How to start a business online : Step 1 – The Magic is in the Blog

Have you ever tried to start a business online? Wondered how others are raking in money while you are struggling to pay your hosting fees? Or why no one seems to care about that awesome product of yours? Well, if you have, I have a solution for you.

Or if you are an absolute newbie in the make money online bandwagon, I guess you could use it too. 🙂

This is the first post in a series that breaks down the steps involved in starting an online business into chunks. And here, we start with a blog.

Just imagine you walking into an electronics store and trying to find a product. Let’s go with a TV. So, you are just entering, and the store looks amazing. Great interior, and have a large variety of TVs to choose from.

But there’s an issue. You can’t find a customer service assistant/salesperson to talk with. You have some doubts you need to clarify before finalizing a TV selection.

The only person in the store other than you is the cashier who seems impersonal and hides behind a desk. Would you feel comfortable purchasing your TV from there? (I know I don’t. Unless you are absolutely tired of sales spiels, you won’t be too I think).

Or would you prefer to go to a shop where you can actually communicate with people and form opinions?

The glossy interior of the first shop may persuade you to purchase from that shop. But do you think you will revisit it when you are in the market for another product? ( Need honest opinions here. Leave a comment if you disagree. I am curious).

online business customer service

On the other hand, a store where you get to know the people who’re selling you the product will make the buying process much more comfortable. Don’t you think? You feel at ease when you buy from someone you know, rather than a total stranger.

That’s the case in the real world, where you can actually see the person who’s selling you the product. Now, what about the online world?

I agree that we purchase things from the big brands without ever having a communication. But what about the individuals who are selling you a product? When was the last time you went to some website and purchased a product or ordered for a service on your first visit? And by the way, how did you know they existed in the first place?

Rather than being impersonal, building a relationship and trust is what one should concentrate when trying to start a business online. And that’s why we are starting our online business journey with a blog.

Do I need a blog? Will it help my business?

If my long-winded example above wasn’t good enough to prove my point, here’s 4 important reasons why you need to have a blog when you start an online business.

start an online business connect with your audience

1. It helps you to connect with your audience

Did you check out the list of mistakes you need to avoid when you start a business online? Then, you know not engaging with your customers and not offering the best customer experience is bad for your business.

You need to connect to the people to whom you are trying to sell your product. If you don’t know what they are looking for, how are you going to serve them?

And if your audience has no idea what your product or business is all about, how are they going to trust you when you are still in the startup stages?

Through your blog, you are offering your customers an overview of what you stand for.

By connecting to them through your posts, you are sharing your ideas about what you think. You are getting feedback directly from the group of people you are appealing to.

By understanding your customers better and by giving them an opportunity to communicate with you, you are building trust.

This creates an interaction and intimacy that will drive them to your product when the time for purchase beckons.

boost traffic to business

2. It boosts your website traffic

How many times can you update your product website in a year?

You have at most 5 or 6 pages and that includes your marketing spiel and contact details, your home page, landing page and maybe an FAQ, right.

So, that’s 5 or 6 pages you have in search engine listings. Unless someone knows what your product is and such a company exists, how often do you think someone will stumble on to your website?

And since it doesn’t have anything that retains a customer and prompts them to check out this new product, they won’t stick around.(Cue the sad music for lost sales here!!)

That’s why you need a blog. For each post you publish on your blog, you are getting a listing in the search engines like Google.

So, when someone searches a solution to their problems and your blog post comes up, it shows them that you know what you are talking about.

Unless your content is self-defeating, they will stick around and check your site. Also, if you are helpful enough, they will come back to you when a similar problem occurs.

This is bringing you a loyal following of potential customers.

You are actively marketing to a specific group of people whose problems you can solve. This is the basics of content marketing and is a really effective strategy to drive sales.

Also, by publishing regularly in your blog, you are giving your customers more opportunity to engage with you in social media.

They act as your promoters. This boosts your traffic even further. And all traffic is good traffic.

The more traffic you have, the more the chances of your search engine ranking will improve. And this will bring in much more traffic.

This is a win-win situation for both you and your customers. You get more of them and they a solution for their problems.

make your voice heard

3. It gives you a platform to get your voice heard

What makes you different from your competitors?

Are you trying to solve complex customer issues?

Are you offering a better product than your competitors?

All these can be topics of conversation you can spread through your blog posts.

Your ideas and aspirations, your ideals and motivation – all these can be explained and communicated to your audience while captivating them.

This creates an intimacy between you and your audience.

If you are bringing in an innovation to the marketplace, what do you think is the best way to promote it?Instead of getting an ad or a social media post that’s forgotten easily, you can publish a post about the behind scene actions that lead to this product.

You can go on and on about your product’s features and how it helps to solve your customer’s problems. You have a platform that allows you to get your voice out.

be an authority

4. Establish you as an authority in your field

Would you rather purchase a laptop from Apple or company ‘ABCDEF’ who’s new to the market?

