When One Thing Leads to Another And. . . Business and Ministry Collide???

bitcoinAs anyone who follows this blog now knows, I began a blockchain experiment back in February, outfitted my day-job’s website to accept Bitcoin as payment for services in May, and began a new business venture in late June. More recently in August, I found a marketing platform that has potential to earn a decent monthly income once I can find 4 people to copy me on that platform. I have 9 immediate referrals in that program and two more referrals under two of them, but so far no one is following my lead despite weekly team mailings. I’ve set up a support group on Facebook hoping to get the team members over there to share tips and tricks, but so far no one has taken action to join the group.

While the lack of action in this marketing platform is a little disappointing, I have run across another user somewhere around the world who is using the platform in a very surprising, encouraging, and uplifting manner. Two others are using another marketing platform I am part of, for similar purposes.

Christian flagImagine using your primary source of income to share the hope of the Gospel with people?! It is my hope that this marketing platform will become a significant monthly source of income, and I came to that conclusion early in August when the income-generation side of it was first made clear to me. Here we are almost at the end of September now, and this ministry opportunity is staring me in the face!

It’s interesting that I’d come across these users’ methods of using these platforms this week. I’d realized after a tea with a friend earlier this week, that not everyone who might want to use this platform to bolster their income will have anything to promote. The platform is a marketing method, so you do need something to market to others. If I run into Christians who could use this system of income, I now know what to suggest they promote: None other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ! The Salvation message! The current user doing this has created a page called The Four Steps to Salvation, complete with Scripture, video, and links to more information. Another user on the other platform has a picture of Christ and John 3:16 under it before carrying on with sharing their business opportunity. That user has created quite a gap on their page between the salvation message and the biz opp.

Earning commissions on advertising sales while sharing the Gospel of Christ is probably the best merging of two worlds I’ve seen so far! I am a huge proponent of the fact that the Internet is the final missions frontier. I had never thought of using existing marketing methods as a way to spread the Gospel, but stop and think about it a moment. . . Other business owners, other affiliates, other networkers, other opportunity seekers are signing up to use these services. They see your site just like you see theirs because they want to get their own message out about their opportunity. However, in the process of getting their own message out, they run across yours – the Gospel message. Opportunity seekers are often desperate for financial help. Affiliates are trying to augment household income, and business owners are looking for traffic as well. But while their goals may be somewhat different from each other, they ALL need Jesus. Once again we see another opportunity to use the tools of the day to spread the message of hope and healing, provision and eternity. Talk about tent-making! If Paul could make tents while preaching, we can earn sales commissions while sharing too! So far as I can tell only three people are doing this on two platforms, but hey, the door is there. . .

Now I know why I created the FB group image the way I did! (see image at top of post) It captures several things all at once:  Technology (the bitcoin), teamwork (team songdove), and the Holy Spirit (the dove). My username (songdove) incorporates music too, because singing has always been my love language between me and God.  Whether music plays into the business venture I don’t know, but the other elements now all make sense.

Amazon vs Tripleclicks! The Mat’s Been Thrown Down!

amazon logoYes, indeed it has!  A news article released recently, continues to show Amazon’s ambition in maintaining it’s growing stranglehold on the online e-commerce marketplace.  Not everyone is happy about this.  In somewhat older yet still current and ongoing news, creatives are getting increasingly frustrated with Amazon’s ability to crack down on plagiarism taking place on their site.  Reporting mechanisms put in place are not moving very quickly, if at all, to deal with this growing problem.

There’s a new player on the block that’s been lying low for a while.  It has begun to pick up steam and now has well over 93,000 products being sold by sellers living all around the world.  This company, according to its parent company’s tech support service, does NOT make any use of Amazon services whatsoever.  This makes them a TRUE competitor against the Amazon monolith.

If you are a creative looking for another large e-commerce site to latch onto, then be sure to check out Tripleclicks!  You can click this link here, or on the garage sale link in the sidebar.  These links will show you the wide range of products people are selling, from stuff in their closets to handmade goods to small business outlets, sales and closeouts.  If you’d rather skip the introduction and head straight to where you can sign up to start selling your stuff, click this link here.

