hundreds of search evaluator tasks available at a given time.

The bonus is that if you ever get tired of search evaluation, or if the available jobs run out, there are thousands of other tasks you can choose to do.

7. Google

Google calls the internet assessors as “ads quality raters.”

This position rarely opens (and it’s one of the company’s few work-at-home positions available), but if you’re lucky, you can apply for either an English-only or localized job. You’ll need to commit to 10-30 work hours weekly and sign a non-disclosure agreement.

As an ads quality rater, you have to provide feedback on image or text search results, web pages, and other information required.

You can access specific tasks via the online tool Google provides. You need to mark texts or images as vital, useful, relevant, off-topic or spam based on the rating guidelines provided by Google.

Payment isn’t published, but those who have worked as an ads quality rater claims to receive $14 to $15 per hour paid weekly. To apply, search “ads quality rater” on Google’s career page.

8. SwagBucks

Bonus cash!

Swagbucks is less of a job, but a fun way to pick up spare money doing stuff you already do online. They pay you to use their search engine and since you’re going to be doing a lot of searches anyway, this is a nice way to make extra money.

It’s quick, easy, free to join. One of the best. And they will give you $5.00 just for signing up.

Final Thoughts

Search engine evaluation is a modern work-at-home opportunity that’s here to stay. It can be a great way to earn money, especially since the offer is better than minimum wage in most countries.

However, openings can be unpredictable, so you may need to apply to two or more companies at a time.

Pay rates also don’t reflect the actual work hours you spend on the task at hand. Instead, your hourly rate depends on the hours a company expects you to finish the task, so it’s likely your final pay-per-hour could be less than the number of hours you’ve spent working.

If you’re efficient with your time and have the right skills for the job, being a search engine evaluator may just be the career you’re looking for.

Other work-from-home opportunities to try

Being a search engine evaluator is not for everyone. If this isn’t your cup of tea but you’d still like to work from home, here are some suggested articles for you:

Have you applied for a search engine evaluator job or do you have any experience working at any of the above companies? Please leave any tips or recommendations in the comments below!

Advanced Ads Review: The Ad Platform You Have Been Looking For

Off the back of our recent review of AdRotate Pro I thought you might like to know about some of the other options there are when it comes to adding adverts to your WordPress site.

Today I’m going to review Advanced Ads by Thomas Maier, a fully featured plugin that has some interesting takes on advertising.

Advanced Ads

Advanced Ads

Like most premium WordPress plugins nowadays, there is also a free version of Advanced Ads that you can pick up to try. It is fairly feature filled on its own with only advanced features being reserved for the premium plugin.

The plugin has been around for 3 years with regular updates. It has also been downloaded over 800,000 times and has over 50,000 current installations.

This might not be quite like AdRotate, but unlike that plugin Advanced Ads scores an excellent 4.9 out of 5 on WordPress.org user reviews with a similar number of reviews (about 100 less).

The premium version is itself split into several plugins: the core premium version and additional addon plugins.

What do you get?

  • Advanced Ads Pro (the core premium plugin)
  • Ad Tracking
  • Responsive Ads
  • Geo Targeting
  • PopUp and Layer Ads
  • Selling Ads
  • Slider
  • Sticky Ads

There’s also another addon called Genesis Ads, specifically for Genesis theme users, but this can be gotten for free from the Advanced Ads site.

Some Requirements

Unlike a lot of premium plugins, you are still required to have the free version of the plugin installed and activated. Why I don’t know as surely the premium version could have been self-contained.

As well as that if you are looking to use the Selling Ads addon, you’re required to install and activate Woocommerce – more on this later.

Initial Setup

Barring needing to have the free version installed and active, installing Advanced Ads is pretty simple and can be done via a manual upload like most plugins.

The settings are fairly detailed, especially with the addons active as they add to the settings.

General

These are the core setting and should be reviewed. They cover a wide variety of things from settings to beat ad blockers to disabling ads in different areas.

AdSense

As AdSense is one of the most popular ways to add adverts to a site, it makes sense there are specific settings for it.

Selling

Basic settings related to selling adverts.

Pro

Focusing on advanced features like cache busting, click fraud protection and lazy load.

Tracking

Advanced Ads provides some good stats and this settings area allows you to fine tune what you see and what’s tracked.

Creating Adverts

Adverts in Advanced Ads generally require three things: the advert itself, a group and a placement.

Placement

Advanced Ads placement

Placements set where the advert will be displayed and there are a lot of different options especially with all the addons active:

  • Manual placement (shortcode or PHP code)
  • Header area (code)
  • Footer area (code)
  • Before content
  • After Content
  • In Content
  • Widget
  • Header Bar
  • Footer Bar
  • Left/Right “Sidebars” attached to the content area
  • Left/Right bars attached to the browser windows
  • Background
  • Random Paragraphs
  • Above Headline
  • Exact Middle of content
  • Custom Placement
  • Post Archives
  • Popups

These placements will help you position your advert exactly where you want them to go and once set up can be used with any advert or group.

Groups

Groups are optional but are very handy for keeping adverts organized. They can also be set to randomize adverts or show a specific number of ads, amongst other features.

Adverts

Adding a single advert in Advanced Ads is simple yet can be a little bewildering when you first get started due to the sheer number of options available.

To begin with you can add a title and the type of advert to be shown. The types are quite straightforward with Plain Text and Image being the most commonly used.

Advanced Ads adverts 1

The ad parameters section is where you’ll insert your add code, whether this is plain text or the JavaScript provided by services like AdSense. You can even insert PHP code.

