Monthly Archives: September 2014

Make Money Online Writing for Textbroker

 

make money writing for Textbroker

Textbroker offers a legit way to make money online by writing.  It is owned by Textbroker International, LLC which is headquartered in Nevada.   There is also an office in Germany.  The company operates a U.S. website and a UK website. Textbroker provides businesses and individuals with unique written content.

The company refers to its writers as “authors”. Registration is free for authors and Textbroker doesn’t charge their authors any fees.  They accept only United States residents as authors (at the www.textbroker.com – the United States site, that is).  English speakers in countries outside of the United States may be eligible to write for Textbroker UK.  This article is derived from my experience in working with Textbroker US.

Textbroker registration requirements

After registering with the website, authors are required to submit proof of residency.  You can submit a copy of a government issued driver’s license or I.D.  You are allowed to obliterate the I.D number.   They are interested in verifying your address, your birth date and the expiration date of the I.D.

Textbroker rating system

A writing sample is required from prospective authors. They give the authors a short list of topics to write about for the sample submission.  An editor will review and rate the sample and notify authors by e-mail within a few days.  The author is assigned a rating based on the writing sample and this also determines how much authors are paid for their submissions.  Textbroker’s rating system is a scale of 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest rating. Their star rating and pay scale is as follows:

 

Rating  Pay Per Word
5 star 5.0 cents
4 star 1.4 cents
3 star 1.0 cents
2 star 0.7 cents
1 star You can’t write for them

 

Most authors start out at either a 3 star or 4 star rating.  The 5 and 4 star authors are paid more money and they are offered more opportunities to write through Textbroker.  There are opportunities available for level 2 authors on rare occasions.  1 star rated authors aren’t permitted to write for Textbroker.

You don’t need to be a professional writer in order to be accepted.  You need to have a very strong command of the English language, with a firm grasp on Standard English grammar and spelling in order to pass muster.  It seems that they prefer native speakers of English.

 

How does Textbroker work?

The type of writing assignments available through Textbroker are considered “work-for-hire”.  The writers on Textbroker basically work as ghost writers on behalf of Textbroker’s clients.  This means that the client retains the copyrights to any work produced.  Textbroker is also granted rights to reproduce, edit, or rework any content submitted through their website. The content that writers produce must be good quality and original.  Textbroker doesn’t tolerate plagiarism.

Clients request writing on a specific topic.  Most of the time, the client will detail exactly what the requirements are for a writing assignment (word count, for example). The client generally provides the title and instructions for the article that they want written.  Some clients will specify that certain keywords are used for an article, a specified number of times.  There are normally deadlines for writing assignments.

Authors can find assignments by clicking on the “Assignments” tab, and then on the “Show Orders” tab.   The Open Orders are organized according to the categories that they fall under (e.g., business, fashion, technology, etc.).

The types of requests made by clients are usually for content meant to be published on the web.  However, the client has the right to use the content as he please.  Rarely, I see assignments which entail creating spreadsheets or press releases.  I presume that most of the assignments are articles for blogs, newsletters, or websites.

The client has 72 hours to accept, reject an article, or ask for revisions.  If the client takes no action within this time frame, then the article is automatically accepted after 72 hours.

When a client accepts an article that an author submits, a payment is deposited into the author’s account. It’s a process that takes a few days. If an article is rejected, the author is offered an opportunity to revise the article and resubmit it.

How and when does Textbroker Pay?

Textbroker pays authors every week on Fridays by PayPal.  Authors can request payout, provided that there is enough money in their Textbroker account.  The payout threshold is really low at only $10.  As long as payout requests are made by Thursday, 11:59 p.m. PST, the money is sent to the PayPal account by the end of the business day on Friday of the same week.

I must point out that Textbroker requires their authors to fill out and submit W-9 tax forms before they will make any payments.  Authors are considered independent contractors, rather than employees.  Authors must also remember to pay taxes on their earnings.  Textbroker does not withhold taxes from payments.

 

What are some of the pros of writing for Textbroker?