Just like Amazon, you’ll be able to pick categories for your stuff, choose shipping options, add photos of your goods, add descriptions and keywords, pick your price, or offer shoppers the ability to suggest a price, and more.

A reasonable online competitor to Amazon DOES exist!  Pass this on to your creative friends selling their goods online.  Perhaps if Amazon starts losing sellers to Tripleclicks, they will wake up and realize they need to address plagiaristic behaviour.

More Ways to Earn an Income Online

One way to earn money online, is to work as an affiliate for another company. This is one way Amazon gets word out about their products. It’s become a big way anything anyone wants visible, can get it out via word of mouth. Companies have sprung up to facilitate easier joining and managing of affiliate programs such as JVZoo, Clickbank, and others. These companies don’t merely act as liquidation centres for companies offering affiliate programs, they also offer affiliate ranks and with those, pay structures that reward active affiliates. However, there’s just one small problem with earning funds as an affiliate. If you are not good at sales, chances are it is a dead-end proposition.

In the early days of affiliate programs, people would try to build entire webpages built from nothing but affiliate banners and advertisements in the hopes people would find their pages and click on their banners. The Google search engine discovered 1000’s of these pages being created, and clamped down on what they felt was not very useful content. Suddenly these pages of nothing but ads and banners weren’t getting traffic anymore. The answer? Writing blog posts that contained so many links to affiliate program content that again, Google got upset and changed the rules.

Ever since then, bloggers who wish to create content that sells a product via an affiliate link needs to do two things:
1) They need to ensure that each affiliate link is surrounded by honestly useful information that fits the flow of the article. If the blog article is too “preachy”, it is seen as evangelizing the product and visibility is reduced or wiped out in the search engine.
2) Bloggers need to have a disclaimer stating that some links may go to affiliate content where the blogger will be paid for your visit if you choose to buy. Bloggers that make a living testing or reviewing products are the ones most likely to have such a disclaimer.

For myself, I’ve tried to join various affiliate programs, but have largely failed at all of them up until now. I actually have had the odd sale grant me commissions over at Amazon, a few sales over at JVZoo, but nothing contributing to monthly earning potential. What I have noticed however, is that companies are starting to take an approach that looks incredibly reminiscent to the Multi-level marketing before the Internet really took off. Examples of MLM’s today include DoTerra Oils, Amway, Mary Kay Cosmetics, etc. Generally-speaking, working for one of these companies labels you a consultant and for good reason. You have to study your product and really know it inside out to help your clients get the best use and bang for their buck. If you don’t have any value to add to their lives, you’ve probably joined a pyramid scheme instead. You’ll see these all over the place now with slogans such as “Send just $5 to your upline and encourage your downline to do the same! Imagine, $5 every day in your inbox for life!”

I’ve recently come across a company that calls everyone affiliates, but runs more like an MLM company. This company has been around since the late ’90’s, and therefore has a ton of information to read through and digest before sales even begin! Talk about “learn while you earn”! They have several ways to earn an income, affiliate propagation being one of them thankfully. The other two major methods are via sales from their online department store, and earning a portion of their executive pool, also known as leveraged income.

The online department store could best be called an online bazaar similar to Etsy or another free site I used to be part of where you could buy or use points to get things. In fact, the entire store is populated by goods from literally around the world! E-commerce Associates sell anything from books and USB sticks to organic teas and cosmetics to garden hoses and automotive toolkits! Some sellers offer free shipping, others only ship to certain countries. Canada for example has 87 resident online sellers. Canadian prices aren’t that bad either, considering what other online stores charge around the country. So if you’re looking for a cross between Amazon and Etsy with a dash of backyard garage sale thrown in, you’ll want to check out Tripleclicks.com. The garage sale part comes in where members such as myself can list stuff we want to get rid of and sell it on the site. As a result, Tripleclicks has a banner ad billing itself as the largest garage sale online! You might see this in the sidebar here.

