Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More on How to Make Money on oDesk

As the one that is working and making me money, I am really starting to focus on oDesk. It's a job, yes, and my goal is Financial Freedom - and that will come from steady passive income, not pay-per-hour. But right now, I need money (don't we all!), so I take what pays...

Besides, I might have some ideas on how to make oDesk more passive. I'll post on that later though! For now, more on how things work at oDesk.

To make money there, you have to be the cheapest, the best, or otherwise unique at what you do. Considering the competition, I wouldn't try to be the cheapest - many work for under $2 an hour here. The best can also be a pretty high level... That really leaves being yourself and being unique, which means some branding. More on that in a bit.

To set yourself up, first you create an account. They walk you through that, and through the stages of building your profile - think of it as your oDesk resume. Here's mine. The focus is on what you can do for your client (called a Buyer as they're buying your services). So first I took tests to show that I'm not just saying I can write well. You need to take the introductory oDesk test, and then you're on your own. I'd recommend you do a couple obvious ones - creative writing, tech writing, etc. if you want to write. Then apply for a couple jobs and look at the other people applying - click on their names, read their profiles, and start adjusting yours. What other tests did they take? How did they write their intro? Have they worked a bit? Take their profile more seriously, like this one - notice the portfolio as well as tests.

One other thing - as you're building, don't worry about the pay. You'll get up to it. I started at under $2 an hour for my first job - now I'm at $14. The profile in the last paragraph, she started at $10 and now often makes over $30! Start. Write something. Get some positive feedback, and build. There is enough work out there to make a good career here.

Now you just have to stay motivated and working at home!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Making Money Online in February

And the word is ... interesting. I've actually been working offline a lot, which cut into time, and working on oDesk a lot, which cut into time for other projects here. As you'll see below, some have fallen flat on their face, and others are taking off. On to the results!

Again, this has been one of my favorites, as there is lots of opportunities to express myself, think more deeply and reflect on life, and share ideas - hopefully with other people!

On the income front, however, we're not doing so well. Although I had more views in Feb, I made no money through Adsense and Amazon. I also had about two weeks with hardly any posts, so we'll see how that changes in March.

Posting Content
The Haiku I put up last month are my most recent posts, yet things are still moving. I like the possibility that I could have a hundred or more articles, and with a minimum of effort, a slow flow of cash. Even though I did nothing this month, there are 50 new page views - and some come from people who like a new post and move through to other pages. I will probably make it a point to post five articles here a month from now on.

Tally: 50 new page views for 8 cents.

I'm up and official - there are three pictures of mine up on Loxly. You can follow the link in the header to see the pictures I have have up, if you're interested. I'll be working on ways to market them now. I haven't done anything with eBay, as I don't have anything really to sell. This seems like it could be good, though I don't know really how yet...

Final tally: nada

I'm registered with PineCone,, Greenfield, and American Consumer Opinion, and haven't received any new paid surveys. These sites, for the most part, email us when there's a survey we qualify for, so there's little you can do proactively to make money here. I have a few more sites to check out, though I'm discouraged by the lack of action I can take here.

Final tally: nothing new

Telecommuting at oDesk
oDesk is really taking off. I now have two bosses here - one in the Philippines, and one in Greece. Talk about outsourcing and an international market! I've been invited to an interview on what oDesk is about, so I'll put up a link for that if it works out.

As to actual work, I've put in almost 40 hours in the last 3 weeks. I'm working on the help text for a program, and spending a lot of time working out details for the wording and specialty concepts.

February tally: $539.00!

So the grand total is $539.08, all pretty much from oDesk.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'm a Happy Member of the Professional oDesk Community!

I am now an oDesk professional, as compared to an amateur - someone who does it as a hobby. And of course what that means is I got paid! I've been working for a little bit, but they have a delay - I assume so that the buyers can't cancel the payment. Let's go a little slower and explain how the pay system works there.

When a person or business looks to hire someone through oDesk, they have to give oDesk a method of payment - usually credit card, probably Paypal would work too (not a Buyer - yet!). oDesk then tests the card, and doesn't let that person hire anyone until they have a positive result. As long as the you(or me, a provider) works hourly, you clock in, are monitored, and oDesk keeps a record of time spent and what was going on with your computer. Sunday night, your hours for the week are up, and you have until Monday noon to make any changes - say you got a drink of water and spent 10 minutes talking to a friend; you don't want to charge them for that 10 minutes.