No experience is required.   Anyone can write for Textbroker, provided that their writing skills meet Textbroker’s standards and the writer has a strong command of the English language.  Most of the assignments that I saw in Open Orders are fairly short at 500 words or less.

Writers can work for Textbroker as much or as little as they like.  You can work from anywhere that there is a computer and internet access.  The website is usually up and running 24/7.

The writers are paid weekly.  You don’t need to wait a month or more for your money, like you would need to on other websites.  I haven’t done much writing for Textbroker, but I have earned enough to make at least one cash out.  They are a legitimate company since I was able to cash out my earnings with no problems.   The earnings were sent to my PayPal account very quickly.  PayPal didn’t deduct any fees from the money deposited, either.

The established writers earn more money by joining writing teams and through Direct Orders.  Basically, some clients make requests for Direct Orders from a writer if they really like the writer’s work. With Direct Orders, the writer sets the price per word that he or she wants to be paid.   I have visited a few forums wherein some writers brag that they made good money over the years writing for Textbroker.

What are some of the cons of writing for Textbroker?

Textbroker US does not allow writers who reside outside of the United States to write for them.

The pay is very low compared to other freelance writing platforms.  Being that the pay per word is so low, slower and deliberate writers (like myself) may have some difficulty maximizing their time and profits writing for Textbroker. You could spend two to three hours researching and writing on a topic and get paid a few measly dollars for your time.

Many of the topics listed in the assignments tab are not interesting.  Writers are allowed to claim and work on one assignment at a time.

Unless you are a 4 or 5 star writer, there aren’t very many writing jobs available.   At the present I am a 3 star writer.  I’d like to continue writing there to increase my star rating.  The editors do a new Quality Assessment rating on their authors every so often.  So, there is still the possibility for a rating upgrade.

Another problem here, is that the writing assignments available have dwindled. I check in a few times per week and seldom find anything worth working on since joining.

Since it is all work-for-hire and the writer doesn’t retain any copyright ownership in the work once the work is submitted, accepted by the client, and paid for.  The copyright ownership is transferred over to the client that requested it and the work can’t be reproduced by the writer.   Therefore, the writer has no opportunity to earn residual earnings from the work produced.

One of the chief complaints that I hear in some forums, is that the editors are very picky, especially when it comes to comma usage.  Writers can get downgraded for grammar which does not meet their standards.  This is understandable, since the objective is to provide high quality content for the clients.

Writers are rated on the first five articles that are submitted through Textbroker.  The account is then placed on a temporary hold until after the articles are rated.   During that hold, writers aren’t allowed to accept any new writing assignments or to submit any new articles through Textbroker. The editors will determine whether to raise the writer’s star rating, leave it the same or lower it.

Textbroker does not allow clients and writers to form outside business relationships.  All communications must be done through their internal messaging system.

Final thoughts about Textbroker

Textbroker is a good place to start for people who are newcomers to freelance writing.  It sort of trains newbies to keep up with deadlines and meet client expectations.

Textbroker is good for people who have a natural knack for writing, but no formal training. If you are a fast writer, you will find that most of the writing assignments are quick and easy to draft and knock out.

I am not certain that this is a place where you can rely on a steady stream of work in the future.  There is no harm in using it as a place to learn and gain experience.  I highly suggest that once you’ve built up your confidence and improved your writing skills, that you move on to higher paying writing jobs.  They are out there.

Quick Start Guide to Selling on Ebay

eBay has humble beginnings in the 1990s as a simple auction website for laser

pointers. Since then, it has evolved into an international internet market place,

bringing together billions of people and companies. One of the beauties of eBay is

that it allows regular people like you and I to sell our own goods. You can sell brand

new merchandise, things that you made, or used merchandise. The possibilities are

almost limitless. Here are some very general, quick tips on getting started as

a seller on eBay.

  1. Read the terms of service agreement and privacy policy at

eBay.com. Really familiarize yourself with it. Do this to avoid breaking any

rules and inadvertently getting your account suspended or listings shut down.

Also, you will want to have a thorough understanding of the bidding process

for auctions and other listing formats.