Advanced Ads adverts 2

The layout options allow you to tweak the placement by adding margins and alignment, and also to add specific IDs and Classes should you wish to make further changes via CSS.

The Display Conditions section allows you to target this advert based on numerous different options such as geolocation or what page the visitor is viewing. You can add multiple conditions giving you a very granular level of control which is excellent.

Advanced Ads adverts 4

Finally there are stat related options specifically for the advert.

As I said earlier, there’s a lot going on when you create a new advert but most of it isn’t necessary for day to day advert creations. Minimizing the various sections helps but I feel like there are too many options shoved in front of you and some of these could be hidden better to help feeling like you’re wading through options.

Features

When it comes down to it most advertising plugins will have quite similar features, so expect to see a lot the usual when checking out Advanced Ads.

Some of the more unusual features include the following:

Ad Blocker Beating

Advanced Ads has a built in system that you can tweak to help get past ad blockers. After all you’re not going to make money if no one can see your advert.

AdSense Violation Warnings

When using third party advertiser networks, there’s usually a lot of rules and it’s often easy to fall foul of them.

AdSense is no different so Advanced Ads has an in built system to notify you if your adverts are going to cause issues, potentially saving you from having your account banned!

Visual Composer Compatibility

This isn’t the right place to weigh the pros and cons of page builder plugins, but if you use the popular Visual Composer plugin be assured that Advanced Ads will integrate with it.

AMP Ads

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a Google initiative to serve pared down versions of site to mobile users.

Being pared down means a lot of features on a site are removed. Advanced Ads does its best to make sure you AMP ready pages are also monetized with ads.

Addons

When you buy Advanced Ads you can just buy the core premium plugin and any addons separately, but it’s really good value to just buy the bundle of everything.

In this bundle you get the following add on plugins:

Responsive Ads

This addon allows you to set what size adverts appear at different screen resolutions, and even disabling the advert if needed.

While most themes will reduce the size of an image in order for it to be responsive, this might not be suitable from an advertiser’s point of view. Instead swapping it to a different size can provide a visible and therefore clickable advert.

This plugin also handles AMP adverts.

Geo Targeting

Allows you to show a specific advert or hide them for people coming from specific locations. This can be useful to target specific countries with country appropriate adverts.

PopUp and Layer Ads

One of the weaker Advanced Ad plugins, this addon allows you to add an advert or other content to popups. While this can be useful in that you can pop up any content and advertise on it, most existing popup plugins are more feature rich.

Advanced Ads popup ad

A VERY basic advert showing how you can add basic HTML and advertising code into a popup.

Selling Ads

This plugin allows you to sell advertising space on your site. It does a great job of making it easy to sell adverts because it is connected to Woocommerce.

That is also it’s down side. If all you’re doing is selling a couple of advertising space then having to install and set up Woocommerce as well as the advertising platform is a bit much.

If you already have Woocommerce installed and sell other products you also need to be aware that you’ll need to remove or separate the ads from other items on sale.

The requirement of Woocommerce aside, it really is quite simple to set up a product as the plugin integrates directly with Woocommerce.

Advanced Ads woocommerce

There are a couple of other issues I had with the selling ads plugin.

First is a minor one: there was no simple link option. While most people might not need this, selling links for local businesses is fairly common and the Advanced Ads plain text option is simply not restrictive enough.

Secondly the Selling Ads plugin does nothing to the ads overview section. This means it can be quite difficult to find which adverts were purchased by which customers as you have to click the advert, and then click the link to go to the Order in Woocommerce.

You can go in via Woocommerce and click through to the order but it would have been nice to have been able to look at the advert list and see which adverts were for which customers.

Slider

This allows adverts to be shown in a slide show manner effectively rotating them. This is quite a useful feature as you can show multiple adverts in the same spot plus the movement attracts the eye. That being said it would have been nice if this was just built into the pro plugin itself rather than as a separate plugin.

Sticky Ads

Oddly enough this addon allows you to create adverts that stick in place even as the user scrolls. There are other features as well such as backgrounds and header/footer placements.

Support

Support for Advanced Ads is excellent. I had a couple of questions after I bought the plugin and sent them off on a Friday expecting to hear back Monday or Tuesday. Instead I got a response on the Saturday and even had an email conversation throughout the day.

Obviously that might not be typical but I also checked the WordPress.org support section and all questions have been answered and most of those were answered in less than 24 hours which is excellent!

Statistics

Selling or just using adverts on your site means you need statistics. After all there’s no point showing an advert if it doesn’t perform.

Advanced Ads stats section provides details on impression and clicks and is broken down by date and by advert so you can get a general overview or more specific data.

My only bugbear here is that the chart used is not responsive so smaller screens (even laptops) will need to scroll to see data.

Developer Friendly?

Advanced Ads has a basic codex on their website and has enough hooks, filters and functions to achieve most things.

It’s still not really easy to extend, but I found with some work it’s still possible – for example I managed to create a single link option for the plugin with a few hours of digging into the code.

As such it beats a lot of other advertising plugins simply by allowing you access to it on a code level.

The Bottom Line

Advanced Adverts is a solid advertising plugin with a heck of a lot of features and so many options you can fine tune things to your specific needs.

The bundle price for the premium plugin and addons is a reasonable €69 for a single site (about $82) and this includes support and updates for a year. There are more options that further improve the value such as 10 sites for €199 (about $234).

Usability wise, the plugin could be a little more streamlined and easy to use, with unnecessary or uncommonly used settings hidden away but that’s a minor point.

