How I published my first article on Seeking Alpha and got paid

Over the last 2 years, I’ve done SO much writing for this blog. I wanted to branch out, stretch my creative muscle and financial know-how writing for a larger publication that pays per article. I started out on the financial website Seeking Alpha since it’s common place now for me to write/talk about finance. Here are the blueprints to How I published my first article on Seeking Alpha and got paid.

First, What’s Seeking Alpha?

Seeking Alpha is an online financial journal for investment research covering stocks, bonds, assets classes, ETFs, and investment strategies. It looks a bit like this.

Why Write for Seeking Alpha?

Anyone who is first starting out as a freelance writer should start with a small publication, getting their feet wet and then lead into larger publications. You shouldn’t expect to be published in the New York Times with your first article.

I heard other bloggers talk about writing for Seeking Alpha so I looked into it. I even heard it was easy to get published on Seeking Alpha. So I decided to start small (FYI, it’s not that small).

Seeking Alpha has TWO different publishing platforms. One is like a blog where you sign up and they’ll publish any article you write to your own “mini blog” and the other is for exclusive articles that Seeking Alpha will pay you for. I discovered that was MUCH harder to get published on.

What does Seeking Alpha Pay-Per-Article?

Every article exclusively published on Seeking Alpha receives a base payout of $35 PLUS $0.01 for every page view. So no matter what you get published, you will receive $35 and if it’s widely viewed you’ll receive $10 per every 1,000 page views.

The higher the page views, the more money you make. Plus there is no timetable for payments, so you’ll continue to receive paychecks from high visited articles for months.

The average article on Seeking Alpha makes $68.79, meaning the average article receives 3,379 page views. It’s way more then what Ebates pays.

Here’s How Writing for Seeking Alpha Went Down

Don’t expect it to be easy

I went into this thinking it was easy (like the other bloggers said) so I spent a little time on my first every article. After recently selling off a majority of my portfolio to pay off my car, I sold my position in Coca-Cola first. So I figured I’d write about that.

My first article was titled “3 Reasons Why Coke is Basically Just Backwash Now”. I spewed out some opinions, ran up about 600 words and hit submit. I submitted it to the “mini-blog” AND their exclusive article submission platform that actually paid per article.

Well, it was published to the mini-blog no problem, that was easy! However, I discovered it’s MUCH harder to get published in their exclusive journal where they pay-per-article. Here was my first Rejection.

HOLY CRAP, that is not easy, they flat out rejected the article. I honestly wasn’t expecting a rejection and it kind of hurt. I REALLY wanted to give up. I only tried again I made it a goal to get paid for an article in my May Income Report. Stupid goals.

I only tried again because I made it a goal to get paid for an article in my May Income Report. Stupid goals.

They gave me some great feedback though, so I revised my article and tried again.

I revised my article and re-submitted

I have to admit, they at least read the article close enough to give me valuable feedback. I’m pretty sure if I ever went back to school to get my MBAf, I’d submit all my articles to Seeking Alpha before my professor.

So I narrowed my focus more and concentrated on one of the reasons why I wanted to abandon Coca-Cola. I narrowed down my focus into the health movement and how the Soda Tax is affecting the soda industry. I sourced every thought with hyperlinks and fleshed out opinions replacing them with facts. I was quite proud of my article.

It still wasn’t enough, Rejected.

SERIOUSLY! Was this the editor for Berkshire Hathaway? I had over ten sources and a well-written piece covering an interesting topic. However, they wanted more on how it specifically affects Coca-Cola. My article should cover how exactly is A is affecting B and how it relates to C. So they wanted to get in the weeds with how exactly is the Soda Tax directly affecting Coca-Cola and how is the company responding to the growing health concerns.

All illusions that publishing to Seeking Alpha was easy, were now shattered. I started going finance ninja and pulling stats.

I revised my article once more and was accepted!

I spent more time looking through Coca-Cola’s financial reports, understanding how the current 8 cities who passed a “soda tax” have affected both their tax growth, the decline in soda sales and future growth of the tax. As well as read Coca-Cola’s Letter to Share Holders about the future of the company and their responses to the current cities enacting the tax.

I now had a pretty good idea now how the Soda Tax is affecting Coca-Cola and Seeking Alpha loved it.

YES! The final article is now published on Seeking Alpha, Coca-Cola And The ‘Soda Tax’. In the first 2 days, it’s received 1,340 views which equals $48.40 ($35 base pay + $13.40 for page views).

As well as receiving over 38 comments, primarily from people who REALLY hate taxes.

Conclusion

It’s exciting to think of oneself as a finance writer, once you’ve been officially paid for an article to be published. There is so much that goes into an article that gives it substance and obviously a bit more difficult than I originally imagined. However, the process I feel is similar to other freelance writing jobs if you want to earn extra money.

I will absolutely do a couple more Seeking Alpha articles in the future. Maybe once a month, it’s a great learning opportunity, and I’m all about residual payments from page views as a new passive income stream.

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Fluid App Review – Make Money Renting Your Stuff Out Instead of Selling It

I stumbled upon the Fluid App also known as Fluid Market a few months ago after a friend, Matt Holmes of Handshaking.com, told me about it. It’s an app that lets you rent out your stuff for money instead of selling it. Since then I’ve been using the app and testing it for this Fluid App Review.

What is the Fluid App?

Fluid Market is a Start Up making some big waves in Denver. They have essentially created an online marketplace (through the app only) that people can rent items from other people.

Think Craigslist, but instead of selling your items, you rent them out for money. Or you can rent items you only need once, like a carpet cleaner, instead of buying one. This is what it looks like.

Fluid App Review Infographic of Screenshots

The idea being, if you only need an item once like you want to rent a scooter for the day. You can find one on Fluid, see how much it is per hour/day and contact the owner to rent it. You pay everything through the app so you’re not actually exchanging money with other people. Take that Craigslist!

My Experience Using the Fluid App

If you’re like me, you’re thinking “This looks like an awesome way to earn more money, but I don’t want other people damaging my stuff”. I was nervous too, I’ll admit that. Their $1 Million insurance policy helped me feel a little bit better, but still, it’s my stuff and I don’t want to deal with insurance hassles, so I started small for the Fluid App Review.

I searched around my 583′ square foot studio apartment for stuff that was valuable enough people would want to rent, but I didn’t mind getting banged up a bit. Not that it would, but again, I was hesitant.

The ONE thing I found was my Clothing Iron. I figured someone in the area may need a clothing iron, so what the hell.

I Downloaded the Fluid App and Created an Account

To start my Fluid App Review, I downloaded the app from the android store (it’s also on the Apple Store). At first, it was a bit slow and clunky. However, it’s gotten SO much better from what it was a couple months ago. Someone in their tech support is doing something right. Plus it’s a StartUp up, so I’m sure they’re constantly updating and improving it.

