EPISODE 37 ~ MAKE MORE: Earn Money Online: Make Quick And Easy Cash By Reviewing Videos With Your Opinion

Companies are hungry for information about what consumers want.  It used to be that they would hire a focus group vendor, gather a group of people, and have a moderator ask them questions —all while spying on the group through a one-way mirror.  That still goes on but there’s a new way companies are getting the insights they seek and it’s a money-making opportunity for YOU.  Namely video reviews.  I touched on this in Episode 29 and got so much positive feedback that we’re going deeper.  A company called DScout pioneered the process.  DScout stands for digital scout and with me today is Cam Balzer, VP of marketing for DScout.  Welcome, Cam!

Cam, describe what Digital Scouts do for Dscout and your clients?

• Dscout sends people—we call them scouts—on “missions”… sets of activities that researchers are interested in learning more about.

• Scouts complete these missions with their iPhones or Androids by taking a few moments to capture a photo or video and answering a few questions, turning their opinions, ideas and aha moments into a catalyst for change.  Plus they get rewarded.  To be a scout, all you have to do is get dscout on your mobile device and start applying to studies today!   You can find us in the App Store or on Google Play.

For researchers, these missions give tremendous insight into how people use products and services that they can turn into improvements to their company’s products or into new products or services

How did DScout get the idea for doing consumer research this way?

• Dscout was launched about 6 years ago just as smartphones were getting more popular and powerful… with cameras in every pocket

• An innovation and research consulting group in Chicago called Gravity Tank saw the opportunity to use all those cameras as a research tool to study people’s everyday experience as it happens instead of in artificial settings like focus groups

• Product and Technology companies loved the idea and it’s grown and evolved from there.

Give us a case study.  Describe a scouting job that’s available on DScout as we speak and what the scouts are required to do for the assignment.

• Sure. the Opportunities change frequently…

• but one that’s live today is headlined “Calling all TV Surfers.”  

• We’re looking for scouts to show us how they watch their favorite TV shows and movies! What is convenient and what are pain points about the way they watch?

• In the application we’ll ask some questions about the services you use and how you use them. And then to upload a video of yourself answering one of those questions.

• Then in the mission, we’ll ask you to record several moments where you’re watching tv or using your tv service.

How sophisticated do these videos need to be?

• Basically selfie style.  slightly more thoughtful versions of the videos you might record for snapchat or instagram stories.

• From 30 seconds to a minute, sometimes 2 minutes, while you’re doing something: narrating it and showing us

• Usually ask you take a few minutes to compose their thoughts before recording.

• we really care about what you think, so we want to make sure your message comes through. and a thoughtful video in an application can improve someone’s chances of getting chosen for the paid mission.

Ah, so people have to apply for missions.  What percentage of people are typically chosen?

• really depends on the study and how broad the audience is. Sometimes we’re looking for very specific kinds of people and if you fit the criteria, you’re in. broader activities can be more competitive… but maybe one in five or ten on average

• But the applications are pretty quick to complete so people typically apply for as many as they can

The scouting assignment you described has 2 parts.  What are they, to give people an even more concrete idea of what the job takes?

• Sure!

• Usually you’ll get a warm up section where we ask your general thoughts or for background info about an activity or need or opinion

• Then you’ll typically be asked to capture a series of moments on a topic: 2 times  It might be documenting all the steps in a process…. Doing your laundry or shopping for a specific item for example. Or show us your unboxing experience of a new product.

• Or we’ll ask you to inventory items: maybe frozen foods in your freezer or your favorite workout clothing

• Finally, we’ll often ask you to reflect on the moments you captured and the broader topic overall. How do you feel about your tv streaming in general.

• All stuff that’s pretty easy to do in your everyday life

About how long does it take to complete a DScout assignment?

• Varies quite a bit:

• some missions might only have one part, that could be completed in 15 minutes.

• other missions might have multiple parts requiring 1-2 hours of your time over the course of 1-2 weeks, all at times that are convenient to you.

• the payment is pretty proportionate to the amount of time or effort we think a mission will take. If you have to go out of your way to do the task, the compensation will typically be larger

• The streaming study will probably take an hour or hour and a half over the course of 5 days

OK, tell me what everybody wants to know: how much does the ___-minute assignment above pay?

