For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been drawn to free stuff. I spend extra money to get free shipping. I go out of my way to pick up things friends and neighbors are getting rid of for a future DIY project that usually never happens. And it’s basically a fact that free food just tastes better.
That being said, I have all the apps. I’ve joined all the mailing lists. I’ve optimized my chances to get the most bang for my buck. It’s all part of my quest to find alternative revenue streams.
But one thing I never thought I’d be qualified to do was be an influencer.
I cringe typing that word because it’s so tainted by negativity in the social media community. So many influencers feel entitled. I just want to game the system for free stuff. If that means I have to post a picture, I’ll do it. But I don’t go out of my way to seek out opportunities.
The size of my social media following makes me a micro-influencer. But as someone who works the company side of things, a lot of times there’s more value in working with smaller creators.
So if you’ve been wondering where to score products (and sometimes even get paid to post), I’m here to share where I get my free stuff.
Influenster is essentially a social network for products. Their app allows you to take surveys in different categories and leave product reviews. As you do this, you earn different badges and ranks. One thing they offer regularly are VoxBoxes, which are packed full of free products for you to test out, review and post about. I’ve gotten boxes that included products from Lancome, Kat Von D and Laura Mercier. A lot of times I receive products I would’ve never purchased because I’m cheap. But it’s nice to feel like you treated yo’ self to something fancy when all you really needed to do was snap a picture for your Instagram.
Heartbeat is a platform brands come to to create campaigns. While you still get free stuff, some campaigns are even paid. Your pay rate is determined by your followers. So the more Instagram followers you’ve got, the better your Heartbeat revenue will be. While this structure might not be right for everyone influencer, it works for me for the time being. I like the fact that you apply to the campaigns you’re interested in and let the other ones slip by. Although I love free stuff, I don’t want to post about products that I haven’t actually tried out. While I don’t think I have that strong of an influence on my friends and followers, it’s nice to keep my credibility intact. I may be a sellout, but I’m a sellout with integrity.
While I haven’t met the 5,000 follower threshold to be accepted, Famebit is a lucrative way I’ve seen many creators and influencers make a living. Like Heartbeat, companies create campaigns with Famebit and the members apply to said campaigns with pitches. This platform is more involved than just Instagram posts, but it also pays better. If you’re a video content creator, this might be something worth looking into if you meet their requirements to apply. I’m looking forward to the day when I hit the threshold so that I can make money off the things I love doing.
A lot of times you don’t even need a platform to apply for free stuff. Just having an email on your blog, YouTube channel or Instagram opens the doors to many opportunities. You can even seek out companies that make sense for your brand or your audience. If you’re going the independent route, you should check your worth on Social Bluebook. It even gives you the option to send your breakdown via email so that you can back your pay rates up with facts and data.
If you of any tips to get free stuff that I didn’t mention, feel free to share them in the comments!
Ever since I quit my job, I’ve been looking for ways to generate some passive income. While I never want to go back to working in an office, it would be nice to know that I was making money without trying for the months that my workload is lighter than I would like it to be.
And while I haven’t solidified a passive revenue stream, I’ve found some ways to make extra cash when I need it.
1. Amazon Mechanical Turk
If you haven’t heard of this program, it’s essentially a virtual assistant task database. People and companies submit tasks and surveys you can complete for small fees. Depending on how much time you want to dedicate to completing tasks (as well as the types of tasks you accept) will determine the amount of money you’ll make.
The payments are deposited into an Amazon Payments account and you can then easily transfer it to your own bank.
2. Survey Sites
When it comes to survey sites, I’ve joined them all. Sometimes, the surveys aren’t worth the payoff. But other times, I just plow through surveys instead of mindless watching Netflix again.
The survey sites I’ve had the most success with are Survey Junkie, Inbox Dollars and Swagbucks. It really is a hit or miss source of income but if you dedicate some of your free time to completing the surveys it can definitely amount to money for groceries or maybe to treat yo’ self.
I’m putting MyPoints in a category of its own even though it is a site you can earn points for surveys. However, it’s so much more than that. Like Ebates, you can earn points (which convert to gift cards) by shopping, visiting websites, taking surveys and watching videos. They even offer monthly goal bonuses if you complete the tasks you commit to completing by the end of the month.
Once you’ve racked up enough points, you can redeem them for gift cards. Since I’m looking for more cash, I always cash my points in for PayPal gift cards.
4. Affiliate Marketing
While I’m not generating an income from affiliate links at the time I’m writing this post, I do have some accounts in place. When I talk about products, I insert a link using my affiliate code and hope that at some point, someone will want to buy the items. The affiliate links don’t cost you anything more to purchase through them but I earn a commission for any sales that my links drive. It’s an easy way to support bloggers, especially if you’re just going to buy those items anyway.