So I’m trying this out now. While I did have to sign up as an affiliate, the process did not cost me anything other than time. The parent company has built their system so that you can do as much as you can for free before putting any money out. This means anyone out there in my financial situation can begin the process of earning money without putting it out first! I don’t know about anyone else, but constantly seeing work-from-home opportunities that require you to put out money first are not only frustrating, but insulting. Frustrating because the money just isn’t there. Insulting because many people out there honestly can’t believe that someone might actually be literally, truly, honest-to-God stone broke or worse, be in debt so bad that money disappears into the hole before they can even buy gas or groceries. Therefore, coming across an opportunity that I can begin working when funds are short, is a real God-send.

Life has gotten financially tighter since moving last November. Prior to that move, funds were tight, but somehow workable. In years prior, I had learned enough about how to live on less than a shoestring budget that I’d actually written a course on the subject. I just might figure out how to offer that course on Tripleclicks in coming months. If you read this blog, you’ll read about some of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way, and you’ll also discover last year’s beginnings of our foraging journey. Foraging has helped stretch what comes in even further, at times making sure salads are on the table without the funds required to otherwise buy the ingredients at the store. These lessons are invaluable and I’ll continue to write about them going forward. However, now I will also be writing about my journey getting started with Tripleclicks.com. Don’t worry, I’m not going to attempt talking you into joining as an affiliate under me. I learned a long time ago that I am not a salesman. Instead, I will encourage you from time to time to check out something I found on the site that is a great value, or a great find, or supports a great business, etc.

Already I am finding sellers of Bibles, Christian books, jewelry, even Bible cases and handbags with Scripture verses on them. Considering sellers are already offering well over 1000 books on the site, this will be another great outlet for authors to check out to sell their books around the world. When I was looking at clothing the other night, you can buy clothes from Japan, South Korea, India, Brazil, as well as North America, the UK, etc.

The site encourages members to transfer the shopping they’d normally do downtown, to the Tripleclicks website. We do so little shopping that such a thing might not be as close a reality for us as it might be for others, but we’ll see. The trick is getting into the habit of checking the site before the next shopping trip to see if someone on Tripleclicks is selling that item. If you like visiting markets and bazaars, you’ll enjoy visiting Tripleclicks. International markets and bazaars normally only occur in places like Vancouver, Toronto, NYC, etc. But at Tripleclicks, the international bazaar is right there at a click of the mouse or a tap on the screen.

So the introductory exploration stage has begun. Let’s see where this takes us, eh? (couldn’t resist, I’m Canadian)

Introduction to Faucet Alley – One Way to Enter the World of Bitcoin!

bitcoin faucetAs discussed in my first blog article on bitcoin, using faucets to earn your way into the world of bitcoin is not for the faint of heart and requires both a technician’s mindset and a worker’s mindset if you are to do what I did, which was earn $3 USD or 0.003+ BTC in the space of two months WITHOUT REFERRALS! Because of the large number of digits following the decimal, earning 0.003 is no small feat when we’re talking faucet earnings.  Most people in the bitcoin world don’t think this is a wise way to spend your time.  However, I proved to myself that for the person short of cash, it is a viable way to earn bitcoin in your spare time.

Before you consider entering the Faucet Alleyway, stop and take stock!

You MUST  NOT:

  • be easily swayed by advertising!
  • be easily confused by lots going on!
  • insist on waiting for every page to load before deciding if it’s good or bad
  • be computer-illiterate!
  • have tunnel-vision!
  • be slow-moving!

If you are going to venture into the faucet alley-way, you absolutely MUST:

  • be laser-focused!
  • be aware of what’s going on with every tab you have open!
  • Understand the basic parts of a browser and make heavy use of them!
  • Ignore advertising!
  • Learn quickly!
  • Understand typical malware behaviour and spot it fast!
  • Be able to clean your own machine of malware or have plenty of cash to pay someone else to clean it for you on occasion.
  • have quick reflexes with mouse and keyboard!

toolboxYour toolkit MUST include:

  • browser other than MS Explorer
  • plugin/add-on to block unwanted content not allowed in your home
  • up-to-date antivirus program
  • Ccleaner set to delete history and cookies as well as clear the DNS cache and old prefetch data.