After downloading the app, I get a screenshot like this

Fluid App Review - Log In / Sign In Screen

It gives you the option to use an email or Facebook, I selected email only. I’m sure there’s a social component to the app that’s nice, but I just wanted to try it out. I didn’t want to message all my friends on Facebook about it.

Then I got that clunky loading screen (again it’s gotten a lot better!).

Fluid App Review - Loading Screen

Once in the app, you have categories on top and a random assortment of items below. I haven’t figured out how it chooses what items are on the home page. These are all the items you can rent. From each quick view thumbnail, you can get an idea of what items they have. Including the name of the item, photo, the cost per hour/day/week, the item’s rating and how far you have to travel to pick it up.

Fluid App Review - Items for Rent

If you click on an item, like the scooter I want to rent ($15 for the day!). You’ll get a more detailed description of the item and lender, along with additional photos, which really helps! At that point, all you have to do is scroll to the bottom and click “Check Availability” to rent it.

Fluid App Review - Scooter for Rent

How I Rented Out My Stuff On The Fluid App

So I had my Clothing Iron and I was ready to start renting it out. I go to the top left icon to see all their options, and select “Add Item”

Fluid App Review - Menu

Then I start filling in the info on what kind of Clothing Iron, add photos (either from your gallery or take them on the spot) and set my price. Once you add the category, you’re pretty much done. Anyone can add an item and it’s incredibly easy through the app. It took less than 5 min.

The Fluid App will take 20% of every transaction, they say this is to help pay for the insurance and upkeep of the marketplace. Keep that in mind when pricing your item.

The last thing you do is add how people are supposed to contact you about renting it out through “Pick Up/Drop Off” instructions. I asked them to email me, but you can have them call you as well. Do this in a public location like I talk about in How To Sell You Stuff On Craigslist.

FYI – No one can see your number or email until AFTER they have paid. That part is SO nice.

Fluid App Review - Clothing Iron Upload

Then I waited. So far, I haven’t heard from anyone about renting my clothing iron. Lol I guess it’s as useless to me as it is for anyone else.

If I do make any extra money from this, I’ll add it to my monthly income reports.

So now I’m looking at other items to try and sell on the Fluid App.

How To Rent From Other People On The Fluid App

This process is equally as easy. You select the item you want, hit “check availability” (in case it’s rented out already) and you’ll get a list of times in hours that you can rent it out for. Select how many hours you want it and that’s how it’ll calculate payment.

Then you submit your request and pay via credit card. There isn’t a paypal option that I’ve noticed during the Fluid App Review. It’s credit card only.

Afterward you get in touch with your lender to coordinate the pickup. Basically, the app just provides the marketplace of items to rent and the payment option, the rest is up to the renter and lender to coordinate.

Pros/Cons After The Fluid App Review

Pros

  • It’s a great way make extra money renting out your old stuff. You can make regular revenue off your old stuff rather than selling it once.
  • It’s a great way to try items before you buy them or likely only use once like a steam cleaner.
  • They have a growing marketplace of items. Every time I open the app, they have new items I can rent out.
  • People can only contact you AFTER they paid, so unlike Craigslist where I got multiple inquiries a week over the same questions from people who may or may not actually buy something. The Fluid App only gives the renters your info after they paid for the item. That is SUPER nice.

Cons

  • All the photos are of people’s unique stuff and people SUCK at taking photos. It lacks that crisp look because they are working with crappy photos. It just hurts the overall look of the app.
  • They are leaning heavily toward renting out high price items like cars. So it’s becoming similar like Turo in some ways which I’m not sure they wanted to do. I hope they continue to rent out the low priced items like extra pots and pans I could use for a large family brunch.
  • The Fluid App handles the marketplace and money exchange, but I still have to spend my time meeting with people for pick up/drop off. I wish there was an easier way.
  • It’s still a small “Denver” community to rent from, however I can see these guys growing, like big.

Don’t get disparaged about my Cons, I’m being pretty critical of the new start up, but I really am impressed by this company. In fact, I was so impressed by these guys during the Fluid App Review, for the fun of it, I checked to see if they were hiring. Who knows, if they do things right, it could be the next SNAP. So I submitted a quick resume to their marketing team. What the hell.

My IPO dreams were rapidly cut short the following day when Fluid’s HR team contacted me to say they were looking for someone with a little more “Rental Experience”. I guess my couple years in college renting out outdoor gear to students wasn’t enough. LOL it’s ok, I’m still a fan of the app.

Conclusion

This is a pretty exciting app that I hope grows because now I’m constantly looking for new stuff to rent out. It’s a really neat idea to make extra money. PLUS a sustainable revenue source if you have an item people really want to rent (bouncy houses, VR equipment, and cars are high demand items). What do you think of my Fluid App Review? Would you rent out any of your stuff?

Here’s me contemplating what to start renting out next. FYI that’s an electric scooter, totally bad ass I know. =P

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7 Ways on How to Save Money on Groceries

7 Ways on How to Save Money on Groceries

This is probably nothing new to you. Food is expensive! Outside of my families mortgage payment, it is our second biggest monthly expense. That is why I wanted to explore this week on how to save money on groceries.

Typically my wife and I will spend around $100 a week. And that’s just for the two of us! I would like to get that down to $75 a week or a 25% reduction which is a pretty significant cut! Especially when we are trying to eat healthy.

This week I want to take a deeper look into saving opportunities to save money on groceries. This means by looking past the typical tips you hear such as never going to the grocery store on an empty stomach or always go with a list. The seven tips below are sure to help anyone reduce their overall grocery bill.

Loyalty Cards

My wife and I tend to do all of our shopping at King Soopers on a weekly basis. In the Denver area they tend to have fairly good prices with a great loyalty program.

One perk of King Soopers loyalty program is the gas savings. For every $100 you spend they will give you 10 cents off a gallon of gas. Since we currently spend about $100 a week on groceries, those savings start to really add up over the course of the year.

Just like every other company does now a days, they track what you purchase . With this knowledge King Soopers will give you customized coupons every month. These because they are items that we really want to purchase. I hate the coupons that print out after checking out because they are never relevant to what I want or need to purchase.

I recommend going doing research in your region to find who has the best prices along with a good loyalty card program. Then head over to those stores to get signed up.

Plan your Meals for the Week

My wife and I have found that we save money on groceries a lot better when we go into the week with a plan for what we are going to eat for the week. During the week we can chose what we eat depending on how we are feeling that day from those seven meals. We try to pick two to three meals that are super easy to make (30min or less) and the rest are a little more complex that take more time (an hour or more).