Now comes the wait. oDesk spends about 10 days processing: charging their credit card; handling their paperwork; waiting to make sure the money is safely there; and then they make it available to you. So my first week of work came available yesterday, and I got my first paycheck today, all $221 of it, deposited into my account!

So there you have it. oDesk is for real. There's a lot of competition, and some of it is from places with a much lower standard of living, so you have to work hard to differentiate yourself. But once you do, oDesk can be your new workspace. I make more hourly there than at my other jobs - while sitting in my easy chair, looking out the window. Well, sometimes - a lot of my work was really early in the morning.

In other news, Loxly Studios has three pictures of mine up here. Brand new, so I won't make anything this month. Take a look and see what you think. And let me know if you want anything specific. I live in Newport, on the Oregon Coast, so lighthouses, ocean, gulls, pelicans, the Aquarium, and so on are all really easy to get. I'm thinking about putting together some Motivational Posters - let me know if anyone's interested.

Finally, surveys have been a bust. I mentioned two possibles last week, and they both fell through. One never showed; the other one did, but was closed when I went to fill it out (apparently they sometimes close early). I'm going through the other sites again, but nothing new there either. Well, at least I'm learning what works - and what doesn't!

Monthly recap coming soon!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Online Work

Good news/bad news...

oDesk (and a real-life job) have been working wonders, and I've been very busy lately! This is also the bad news, as I can see it's been almost two weeks since I've posted here. So a quick update is in order:
  1. Blogging, here and Lucid Living, have both taken hits. And they haven't made me any money this month, so you get what you give. I'll make it a priority to keep these up, as the goal is steady income.
  2. Loxly Studios still hasn't put up any of the pictures I've sent. I'll keep on them...
  3. Telecommuting through oDesk has gone great. I've put in 15 hours last week, and probably will have 10 or so this week.
  4. Posting articles to Associated Content hasn't shown any new promise.
  5. I've gotten a couple of Surveys, but so far just ones that will put my name in a drawing. Two coming up look promising, so we'll see.
I'll be working more for oDesk, and now looking up another I heard about: elance. Very cool to get paid to sit back with a headpiece on, chat with a boss in Greece, and write text that will make his product better.

An interesting realization: I currently have four bosses, in Idaho, the Philippines, Greece, and one in my town... Welcome to the global economy!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Making Money Online!

Okay, moment of truth time... Early each month, I'll post how I've been doing. Right now, I'm going to keep it on totals, but as things build, I'll move to monthly income. Each of my ventures will get some time devoted to it, so we can compare and contrast. Let's get started!

This has been by far the most labor-intensive. I'm putting at least a couple hours a day here (though not this last week, as you'll note by the lack of posts... oops), and so far, little to show for it. Directly - I might have an oDesk job because someone liked the style of writing on my blogs. Anyway, AdSense shows an average of 13 viewers per day, and a total of 47 cents, most of that on a click-through. Nothing on, the other part of blogging income. Well, I was told it would build slowly!

I certainly enjoy the creative and expressive aspect of blogging, so let's see where it goes!

Posting Content
Didn't do much with this one. I got my five articles in by the end of December for a $10 bonus that didn't materialize. One of the 'articles' was a slideshow, and I don't know if that counts. I'll follow up by email and see what comes of it. I also posted two poems in January - haiku for Valentine's Day,here and here .

Final tally: 121 page views for 18 cents.

Looks like I finally exist on Loxley, but I'm still trying to get pictures up so I can work on selling them. Slow when you're waiting on someone else. I probably would have been better working with eBay or somewhere I have more control. I'm hoping to set up passive income here though. Probably should focus on just income first...

