Welcome to the book tour for Buzz: The Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing by Roseanne Cheng and Dara Beevas! This book is a must-have for any indie author who is looking to break out in the market and get started with promotion. Get a sneak peek into the book and then read my thoughts about it. There’s also a great giveaway at the end, especially for my fellow writers and authors. Be sure to also follow the tour for more reviews, excerpts, and chances to win!Continue reading “#Review of Buzz: The Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing”
Category: Work at Home
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This past summer when I was looking for some summer income and was contemplating leaving my teaching job, a friend told me about UserTesting.com. She said she knew someone who was easily making a hundred or two per month by reviewing websites. I thought about it for a bit, but then forgot about it for a while.
This past winter, I decided to go ahead and try the site. Any little bit of additional income is welcome during this transition. I had also just gotten a great set of headphones with microphone for Christmas, which is absolutely necessary when working on a site like this.
How UserTesting.com Works
Basically, the way that it works is you have to take a screener survey for most of the opportunities. There may be a couple for which you are automatically qualified when they show up in your queue. Once you qualify for a test, or if it is an automatic one, you will want to make sure your headset is properly plugged in. You do a quick test to make sure everything is properly functioning and then the test begins.
You are led through a series of tasks. As you go through these tasks, you want to read the instructions out loud and then answer all of the questions. Give your thoughts and opinions. The point is to keep on talking. Say whatever is on your mind, no matter what your opinion is. The point is you are trying to shape the consumer experience. In fact, they sometimes say if you think you are talking too much, it is probably just right. Another thing to remember is that most tests will want you to interact for a full ten minutes. Keep an eye on your timer in the upper right corner by the instructions. Don’t use a bunch of filler when speaking, but give a lot of good opinions as you maximize your time.
I do UserTesting.com tests on my Windows-based computer. Note that it does not currently work on a Chromebook. You can also do them on a Mac. You do have to download their software so that the screen recorder can capture your voice and how you are interacting with the site. No worries about their downloads or having problems with any of this.
You do have the option of doing UserTesting.com on a mobile device. I have seen tests for tablets and both Android and iPhone. Unfortunately, when I tried to get my phone hooked up for these tests, the software didn’t seem to be compatible, though it should have been. I am hoping that when I eventually get a new phone, this will no longer be an issue. I always seem to have more mobile testing options than computer-based options!
How much money can you earn by doing tests on UserTesting.com? Well, most of the website tests are worth $10. Most of these tests will only take about ten minutes of your time. You can’t beat that hourly rate for sitting at home in your pajamas! Longer tests will sometimes offer more money. You may also qualify for moderated sessions where you interact in an online meeting environment to discuss websites and products. I did one that took an hour and was paid $70 for it.
The amount of money you are going to make, though, is completely dependent on how many tests you receive. I definitely do not qualify for significantly more tests than I do qualify for. I started out getting a test every ten days to two weeks. As I qualified for more, though, I found that I was qualifying for at least one a week. In recent weeks, I have had even more opportunities available. I have heard that the more quality tests you perform, the more that will come your way. There are also little extra qualifying tests that pop up at the top of your dashboard. I do recommend filling those out. That was how I got into a moderated study.
Another thing I do is to keep the UserTesting.com tab open at all times on my computer. The dashboard will automatically update any time there is a new test available. It makes a little dinging sound to alert you and then you can see what is available.
My only complaint is that it takes such a long time to upload the tests. I have had to wait anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple of hours. That gets frustrating when you actually have a dashboard full of test options. They say it can be your internet, but I have high-speed internet and few issues on any other site. They also recommend using Ethernet, but does anyone really still have that? I don’t think any of my computers are even capable of connecting to an Ethernet wire.
UserTesting.com isn’t going to replace a full-time income, but it is a fun way to earn a little extra cash on the side. It is also fun to know that you are able to actually influence products and services that are out there. (Just remember you can’t talk specifics with anyone due to confidentiality reasons!)
Check it out and then let me know what your experience is like.
Saving Money $5 at a Time
We are always trying to find new ways of saving money. We cut corners, use coupons, and try all kinds of new techniques to pinch a few pennies. I am not sure from where this idea originally came, but it is a technique that I learned about from some friends who work at my local bar and grill. So far, it is working for me.
Saving money $5 at a time.
Because my friends work as bartenders and servers, they have a constant influx of cash on hand. They sometimes have to stock a purse for making change on the floor and often take home a lot of tips in cash. Constantly having cash coming in definitely makes this technique for saving money an easier feat for them, but I think anyone can do it.
