Sunday, March 12, 2017

Virtual Dollars That Make Sense



This next blog will talk about how you can make money from the comfort of your own home. First off, let me say that there are no free lunches in this world, so if you’re hoping that I’ll be telling you how to be a millionaire, go read a Get-Rich-Quick book because this is not the way.

Through my own personal journey, if you’re unable to work outside the home on a regular basis due to illness (this has been my case over the last while), you can still be productive and a valuable asset to a client or company. I’d like to provide tools that I’ve used that will help you gain back your self-confidence and find a new purpose in life. As one of my favourite artists, the Pet Shop Boys would say, “there are a lot of opportunities you just have to know how to make them.”

Developing your online presence:

Okay so I guess I did tell a tiny lie, you do have to invest in some money in order to get started. However, it’s nothing that is unusual to the way the world works now.

1.  A computer is a must!! Desktop, laptop, netbook, Ipad, even your smartphone would work for some tasks. It’s whatever you would be most comfortable to work with.

2. A reliable Internet connection. DSL would be your best option.

3. Other technology add-ons could be a microphone using a system like Skype to actually talk to clients instead of running up high land-line phone bills,  a webcam, if you feel like you want even more interaction and a digital camera, in case your job involves taking photographs and posting them to various e-commerce sites. You can always use your phone since some have excellent camera quality.

So now you’re all hooked up from a technological aspect, so now comes the fun stuff.

1. Getting an e-mail address. It is very important for you to access and keep track of your contacts and sites that you belong to.  Keep the name simple, yet professional. Use a gmail account, yahoo, or one that your ISP provides. Avoid using brand new companies who haven’t yet established themselves because if their site goes down, you’ll be having great difficulty with accessing your mail and that will be detrimental to any potential clients that you contact or who want to reply back to you. Trust me, been there, tried that!

2. Set up an online payment account. Personally I think Paypal is the best. It’s quick, easy and most people use it as a method of payment for those who do work in other cities and even countries.

3. Make a list of skills that you possess. Everything from your typing speed and ability to write cohesive letters, to using programs like Excel to make spreadsheets or your knack for capturing a beautiful photo. Refer to a previous resume or if you’re having a self-deprecating day, ask friends or family to help you with this task.

4. Go to free classifieds ad sites such as Craigslist and Kijiji as a starting point. Begin to look at the jobs wanted/services sections and you’ll be amazed at how many postings are up. Browse through each category too. Note that you don’t want to just look at your city, search through other cities, and other countries too.  You’ll find clients who have no issue with hiring someone to “work from home” that can cut and paste text into a document to more complex tasks like web design. Respond to any that you want to try out and write a brief email about what you’d bring to the table, well the virtual table, so to speak. Also mention that you would be more than happy to work from your home computer to do this job/task.

5. Be realistic on your availability. If you have a lot of doctor’s appointments, take medication that makes you drowsy, or just can’t sit for long periods of time at a computer, you can say that you have a flexible schedule and can work a certain number a week (you have to determine what you think you can handle). If you can work more than the regular 9-5 pm, even better as a lot of companies have no problem outsourcing work at various hours, depending on the time zone.

6. Can you “like” or “tweet?” Learn social networking! A lot of clients cannot spend the time going through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and various other sites updating statuses or doing repetitive tasks. This is where you come in and learn the ropes. If you can navigate the site and send a message, use the search feature, upload pictures, you’re on your way. One great job that is sought out is for someone to compile a list and send out a standard form letter to certain demographics using a site like Facebook, in order to gain more popularity for a business/product/service.

What kinds of online tasks are available?

Writing tasks. You’d be shocked at how many sites have spelling mistakes and never even notice it until someone points it out. If you like grammar, why not offer to be a proofreader? So many businesses hire people to be a second-eye. Many professionals also want someone to look over his/her work before an important presentation. Can you make sure the data is correct by cross-referencing with another site provided? If you’re fond of academia, students are constantly posting for help with essays and other school-related materials.  If you have a good grasp of the English language (or another language that is required) offer assistance. If you’re the creative type, there are tons of aspiring novelists who go on these classified sites seeking out editors and proofreaders, who won’t charge them the price that a publishing company would. As a freelance editor, you’re providing professional service at a fraction of the price. If you charge as an example $2-3 per page, and the person has 300 pages, that’s not too bad for doing something that you enjoy and will help them out.

Translation services. This one is HUGE! If you know a second or third language, you’re rolling in dough. Seriously, there are so many people who want documents translated in a variety of languages. They are willing to pay a decent amount too since you would be a real person fluent in the desired language and not just a translation software program that they would have to double-check to make sure there were no additional errors.

Next is a big one: Survey companies!

Get your voice heard! There are so many awesome sites that you can join up and earn money from. Many are legit, you just have to be cautious about which ones payout and also whether your country is allowed to participate. Some have Canadian or US only, others are broader. I’ve become quite the expert at it, so I’m always willing to help out if you’re unsure of who to join up with. Best of all, these are all FREE!!! You should never join a survey club that asks you to pay money. The surveys range from 5 minutes to the most an hour. If it’s longer than that time-frame, they will often compensate you more. Companies always want your opinion on new products and based on your demographics, you can be eligible to participate. Again, this is all done online. Some even have communities where you can chat with other people and make new friends. They are called online focus groups and forums. If you’re okay with giving feedback on a variety of topics from health to technology, this is a great way to earn some extra bucks or gift cards. You can even donate your money to charity if you wish to.

A few things to note:
  • Be honest in your responses.
  • Only give out information that you feel comfortable with. Many surveys will include a -ine of “prefer not to say” so there is that option and they will never ask you things like credit card number, social insurance number, etc… If they do, immediately exit that site and delete your account.
  • Make sure to claim any earnings on your taxes. It may not be a lot, but it's just the right thing to do.
The fun and easy referral process:

Many survey companies often ask you to “refer a friend.”  This is always a great incentive too because if a friend joins up on your referral, you are both compensated. Just make sure to follow the instructions so your friend doesn’t go directly to sign up and eliminates your chance at earning more.

So now to find the right job for you:

Find your passion. As an example, if you love watching movies, find someone who wants what is termed as a “ghostwriter” (an individual who posts online anonymously on behalf of a client/company) to post reviews.  Mention that you would be happy to write a sample review, this will entice and see if you are a good fit for the job. You can make excellent money posting film reviews for various sites and also get free dvds at the same time.  Just make sure you find out what kinds of movies you’d be responsible for as some may be along the lines of adult-related material.

Those are just some tips that can help you earn some extra cash and keep you feeling productive!

Please send me a note by replying to this blog or you can e-mail me,  if you’d like to know some of the sites I belong to that do pay out and I’ll be happy to send you referral links.