How’d you do with your self-assessment and computer readiness?  If you ARE any of the “MUST NOT” items, this pursuit may not be for you.  Moving forward will put both you and your computer at a level of risk you may not be able to recover from.

However, if you are confident you are not affected by the “MUST NOT” list and confident you can handle the “MUST HAVE” list, and your computer is set up to handle the required toolkit, then let’s move forward.

The important thing to understand is that this is WORK!  Don’t sit down to my list of faucets thinking you are engaging in a leisurely activity.  This is anything but leisurely!  Boring perhaps at times, tedious at other times, but leisurely it is NOT!  You have to be on your toes constantly! Your computer’s security can’t be allowed to lapse either. This is because a jaunt down Faucet Alley is akin to swimming with sharks.  Some are friendly, some ignore you, and some come at you with teeth bared and eyes blazing! One of the faucets in my list is a bit of a nasty shark and I honestly wonder at the way the owner has chosen to make money off his site.  I have learned to handle the onslot this faucet delivers at times, but I don’t recommend visiting if you are lax or negligent in ANY of the MUST HAVE/INCLUDE lists above!  If you are not necessarily wary of what might jump out at you AND prepared to handle it the moment it happens, DON’T GO THERE!

Secondly, you need to understand this takes TIME!  Want to make money doing faucets??? You need to be religious about claiming as often as each site will let you! Of course you have a life to live away from your computer and perhaps you have other tasks you need your computer for as well, so don’t visit Faucet Alley all day long!  But when you do sit down to work the faucets, try to have several hours available at a shot.

Thirdly, all those ads you are seeing are paying the site owner so they in turn can pay you!  Don’t use an ad blocker!  Having said that, it is wise to have a plugin that blocks unacceptable content that goes against your family values, but don’t block ALL ads as a general rule.  Most faucets have a check built into them whereby if they notice a trend of ads being blocked, they will eventually “stop working” until you enable ads again.  Now if a site’s ad networks insist on showing you offensive ads regardless of your filter’s settings, put the site into quarantine for a few hours using the Brave browser.  If the site “stops working” open it back up in your favourite browser and see if the offending ads are gone.  If they are, continue on as normal.  It is precisely because of these ad networks being less than family-friendly at times, that life for the faucet earner can get so dangerous.  In fact, I recommend doing it in a location or at a time when impressionable eyes and ears are not present, to protect them from the visual or audible dangers that lurk around some corners in this alley way.

stop-dontgoOne of the rules of thumb I learned very early on my career as a computer repair technician, is that about:blank in a browser’s address bar can spell trouble, particularly for Internet Explorer.  About:blank has been taken advantage of by numerous drive-by installation threats dropping backdoor trojans, worms, rootkits and other nasties onto people’s computers.  This is one reason for the sharp eye paying attention to everything going on with laser focus ignoring the ads!  In my experience, allowing your antivirus scanner to scan links wreaks havoc with the various captcha codes you need to solve, particularly those that tell you to click images until there are no more.  Each image sent to you in that grid is a link that has to be scanned by your AV link scanner.  It’s better to develop a sharp eye for trouble than to bog down your computer with so many link scans, especially if you use my method for earning satoshi via faucets.

If you see about:blank show up, it will be there for one of three reasons:  1) Slow connection to the next page being loaded.  Many faucets use pop-overs and pop-unders.  These are full pages not merely pop-ups in small windows.  If a server is slow in delivering the site destination, a threat could be on it’s way.  2) The site being loaded is the one you were just at because now the page you were on has become a pop-under and your original site needs to reload.  Watching your address bar change from about:blank to another site address and having your mouse over the tab’s x button will help you discern if you are reloading the page you want, or having to close a tab you don’t want.  Eventually you will learn when a pop-under has just taken place, or a pop-over, and in the case of several of the faucets in my list, you can get both happening at the same time, meaning you close the left-most, right-most and leave the center tab loading in the little threesome that suddenly developed.