I like the application called Mealime to help me out with planning our meals for the week. They allow you to select several dietary restrictions, foods you like/do not like, and then it gives you a several meal for the week. The application even gives you a nice grocery list based on those recipes.

Meatless Mondays

This is a tough one for me as I like to have a meat protein with every meal. I have always thought that you need a traditional protein every meal. Then I met Tristan, one of my best friends, who is a vegetarian. Over the years he has showed me great ways to get that protein from other sources rather than only meat. The nice thing about this is that these alternatives are usually much cheaper than most meat.

Making one or two vegetarian meals a week can help save money on groceries by cutting some major costs that come with purchasing meats.

Coupon Apps

Typically most major companies will have a mobile application which makes it easy to find their coupons. I would not hesitate to download the applications for the stores that you shop the most at. They make it easy to find the coupons you need. That way they can get you into their store to buy more things. What they do not know though, is you are coming into the store with plan (from above) so you will not buy any extra items.

Outside of using major retailers applications there are many awesome third party applications. Some of these include SavingStar, SnipSnap, Grocery IQ, and Grocery Smarts. I personally do not have any experience with these applications but they are now on my list to help my wife and I cut 25% off of our grocery bill.

What couponing application do you use to save money on groceries?

Ibotta

This is another application I do not have any experience with Ibotta but it sounds pretty amazing. This couponing/rebates company, based out of Denver, allows you to save money on everyday items that you actually use. I must say, this is really appealing to me.

According to the steps on Ibotta’s site, the whole process seems fairly easy. You sign up. You unlock cash rewards on the items you plan to purchase before heading to the store. You buy those products. You scan the product barcodes and submit a photo of the receipt. Then you get paid!

Have you used Ibotta? I will be trying this tool out soon so I can write a full review for everyone.

Bonus Points: There are several other apps that are similar to Ibotta. These include Checkout 51 and Ebates (See Andrew’s Review).

Buy Generic

As mentioned earlier, my wife and I usually shop at King Soopers unless there are good deals going on at another store such as Sprouts. King Soopers has a great generic brand, Kroger, their parent company. This brand can help us save a lot of money each week.

Most of the time these generic brands have similar (if not better) quality as the name brand. If this is true, why spend an extra dollar or two for that name? Going generic for most or all of the items on your list can cut down that final bill to save money on groceries.

Do you have any favorite generic brands to save money on groceries? Mine is Kirkland at Costco!

Make Your Own

Buying items that are pre-made is super convenient and easy on a busy night after work. Sadly, these pre-made items are costing you a lot of money each week. This is because you are paying for the labor that goes into prepping that item.

Instead of buying these items, you should opt to make your own. In all honesty buying pre-made items do not save you much time unless you are buying a whole cake.

I recently had an experience where I bought a pre-chopped bag of cauliflower rice at Costco. This bag was about $5.50 and came with WAY too much chopped up cauliflower. I decided to buy this bag because I was nervous how much time needed to go into making cauliflower rice. Just this past week I had another recipe call for the rice. I did not have the time to go to Costco to get another bag. Plus, I did not need that much that came in the Costco bag.

So instead, I bought one head of cauliflower, put it into our food processor, and within a few minutes had my own cauliflower rice. The whole head of cauliflower was only 98 cents allowing me to save $4.52 just for an extra three minutes of work.

Each week I can easily create a few savings by prepping my own food instead of buy pre-prepped food. The savings would really start to add up quickly then!

Now Go Save!

Adding these tips on top of the general rules, listed above, of grocery shopping will help you save tons of money every week. Now let’s go out an save money on groceries!

What are you doing to save money on groceries each week?

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Ebates Review – I wish I started this 2 years ago

Ebates Review Blog Post Image

Three weeks ago, I received a message from my buddy Cameron over at SquirrelBox suggesting to do an Ebates Review. I initially scoffed because I DON’T NEED ANOTHER APP!

You, like me, have seen “Ebates” pop up on your social media and thought the same thing. So let me explain what Ebates is.

SPOILER: It’s awesome, and not just another app.

Ebates Review – What is it?

Ebates is an online company who partners with over 2,000+ stores (many popular stores you regularly shop at). Whenever you go to one of your favorite stores, like Amazon, from the Ebates platform and make a purchase. Amazon assumes you would have only visited their site because of Ebates and gives Ebates a 4% commission. Then Ebates passes on those savings to you, and gives you 3% cash back for your purchase.

Ebates is essentially an affiliate company that pays you to visit their site first before you start shopping.

My Experience Making Cashback with Ebates

I’m running the Bolder Boulder in 5 weeks and I need new shoes. I’ve used the same running shoes (type & size) the last 7 years, so I’m going to buy them online.

Here’s my process.

I go to Ebates.com and search for ASICS since I’m going to buy a new pair of ASICS from their online store. Sure enough, the ASICS store pops up and Ebates tells me right away that their partnership provides me 1.5% cash back on purchases. Cool!

Ebates Review - Asics Page

 

In addition, Ebates also has all of ASICS best deals right now. Also Cool!

Ebates Asics Page Deals

 

It doesn’t matter which deal you select, these are all just notifications. Any of them you select “Shop Now” will just send you over to the actual ASICS Homepage. You’ll see a loading screen like this.

Ebates Review - Sending Page

This entire process takes 30 seconds, now you’ll be on the ASICS page and anything you buy, you will make 1.5% cash back. Plus if you have the Ebates Chrome Extension like me, you’ll be reminded in the top right, how much you’ll save.

So as I look at my costly shoes, I’ll be reminded to of my 1.5% cash back on my $109 running shoe. So I’ll make $1.64 through Ebates on this purchase. I’ll make more since it’s my first purchase through Ebates and I used Cameron’s affiliate code (we’ll get to that in a second).

Asics Shoe Purchase

 

Remember, I use my 2% cash back credit card for everything, so I’ll gain an additional 2% off the purchase + plus the 1.5% from Ebates. Wahoo!

When does Ebates pay me?

Every time you make a purchase (like a new pair of ASICS), Ebates will hold onto your cashback rewards. The companies, like Amazon, ASICS, Walmart, pay Ebates and Ebates pays you, quarterly. So 4 times a year, you’ll receive a check from Ebates. This can also be PayPal or you can donate it to a charity or organization.

Here is their quarterly payout schedule:

Ebates Payout Schedule

If your account is less than $5.01, Ebates will roll that balance into next quarter’s payout. It just a lot of processing fees for them, so they do $5.01 minimum payouts. I can’t blame them for that.

 

If you’re thinking that my $1.64 is too small for a payout, I’m actually at $11.64 because I used a friend’s affiliate code and earned $10 extra dollars. Use my affiliate code for your $10 extra dollars.

