Make Money Doing What You Love

Image Credit: Giovanni Orlando

Today's #30lists list was to mention what you wish made you money. Obviously, I want everything I do to make money. A nickel for brushing my teeth, a dime for going shopping, a quarter for budgeting… Think about how quickly all of those cents add up! Justin can hardly believe that when I spot a penny on the ground I will stoop to pick it up. He says that not only are the coins gross and covered in germs, but they aren't hardly worth anything. I am of the opinion that pennies add up quickly, and I'm willing to take the germs with the monetary gain.

Luckily, assuming you are of the Justin-persuasion and anti-penny picking up, there are still plenty of options to make money by doing the things you already do. So what do you do? Here are a few things that I do:

• blogging
• photography
• traveling
• budgeting
• shopping/going out to eat/going to the movies
• and most importantly SLEEPING!!! :)

Now, obviously whatever I put my main focus on has the most opportunity for monetary gain. If you don't develop and gain skill, how can you get any better at what you are doing? And if you don't improve at what you are doing, how can you make more money? The answer is simple: you can't.

So how do you make money doing all of those things I mentioned above?

1. Blogging – You can monetize your blog. If you are a blogger, I'm sure you already know that, but it's worth mentioning if you don't. There are multiple ways to go about it, but the gist is, for products you promote, and clicks or buys that those products receive from buyers on your blog, you receive money. Companies even offer products for you to try and they pay you for it sometimes with money and sometimes with products you might have bought anyway.

Here are a few examples of companies I work with:

One2One Network gave me a copy of Train's Bulletproof Picasso for review.
Shopsense gives me $.05 every time someone clicks on a link that I have monetized through them. It doesn't add up quickly and I have never been able to cash out with them, but, for me, it's nice seeing that my readers are interested in some of the same things as me. Plus, it lets me know what products I should blog more about … and which products I should blog less about. :)
VigLink is super easy and monetizes links on your site that aren't monetized through any other company. They only pay if someone clicks and buys through your link. And the worst part, even if a link goes through VigLink and someone does buy the product, if the company has decided you aren't receiving enough clicks, you still don't get money for it. Argh. Making money from a blog is hard.

2. Photography – Obviously you are aware that there are people in this world who solely take images for an income. Photographers do that; perhaps you've heard of them? But there are other monetary opportunities with pictures as well. For example, you could sell stock images. I've never done that, but you can easily google places to sell them. There are a variety of options including a one time payment as well as payment options for every time someone downloads one of your images from a stock photography site. Sound too good to be true? Maybe, but maybe not. Be careful when doing this, because if someone downloads and uses an image you sold to a stock photography site, they might be able to use it for commercial use and make more money off of it than you will ever see. This is just a chance you take in making a quick buck for your work.

Another option you might consider if you are good at editing is agreeing to edit other photographers' work for a small fee. Be sure to receive written permission and have the correct documents signed (speak with your lawyer for more information on what you need) from the photographer before doing so though; you don't want to get into legal trouble.

3. Traveling – If you like to travel a lot, be sure to follow blogs about traveling like Boarding Area. Often they will post deals for signing up for hotel/rental car/flying loyalty programs that can earn you points. There are also dining programs and shopping portals (United and Delta Skymiles for example) you might consider using just for doing the things you normally do – dinning out and shopping. Recently I've also seen where travel and financial blogs have encouraged obtaining reward credit cards and using the bonuses they offer to obtain your ideal vacation more cheaply and easily than you could have done otherwise. Here are a few options I recommend:

Capital One Venture Card is a credit card my husband and I obtained in August last year and took advantage of for free during our first year with the company. We got the card because we needed one that offered "no foreign transaction fees" since we were planning a trip abroad. One of the major bonuses is that you get 2x the points on everyday spend and those points can be redeemed for Amazon giftcards and used to pay for travel expenses. So far we have received more than $700 in Amazon cash and at least $120 towards travel expenses. Not bad, huh? We aren't even going to talk about all of the fees the card could have saved us in Europe. When we talked about dropping the card early this month, it seemed silly given the low $49 fee when we were making more than we were spending by renewing the card!
IHG Rewards Club – I had gold status throughout the year at a variety of US branded hotel chains that I received through … whatever means, but IHG has seemed to be the most worthwhile for me. You can get status by signing up for the IHG credit card with the first year being free and every year following being $49. The main perk with the card, from what I understand, is receiving one night free every year on your anniversary with the card. Since you get status perks, like room upgrades, free meals, etc, the card could very well be worthwhile. I don't have the card, so I can't really say too much about that. The thing I love about the IHG program is the low prices (frequently lower than any other hotel brand) and the points break options. Staying at a hotel for 5,000 points? Nice! Sometime last year we stayed at a hotel in Chattanooga for one night earning enough points to stay at a points break hotel in Asheville for two nights completely free! The free room wasn't dingy either; it had a refrigerator and a view of the mountains! Yes, there are definitely perks to being an IHG loyalist, and I have found them! :)