Be sure as well to go through your favourite browser’s security settings.  Set all plugins or addon’s to “ask me” so that you get a heads up if anything strange wants to take place.  I have Firefox set to prevent requests to install programs, and one of the faucets in my list regularly tries to ask permission to install something!  Not good!  This same faucet will at times try to force its way onto my system with spawning pop-unders.  Due to this behaviour, I’ve had two threats successfully get onto my system and I had to shut down my computer the hard way before beginning clean up in safemode.  Again, if any of this sounds way over your head, you might not want to be earning satoshi via Fauce Alley!  The number of faucets that use such tactics is fairly large it seems.  Knowing how this one faucet behaves periodically, I can spot other problem faucets very quickly and will not frequent low-paying faucets who behave in this manner.  The only reason I tolerate this particular faucet is because of how well it pays on an ongoing basis.  I rarely have to quarantine the site, and my filter catches most offensive material it’s ad networks might try to show.

Because browser-based threat delivery often ends up in temporary file locations such as browser caches, having a tool such as Ccleaner on hand can help with the clean-up.  Run this tool fairly frequently when you follow my faucet claiming method, but also use it in safemode whenever you have to clean-up after a threat that landed on your system.  Follow up that cleaner with a scan by Malwarebytes free or pro, then boot back into normal mode and carry on.  Mac and Linux users, I’m not sure how you’d do this on your OS’s, but I’m sure some well-deserved research could do you some good in this regard.

If I haven’t scared you off good and proper from this form of earning satoshi, then let me share what I’ve enjoyed about this form of obtaining bitcoin:

Travelling around the world from the comfort of your computer chair!  That’s right.  The reCaptcha codes that many faucets ask you to complete are pictorial in nature, and come from literally all over the world.  You’ll see street signs in various languages, storefronts from towns and villages in locations you’ve never been to or perhaps heard of, mountain sides, rivers, quaint little residential streets or bustling downtown scenes.  Even food dishes make it into the mix.  This takes the monotony out of the mix while also testing your ability follow instructions and further develop that keen eye for detail.  The goal of these reCaptcha’s and SolveMedia puzzles is to prevent bots from stealing satoshi from these site owners.  You WILL see ads offering to collect from faucets for you, but those are bots and bots are strongly discouraged as a form of cheating the system.  So hone your keen eye for detail and be an honourable satoshi hunter!  Perhaps share in the comments what languages you’ve seen on street signs, what countries you’ve vicariously visited and where you enjoyed going the most in the last round of faucet claims.

My method for using these sites to earn satoshi, is as follows:

1) Have all faucets open in tabs in your browser of choice.  Don’t use a rotator because you won’t be able to engage in my method very well with one of those.

2) Begin with the one-hour claim sites and note the time you began.  You’ll want to return to those in one hour. Next, move to the half-hour claim sites, you know you can claim again here when your one hour sites reach their half-way countdown.  Then move to the 15 minute claim sites and get those going.  If you have any 5 minute sites in your tabs, visit those last.  Thus begins your earnings session!

3) Now begin going around and around and around.  Generally-speaking, in the time it takes to do three 15 minute claims in a row because their timers all coincided, you’ll be able to visit your 5 min before and after all three.  When that string of claims is done, you’ll be close to claiming again in your half hour sites.  Repeat, then include your one hour sites and go around again.

4) Keep an eye out for the pop-overs and pop-unders and close them as fast as you can.  Some sites will do both, placing the reloading faucet in the middle of a sudden group of three tabs.  As you get used to the routine, you’ll learn to recognize this grouping and have the under and over closed by the time the faucet has reloaded.

5) It is best to use the XAPO wallet and XAPO faucets if you want to have your claims accumulate at a decent rate in one pool.  I haven’t done much with it yet, but another satoshi collector is called faucet hub.  I have to see what those faucets are like before I can write about them, but cashing out of a collector still means having enough in there to cover network fees.  This is the only reason I haven’t gone with faucethub or epay.