  1. If you have not already done so, go ahead and register with eBay.com.

You don’t need much more than your name, address, e-mail, credit card, and

a PayPal account to start. The registration process is fairly simple and

shouldn’t take more than five minutes.

  1. Find something to sell on eBay. If you are clueless about what to sell,

then go through your closet or garage. You might be able to find things that

are no longer useful to you, but might be useful to another person. As the

saying goes, one man’s trash is another’s treasure. College textbooks, video

games, toys and clothing are good examples. Other very popular ways of

finding things to sell are to checkout garage sales, swap meets, thrift shops,

local auctions, and liquidation sales. Some sellers buy at wholesale, once they

develop a niche and can afford to purchase in volume. I wouldn’t recommend

starting of buying wholesale merchandise unless you have quite a bit of

experience and market research under your belt. Otherwise, it can be very

risky proposition.

  1. Understand any upfront costs involved with items that you plan

to sell. There may be costs for packaging the merchandise, shipping,

storage, fuel, etc. Also, eBay charges listing and final value fees for listing

each item. Then, you will have a fairly good idea of how much to charge for

your products and shipping in order to cover your expenses.

  1. Understand what the product that you are selling is worth. It is

important to know what it is that you are selling in order to know what it is

worth. Some items require more research than others. You would feel like

crap if you sold a $10,000 piece of artwork for $30, all because of ignorance

and inadequate research. Do your research by checking completed listings on

eBay.com. Completed listings tell you what similar items sold for on eBay and

the selling format. Also, if you are selling something of considerable value, you

might want to have it appraised before listing it on eBay.

  1. Get a good digital camera and take pictures of the item you are

selling. Most buyers skip over listings without photos. Most people aren’t

willing to buy, when they have no idea what an item looks like. You really

don’t need an expensive camera for taking eBay listing photos. The idea is to

take pictures of good enough quality to show potential buyers what they would

be getting for their money. A decent digital camera can be bought for less

than $100 nowadays. Make sure that you take pictures of any flaws of the

item that you are selling. Some sellers edit photos for a more fancy and

customized look.

  1. Create listings for what you are selling. Write as much detail in the

item listing description as possible. This is the place where you can upload

photos, as well. If there is a flaw with the product, then it needs to be

included in the description. Sellers have the option of listing items at auction

or for a fixed price. The listing title, item price, selling format, color, shipping

costs, refund policy, shipping times, etc., should be included in the listing.

Don’t leave the customers guessing about or assuming the important

details. Make yourself available for questions from buyers.

  1. Watch and wait for any sold items. eBay usually sends automatic emails

to inform sellers that their listings have ended, and whether items were

sold. Be ready to promptly ship merchandise. Remember to thank your

customer. If an item does not sell, you have the option to relist it.

  1. Package your sold items and ship. Before you list your item, find out

what type of packaging is required for shipping. Some items are delicate and

special care is required in packaging and shipping. Visit usps.com, ups.com,

and fedex.com to find out what it will cost to ship the item and compare costs.

Shipping costs depend on certain factors, such as the weight, size, package

dimensions, and destination that the package is being shipped to. Costs vary

from carrier to carrier. Do your homework before hand so that you won’t be

surprised at shipping costs when you are ready to ship the package.

  1. Leave feedback for your buyer. This lets everyone know what your

experience was with a particular buyer. As far as I know, sellers can’t leave

negative feedback for buyers. This is really screwed up. However, sellers still

have the option of leaving detailed comments in feedback. Sometimes buyers

forget to leave seller feedback. Gentle reminders are helpful.

 

Are Online Paid Surveys worth Your Time?

 Are surveys a scam?

I started doing online paid surveys in 2009.  My first few experiences with them weren’t so good.  I signed up for what I thought was a legit survey company through a portal.  One result was that I started to receive lots of spam in my e-mail inbox.  I also completed a few questionaires through legitimate websites, which proved to be a complete waste of time.  The questionaires reel people in with the prospect of earning a reward such as a “free” $300 gift card or an expensive electronic gadget in exchange for completing the questions.