One is an established market leader and we know almost all we need to about their products. The other is the newest of technology companies to emerge in the market and we don’t know anything about them.

Both products are expensive and the specification bandied about by both companies are impressive.

So who gets your vote?

Normally, we will go with Apple. Why?

They are an established authority in the field. We know their product quality and what they stand for.

We know they have the expertise to back up their claims. And we don’t know anything about this ‘ABCDEF’.

This is the power of being an authority.

Even if, ABCDEF produced a product that’s better than any other laptop manufacturer, we chose Apple due to their authority in the field.

While blogging consistently about the issues your customers face and potential solutions to it, you are establishing that you know what you are talking about.

It gives an impression that you are not a newbie trying to portray them self as an expert. You are proving your mettle in taking care of your customers.
Now that you know why you need a blog, let’s go with the next question – Which blogging platform to use?

Read On…

Why WordPress?

When I say blog, I think WordPress.

I think most of the world agrees with me too. Having doubts about my claims?. Here are the stats.

So what’s so cool about WordPress?

First, its free to use. It’s opensource and that makes it easy to use, modify and distribute. We love free things, don’t we?

Next, There’s plenty of help available if you get stuck while using WordPress. Due to its immense popularity, its one of the most talked about topics on the internet. For almost every problem you encounter, there are detailed solutions documented already.

It’s easy to learn and easy to use. And due to the huge amount of plugins readily available, you can add all the functionalities you need to your blog with a click.

The opportunity to stylize your blog in any way you prefer with custom themes. And again, changing the look of your WordPress website or blog as easy as clicking a button.

It makes SEO easy and with the use of plugins you can fine tune, it becomes a routine you don’t even think about in the long run.

And last but not the least, it’s flexible and offers an opportunity to create any type of website you want – whether it’s a blog or eCommerce site or a membership site.

How much longer should I keep on singing the praises of WordPress? I could go on and on, but since we are busy people, let’s just agree WordPress is the best and move on. Okay.

Now What?

Okay now, you know the stats. You know blogging is good for you and your business. But why are you still hesitating? Are you worried that you are not technical enough to build one from scratch? Or that you don’t know enough to create constant content for your blog?

Not to worry folks. Here, we are trying to build a business from the bottom up. We will show you how to. All you have to do is to make up your mind. And prepare for the hard work ahead.

Be on the lookout for the next post in the series where we go through the exact steps you need to take, to create an awesome blog for your business.

What do you think? Do you agree that a blog is essential for the business? Leave a comment below and let me know what’s stopping you from starting one.

 

 

 

 

Avoid these 17 mistakes when you start your business online

Are you trying to start your business online? Or at least thinking about it? Began dreaming of the riches you will one day reap from your brand new enterprise?

Whatever stage of business planning or creation you are in, you should definitely check our list of mistakes to avoid, to make your online journey a bit smoother. It’s the most obvious ones we miss out often, and the silliest looking mistakes, that cost us the most.

Learn from the mistakes we made and when you are ready, share your journey with others.

Without further ado, here are the 17 mistakes you should watch out for.

Planning your online business

1. The ‘No Plan’ error

When we think of starting a business online, most of us just go with the flow. And when we get stuck somewhere, our businesses flounder.

Well, this doesn’t mean that you have to have a solid business plan written out before starting. Or that you need a formal financial or marketing plan either. It’s better if you have one though.

What you need to have is a clear understanding of the product or service you’re offering. Know what your niche is. Learn about your customers and their pain points.

Do you know what makes you different from the hundreds of other online businesses that provide the same product or service? If you don’t, now is the time to figure it out.

Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) determines your success in the online marketplace.

Unless your main competitor is you (highly unlikely!!), there’s bound to be something that makes you and what you’re offering unique. Leverage it, market it and capitalize…

On that note, another thing to plan is the startup and the operational costs of your business. Unless you are independently wealthy and this online business is a hobby you don’t intend to monetize, you need to have a clear picture of your cash flow.

Know how much money you need to keep your business afloat when you are just getting started. It will help in the long run.

when to launch your online business

2. Waiting for the perfect time to launch your business

There’s no right or wrong time to start working towards your business. There will be no miraculous star alignments that will ensure your success. Hard work and persistence will pay off in the long run.

So put your website out, publish your posts and start working as soon as you finalize your plans. Start now, you can always do modifications later.

Even if you take care in avoiding all the mistakes we’re listing out in this post, there’s bound to be a number of others you will make. Many will be unique to you and the situation you are in.

There’s no success story here on the Internet or outside in everyday life that doesn’t have a stage of mistakes and learning from them. So, don’t worry too much.

Waiting for the perfect time to launch your product is going to cost you in traffic, sales and authority building. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to start.

Remember, as Mark Twain said,“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

start taking action to create your online business

3. Not taking action

It’s tempting to keep on learning everything there is, about creating a business online. After all, a simple google search brings in a staggering amount of pages for you to read. At the time of writing this, it is 364,000,000 (Really!!!).