One thing to be aware of when looking at your wallet balance as it grows:  XAPO gives you the US equivalent, fully expecting that you will use your bitcoin to benefit life in the real world.  The potential problem can be watching the US amount instead of the BTC you are growing.  The US amount goes up and down based on factors affecting volatility in trading BTC.  If you have a goal of so much BTC, only watch that amount.  Remember, you’re investing TIME into this project, not cash out of your own bank account.

6) As already stated a couple times now, this is WORK!  You can get mentally tired out if you are having to clean up your cache and temp files several times in one sitting because of some rogue ad in an ad network’s line-up on one or more of the faucets you happen to have open.  Pay attention, ignore advertising, watch the clock, follow instructions, and have several hours at a time to get the ball rolling well and watch the satoshi accumulate.

How fast can YOU accumulate satoshi without referrals??!! Can you rise to the challenge??? Do YOU have what it takes to walk down Faucet Alley???

A Blockchain Experiment

Marilynn Dawson's Musings - Counting PenniesSince roughly around mid-February, I stepped away from Facebook to focus on an experiment.  I didn’t know where this was going to take me, but with work being as difficult has it’s been for a couple years now, it didn’t hurt to try to put some hours into something that may or may not pay off in the future.  My books sell in a trickle, no mugs or t-shirts have sold yet although I have a large list to create still, causing my tech support services to still carry the day even though it too tends to be sporadic.

My bookkeeping mentor and I got talking about a relatively new technology that came on the scene back in 2009.  As a certified accountant, she finds the discussion around this technology to be fascinating, and people are writing articles about it in the financial magazines that she reads.

The technology in question, is known as block-chain.  Using this technology, it is possible to have linear blocks of information that are both public yet almost unhackable.  The technician in me uses the word “almost” while most other pundits claim the blockchain as we understand it currently, is unhackable by virtue of how it is formed via hashes and puzzles that need to be solved.

bitcoinSpecial computers and software solve these puzzles and create the hashes, known as blocks, in a fairly visible blockchain known as Bitcoin.  I haven’t heard much talk about this in my own circles of influence, but there is a sizeable and growing online community based around this virtual currency.  This currency even has an exchange rate to bring it into real-world terms and usage.  That exchange rate goes up and down based on the value of a single bitcoin as it is traded throughout the day.  During these past two months, the bitcoin value went from over $1200 USD to $934 USD to back up around $1184 USD earlier this month.  How do I know this? My experiment!

Now there are various ways a person can go about obtaining and using Bitcoin.

1. The easiest and most expensive way is to buy your way in.  Simply go to Coinbase or Localbitcoin, create an account which comes with an associated bitcoin wallet, then head over to the trading area and buy yourself some bitcoin.

bitcoin faucet2. Another way to get into the world of bitcoin is to earn it from what they call “faucets”.  I have written an extensive blog article about THAT which I will post shortly.  This method is not for the faint of heart and requires both a technician’s mindset and a work mindset if you are to do what I did, which was earn $3 USD or 0.003+ BTC in the space of two months. Because of the number of digits following the decimal, earning 0.003 is no small feat in the world of faucet earnings.  Most people in the bitcoin world don’t think this is a wise way to spend your time.  However, I proved to myself that for the poor person, it is a viable way to earn bitcoin in your spare time.

3. The last way and probably what promises to the most long-lasting method to get into the world of bitcoin, is to earn it the same way you earn a living in your own national currency.  I joined a bitcoin forum that has a reputation for being cut-throat, and requiring a thick skin.  While scammers apparently exist on this forum, they are not tolerated for the most part.  With this reputation being well-known, I went there asking about a three-part plan that I began my experiment with in mid-February.  Part 1 as to prove to myself you can earn your way into bitcoin using faucets.  Check that off the list.  Part 2 was to grow your bitcoin until there is enough to reach step 3 which is to test out the debit card offered by Xapo.com.  With so many sites offering investment opportunities, I thought for sure step two was possible.  I tried one investment of 0.001 and lost it a week later when the site folded.  This forum pretty much agreed that BTC investing is not yet a viable way to go and to focus on earning BTC via services I offer.