• If your application is accepted and you complete the required steps in the allotted time, you’ll earn $40

How do scouts receive their pay, by the way?

• We pay scouts via paypal within 2 weeks of completing the mission.

I’ve seen testimonials from your scouts who say they enjoy this work for more than just the money.  What’s the other draw?

• Our best scouts just really enjoy sharing their ideas and experiences, for a variety of reasons:

? scouts sometimes get the opportunity to try a prototype or get a new product in their home to unbox and try. People have even got a brand new, pre-release internet connected fridge.

? They like that they can influence the way companies solve problems.  They like sharing their understanding of what’s important in a solution.

• And two of the coolest reasons we’ve heard from scouts:

? ** They like learning new things about themselves

? *** They like being pushed out of their comfort zone to do new things — may be uncomfortable at first but leads to feeling of accomplishment (record video in a store, sketch a product idea)

Who are some of the clients that a scout might work for through you?

• Clients are reluctant to reveal themselves so they can gather “pure” responses from scouts

• But we’ve got some over their logos on our site: range from Sperry to Square to Sonos to Salesforce

But back to the money.  Share a success story.  How much money are some of your most successful scouts making on DScout?

• we’ve had some scouts earn in several thousand dollars

• More typically, people can earn several hundred in six months or a year

How on earth can people make that much money $30 and $40 dollars at a time?

• The key is that many of these assignments take just 5 to 10 minutes A DAY over 3,4 days or a week.

• And scouts earning a lot more are getting into bigger, longer studies and doing a lot of them

• Either way, the best part is that you do them as you go about your normal life.  In fact, you SHOULD do them as you go about your normal life, because that’s what our client companies want to see: real opinions from real people.

How long has DScout been around and what are your stats so far?

• We’ve been offering these scouting opportunities since 2012

• We’ve had over a hundred thousand scouts use dscout,

• they’ve completed more than 12,000 missions.  

• We’ve paid those scouts a total of more than $2.5 million.

Are your currently looking for new scouts?  If so, how do people sign up?

• YES. Always new studies being run.

• Download the app and simply enter your email and create a password to get started. You’ll then see all the projects that you might qualify for and you’re free to apply to as many as you like.

• Just keep in mind that researchers are looking for articulate, honest, thoughtful responses to the videos, so it’s best to pick projects that interest you

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EPISODE 36 ~ MAKE MORE: Side Hustle: How To Make Sure Your Side Hustle Doesn’t Conflict With Your Day Job

When we talk about “making more,” often we’re talking about a side hustle, an extra gig you do in addition to your day job to bring in additional revenue.  Well, it’s important to make sure your day job and your side hustle don’t get in each other’s way.

Many thanks to Jenny Odegard of forbes.com for this great advice.  She points out that the simple act of researching, developing or arranging your side business on your employer’s computer, could mean your your employer gets a piece of the action.  Yikes!  Here are several ways to steer clear:

  1. Only work on your side job on your personal computer.  Even hooking up your personal computer to the company WIFI could expose you to problems.  Along the same lines, don’t use the company software, company phone or cell phone or even the company copy machine to pursue your side hustle business.  At the very least, the company could fire you for not making good use of work hours and resources.  Worst case scenario, your boss could have enough proof to claim that the invention or idea you came up with belongs to the company instead of to you.  The solution: Buy your own computer and other equipment —they’re cheap these days.
  2. Work on your own time on your own computer or other equipment.  Odegard, who is an attorney, says waiting until after work hours and then working from your employer’s desk is not good enough.  Go home or to a co-working space and do the work there.
  3. Read your employment documents.  Even if you didn’t sign a formal contract, you may have received an offer letter or an employee handbook or —more ominous— what’s called an intellectual property assignment agreement.  Make sure you have copies of these documents and know what’s in them BEFORE there’s a problem, not after.
  4. Final suggestion: don’t work on your side hustle with coworkers at the office.  Odegard says it’s actually OK to pursue a side hustle with co-workers.  Hey, probably half the startups in Silicon Valley start this way.  But collaborate away from the office.  Keep a clean line of separation.  Don’t even discuss your side hustle with these colleagues at a company-sponsored happy hour or holiday party. 