Most light users would likely get away with just using the free version, but those that require more complex setups or more control (or those simply wishing to support the developer) should pick up the Pro version as it definitely adds those advanced features.

My only real gripe is the required integration with Woocommerce in order to sell adverts. Yes it makes it easier to use an existing and popular ecommerce site, but not everyone will want to add a full blown ecommerce system in order to sell a few adverts. It would be nice to see a simple in built sales system in the future.

The question you most likely have is: does it do what I want it to? The answer would be yes. Advanced Ads built in features will cover pretty much any eventuality and if you’re looking for an advertising platform plugin for your site you should definitely consider this plugin.

How to Start a Calligraphy Business on Etsy in 2020

Cursive writing has been slowly becoming extinct for decades, but a surprise comeback has ignited a passion in the form of calligraphy. So I put together this quick guide on how to start a calligraphy business to help you cash in on your exquisite handwriting.

If you’ve always loved gliding your fancy pens onto paper and create classy handwritten posters, greeting cards, invitations, envelopes, menus and other creative letterings on a wide range of media, now’s the time to get started.

How much do calligraphers make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, calligraphers and other fine artists earned abour $49,000 in 2018.

Many calligraphers also sell ready-made products on top of their custom orders, which ensure that even slow periods could produce money in the end.

Like any business, marketing will also dictate the sales you’ll receive, so learn how to spread-the-word (both offline and online) your calligraphy products and services.

Here’s how to setup your business and get started:

How to Start a Calligraphy Business in 6 Steps

1. Practice Makes Perfect-for-Selling

Calligraphy is a skill not many people have, but if you practice often and take time to learn from books, online courses and workshops, you’d find your artwork getting better by the day.

It could be feedback from your friends on social media, or a 100-piece wedding invite gig offer from an acquaintance, but you’ll definitely know when your work is store-worthy.

2. Gather Your Startup Capital

Let’s face it:

You may have started calligraphy as a hobby, but once you turn it into a business, you’ll require some kind of startup capital to buy more equipment and supplies, such as pens, markers, ink, paint, brushes, calligraphy pens and stocks of specialty paper (parchment and calligraphy paper).

If you’re going to promote your work online, you’ll need extra cash to set-up a website, produce business cards, invest in a good camera and set aside marketing funds.

Depending on the amount of supplies you already have before you decide to put up a calligraphy business, your startup capital could be as little as $100 or as high as $1,000.

And since you won’t have an employee or a brick-and-mortar store, almost all your sales would be for profit.

3. Decide on an Angle

In order to get the attention of customers, you have to develop your own style.

There are tons of resources online to get inspiration.

Check Pinterest, download as many fonts as you can, visit websites of other calligraphers to see what kind of classic and modern calligraphy styles are out there.

Fortunately, handwritten calligraphy can be so similar that no person can copyright their work.

Using quotes, lyrics, and other copyrighted words and then selling them for profit, on the other hand, is against the law.

Once you’ve decided on a calligraphy style and practiced it to perfection, you then have to figure out a game plan to market your handwritten work. Do want to focus on the wedding industry, or diversify and try out various markets?

4. Price & Sell Your Product on Etsy

(If you’re new to Etsy, be sure to check out our guide on how to setup a store and sell on Etsy before continuing.)

The minute you’d decide to sell calligraphy, you have to be ready with pricing (even if you don’t have any customers yet).

There’s nothing more off-putting to would-be buyers than when they catch you unprepared.

It can be tricky, since this industry doesn’t follow a “one size fits all” pricing. However, you can compare prices of other sellers on Etsy and go from there.

Many calligraphers start with a lower price than market prices, but don’t go too low that you’ll end up losing money.

You can increase prices as your skills improve. As a starting point, note that calligraphers charge about $1 to $5 per wedding invitation, but those would longer text can be priced a lot higher.

Before you market your product on Etsy, make sure you have your own ordering system in place.

Set up a work calendar, so you can easily check if you can accommodate orders as they come in.

When creating an Etsy listing, ask customers to fill-up a quick questionnaire that includes deadline, number of orders, writing media (watercolor, ink, markers, etc.), colors, and information about the text that will be handwritten.

Do the math and send your customer a quote. If he/she agrees with the price, create a new Etsy listing specifically for that customer. Begin the work once your customer buys that customized listing.

5. Join a Community of Creatives

The comeback of calligraphy also resulted in various communities popping up both online and offline.

Join a calligraphy group where you can learn from people who have successfully turned their craft into a profitable business.

It’s also a great way to discover new calligraphy styles, develop marketing skills, and seek feedback from people who knows best.

Aside from regular contests, these groups also hold calligraphy exchanges which are a popular pen-pal-like activity where participants send and receive handwritten postcards and other artwork by mail.

Both contests and exchanges are a fun way to practice your skills and receive much-needed feedback, especially for those who are just starting out.

6. Master Your Craft

It doesn’t matter if you’re busy with customer orders or not, but you have to spare time to master new skills, new calligraphy techniques, new media, and more.

Adding specialties to your offering could double your earnings significantly.

The Bottom Line

You can thank Instagram and Pinterest for the rise in calligraphy over the past few years and this is creating huge opportunities for people to launch their own businesses fueled with nothing but their own creativity and the power of Etsy.

While you’re here, check out these 29 other online jobs for artists to see how you can put your other artistic talents to good use.