Final tally: nada

Well, as I said, I'm signed up for several. I have registered with PineCone,, Greenfield, and American Consumer Opinion - and have only received invites for surveys that put my name in a drawing. And only probably 3-4 of those even. I need to get the second half looked at, and listed on 6-10 survey sites, not just four. I made $3 on two different surveys in December, and have £3 listed in my account from

Final tally: $6, and maybe £3

Telecommuting at oDesk
And the winner is... I spent 3-5 hours reading a book - that I would read anyway - and about 1 hour on editing the book, and made $10.53. I also wrote an article for a travel site to help build traffic and interest for $5, spending about three hours on this process too. So far, I'm making lousy 'per hour' income (though not as bad as the blogging), but I'm at least making some money. It also looks like I'm going to get a job on oDesk due to my blogging, so this will jump in February. Wish me luck!

Final tally: $15.53!

So the grand total is $22.18 so far.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

oDesk Work(s)

Woohoo! oDesk works!

Last night, I finished my second job through oDesk - a travel article for a travel agency's site, so they have travel stories for potential clients to read while thinking of traveling.

On January 12th, I finished my first job - editing a book that will be used as a 'teaser' to bring clients to their website and start a new social movement. The book was good, and the ideas interesting, and I really only had to do some proofreading, and idea suggestion. First, I told him I couldn't really help, then realized I needed some work history. So I spent about three hours reading and proofreading, and then put together an email of thoughts, concerns, and suggestions, and charged him an hour. And got a great review out of it.

And made an hour's work: $10. That, and last night's article for $5 means I've made $15 on oDesk - making it my #1 money-earning site so far. We're almost to the end of the month, so I'll be putting up monthly totals shortly.

Monday, January 26, 2009

No Opinions Needed

As a sub-part of the surveys, I now belong to:
  1. PineCone Research (by invitation only)
  2. (in the UK, I've earned £3 - we'll see how they pay to the US)
  3. American Consumer Opinion
  4. Greenfield (no pay, just entry to sweepstakes)
So the first three pay, and the last one enters my name in a sweepstakes. Shall I tell you which one has surveys available for me? Can you guess?

I've been in PineCone for close to three months now, and they've sent me two paying surveys while the rest are newer and haven't sent me anything yet. I just signed into Greenfield, and I'm taking a survey on beverages while I type here.

The plan is to find about 10 good survey sites. 20-30 would be better... And by taking a survey twice a month on each, I could make a couple hundred dollars. Now it's looking like I might get up to $10 a month.

We'll see. More to sign up with shortly!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Survey Sign-up, part I

Okay, this is taking longer than I expected. I should have expected it, of course... So here's the first part. I'll do two parts from the original list, then a third part from the new ones I'm finding. On to business:

In the process of Googling these sites (I love the way we verb-ize new words), I found the Survey Police – which had feedback on these and more sites, and some new ones to try out!

American Consumer Opinion
Easy to sign up for. Also, since I consider myself to run my own company (I’m self-employed somewhat), I qualified for a higher level of surveys that can pay significantly more. Of course, I signed up for that too!
Global Opinion Panels
Looks easy to sign up for, but rewards are in points, 5 to 5,000 a survey, with 1,000 points redeemable for $1. That means surveys could be worth $0.05. Also, you have to get to 5,000 and then redeem them to get any reward. I’ll pass. For now…
HarrisPoll Online
Again, you gather points, and then redeem them. For merchandise or gift certificates. I’m holding out for cold, hard cash right now. Probably shouldn’t, but my first wave is for money only…
I-say Panel
Again, you gather points, and then redeem them. For merchandise or gift certificates, and I couldn’t find clear information on what surveys are worth, or anything worth getting at low numbers.
Again with the points. You can redeem them for cash, though, but must have a Paypal account to get paid. And Paypal gets a share of money paid to you through them. Second wave of signups!
Nielsen NetRatings
Couldn’t find any survey information, or a site that looks like it does surveys.
NFO MySurvey (TNS)
Took a little while to track down. Looks pretty good, though you have to redeem for money too. At least they’ll mail it to you. I'll sign up for this one today, too.

There you go. Of seven I looked into, three paid cash, but only two looked worthwhile, one was MIA, and three paid in merchandise / gift certificates.

