Sunday, December 13, 2009

Follow your Passion

I know I usually write about the best way to make money passively online, but while making money is great and all, one should also remember that money doesn't make you happy. Everyone I know complains about their job for one big reason: how much of their time it eats up, not allowing them to do other things. Yes, there's also the big "my boss sucks" and "I'm just sick of being there," but beyond all that, people miss their time.

Some people wait until they're retired to finally chase their dreams, be it building a boat and sailing the seas, or writing that autobiography they've always been planning. I don't think that's right - I think it's great they're chasing what they want, as it seems a lot of people forget their original dreams, but I think they're doing it too late in life. Life is not meant to be working 9-5 until you're too tired to go on anymore, THEN have a bit of enjoyment in your life. No, not one bit.

I believe that everyone has a passion for a reason - and that forgetting it to follow the world's common belief that you need a job from ages 18-67 is denying yourself the happiness you deserve.

I'm not saying you should up and quit your job and live life without any income by any means - I'm saying that people need to work to achieve more than just an early retirement - they need to work to free their time. I thoroughly believe that anyone can set up enough passive income sources to be able to quit within 5 years if they're tight with their budget, and that's without becoming a "15 megabytes of fame" internet hit.

What's more, I believe that the vast majority, if not all, of peoples desires can be profitable. An artist can sell their work, a videographer can post things online on sites that will pay him to, such as, which pays you a percent of the advertisements profit. Someone who enjoys photoshopping things can create images and put them on websites that allow people to pay to use your work. There are so many options out there for everyone, and while it may not be easiest, anyone and everyone can start doing what they love *today* and eventually make profit from it.

It may not make you rich quick, but it can make you rich eventually. So please, follow your passion and be happy. Be proud of what you do, and work to finally free yourself from the daily chore of going to work.

Zazzle and Cafepress

I'm writing today about another way of making money online that I actually like. While this has not been the most profitable online venture of mine, it does create a good amount of passive income without me having to do much, and I'm always a fan of that.

Zazzle and Cafepress are two websites that allow you to create upload designs and sell them on T-shirts. You get a percent of the total price whenever your design sells. Usually this is only about 10%, but on Zazzle you're able to increase that amount; this also increases the price, however, so I don't really suggest going much higher. I'm not sure if Cafepress let's you do the same, as I am not a member of Cafepress at the moment. I have, however, been a member of Zazzle for quite some time.

Both of these websites work with no inventory. Every time someone orders a shirt, it gets printed on the spot, and shipped automatically. You don't have to do a thing, and there's no giant warehouse somewhere that you have to empty of your products.

Creating content is incredibly easy as well, as both sites walk you through it rather nicely, and you basically just pick and image or type some text, center it how you want, and hit OK.
Your designs do have to be original though - for instance, you can't put Homer Simpson or Peter Griffin on a shirt without it getting removed.

If you're not the best at creating content, you can also do associate advertising - when people go to Zazzle with your associate advertising link, anything they buy within the next 45 days gets you a small portion of money for bringing them there. Again, I'm uncertain if CafePress has a similar system in place, but I wouldn't be surprised if they do. Some day I'll join there and update the information in this post.

Are they going to make you rich overnight? Probably not.
Are they worth it? Definitely. It's nice to put a few designs up there every now and then, leave it, and come back a month or two later and see you can withdraw money.
Unfortunately, Zazzle will only let you withdraw when you reach $25, but if you get enough good looking designs up, this wont take too long to hit.

Good luck out there everyone, hope you make some profit.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Are Surveys Profitable?

We've all seen advertisements at some point stating that we can make tons of money just by filling out surveys, but do they really work? Are they worth the time it takes to fill them out for whatever profit you get?

Well first, do they pay? There's no doubt in my mind there are legitimate sites out there that DO pay if you meet their requirements. Many work by stating you can only cash out when you reach a certain point, $10 for instance. While that doesn't seem so bad, most surveys wont make you rich, and you may end up doing 5 or more just to get to cash out at any point. for instance, is a legitimate survey site, that does in fact require that you make $10 to cash out. Yes, they do pay. But is it worth your time?

First off, you wont have access to 'unlimited' surveys - they are in fact, very limited. You can sign up and see only three surveys ready for you to take, for instance - and that's only if you're their target audience.

Before every paid survey you have to take an unpaid one. This survey is to determine whether they care about your opinion to let you take the survey. For instance, on a Bush's baked beans pre-survey, one of the questions was something along the lines of, "How does serving Bush's baked beans make you feel?" and had options such as "Anxious" and "Happy to be helping the environment." If you can manage to stop laughing long enough at some of the questions to finish the survey, they determine based on your answers if you get to take the paid one.