9 Profitable Ecommerce Ideas You Can Try in 2018

It’s never easy to pick a business niche, especially when there are tons of great ideas already in development. But if you’re planning to set-up an ecommerce business in 2018 (Proven Amazon Course will show you how), you can take a cue from technology trends, in-demand products and customer-centric preferences. Whether you’re looking for products to sell in an online store, or a service to offer, here are some ideas you could check out:

9 Ecommerce Niche Ideas for 2018

1) Drones – Drones having been reaching new heights throughout 2017 in various industries and is expected to become a $17 billion industry in the coming years. Aside from military use, drones are making a big splash on journalism/film (aerial photography), logistics (express delivery), disaster management (sending supplies, gathering information or conducting rescue operations), agriculture (precision crop monitoring), law enforcement, and more. Of course, drones will continue to its increase its popularity in the travel/photography industries for personal use.

2) Organic Beauty Products – Consumers are becoming more aware of the health and environmental effects of beauty products. Sales of organic or natural beauty products have been dramatically increasing up to 20% per year since 2015. Check out food-, oil- and vegetable-based hair and skin products with a focus on key ingredients like essential oils, vitamin C & E, seaweed, oatmeal, honey, coconut and other fruits.

3) Product Customization – For anyone who wishes to expand an ecommerce store, there’s a huge opportunity for product customization in 2018. This will work depending on the industry, such as clothing, shoes, cosmetics, furniture, or gifts, among others. And since technology has advanced to the point where customization is simpler at less the cost, business owners can add another income stream without having to develop new products.

4) Urban Farming – People are realizing the convenience, environmental importance, and health effects of farming in urban settings. Vertical farming, in particular, is a growing sub-niche that has been embraced all over the world through 2017. Even the government is on board with this upward trend with laws being amended in various states to accommodate urban vertical farming.

5) Subscription-based products and services – The success of subscription-based steaming Netflix isn’t done yet even if its streaming service has exploded in the last several years. Aside from a projection that this industry will reach over $200 billion by 2019, Netflix has inspired many companies that now provide a subscription option with its products or services. A great example of this is Dollar Shave Club, which earned over $615 million within 5 years; by shipping its members shave kits on a monthly basis.

6) Essential Oils – The natural health and wellness industry is all about essential oils in 2017 and it will continue to be a big deal in the years to come. What’s interesting about the popularity of essential oils is that consumers are welcoming them with open arms as they become more aware of natural health, even if the FDA continuously published reports against it.

7) Apps – App development has been a booming industry for a few years now, but there’s more to be invented or copied. Yes, even copycat apps can become successful in the app world. Just look at Uber clone Gofer or Tinder clone Igniter. The best thing about creating apps is that anyone with the right idea can jump into this world (for example: Yahoo!’s $30 million acquisition of Summy from a 17-year-old). With the right app idea that aims to solve a particular problem, an app can sell for millions of dollars.

8) Wedding – This multibillion dollar industry may feel saturated with tons of businesses already in operation for decades, but note that as the trends change year by year, more business opportunities open up for startups. Photobooths, mobile bars, venue decorators, and other sub-wedding niches weren’t always a part of the wedding industry, but brides and grooms ate them up when these businesses were introduced.

9) Custom Fitness Products – The fitness industry is a massive industry that has always had an impressive outlook, but customization of fitness products seems to be an exploding trend in the late 2017. If you have an ecommerce business in this field, try adding a customization option to accommodate the growing needs of consumers to “own” the products they buy.

Turn Your Idea into a Business

Coming up with an idea is half the battle. Turning your idea into a revenue generating business is another feat entirely.

One of the best ecommerce training platforms I’ve come across is Proven Amazon Course. The platform and online community comes highly recommended. Jim Cockrum teaches his students how to leverage the power of Amazon to build successful six-figure ecommerce businesses. Head there now and get moving today.

The Bottom Line

The cool thing about these business ideas is that it can apply to any kind of capital you may have. If you wish to have a product-based business but don’t have enough capital, dropshipping (where your partner with wholesalers who handle everything from stocking to shipping) can help you solve your financial dilemma. Service-based businesses also require a smaller investment that the product development route.

If you do try any of these ecommerce business ideas, remember that mobile usage will contribute the biggest chunk of ecommerce sales in 2018, so make your websites mobile-friendly or develop an app to support your business. Other technology trends you can incorporate into your ecommerce business include the use of virtual reality or 3D shopping, artificial intelligence, customer-centric automation, personalized shopping, one-click payment, and the merging of online and offline shopping.

How Teachers Can Earn Six-Figure Incomes Selling Lesson Plans Online

Teaching is a noble profession – it involves a combination of passion, vision and purpose to mold a nation’s future generation. Everyone knows a teacher’s importance in a student’s life, but the reality remains that compensation of teachers is one of the lowest.

If you’re one of many teachers who’d love nothing but to continue teaching, but financial instability makes it hard to perform the job on a day to day basis, then learn from other teachers who are making a lucrative sideline selling lesson plans online.

The Idea behind Selling Lessons Plans

Unlike term paper industries wherein companies hire professional writers to write for students rushing to submit their homework, selling lesson plans online don’t target students who wish to cheat their way to graduation. Instead, teachers who join these websites and sell their lesson plans only sell to fellow teachers as well.

Teachers regularly spend hours preparing their class lessons in advance and update these plans to accommodate younger students and keep up with the times. Because many of these teacherpreneurs have tested their lesson plans with their own students, it allows other teachers to skip the trial-and-error phase and earn a better chance at making an impression on students with less time and effort. It’s a cool concept, where all teachers win, whether they’re the ones selling or buying.

