Home worker or remote worker?

There are immense benefits to working from home on a self-employed basis. But is working from home possible for everyone?  Some people may find the safety net offered by corporate working more suitable to their personality or to their financial circumstances.  So, let’s find out which one suits you best.

 


The mechanics of working from home

Personally, I think there are endless advantages being your own boss.  But it is also true that to have a successful home-based business – of whichever legit nature – you must fulfil pre-requirements without which you will fail in making a feasible and sustainable earning.  Here are a few ones, which I found out from my direct experience.

#1.  Keep your eggs in many baskets

You must be prepared to be a champion of multi-tasking, and to explore different avenues.  When working from home on a self-employed basis, you do not have a regular salary, like in the corporate world, where your monthly salary is guaranteed, regardless of whether this week you have an important project to deliver by a tight deadline or whether the workload has suddenly gone quiet.

When working from home, you earn for what you deliver.  And in order to deliver regularly, you must ensure that the demands is kept alive constantly.  So, if your field of expertise is in selling merchandise, you may want to branch out to various selling markets, so as to satisfy the demands of different client platforms.  And whilst your speciality may be in selling antique items, you may be prepared to try out other products like electronic gadgets, or you may want approach different buyers, from a booth sale fair to antique shops to online buyers.

#2.  Promote yourself

It’s all very easy to choose to work from home, if to the core you are a very introvert person, who achieves more when not having to interact constantly with work colleagues or customers.  The reality of it is that, in the same way as you must try to experiment in different direction, you must also try to promote your business as much and as persuasively as you possibly can – naturally within the boundaries of your professional ethics, and not by making up lies and false statements!!!

In a practical example, in my online affiliate marketing business, I would want to have a number of websites, all tackling different niches, so all aiming to a different market.  But once I have built many websites, where I review the products I believe in, I must also ensure that I make people out there aware that I have just posted a review – and in doing so, I would want to use social media for promotional purposes.  In other words, I must market my business proactively, and never wait for customers to come to me.  Because if potential customers do not know about my business, they are never going to be given the opportunity to become my customers!

#3.  Keep learning

When working within a corporate environment, you will be proposed courses and training which will keep you up to date with the latest developments in the business industry you are working in.  Sometimes, as it’s often the case in the public sector, your boss will just tell you you have to attend that training – and whether you believe it is relevant to your role or not, well, tough.

As a home worker, you must source that learning independently.  You must ensure you are kept up to date with the latest selling techniques, or with the latest software packages if you work online, or with the most up to date teaching material, if your job is freelance mentoring – just to mention but a few examples.

And of course you might have to invest in courses and in training tools.  In doing so, you need to ensure your investment is one that will pay off eventually, by making you more competitive in whichever your field of expertise is going to be.

#4.  Self discipline

The majority of us that love to work from home, do so because we love the flexibility, independence and freedom we gain from not having any boss but ourselves to be accountable to.  The ideal picture for potential home workers is the one of us working whilst slouched on the sofa and wearing our favourite slippers.  Without discipline, however, you may slip down the dangerous road of lack of productivity.

You will still have deadlines you need to maintain as requested by customer or to retain a healthy and successful business.

Not only that.  But sticking to a flexible routine helps you with a positive attitude toward your working day, which in turn will turn you more creative and proactive toward your job.

 


Benefits of being a remote worker

Remote workers are those people who are employed as part of a corporate business, but are given the opportunity to work from home.  And again, there are benefits and downturns to this type of working environment, and it will be your job to find out whether this is for you.

  • Benefits

Working for a corporate company or in the public sector, no matter whether you have a busy workload or a period of quiet, you will always have the guarantee of a salary.

Not only that, but depending on your contract of employment, you may have sick periods paid for, as well as a paid for period of annual leave.  And a lot of companies offer pension schemes!

  • Disadvantages

I have worked in both corporate and public sector for many decades, and I can quite honestly say that the benefits of working for an employer do not come ‘cheap’.

As an employee you will always have to negotiate your personal needs against the needs of the company you work for.  I cannot remember the number of school events I have had to miss, when my son was taking part in a show or in a sports day.  And I have lost count of the times I had to beg for time off when my son came down with flu and I had nobody else that could look after him, when he was a kid.

To this day, if I need to see a doctor or the dentist, I have to ensure my appointment is either at the beginning or at the end of the day.  If I can only get an appointment in the middle of the day, I am frowned upon, and sometimes I’m told I cannot take time off.  And do not start me on the subject of booking holiday, which I can only do provided the service is covered and my needs do not clash with the ones of other colleagues!

I could not make it plainer in words.  You work for others, you are bound to their terms and conditions of employment.  Which in many case are a lot!

  • Requirements for remote working

The main requirement is for you to find an employer that will allow you to work remotely from home.  This is not easy task, as many employers are still reluctant to let go of having staff sitting at a desk, to ensure they are productive at all times.  Other employers shield behind the idea that the nature of their business requires that you are available on site rather than managing the job virtually.

Naturally sometimes this is true.  But, even when your role demands that you are front desk, such as in my current job as a customer adviser, compromises can be reached, where you can be working from home when you are to serve customers online or over the phone, whilst going to work on those days that you are scheduled to meet customers face to face.

However another requirement, provided you are allowed to work remotely, is that your home equipment be adequate enough to sustain the data exchange between your home internet connection and the more powerful servers a business may be provided with.

Finally, there is always the risk that you are missed out by colleagues in being kept up to date with the latest information (or why not, gossip!) as you are based remotely.  It will be your job therefore to ensure that people at work do not forget about you – create a communication system that will ensure so.

 


Ideally, a balance of the two

After working full time at a corporate and public sector level, I am now trying to build that fine balance between retaining my customer services role with my employer on a part time base, and using the remaining of my working week to make my online business successful from home.

Why not go ‘solo’ straight away?  Because it takes time to make a self-employed business successful and to monetise from it in such a way that it may replace my current salary and gives me sustainable financial security.

I am still working mostly for my employer.  The plan is to see my home-based business grow a little bit more to propose to my employer to reduce my hours further.

At the moment, although I have proposed remote working, my employer feels the scheme cannot be applied to my role.  Who knows, maybe one day things will change.  But until then, and until I can afford more financial freedom, I shall keep enjoying the perks of a secure salary, whilst nurturing my online business – just like a mother would want to see her baby grow into a healthy boy and man.

 


Do you think you would ever be suited to take the risks of home-based working?  Or are you more of a corporate person, with all its benefits and restrictions?  Share your opinion, leave a comment below to let me know how you feel about both options. 

Earn money on holiday

It is renowned that, when working for an employer, one of the perks as part of your contract of employment may be for you to have sick periods paid for, or to be entitled to paid-for annual leave. When working on a self-employed basis, such as when you work from home, you cannot guarantee that your earnings will keep coming if you are unable to work for a period of time due to illness, or if you want to take a break of a few days.
Things are totally different when you earn with an online business.  And I have found out a solution for you not only to go on holiday for free, but to earn money on holiday.

 

Name:  Trusted House Sitters Limited

Website:  trustedhousesitters.com

Price:  Annual membership of £90 approximately

Owner:  Andy Peck

Rank:   80 out of 100



 


How it works

You would like to travel, locally or abroad.  Plane fares can be quite cheap, but it is the stay that can become rather expensive.  So, how to afford it?

All you have to do is register, for free, as a house/pet sitter with Trusted House Sitter!  And once you have registered your interests and your potential holiday destinations, a myriad of house/pet sitting opportunities will be presented to you, where the ball is in your court to apply for the ones that most take your fancy.

Naturally, by registering as a house sitter member, you are given the opportunity to describe yourself, your likes and dislikes and, of course, your love for pets.  Potential home owners need to feel that they can entrust their home and their beloved pets to you.  Therefore a match will only take place if the home owners feel there is a connection between them and you or, for lack of a better word, if they like you at first site.

Once you have applied for that specific ad and the family have accepted your expression of interest, Trusted House Sitters advises that a face to face communication starts taking place between the home owners and yourself, so that you get to know each other better.

 


A bit of history

This company was started in small scale in UK as a start-up business back in 2010, after the founder and co-owner Andy Peck found himself in the position of sitting for cats and dogs of the house he was staying in whilst on holiday.  He spotted a gap in the market, and that is how Trusted House Sitters was born: from the realisation that the ideal surrounding for pets, when their owner want to go on holiday, is to be left in their own homes rather than kennels or catteries.  With this ethos in mind, Trusted House Sitters has grown from then to connect a world wide community of potential home owners and potential sitters, with a mutual interest in preserving their homes and caring for the pets involved.  In other words, it becomes a win-win situation for both parties, and it is now deemed to have home and sitting members in over 140 countries.

The idea is based on mutual respect and trust.  For this reason, Trusted House Sitters has put together a pledge that encourages both home owners and sitters to reach that mutual agreement that will guarantee a free pet care in exchange for a free holiday retreat.  The pledge encourages all parties involved to communicate extensively prior to the sitter arriving to the house, and also during their stay.  For this reason, demand or offer of payment for sitting is highly discouraged by this company.

