$100 a Day Challenge - Earning a Living Online
$100 a Day Challenge
With the current state of the economy, more and more people are looking for ways to supplement their income or even make a living online. I am one of those people. As a new college graduate with a degree in a highly competitive field, I am feeling the pressure. In my final semester I decided to challenge myself. I wanted to find a way to make $100 a day completely online. I won't be doing this through one venue and I hope I won't be doing this alone. I challenge you to try this yourself with your own goals and aspirations.
This lens will be a chronicle of this my journey through this challenge. I will cover all the different venues in which I will gain income. These venues include Etsy, Zazzle, CafePress, Red Bubble, Greeting Card Universe, Examiner, blogs and our very own Squidoo. Please follow me through this adventure and tell me about your own in the guestbook.
Why am I doing this?
I never truly pictured myself working for someone else. Sitting in a cubical for 8 hours a day doing monotonous work or even creative work that I didn't love? I couldn't, and still can't, fathom it. I always envisioned a future where I was my own boss. I am finally making the strides to do so.
While in school, I was began this challenge because I was worried about college loans and paying them off as soon as possible. It took my last semester of school and a good part of the summer that followed to realize that this would be a much slower process than I initially expected. Now that I know different, I am content knowing that my college loans will take more than a year to pay off. I may not be able to have a place of my own right out of college. But I do have the gratification of knowing that all the income I earn, I earned it on my own.
By following my journey you will see every graphic I design, every piece of jewelry I hand make, and every blog post that I write. I am excited to work in all of these mediums.
Not putting all of my eggs in one basket
As the old saying implies, it is not always smart to work completely within one venue. I wont even be working in the same medium all of the time. Spreading myself out will not only give me multiple backup plans but I will also develop skills in multiple areas and prevent monotony among my projects.
All of the online venues to follow are the ones that I am using to earn an income online. Some of them will earn me a passive income once I have more submissions while others will be an active income where I must work every day to keep up with demand.
Here are my little acomplishments so far. If it's bold then I have acomplished it!
Goals for 2012
The final quarter of the year is fast approaching and I want to set some goals to reach by December 31st. I like to believe that these goals are realistic but, as always, life may get in the way a little bit. I'm optimistic though. Some of these numbers seem large, especially for the print-on-demand services, but with one design on multiple items, they will really add up fast.
So, here are my creating goals for the rest of the year:
150 listings on Etsy
200 cards on Greeting Card Universe
500 designs on Zazzle
500 designs on CafePress
500 designs on Red Bubble
50 articles on Examiner
30 lenses on Squidoo
I have always wanted to sell my own handmade products and, at the moment, Etsy seems to be the front runner in websites that allow you to do so. I discovered that I have a knack for designing jewelry and I truly love it! I created my Etsy shop Hailey Allen Designs in May of 2012 and began adding my jewelry designs in early July 2012. Since then, I have worked hard to promote my shop and I'm beginning to see sales and interest in custom designs.
Loving what you do is the key to selling on Etsy. If you love what you make, it feels less like work and more like the fun thing you like to do on the weekends. In the first two months of opening my Etsy shop, I worked over 12 hours a day almost every single day without ever feeling burned out or having the urge to quit. I think about new design ideas constantly and keep notes of them on my phone or in a notebook. This is the venue that I have earned the most from and will probably have most of my focus.
Etsy Monthly Earnings Report
Yearly Total: $561
Grand Total: $561
I was a self taught graphic designer for years. But in college I refined my skills and learned many more tricks to the trade. I'm using these skills to create designs for various print-on-demand services. Many of these designs can be submitted to more than one if not all of these services which will expand my stock and reach more viewers.
Zazzle, CafePress,and Red Bubble
If you are not familiar with Zazzle, CafePress, or Red Bubble, they are print-on-demand services meaning that someone can create a design, place it on a product, and submit it to the service who will then print the design on the selected product once an order had been made. This reduces the need to keep stock on hand and prevents wasting money on a design that my not sell well. It is free to join all of these websites but they also offer upgrades to increase promotability and appearance. You earn a percentage of the designs you sell which makes these websites great places to sell your designs without the hassle of a physical stock business.
Greeting Card Universe
Also known as GCU, Greeting Card Universe is different from the print-on-demand websites listed above because the focus is souly on greeting cards. There is also a review process that each card must go through to ensure quality and accountability. GCU focuses greatly on quality over quantity which prevents an over abundance of the same design and flooding the market.