PLUS any cashback you recieve from Ebates isn’t taxed because the IRS considers “cashback” as a “discount” to your purchase like coupons. That’s why when you sign up for Ebates, all you need is a email, password and address for them to send your “big fat check” (their phrasing), not tax forms for you to fill now.

How do YOU sign up for Ebates?

It’s easy, go to Ebates here and enter a quick email and password. No more info than that. It takes less than 30 seconds and you can start looking around their marketplace and checking out all their partnerships. You’ll only have to add your address once you’re ready to cash out.

Use my Affiliate Code!!!

If I’ve educated you enough about Ebates to at least check it out. PLEASE use my affiliate code. This way YOU will earn an extra $10 at payout and it gives us at Wallet Squirrel an extra $5 through their affiliate program, so we can pay for things like internet and electricity.

I would never recommend something unless I REALLY like it and I’m a fan of after this Ebates review. In fact, wish I started using it 2 years ago when I first started to really get into Online Shopping.

I would have $68 if I started using Ebates 2 years ago.

I wish I did this Ebates Review 2 years ago when I first started Online Shopping. I know I’m a late bloomer. My parents told me that hackers would steal ALL my info and identity, so I was terrified. Since then I’ve learned how security works, feel more secure against Nigerian Princes and now LOVE online shopping!

In the last 2 years, on Amazon alone, I have spent $1,145.64 according to my purchasing history. So since Ebates has 3% cashback on Amazon.com. I could have made $34.36 from Ebates in the last 2 years!

Plus I spent nearly that much through Non-Amazon purchases. So if we apply the same 3% (it’s about average for Ebates), I easily could have made $68.73 in the last 2 years using Ebates.

I missed out on all this cash that I could have used to invest. Why didn’t I? Because I didn’t know how awesome saving money was, nor what Ebates was.

Conclusion

In the last week, I have realized what exactly Ebates is and their tons of partnership stores. This site is quite large and trustworthy at this point! Now with their Ebates Chrome Extension, I’m told how much cashback I can make at my favorite stores without even visiting the Ebates website.

I just wish I started this Ebates Review sooner and started making more cashback to start investing with.

To all my investor friends. It’s definitely worth a shot to earn some extra cash to start investing with.

Do you use Ebates?

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Couponing at Its Best Using the Honey App

Couponing at Its Best Using the Honey App

Just a few months ago I stumbled upon an amazing extension for Google Chrome. This extension is called the Honey App. The Honey App sits in the background while you shop online to help you find coupons automatically. Essentially it is your own personal couponing assistant.

I must disclose right away, you will not be doing any extreme couponing with the Honey App. So you will not end up getting 728 tubes of toothpaste delivered to your front door that you only paid $1.94 for. Rather this application allows you to save some dollars that you would not know about otherwise.

Couponing with the Honey app is so simple. Video courtesy of Honey.

Setting Up the Honey App

As mentioned earlier, the Honey app helps online shoppers find coupons automatically. Honey only takes five minutes to sign up for and install.

To get started, head over to the Honey website.

In the top right hand corner of the page click on “Join Now”. Enter your email and a password. They also allow you to sign up using your Facebook account if you prefer that method.

Next, click on the giant orange “Get Honey For Free” button. This will install the Honey App extension for the browser you are using.

After that, you are done and ready to do the best couponing ever! Now you can head over to Amazon to get the best deal ever on that JL421 Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Tank that you have always wanted.

Using the Honey App

Really there is not much to say here. Once installed Honey does all of the work from there.

If I am on Amazon, you can see potential savings within each product page. Honey will tell you either you are getting the best deal or if you need to go to another Amazon seller for the best deal.

Bose

Showing how you could easily save $21.34 on some Bose Headphones on Amazon.

 

Bonus Points: The Honey app will also give you information about the price history of the product. This will allow you to see if you really are getting a good deal or not. Maybe the price of the product jumped up in the last month so you know to wait for it to drop again.

When shopping outside of Amazon, the Honey App will pop up during checkout in the right hand corner of the browser telling you that it has found some coupons. Click the “Apply Coupons” button to watch the magic start. Honey starts scanning through all of the coupons it found and tries to apply them. Once complete, Honey notifies you if any of them were a success or not.

Results

The results have varied for me. I really have not had much success outside of Amazon. Since the Honey app is fully integrated with Amazon, it works really well there. The application tells you what other sellers are offering better deals. This allows you to easily hop over to their product page to check out the deal. Just be careful, if you are a Prime member, make sure this other offer is eligible for that service or else you might end up spending more in shipping.

Honey found 9 coupons to save some money on these sweet Nike shoes.

Honey found 9 coupons to save some money on these sweet Nike shoes.

Outside of Amazon my success has been minimal. After scanning through the coupons that pop up, I find more often most of the coupons fail. This is because Honey scans through all of the couponing websites such as Retail Me Not. Most of the coupons are out of date from these site. I have mostly received free shipping but hey that is five or ten bucks in savings right there.

My Thoughts

I absolutely love Honey! It is truly passive. Typically I forget it is even running in the background until it pops up saying that I could save some money during check out. I personally only have experience with the Honey App within Chrome. According to their website it does work on most major browsers.

Browsers

The Honey App works on most major internet browsers.

 

For anyone that likes couponing the Honey app is a must for your online shopping. For anyone who loves saving money this application is still a must for your online shopping.

Looking to make more money? Check out our list of Ways to Earn More Money. We continue to explore new ways to earn money. This list has ideas and links to other articles to the ideas we have tried.

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How I made $1.88 Selling Stock Photography in 10 days as a new Shutterstock Contributor

I’ve always been fascinated with stock photography as a passive income. So I decided to try it and share my success as I sold my first stock photo in 10 days as a Shutterstock Contributor.

Honestly, I’ve been wanting to try this for a while since discovering Adam of Team Squirrel, mention he made $1,000 off a single photo (sold multiple times)! Ironically, he took it of the St. Louis Arch while supporting me as I ran the St. Louis Marathon in 2012. #humblebrag

This is my 10 day my review as a new Shutterstock Contributor!

What is Stock Photography?

These are digital photos that are sold online, usually for commercial purposes. Sites like iStockPhoto and Shutterstock are great examples of websites that sell stock photography.

It’s an interesting business model because all you have to do is upload a photo once, as a digital product, and people can download it thousands of time without any effort on your part.

picjumbo.com_HNCK3991

Great Stock Photography Example

 

How I Started and Sold my First Stock Photo in 10 Days

I’m not a professional photographer or a good photographer by any means, but I applied to both Shutterstock and iStockPhoto, two top stock photography websites, on the off chance they’d accept an amateur like me.

Oddly, I was accepted into both.

