business opportunities

Easy PD Profits

Review: Easy PD Profits by Amy Harrop

Easy PD Profits is the latest product launch by the ever-prolific Amy Harrop.

Amy is a successful self-published author, and publisher of many guides and software products for authors. She was kind enough to allow me pre-launch review access, so here’s what I found…

Easy PD Profits is about making money with the aid of public domain content. As you probably know, this is content available to edit, adapt and publish as you wish without any need to pay or credit the original creator. It comes typically from old sources that are now out of copyright (though some government-produced content also falls into this category). As well as books and articles, it includes photos, drawings, illustrations, films, and more.

Easy PD Profits has two main elements, a manual and a software tool.

The manual is a 71-page PDF. As you would expect with any of Amy’s publications, this is well written and attractively presented. It is illustrated with graphics and screen captures where relevant.

In the manual, Amy describes a range of ways you can make money from public domain content. It is organized into five blueprints:

#1-Create a Website Using PD Material
#2 Sell Image-Based Content Collections
#3 Publish Books with Public Domain Content
#4-Tap into the Hot Vintage Marketplace
#5 Sell Image-Based Physical Products

Each of these methods is described in detail with real-life examples. Any could easily become the basis for a highly profitable business on its own.

In general, the emphasis is on using the PD content as a starting point, creating books and websites combining it with original content, or selling physical products such as posters, mugs and tee-shirts that incorporate it. This approach seems eminently sensible to me, as of course you can’t claim copyright over PD content and others are free to use it as well.

As well as the manual, you get Amy’s Public Domain Dashboard software (see screen capture below). This is a simple program that will run on any Windows PC. You don’t have to install it, just save it anywhere convenient on your PC (e.g. the desktop) and double-click to launch it.

Public Domain Dashboard software

You can also use the software on a Mac, using Parallels or Wine. Video training on how to set up the software with Wine is included.

One important thing to note is that this is NOT a search engine for PD content. Rather, it is a spreadsheet-style database of sources. It is actually a collection of spreadsheets, listing sources of public domain photos, illustrations, books and other written content, and so forth. A short excerpt from the Books and Written Content list is shown below.

Public Domain Dashboard excerpt

The software is very easy and intuitive to use (help videos are provided but I doubt if most people will need them). It works online so you will need a live internet connection to use it. I guess that might be a problem for a few folk, but if you have a standard broadband connection it won’t be an issue. And it does have the big advantage that you can click on any link to open the web page in question (they open immediately in a new Internet Explorer window).

Even better, Amy promises to update the information regularly incorporating user feedback and suggestions, so the software will constantly grow in value. You may notice that there is a Suggest a Site button which you can use in a public-spirited way to upload any useful resources you discover yourself.

Other bonuses on offer with Easy PD Profits include guides to setting up an Etsy Store and how to profit from Shopify (see screen capture from the sales page below). I didn’t receive these with my preview copy, but they both look relevant and useful. As Amy says, public domain content can be a perfect starting place for creating physical products you can sell via these platforms.

In summary, Easy PD Profits is another high-quality product from Amy Harrop. It sets out an array of methods you can use to make money from public domain content.

It is currently on sale at a launch offer price of $27 (about £22), after which – as is Amy’s usual practice – the price will be rising by $10 to $37. If you are an entrepreneurial writer looking to add more income streams to your portfolio, it is definitely worth checking out.

If you have any comments or questions about Easy PD Profits, as always, please do post them below.

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Why Keeeping in Touch with Old Clients is Vital (and How Best to Do It)

Why Keeping in Touch with Old Clients is Vital (and How Best to Do It)

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am semi-retired these days.

That doesn’t mean I have stopped working altogether, though, and I wouldn’t want to.

Things have been a bit quiet over the last few months, though, so I decided to get in touch with some old clients to remind them I was still around if there was anything I could help them with.