But Trusted House Sitter also has a vetting process for potential sitters, which will check references, ID, documents and their criminal records.

This scheme has become so popular in the space of 6-7 years, that it’s earned the company many accolades in the business industry, including Website of The Year 2015, nomination to the American Webby Award for Best Community Website 2016 and global media features by the BBC and The Sunday Telegraph, to name but few.

 



 


Who is Trusted House Sitters for

Trusted House Sitters is for single individuals, or couples, that want to have a holiday without having to pay for accommodation, and who love dogs, cats or any other pets specified by the household they apply for.  Which means it is for, virtually, anyone who love pets.

You must demonstrate, when you are apply as a sitter, that you can meet the specific requirements of the home owners of course.  So, if for argument sake, the home owners asks that you drive their dog to the groomer during your stay, you must demonstrate that you can drive.

Personally, I find this solution ideal for students, who through this settlement can afford free accommodation whilst being given the opportunity to explore all corners of the earth.  And it is also very good if, as a young person, you want to improve your knowledge of a foreign language by immersing yourself in the local culture.

But it can equally be ideal for people that do not like to idea of hotels, but prefer the comfort of a home, where you can cook your own meals and have a whole house available to yourself.

 


Costs involved

The only cost involved is the annual fee of £89.04 (correct figure at the time of this post being published).  Trusted House Sitters advertise the fee as being only £7.42 a month, but they demand an upfront payment for the whole 12 months at once.

Other than that, no other costs are involved – other than you taking yourself to your holiday destination, and the cost of living when you are on holiday.  But for however short or long period of time you are sitting, the accommodation is totally free!!!

The website at one point suggests that you may want to contribute to running costs of using the house/flat if you are required to sit for more than a month, but they leave this arrangement between you and the home owners.

And even if the home owner made such a suggestion, it’s money you will not spend for your own home whilst you are away.

 


Where’s the earning

Hold on.  So, this program asks for an upfront annual payment to become a member.  So, how to earn money?

Well, here’s the catch.  Not only you pay nothing for your stay, and whilst away you save on your home bills but not being around to use utilities, but if your business is based online, you can work whilst being away!!

So, the earning comes from:

  1. Saving on bills whilst being away (and if you budget your holiday carefully, all you will have to pay for may be food and some sightseeing fees)
  2. You can take your online business with you and carry on working whilst on holiday (but you are allowed to  give yourself a break!)

Again, another win-win solution for you as a house/pet sitter!

 


What I think of it

Naturally, I would not propose this as an alternative way to keep your online income coming in, if I didn’t think it were a good idea.

In fairness, I haven’t tried Trusted House Sitter myself for my dog when we have been away, nor as a sitter myself.  But that is purely because I only came across this idea recently, and I believe it would be a bit much to put on sitters’ shoulder to burden them with the responsibility of a 13 year old dog, who has had all sorts of ailments under the sun.

Leave it to me, I would try the sitting part of it any time.  But I am a little more adventurous than my husband, who would find taking on board the responsibility for somebody else’s house and, more importantly, pet far too much to enjoy everything else about the holiday.

Nevertheless, I do believe the scheme to be an absolute brilliant idea, and one that would work as it matches together people who all have the same interest at heart: the welfare of the pets.

Positives to me are:

  1. the fact that primarily you do not have to pay a penny for your stay
  2. you can choose the location, family and length of your stay – you just bid for the holiday that suits your needs
  3. there are different options of house sitting to suit everyone’s needs, with home owners advertising from so many different countries, and for different lengths of time
  4. you have a house or flat all to yourself, as opposed to the restrictions of a B&B, a hotel or even renting rooms from a landlord
  5. by living in a local family’s home, you are given the opportunity to absorb the local culture.

But, like with all things, this idea is not flawless, and to me it has very few negatives:

  1. membership is required in a one-off upfront payment, rather than on monthly instalments – this can more so pose risks if you end up for whatever reason not going on holiday after all
  2. you must be an animal lover, as primarily this is an opportunity embraced by pet owners as as alternative solution to kennels and catteries for when they cannot take their beloved pets on holiday with the rest of the family.

 


My verdict

For the above reasons, I can only rate Trusted House Sitters with a earthy 80 out of 100, and that is primarily due to the membership fees.

If I would try it?  Definitely!  But what I would do as a sitter, I would start in small doses, by trying out dog sitting for a long weekend and where owners decide to take their long weekend break not too far from home.  And I would be keen on communication with the home owners extensively ahead of my stay at their home, to ensure all corners are covered, especially when it comes to emergency care for the pet.  Trusted House Sitters does offer 24 hours a day access to veterinary advice, but I would want to make sure I follow the advice and the guidelines given by the pet owners, as ultimately I would want to respect their wishes.

With this in mind, you need to be in the right frame of mind to take on board the responsibility of looking after somebody’s house and pet.  You must be able not to let the sense of responsibility overwhelm you, otherwise you will risk not being able to enjoy the holiday – which would defeat the object.

But as a dog owner and online marketer myself, I see no particular flaw to this idea, and would welcome the opportunity.

 


Name:  Trusted House Sitters Limited

Website:  trustedhousesitters.com

Price:  Annual membership of £90

Owner:  Andy Peck

Rank:   80 out of 100

 


 


Would you consider a free holiday which would include pet sitting, with the opportunity to keep an eye on your online business whilst sipping a cold glass of wine on a Mediterranean terrazza?  Or have you already had such holiday experience?  Let me know your views, leave a comment below.

 

Make money selling with Amazon

 

So far we have discussed ways to earn extra income from home with the Amazon associate program.  In other words, provided you have a website, you can join one of the many Amazon geo-sites, register as their affiliate (or associate, as Amazon likes to call you) and then promote any of Amazon merchandise on your website, provided it fits and goes alongside your website niche, or subject so to speak.  Amazon will give you a small percentage of their profit on the product sold (and it is very small, generally no more than 6-7%) whilst the customer will not get charged any more.  It’s the good old principle of affiliate marketing.

But is there a way to make money selling with Amazon, just as you would do on eBay?  And how to sell stuff online with Amazon?

 

Selling on Amazon as a professional

Amazon offers you two main schemes, depending on whether you are a professional in the art of selling merchandise, or if you sell items only every so often as an individual

If you sell as a professional, Amazon offer the Fulfilment By Amazon scheme (or FBA) which makes your job much easier.  What they propose is that, for a fee, you send them your merchandise, and they will take care of the rest.  Amazon will store the item, pack it and deliver it for you, hence reducing you the hassle of all the logistics part of the business.  It couldn’t be easier!

  • Advantages:  The advantage of this scheme is that not only Amazon handles the logistics of it all, but ensures that the items is sold at a profit for you by pricing the item.  And, should a dispute rise with the customer, Amazon will handle that as well.  Under this scheme you can sell absolutely any merchandise that Amazon usually advertises on its website, but the stock you propose and then send to Amazon can include items of different nature.
  • Disadvantages:  As you can see, unlike eBay, with Amazon the element of risk given by the auction format is removed, as Amazon will ensure that the item is sold at a profit for you.  However, and on the negative side, Amazon does not do all this for free.  Currently on Amazon.co.uk you are charged some £30 per month with the plan to sell at least 35 items per month, plus referral fees which varies depending on which category your merchandise fulfils.  For this fee, however, you can promote your merchandise on as many as the five European countries Amazon has websites on.

How does it work

No matter which geo-site you work from, Amazon is very good at guiding you through the motions step by step.

All you have to do is click on the Sell tab on Amazon header to be guided to the next steps, which include:

  1. Registering your details as a seller – this will create a separate selling account
  2. Specifying whether you are a business or acting as an individual
  3. Uploading your listings, and select Fulfilment By Amazon to let Amazon pick, pack and ship your products to the customer.

The next thing you will know is that the customer will see your merchandise listed on Amazon pages, will proceed to the purchase and Amazon will pay you the net figure after deducting Seller fees.  It couldn’t be easier.

 

Selling on Amazon as an individual

This is arguably a much easier option for those of us that do not sell regularly, nor do they keep a wealthy stock of merchandise.  The process is much similar to the one of listing item under the Pro Selling Plan, but the difference is that Amazon does not charge a monthly fee.

The main features of this program are the followings:

  1. Registration is free of charge – you do not have to pay the monthly fee
  2. You can avail of FBA or decide to handle the logistics – this means that Amazon will take care of the storage, packing and delivery, or you can do it all by yourself, but you will also handle customer services, should a query be raised by the purchaser
  3. Amazon charges only once the item is sold.

As individual sellers, what we must be careful of is the actual fees.  Amazon will only charge some £0.75p per item, but it also deducts the referral fee like with the Pro Plan, depending on which category the item you have just sold falls into.  In addition, Amazon also charges a variable closing fee, which again fluctuates depending on category and country of destination.

Amazon gives an example of fees you may be charged when selling using the Individual Plan, which I am showing below:

 

Who can take part

Like with eBay, absolutely anybody wanting to sell some items, or a stock of merchandise, can take part.  You do not need to be a regular customer of Amazon purchasing its items regularly.  Nor do you need to be an Amazon associate and promote items on your own website.