Print-On-Demand Monthly Earnings Report
Yearly Total: $4.31
Grand Total: $4.31
Greeting Card Universe
Yearly Total: $5.61
Yearly Total: $9.92
Grand Total: $9.92
Examiner is a news website that caters to both local and national news. The writers are called Examiners and they are made up of passionate people who are knowledgeable on the subjects of their choosing. You earn money per view of your articles and is a great community to work with. There are Examiners for almost every subject and you can apply to become an examiner here!
I lived with my grandmother for most of my young life to keep her company and do things around the house that she could not. In return she taught me how to be a lady, cook, bake, sew, and desensitized me to scary movies. When she passed away in 2002 she left me with all of her recipes. And I mean hundreds of them! All created by her or passed down from her grandmother and beyond.
A few years ago I applied to be the Cooking Examiner for my area and got the job! I thought that since my family has been based in this same area for at least two hundred years, why not contribute recipes that were created in the area that use local ingredients. I wrote one article when I first joined and that was all because college always seemed to get in my way. But. they never fire you! So, I'm still employed and able to submit articles.
I also have a blog, The Best Simple Recipes, that accompanies my Examiner articles. It acts as a database for my articles and creates backlinks to my articles to help their ranking and promotion.
Examiner Monthly Earnings Report
2012 Total: $2.08
Grand Total: $2.08
I have quite a few blogs that I have monetized. I don't believe in over monopolization and pushing products in the viewers faces. I simply place Adsense ads around the pages and the viewers can click if they see something they like. No tricking anyone into clicking a link and no black hat methods.
All of the traffic to these blogs are completely from search engine optimization or the promotion from other websites. I'm working to add more content to all of them so that they become more relevant and informative to the visitors.
Blog Monthly Earnings Report
2012 Total: $2.61
Grand Total: $2.61
I had never used Fiverr until I signed up for it a couple weeks ago. I didn't think it could actually be profitable after looking at how most people work harder for the $4 you get paid after Fiverr takes their cut. But, I did a little brain storming and found a way to make a profit without spending more time than it's worth. I always look at how much time it takes to create something and relate the pay to at least a minimum wage job. If I'm not making at least minimum wage, I don't do it.
I found a method that I could use and it actually be worth my time. I had some graphic design projects already set up in Illustrator so I decided to implement them into Fiverr gigs. I offer custom sizing, color, and wording for $5. It takes less than 10 minutes to complete the work which would technically equal around $24 an hour.
Fiverr Monthly Earnings Report
2012 Total: $4.00
Grand Total: $4.00
I have been following Squidoo for years and always wanted to try it out. Well, I finally found the time and I'm going to make it happen. I already have a pretty decent list of content to write about. Most of it being related to cooking, dinner parties, and the such. This may not be the strongest of niches but It's somewhere for me to start.
I also have many other ideas but I'm not sure where to start with them. I'm going to use this knowledge and information that I have and extrapolate it into lots of lenses.
Squidoo Monthly Earnings Report
Squidoo pays earnings a couple months behind so these earnings are listed by the month they were earned and not the month they were paid out.
2012 Total: $2.48
Grand Total: $2.48
Which venue do you earn the most from?
I Challenge You!
I challenge you to take part in a challenge of your own. It can be similar to mine or you can create your own. Here are some tips and things to consider while getting started.
What are you good at? Take some of your best skills or a hobby that you're passionate about and think of ways that you can profit off of them. It's not really work if you're having fun!
Come up with your major goal. Keep it reasonable and something you know you can accomplish with hard work and dedication.
Create smaller goals. I wasn't sure how to start creating smaller goals but if it helps, think of them as trophies or achievements. Start small like I did and work your way up and you'll find more motivation to reach your next small goal.
Social networking and promotion. You are your greatest advertising resource. If you let your work just sit without promotion you may make a little money. But if you promote your work in all different kinds of ways, you'll gain more viewers and customers. Doing well for them can also gain you business by their word of mouth as well.
Keep going! If I learned anything from my entrepreneurship professor it was to keep trying! You may fail at something but that's ok. You still gain experience from the endeavor and you know what not to do on your next attempt.
Quality over quantity but large quantities of quality work is even better. You hear the first phrase all the time and you also hear that the more products you have creates greater exposure. Create tons of great quality products, whatever they may be, and you'll be more likely to succeed.
Mix it up. If you're at all like me and need variety in your life, try your hand at multiple mediums. It may take more time to build up each medium but you won't get burned out and you can see where you can put more focus to earn more.