To compare, my original is PineCone Research - which sends a $3 check when you take a survey for money. Sometimes they'll send a survey just for entry into a sweepstakes. They aren't taking new members at the time I've heard, and I got lucky there - they asked a friend of mine to recommend new people to them and he gave them my name. If I get an offer like that, I'll set up something to help you guys get in!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Writing, Blogging, and You

And reaching the top of my list, we get to the Blogs. Blogs are interesting, and I've had several people ask how one can make money at keeping a public journal. Well, I answer, JD did it. Of course, he did it over several years, blogging prolifically, honestly, and just ... well. As to the money part, he has stuck mostly to ads (like Google Adwords) and affiliate programs. For example, I think that It's Not About the Money by Brent Kessel is a great book. I write something about it, then link it to so you can buy it directly by clicking on the link - and Amazon notices you came through my link and pays me a bit for the referral.

Steve Palina did it too, and I'm still working through his advice on How to Make Money From Your Blog. He's right on, but it's a lot to absorb, and I'll work on it slowly, so we can figure it out together.

Which is probably the best advice I've gotten so far: write about something you care about, go slowly, and figure it out over time. Let things build.

And that's why I'm here. I like writing about finances, and I really wish I could find a blog like Online Money Journal here on the web to lead me through the process. Since I haven't found one, it seems like a great niche to fill. The hope and plan is to learn how to make money online, and share the 'secrets' with my readers as I learn them. Thus you become my audience that helps me make money here, AND the next batch of online money makers using what you learn here.

Of course, I'll appreciate all the help I can get, so please add any experience you have, and together we'll chart a course to new wealth. Hmmm.!

At the end of each month, I'll let you know how I'm doing at each method, and we'll look at how it compares to the effort put in. With any luck, we'll shortly know the best ways to make money online.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Online Sales, Stores, and eBay

This is the one everyone talks about. Set up an online store, sell digital products, make money IN YOUR SLEEP! 'Weird Al' Yankovic has a song about eBay. You've heard it many times - "Everybody needs a web presence!"

The startup costs can be minimal, the setup and work minor, and if you have the right product, the profits can be fabulous! But, hype aside, what's it really like? eBay is so talked about, I doubt there's a ton of money to be made there. Stores? Can I be the next Doubtful. Not that I won't try...

I'm going to start out small here. I've sent some pictures I took to Loxly Gallery owner Deborah has offered to put them up. You can see a small version of one here while we wait.

Once I start to settle in, we'll look at other possibilities. I have an eBay account set up, and Paypal in place. By affiliating, I'll get to see how other businesses go, and thus how I could work this. Maybe someday I will be the next Amazon. We'll see...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Work In Your PJs!

The idea of telecommuting is an appealing one. Stay at home, save money on food, gas, clothes, parking, etc, etc, etc, wear what you want, avoid the boss, and set your own schedule. There are some challenges too - family members, separating work and home, no boss to keep you to task, no collaboration with co-workers, and ... setting your own schedule. For those that can handle it, it can be great. And oDesk seems like a great way to go if your company won't pay you to sit at home all day.

I joined oDesk on December 10th, so it's been just over a month. They have a good starting point, then batteries of tests you can take to separate yourself from everyone else, a feedback system, good community and articles to help you on your way, and GUARANTEED PAY. That's right - for hourly jobs, they get credit card information from the one buying your services, and automatically deduct for hours you worked. You can get stiffed for work not billed by the hour, but you can see if they are set up for payment, and their history of paying and working with providers. Everything looks really solid here.

The hard part is getting work. Since the internet is everywhere, this really is a global marketplace. Want to do data entry? Can you compete with someone who will work for $2 in India or the Philippines? But there's some good resources in the Community on that too, for example an article on how to not be a commodity that has applications throughout your work life.

oDesk's jobs area is broken down into the following categories: Web Development, A/V & Multimedia, Software Development, Networking & IT, Graphic Arts, and Writing. It's not just for writing, though that's where most of my skills lie. But I've found programmers from the Philippines making $20 an hour online here, making this an incredible resource for people in developing nations. Or as a supplement to work you already have.

Review: this one looks very promising, if you don't mind putting in hard work. You won't sit back and rake in the cash, but it certainly looks like you could make a decent living here, especially if you can brand yourself or find a full-time employer. More to come.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Associated Content

I will be going through my exploration into making money online. First, an individual introduction of each type...