So long as the items you are selling can be listed under one of the many available categories Amazon makes available, you can sell new or second-hand merchandise across as many as 5 European countries, i.e. UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

 

What’s the difference with eBay

The most shouting feature here is that, unlike with eBay, the risk by selling on Amazon is reduced as you are not at the mercy of a winning bid through the online auction system.  It appears that the whole selling process is more controlled, as the item will be sold for a profit.

However, prices and fees are higher than on eBay.  So yes, Amazon will assist you with the logistics, the storage and the customer services side of things, but at a price.  And if you do not pay the monthly fee, then the perks are not applicable.

Also, it is to be noticed that with the Individual Selling Plan you may not have to pay the monthly fee, but you still seem to be charged the additional referral and variable fees.

On a positive, unlike with most affiliate marketing programs, and with Amazon associate program, where you have to reach a threshold before receiving payment, both Amazon and eBay will ‘pay as you go’, or rather transfer your payment into your bank account as soon as the item has been sold.

Finally, there is the reputation of the two websites to consider.  With Amazon, your items will be listed in up to 5 European countries, as per your listing instructions.  However with eBay you are bound to reach a wider marketing platform, as my understanding is that your listings reach a worldwide potential customer base.  This may mean that you will possibly sell your items more quickly, albeit at a lower price.

 

My verdict

I must admit, I have not yet venture in using Amazon for selling items yet – for purchase, oh yes, aplenty, but not yet for selling.  But that, I suppose, is possibly due to the fact that I do not sell large amounts of stock altogether, and for this type of infrequent selling, I think eBay may be more user-friendly, once you’ve got used to it.

When wanting to embrace this avenue as a source of income whilst working from home, you need to weigh up pros and cons on both websites.

For both selling methods, you do not need to have your own website, but you certainly need to have access to a computer and to wi-fi connection.  Also, and like with all selling enterprises, you need to have storage available and regular intake of stock.

This said, I still believe in the validity of Amazon selling marketplace as a good way to make money working from home.  I do believe however that Amazon is more suited if you have a larger stock of merchandise to sell.  For professional sellers, it will be worth paying the monthly fee, to the benefit of having Amazon taking care of the handling of the sale.

Ultimately the choice is yours and it very much depends on what experience you are looking for from selling online.  Nothing or nobody in fact will prevent you from being able to use both platforms to sell different items.  The more platforms you use,  the bigger exposure you gain in proposing your merchandise to buyers worldwide.

The one thing I would recommend, should you decide to use both Amazon and eBay at the same time, is that you refrain from advertising the same item on both sites at the same time – that is, unless you have multiple stock!!

 


Are you already using Amazon to sell your items, or have you ever done so?  I would like to hear from you, to find out whether you have had a successful experience, and whether you consider Amazon a viable solution to earn a realistic income.  Share your experience with us, feel free to leave your comment below!

 

Earn with the lottery

 

Name:  Free Postcode Lottery

Website:  freepostcodelottery.com

Price:  Absolutely FREE OF CHARGE

Owner:  Chris Holbrook

Rank:   95 out of 100

 

Call me a coward, but I do not condone gambling or taking any risk when it comes to business opportunities. But I have recently discovered a free of charge way to earn with the lottery, which I would like to make you aware of.

 

How to make money with the lottery

Yes, I am not kidding you when I say that you can earn with the lottery.  Admittedly I’m not talking millions, but rather a few hundred pounds at a time (or dollars, or whichever monetary currency goes in your country).  And no, it is not a guaranteed regular winning.  At the end of the day, it is called lottery for a reason, as it can only guarantee for as long as you win randomly.  But it certainly is free of charge, and for this reason if not any other good one, it is worth playing it.  Because you don’t have to loose anything!!!  Yes, you’ve guessed right: I’m talking about the FREE POSTCODE LOTTERY!!!

 

How does it work

The name is self-explanatory.  Every day the Free Postcode Lottery draws a a postcode randomly from the country, for a stake of some £300 or thereabouts.  If you have registered that you live in that postcode, you win.

Along with the main draw, the Free Postcode Lottery has other minor daily draws that you can take part in, albeit for a lower winning – these are survey draws (but you can take part even without taking 1 or 2 question surveys) or the video draw, where you listen to a video of an emerging singer in order to have the winning postcode revealed, or other draws.

 

Less money, more chances

As mentioned, the potential winnings are far from the wealthy ones of weekly national lotteries.  And, if by any chance your neighbours have also registered and claim the winning when your joint postcode is drawn, unbeknown to each other, you share the draw.

But the beauty of this type of lottery lays in a few simple advantageous facts:

  1. it’s drawn daily, hence increasing chances;
  2. it’s down to the reality of you living at that postcode;
  3. even if other participants are registered at the same postcode as you, often enough you end up winning the whole jackpot, as most people forget to check if they are winners from the reminder email you get sent every day.

If nobody claims the winning within 24 hours, the money at stake goes to add to the next day draw, making the jackpot higher.

Last but not least, you do not have to pay to take part!!!

 

Where does the money come from

The most immediate thing that will strike you about this lottery is that its website is packed with ads.  And that’s where the money comes from.  The Free Postcode Lottery relies solely on advertisements.  As mentioned before, you don’t have to pay a dime!!! Although the winning criteria for the main draw is in the fact that you must live at the winning postcode drawn on the day, with all the other draws you in fact access survey companies or video promoting companies – those very same companies that pay the Free Postcode Lottery for the privilege of advertising on its site.

One thing is for sure: we participants do not fund it!!

 

Who can take part

There are only a few qualifying criteria to take part in the Free Postcode Lottery: you must be over the age of 18, and you must live in UK.

Please do not mistake the Free Postcode Lottery with the People Postcode Lottery, which requires for you to purchase tickets.  The Free Postcode Lottery is FREE OF CHARGE!!

Otherwise, absolutely everyone can take part – no matter which postcode you live in, whether it is Wales, or Scotland, everyone can give it a try.

Admittedly the only restriction I can think of is that you have to have an internet connection.  Like all things in this time and age, in order to take part you must register online on to its website.  Likewise, as mentioned, every day the Free Postcode Lottery sends you a reminder email inviting you to enter their website to find out whether your postcode has been drawn.

I expect long gone are those days where you could check the winning numbers of a lottery on the daily paper!!  Mind you, I believe some papers still do so.  But then again, those lotteries that publish their winning combination on paper have a different way of financing the business, which is funded through the purchase of tickets.  The Free Postcode Lottery relies solely on you visiting the website – this increases traffic to the website, makes it more appealing to potential businesses that will want to advertise on its pages, and will then pay the advertising space.  In a way, with a the Free Postcode Lottery, you are the customer of a behind-the-scene affiliate business – and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it!!!

 

Pros and Cons

Let me get the negative points out of the way before concentrating on the winning side of this type of lottery (pardon the pun!!).

I believe I have a pretty fast internet connection, unlimited data use and more.  Nevertheless, at times going through the Free Postcode Lottery pages is very slow.  And I expect the reason may be due to the enormous amount of graphic loaded on its pages by the advertisers.

Even so, going through the motions of checking the daily draws is never too painfully and exasperatingly slow.  Yes, the pages may take a few seconds longer than usual to load, but it does not detract from the fun.

And again, the winning will never be in the region of hundreds of thousands, but it is still a few hundreds, which are still a good pocket money figure.  Which you will have earned by just checking a daily email.  Not bad at all!!

One final point to mention is that this particular lottery is currently available and applicable to UK postcodes only.  I have searched for similar schemes outside of UK.  The only free of charge lottery I have come across for US residents, or for people living in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa is BoxLotto.  With this lottery, you choose 6 random numbers on each ticket, you can play up to 30 tickets per week and once a week you receive an email to tell you if you have won.

Again BoxLotto is indeed free of charge, but the lucky strike is purely randomly based on whether you choose the winning numbers, and to me it detracts from the fun of seeing your own postcode appear on the winning draw – again, I believe the concept of making a postcode a winner is far more fun.

 

Talking of affiliate

Did you also know that you can earn extra money by referring viewers to the Free Postcode Lottery?  Yes, the added perk is that you can earn up to £200 in bonus, which is payable to you when you introduce somebody to the website, and the somebody registers and keeps checking their account regularly every day.

In other words, if you follow this link: Free Postcode Lottery, and if you end up joining the actual lottery, I shall be earning a tiny penny every time that you visit the website to check of you are one of the winners of the day.  This costs nothing to you, but in the long run it will accrue me a little bit of extra pocket money.

You may ask what the big fuss it is to go through all this effort for a penny per visit.  Am I having you on?!?!?  I am not even going to start counting how many days of one of you checking their lottery account it would take me to put together £200.  But if it is not one of you, but many of you joining through this post, then the process of putting together a bit of extra money does no longer sound as long and painful.

And you don’t need to have a website to promote the Free Postcode Lottery.  You are given a unique link to your account, which you then can insert in any of your social media messages to invite your followers to join in.

So, what are you waiting for?  Join Free Postcode Lottery to be a winner and to earn by referring others!!!