5 Teacher Marketplaces to Check Out

Technically, teachers can join any marketplace like Etsy or create a website where you can sell your worksheets, printables, lesson plans and curriculum. But if you don’t have time to learn how to attract other teachers to your Etsy store or website, then it’s better to join these 5 marketplaces aimed at an audience made of teachers and educators:

1. Teachers Pay Teachers

TeachersPayTeachers was founded by former NYC public school teacher Paul Edelman in April 2006, sold it to Scholastic Inc. in December 2006, and then bought it back as a private business in March 2009. It is the biggest marketplace around with over 4 million teachers and 2.8 million free and paid resources available. TeachersPayTeachers is also home to many teachers enjoying six-figure incomes on the site.

TeachersPayTeachers has two kinds of seller accounts – basic (free) and premium (with a $59.95/year membership fee). Teachers with a basic seller account only has 200MB file size limit, paid only 55% of every sale, and must pay the site 30 cents per resource. Meanwhile, those with premium seller accounts has 1GB file size limit, receive 80% of every sale, and pay the site only 15 cents per resource sold. Payments are made monthly via PayPal or Dwolla.

There are tons of success stories made through TeachersPayTeachers. Kindergarten teacher Deanna Jump made her first $1 million in sales in 2012. California-based English teacher Laura Randazzo’s one-dollar “Whose Cell Phone Is This?” fictional character work sheet” has sold over 4,000 copies by 2015. Hadar Hartstein has earned more than $1 million through selling lesson plans within 6 years since joining the site.

And it’s not just the sellers that Teachers Pay Teachers are helping. Michigan-based middle-school teacher Samantha Cucu also talked to Business Insider about the marketplace and claimed that buying her educational materials online trimmed her school planning from 20 to 30 hours each week to just two hours.

2. Teachers Notebook

With Teachers Notebook, members can create their own free or premium shop where they could sell their teaching materials and take advantage of free marketing, promotional tools and 24/7 customer support.

Free shop owners receive 75% of the sale and pay $.30 transaction fee per item sold. Premium shop owners pay a one-time setup fee of $49.95, and then get to keep 85% of the sale without having to pay transaction fees. Payments are sent twice a month.

Teachers Notebook claims that some of its teacher shops are making $5,000 to $100,000 a year.

3. Teachwise

Teachwise is similar to both TeachersPayTeachers and Teachers Notebook. Two types of membership plans are available for teacherpreneurs – the basic and premium.

Basic members don’t have to pay annual fees, but every sale is deducted 25% service fee and 30 cent transaction fee. Premium members pay an annual fee of $44.95, but are deducted only 10% service fee and enjoy no transaction fee.

Payments are distributed via PayPal whenever there is at least $10 in a seller’s account. Basic members are paid bimonthly, while premium members receive payments weekly.

4. Educents

Educents is a favorite website among the homeschooling community. It is home to thousands of independent educators and active parents who create, review and share books, curriculum, science experiments, downloadable worksheets, and a wide range of educational products. Educents’ daily deal promo, which discounts items significantly lower within just a few hours a day, has been widely successful.

Educents allows its members to create their storefront without any annual fees, but deducts 15% commission on every regular-priced item (and 50% commission for daily-deal items) sold through the marketplace. Payments are sent via PayPal or direct deposit every 15th of the month for everything fulfilled in the previous calendar month.

5. Teacher Lingo

The site may look outdated, but Teacher Lingo is the only one with a tight-knit community thanks to its active message boards where teachers can seek advice from fellow teachers.

When it comes to selling lesson plans, Teacher Lingo also offers two kinds of membership – free and paid ($49/year). Sellers with a free account earn 65% of every item sold, while those with a premium account take home 85%. Payments are sent monthly via PayPal with a $20 minimum payout.

The Bottom Line

Selling lesson plans and other educational materials online is a great idea for teachers since they’ve been creating these resources for years on the job. Building an online store provides a potential passive income for teacher sellers, while helping fellow teachers prep for school with less time and effort.

This sideline does have one big caveat: copyright issues. Teachers currently employed by a school do have to ensure you hold copyright to the materials you sell online.  The National Education Association states: “If your employment contract assigns copyright ownership of materials produced for the classroom to the teacher, then you probably have a green light. Absent any written agreement, however, the Copyright Act of 1976 stipulates that materials created by teachers in the scope of their employment are deemed “works for hire” and, therefore, the school owns them.”

Aside from this legality and copyright issue, this ever-growing industry of sharing knowledge seems to have a bright future ahead.

Get Paid to Perform Easy Tasks at Clickworker.com

Clickworker.com is a Germany-based microjob website similar to Amazon’s mTurk. It was founded in 2005 as a company specializing in internet data services, but was turned into the microjob platform it is today since 2011 with a user base of 150,000. By 2014, Clickworker has expanded its workers to over 700,000 people.

Clickworker.com follows the concept of crowdsourcing, wherein businesses post or advertise a detailed task and workers have to complete them quickly. Available microjobs include data entry, writing, translating, web research, surveys, and more. These tasks take a only few minutes to complete, which is why Clickworker is advertising a $10/hour rate offered to workers.

How to Join Clickworker.com

Anyone can join the clickworker network by simply filling out your user profile and completing two assessment tests. Any Native English speaker can easily pass these tests, but those with higher scores are prioritized with more jobs. Check out the available tasks, complete them by following all the instructions and get paid on a weekly or monthly basis.

Clickworker.com works with UHRS (Universal Human Relevant System) for workers living outside the United States. Tasks available for non-US citizens are scarce on clickworker, which is why you’ll need to go the UHRS site (using Internet Explorer) to check out the list of microjobs and complete tasks from there. UHRS becomes accessible and inaccessible to users, depending on the volume of work available for a particular country. In some countries, UHRS never becomes available, so make sure to check if your location would be a problem.