So if you are someone who is naturally curious and wants to learn all aspects of the business before you start, it’s never gonna work out. There’s always new content and new information available and the internet is a growing entity that never stops.

So if you start with small steps and implement a tip or two from each of those pages you consider as gospel, you are very well on your path to success.

Well, every single tip you got online may not work in your business, but statistically, at least some of them are bound to work.

Remember, persistence and hard work is the key (Am I sounding like a broken record here?? I wonder).

Be Bold. Be brave. Start with a small step. After all, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.

setting realistic business goals

4. The unrealistic expectations

If you start your business with the intention of getting rich quick, let me be the first one to debunk that myth.

This business of yours requires hard work to be a success and it takes a considerable amount of time before your potential customer notices you and even think about buying something from you.

How many times have you abandoned that shiny new product in the grocery store to go with the reliable product you always buy?

It’s a business you are building. It requires building trust.

You simply don’t trust someone you met online. You need to have a conversation with them, need to know they will be around for a long time, they should prove to be reliable and show that they care about you. Building all these and gaining a steady customer base that will bring in profit takes months, if not years. The key here is not to get discouraged and quit.

Have a realistic plan about all aspects of your business. If you need some help to set your financial goals, read The Secret to success online is financial goal planning.

5. Not caring about your customers

Your customers are what makes you a business. They decide whether you should grow or fold.

If you are not invested in helping them or don’t care about what their problems are, you are definitely gonna fail, if not today, then tomorrow.

You are catering to a group of people who are smart and can sense when someone is lying to them or trying to act like they care. We all have too much experience with fakers and spammers to put up with another one.

So, if you find that this is a group of customers you don’t understand, or if you don’t find their problem relatable, please for God’s sake, find another niche or if that’s not feasible, try to learn.

customer service online business

6. Not ensuring your customer service is smooth and painless.

As we know, customers are the lifelines your business depends on. So you are honor bound to help them to help you.

Imagine this scenario. You are on a website promoting /selling a product you want to buy.

You got your wallet out and is ready to make a purchase.

How will you feel when you click on the ‘buy’ button and find out there are hoops you need to jump before finalizing the purchase. Or that it takes forever to load.

Will it create warm feelings in your heart towards that store or site? If you were like me, we will stay clear of that site for the foreseeable future.

And what happens when you purchased a product and want to return it? Or want some advice on the shiny new product you just purchased?

What would you prefer? A site where you can get prompt responses or one that doesn’t tell you whom to contact about the problem or doesn’t provide a means to do so.

You should make your contact info easily accessible, and the return, refund, and other product information easily within reach of customers.

Invest in making the user experience the best you can, your customers will reward you with loyalty.

And on that note, also remember to optimize your website.

The internet has millions of distractions and the more time your site takes to load, the more distracted your customers will be. So keep that in mind when building your business website.

knowing your business competitors

7. Do you know your competitors?

If you are selling a product or service, you will have competitors. I will find it really hard to believe if you couldn’t find at least three competitors to your business.

They need not be selling an identical product but may be targeting the same demographic or promoting products that are in direct competition with yours.

Knowing your competition gives you a leg up when doing marketing. Know what they are doing, what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. Check out how they build their email lists and what kind of promotions they run.

Also, a quick tip – if you ever feel blocked about what to write on your blog or website, have a quick look at your competitor’s sites. After all, they did all the heavy work for you.

Before writing their content, they must have figured out a keyword to target and identified a customer pain point. It will give you plenty of ideas to work on.

Just don’t do it always as it will make your site a copy of theirs. Don’t copy – get ideas.

Ignoring your competition is the worst mistake you can do when you are in a business.

What makes you different?

8. What’s your USP?

USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition. It’s basically a term for what makes you different from your competition.

It’s what makes you stand out from the crowd.

And you definitely need to stand out to attract customers and to retain them.

Figure it out and leverage it in your marketing. As it can literally make or break your business, spend some quality time identifying and learning how to market your product according to your USP.

If you find it difficult to differentiate your product/service from a competitor, do ask yourself if you are bringing anything new to that product or if you are just copying it from your competition.

Be original and don’t be shy about defining what makes you different. It’s not the time to conform to norms.

Celebrate your difference.

legal stuff to take care of when starting new business

9. Forgetting about legal stuff

According to the rules of the land you call home, there might be some legal stuff you need to consider when setting up your business.

In Australia, where I live, you need to have an Australian Business Number(ABN) to set up a business. Find out what you need.

Also, when you start earning profit from your business, save some money for the taxes. This way, it wouldn’t hurt when the tax time comes. Remember to save all the online and physical receipts in case you can claim tax deductions.

Knowing all these beforehand will help you out in the long run.

Registering as a business will help to avoid copyright and brand name infringement if some other businesses have the same name as yours.