 

Too good to be true

Some people may question whether all this is too good to be true.  Let me break this news to you: Free Postcode Lottery is NOT a scam!!!

Testimonials vouch to the fact that this lottery is a genuine affairs.  And accolades are documented both on their Facebook page and in other social media forums.

In UK this lottery is not the only free of charge one.  Others make their money through advertising too, but this lottery has the added element of fun, by building your expectations to the realistic possibility that it will be your postcode to be drawn today!  So much so that Money Saving Expert also endorses Free Postcode Lottery.

I am not sure that, if this lottery had not been tested as true and realistic, Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert would have chanced risking his reputation!!

 

My verdict

I have kept banging on for the whole of this review about how I find this type of lottery purely fun.  Its simple and straightforward formula, and that fact that it relates to the postcode of where you actually live, the fact that it is free of charge, it all combines in my opinion to create a bit of innocent, not mind blowing, fun.

You don’t have to worry as to whether you have chosen the winning combination of random numbers.  The responsibility of you becoming a winner is not on your shoulders, but down to sheer luck.  And it doesn’t matter if all you win is a couple hundreds pounds – the fun outruns the thirst of big winning by far.  Notwithstanding the fact that, as Free Postcode Lottery is only restricted to UK, where there are only so many postcodes, chances become higher.

The winning combination with Free Postcode Lottery is in the sharing.  Not only by referring people to this lottery, you can earn up to £200, but the more people register as living at the same postcode as yours, the more the chances of your postcode to be drawn.

For however little inspiring the winnings may be, I highly recommend having a bit of fun with Free Postcode Lottery.  Join in the fun with me!!!

 

 

 

Name:  Free Postcode Lottery

Website:  freepostcodelottery.com

Price:  Absolutely FREE OF CHARGE

Owner:  Chris Holbrook

Rank:   95 out of 100

 

Are you enrolled on Free Postcode Lottery, have you ever won?  Or are you still not persuaded that Free Postcode Lottery does work, do you have any concerns?  Join in the conversation and post your comment below.  I shall be happy to answer any question at my very best.  

 

 

 

How to sell on eBay and make money

Name:  eBay

Website:  eBay.co.uk

Price:  Advertising FREE for first 20 ads per month.  Selling fee is 10% of final transaction

Owner:  Pierre Omidyad

Rank:   90 out of 100

 

There have already been tons of training and reviews posted on how to use eBay, and to whether eBay is a valid selling tool. With this article today I’d like to offer you tips on how to sell on eBay and make money. I mean real money!

 

Overview

We have talked about old ways to make money.  Selling is the oldest of all trading arts, and possibly the most straightforward – there is no messing around there with digitally based invisible things there, but a concrete stock of products which you aim to sell for a profit.

eBay does just that for you.  On eBay you sell and buy a variety of different products at auction.  Since it was founded in 1965, eBay has also introduced different buying options other than auction, hence increasing the chances for you to sell your product more quickly and for a higher profit.

 

How it works

Simply put, you create a log in account on eBay.  This account will allow you both to purchase and to sell.  You click on the ‘Sell’ tag up the top of the home page, go through the user friendly steps to list your product, click the button and your item is listed down, ready to buyers to put their bid on by the deadline by you selected – or to purchase there and then, if you again have chosen this option.

One of the good aspects of eBay is that it proposes to you so many different preferences of how you would like to advertise your stock, that it makes it extremely versatile and feasible for you to set up a successful selling business by simply listing your items consistently.

Naturally, in order to do so you must ensure to have a regular stock of items available to sell.  Which begs the following question.

 

What can you sell on eBay

Primarily on eBay you will want to sell new stock of products.  eBay is ideal as it enables you to sell items that you feel passionate about.  However, there are categories of products that sell particularly well on eBay.  Where Amazon excels and in a way over time has specialised on electronics, I would say eBay’s customer base goes well beyond that and uses this website for absolutely everything.  You can expect to find listed here from fashion items to home-ware, from furniture to even cars!!

I believe however, the strength of eBay remains in the possibility it offers to sell second hand items – which in a way is the ethos the company was originally founded on, along with the idea of creating an online auction market.  For this reason, eBay remains successful with sellers of collectables.  I particularly find it unbearable in prices and deals when it comes to antiques.

 

So how to sell on eBay for a profit

The secret is in where you get your stock from.  Buying from a retailer, albeit an online one, with the aim to make a profit, is never the ideal solution.

Let’s not forget that the strength of eBay is in selling items at a bargain.  Your buying price therefore must be competitive enough for you to promote your merchandise at an equally competitive price, but in such a way that you can still make a margin from the sale.

Ideally you should find a reliable wholesaler that offers you the most competitive rates on the range of items you want to sell.  Initially you may want to test the online market by trying selling different items.  Eventually you may want to specialise in a particular category of items, so that over time and with the build up of hopefully positive feedback, you can build a reputable image of reliable seller, which will attract more buyers.

Especially when it comes to collectables, however, many sellers on eBay find their stock at boot sales and local seasonal fairs, where with patience and a keen eye for a deal, you can find a bargain yourself.  At the end of the day, selling is all about that: you have to be a buyer yourself in first instance!

 

Who can succeed on eBay

Surely you’ve got to acknowledge that these days setting up a stall in your town market is not the only way of selling. Selling online has become much diffused, as it reaches a wider range of potential customers, and because it helps you sell more quickly.  So, who is eBay for?

eBay is most suitable for those of us that enjoy selling merchandise as opposed to virtual services.  It is suitable for those of us that also enjoy the thrill of the auction.  For this reason, you must be prepared, especially at first, to bear some losses as much as well as to see your earnings grow slowly.

!! Click here to start selling on eBay !!

I do believe you can make an actual living from selling on eBay, but like with all businesses, it will take you a little while to establish yourself as a reputable seller.  But, the beauty of eBay is that it does not have to be your sole full time business.  I have been using eBay whenever I find some item in the house that I no longer want to use and I do believe can find a buyer.  I also like antiques, and when I have the time to go to some local fairs, if I find an object that catches my attention and which I can get at a reasonable price, I will then chance my luck by listing it on eBay and see how profitable the online auction will turn for me.

And that is the beauty of eBay: the fact that is most suitable for everybody that has something to sell, whether you are student, unemployed, full time worker or retired.

 

Tools and training

Again, the key in learning how to list your items is to follow eBay selling page step by step, which you find when you click on the ‘Sell’ tab on the top left hand side.  There you are taken through the process of listing your items, with easy to understand options, from inserting pictures, to adding the description of your item, to pricing it and whether you only want to put it up to auction or whether you also want to add the ‘Buy It Now’ option, and of course how much the whole thing is going to cost you – more of what eBay charges you later on.

Most importantly, eBay also guide you wisely through the method of payments you can propose to your potential buyers and how you can post the items.

In other words, eBay ‘holds your hand’ safely.  It is up to you which direction you want to take.  And if at the beginning you may think that the whole process is far too long and not worth the effort, it is like with all things, the more items you list, the more conversant you become – till in the end you find the formula that best suits your selling modes, and the listing process becomes second nature!

 

The price

The price structure of eBay is again very easy, and particularly advantageous if you are only a newbie at this.  eBay will not charge you for the first 20 ads you place in a month.  After the first 20 ads, it will charge a small fee of 35p per listing.

eBay will then also charge 10% of the selling fee, with a maximum cap of no more than £250 per item sold.

Once you are aware of this, and you are also aware that if you opt for payment via PayPal, PayPal will charge you an additional minimum 2.9%, you will know what mark up to apply to your item when pricing it.  You want to ensure that your costs are fully covered, and that the buyers also pays for postage and delivery.

Finally, remember that eBay will charge you additionally if you opt to sell now the item at a fixed price with the ‘Buy Now’ option.  This is an option preferred by many, as it avoid the risk of the item remaining unsold or to be sold at a far too low price to cover all the costs.  In such cases, like with ‘real’ auction in auction houses, you can list your merchandise applying a reserve, which again will ensure if the bidding price is below the margin you want to apply, you do not have to honour the winning bid.

All the above pricing options, in other words, are to illustrate to you how flexible eBay makes it for sellers to go for the pricing and listing method that best and most conveniently suits their needs and wants.

 

The downsides of eBay

If I may start with the cons,I have to say that I struggle to find any.  I stirred right clear of eBay for a number of years, for fear to be conned myself.  There have been rumours – but sometimes more factual than tale-telling – about buyers paying for items which they never received.  And at the same time it was reported that sellers never got paid at times after an auction reached its deadline.

I believe those days are truly been and gone.  eBay has ironed out such problems by putting in place extra safety tools, such as advising sellers to choose the PayPal method of payment.  Yes, this may mean that you end up paying a fee to PayPal at the end of the month.  But, provided you take this extra cost into account when pricing your merchandise, this additional security is worth the additional fee.

Finally, there is the risk element of the auction, and the fact that your item may not find a purchaser.  Or that your purchaser may bid for far too low a price, which would make it unprofitable for you.  There are many items sold for pittance, admittedly.  It the item you have listed is an unwanted present, however small a figure the auction is won at will still make it a profit for you.  But if you have actually bought the item with a view to reselling it at auction, you want to ensure that you make a margin on it.