4. Budgeting – I feel a bit like I'm wasting my time talking about making money budgeting, since, if you are in the know, you know how to make money budgeting. For arguments sake, we'll go over a few of your options.

Santander Bank currently offers an extra $20 a month if you open both a checking and savings account with them, have a minimum deposit in both accounts, direct deposit $1500 a month into the checking account and pay at least 2 bills through BillPay. That's an extra $240 a year just for paying bills! I haven't used this bank before, but the offer sounds good to me…
SmartyPig is an online bank that allows you to develop savings goals and provides high interest for any money you deposit into your savings accounts with them. Furthermore, when you are ready to cash out, you can purchase gift cards at a percentage off to make your savings go even further! If you'd prefer, obviously, you can simply have the money deposited into your checking and savings accounts with your regular bank as well.

There are also opportunities for making money through credit card usage (as mentioned above), investing, using CDs, etc, etc, etc… I am not a financial advisor, so I can't really tell you all of the ways you can make money through budgeting. The point is: you can.

5. Shopping/Going Out to Eat/Etc… – Obviously, you can do any of the above things (using shopping portals, credit card spend) to earn money by doing the things you would normally do, but you could also take advantage of apps and mystery shopping to make even more money.

• Apps like Field Agent, EasyShift, and GigWalk alert you to when a job is in your area, how much you will get paid for doing the job, when it needs to be completed by, and what exactly the job entails. Some jobs net you a lot for your time and effort while others may only be worth it if you were already out shopping or running errands anyway.
• Other apps like Shopmium and RetailMeNot provide coupons. With Shopmium you submit your receipt after shopping if you have any items on their list; they then send a refund to you via Paypal. RetailMeNot provides coupons for both online and offline shopping. I always check out this app when shopping at stores like Macy's, Home Depot, or Michael's; the app is less relevant for grocery stores where you would need coupons for individual food items.
• You've heard me mention using ReceiptHog and ReceiptPal before. These are both great apps that give you money (and points) for submitting your receipts after you return from shopping. $30 in my paypal account for a few minutes of my time after shopping? Heck yeah!
• I recently starting doing mystery jobs for companies like A Closer Look and Goodwin and Associates. As such I can't really provide reviews for either company. So far I have done jobs that involved going to see a movie in the Imax theatre with popcorn and drinks and a compliance shop at a local grocery store when my husband and I went to buy some alcohol. I've also seen mystery shops available for bowling, staying at hotels, ordering pizza, going out to eat at local restaurants, and even gambling! Since you don't get paid/reimbursed for a full 2 months after you complete the jobs, I'd recommend not doing anything you wouldn't otherwise do. Also, it does take up to an hour or more to fill out some of the very in depth forms, so don't leave my blog post thinking of this as a quick "get rich scheme". It is so not.
• Finally, be sure you use online portals when checking out online. A good comparison site is Cashbackholic. Some even offer a bonus for joining like Ebates, MrRebates, and ExtraBux! After you spend enough money, the online portal will send you a check or paypal for the amount you are being refunded! It's a great way to get cash back on things you are already purchasing online! In the past 3 years I've earned more than $200 back!

6. Sleeping – Unfortunately, the only way I can think of to make money doing this is if you are involved in a sleep study. You may just have to sleep this one out. ;)

Are you taking full advantage of all of your monetization opportunities? Do you make money doing what you love? Are there any other opportunities you can share with me? I always love hearing about new and different ways to make money!

Be sure to go enter my beauty giveaway! For the next two days, you can earn an extra two entries just by entering!

** None of the companies I've mentioned have compensated me in any way, shape, or form for my referrals on this post. All opinions are my own. You are responsible for any actions you take as a result of my recommendations. Please don't do anything I wouldn't do. :)

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