How Much Can You Earn with Clickworker?

Like other microjob sites, clickworker.com won’t make you rich. Depending on how quick you can finish tasks, you can earn anywhere from $5 to $12 per hour. Some pioneers of clickworker.com have been earning $20/hour for tasks they’ve mastered for months. Simply put, the best way you could earn more than $12/hour is to find a task that you can do super-quickly.

Note that the tasks may require a learning curve, so you’d have to practice for a few weeks before arriving at an acceptable hourly rate. Most users work extra-hard for a month to earn the first EUR 5 payout threshold.

Payments are sent out via PayPal or a bank account in a SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) country. The Clickworker website states that payments are processed either weekly once your balance reaches $10 via PayPal, or monthly via bank deposits.

Clickworker Issues

The main problem of Clickworker.com is that the users waiting for microjobs are much larger in number than the available tasks at any time. This means you’ll have a ton of competition for cents or a few dollars for every task. Depending on your current employment situation, clickworker may not be worth the time you spend on hunting for tasks. But for students or those with some free time, completing clickworker tasks occasionally and saving up your earnings for an entire month can give you a way to spend for an extra expense you wouldn’t earn anywhere else.

As a full-time job, clickworker wouldn’t be ideal. There’s no guarantee of continuous work, which means your income potential would go up or down depending on task availability.

Many users report technical issues on tasks, which can be frustrating if you’re in the middle of completing the task. In addition, completed tasks aren’t technically “complete” until they have been reviewed, and it seems that reviews aren’t instant. As a result, your account balance wouldn’t be updated instantly as well. The upside to these two issues though is that clickworker.com’s e-mail support replies quickly and efficiently. You can also get 24/7 support from the Clickworker community.

The Bottom Line

Clickworker.com is a legit website that pays its clickworkers properly. If you are given access to UHRS on top of clickworker, you’d have more options for gigs to choose from, and your earning potential could double.

There are some benefits of clickworker and UHRS, such as being able to work from home or outdoors and be in total control of your work hours. You also won’t have to worry about customer acquisition, since these two platforms take care of task distribution.

However, like most microjob sites, you’ll need to complete a ton of tasks before you can earn a decent amount. If you found a continuous gig that you find enjoyable to complete, then you’re lucky and could probably finish the tasks more easily than others.

SEO Audit Checklist: 20 Website Elements You Should Fix for Better On-site SEO

If you’ve been focusing all your SEO efforts on social media engagement, forum posting, guest blogging, and other off-site SEO tasks that aim to get a link back to your website and in turn, increase visitors and conversions, it’s all good. But if you’re doing all these and your organic searches are still getting dismal numbers, it’s a huge sign that you’ll need to double-check your website and fix on-site SEO issues.

On-site or On-page SEO involves dozens of small tasks that help turn an ordinary website into a search engine-friendly website, but here are the 20 most commonly forgotten website elements that you should check out:

1) Proper use of No-Index Tag – When the “noindex” tag is applied to any post or page, search engines will not index those pages. If that is your intention, then so be it. But if you’re not aware of such a tag exists, make sure to remove the no-index tag now.

2) Attention-grabbing titles – Titles should stir the curiosity of visitors and make them click the post. Of course, the title should be relevant to the entire content. If possible, include the keywords on the title tag, but ensure that it would make sense and not added just for the sake of keyword placement.

3) Meta description – Meta descriptions provide search engines and potential visitors with additional information about a post. It is the first 140 characters posted on search engine results, so make sure they count by including important keywords and giving an interesting summary of your post.

4) HTTPS – In 2014, Google announced that they are weighing secured sites more when it comes to ranking. Since then, studies from Moz and other SEO industry sites have shown that over 75% of websites on first pages use HTTPs.

5) Header tags – Header tags are used for sub-headings throughout a page. They are named from H1 to H6, but search engines read H1 the most. As such, it’s important that words, phrases or sentences with the H1 tag convey additional information related to the overall content of your page.

6) LSI – SearchEngineJournal defines LSI or Latent Semantic Indexing as a “mathematical method used to determine the relationship between terms and concepts in content.” In short, LSI refers to synonyms of keywords. Since search engines can now understand the concept of synonyms, using LSI for content can improve SEO rankings without using keywords with the old-and-tired robot speak style.

7) Multimedia content – Search engines can only read text, so all pictures, videos, and audio content that you upload won’t have any bearing when it comes to ranking. However, if you follow proper formatting for these types of content, it could benefit your SEO efforts significantly.

8) URL – By default, all posts published via WordPress and other CMS (content management systems) are given a specific URL or permalink structure with a random number like domain.com/p=1234. Simply changing the end of your URL with a more specific word or phrase like domain.com/Onpage-SEO-guide can make a huge difference.

9) Underused or overused anchor texts – Anchor texts are the clickable texts in a hyperlink. When linking to another page within the site, or a third-party site, it’s important to use keywords relevant to the page. Not on does this technique reduce bounce rates, it also helps search engine bots “understand” what your content is about and index your page properly.

10) Keywords – If you’re still stuffing keywords all over your posts, you should trackback and edit them out or change them into LSI instead. It’s no longer acceptable to trick search engines into checking out your pages with keywords splashed all over a page. Search engines can see through this, so make sure to write with your readers in mind.

11) Encourage engagement – To reduce bounce rate (the amount of time visitors spend on your site’s page), encourage your visitors to check out more content from your site by installing “similar posts” plugins, adding social-sharing buttons, encouraging them to comment, posting more multimedia content and more.

