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. PanelBase.net (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 Amazon.com 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. GetRichTogether.org!

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 Amazon.com? 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.