When they are counting out their cash at the end of the night, after turning in their envelopes, they make sure that they set aside all of the $5 bills. The $5 bills then go into a separate envelope at home and are forgotten about. That is how the stash begins to grow. You don’t really notice if you set aside $5 here and there and it very quickly adds up. One of the keys is to not regularly count it, so that you can be truly surprised.
Pearl Jam beckons.
So what am I saving up for? I have been a devout Pearl Jam fan for the past 25 years, ever since the first time “Evenflow” graced my ears. I have traveled coast to coast to watch my boys play and have even been lucky enough to have met Eddie Vedder twice. My faithful friend and I make an effort to attend at least one show every tour. I think I have only missed one tour since I started going, back during the Yield tour. In fact, I try to make it to more than one.
We’ve been on pins and needles waiting for the 2016 Tour announcement. Both of us have changed jobs, so time off and extra money has been a bit of a concern. My friends had just told me about this money-saving technique, so I started using it as soon as the tour dates were announced. By the time the tickets for our chosen show went on sale, I already had saved up most of the cost of one ticket.
How am I doing this? Well, I do not work in a field that pays in cash. From time to time, I will take out cash before going out or to pay bills. I do occasionally babysit, which allows for cash. I am also likely to take cash from my friends and use my debit card to pay when we go out to dinner or for drinks. I then set aside the $5 bills that I get. Any time I am out and break a larger bill when purchasing food or whatnot, I again set aside the $5 when I get home.
So, that is the method that works best for me. How you get your cash and break it up is going to be completely personal. Don’t give it too much thought. Just do it and be pleasantly surprised when it adds up.
What are you going to save for?
WAH: Rev.com Captioning
Have you ever used the Closed Captioning (CC) function while watching videos? Some people actually need to use this feature, because they cannot easily hear what people are saying. When you’re at a bar or other busy place, someone may turn on the captioning so that you can still “hear” what is going on in the midst of the noise. Others like to do it just for fun.
Obviously someone has to take the time to type out those captions. You can be that person, and make a few extra bucks while doing so.
Rev.com is a site dedicated to creating transcripts for people to read. While they have an option for transcriptionists, I work on the captioning side of the site. We get pre-recorded videos that we watch and caption for a variety of clients. Files may be as short as 30 seconds, or as long as a few hours. Nothing is live captioning. We are not allowed to discuss the details of our clients, so I cannot tell you anything more than that. You get to choose on which project you work, making it a worthwhile and entertaining way to earn some extra money.
When you apply, you fill out a profile and verify that you have the requirements. Basically, you need access to Chrome or Firefox, high-speed internet, and a good set of headphones. High-quality ear buds are also better than just using your computer’s speakers, but I definitely prefer my headset.
After watching several tutorials, do a practice video. If you show potential, they will let you know what you need to work on and then get even more training. Then, you try another video. If you pass, you become a Rookie. Rookies are limited in what they are able to caption and make a lower rate. Every video is graded by a team of hand-selected Quality Control experts, with a rating system and comments about what you did well and how to improve. Fulfill the minimum number of minutes within a given time frame and maintain high enough scores and you become a Reverr. This grants you access to more videos and a bump in your pay. Keep on doing well, churning out a high number of captioned minutes and maintain high metrics, and you can become a Reverr+. At this stage, you get access to videos before those on lower levels and can end up earning even more money.
Earnings are based on audio minutes. Let’s say you have a five-minute video at the rate of 60 cents a minute. You will earn $3 for doing that video. While this seems like a negligible amount, those short videos often go quickly and can add up. Larger projects will bring in more income. Some projects end up being worth much more per audio minute. The longer you work on the site, the faster your captioning skills will be, and the more money you can earn. Figure a minimum of three times the length of the video to get it properly captioned and then synced to the speakers’ voices.
The site provides style guides to which you must adhere. The forum is a great resource for information and if you are stuck on what someone is saying. Support is just an email away and usually reply in a timely fashion. They welcome your questions and feedback.
I applied to Rev at the end of October. Within two weeks, I had worked hard enough and maintained a high enough quality that I became a Reverr+. It is a significant part of my weekly income and some people use the site for their full-time job. Work is not always guaranteed to be available, but they strive to keep plenty of fresh clients coming in, to keep us all busy.
The work week runs from 12:00 AM GMT Sunday morning to 11:59 PM GMT Saturday. Anything you complete by this cutoff time will be paid to you on the following Monday. I am in the eastern time zone, so anything I get completed by 7 PM EST on Saturday, I get paid for two days later on Monday afternoon. Payments are done via PayPal, so you must have a PayPal account.
While it isn’t for everyone, I find it to be an entertaining way to pull in some income while sitting in the comfort of my own home. They also offer transcription and translation services. Check them out at https://www.rev.com/.