There are other Stock Photography websites out there, you can apply to. Here is a list of the top 10 I discovered in my research, but I’ll only focus on one (Shutterstock) for this article. I assume they all have some similarities.

Day 1 – Understand what stock photos sell best

In order for me to start submitting photos, I had to understand what stock photography sites were looking for, and sell best. People aren’t going to want to buy photos of you took of clouds from an airplane.

In fact, they specifically ask you don’t submit photos of clouds. They have MILLIONS of them.

You need to submit photos that you believe could be used for commercial purposes. Some photo types that sell best are Portrait Photography, Food Photography, Landscapes (usually with people) and fine art photography (artsy). Above all, nice photos with people sell the best.

Now I knew what stock photography sites were looking for.

Day 2 – Find the Best Photos I’ve taken

I had to figure out what photos I already have. I assume some had to be pretty good.

So I plugged in my external hard drive carrying every photo I’ve ever taken through college, life and traveling. In one night, I went over 4,000 photos.

How-to-Sell-Stock-Photography

I sat at my tiny desk with Netflix on in the background as I clicked on my computer’s right arrow button nearly 4,000 times to go over every photo I’ve ever taken in the last 10 years. Most of these were point and click cameras so the quality wasn’t that great, but I found a few gems. =)

I dragged all the good photos I found into a folder. I ended up with 100 great photos.

That’s still too many! I had to limit those 100 great photos down to 60 awesome photos, then down to the 30 all-time best photos I’ve ever taken. Later ranking them 1 to 30.

That was hard, very, very hard.

I had to keep in mind, I can’t control how these photos will be used. A family portrait may be used in a prescription depression magazine ad, so I was cautious and respectful to other people in the photos. Plus I would need any persons in the photo to sign a “photo release” you can get these online, but I just avoided photos with people to make it easier.

I was ready to apply to Shutterstock.

Day 3 – Apply to Shutterstock

Yes, you have to apply, they don’t just take anyone with a kodak camera.

So I submitted to Shutterstock & iStockPhoto, but we’re still focusing on Shutterstock. Shutterstock was A LOT faster with the review process, taking around 5 business days. iStockPhoto took around 30 days.

So I went here to apply to Shutterstock.

Shutterstock Contributor Page

I created a profile (basically username, password and verify email address). Then they requested I upload around 14 of my best photos. They would review these for the application process. Yes it was a process, they have an official review team that reviews each photo uploaded to make sure it matches their quality.

Luckily I already went through and had my top 30 ranked. I added my top 14.

Upload to Shutterstock

Then I hit submit and started the waiting game.

ShutterStock Submission

Day 4 through Day 8 – I wait

During this time I contemplate questions like “Am I in the Truman Show” and continue to wait.

Waiting

Day 9 – I’m approved

Finally on Day 9, I get the “You’re approved” email. I was honestly a little shocked. I knew the photos I submitted were MY best, but there are MUCH more talented people out there doing photography. I wanted to email them back and say “really, are you sure I’m approved”. However I kept my mouth shut and moved on.

ShutterStock Submission Acceptance

So I hop into their platform and start familiarizing myself with their dashboard. It looks a little something like this.

Shutterstock Dashboard

I spend time filling out the rest of the information and verifying who I am for taxation purposes. They are very keen on this, in fact they ask you to submit a photo of your driver’s license to confirm who you are. That part was a little weird uploading a photo of my driver’s license, but figured I’ve gone this far.

Remember every photo you upload, even as a contributor, has to be reviewed by their team first, even after you applied with those same photos. I guess it’s a different review team.

I started by selecting my top 8 photos for consideration to sell on their site. Now more work.

Having a nice photo isn’t enough, you have to add categories to what your photos are, such as “travel, nature, urban, etc.”. Then add around 50 description key words to each photo. These are how people can search for your photos when they’re looking for a stock photo to purchase. This part is crucial!

Once I selected all the keywords and categories for each of the 8 photos, I clicked “Submit” to have their team review my photos with those keywords. The idea is you’re not using unrelated keywords, have proper photo release forms if you have people (yup, upload those too), categorizing the photos correctly, and the photos are of high enough quality.

2 of my photos got rejected rather quickly. They at least tell me why.

Shutterstock Rejection Email2

 

However the other 6 photos were approved! These are the best photos I’ve ever taken right here. If you agree, feel free to purchase them, but I have no idea what you’d use them for. I just like them. Lol

Approved Shutterstock Images

Day 10 – Sell Stock Photo, Check!

Someone liked my photo and bought it! I’m not sure who it was, but I made my first sale on Shutterstock for my “dock” photo I took in New Zealand. Maybe it was my mother, she’s still has my Macaroni drawings from 1st grade. I don’t know.

I can see how other people may use this as a stock image though. It’s very calming. The only thing missing are some kids running off the end, into the water.

Not sure how they found it, just searching for “dock” won’t really find it, it’s pretty buried. They would have had to specifically searched for the keywords I associated with my “dock” photo.

So finding the right keywords for your photos makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE. You should be spending 30 min on keyword research for each photo and don’t be afraid to look at your competitor keywords on similar images.

How much did I make?

Lesson Learned – I was most disappointed that I can’t control the pricing. This is entirely controlled by the website. The cheapest they sell photos for are $29 for 2 photos, so we can assume they sell the basic quality photos for $14.50 each.

From my one download, I made $1.88. It’s not great considering Shutterstock is taking 88% and I’m getting 12% of each sale, but it’s what I have to deal with since it’s their market place.

Shutterstock Dashboard - 1 Purchase

We’ll overlook the fact that I only made $1.88 on one photo, or 12% of the price online.

Some people can make a living off it for sure, but as I mentioned our own Adam in his recent article “8 Extremely Flexible Part Time Jobs for Us Grown Ups” said he made around $1,000 off one photo of the St. Louis Arch. He uploaded it once, and has continued to see checks from it over the last year.

Impressed

Conclusion

I’m continued to be excited about stock photography even though I only made 12% of the total sale.

I suspect the 6 photos I uploaded won’t do great, but they’ll continue to bring in a few bucks without any additional effort on my part. Plus I can add more as a Shutterstock Contributor now.

From here, I will likely review the list I made on Day 1, of what stock photography sells best and maybe go around Denver with Adam and take a few new photos to sell. I can grab a suit and conference room to shoot for some business photos, or head to my roof deck for some shots casual shots reading.

Now that I know what type of photography sells best, I can shoot some new photos to sell online for another passive income stream!

Have you ever sold stock photography?

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A UserTesting Review By a Frustrated Applicant

A UserTesting Review By a Frustrated Applicant

Let us start this UserTesting review at the beginning to give you some context what they do.

A glance as to what UserTesting does.