That means unless you're purposefully trying to be the target audience at all times, your profitability on these sites is already cut down, probably as drastically as in half, if not more. I suppose this is one area of income where honesty truly doesn't pay, unfortunately. That's my first major strike against the system, as if I'm going to try and make money, I prefer to do so honestly.

And if you were not chosen to take the survey, you just spent five to ten minutes of your time answering questions for no compensation whatsoever. That would be another strike.

Now, let's say you're fine with this and you go along trying it anyway. Are surveys profitable at all? Yes. You *can* make profit on them, so long as you're doing them.

This is an entirely active income: you only make money so long as you're working. That's yet another strike, and for those of you keeping count, that's the third.
Those who know me know that I'm a huge fan of passive incomes: systems you set up and walk away from, so that even when you're not there you're still making money. I find this to be hugely important, as I believe my time is worth far more than any dollar amount.

So in the end, it is possible to make a few extra dollars here and there by doing surveys for profit. However, in the end, I think it's far more profitable to chase other avenues of income. That's not to say I'd never be seen doing some surveys for some extra cash here and there, but it does mean it'd only be short term, and I'd quickly move on after my first cashout.

That extra buck simply isn't worth the effort long term.

Good luck out there!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Income Vs. Expenses

I hear plenty of people point out their incomes per month to me as if it's a personal trophy: But the vast majority of them have their faces go pale when I ask about their expenses.

You see, many people have this belief that more money means more spending. When someone gets a raise, they get a better car with larger payments. If they get a big tax refund, they go out and buy a flat screen TV. If they find $20 in an old coat, they take their friends out to eat, and often end up spending more than the $20.

This is the thinking that keeps people behind. Every dollar you earn has potential. It can potentially be more profit, it can potentially be a new service, it can potentially be food, etc etc.
But when people have a larger weekly or monthly potential to spend, that's what they do. They spend it.

Yes, there are some things that are unavoidable - Bills, food expenses, random emergency expenses like car problems or medical bills, etc. However, there are so many things we CAN avoid.

How many times have you gone out to eat in the last month? How many times have you gone to the movies instead of rent a far cheaper movie at your local movie rental place, or even better, your library where movie rentals are free so long as you return them within a week.

It's these little things, these small extra expenses that add up. Every extra dollar you spend takes away more than just that dollar - it takes away its potential.

With an extra 50 dollars a month, you could, say, buy a video game. That will probably amuse you for up to 50 hours.
You could buy a few movies, and get maybe 4-8 hours of entertainment out of those.
Or, you could use that money to make more. Now, your extra 50 dollars a month is an extra 60 dollars a month, then 70, 90, 120, 150, 180... and so on. Every spare dollar has the potential to go out and become more money. So how do you make sure not to do this?

Simple. Split your money, and give it a purpose the second you have it.
When your money has purpose, it becomes less likely you'll spend it on something else. When you know your rent is coming up, no matter how lousy your month has been for money, you still have that rent money - because at some point in the month, you planned out where the rent money would come from.
You gave it purpose.

There are plenty of ways to do this that might work out for you, for instance, just physically separating any money you have.

I previously wrote a rather quick article on having a Separate Business Bank Account from your personal account, which I wrote because of the various problems I went through before learning that simple solution.

Well, that can be extended even more so to encompass the problem in this article.

I stumbled upon the idea here, which I'll quote below.

"When I worked for tips, I had five separate envelopes that I put my money in so that there was no confusion as to where it belonged before it made it to the bank.

Here are the five categories that I suggest in order of importance.

1. Long Term Wealth
2. Minimum Spending Cash
3. Regular Monthly Expenses
4. Irregular Expenses
5. Fun Fund"

It is possible to have many more compartments for your money, but I find that five is enough without getting too confusing (and driving your banker crazy). Money should flow into these compartments in this order as it is received. The absolute best way to accomplish this (if your company allows this), is to automatically split your check into these different accounts when it is deposited directly on payday.

- Brian Lee

The idea is to make five bank accounts, and split money between them as you make get paid, with "fun fund" being the least important.

I find his way a brilliant way of managing money, and making sure to spend only as much as needed, and highly suggest reading that page if not more of his site.

While I have found other systems online, his is the most realistic sounding, and while I haven't implemented it yet, I do plan to in the near future.

Has anyone out there already tried it? If so, please feel free to leave a message below, and let us know how it worked for you.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Separate Business Bank Account

I've just got a quick tip today, one which I think everyone learns eventually - Make sure to have a separate business bank account from your personal bank account.

I'll admit, It took my a bit of time to finally decide to separate the accounts. I stubbornly worked with just my one simple personal checking account for everything, but after having to fight overdrawn fees for money disappearing when it shouldn't have, and flat out trying to keep numbers straight in my head and on paper, I finally succumbed to the idea.
And I don't regret it a bit.