Using someone else’s business name is a big no-no and can land you in a lot of trouble. It may range from fines to lawsuits and you will have to start your branding and marketing and what-not from scratch. Better to take care of it from the start.

Also, take care when creating your business logos. Don’t copy something you like from another company’s logo. It’s not worth the trouble. If you are bad in logo design, ask someone to do it for you. You can get one made at Fiverr for $5 literally.

So, for your peace of mind, avoid plagiarism of any kind.

getting feedback about your online business

10. Not asking feedback or not acting on it

Feedback, both positive and negative, will aid you in your business.

It might be tempting to read through positive feedback and chuck out negatives as they may be a blow to your self-esteem, but it’s not a good strategy.

In fact, negative feedback helps you more.

It gives an idea about the parts of your business that needs improvement. Also, it will help in learning about your customers and their needs.

Changing a thing or two based on the feedback is a good strategy. It makes your customers feel like they are contributing something and that you care about their opinions.

Ask for feedback and take it seriously. It shows you the direction you have to take and helps in identifying your customer pain points.

It gives an overview about which of their needs are not being met by your product/service offering and allows you to tweak your product in a way that serves your customers better.

Communicating with your audience should be a major focal point of your business.

It’s better to know what they think and what they require now than to learn it after spending big bucks as business expenses.

online marketing for new businesses

11. Forgetting the marketing aspect

Well, you started your website and published content.

But how do you expect your customers to know that a brand new business is open?

You can’t expect customers to come rushing to your site without a mechanism for them to know about you.

Why do you think businesses pay for ads?

Since you started an online business, you target customers from all over the world. So, try online marketing. There are dozens of ways you can market your product online.

You can leverage the power of social media and also pester your friends and family to spread the word. Ask them to share your site on their social media too. Just like that, you are promoting your services to 100s of people.

In case, you are wondering whether it will work, studies show that you can reach every person on the Internet with less than 6 clicks (Want to learn more? Google: 6 degrees of separation).

Learn it and use it wisely. Don’t believe in “Build it and they will come to you”.

Know your customers and target them through your marketing.

If you try to cast a wide net by marketing to literally everyone on the internet, you are not selling effectively to the target you ought to focus on.

Even if you think your service or product has universal appeal, it would serve you better to focus on a specified group of people who are likely to buy.

Do you really think you can figure the problems of the entire online population? Don’t think so…

12. Failing to figure out your target audience

You need to know who your audience is. This is the niche you need to identify.

Do your market research.

Learn all you can about your customers – Who they are? What do they want? What are they looking for? Knowing your industry pays off big.

By understanding your audience, you can talk about the problems that are unique to that group and build an authority and loyalty.

13. Not knowing your strengths and weaknesses

Have a real understanding of what you are good at.

You may be better at marketing or writing content or the tech stuff. Don’t feel like you have to good at everything you attempt regarding your business.

I would go with a SWOT test. But if you don’t want to, sit down and list out what aspects of your business you are struggling with. Do you fail to understand how your website works? Or do you find it difficult to publish posts or content? Realize the areas you are struggling with and ask for help.

I understand that at the beginning of your business, you won’t have the budget to outsource. So ask a friend. Buy them a meal and ask your writer friend to write a post. Or that tech friend of yours for website optimization and SEO.

The first step is to believe you are not a failure if you can’t do it all alone.

No one can.

Every successful person you meet online and offline have a support system. The most successful ones know when to ask for help.

And if you are a super genius who can single-handedly perform every business related activity to perfection, you still miss out on the time front.

So better to delegate or outsource (or get a friend to help you) from the get-go. It’s okay to ask for help.

Learn about online business

14. Not taking time to learn

The internet changes with lightning speed and you need to be on a constant learning mindset to leverage this changing atmosphere.

Google updates their search algorithm periodically. Marketing techniques change and develop. Social media sites crop up and become giants and some of them fall down.

Understanding these changes to your industry, your customers, and market, and the marketing side of the business will keep you afloat.

Being stagnant will keep you from financial success forever.

But when you learn something new, take care to not just learn. Take some time to implement them.

Mere learning is not enough. It’s the implementation that brings in results.

15. Not building an email list from the start

Email marketing provides returns more than any other kind of marketing.

It makes no sense that you refrain from building a feature that will ensure that your business booms.

Every internet marketing guru worth their salt recommend starting your email list building from day one.

Just go with me on this one, and start building your email list. You can thank me later when you are successful. 🙂

16. Not realizing the extent of work involved.

If you want to succeed online, don’t expect an overnight miracle.

It takes time, money, a lot of patience and hard work to make a mark in this industry.

If you are a part-time entrepreneur, make sure to carve out specific time in your schedule for your business.

Create a schedule that budgets your time for various business and outside activities and paste it somewhere you will see every day.

