Monday, 17 March 2014

One hour of surprises!

After a lifetime of working various careers, jobs, and for myself, I've come to realize that I need to set aside one hour a day for surprises. It doesn't matter how much time I spend working out my schedule at the beginning of the week, or how much work I want to get done, invariably, at least once a day, the surprises come.

Surprises come in many shapes and forms. One day the toilet breaks, another day a pipe leaks. A phone call comes from a sick family member. Or my cat barfs all over my bed. I suddenly realize I forgot to buy insurance yesterday. Or a friend says they're going to Las Vegas and I want to figure out if I can go too.

Surprises also come in the form of happy events. For example, today I was all set to work on a short story and my new website. I decided to take a break and check my email. Not only did I sell another article but an author invited me to join her Facebook Like for a Like event today! The article is not due until later in the week, but the Facebook Author's Page promotion is only on for twenty-four hours. Many authors signed up, so this took a great deal of time today. But it was a great idea, as my Facebook page was in sad need of promotion. It was also a fantastic idea that I hadn't had time to think up for myself. Sometimes when you connect with others, they have fabulous networking ideas.

Today I lost an hour of working time, but it was for a great cause. Be sure to keep an hour free from your schedule each day for those daily surprises!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Can you really make money with Gigbucks, Google Adsense, Ebay, Craigslist and Fiverr? The Results are in!

A couple of weeks ago I decided to test out some old and new market websites to see if I could actually make any quick cash online. I decided that a one-week time frame for each website was fair, as well as making five items available for sale, approximately $5 to $10 each. Dealing with some of these websites was an exercise in frustration, with mixed results.

Let's start with the top-performing ones and go from there.

It was no surprise to me that I'd make the easiest bucks with Ebay. I've been on Ebay since August 1997. This was the year that Auction Web decided to buy their ebay.com URL. I can't find what the original URL was, likely it was the host company's and involved numbers. Anyway, I probably spent about an hour taking photos of items that I wished to sell, making up descriptions and listing them on Ebay. Three of my five items sold, in this case, dolls wearing outfits. The dress without a doll didn't sell, nor did the magnet that I had made. You can list up to 50 items for free on Ebay, but the fees were a killer after that. I think the final valuation fees were around 10% of what I made, plus Paypal took another 12%. Paypal fees are a bit hazy, depending on where your seller is located, and whether they pay by credit card or existing Paypal balance. My two buyers bought three items and these were two ladies that I already knew through Facebook doll groups. They were both friendly and I gave them both A+ positive feedback and would be happen to deal with them again. I messed up and shorted myself $2 on shipping one of the items. I calculate I spent about 1.5 total hours selling items through Ebay. I made $50 after all the fees and postage were subtracted. While this sounds great initially, likely I paid more for the dolls originally than $50. But from the point-of-view of clearing out my closet, I MADE $50!

Let's talk about Craigslist next. It probably took me about half an hour to take the photos for the five items I wanted to sell on Craigslist. Listing was even shorter than on Ebay. Their simple web interface allowed me to add a description and load photos in minutes. I quickly figured out how to turn off the map, as you don't want strangers knocking on your door before you've had a chance to screen them through email and a telephone call. With five items, I only had three people contact me. The first person wanted my cake decorating kit. I gave them all my info. They never called me at the appointed time, nor to even send me an email to ask to reschedule. A second person wanted the kit for his wife. He sent me a few emails and agreed to show up at 1 pm on a certain day. I was just about to head out the door when he called me, an hour late. But at least he showed up. He looked at my other items for sale, but ended up buying only the one item. So for about an hour's work, I made $5. I hadn't originally paid any money for the item, it was a gift that I already had, I didn't need two. But I think the aggravation of waiting for people probably added a few hours to my hourly rate. The third person that contacted me wanted to buy my teacups and saucers. I almost thought I had the sale, until they offered $10 less than I was selling. These are teacups that sell in an antique shop for $25 each, and I was offering for $10 each. I suspect this was a dealer contacting me. I never heard back from them after I said no, I didn't want to take less cash.

My third revenue option was Google Adsense. I added it to this blog. How it works is that Google place ads within my blog. If readers click on the ads, then I make a few pennies. I think the scale goes up from there but I'm not certain how it all works. I made about sixty cents in one week.

The last two revenue options were Fiverr and Gigbucks. Fiverr was such a big waste of time. They were so fussy about my photos and the guidelines weren't all that great. After fiddling around a bit for two full days I finally had five micro gigs posted. I took those five gigs and copied them directly to Gigbucks. Gigbucks was a whole lot easier to use and they aren't as fussy about copy or images. But in the end, I bombed on both of those websites.

In conclusion, Ebay was the best quick and easy source of revenue for me. If you're cleaning out your closets anyway, it doesn't matter if you take a loss on your item. Chances are that item would have been tossed out or given away eventually. So making a bit of cash is great. Make sure you know your postage rates and add a few dollars in for Ebay fees and Paypal fees. I think the $50 I made on there was well worth it.

Don't waste your time with Fiverr or Gigbucks. If you start a blog, go ahead and set up Google Adsense but just be aware that unless you blog daily, you likely won't make more than a few dollars to buy a coffee each month.

As for Craigslist, they can go stuff it. I'm not wasting my time on there anymore.

If anyone else knows of any other revenue options on the web that have worked for you, please post a comment below.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Google Hot Trends Today

It's time for a microblog! 

Did you know that Google has a web page set aside just for Google Hot Trends?

Here's the top six web searches for today.

1. Shrove Tuesday
2. How I Met Your Mother
3. Bates Motel
4. Dancing with the Stars
5. CM Punk
6. NHL Trades

So apparently today, people are mostly interested in TV shows, sports, music and holidays. Sounds good to me!