A glance as to what UserTesting does.

Basically UserTesting will do a comprehensive review of a company’s website.

UserTesting will have a “Company A” approach them saying, “Hey, we are not sure if our website is very good. Can you help?”

User Testing takes over by asking, “What are you worried about with your website?”

Now the “Company A” could say that they are worried about their navigation or is information is easy to find? These concerns are then transformed into tasks for a website reviewer to try out.

Enter the UserTesting website reviewer, what I was hoping to try out.

Everything done by the website reviewer is recorded by UserTesting’s on their application. This application records what the reviewer is saying as they talk through their actions, thoughts, and process. Also, the application records the screen movements and actions the reviewer performs. I’m not exactly sure what happens after the review is completed. I would assume that the company gets the responses and data after some vetting/cleaning up process. The video below explains the whole process in their words.

My Experience Starting Out

When I first heard about UserTesting.com about a month ago I was excited. I thought to myself, “Man, they are going to pay you a decent amount of money for 20 minutes of work to review websites? I’m in!”

Not only was I excited for the additional income but I was excited to learn.

For me, creating websites is a passion. Being able to review many different sites would have given me the opportunity to see what other people are doing right or wrong. Personally, I was the most excited to learn! Plus, I thought I could make an awesome UserTesting review for the readers of Wallet Squirrel.

Sign Me Up!

Fast forward to this past week. I was finally able to get started on my application to be able to review websites and start the UserTesting review.

View of the sign up page.

UserTesting Review: Sign-Up Page.

My adventure started off with excitement. To begin with, they ask everyone to try out a test review to make sure every applicant can speak clearly and has the right equipment set up. I hopped on their website where I submitted my email address to start the process. Once the email arrived I could click on a link provided to begin the sample test.

Email I received to start the process.

UserTesting Review: Email I received to start the process.

Sample Test

This link in the email takes you to a webpage where I could download their application. Once downloaded, I could follow the steps to get it installed. The initial process was super easy and simple. After completing the install, I hit the continue button which took me to the next page. Because most people are not sure what to expect, UserTesting provides a link to a previous applicant’s sample video. This was nice to have so I could get my bearings for my own sample test.

The initial process was super easy and simple. After completing the install, I hit the continue button which took me to the next page. Because most people are not sure what to expect, UserTesting provides a link to a previous applicant’s sample video. This was nice to have so I could get my bearings for my own sample test.

This was nice to have so I could get my bearings for my own sample test.

Testing out the microphone. It works almost to good.

Testing out the microphone. It works almost to good.

After taking a peak at the example, I hit “Launch Recorder” to have a go at it for myself. The application opens with a test for your microphone. Annoyingly there are more pop ups to go through before I finally got to where the application is recording. Reading the instructions, the first task is to watch a short two-minute tutorial video. This video is nice as it goes through the process with you and gives you some more tips on how to use the UserTesting Application. Once complete there are three questions to answer. These are simple multiple choice questions, so do worry much about them.

The application opens with a test for your microphone. Annoyingly there are more pop ups to go through before I finally got to record. Reading the instructions, the first task is to watch a short two-minute tutorial video. This video is nice as it goes through the process with you and gives you some more tips on how to use the UserTesting Application. Once complete there are three questions to answer. These are simple multiple choice questions, so do worry much about them.

Reading the instructions, the first task is to watch a short two-minute tutorial video. This video is nice as it goes through the process with you and gives you some more tips on how to use the UserTesting Application. Once complete there are three questions to answer. These are simple multiple choice questions, so do worry much about them.

Actual Tasks

Finally! After clicking through SO many pop-ups and windows, I made it to the actual sample tasks.

I landed on the National Air and Space Museum’s website to review. My first task is to find a map with a layout of the museum in DC. As I explore through the logical places for this layout map I talk through my process and thoughts about the task. Once the map was finally found and my thoughts shared, I get to click next for the second task.

The home page of the National Air & Space Museum Website.

The home page of the National Air & Space Museum Website.

The second task wanted me to find what holiday the Air and Space Museum is closed. With this task, I looked around the website some more. This one was a little more tough to find because of the overall structure of the site is goofy. But at last! I found it! I gave my two cents about the overall site structure and then moved on.

But at last! I found it! I gave my two cents about the overall site structure and then moved on.

Once the last task was complete, I could hit “Done” to stop the recording. Next there were a few written questions to answer such as, “What specifically made it easy or difficult for you to find what you were looking for?” I inputted a detailed answer for each one because of the higher the quality of your review, the more likely you are going to get more reviews.

After answering those questions the UserTesting application starts uploading the review.

Redo Part One

Excluding allpop-ups pop ups, this is where my UserTesting review started to take a turn for the worse.

It was not an hour later after submitting my first video that I got an email saying to redo my submission. As you can see this email is very vague as to why I had to redo my test sample. I thought, “Okay, maybe the room was too loud or I did not talk loud enough.” So, I sat down, made sure the room was shut tight, and cleared my throat. It took me about 15 minutes to finish this submission.

As you can see this email is very vague as to why I had to redo my test sample. I thought, “Okay, maybe the room was too loud or I did not talk loud enough.” So, I sat down, made sure the room was shut tight, and cleared my throat. It took me about 15 minutes to finish this submission.

My first rejection email.

UserTesting Review: My first rejection email. Notice how vague it is.

Redo Part Two

At dinner, I was all excited that I had not received a rejection email yet.

Sadly, this excitement did not last long though. As we were just cleaning the dishes another rejection email came in. I started to get a little more frustrated this time as it was the same vague email.

Determined to get my application approved I sat down, yet again, to do the test sample. This time I focused harder on what I was saying during my exploration. I tried to simplify my review and be more clear. After submitting it this time I got my hopes up. I thought I had it this time.

My first rejection email.

UserTesting Review: My second rejection email.

Redo Part Three

It was not till mid-morning the next day that I heard back with, yet again, another rejection email.

I was kind of angry at this point because I did not know what I was doing wrong. The silly rejection emails do not tell you ANYTHING.

 

My third rejection email.

UserTesting Review: My third rejection email.

I only wanted some direction as to what was I doing wrong. This would be the fourth time I was to do the test sample.

After looking around some more through the test sample I determined that I might be looking for the wrong map. I kept looking for the location map when they wanted the layout map. Knowing this I started the application all over again, for the fourth time, did I mention that part? Once done, I felt very confident that I would get it. I thought I would have an awesome article to write about making money by reviewing websites.

Sure enough, I was right. I was not completing the task right. If the emails were a little more detailed, the sample test might have only had to redone once instead of three times!

Finally, A Different Email

Later that evening, I was so happy to see a different email come in from UserTesting with the subject line, “UserTesting – Your application to UserTesting.” Thinking to myself, I thought, “Man, this has to be it! I did it! I did it!”