Don’t expect ‘4-hour workweeks’ when you start out. Unless you reach a point where you delegate everything, you won’t have that ever.

17. Don’t undercharge for your service/product

Just because you are a newbie in business don’t mean that you have to undercut your competitor’s prices.

If you have a unique proposition that caters to your customer base, just go reasonably with your prices.

Never ever undercharge for your services and products. That’s a surefire way to get discouraged and disgruntled about your business.

Charge what is reasonable based on their value to your customers.

Be the first person in the room to know the value of your time. You spend a considerable amount of time and energy in creating something that will help your customers to save theirs. You have the right to be compensated fairly for it.

If you care about your customers and actually solves a pain point with your product or service, your business will not be affected by the price you set. But, be reasonable in your prices.

Are you ready?

It was a long read, wasn’t it?  I wanted to keep it brief but then realized that the long-form and the details will help more. If you don’t feel so, feel free to leave a comment below.

Online business is hard work and takes a long time to pay off. But if you take care to avoid the above-mentioned mistakes of those who have gone through before you, you will have a slightly smoother journey.

So, buckle up for the ride of your life.

Do you know something else a newbie entrepreneur should look out for? Or are you a beginner in online business space who learned a thing or two from the post? Leave a comment below so that others may learn too.

 

 

 

 

How to Earn Money with Surveys – Scoring the Weekly Grocery Money

Hey there, Future Online Superstar… Wonder how to earn money with surveys, do you? Let’s find out whether it’s a feasible option for you.

Earning steady sustainable income from online seems to be hard work, doesn’t it? Trying to build your online empire takes some time. Like everything that’s worthwhile, online success is a painstaking task. What to do in the meantime when you are crushed for money?

If it’s an easy way you are after to pay off the small bills, check out the online surveys. For me, it’s the grocery money. For you, it may be your mobile bills or money to pay off your monthly subscriptions. You get the gist, it’s not enough money to live on… but it’s enough to take the stress off a little.

Earn Money with Surveys

Continue reading to discover how to earn money from surveys and some secret tips that will boost your income.

Who’s qualified to apply?

Short answer – You’re qualified. You seem to have all the prerequisites.

1. Need a working computer/phone/tablet.

2. Must have access to the Internet.

3. Should know how to read and understand basic English.(There are some in other languages, but mostly it’s in English).

So, if you are able to read this post, you tick all the requirement boxes.

Is it feasible for me?

Now that the million dollar question. You see, even though there exist legitimate survey sites that will pay you, it may take some time for you to hit the payout. The survey invitations may come in like a never-ending wave, but the ones that you actually qualify for may be very few.

So, who should try it? You should if you

-> Have abundant free time

If you only get an hour or two or half a weekend day as free time in a week, I wouldn’t suggest it for you. You need some quality time to decompress the week’s stress.

You see, even though it seems like online surveys are easy, the high paying ones actually ask 25-45 minutes of your time. You need to focus on what you are clicking on as many sites penalize you for lying.

So, unless you have sufficient free time to meet with your family and friends and do whatever it is that you do on weekends, don’t try it. Even though online surveys is a quick way to earn money, it’s a serious business.

-> willing take this survey taking business seriously

Today’s marketing companies are no idiots. They actually have systems in place to figure out if you are answering a little too quick or if you are not being truthful. How do they retaliate? Well, they won’t pay for your time. Who loses then?

So, unless you can focus on a task and at least remember the lies you filled in to fit the survey demographics( you fill this in your profile and the qualification questions!!), don’t try it.

-> actually enjoy taking paid surveys

This is not your daily 9-5 job. Nor will it make you rich beyond your wildest imagination(Not even if you dedicate 24 hours of your day for this 🙁 ). So unless you enjoy this process, you will end up hating surveys and will burn out soon.

To earn enough to make at least your grocery money, you need to take at least 5-7 surveys a day for a week. That’s basically 1-2 hours out of your day. This time really adds up. So if you are not exactly happy comparing two brands of juice or picking out a brand of media streaming device in your free time, don’t bother.

There are plenty of other methods to earn online income out there. Why waste time on something you hate?

Who can earn money from surveys

Paying me to take surveys!! – Is it even real?

Not sure if you aware of it but market research is a billion-dollar business. Can you imagine the scenario where you spend millions creating a product, then put it up on the market, only to figure out that no one wants your product?

Businesses do need to know – What potential customers think? What do they need from a new product? The problems they face with their current product? How they value a company? Do the public my company trustworthy? and so on. There are all sorts of questions you are answering for them by filling out multiple choice questions.

They are scoping out answers from their targeted customer base. So, if you qualify for a survey, you are one of those people who the company is trying to attract with their marketing. You have a voice, a way to make a difference, and a financial incentive to boot. What’s not to like?

So yes, paying to take surveys is a real way for businesses to do market research and a legitimate way for you to earn money.

Where to find legitimate surveys that pay?