 

Well, there is always a catch to these kinds of questionaires disguised as surveys.  Some of those questionaires were over fifteen pages long, asking a string of unrelated questions designed to siphon off as much marketing information as possible.  The questions were seemingly never ending, so I gave up and exited out of the questionaire.  If you scroll down to the bottom of the page and read the fine print, you note that in order to get the “free” gift card, you need to purchase merchandise or provide a credit card number.  These situations give the industry a bad name and lead people to believe that all surveys are scam.  They aren’t. This experience dissuaded me from completing another survey until 2010.

 

I can’t remember what it was that inspired me to get back into completing surveys.  But, I did go into it the next time around after doing some research.  I checked out some WAHM type review forums to find out what panelists were saying about a market research company before signing up.  That’s how I was able to separate the scam sites, from the borderline shady portals, from totally legitimate survey sites.  The top tip that I can give to prospective panelists is to never pay for a membership or list of survey sites. The information on legit survey sites can be found for free on the internet.

 

How much money can you make from taking online surveys?

You will not become a big baller or shot caller by taking surveys.  I view them mostly as a way to make a little extra money, when I need a break or a diversion.  90 percent of the time, you won’t make more than a few dollars doing one a survey that takes between 10-30 minutes average to complete.  Depending upon the market research company that you work with, it is rare to stumble upon a survey opportunity that pays more than a few dollars per study.  On average, most panelists earn less than the U.S. minimum wage through survey taking.  So, when you see advertisements claiming that you can make $100 per hour taking surveys, don’t believe it.

 

Examined from the standpoints of time value and opportunity costs, taking surveys isn’t a good way to make money.  There certainly are many other ways to earn much more money in less time and even passively.  As a matter of common sense, I don’t spend hours out of my day working on them.

 

What are some of the cons of taking online surveys?

 

It is very frustrating to get 5 to 10 minutes into a survey, only to be screened out and disqualified.  A few survey websites will give panelists some sort of compensation or sweepstakes entries, even if the panelist does screen out.  MyView surveys and Global Test Market are known for this.

 

Some consumer research surveys are quite boring.  If you are the type of person who can sit in front of a computer for long periods, answering non-challenging questions, then that’s okay.  I know that I can get burned out and suffer headaches by sitting and taking surveys for too long.  They are more interesting and stimulating when there are pictures, sound or video incorporated into the study.

 

An obvious upside, is that they are easy to complete and don’t usually require any specialized knowledge and skills. The downside is that you are spending time on an activity which won’t help you to upgrade your personal skills, business acumen or career objectives.

 

Sometimes there are technical issues with surveys, which result in the panelist not receiving credit for completing the survey.  The best that can be done when this happens, is to contact the survey website’s tech support or customer support about the problem.  A reputable company will investigate and make sure that the panelist receives proper credit when due.

 

There are so many hours in the day and I won’t take the approach of signing up for as many survey companies as possible. I like to experiment with different companies, but I don’t plan on ever completing more than a few surveys in a day.  There are several market research companies that I have been a panelist with.  I am not currently active with all of these companies, but they are all reputable and my experience with them was mainly positive.  I have listed some below:

 

Global Test Market (GMI)

MyView

Opinion Outpost

MySurvey

Valued Opinions

 

Just as there are some disadvantages to taking surveys, there are also some advantages:

 

  • You get to voice your opinion and influence the types of commercial advertising products that companies make.
  • Paid surveys can lead to higher paying market research opportunities, focus group studies and clinical trials.
  • I have been invited to participate in a few high paid surveys and paid online bulletin boards.
  • I once got paid $30 to participate in an hour long market research study about health.
  • I have also won a contest for $300 with one well-known market research company.
  • I was invited to participate in several paid product testing opportunities.  The products were shipped to me for free and I got to keep the products that I tested. Some examples of products that I was paid to test were laundry detergents, beverages, and anti-aging skin products.
  • I got paid $5 for taking a single picture of a specific type of product that I use and submitting it to the market research company.
  • You can make extra money referring others to legit survey websites.