Associated Content is an interesting one. As far as I can tell, it works this way: you write an article for them, on their topic or one of your own, and it can be an article, a slideshow, a video, or audio. They look at it, then put it up, with targeted ads, on their site that's already well-established with the search engines. They get paid by people coming by to look at your content and click through the ads or just by the volume of visits. You get paid by the number of people who come by - starting at $1.50 per thousand hits.

I've got five articles up, and have had 91 visitors, netting 14 cents so far. I produced 5 articles because, as a part of signing up, they offer you $10 if you get 5 articles up in your first month there. I'll find out at the end of January if that's real, or if they have caveats and legalese to get around it...

The pay isn't much, at least at first, but you don't have to work on Search Engine Optimization or building traffic. Although SEO skills in your article certainly will help... I'll put up more on SEO later. For now, the goal is to put up a specific article, with specific keywords, and hope to draw attention. The site itself has some suggestions on how to do this, so at the very least, you'll earn enough to cover your time and learn something of what to do with your other internet income streams, or I-streams as I'm now going to call them...

Oh, one possible negative: they suggest you send an email to all your friends, post on your Facebook or other sites, and generally want you to do some advertising for them. I guess it depends on how you feel about the content you've written, and on 'working' contacts...

Review: there isn't a lot of money up front, but $10 to start and the chance to learn and hone your skills makes this an interesting start. You can go in fits and spurts around keeping more stable ones in place.

Of course I'll post more as I make up my mind about it.

Takin' Surveys

I will be going through my exploration into making money online. First, an individual introduction of each type...

My first venture into actually making money online was taking surveys. I was invited to Pinecone Research by a friend, and have been a member since November 2008. I've looked into eBay before this, but haven't actually sold anything. A true neophyte...

I signed up after being told that I would make $5 per survey I took, and that there would be one every couple of weeks. When I signed up, the new deal is $3 per survey, and entry into their sweepstakes... Oh well. So far, I've taken three surveys - two paid, and one for entry in a broader sweepstakes. This works out to one a month at the moment - and $3 a month is not the road to riches!

I am kind of unusual though. I don't have a TV, don't see commercials, and we're pretty tight for cash right now, so I don't do a lot of spending outside of necessities. I assume as they collect data, this could weed me out of some surveys.

On the other hand, at the end of the first survey, they asked me if I participated in other surveys. I said no because I don't, but I did copy their list. This is the list of survey companies they talked about, so I assume they are as legitimate as Pinecone Research is. I am now in the process of checking these out, and I'll let you know how it goes.
• American Consumer Opinion
• Global Opinion Panels
• HarrisPoll Online
• I-say Panel
• Lightspeed
• Nielsen NetRatings
• NFO MySurvey (TNS)
• NPD Online Research Panel
• OpinionSquare (may also be known as comScore)
• SurveyCenter (may also be known as Greenfield Online)
• SurveySavvy
• SurveySpot
• Synovate Consumer Opinion Panel
• Your2cents
• Zoom Panel

Review: this isn't a lot of money, but if you can get on 20, it could mean an extra $50 to $100 a month. As you can start right away, it's a good place to have some income while you wait for slower opportunities (i.e. blogging) to build.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hello World...

Welcome to my new Blog - Online Money Journal. The point of this blog is to make the journey to online income with you. There is a ton of information out there - some good, and some bad - on how to make money online. I'd like to find the way, with your help, and in the process put up a path for others to follow.

I'll be very clear on what I'm doing, how I'm doing it, how much time I'm spending, and if I'm making money. And I hope for your feedback with what you see I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong. Hopefully by the end of the year, I'll be making some good money here, and showing you how to too!

My initial plans are:
1. Blogging - here and Lucid Living
2. Online sales, right now through Loxly Studios for my art, and soon eBay
3. Telecommuting through oDesk. (And other online sites?)
4. Posting articles to Associated Content (maybe similar posting sites)
5. Surveys

If you have any other suggestions, that's what Comments are for. I'll post more on each one soon, explaining what it is, and what my plan is for that stream of revenue.