All the survey sites listed here are personally tried and tested to ensure they pay. Without much rambling, let’s see what they are.

GlobalTestMarket

Usual Rates: 100 – 200 Life points /survey (Conversion: 806 LifePoints = $10)

Average time to complete: 15 min

Reward Options: Cash, Gift Vouchers and prize draws

Earn Money from surveys Globaltestmarket

MySurvey

Usual Rates: 110 points/ survey

Average time to complete: 15 min

Reward Options: PayPal, Gift Vouchers, and Charity Donations

Earn from surveys MySurvey
Valued Opinions
Usual Rates: $1 – $2.50 / survey

Average time to complete: 20 min

Reward Options: PayPal, Gift Cards

Earn with valued opinions
Oneopinion

Usual Rates: 500 points/survey

Average time to complete: 15 min

Reward Options: PayPal, VISA prepaid cards

Earn money with OneOpinion

Swagbucks

Usual Rates: 60 points /survey

Average time to complete: 20 min

Reward Options: PayPal, Gift Vouchers, and Charity Donations

 

Earn with Swagbucks

Ipsos i-Say

Usual Rates: 100 points /survey

Average time to complete: 10 min

Reward Options: E-voucher, Charity, Gift Card

Earn with Ipsos I Say
Toluna

Usual Rates: 5000-15000 points /survey

Average time to complete: 30 min

Reward Options: PayPal, Gift Vouchers, and Sweepstakes

 

Earn with Toluna

MyOpinions

Usual Rates: 120 – 270 points /survey

Average time to complete: 20 min

Reward Options: PayPal, Gift Cards

Earn with myopinions

YouGov

Usual Rates: 400 points /survey

Average time to complete: 20 min

Reward Options: PayPal, Gift Cards

Earn with YouGov
OpinionWorld

Usual Rates: 50 – 120 points /survey

Average time to complete: 20 min

Reward Options: PayPal, Gift Cards, Prize Draw, Charity donations

 

Earn with opinionworld

All sites listed above are tried and tested. If you couldn’t find one that caters to your country, leave a comment below. I will update the list to include legitimate ones from that country too.

How to keep track of your survey earnings?

Now all that is left if tracking your earnings. You need to be up-to-date with the survey offers and earnings from each of the individual panels you’ve joined. This accountability check is required to see whether that panel is a good fit for you and your time.

Make a spreadsheet of all the panels you have joined as column headers and as sub column headers add “Survey Invitations”, “Surveys Qualified”, “Amount Earned” and “Payout Reached”. On rows note down days of the month. On each cell, give the corresponding number.

Online Surveys Earnings Tracking

 

For instance, add in the number of survey invitations you got from that panel on a particular day. Also, note the number of surveys you qualified for and how much earned on that day. The Payout reached column requires a yes/no answer. This will help you to figure out how long and how many surveys do you need to reach the payout threshold for that particular panel. You may also add “Payment Received” to note down whether they paid you or not.

This tracking will help you to identify the panels that are profitable to you and to focus on them more.

Some Tips to help you out

Avoiding Scams

-> Never, ever pay to join a survey site.

You are giving them valuable information that’s worth millions in market research data. No reputable market research company will ask you to pay. So, if one does, run far away.

-> Don’t join companies that don’t have an option of a cash payout.

If you are willing to spend your precious time giving them ideas about their targeted customer base, the least they could do is to make it easy for you get paid. There are companies which will enter you in sweepstakes or lotto for your points and don’t have any other method to get paid. Since there is no guarantee that you will get paid in such sites, it will be better for you to avoid them altogether.

-> Don’t fall for the marketing pyramid schemes

Some sites will ask you to bring in referrals, without which you don’t get paid. You have a right to the money you earned and putting up barriers to get to your hard-earned cash is a sure red flag.

-> Avoid sites that don’t guarantee privacy for your personally identifiable data

Your personal details are valuable to you and to the marketing companies. There exists an industry standard that promises privacy protection to you. So if your company is not doing that, what does it tell you? Unless you want to get bombarded by advertising emails and telemarketing calls, refrain from joining them. There are plenty of reputable sites out there like the ones mentioned above.

-> Never pay for a survey site list

You can always do a google search and figure these out for yourself. Spending your hard-earned cash for the information you can find on the first page of Google sounds like a bad move to me. And most who offer this list are spammers, so let’s go with DON’T

-> Read the reviews before joining

The internet has given us plenty of options to find information about anything we want to know. Before joining any site, search google with the name of that survey company+scam. If you find too many negative reviews or the name of that site in too many scam review sites, avoid that site.

For your peace of mind

-> Set a dedicated email account for surveys

-> Keep your survey invitations until you get credited for that survey

-> sign up with PayPal to get paid easily. Easy to join and its free.

-> Keep your earning expectations realistic and don’t expect to get-rich-quick

-> Don’t give up on the first hurdle, Keep trying

Earning Tips

-> Join as many sites as you can

The higher the number of panels you join, more invitations you get. More invitations will mean more qualified surveys to take, which raises your earnings.