On the pro side, well where to start!  As mentioned, eBay makes it so easy for everyone to try and sell absolutely anything.  All it asks is that you have access to the internet and the necessary equipment to work online, it asks that you take a few pictures of your item, it asks for storage space if you decide to grow your selling business to such a level to require a regular stock, and it wants you to have an account (preferably PayPal) for you to receive payment.  The game is on!

 

In conclusion

eBay is equally ideal if you want to get rid of single items every so often, and for those of us that aim at a little higher in terms of profitable avenue.  If you approach eBay with a view to make a regular income out of it, especially at the beginning however, you need to be prepared to allow time for your business to steadily grow.  In this, eBay is none the different from any other online businesses: you can aim high, just with time.

Name:  eBay

Website:  eBay.co.uk

Price:  Advertising FREE for first 20 ads per month.  Selling fee is 10% of final transaction

Owner:  Pierre Omidyad

Rank:   90 out of 100

My verdict

It is my opinion that, with time, eBay will enable you to make a steady income from selling online at auction.  And you can do it all from the comfort of your home.  I recommend eBay, therefore as an extremely feasible way of making money working from home legally and stress free!!

If you are still not sure about the advantages to selling online through eBay and would like to find out more, or if you have already had a go with eBay, or indeed if you are one of eBay Power Sellers, and would like to share your experience with us, by all means leave a comment below!!

5 tips to make a success of working from home

Ok, admittedly working from home is not always plain sail.  In the course of last year I have on many occasions come across obstacles to working from home which have prevented me from being as productive as I would have liked.  This has led me to reflect on what are the best conditions and requirements to make a success of working from home and I would like to share them you.

 

The struggles of working from home

This last few months have seen a slow down in my posting activity on both this site and my other website Living With A Border Terrier.  The slow down was one of the many periods in the course of the last year, where I struggled to remain productive with my online business.  This last period, where I stalled for more or less a month, has given me the opportunity to work out what best practices I should apply to overcome obstacles in trying to make a success of working from home.
But what were the causes?

 

I learnt from my own mistakes

What caused my slow down was a combination of external circumstances which caused me to ‘freeze’ and to struggle with my daily functions, including following and contributing to my online business – some call this a form of depression.

This was not the first time, as in the course of the year just gone more concerns had pressed me relating primarily to poor health of my closest family members, like my mum and my husband.  Consuming worries to tear your hair out, right?

Yet I am full aware that so many of us have had to cope with similar worries, if not bigger issues.  The problem is: if every time that something bad or unexpected prevents me from working from home, I shall never be able to work, as things happen to all of us all the times!!!

The question is then: how to learn to cope and to manage the stress and the anxiety of unexpected events in your life, in such a way that they do hinder on your success when working from home?

 

Be in control

When working in my working place for my employer, the struggle is less noticeable.  You get out of the house, and your brain is naturally challenged and engaged by external elements – it could be colleagues telling what happened to them over the weekend, or in my line of work for my employer, it is customers asking for advice over financial or housing matters.

The main drawback I see in working on your own from home is isolation, as you expose yourself to over rampaging over personal matters, which could eventually take over your mental and physical capabilities to function on any of the most basic daily tasks.  It is down to you, however, to learn to manage your isolation.

In first instance, you want to use the time you spend on your own to concentrate actively on your work.  At the end of the day, if you were at work in a non-home based environment, you would not spend all of your time chatting about what you did at the weekend, but you would be required to concentrate on the task in hand to make your hours at work productive.

 

Be quiet, I’m working

And how about if you have the kids playing in the same room where you are trying to work?  Or if ‘hubbie’ has just come back from work and wants to pour out with you all his frustration of the traffic he got caught during his commuting?

The most likely option – and the most advisable – is that you would still have a full time or part time main job, especially at the beginning of your home endeavours.  This is recommended particularly as any new business will not secure immediate earnings, and you don’t want to risk reducing you and your family to leave out of nothing whilst there are still bills to pay.

However, this means that you will work additional hours at home to the ones already worked at your main job.  That is me all over, by the way!!!

So, how to ensure that, when at home after a long day at work, you still remain productive in an effective way without letting your home life take over the few hours of the day you have left to dedicate to the job you are trying to set up so passionately?

 

5 tips to make a success of working from home

I have come up with 5 tips to make a success of working from home.  Follow my tips and you will see the difference between life being in control of your success and you becoming master of your work-from-home life!

 

#1.  Create your own working space

Whether it’s the comfort of your sofa or bedroom, ensure that at least when you work, if not the whole time, you have a space of your own for you to work undisturbed.

You may be a champion of multi-tasking.  Nevertheless without a dedicated corner for you to keep your notes and your equipment, you will not be able to run your home business successfully.

Naturally, you will need to ensure you have storage space if the business you intend to run involves keeping stock of goods.  If you are working freelance as a tutor, you may need a small study space to teach your pupils, for instance.

If, like me, you run an online business, all you need is really not much in terms of space: just about a notebook to jot down a few ideas, and room for a laptop.  And that will be all!

 

#2.  No interruptions, it’s your time

Naturally if you are working whilst the household is asleep, or whilst the kids are at school and your partner is at work, you will have the privilege of being able to work uninterrupted.

If however you have no option but to work whilst the rest of the family are also indoors, set a specific time where you kindly ask that for no reason whatsoever (over than life and death!) you are to be disturbed.  You may want to arrange for babysitting by your partner if the kids are too small.  Likewise you may want to ensure that the set time is not too long, in order not to make your ‘absence’ too onerous on the rest of the family.  Nevertheless ensure that however long or short, that time span is respected.

At the end of the day, you are using that time to work and make a living, which ultimately will benefit yourself and, indirectly, your family members too.

 

#3.  Self discipline and commitment

It may sound regimental, when in fact it is not as bad as it sounds.

At the end of the day, you are trying to establish your business, your livelihood.  This may be your sole source of income or an added earning opportunity.  Either way, you want to establish your home run business as you want to make a success of it.

Your home run business will require total commitment.  I for one should know better, having given away easily to ‘alternative commitments’ which at times have taken priority over my work unjustifiedly.  And this has happened primarily when things have got tougher.

As mentioned above, sometimes you need to be tougher with the ‘alternative commitments’.  There have been two occasions this year, for instance, where my mum has come to stay with us for a few weeks. Well, those weeks  barely managed to switch on my laptop, let alone working on my websites.  I am not trying to justify myself of my absence from the online scene.  This is no justification, as ultimately my business is the one that suffered from me not working on it.

What I should have done is ensuring that at certain times of the day and of the week, guests and family alike understood I was not available.  Or I should have altered my working times to try and fit in everybody else’s requirements.

Not an easy task, I’ll admit that.  But especially when your business is fully establish, you will find that you no longer need to work as long as initially, as the business will generate passive income once your brand is fully established on the market.  This in turn will grant you more free time and more flexibility.

 

The most famous shed in the world: Roald Dahl's!!
The most famous shed in the world: Roald Dahl’s!!

#4.  Ensure your family supports you

None of the above can be achieved without the support of your family of course.

Ahead of embarking in a home based business, you may want to speak to your family and share with them your vision.  Yes, admittedly initially your project may be welcomed with a pinch of skeptisism.  But  you need to explain why you want to do what you are embarking in.  You need to put across to them that ultimately you would like to try out whether you could be successful as your own boss.

I’m sure all your family wants is for you to be happy.  You will need to help them understand what your motivations are going to be, which will make you happy, such as the fact that you will have more flexibility of working hours, so that you can also meet more easily the demands of the household.  The ultimate goal could possibly even be for you to make a wealth out of it, which in turn would benefit the whole family.

 

#5.  Don’t overdo it

It’s easy when working from home, to let the business take over your entire life.

Yes, there may be days when you are going to work 20 hours out of the 24.  This may happen particularly if you are trying to seal a deal, or if you have to meet a specific deadline.

However, this should not be the rule!!

Especially if, like me, you like to work early in the morning before everybody else is awake, or in the evening, you must not allow yourself to also work for the rest of of the day.  This is most important especially if you are also working for an employer full or part time.

Likewise, you may set up some days of the week when you work flat out, but other days in the week which you will dedicate to a trip out with the family or to practice a hobby or to watch soaps for the whole dat (that will be me, cuddled with my dog under a big duvet!!)  – anything other than work.

Sometimes overdosing it is as damaging to your business as doing too little.

 

In conclusion

I hope you will find the above tips useful.  Naturally they are not fully exhaustive, but they want to be be general self-help ideas to aid in making your life easier whilst working at home.

If you have more ideas to propose, by all means leave your comment below.  Likewise, if you believe the above is not going to work, do share your concerns with me, so we can start a healthy discussion.

Whatever your approach, it must be one that you are going to be comfortable with.

I won’t pretend home based business is easy matter.  But the rewards are worth the long hours, the commitment and the determination!

 

So, what keeps you self-disciplined?
So, what keeps you self-disciplined?