 

In the end, you will need to decide for yourself whether paid surveys are worth your time.  I know that they have been for me.

© Copyright 2014 Susan Broadbelt

 

The Fear of Making YouTube Videos: Common Excuses

 

Fear of Making YouTube videos edited

When I made my first few YouTube videos, I was very nervous and terrified.  I stuttered heavily, and frequently froze up, forgetting what I wanted to say.  My palms were sweaty and my voice was very shaky.  The most ridiculous part of all is that most of the time, I shoot videos when no one else is present!  It is usually just me and inanimate objects present:  my video camera and tripod.  So, there was no real rational reason to be nervous or fearful.  The responses that I experienced were brought on by my own mind and internal self-talk.

I joined YouTube almost from the start of the website.  For a very long time, I wanted to create a channel, record and upload my own videos.  But, I remained a spectator, on the sidelines because of lack of self-confidence and unwarranted fears about how people would perceive me.

As time passed, I realized just how much I was missing out on the benefits of sharing my message with the rest of the members.  So, I took a chance and decided that the risks were worth any potential reward.  I was right, and regret that I didn’t start making videos sooner.  People spend so much time focusing on the negatives of a situation, that they overlook all of the positives.

Here are some reasons that people (myself included) don’t want to make YouTube videos:

 

  • “I am scared that people will criticize me”There are always going to be people who disagree with your point of view. You can’t be all things to all people and you will never please everyone. Some people will offer constructive criticism, while others will criticize because that’s what they enjoy doing.  You can’t allow that to stop you. Be true to your beliefs, stand firm, and agree to disagree.

 

  • “People won’t like me or my personality.You’re correct.  There are people who will not like you.  Who cares, really? Are they required to like you?  Do you like every person that you see on YouTube videos?  If you have haters, then it is usually a sign that you are making progress.  There are always going to be haters.  Don’t let the haters throw you off your A-game.

 

  • “I might get some nasty remarks or racist comments.” If someone is leaving uncalled for comments, and not adding to the discussion, block them and delete their comments.  Don’t even waste your time responding to such trash.   People who have time to leave hateful and unjustified negative remarks on your videos aren’t happy.  They might be using negative comments as bait.  Some of them seek to entangle you in their misery.  Hurt their hearts by ignoring them.

 

  • “I don’t like the way I look or sound on camera.” It doesn’t pay to be overly self-conscious.  You are comparing yourself to unrealistic ideals (examples: celebrities, models, and professional athletes).  Thoughtful viewers are more concerned about the actual authenticity and content of your message, than they are about how you look or the sound of your voice.  We are all imperfect human beings, so we should learn to make the best of our flaws.

 

  • “No one is interested in what I have to say.” Not true!  There are people that would love to hear what you have to say.  Whereas I wouldn’t relate well to some people, I appeal more to others.  You have a message, a story and something interesting or insightful to share with the world.  People will naturally gravitate towards you when what you are saying is either entertaining or informative. The way that I look at it is that if people can get on YouTube and make 6 figures on nothing but BS and tomfoolery, then most people can succeed on YouTube by producing great content and really applying themselves.

 

  • “But, I am too shy”. Join the club. I am an introvert, too.  If you are anything like me, you will realize that you must come out of your shell one day.  Don’t let this be an excuse not to experience a fuller life through more interactions with others.   Besides, you’d be hard-pressed to make money by being “too shy”.

 

  • Fear of public speaking– This is an irrational fear that is conjured up in your own brain. Most people watching my videos realize that I am not a professional speaker.  A lot of my videos are spontaneous and contain minor errors. I am far from perfect, and I doubt that my audience expects perfection from me. Some of the best professional speakers and performers in the world still experience stage fright and nervousness prior to a public performance.  And some of them make mistakes inspite of practice and preparation. Still, they press on to achieve their objectives.

If you examine these “reasons” on a deeper level, you can see that they are baseless and lame.   Delete that fear out of your mind if you want to move up and achieve your goals.  When you allow yourself to be held captive to your fears, you stymie your own personal growth.