-> Always keep your profile information up-to-date

Your profile information is used when they send out invitations. So, if you made any changes to your lifestyle or your or residence, make sure you update your profiles.

-> Cash out every time you hit the payment threshold

We may never know when a particular market research company goes out of business or when they may change their reward system. So to be on the safe side, always cash out when you reach the threshold. That way, whatever changes they make, you won’t be losing much.

-> Check your survey email account daily

Make it a habit to check your survey email account every day. Many survey panels close out surveys when they reach a sufficient amount of responses. You may lose out on profitable surveys if you are not regular enough.

-> Take your time while taking the survey

Rushing through the survey is a sure way to ensure that you don’t get paid. Many sites specifically warn you not to rush. If you do, you may get into some sort of blacklist, or they refuse to pay you. So, when you take a survey, take your time to read the questions and answer the best you can.
-> If you actually like a survey site and can vouch for its authenticity, ask your friends to join as your referrals

Referrals are another way to earn more money. Many sites provide you with links that you can forward to your friends and family and earn a small reward. Why miss out on free money?

What Next?

So, you are now armed with enough information about making money with surveys. The next part is for you to act. Reading and dreaming don’t pay bills unless you are specifically in that business.(If you are, do you mind leaving your job title in the comments. I would really love to have that job). So get moving. I have high hopes for you.

Do you know any other legitimate sites? Or tips to increase our survey earnings? Be sure to leave them in the comments. Let’s start a dialogue.

Earn Online Income – The Secret to Success is Financial Goal Setting

Every journey starts with planning. While ‘on-the-spot’ decisions may sometimes give you a wonderful surprise, more often than not, it results in mayhem. Usually, when we start brainstorming ideas to earn online income, we jump in without looking.

The usual “internet entrepreneur” start by reading a lot of ideas. Then move on to join money making sites and opt-in for an awful lot of newsletters (which are usually helpful in clogging your inboxes and have a tendency to magically turn into product catalogs 🙁 down the line) and hoping it all works out.

Even those who have a strategy, start working on the point straight away. They miss out this important foundation step of online income generation – the financial goal setting.

So why do we need it? you may ask.

Read on to find out the reason behind this boring exercise, and how to get on with it so that you build on something that’s lasting and real.

The Need for Setting Realistic Financial Goals

Do you know what’s the main reason most people fail to earn a dime online? They quit. It may be after a day, or a week or a month, but the ones who get discouraged when they don’t get-rich-quick, are the ones who fail. They will never be among the online success stories we love so much. Those stories belong to those who endure and persist.

What makes these two groups different? The difference lies in their expectations. One set base their expectations on realistic goals and the others on idealistic ones. When you are checking in with reality once in a while, you will be patient while waiting for the results.

So, without much rambling, here are the reasons why you need to set realistic goals regarding your online income.

1. Helps you to route your online activities

While maintaining and reviewing these goals can be a tedious process, it gives you something tangible to hold on to. It’s your anchor while planning your online activities. This will help you to prioritize your activities according to the value they provide and not just on the ease of doing it.

2. It reminds you that your time is the most precious commodity you own

While you can definitely join low paying jobs like captcha filling or email reading that literally pays in pennies, you are not giving your time enough credit. When you have a goal to attain, you will naturally look for opportunities that give value to your time spending.

3. Works like a magic charm for motivation

You don’t have to discuss the goals you set today with anyone( though you are welcome to discuss it in comments below). But you know it’s there. It will prove to be an inspirational force that nudges you to act and not to wallow in despair when something doesn’t work out the way you want it to be.

4. Holds you accountable for your actions and tracks your spending

Ask any financial gurus out there about anything related to personal finance, they will start off by asking you to keep track of your money. Rule 101 of anything money related, is to keep track of your income and expenditure. Since here we will be considering the expenses while creating our goals, our income goal setting will act as a balancing influence on your financial life.

5. Makes the monitoring of your financial situation a breeze.

Do you tally everything once in a while and wonder whether you are in black or still drowning in red? Then, this goal setting exercise is for you. This will provide you with a tool – a checklist to track your financial situation.Keep in mind “information is power”. Being in tune with your current status money wise will help you curb unwanted spending.

Can you think of more reasons to add on to this list? Let me know in the comments what you think.

Key Elements to consider in you Income Goal Setting

The major elements are the time, income and expenses. Let’s see how to break it down.

1. The time frames to keep in mind

The main consideration when you set your goals realistically is the time frame factor. When you are starting out in the online world, unless it is the survey sites or other crowdsourcing jobs, don’t expect to get a payment in the initial months. You need to be realistic with your goal about the time you need to create a tangible income.

Here, as we are considering the initial stage goal setting, you need to note down two-time measures.

Earn money online financial goal planning

->> How much time can you donate to your income generating online ventures?