 

 

Get a real bargain with Wealthy Affiliate Black Friday 2016 deal

 

In my page on the benefits of affiliate marketing as best homes based income, and in my subsequent post on the competitive advantage affiliate marketing offers through Wealthy Affiliate learning platform, I have already outlined the features that this great learning community has to offer.

The most appealing and immediately striking feature of Wealthy Affiliate is the FREE OF CHARGE Starter membership.  With the Starter membership, you get access to a whirlpool of benefits, including:

#1 The Online Entrepreneur Certification – Getting Started (Level 1) – You will be introduced access to 10 lessons which will guide you step by step through the building of your website based your passion, your niche, a subject that you really feel strong about, hence you will love to share your knowledge about it with others.  The lessons will encourage to work along, by completing tasks that are designed to enrich your website with content.  You will finally be guided through the marketing process of your online business, trying to attract traffic by ‘spreading the word’ about your website and individual blogs on social media, which in turn will attract potential customers.

#2 Two FREE websites – Starter members get access to the Worldpress website builder function, where they can build up to two website completely free of charge.

#3 Unlimited training – With access to 1000s of blogs from other members, here you can learn the ropes of online business and more insights on affiliate marketing, and you can come across business opportunities and creative tips on how to make your online business more profitable for you.

#4 Access to WA affiliate program – WA program pays some of the highest rates of commission, and you generate a revenue every time that a new member signs up to the Premium membership through individual referral links and banners that you can share on your websites and through your social media accounts.

So, why go Premium???

Premium membership gives you more, much more!! Just have a look at the below chart and be the judge of it:

Yes, admittedly if you want to become Premium member, you are asked to join a paying scheme, which works as follows:

Monthly = $49 per month ($1.56 per day) or
Yearly = $359 per year ($0.98 per day!)

It might sound like big bucks to pay $359 upfront, but by paying yearly you end up saving a whopping $229 other the monthly payments!

THIS YEAR BLACK FRIDAY 25TH NOVEMBER 2016, WEALTHY AFFILIATE OFFERS THE YEARLY SUBSCRIPTION FOR ONLY $299.  BUY IT HERE AND NOW!!!

Now, I am a relative newbie, having joined Wealthy Affiliate only 8 months ago. As you will know from My Story, I have many failed attempts at finding legitimate and successful ways to make an income from home online.  When I landed at Wealthy Affiliate, I was totally clueless at where to start from, let alone taking my basic progress to the next level and turning a ‘for fun’ blogging activity into a profitable business.

Joining WA for free was what appealed to me the most about this platform – I had been components before, and was not prepared to loose any more money.  At the same time, joining for free gave me the opportunity to realise immediately that WA was no scam.  Lessons were invaluable and ‘hand on’.  The community was real, a giving  and caring one, and equally as knowledgeable as the lessons and tutorials you were offered by their gurus, the founders Kyle and Carson and the longer standing other members, now become successful entrepreneurs.

The decision to become a WA Premium member was only the natural step in my development.  And now that I have been on the Premium membership for so many months, I feel strong in the belief that the Starter pack is in fact more suited to people that already have a basic knowledge of website building and online marketing.  For newbies like me, the Premium pack has proved to be of much more value and assistance as it gives you access to more learning opportunities.

 

What has the Premium membership got to offer

Lets get to the Mitty gritty of the business.  If the Starter pack is already so generous in spite of being free of charge, why should you pay a monthly, or even a yearly fee?  Because the Premium membership offers you:

#1 Direct contact with Kyle and Carson with their personal mentoring.

#2 Up to 50 websites free of charge, by using the WA owned hosting platform Siterubix, still using WordPress website builder tools – this also gives you access to 24/7 technical support, should you get stuck in any way.

#3 Full access to all the 6 Levels of the Online Entrepreneur Certification – that is a total of 60 lessons, with assigned tasks which are aimed to encourage you to populate your website with vital content as well as to market your website and content in order to attract visitors’ traffic for potential monetisation.

#4 Unlimited access to keyword searches – There are many keyword search tools on the internet, but they all require a monthly payment.  WA includs this tool in the membership at no extra cost, and gather data from all the major search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo, enabling you to pick up the most attractive and searched for terms that are relevant to your niche for an UNLIMITED number of times!

#5 Weekly interactive VIDEO Classes – broadcast live, Jay’s ‘webinars’ offers valuable insight on specific topics every week, with video lessons lasting between 60-90 minutes.  If you are unable to connect live, due to work commitments or different time zone, or if you want to watch the webinars again, these are readily available for a useful replay.


And the list goes on!  As mentioned in my previous WA review, I may be deemed bias for being a WA member. But, as I have read recently, there is no better and most sincere review that the one from somebody who has had first hand experience of the whole learning process. And I can guarantee, I would not have just spent €299 if I did not believe in the successful formula of Wealthy Affiliate.

My Black Friday year Premium payment

 

So, what are you waiting for?  Join Wealthy Affiliate, become a Premium member and, for this weekend only, pay the yearly discounted fee of $299!  This offer is now live and only lasts till Monday 28th November 2016 – a further discount of $289 over monthly payment.  CLICK HERE FOR AN OFFER TRULY NOT TO BE MISSED!!!

 


 

By all means, do let us know if you have taken that ‘leap of faith’ this weekend and you have gone Yearly Premium.  Or indeed do do share with us your experience as an established Premium member.  Leave a message below.  Thank you.

 

Is Amazon Associates program worth it?

 Name:       Amazon

Website:   affiliate-program.amazon.co.uk (or adding the extension of your country Amazon website, i.e. affiliate-program.amazon.com, affiliate-program.amazon.de etc)

Price:        FREE

Owner:  Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com which was the first enterprise from which other countries websites took off

Rank:       90 out of 100

 

INTRODUCTION


I have for many years been regular customer of Amazon.co.uk as I have always found it extremely competitive in prices and quality since my son was younger and Father Christmas had to treat him to his first electronic games, to the present days when I use the site for my regular food supplies, toys and accessories for my border terrier Indy.

When I then decided to start my online business in an effort to find ways to earn extra income from home, I realised that Amazon was offering an affiliate program (or associate program, as Amazon likes to call it), which everyone with a selling platform could access.  

I expect it made sense. Amazon could give back a little bit of what I have been giving Amazon in the last few years. And it was no harm joining, as the scheme is free of charge.  But what gave me confidence is pursuing this avenue was the realisation that to this day Amazon is possibly the most successful e-commerce worldwide, with a reputable brand that keeps attractings customers regularly in the same way as it still attracts me.

But, how to make money with amazon associate program?amazon-earnings

 

WHAT IS AMAZON ASSOCIATES


Making money with amazon associate program is pretty straightforward.  Amazon Associates works on the affiliate business model, where you promote products or services and you end up earning commissions every time that a sale is generated directly as a result of your promotion.  In other words, based on the old commerce principle of selling and buying, you are the middle man (or woman indeed), you are the ‘shopkeeper’ that agrees to sell a specific brand in your shop.

The difference is that the buyer of the product or services will not have their prices inflated by your commissions.  In the case of Amazon, for instance, whether you order an item using my website Living With A Border Terrier (which I actively use to promote Amazon products specifically catered for dogs) or directly from the Amazon website, you are not going to be charged any different.  However, Amazon will reduce their profit by offering me a small commission for promoting their merchandise.

 

WHO IS AMAZON ASSOCIATES PROGRAM FOR


Naturally, in order to promote Amazon you need to have an online platform, or website so to speak.  Many have specific selling website, or create A-Stores which are designed to sell Amazom items.  Your website however does not have to be created purposely and solely as a selling exercise.  You can have a blog, such as my Living With A Border Terrier one, and promote Amazon items at the same time, which will of course be relevant to the subject tackled in my blog – in my case, dogs and more specifically, any items sold by Amazon that are related to the breed of border terrier.

BEWARE!!  Social media platforms are good advertisers of products and services, and you could be tempted to copy an Amazon Associates link directly on them in the hope to find the exposure that will grant you a few orders.  Most social media however do not approve of ‘naked links’, and will close your account or penalise you, unless you promote your Amazon item as part of your website page or post. 

 

HOW DOES IT WORK


Once you have your own website and you have set up your first few pages promoting your niche (or interest, or passion), you can apply to one of the Amazon associate programs available.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos

Let me first of all clarify on this point.  Amazon was originally founded by Jeff Bezos as Amazon.com, based in the States.  As Amazon became more and more successful, other ‘branches’ were created locally to other countries.  The principle behind this strategy was to be able to retain competitive prices by allowing local suppliers to sell own products to the local consumer through Amazon marketplace, hence saving on delivery and on virtually inexistent export costs.

Amazon currently trades in most European countries, as well as in India, Japan, China, Brazil and Canada.  It is also about to lauch their website in Australia.  For each of these countries, Amazon has a separate website with the country extension, i.e. Amazon.it for Italy. Amazon.ca for Canada, Amazon.de for Germany, and so on.  Each website, and each country, will have their own associate program.  When you apply to join an Amazon affiliate program, initially you may want to join the program of your own country, but this does not preclude you from joining the programs of other countries too.  Remember, your website will be visible worldwide, and no matter where you live, you are bound to come across viewers from other countries who will be interested in purchasing through your website, if you promote the product providing your own personalised and trustworthy review and if you capture your audience at their point of buying.