Yes, an organized person can keep his or her finances perfectly straight with one account, but why make more work for yourself? If you can make the same amount of money for slightly less work, there's no reason not to do so.

If nothing else, I suggest you think about it, weigh the odds. What could it hurt?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Incentivized Freebie Programs

What is an "Incentivized Freebie Program?"
Well, have you ever seen those ads that say "Fill out our survey and get a free (Unbelievable prize, like an Xbox 360, PS3, Laptop, etc)"
Well, those are real. They are NOT completely truthful, though, as there is a LOT more than filling out a survey.

So how does it work?
Well, you fill out the survey, which, is usually there to get your email address - the less honest companies can sell this even if you don't keep going through the remaining steps, so they still profit from your visit.
Next, the important part, you have to sign up for certain offers. Depending on the website, there should be a "credit" system in place, and you need so many credits to reach your prize. Offers that cost money can be worth a full credit or more, but free ones are often only worth a quarter or half a credit.
Then, you have to get a certain amount of people to join, and ALSO fill out enough offers for them to get a prize. This is known as "Going Green" - because many of the sites show your status as green when you've successfully done enough offers.

Now, by itself, there's no easy to make money from this. However, many different groups have cropped up involving a bit of clever teamwork to make this a profitable setup.

Simply put, rather than pestering your friends to join as well, you post on one of the forums, such as ( that you need, say, 3 people to go green for you.
If the prize you're going for is cash, you usually give a portion of the money to them for going green for you, or do a trade where you go green for them as well on one of their sites.

So in the end, if your prize was say, $100, you could walk away with $50-$75 as profit.

But, alas, it's not as simple as that. (Simple? O_o;;)
Most of the offers you need to sign up for are free trials. This means unless you want to incur actual fees, you have to keep *very* careful records, and be sure to cancel such things before they come to the point of charging you money.
Which is a practice that's frowned upon by the advertisers.


1: Find a website with a prize you like, and think is reasonable. Sign up, preferably under someone else so you can get paid by them just for "going green" for them.
2: Complete enough offers to get the credits you need for your prize. (On some sites, you only have to do this once, then you can continuously just get other people to go green for you)
2.5: Cancel any offers before the trials are up, if any, if you choose not to keep the service. Some are actually really good deals worth keeping.
3: Get enough people to go green for you so that you can collect your prize.
4: Collect your prize, and, on sites that permit it, repeat from step 3.

-Really does make money, and some people manage to make a rather impressive amount of profit per month.

-Can help you meet some really interesting people online.

-Forums involving this tend to be friendly, and have plenty of tips for avoiding scams.

-You can end up with some rather neat freebies (Just make sure the shipping and handling charges aren't blown up to ridiculous proportions!)

-Some risk, as if you're paying someone to go green, they could scam you by taking your money, and then the company rejecting their green. (Which happens if they sign up with fake information) This can be avoided by waiting for "Verified Green" - which sometimes requires you to message the administrators of the website, or implementing a 3Day waiting period until you pay those who work for you.

-Can incur some hefty fees if you forget to cancel any trial offers.

-Rather time consuming, certainly not a passive income by any means.

-Requires lots of book keeping to ensure you get profits.

In the end I did personally profit from this, but only barely. I nearly didn't, as one offer I did never told what the S&H charges were, then charged me over $30 dollars for shipping. Upon complaining, however, they refunded my S&H in full.

At another point, a "Piggyback" offer (Which is an offer that you get signed up for WITH another offer, which isn't always easy to see when this is happening) charged me over $50 unexpectedly, causing overdrawn charges on my account when a few checks I had written elsewhere went through.
All fees were undone, including the overdrawn charge, so again, things worked out, but there's a bit of stress involved.
This was also an important lesson in keeping my business and personal accounts separate ^_^;; Something I think all of us online money makers are bound to learn eventually.

Good luck out there everyone ^_^

Mandatory Introduction!

Hello, and welcome to the Highly Mandatory Introduction to "That Extra Buck," my new blog involving money, and more importantly, how to make some.

More specific than that, however, this blog will be about me trying various methods found in various locations. I've already tried plenty, and will be trying more as this blog progresses.

I'm specifically hoping to be able to help other people online find ways to make money for themselves, and achieve financial freedom.

I'll be touching on many methods, from affiliate advertising, to surveys, to... well, anything I stumble upon, and anything that's suggested to me.

So, as our reader base grows I should hopefully get some online money making 'scams' to play with.

For the time being, however, I'd prefer not to have any that have a large initial investment, and will try to post on ones that cost nothing to start for my first few posts.

All right? Then off I go to get this blog started ;-)

See ya at the next post!