Some didn’t reply, but others did. I got more work almost immediately from two of them, with the promise of more in future from a third. I thought it might be worth looking at what lessons can be learned from this…

One very important thing is that when you work with companies, people move on and – shock, horror! – they don’t always tell you. A new guy or girl moves into their role and doesn’t know you from Adam (or Eve). If they need a freelance, your name is unlikely to be the first one to come into their mind. Consequently, the flow of work suddenly dries up.

That was the scenario in one of the companies I got more work from. I received a reply from a woman saying that she was fairly new in the role, apologising for not getting in touch sooner, and asking if I could also do proofreading work.

Of course, I said yes, and the upshot was that I got a dozen short novelty books to proofread, along with the company’s trade catalogue. Although I am not primarily a proofreader, it is  something I am happy to do when the occasion arises. In some ways I rather enjoy correcting work someone else has produced, rather than having to write it all myself!

At the other company I got new work from, the same person was still there. He was pleased to hear from me again (he said) and mentioned that they wanted a Kindle e-book writing to help promote their seminars business. Of course, as a published Kindle author myself, I immediately volunteered my services. The result was that I got a sizeable commission to write a book on their behalf, with more projects promised in future as well.

Clearly then, while not all my old clients replied positively, enough did to make this a very worthwhile exercise. Here are a few more points you might like to consider if you find yourself in a similar position to the one I was in…

  • If it’s been a year or two since you last worked for a client, it’s quite likely your previous contact will have moved on, so start by briefly introducing yourself and mentioning projects you have worked on in the past.
  • It may also be a good idea to write to the company’s main email address rather than one that belonged to your previous contact. Or at least, copy it to that address also.
  • If you have a good pretext for contacting a business, don’t hesitate to use this. In one case a company had promised to send me an author’s copy of a print book I had written for them, but I  never received this. So I wrote politely to ask if I could be sent it now. I also reminded them that I was available for other work if required. I got an immediate reply apologising for the oversight and promising to send me three copies of the book (which they did). They didn’t have any work for me straight away, but promised I would be top of the list if anything else came up. So I would say I am definitely back on their radar now.
  • Another good pretext for contacting a new client is if you are now offering a new service, e.g. blogging or social media work.
  • You could also write to let them know if, for example, you have launched a new blog or website (and this might be of interest to them). As you may know, I recently launched a personal finance blog called Pounds & Sense, and I mentioned this in several cases. It certainly generated a degree of interest, although I didn’t get any work related to it directly.
  • Remember as well that a client may not realise the full range of skills you have to offer, especially if you have acquired new ones since last working for them. So it’s always good to remind them what you can do. In the case of the company mentioned above, they evidently hadn’t realised I could also do proofreading work. I fully expect to receive quite a lot more work of that nature from them in the coming months.

Finally, since I’m on this subject, I do still have some spare capacity at the moment – so if you have any writing, editing or proofreading work you need doing, please get in touch!

And if you have any comments or questions about this post – or any other ideas for generating work from old clients – do post them below.

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Earn a Sideline Income with Prolific Academic

Earn a Sideline Income With Prolific Academic

Here’s a sideline earning opportunity that will give your little grey cells an enjoyable workout as well.

Prolific Academic is a website that provides a platform for academic researchers across the world to conduct online studies of all types. And the best thing is that participants get paid for taking part.

Anyone is welcome to sign up, and you are then shown studies you are eligible for. They are typically in the fields of business, science, psychology and social science. Payments range from 40p to £3.00 or more. Obviously, the longer the study, the higher the payment tends to be. Helpfully, PA show you how long people take on average to complete the study and what this equates to as an hourly rate.

For most people the money will be the main attraction, but the studies themselves are interesting and varied. One I did recently involved injecting virtual mice with a virtual chemical, and then using a virtual loupe (magnifying glass) to see which ones “expressed a gene” (or more prosaically changed colour). You then had to answer some questions about what conclusions you could draw from each experiment.