12) Sitemap – Does your website have an XML sitemap to help search engines crawl through your site? If you answered yes, double-check if it’s still functional. Add sitemaps for photos and videos as well to bring more SEO juice via your multimedia content.

13) Canonical URLs – In cases where pages are doubled with the same content, adding the HTML link tag rel=canonical into the page you deem more important. Once you’ve done this, it merges the two (or more) similar pages into one without having to delete any of the pages and being tagged with duplicate content.

14) Responsiveness and Site speed – Slow-loading websites may be due to unnecessary plugins, web hosting, and other causes, but this is often easily fixed. Make sure page loads is under two seconds and pass mobile-friendly tests.

15) Fix broken links – SEO is all about user experience and making it easier for search engines to find your site. But when your site has 404s, non-indexed pages, and other errors, not only do these errors lead to demotion from search engines, they also cause bad user experience.

16) Incorporate semantic search concept – Google’s Hummingbird update updated how search engines understand keywords. The literal keyword/phrase used for SEO in the past (example: New York personal injury attorney) can now be forgotten completely since Google takes a cue of the searcher’s location and intent of the search. Adapting to these changes can improve rankings and boost site visitors.

17) Robots.txt – One of the most basic, yet overlooked site element is the robots.txt. This allows or disallows web-crawlers to crawl a part of your website or not. It is the first thing search engines look for when examining a website, so make sure yours was done right with proper instructions.

18) Ads – Wrong placement of ads can turn any webpage unreadable. Make sure to study the size of ads, try out ad placements, and examine ad loading times whenever you decide to monetize your website with ads.

19) Navigation – Your site menu should be organized properly so that the most popular pages are featured where visitors could easily view them. Take advantage of the internal linking opportunity from every navigation space available, either at the main one on top, side or bottom.

20) Mobile-friendly – Mobile search is the future – the number of people using their mobile devices for searching the web has overtaken desktop users. Updating with the times avoid turning off your visitors with an outdated site.

On-page SEO is just as important as link building or Off-page SEO. Use the checklist above and give your site a free website audit to determine if your website is doing alright, SEO-wise or if it needs to undergo some changes. You’d be amazed that even the slightest changes could improve your site’s traffic and conversions significantly.

Join Crowdsourced Contests for a Chance to Win Cash

Crowdsourcing contests are ideal for people who are in-between jobs and those who are not yet ready to commit to a full-time career.  Since there is no guarantee that you’ll win each contest you participate in, crowdsourced contests are not recommended as a source of income. Instead,  these contests could be an exciting way to master your skills when you’re practicing to become a graphics designer, copywriter, video producer and more.

For those who have free time and would find it fun to get a chance to win cash prizes or gift cards for a few minutes of work, here are some of the websites to check out:

Idea generation

This category of contests involve sharing your name ideas, may it be for a company name, tagline, or even domain names. I talked about the three major crowdsourced contests of this kind – Naming Force, Squadhelp and CrowdSpring – in this guide.

Picky Domains caters specifically to domain-naming contests, so if you’re a regular visitor of GoDaddy and love finding out memorable domain names, don’t miss out on the fun.

Tongal lets participants pitch ideas for music videos, commercials, and other creative media. Prizes for these contests range from $1,000 to a whopping $10,000. In addition, winners also get to receive residual payments – often around 5% to 10% of the amount prize.

Logo and other graphics

This type of contest requires a bit more skill and effort than naming contests. For a pro graphic design artist, creating a logo could take just 5 minutes of his/her time, but can take an entire day for someone without experience in Photoshop and other graphic design tools.

Logo Force – Unlike other crowdsourced contest sites on this list, Logo Force lets clients invite participants to join their contests. Not everyone will be invited, so there’s less competition. Once chosen, not only will the participant receive a cash prize, he/she also receives contact info of the client, which means the business relationship has a chance to grow beyond the contest.

Logo My Way, Logo Contest, Logo Arena and LogoTournament also host logo-designing contests.  Some sites like 99 Designs, DesignHill and Design On Click  have web design, newsletter graphics, Facebook cover other design-related contests beyond logos and often have higher amounts of prizes. Create My Tattoo, as its name suggests, host tattoo-design contests.

Threadless is a popular t-shirt design platform that sells and prints designs of its creative members for a fee. The site also holds t-shirt design contests with cash prizes regularly. Submitted designs are voted by the crowd, and the winner receives $1,000.

Writing

If you have a knack for crafting beautifully-written ad copy, slogans and other texts, this type of contest is for you. One great example of this is BoostCTR (now Boost Media), which gets the help of copywriters around the world to write 30 to 40-word copy that will be used by clients for online ads. BoostCTR isn’t open for new writers anymore, but you could check out Copy Shoppy for similar copywriting contests.

Some contests are aimed at collecting feedback or reviews from people. For example, StartUpLift pays $5 to a user that can provide the best review for a particular website (or $10 for a certain app). BountyIT used to be an option similar to this, but it seems contests aren’t updated anymore.

Other Crowdsourced Contests

Zooppa caters to big brands that are looking for video content and graphic design. The cool thing about Zooppa contests is that the prizes are huge and sometimes include high-value products like newly-launched cameras.

Kaggle is a platform of crowdsourced contests involving data science. It’s highly competitive with experts ranging in the field of mathematics, statistics and real-world machine learning that team up to make educated predictions. Prizes start at $5,000 and can go as high as $1,500,000.

How Much Can You Earn?