Note the fine print – you need to note the time you spend in ‘income generating online ventures’. Since the busy people out there may get depressed by how little they can spend per day, let’s go with the weekly amount.
Note down:
Time Spending/ Week = _______ hrs/ week

->> The Overall goal specific time frame

Here, we are considering the time period for which we are setting the goal.

Financial Goal Setting

If you are an absolute newbie in the ‘make money online’ area, go with 6 months. Don’t worry, we will break it down further soon. For others, set goals starting from 3 months as your timeframe. The time period varies from person to person.

I went with 6 months as the timeframe when I started as I was an absolute newbie. And for the time spending, consider only the time you are actively working to earn online income. It may vary from week to week.Go with the average then. But having it written down will give you the push you need to work if you are feeling lazy.

2. How much do I need?

Now we will compute the amounts. Start small. Consider your monthly expenses and think of a small amount that will help you to reduce your financial burden. Again, we are going with weekly amount since it makes the calculations easier and is easy to track.

Compute each of the following amounts.

-> Proficient Goal is the amount that you are happy to earn. This amount will cushion your current financial situation but may not radically improve it.

-> Expert Goal should be at least 10 – 20% above your proficient goal. This will allow you to save a little amount each week though it may not be substantial.

-> Star Goal will be at least 20-40% of your Expert Goal. This is the amount that will give a significant boost to your financial status and you can save a considerable amount.

Note down:

The Proficient Goal : ___________/ week

The Expert Goal : ___________/week

The Star Goal : __________/week

An example will be Proficient Goal: $ 300/week, Expert Goal: $400/week, and Star Goal: $600/week. Remember, it’s your goal. It can be as big or as low as you want. The only thing to keep in mind is to be realistic. Don’t expect to earn $2000/week in the first 6 months of your online entrepreneurship. It may happen; but more often than not, it doesn’t.

Sit Down and Start Writing

If you make it to this section, well done. I am sure you are really invested in building a successful online future. Now, I want you to get a pen and paper and start writing your goals down. Yes, we may be talking about online ventures, but writing in our own handwriting and making a physical entity leaves a stronger mark. (No! Typing it in and taking a print out is not the same thing.)

write down your goals

Start by writing the money goals you created in the previous section. Note all 3 of the money goals you decided in the previous section.

****The Scaling Down***

Reduce the time period to earn by 2. If you started by 6 months, scale it down to 3. Now note down the amounts as 40% of your money goals.

For example, if you proficient goal is to earn $300/week in 6 months by spending 20hours/week, note down the 3-month goal as $120 (=300*40/100) per week by spending 20hours/week. Note that the time spending for each week does not change.

This scaling down will help you to check whether your actions are generating income and whether you need to make any changes in your action plan.

***The Scaling Up***

Here, we scale our goals up to the annual goal. If you considered the initial goal period for 6 months, consider the first step scale up to 9 months.The goal amounts need to be incremented by at least 40% of 6-month goal.  Compute these goals up to annual goals, ie., 12-month goals.

Also, after the first 6-month period, have monthly goals. These percentages change from person to person and depend on how ambitious your goals are. But, BE REALISTIC!!!

If that was confusing, let’s check an example. If my proficient goal is set to $300/week in 6 months by spending 20 hrs/week, my 9-month goal will be $420/week(=300+ (300*40/100)) for the same amount of working time and 12 months goal will be $600(rounded figure).

Also, from 6 months to 9 months, gradually raise your income goal. To continue with the previous example, the 7-month goal will be $340/week and the 8-month goal will be $380/week. Similarly, compute your 9 months to 12-month goals.

The Review and Revival

Now, the hard part is behind us. What’s left is the accountability part. During the starting stages, let’s be honest, this will be painful.

Start with the scaled down version of the goal. That’s the first checkpoint. If you haven’t met the goals, don’t despair. That’s not the actual goal we are trying to attain. It is basically a box to tick off. Consider it only as a checklist to tick off to check whether what we are doing online is working.

If you find yourself reaching the fringes of this checkpoint, continue to work hard and you will reach your goal for sure. But if your situation is too far away from the goals in this point, you need to reconsider your actions and whether you are actually working on your goals or not.

At the goal point we set initially, you have two options. If you are near or the goal point, continue with the same goal sheet for the rest of the year. But, if you are either far above the star goal or far below proficient goal point, review your goals and consider resetting it.

The ‘goal’ in this instance considers the proficient goal. If you find yourself continuously surpassing the star goal all the time, evaluate the goal sheet to check whether your goals are challenging enough.

Now What?

These computations will take some time. But, this is the foundation on which you will build your online ventures. So, invest in yourself and your future and take time to figure these out. Consider this as the starting point of your online journey and start on a high note. After all, “Well Begun is Half Done”.

I’d love to see what your ideas are about financial goal setting. Do you think it’s important? Or not? What’s your opinion?