Another one I enjoyed involved reading a transcript of an unfair dismissal hearing (I assume an imaginary one). You then had to decide whether the complainant had indeed been unfairly dismissed, based on legal information provided. This one took me back to the long-ago days when I worked for a while in a Citizens Advice Bureau and represented several people at tribunals myself. Interesting stuff.

Payment is made via the online payment system PayPal, so you will need to set up a PayPal account if you don’t have one already. There is a low withdrawal threshold of just £5, but if you wait till you have earned £20 or more payments are made without the usual deductions for PayPal charges. I recently received my first payment of £20.92, which came through within five days of requesting the money.

Prolific Academic is based in Oxford, England, but as far as I know anyone from anywhere in the world is welcome to join. It is definitely open to US residents. With PayPal, of course, it is easy to change money from UK pounds to US dollars, euros, and so on.

Prolific Academic also rewards members who introduce other members, so if you join and recruit your friends and family as will, you can potentially boost your earnings significantly. As you may have gathered, I am using referral links in this blog post, but am only doing so having proved to my own satisfaction that PA is genuine and they really do pay people for taking part in studies.

Finally, if you are an academic researcher yourself, you can sign up via any link in this post and Prolific will then pay you £25 towards the cost of your first study (so long as you put in at least £50 yourself).

If you have any questions or comments about Prolific Academic, as always, please do post them below.

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My Guest Post About Making Money from Online Reviewing

Just a quickie today to let you know that I am currently guest posting on Emma Drew’s blog.

You might remember that I wrote about Emma earlier this year in my post How One Blogger Made £100,000 Working from Home on the Internet. Emma is a UK-based blogger who writes about a vast range of ways of making money online. I have been following her for a while now, and don’t mind admitting I have learned a lot by doing so.

My post on Emma’s blog is all about how to profit from reviewing things on the internet. It reveals various websites that will pay you for your reviews, and also looks at how you may be able to get all manner of free products as an Amazon Vine reviewer. I also discuss how you can make a steady income reviewing products and services on a blog of your own.

Anyway, I hope you will click through to my guest post How to Profit From Online Reviewing on Emma’s blog. As ever, if you have any comments or queries, please do post them below.

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Dealspotr – A New Deal Spotting Site Open to Everyone!

In this post a few weeks ago I talked about Top Cashback and Quidco, two websites that offer the opportunity to get money back on a huge range of online shopping deals.

As a result of that post I was invited to check out another site that aims to help canny consumers save money on their shopping. This one is called Dealspotr. It is US-based, but anyone in the world is welcome to join.

The way Dealspotr works is that when you sign up you provide some basic information about the sorts of things you like to buy online (groceries, fashion, cosmetics, health/medical products, etc.). You can also subscribe to specific brands such as McDonald’s. Any time you log in, the site then shows you the latest deals in that category (see screen capture below).

Dealspotr website

Dealspotr also has an important community aspect. For example, members can vote on their favorite deals, and the deals generating most votes are highlighted in the Hot Deals or On Fire Deals categories.

As well as savings, however, you can also make money from Dealspotr, by earning points that can be redeemed for gift cards. You earn points for sharing deals, finding (curating) deals, flagging up expired or invalid deals, referring new members, commenting on deals, and various other actions. You will earn a $10 gift card for every 10,000 points you earn. And you can get your first 5,000 points (worth $5) by clicking through to Dealspotr using my link.

I have only been a member of Dealspotr for a short time but am very impressed with the concept and the sort of deals you can access via the site. It is a good example of how a website can be greatly augmented by encouraging members to engage and interact with it.

At present Dealspotr is likely to be of most interest to US residents, but many of the deals are also open to people living elsewhere. And as the site grows, I expect more and more deals targeted at people living in the UK and other countries to appear as well.

If you have any comments or questions about Dealspotr, as ever, please do post them below.

Join Dealspotr here and get 5000 points straight away!