I open the email and all my hopes and dreams were crushed (might be over overdramatizing). The email said they have more applications than they can accept so they couldn’t invite me to join the panel.

The final rejection letter after figuring out what I was doing wrong.

The final rejection letter after figuring out what I was doing wrong.

Are you kidding me?!?!? I spent two days recording the sample test four times and just now I am hearing that they are not taking any more applicants. Why couldn’t they say this on their website? I couldn’t believe it. I was very angry at the company at this point.

via GIPHY

Okay, Adam, breath…it is okay.

Conclusion

To conclude the UserTesting review, this process was very frustrating. Though UserTesting has ironed out most of the experience there are still some major wrinkles that need to be smoothed out. For one, they need to provide better emails as to why something is rejected. I do not see why this would not be hard to do. From my understanding an actual person reviews the sample tests so why can’t they be a little personable.

Secondly, they need to close their application link if they are not accepting anymore applications! This made me upset when they pushed me to keep redoing my sample test just to tell me something they already knew, they weren’t taking anymore applications.

Please fix this UserTesting!  For me, it comes off as they do not care about their reviewers even though these people make up half of their business.

For me, it comes off as they do not care about their reviewers even though these people make up half of their business.

To give some positive feedback within this UserTesting review, they do have a very nice website. It makes signing up very easy. The application used to conduct reviews is very slick and simple (though there are a lot of popup windows to click through). They do make the process very easy to perform so anyone could conduct a review. Sadly, they have the smudge marks, listed above, that ruin the program for me.

via GIPHY

Other Reviews

Andrew and I are constantly reviewing different methods to earn more money. Head over to the Blog or our How to Earn More Money section to read more reviews. If you have any thoughts on something we should review shoot us a message.

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How to Earn More Money in 2017 - The Achievement App

How to Earn More Money in 2017 – The Achievemint App

Way #73 – How to Earn More Money in 2017 – The Achievemint App

Being outdoors participating in many different activities is one of my favorite things in life. This is one of the biggest benefits of living in Colorado, I can be active outdoors year round. I have all of the gear. The running shoes, the fitness watch, the bike, the skis, the backpacking gear, and so on. I am set when it comes to playing outside. Today, together, we explorer how to earn more money in 2017 with the Achievemint App. We will look at the in’s and out’s of the application to decide if it is right for you.

Side note: I absolutely love my fitness watch from Garmin. It is a little pricey but allows me to track ALL of these activities when most do not. Plus, I can still wear it to business meetings after switching to the metal band. Alright sales pitch over now back to your regularly scheduled program.

The issue I have is the lack of motivation to get up in the morning to work out. I think a lot of people would agree with me. No matter the time of day, it is tough to get that motivation. If this was not the case there would be too many David Hasselhoffs and Pamela Andersons running down the beach in slow motion. Well how do we get help for more motivation? Enter the Achievemint App.

What is it?

The Achievemint App allows you to earn money from your fitness adventures. This includes walking, running, biking, hiking, and so on! Every activity you record the application rewards you with points depending on how intense and long it was. The people over at the Achievemint App have even throwing in some curve balls as to how you can earn points. These include logging your foods on MyFitnessPal or tweeting healthy thoughts on Twitter. My favorite one though, they will reward you for sleeping!

Connected Apps Through the Achievement App. Photo Courtesy of Achievement.

Connected Apps Through the Achievemint App. Photo Courtesy of Achievemint.

In total there are 27 apps (Their website says 40+ but I only count 27 in the Apps pages) you can sync your Achievemint app to in order to earn more points. These are not obscure apps either, they include very popular and well developed applications so most people can get connected. These applications include the UnderArmour Fitness suite, Garmin Connect, Jawbone, FitBit, Apple Health, Foursquare, Twitter, and so many more!

Why do they do this?

You must be asking, “Why are they doing this?” Achievemint has partnered with several health research companies who in turn make the rewards possible. With every 10,000 point you earn they will pay you $10. According to their website, “There’s no limit to how much you can earn.” So to simply put it, they are paying you for your data so they may sell it to research companies.

Some people might find it scary that researchers are going to be looking at your data and it is a lot of data! I completely understand your hesitation. The Achievemint App does not disclose a lot of information about this part of process. It would be nice if they answered a series of questions such as…Who is doing buying this data for research? What are they researching? Is there any personal information they look at such as names? I couldn’t find any answers to these questions within their Terms of Service agreement. Let me know if you do find anything. Achievement does have 1,000,000 users but I would suspect that they could have more if they answered the above questions.

My Thoughts

I love the application they have designed. It is clean, simple, and efficient. Syncing up other applications to it for tracking is a very easy process. Within a couple minutes I had my Garmin, Twitter, and MyFitnessPal accounts all linked up. They do not have a dedicated Android application yet but the web application is so well designed I did not even notice.

Unfortunately, this is where the positive feedback ends. My main issue, is it takes A LONG time to earn 10,000 points. I can go for a for a long bike ride and earn only 51 points. On average I walk 7,000 steps which gets me about 20 points. That is only 0.2% of the total goal!

Another issue for me is the inconsistency of the point rewarding. I can go for a mile long warm up run and earn eight points. After the run I complete a 53 minute long Insanity session and earn only six points. Now we know Insanity is A LOT more intense than a mile long run so it should be worth more points. At first I thought maybe it was the lack of data compared to the run. So I started wearing my heart rate monitor to provide more data but nothing changed. This lack of consistency is really discouraging especially after an intense workout.

Conclusion

All in all, I think the Achievemint App is an interesting way on how to earn more money in 2017. If you are very active you might earn enough to take your wife out to lunch (I do not think you will earn enough for dinner). For me, seeing the points creep up at first was very motivating but then I realized how slow it was going that extra boost of motivation started to disappear.

To put it in a monetary perspective. According to Achievemint’s website, they have paid out over a half million dollars so far! That is a lot of money! Let’s do some math before you get to excited about that number though. As mentioned earlier, the Achievemint App has million users, that means an average user has only earned fifty cents. That is it.

How little of points I have earned with the Achievement App. Photo Courtesy of Achievement.

How little of points I have earned with the Achievemint App. Photo Courtesy of Achievemint.

Overall, I think they have more work to do to make this application a viable way on how to earn more money in 2017.  They need make this application more consistent with how it awards points. Also, I believe they need to make the point earning a tad bit quicker. Maybe that aspect is just me but I joined Achievement back in December 2016. Over the past three months I haven’t even hit 2,000 points yet! I do have to remember though, I do not have to do anything that I do not normally do to earn these points. It is truly passive income with Achievemint collecting data from data that I already collect myself. Now I am get paid for that data, even though that dollar sign is very small.