Bottom line: it’s called a side hustle because it’s NOT part of your main career.  Keep it that way in regard to equipment, time, and colleagues —and keep it safe.

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EPISODE 31 ~ MAKE MORE: Side Hustles: Why Teaching a Fitness Class is the Perfect Extra Gig

This week’s idea is to teach an exercise class on the side to make some extra money.

Here are my 12 reasons why teaching an exercise class should be your next side hustle.

  1. You ought to exercise anyway, so why not get paid to do it?
  2. You’ll be more likely to STICK WITH your exercise routine if other people are counting on you.
  3. And you’ll exercises harder because people are watching!
  4. Being a certified instructor in yoga or indoor cycling or pilates —or whatever— looks cool on your REAL resume because it shows you’re a real person.
  5. As a professional fitness instructor, you’ll be eligible for discounts of 15 to 40 percent at 18 different  athletic apparel brands.
  6. The hours are good for a side hustle.  Other people want to take exercise classes before or after work, so you can teach one before or after work.
  7. You’ll be a better singer.  YES, the breath control required to talk while you sweat it out, develops your lung strength.  Really!
  8. Speaking of music, you’ll learn and listen to great tunes, since most exercise classes these days require a playlist.
  9. You may well lose weight while you’re making money!
  10.   Instead of paying to take the class, you’ll GET paid to TEACH the class.
  11. And that pay should range from 20 to 50 dollars an hour if you work at a gym.
  12. And finally, reason number 12: if you get good, you could sell your own classes somewhere like a community rec center, and charge by the head to make even more money.  10 people at $10 bucks a class is $100 an hour! 
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EPISODE 14 ~ MAKE MORE: Side Hustles: Make More Money The Modern Way

According to TheStreet.com, more than a quarter of people age 18 to 26 have a side hustle, another way of making money in addition to their main job.

And many people over age 26 are getting in on the act as well. Plus, as we’ve seen on Easy Money, people are turning their side hustles into their main gigs when they start making more money or having more freedom thanks to their side hustle. SO, the street.com put together a fascinating list of the 5 most lucrative side hustles that I just have to share.

Number 5: Social Media Influencer. Sure enough, I have a friend who makes a nice living based on a list of about a million politically like-minded people he cultivated on Facebook. But the current trend is to be an Instagram Influencer. If you have a few thousand followers, companies will pay you to promote their products. And actually, on Episode 15 of Easy Money, we talk with a top Instagram Influencer about how she does it and what it takes.

Number 4: YouTuber. If you can create YouTube videos that garner millions of views and subscriptions, you can become a millionaire through advertising or sponsorships. And there’s CRAZY stuff that attracts views. For example, my daughter watches some lady who plays with Shopkins toys on camera and she has 8 million subscribers! The Street gives the example of Colleen Ballinger who has a You Tube channel called Miranda Sings. The YouTube site has gotten her a standup comedy tour, a Netflix series, a book deal and $5 million dollars since 2008.

Number 3: Online dating consultant. What??? Yes, people are paying other people to write clever dating profiles for them, take or choose the best photos of them and even write witty chit chat for them to use when interacting with potential dates. I wish I had known! I’ve written profiles for many friends for free! TheStreet says you can make up to $200 dollars an hour as an online dating consultant.

Number 4: Domain Name Prospector. You know how you sometimes come across web pages that are listed for sale? They’re owned by people who dream up great domain names, register them for a few dollars a year and wait for big business to come a calling wanting to buy that domain. I recently tried to buy a couple of domains myself and they wanted $25,000 for them. Domains are like virtual real estate and they can be ultra-valuable. For example, according to The Street, in 2009 the domain insure.com sold for $16 million dollars! And finally Number 5: Search Engine Optimizer. These are pros who help businesses get more web traffic by choosing the keywords people are searching the most often, helping them get links back to their site from other sites, and staying on top of Google’s ever-changing search rules to take advantage of them. Some also specialize in “referral networks” of professionals who support each other. And how much money can you make in SEO? According to one SEO pro, he can make as much as $100,000 for a single job.

There you have it, an overview of 5 modern ways to ‘make more’ money. I will try to do in-depth interviews with people in each of these fields in the coming months on Easy Money.

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