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Remain Tee-shirt

Lessons Learned from My First Teespring Publishing Project

In this post a few weeks ago I revealed that I had tried publishing a tee-shirt design on the popular Teespring platform.

The campaign is over, so I thought I would take this opportunity to reveal how it went and some of the lessons I learned from it.

Of course, the main aim of the campaign was to make some sort of profit. Unfortunately, the profit I made barely covered the money I spent advertising the shirt on Facebook. Still, at least I didn’t make an overall loss!

So one thing I learned straightaway is that making money on Teespring isn’t as easy as you might think. I thought I had a witty, topical idea and a snazzy design, but the great British online public (whom I targeted) thought otherwise.

Here are a few more lessons I learned along the way as well, in the hope they might help anyone else who is considering trying their hand at this…

1. In many ways Teespring is a great platform for designing tee-shirts, but some aspects of the way it works aren’t especially intuitive. For example, initially I assumed that with any design potential customers would be able to choose from the whole range of shirt colours. That is not actually the case. You have to specify what colours you want your shirt to be made available in, and there is a maximum to the number you can choose.

2. Just because your design generates interest and “likes”, it doesn’t automatically mean people will want to buy it. As you will see from the image above, my shirt had a political message, on a topic that in the UK is still generating a lot of controversy. One comment I received was that even people who sympathized with the message might feel uncomfortable going out wearing a shirt that others could find provocative.

3. You must expect and be prepared for some negative comments and even trolling. I got my fair share of this on Facebook from people on the other side of the Brexit argument. There were also some people who appeared outraged that I was attempting to make money in this way.

4. If you advertise your tee-shirt on Facebook, bear in mind that people will comment in ways you can’t control. Neither can you delete negative comments made in response to the ads. Of course I am not against freedom of speech, but it is somewhat frustrating when your carefully prepared Facebook ad on which you have spent good money is effectively defaced by abuse and obscenities.

5. if you hope to make money selling tee-shirts on Teespring, you need to have a way of targeting potential buyers as precisely as possible. Facebook can be your friend here, as you can select by interest, age-group, geographical location, and so forth. In my case I selected an audience of young people (age 20 to 30) in the UK. It quickly became apparent that this was far too broad, and my advertisement was being shown to a lot of people who disagreed with the message, to whom it came across as a red rag to a bull (see points 3 and 4, above).

So would I try tee-shirt marketing on Teespring again? The answer is yes, absolutely, but I would probably steer clear of political slogans! A lot of people who have succeeded in this field target a very precise niche market, e.g. dachshund owners. Come up with something that appeals to these people and you should have a much better chance of making a profit while avoiding a torrent of personal abuse.

I also realise that to succeed in this field you need to hone your skills in targeting people who are likely to buy your design. With my anti-Brexit shirt, I realise now that my targeting was hopelessly broad. While I could have narrowed it down a bit by targeting people interested in Europe (for example), precision targeting buyers for this shirt would still have been difficult – at any rate using Facebook advertising.

So that was my experience of setting up a tee-shirt marketing campaign on Teespring. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to post them below. I would also be interested to hear from anyone who has tried out this sideline moneymaking method for themselves.

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Pokemon Go

How Can Writers Make Money from Pokémon Go?

In case you hadn’t noticed, the world is in the throes of a Pokémon Go craze. People everywhere are holding their smartphones in front of their faces and scouring their neighbourhoods for Pokémon monsters!

Pokémon Go is a so-called “augmented reality” game. Players can download the app to their phones for free, and then look around their area (and even their home) for these cartoon creatures, which are superimposed on the image in their phone cameras.

CC BY by mugwumpian

Although I haven’t felt any particular urge to try the game myself, its sudden and massive popularity has intrigued me – and of course any trend like this presents golden opportunities for entrepreneurial writers.

Some possibilities would be to write and publish a Kindle e-book on some aspect of the game – here’s one example – or to create a blog or Facebook page devoted to it. This could then be monetized with affiliate links and so on.