Once you have applied to one of the Amazon affiliate programs, Amazon will review your website to ensure it is a feasible advertising platform for their products, and they will approve your application.  From this moment, whenever you access your associate account, you will be able to copy and paste links of Amazon product directly on your website.  The link will have an ID code that is unique to you, and which enable Amazon to trace back to your website whenever a buyer purchases a product clicking on the Amazon link from your website.

And the game is on!!

 

WHAT AMAZON HAS TO OFFER 


Like most affiliate programs, Amazon is second to none of supporting you in your ‘job’ of advertising their products with tools.  On your affiliate program you will find links to any individual product sold on Amazon website.  Hence you are not restricted in promoting specific categories over others.

Not only that.  Amazon has banners and widgets that you can add anywhere on your website.  It also has an extensive training program where you are guided hand in hand through the process of building your own A-store, or in personalise any of the promoting tools offered to you, to cater and meet the needs of the niche that your website is centred on.

Personally, being a novice at all of this, I found most useful the user-friendly approach of any of their technical aspects.  I also have to mention that, especially at the beginning, I contacted their customer services by email, and got a detailed and easy to understand response within a few hours.  That, to me, is a selling point in an affiliate program, which makes it worth applying for.

 

THE PRICE


Joining any of the Amazon Associates programs will cost you nothing – yes, Amazon Associate programs are FREE OF CHARGE!!!  

The only restriction to this perk is that, if you do not make a sale within 180 days, your account is closed.  But this does not preclude you being able to apply again, using the same website or any new ones.

PROS AND CONS


Millions of items are dispatched from Amazon warehouses every day
Millions of items are dispatched from Amazon warehouses every day

On the positive side, although Amazon imposes a time limit of 180 days within which to make a sale, it is almost guaranteed that you will make a sale – and no matter how big or small the sale is, this will stop the countdown to account closing time.  And the guarantee comes from the excellent reputation Amazon holds for many decades now, and worldwide.

As a lazy shopper myself, but as an Amazon shopaholic, I can guarantee that slashed down prices like Amazon offers, no other online retailer does.  And the benefit of having your shopping delivered to your front door in addition, is another factor that contribute to Amazon having one of the biggest customer base worldwide.

It is Amazon reputation, combined with smashing and unique reviews on your website, that will guarantee you multiple sales within the 3 month time limit, to enable Amazon to keep your account open.

Not only that, but the viewer clicking on your unique Amazon link on your website will guarantee you a commission even if they end up purchasing any other product on Amazon website than the one you recommended – so long as the sale is completed within 24 hours from accessing the Amazon website through your link.  And this gives your possibility of a sale additional flexibility and better chances.

The negative of Amazon associate program is that the commission rate is not one of the highest.  Where other affiliate programs offer in the region of 15-20%, with some stretching to a generous 25% (such as Wealthy Affiliate), Amazon varies between a ridiculous 1% on home entertainment to 3% for most other products including home and improvement, to finally reaching a meager 10% for jewellery.

With Amazon, it is just the case of quantity of sales over quality, if you want to convert your advertising efforts into potential real earner.

 

MY FINAL VERDICT


In spite of the low commission rate, and in spite of the time limit of 3 months to make a sale in order not to have your account shut down, I do believe Amazon Associate programs are worth the effort.  And that, again, is in virtue of the fact that thanks to Amazon established and reputable position as one of the best online retailers worldwide, you will make successful sales.

Now, because of the positive experience I have as an Amazon associate on my other website Living With A Border Terrier, I feel confident in recommending this program whether you are a novice to affiliate marketing or whether you are affirmed blogger of your niche.  So, what are you waiting for?  Sign up with Amazon Associates and start making money!!!

 

Name:       Amazon

Website:   affiliate-program.amazon.co.uk (or adding the extension of your country Amazon website, i.e. affiliate-program.amazon.com, affiliate-program.amazon.de etc)

Price:        FREE

Rank:       90 out of 100

 


Do share with me your experience with Amazon, or any suggestion to become a better and more successful affiliate.  Leave your comment below.  And thanks for reading!!!

 

 

 

Impact of online business on Earth

How can the use of the internet influence our planet’s good health? What is the correlation between our online business and ecology?  And what negative impacts internet can pose to mankind by potentially affecting pollution levels?  This is what I’d like to discuss in this post today.

Last week Saint Francis Assisi Feast Day

Last week, on Tuesday 4th October, the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi was celebrated by the entire catholic community across the globe.  Yet, it is thanks to the latest encyclical letter by Pope Francis Laudato Sii, published in May last year, that the wider community, Christian or not, religious or not, has started embracing more actively the teaching of Saint Francis, who is venerated by many as patron of animals and ecology.

I shall not bore you with the details of the encyclical letter, other than to say Pope Francis, in his opening, reminds us how for many years the fate and safe future of this planet have been a concern by many, including catholic ranks.

[In 1971, eight years after Pacem in Terris, Blessed Pope Paul VI referred to the ecological concern as “a tragic consequence” of unchecked human activity: “Due to an ill-considered exploitation of nature, humanity runs the risk of destroying it and becoming in turn a victim of this degradation”. He spoke in similar terms to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations about the potential for an “ecological catastrophe under the effective explosion of industrial civilization”, and stressed “the urgent need for a radical change in the conduct of humanity”, in as much as “the most extraordinary scientific advances, the most amazing technical abilities, the most astonishing economic growth, unless they are accompanied by authentic social and moral progress, will definitively turn against man”] 

The above is an extract from the original Laudato Sii encyclical letter of Pope Francis, which you can read in its entirety by following the link.

I’m a blogger, how’s that to do with me?

At the same time, last week again I came across an article on BBC News entitled “Is the World Wide Web a waste of water?”.  It basically outlines the possibility, whenever we use the internet both on a computer, laptop, but even on our mobiles, that we may use up to 200 litres of water for every time that we download a gigabyte of data.  Imperial College London is the one leading the research, but they have not confirmed a specific figure yet, as too many uncertainties are surrounding the evidence yet.

Image result for earth

 

What’s water to do with the use of the internet?

I had to get my head around on how the use of internet and the potential wase of water as a result may work hand in hand.  But then I read on and it all became very naturally clear.

It is to do with the exchange of data that takes place whenever we push that button to download images, to send an email, but mostly, since the advent of social media, whenever we send and receive information by tweeting, or posting on Facebook and all the other social media platforms.

How does it work?

Do you remember the size of the first computers invented?  And do you remember the sizes of their servers?  Sometimes they would take the space of an entire room, and that would be for just one terminal.

Now, I am moving forward a few decades to compare the size of the latest server I have seen – at work, as it matters.   The firm I work for has approximately some 300 employers, so they manage a similar numbers of terminals.  But then the servers there must also cater for data exchange of those employers who sometimes work from home.  Well, that server there sits cosily in a not very big room.  And it is only a localised server, which will pass the information to bigger server ‘banks’, so to speak.

These mega galactic data storage centres – like big factories of data exchange – are the ones that is suggested have an impact on the well being of this planet. These centres use enormous amounts of electricity, which has an impact on water having to be used to produce a sustainable request. Also, a cool environment, or cooling mechanisms, have to be used to prevent these big ‘factories’ from overheating.  And this at times requires the employment of more water.

Now, on a planet that has been battling shortage of water for many decades, surely this cannot have a positive impact!

Corporate solutions

The BBC article went on explaining how big internet giants Microsoft, or Facebook or Google are taking steps to become more ecologically aware, and to find possible solutions to reduce the consumption of water in order to keep their data exchange centres alive.

microsoft-buildingIt appears that Microsoft is currently testing an underwater data centre – ideal, I suppose, as you would have full access to water supply for the production of energy, but also as it would be a natural cooling environment for the overheating reaction of the centre.

Facebook, on the other hand, have recently built a data centre in the Arctic Circle, again to make the most of a natural way of preventing overheating.

Other big corporate internet giants are pledging to use renewable energy, such as the one produced by wind farms, or to reduce the production of landfill rubbish to virtually reach 100% expectations.

But how can we as individuals and part of society contribute to make, or retain, a healthier planet in our small and relatively contained use of the internet?

Let’s be sensible

First of all, let us think of how many hours a day we use and exchange data.  It is not only the time spent working online – and for many of us, this is equally an enjoyable but also necessary activity, if we make online business our prime source of income.  I am also referring, however, to the many hours spent on our phones, sending digital texts, not to talk about chat exchanges on social media.

Think of the commuting time you spend on a train every day, if you are working away from home.  Now, think of all the people on that same carriage as you that are on their phones ‘chatting’ online.  As individuals, nobody will think to have a major impact on the global footprint if you do a bit of social media daily socialising.  But try putting together the amount of data exchange taking place in every carriage packed with commuters, and in each carriage of the train where you are.  And try multiplying that figure by the number of journeys that train makes every day.  The outcome will be mind blowing!  And that’s how each of us will compromise the good health of this planet.

samsung-in-flame

On a latest news, it was only of a few days ago the announcement by Samsung that they are withdrawing production of their smart phone Galaxy Note 7 after receiving health and safety reports by many customers that the phone catches fire.  The reason apparently lays in the fact that smartphones, and the Galaxy in particular, overheat quite easily and quickly.  This news should give a measure of how much heating energy we produce by using our smartphones, to the point that the more we use our phones for prolonged periods of time, the more we endanger our planet by creating unnecessary overheating on the planet and in the surrounding atmosphere.