Idea generation contests have an average prize amount of $10. Note that Tongal’s $1,000 contest prizes are a rare exception. Logo design contests usually range between $100 and $300, but higher prizes may be offered for other graphic design (such as website header or Facebook cover) contests.

Contests that require more amount of work but higher prize amounts, such as video production and data science analysis, can be a worthwhile hobby for professionals. Imagine earning thousands of dollars for a video you made during your day off from work.

The Bottom Line

The best thing about crowdsourced contest sites is that every posted contest includes a description of the project and amount of prize to be won. Based on this client-provided information, participants can determine if the contest is worthy of their time…or not.

If you’re passionate about a sub-niche, such as t-shirt or tattoo design, the fun in joining these contests will serve as a driving factor for you to join. But without a guarantee of payment, it would be frustrating for some people.

I recommend joining crowdsourced contests only if your skill set or line of work is somewhat related to the contest. If not, it would be better to skip these contests completely.

Work-from-Home as a PPC Consultant

PPC (pay-per-click) consultants are experts working in the shadows to manage the online advertising campaigns of a company. Their job involves a lot of internet marketing tasks like keyword research and mastery of ad programs from Google AdWords, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other platforms. Because pay-per-click advertising is an effective, yet costly endeavor, companies hire PPC consultants to ensure the job is done right the first time.

If you’re confident of your Internet Marketing skills and looking for a challenging career that you can perform at the comfort of your own home, then check out PPC consulting as a home-based job.

PPC Consultant Qualifications

The best thing about this job is that you don’t need any diploma or formal education to become successful. However, you do need an in-depth portfolio that would prove you can reduce advertising cost, while improving ad performance and click-through rates. This includes:

  • Certification – This isn’t a requirement to all PPC consultants, but it helps in proving that you know what you’re talking about. Google’s AdWords certification, for example, involves two exams about online advertising in general and AdWords fundamentals. Google AdWords is the world’s largest pay-per-click advertising service and the search engine giant makes the annual certification exams harder each year, so becoming a Google AdWords Certified Partner would pave the way for better opportunities.
  • Google Analytics report samples – You can have one of the most in-depth resumes in the planet, but if you can’t show a report that your clients could check to see your deliverables, how can you prove that you’ve managed a successful ad campaign in the past? Having report samples readily available (even with sensitive company information of former clients blocked out) can give new clients a sense of how you manage accounts, track conversions, measure success, and organize information in general.
  • Ability to use Important PPC tools – PPC involves a lot of research and data, but tools make it easier to handle these tasks. Unfortunately, many of them have a learning curve that only extended use could solve. As a PPC consultant, you should be well-acquainted with tools like SpyFu (for competition research), Ahrefs (SEO tool with PPC functions), SEMRush (PPC ad monitor and competition analysis), Google Trends and Google Keywords Planner (keyword research), Microsoft Excel (exporting large amount of PPC data), and PPC Protect (PPC budget management), among others.

5 Things That Make You Better than the Next PPC Expert

What separate you from the next pay-per-click expert online are these 5 important things:

  1. Excellent communication skills – After selling your skills to a potential client, communication continues to be an important aspect since you’ll need to explain everything about the job from your ad campaign plan to actual results, fees, methods used and recommendations to help website traffic improve, among other important issues.
  2. Proof of ad campaigns with significant spend – It’s common for a pay-per-click expert to claim success over a personal blog’s ad campaign. However, if you can show past work with a campaign involving a significant amount allocated to PPC ($10,000/month or more) and supporting reports to show how you managed this amount, you’ll be in another level in the PPC world.
  3. Free assessment – Real PPC experts are willing to study your case, provide recommendations and an estimate of costs. This gives potential clients a chance to see your strengths and determine if you’re the best person for the job. An assessment includes information about the client’s competition, business goals, budget allocation, and detailed action plans.
  4. Transparency – Ad campaigns require a unique account for every platform, such as Google AdWords, Facebook, etc. A good PPC expert must ensure all accounts created are owned by the client and provide a comprehensive report detailing where every cent went. PPC consultants who have been in this ever-changing field know too well that they cannot make guarantees. You’ll need to be transparent from start to finish, especially if the campaign isn’t getting desirable results.
  5. Research and analytical skills – Experienced PPC consultants continuously research and analyze data even in the middle of a campaign. They examine the performance of keywords, specific ads on every platform used, and adjust as necessary with the go-signal of the client.

How Much Do PPC Consultants Make?

Freelance PPC consultants charge two kinds of fees – one for set-up (wherein the client takes over once you’ve began the ad campaign) and the other is for management fee (charged monthly because PPC consultants manage everything).

Set-up fees range from $1,000 to $5,000, depending on how big an ad campaign your client wants. Monthly management fees can go as low as $300/month or 10% to 15% of your client’s monthly spend (the monthly budget they have for the PPC campaign).

The income you earn as a PPC consultant depends on the services you’d be providing. Tasks like copywriting, ad design or restricting existing ads may require extra payment on top of the monthly fee.

The Bottom Line

PPC consulting is a continuously growing field – AdWords (Google’s own PPC platform and the biggest of all pay-per-click programs in the world) accounts to  95% of the search engine giant’s annual revenue.

PPC done right leads to businesses making an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on AdWords, which is why pay-per-click managers, consultants or experts have been in-demand in recent years. However, PPC consulting is one of those jobs that experience is a must. You simply cannot “just wing it,” especially since you’ll be handling your clients’ advertising fund for them.

If you do land a career in the PPC field, the income potential is substantial and job outlook is promising. Plus, you can completely perform every aspect of your job at home.