But what if you’re like me and haven’t even played the game? No problem! Just do a search for “Pokémon Go PLR”. Already there is no shortage of private label right content you can buy for just a few dollars, then polish and edit to make it your own.

One example is Pokémon Go 101 PLR from Jenn Elizabeth. This is a well produced report that covers everything people need to know about playing Pokémon Go. As it is PLR, you can use it in any way you wish, including breaking it down into blog posts, or editing it and publishing it as a Kindle e-book.

If you want a lot more ideas for profiting from Pokémon Go, my colleague, authority marketing innovator Barb Ling, has just released a quick one-page cheatsheet on how to make the most from this trend. It’s currently on dimesale, but at the time of writing still available for under four dollars. As well as ideas for content you could produce, it also includes multiple ways to make money from your content.

Barb also offers a number of optional upgrades, including:

  • 17 additional techniques for profiting from Pokémon Go.
  • her trademark Pokémon Go Product Solution Templates
  • 75 customized Pokeball viral social media images (blank, FB Live templates and Periscope templates)
  • resources to become a top Pokémon Go authority
  • and you’ll also be offered $200 and $250 off her popular bootcamps

For more information on Barb’s Pokémon Go cheatsheet, please click here.

BaPokemonGoLogorb has been making a living online for many years, and is a prolific producer of money-making content and reports. I always keep a close eye on what she says, and I think she is bang on the money with this. If you’re an entrepreneurial writer, this is definitely something you should be checking out.

Good luck if you take action to profit from the Pokémon Go craze. If you have any questions or comments, do feel free to leave them below. And if you go ahead and produce a PG-related product, you are very welcome to leave a link to it in the comments on this post as well!

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Cashback Websites

Save Money and Make Money with Cashback Websites

As I’ve said before on this blog, all entrepreneurial writers need a few strings to their bow. So today I thought I’d feature an easy way of saving/making money that anyone can apply. That method is, of course, cashback websites.

I shall mainly be discussing the top two UK cashback websites, Quidco and Top Cashback. The UK is where I live, and I can speak from personal experience about these sites. But of course, there are cashback websites serving other countries as well, and I’ll refer to such sites briefly at the end.

The concept behind cashback sites is that they are free to join and provide links to a range of online retailers. When a member clicks through one of these links and makes a purchase (or performs some other action) the cashback site receives a commission from the retailer. Rather than keep all this for themselves, the sites return some or all of the commission they get to the member in question.

So if, for example, you need car insurance, you could click through to a broker’s website from the cashback site. If you then buy a policy from that broker, some or all of the commission paid to the cashback website is credited to your account.

I have been a member of the two UK sites mentioned above for several years now, and have made hundreds of pounds from both. Via Quidco, for example, I recently made £110 in commission when I clicked through their link to the Nutmeg financial services website and opened an investment account. Although described as cashback, really this was more like a bonus, as the money I invested with Nutmeg does of course remain mine and I can get it back at any time. My Nutmeg investment has actually risen in value by £450 since I invested a few months ago, so this has clearly been a worthwhile investment in more ways than one!

With Top Cashback I recently pocketed a more modest £40 cashback by switching my gas/electricity provider using a comparison service listed on the website (the cashback came from the comparison service rather than the energy provider). I shall be saving around £500 a year by switching provider, so again the cashback feels more like a bonus than the return of any money I have spent.

As you can tell, I’m a big fan of cashback websites. If you are a resident of the UK, I highly recommend signing up with both Quidco and Top Cashback, as they compete feverishly with each other to offer the best deals.

If you would like to join Top Cashback, or simply see what it is all about, please click on this referral link (yes, you can also earn a small sum if a friend clicks through your link, joins Top Cashback and earns the qualifying amount). Click here to join Quidco and you can earn even more cashback from their huge range of retailers as well.

There really is nothing to lose and unlimited savings/earnings to be enjoyed, so click through both of the links above and sign up now.