Simple measures

I am far from suggesting that we  should stop communicating by social media, or we should stop using the internet to build our business and create a home based income.  I promote the concept wholly.  But we can all take simple measures that will help prevent polluting levels from increasing to even more disastrous levels.  My recommendations are the following:

  • Reduce spamming 

When on social media platforms, or forums, or community support online groups, try to reduce spamming.  I am not encouraging rudeness – it is basic politeness to thank for an answer to your question, or not to ignore other parties’ communication.  But try and stick to the point of the discussion, and don’t use all sorts of platforms to digress.  Each online conversation is focused on a specific subject, so it is up to you to find the right forum to talk about the weather, or yesterday to programme, or the latest Jamie Oliver recipe.

  • Switch off connection when not needed

Surely you do not need to be connected to the internet or to a floating wi-fi signal all the times.  If you know that there isn’t signal in the underground, or on a high peak mountain, just switch off the wi-fi connection until you know that you are in a receptive area.  Likewise, do not keep your bluetooth connection open if you know that you are not going to use the relevant app.  In other words, switch the data collection facilities only when you know you are going to use them.

  • Switch off your devices when not needed

The same recommendation your employer wants you to follow at work, when you are kindly asked to switch off your screen in order to avoid unnecessary consumption of electricity, should also be followed with your own devises for personal use.  So, do not leave your tv set on stand-by.  Switch it off completely.  Likewise, switch your laptop off (unless you are asked to keep it plugged in for software updates), if you taking a break from your online work for a couple of hours.  And again, do not overcharge your mobile phone, or your portable devices, but allow the battery to run low before recharging – this will avoid the battery to overheat through the constant recharging, as well as allowing to make complete use of the energy stored on the battery unit.

 


 

The above are only but a few of the steps that we can take not to make matters worse.  But I am sure you have plenty of alternative suggestions to shout out.  If so, do share them with us, and leave a message below.  Thank you.

 

 

 

What are the benefits of working at home

Recently I have come across an article published on the UK daily paper The Telegraph, which listed down the 10 highest paid jobs you can do from home.

The list of course did not limit to 10 single jobs, but went on to giving ideas about alternative jobs as well.  Before doing so, however, the article explained that the number of people that have had a change of career and opted for working from home has grown in recent years particularly after the economic recession that has hit the entire planet.  Many people have lost their jobs in the last few years, less vacancies have become available to new work force, i.e. degree holders or school leavers, and other jobs are paid less than they used to, so as to making difficult for people who have had a career break for family commitment, i.e. us mums, to get back into a job that is no longer sustainable with the increased child care expenses.

All of the above has forced people to rethink their priorities, namely provide an income for themselves and their families, whilst trying to use their skills or newly acquired skills to reinvent their careers.  The labour market have now started considering self-employed freelancing!!

 

Working from home
Working from home

 

What are the benefits of working from home

There are a few disadvantages to working from home, which I will outline later on, but these are immediately overcome by the benefits that start screaming at you from starters.

You are your own boss

Especially if you come from a corporate background, from a 9-5 job with bosses who have been on your case day in, day out in order to impress their bosses, you will immediately find out that you are going to be your own boss.  You will decide how hard (or not) you want to push yourself, what your targets are going to be, how to reach them, which line of work to embrace.  Yes, certainly when it comes to earnings, and especially at the beginning, you may feel pressurised by bills to pay, but think it that way: if you were unemployed, you are not going to make it worse for you by trying a new business avenue; if you were employed, and wanted to take a career break, or give your career a different direction, you would haven wise enough to have put some dollars aside before embracing that change in career, for the ‘rainy days’.

Corporate image, a thing of the past
Corporate image, a thing of the past

No more 9-5

You must be extremely self-disciplines, don’t get me wrong, as setting up your own business or making a living through freelancing, hence establishing your profile, is all hard work.  But on the positive, you are not restricted to the 9-5 working hours.  And this may be particularly of help if you have a young family to manage as well.  So, if you are trying your hand at online business, you can start from as early as ‘crack-o-dawn’ knowing that you will need to get the kids ready for the school run at 830am.

But you can adjust your hours to your own convenience also if you are trying to establish your home-based job as a second source of income.  In other words, you will find that you do not have to be glued up to a chair even when the work load is inexhistent as you have been paid to be there till 5pm.  Or you will no longer need to ask your boss for longer lunch to go to an emergency dentist appointment.  The magic word is FREEDOM!!!

More time with your family

People often end up believing that by working at home, you end up working less than if you were working in an office under the watchful eye of a manager.  This could not be further from the true.  In fact when working for yourself, you have t o be prepared, especially to start off with, to put as many hours as you can – hard working is the new motto here.  But it is also true that, thanks to reduced commuting time and reorganisation of your working day and week, you can actually spend more and better time with your family.

I will never cease being grateful for always being in very good employments in my adult life, including when my son was born.  Nevertheless, had I been more creative at the time to take the plunge and reduce my office hours to embrace freelance activities, I can’t help thinking that this would have enable me to spend a little bit longer with my baby, rather than seeing him only a few hours at the end of the day.

Working from home is healthier

Enjoy the freedom of working from home
Enjoy the freedom of working from home

Well, it is certainly healthier for your mental health.  It has been proven that by reducing commuting, by not having to account constantly to someone higher up in managerial hierarchy, by not feeling stuck in a dis satisfactory 9-5 job situation, not only your stress levels reduce dramatically, but you end up becoming more productive. And that, I suspect, is due to the fact that you work (and you work hard, don’t get me wrong) for your ‘baby’, for your project, for which you end up feeling responsible, but which will also give you the utmost sense of fulfilment, once you have brought to conclusion successfully.

And success is also facilitated, when working from home, by the fact that you will make your working environment what is best suitable for you.  You may want to have your dog sit next to you – which most working environments do not allow – or you may want to work in your pyjamas one day, as you woke up with an idea, which you don’t want to stop working at till it is established.  In other words, whatever goes for you and whichever situation is better conducive to your working practice, it will be fine, as you are your own boss and nobody else.

 

Working from home requires determination

Naturally, it would be foolish of me to portray an absolute ‘hunky-dory’.  What I’m about to outline are not necessarily disadvantage of working from home, but rather aspects you need to be prepared for when embracing home based jobs.

 Working on your own

Working from home can become quite isolating.  You no longer work as part of a team, you no longer sit at a desk surrounded by a group of other co-workers.  But it is in fact likely that you will comfortably sit on your sofa, or even in bed, wearing your baggy track suit bottoms and slippers in an empty home after your partner has gone to work and the kids are at school.

If you enjoy the comradery and the banter of an office  environment, you may need to source all that support from elsewhere whilst working from home, like from a support community or online forum, or through social media.

Self-discipline

Make sure working from home doesn't turn messy
Make sure working from home doesn’t turn messy

And the above point brings me nicely to the subject of self-discipline.  I expect one of the most appealing aspects of working from home is that sense of freedom that you will never experience when working in a 9-5 office job, or a job based in a workshop, in a retail or academic or factory environment – only to mention but a few scenarios.  But sometimes that freedom can be taken to extremes that can become counter-acting on productivity.

You need to be focused and motivated enough to ensure that you work the right amount of hours to make your home based venture financially viable.  In other words, it doesn’t matter when and where, but if you don’t put the hours, especially initially when you need to establish your job or yourself as freelancer, then you will struggle to see the expected results.  And again, it is all very good to work in your pyjamas, so long as it doesn’t give in to laziness and tendency to take longer and longer breaks to watch the weather forecast on telly, to then extend your break to a whole session of morning programs.

Indeed we are not working machines, and we must take breaks every so often.  But it is recommendable that you go out for a brisk walk.  It is deemed that you may get more creative ideas from 10 minutes walk than from 3 hours sitting at a desk.

It is also recommend per that you give a structure to your day, with feasible to-do lists, which you try to adhere to and tick off every time you complete a task.

Beware of quick earners

If you want to get rich quick, this is not the right avenue.  In fact, if you do know of such possibility, please do let me know, as I am sceptical of any entrepreneurial proposal where you are promised fast earnings.

Working from home, and particularly when you end up establishing an online marketing / affiliate business, can become very profitable.  But the start is always slow, and you must be prepared for low or no income to start off with.  It will always take a relatively long time before you can start seeing the first earnings.

So, my advice – and I shall never tire to warn in this direction – is to beware of scams!!!  You should never have to pay for basic access to job opportunities, but you should also be aware that it may take a while before you start making a regular living through working from home ventures.

 


 

Do let me know your thoughts with me about working from home. Do you work from home? What do you like most about home working? Would you recommend it, and why?  Leave a message, share your experience.