 

People let their fears deprive them of their greatest accomplishments and experiences in life.  It is unfortunate, since most fears (aside from the fear of imminent danger) are irrational.  Fear stands for “False evidence appearing to be real”.   It only exists in the mind of person whom is fearful.

 

Get Started With Building a Website or Blog-Part 2

After you purchase and register a domain name and hosting service, you are ready to build your website or blog

Common Ways That People Build Websites:

Using a text editor: Building a website totally from scratch can seem like a daunting task, because it requires that you learn a bit about HTML (HyperText Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and perhaps, FTP (File Transfer Protocol).

To the untrained eye, HTML and CSS look like a bunch of gibberish.  HTML is a coding language which communicates to web browsers how the webpages of a website or blog display in web browsers, like Internet Explorer and Chrome.

HTML involves the use of “elements” such as tags and attributes (example, <b>OMG</b>).  CSS gives the designer much more creative ability to jazz up webpages than does HTML.

HTML and CSS aren’t as complicated as they appear to be.  Yet, building a website with raw code from scratch is a very time consuming and tedious process.  It also requires attention to detail and patience.

Working with raw code doesn’t require the use of any special or expensive software. You can actually start the process of building webpages, within a simple text editor, such as Notepad.

Quite frankly, it is advisable to at least learn the fundamentals of these two languages.  In doing so, you will have more flexibility and design control over your website.  It will also give you an edge if you decide to upgrade to more advanced techniques or use professional software programs to design websites.  You will also have a greater understanding of how to troubleshoot technical issues when they inevitably arise.  It’s either that, or be prepared to spend an arm and a leg for help with set-up, design, and technical support issues.

There are many tools available that make the process much simpler.  These are some software programs which can assist people in building and designing websites:

WYSIWYG Software Editors:  A WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editing program eliminates the requirement to learn a programming language in order to build a website or blog.  These programs allow users the option to work with raw HTML and CSS or to work with text.  The text editing option feels similar to working with a word processing program, which shows you what the webpage will look like after it is published.

Still, there is a learning curve with any software program that you use.  Some examples of WYSIWYG editors are Adobe Dreamweaver and Microsoft Expression Web.  These are not free and some of these programs are very expensive.   Coffee Cup has both free and paid version of their website editing program to help people build websites.

CMS (Content Management Systems): 

  • WordPress- Free open-source blogging software; WordPress users can install themes and widgets to the dashboard in order to customize the appearance and layout of the blog. Plugins are used to expand on the functionality of the blog.  There are thousands of WordPress themes and plugins available (some are free and others have a cost).  Some people are wary of WordPress, for it is prone to security breaches.  Hackers are adept at inserting malicious code into outdated WordPress plugins and themes.  So, it is imperative that WordPress themes and plugins are kept updated.

Online Website/Blog Builders:  These allow users to build a website by use of drag and drop widgets.  The advantage of using them is that they are very user-friendly and easy to learn.  You can create a website literally in minutes.

  • Wix– Free and premium paid versions available. They insert their own ads on free hosted blogs. A wide array of very nice website design templates are available. There is no need to manually edit the source code of the website. WYSIWYG editor and user-friendly building tools are included.
  • Weebly– Free and premium paid versions available. Weebly places their own ads on free hosted blogs. Weebly has a catalog of website design templates, although their catalog is not as extensive compared to Wix. WYSIWYG editor and building tools are included, so hand coding is not necessary.
  • Blogger– Owned by Google; Free-hosted blogging service; Allows users to change the look and functionality of the blog by use of widgets and templates. You can also make changes to the HTML and add CSS to Blogger blogs. Google does not automatically incorporate ads on the blog even though the hosting is free. This is a nice touch for people who don’t desire any ads on their blog.

I am neither an internet whiz, nor a tech guru.  I know just enough HTML and CSS to do a little damage.  There are some free resources on the internet, to help you gain a firm foundation for building a website from scratch using HTML and CSS.  You will have access to many tutorials that walk you through the beginning process, step-by-step.

Additional resources:

W3cschools

HTML Goodies