Finally, if you live outside the UK, there are cashback websites in many other countries as well (for example, Top Cashback now has a US operation, Top Cashback USA). Just do a Google search for “cashback website” plus your country’s name and see what results come up. Or check out this article on the MakeUseOf website which lists a number of such sites serving the US. Read the comments section below the MakeUseOf article for a range of international cashback sites as well.

As ever, if you have any comments or queries about cashback websites, please do post them below.

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Remain Tee-shirt

My First Teespring Publishing Project!

As you may know, Teespring is a website that lets you design and publish tee-shirts and other garments and make money if they sell.

It’s a site I’ve known about for a while, but never got around to exploring. But after the result of the recent Brexit referendum here in the UK, I saw a golden opportunity to try it out for myself.

As you doubtless know, the outcome of the Referendum was a narrow (52 to 48 percent) vote for Britain to leave the EU. A lot of people who voted for Remain (which includes me) were shocked and disappointed by this, all the more so when some of the consequences of this decision started to become apparent.

So I decided to try my hand at designing a tee-shirt on Teespring aimed at disappointed Remain voters. You can see the result above and click through here to visit the Teespring sales page. The campaign will run for seven days from today, and I am promoting it in various ways (including some paid Facebook advertising).

I am doing this as an experiment as much as anything, and will report back in due course on the results I obtain. I must say that I was impressed by how easy it was to design my shirt on Teespring and set up a campaign for it, but of course the real test will be whether anyone wants to buy it!

  • Have you tried making money as a Teespring publisher? I’d love to hear how you got on! Please post any comments or questions below.
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Salehoo

Salehoo – A Great Resource for Online Traders

Regular readers will know that one of my main clients nowadays is the More Money Review website and newsletter.

Among other things, I review home moneymaking opportunities for them. Quite a few of the products I see are mediocre at best, but occasionally I come across a really good one. And I like to share this information with my own readers when the opportunity arises.

Today I’d like to draw your attention to a product I reviewed recently for MMR which is aimed at online auction traders and Amazon sellers. I appreciate that this isn’t something that will interest all my readers, but if you are looking for a moneymaking sideline (and all entrepreneurial writers need a few strings to their bow) it is definitely worth considering.

The product I am talking about is called Salehoo. It is a subscription-based membership site for online traders. Its main feature is a directory of wholesale suppliers of products that can be sold via eBay, Amazon and Etsy, or in your own online store. Members also get access to a range of other features, including market research data and a community forum. There is also advice and information for new traders on how to get started and build their businesses.

I was very impressed with Salehoo, which appears to be a highly professional operation. I particularly like the way you can search their comprehensive directory of suppliers by various criteria.

Salehoo also has a “Market Research Lab”. Here they analyze products selling well online across a range of categories. For each product they show potential suppliers, and links to current listings on eBay and other trading websites. The information given includes the average price at which the product is currently selling online and the amount of competition from other traders. This information would be valuable for any trader looking for potentially profitable items to sell.

Members also get access to a forum and a blog. The forum is quite active, and is typically used by members to ask questions about aspects of their trading. Salehoo staff regularly reply to queries posted here. The blog has some interesting and informative articles as well. A couple of recent ones were “How to Make Sure That Your Dropshipping Business Makes Big Money” and “Online Shopping for Men: 10 Items They Can’t Resist!”.

You can read my full review of Salehoo on this page of the More Money Review website. Note that you will need to register for an account to read the whole thing, but this is free and only takes a moment. You can also go directly to the Salehoo website by clicking on any of the links in this post.

Signing up to Salehoo only costs $67 (about £44 in UK money) a year, billed annually, which strikes me as very reasonable for what you get. If online trading is something that interests you it is definitely worth considering, especially as there is a 60-day money-back guarantee if you find it’s not for you.

If you have any comments or questions about Salehoo, as ever, please feel free to post them below and I will do my best to answer them.

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