How to Earn More Money in 2017

Now you know a little more about way #73 to earn more money with the Achievemint App. Head over to our comprehensive list to check out other ways how to earn more money in 2017! We will continue to try out and review these ways throughout the year for you. If we are missing something on the list and you want to see us review it shoot us an email or tweet (@WalletSquirrel)!

Cheers!
-Adam

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Holy Crap! Interest Checking Accounts are a Thing

Until two years ago I didn’t know there were such a thing as an Interest Checking Account. I had a standard Wells Fargo checking account for 12 years making me zero money. Literally zip, so imagine my surprise when I discovered there are checking accounts out there that pay you interest like a savings account.

What is an Interest Checking Account?

It’s essentially a regular checking account You can write checks, use debit cards or withdraw from ATMs but while your money is in the account, you’re earning interest like a savings account.

Interest Checking Account

Regular Checking Account vs. Interest Checking Account

How much can you earn in an Interest Checking Account?

It isn’t much, but better than zero. I have an account with Ally Bank and my Interest Checking Account makes 0.10% interest. To give you an idea. I keep around $4,000 in my checking account at all times. $2,000 is

To give you an idea. I keep around $4,000 in my checking account at all times. $2,000 is for my emergency fund and $2,000 for my monthly expenses. So that’s $4,000 sitting in my account making about 0.38 cents per month. See my Income Reports to see how it changes per month.

It’s not much, but over the last year, my Interest Checking Account made $3.66. That’s what I entered on my taxes last week.

My Personal History

Now $3.66 is more than I made on my Wells Fargo Checking Account, EVER! Keep in mind, I don’t mean to hate on Wells Fargo, but they simply never told me an Interest Checking Account was a thing.

They were like the cool kids in every high school (likely named Chazz). You wanted to hang out with them, even though you knew you they were dicks and there were better friends out there.

At Wells Fargo, if my checking account ever made interest, they kept it. Even my Wells Fargo Saving Account at 0.01% was earning less than my current Interest Checking Account. If I kept my $4,000 in Wells Fargo Savings Account for a year, I’d be left with $0.40 at the end of the year. THAT’S THEIR SAVINGS ACCOUNT!

Do a lot of Checking Accounts earn you interest?

Actually, most checking accounts I’ve encountered do not earn you interest. This is why I was so surprised when I discovered there are a few that do.

Many of my friends have a balance similar to mine with $4,000 in their account and some of my friends have up to $60,000 sitting in their checking account because they don’t know what to do with it. If you have that much, you should move it over to a savings account at least and hire a financial manager. I get the fear of the stock market, but there is no reason to keep that much in a checking account, especially not making you interest.

Conclusion

I’ve been wanting to do this post for a while now. It’s cool to share with people, who like me, didn’t know about Interest Checking Accounts. They exist! It’s not a lot of money, but it all adds up!

PS. I’m in no way sponsored by Ally Bank here. This is just my personal experience so far and if they start to F*!k up, you’ll hear about it

I hope I taught at least one person something new!

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Naming Force Review: Make Money Naming Start Ups

Naming Force is a website that runs contest for up and coming companies/Start Ups looking to generate a creative name for their company. I’ve been testing this website for the last month to see what it’s about, so here is my Naming Force Review.

What is Name Force?

NamingForce.com solves a problem. When a company doesn’t know what to call themselves, they will run a naming contest. A new company will post a description of what they do and some keywords they feel describe their company. They do this by setting a reward, typically $100 – $200 for a winning name. Then the Name Force community will submit various names based on company descriptions.

At the end of the naming contest (usually lasts a week). The company is required to select one winner and the you’ll receive the $100 – $200 reward. Simple.

My Experience

Setting up an account was easy and they offered videos on how to navigate the various contests but I skipped those. However in hindsight recommend them. They would have been very beneficial as I was a little confused starting off.

Keep in mind, after registering, you’ll have a 3 day waiting period before they let you start submitting to contest and you’ll only be allowed to 2-3 entries per contest. You start off as a “Private” (yes, they follow military terms for seniority). Then the longer you’re on the platform you move up and gain access to more contests with more entry opportunities.

Once in their market place you’ll see a list of contests with the cash prize on the left and the amount of submitted names on the right:

Naming Force Review - Contest Menu

Naming Force Review – Contest Menu

Select a contest and check out a paragraph description of a company. That’s all you get. You’ll be given a small description of what they do and what makes them unique and you’re asked to create a name.

Keep in mind, they usually want a name that isn’t trademarked and has an available .com domain. So what I did, was come up with names that have an available domain. Usually these names aren’t copyrighted since no one has bought their website domain.

To check if a name has a .com website domain, I used GoDaddy.com to see available website domains.

Go Daddy Research

Contests:

I did about 5 contests total. Here is one example:

Contest Description “We are a brick/mortar organization that helps companies create reviews for their company and/or products” They mentioned they were a tech company but that was the general jist.

I hopped on GoDaddy and spent 20 min finding some great names for this company with that slim description. I narrowed down the choices to two and submitted them on the form at the bottom of the contest page, which looks like this.

Naming Force Review - Name Submission Form

Naming Force Review – Name Submission Form

Naming Force Review Pros:

It’s easy to sign up and anyone can enter contests that have a potential to earn $100 – $300 if your name is selected.

Plus it allows you to be creative on your own time. Each contest last about a week or two, so you have some time to think about your names.

Naming Force Review Cons:

It’s really hard to win. In the market place, it shows you how many other names have been submitted. At a minimum, it was around 600 names per contest. So you’re competing with many other great names for a prize, and there can only be one winner. I personally don’t like 600 to 1 odds. If that’s the case, I’ll go back to playing lottery tickets.

Conclusion:

A month later, I never won. Not one contest. I feel I had some awesome names but they must not have struck a cord with the company reviewing them and that’s what matters. So in total, I did 5 contests at an average of 20 min each. I spent 1 hour and 40 min for nothing. It was slightly exhausting because I put a lot of thought into each name and none of them won.

I do not recommend this site as a way to earn money. My Naming Force Review uncovered there just isn’t a consistent return for your time. You could easily continue to submit names for a year and still never win.

On the other hand, if you’re a Start Up, this is a great opportunity to get some awesome name ideas. This is a marketplace of creative people with a history of naming companies and they’re willing to do the research to find creative names with available domains and trademark free brand names. You will pay $100 and get an average of 600 name submissions. You’re essentially paying around $0.17 per name within a 1-2 week turn around. You are the winner in this deal.

Have you tried this, did you win? I would love to hear from someone who won because it’s a cool idea but sadistically frustrating to creative people who lose.

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