Currently, I’m all signed up for Amazon Affiliates but I’ll be looking into other sites once my blog starts generating more traffic.
While I thoroughly enjoy writing, I started up my blog with ulterior motives. It’s not the easiest way to generate a passive income because blogging is hard work, but it is a profitable one if you do it right. Having a background in writing and digital marketing, I have the tools and understanding of what I need to do to get my blog off the ground. I just don’t have the motivation and drive to dedicate all my effort since I am spending the majority of my days in front of a computer for my clients. The screen fatigue is real when it comes to sitting down and furthering my own blogs and brands but it’s a necessary evil to push through until things start running on their own.
6. Influencer Marketing
As a micro-influencer, I’ve been offered compensation to post about products. Sometimes it is just a product but there are some brands that see the value in smaller influencers. This revenue stream isn’t steady or anything to brag about, but it is a huge motivator to put more effort into my Instagram game. I plan to talk more about this in a future post, so if you have any specific questions about influencer marketing, let me know!
The freelancer struggle is real. Some months are just naturally slower than others. Or you could be me now, complaining to anyone who will listen about how busy I am. I’m thankful for all the clients I’ve connected with and work I’ve gotten so far, but finding a way to generate a passive income will give me that peace of mind I’m currently lacking.
If you’ve got any other tips on alternative ways to make money, let me know in the comments!
I quit my full-time job on May 22, 2017. When I quit, I hoped that I’d never have to go back to working in an office setting ever again. Here I am, writing about this one year later and I have had to cave and get another full-time job yet.
Quitting wasn’t easy. I never quit a job without having something new lined up. It was kind of a reckless but at the time, it was the only option. Without getting too deep into the reasons why I’ll say this. The office I was working in was a toxic environment. One that I didn’t need to subject myself to any longer than I already had. That’s why six months after joining the team, I completely erased the company from my social profiles and resume.
Besides leaving behind a terrible company, I learned a few things that I wished I’d learned sooner. Even though I can’t go back in time, I figured it would be nice of me to share with anyone who might also be struggling in a workplace that isn’t right for them.
1. Know Your Worth
For as long as I’ve been in the workforce, I’ve always been a “yes” woman. I constantly did tasks outside of my job description. And that meant that I was doing more work and not getting compensated for it. I guess that’s just part of being a salaried worker.
But that meant I was underutilizing my skills while also selling myself short. Now that I technically work for myself, I can say no to projects I don’t want to work on. I can charge clients what I deserve to be paid for a project due to my experience. I can do work that makes me happy.
Before quitting, I mainly had to grin and bear it which in the long run made me miserable. Instead, I get to showcase work that I’m actually proud of and that feels pretty darn good.
2. Life is Too Short to be Unhappy
I haven’t worked a job that I haven’t complained about incessantly. What made crappy jobs bearable were the people I worked with but there comes a point where those people aren’t a big enough reason to stay. It sucks waking up and dreading the day. It sounds so stupid to complain about having a job, even a shitty one when there are so many other people out there that are struggling to find work at all.
But in the end, it’s about giving yourself the best quality of life. If you can change your circumstances, why not go for it?
3. Career versus Job
When I was contemplating quitting I realized that I was no longer looking for a career. I wanted a job that I could complete and get paid for that would support my eating, drinking and traveling habits. I wasn’t looking for the path to the top of the ladder anymore. I don’t want to be in charge of people.
That job could really be anything as long as it paid the bills. It’s not beneath me to take a job that won’t utilize my skills or further my experience if it pays enough. While I’m lucky to be able to continue working within the digital marketing realm, I’m not ruling out things like waiting tables or bartending to make a quick buck when I need to if it means never working in an office again.
4. Where You Work From
There are some people who have full-time office jobs that have the luxury of working from home at least some of the time. There are even companies that are completely remote. I, unfortunately, have never worked for those kinds of companies, which makes no sense to me. Since almost all of the work I do is online anyway, I could’ve technically worked from anywhere. There was no benefit for me to be in the office. If anything, I was less productive then.
Now I have the freedom to work from anywhere. Sometimes it is distracting to be at home since there are a million other things I could be doing. Mainly Netflix but still. The beauty of working remotely is that if I need a change of scenery I can head to a cafe and bang out my to-do list for the day there.
I know that I’m very lucky to have been able to quit. And I understand that quitting isn’t an option for everyone. However, if I knew what I know now, I might’ve quit my jobs way sooner. Eventually, I might have to go back to an office job and if that time comes, I’ll be on the lookout for a job that’s perfect for me. But until that day comes, I’ll be conducting conference calls from the comfort of my own bed.