FACT Computer Services CoTherefore, I have revamped how I do business for FACT Computer Services.  I was thinking about doing this anyway because of the changes Freshbooks went through this spring, but wanting to carry on with my experiment sped up the process.  My website has now been configured so that buying time, asking for help and booking an appointment can all be done right there.  On top of that, people are able to pay using cheque, paypal, e-transfer still, and if they choose, they can now pay with bitcoin as well.

I will be revamping my author site soon too, so that people can buy my books and courses with either cheque, e-transfer, paypal or bitcoin as well.

I am looking forward to hoping to have enough BTC in my xapo account to one day walk into Superstore with their debit card, and walk out with groceries!

I’ll keep you posted!

Quick CashCrate Update!

Just wanted to share a short update on CashCrate.

I am now awaiting my second $20 cheque as noted in the earnings banner here:

CashCrate
I’ve also received three referrals now as well, meaning I will begin to earn commissions once they start getting their first cheques.  This isn’t an income-replacement by any means, but pennies add up!

If you want to join me, click the banner to sign up.  You won’t qualify for surveys every day.  But between the 3 cent daily check-in, and the surveys you DO qualify for, you will get paid for sharing your opinion.

Sometimes the check-in button doesn’t let you click the offer.  When that happens, reload the CashCrate page and try again.  Sometimes it works right away, other times it takes a few tries.  If you think you should be paid for telling companies what you value, then come join me.

CAUTION!!! Doing the offers can be a great way to quickly increase your account balance!  However, software installs “call home” which will cause your antivirus program to flag it as an intruder.  As a technician by day, software that “calls home” is often considered spyware.  The purpose of offered software calling home is so they can track that you have indeed kept the software active on your system for the prescribed length of time, whether that’s two weeks or three days or whatever time length the offer set before issuing payment.  Just be warned, if you don’t want software on your system “calling home” all the time, you may want to avoid offers that pay for downloading and using their programs.

Your Content Has Value! Advertisers & Social Media Sites Agree!

Social networks have become the boon of advertisers everywhere!  The more ads they can deliver while you share your cat photos, dinner recipes and car care tips, the more money they make.  Businesses have discovered that if they move on to various Social Media websites, they can better engage with their customers and clients as well.  Artists, brands, stores, etc have all found homes on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

But where does that leave the average user?

Tsu LogoPeople have begun asking that question over the past few years.  One answer got Facebook tied in knots earlier in 2015 and it briefly prevented the site’s links from being displayed by users seeking to share their sign-up referral links.  That website is Tsu.co.  Tsu has gone through changes over the past year, refining how it works, adding features, removing features and recently going through a major site redesign as of March 2016.  On Tsu, users get paid a portion of the advertising revenue as they interact with what other users have shared.  Tsu has what they call a Family Tree that keeps track of referrals, friends, and followers.  Their use of hashtags to make content more searchable has been sporadic in how it is implemented.  At one time, you could include hashtags in the body of your message, then it moved to the title of your message, and now it seems to be back to the body, although I’m not entirely sure of that fact.

sqeeqee logo_med1Another answer called themselves the pioneers of “Networthing”, a word coined by the site owner to describe users earning points and cash.  This site is Sqeeqee.com.  There, you earn cash for setting up a store, selling high-quality photos, and other means.  You earn points for use in their system by your interaction with others, and after amassing enough points, they can be exchanged for cash. Sqeeqee offers a wide variety of features from crowdfunding to personal storefronts to video sharing etc.  The more people you let into your friends list, the higher the chances your content will generate traffic.  Users on Sqeeqee for the most part are very encouraging.  You will run into the odd person commenting for the sole purpose to earn points, but others actually do interact with your content legitimately.

futurenet logoThe most recent answer to the value question posed above, is FutureNet.  I just signed up to check it out and it has two very distinct aspects to the site. First, the social network side is reasonably thought out.  Unlike the other two sites just discussed, FutureNet actually lets you create a fan page for your pursuit whether that’s a business, writing, singing, or puppies, you can create a fan page for it just as you can on Facebook or LinkedIn.  The interface is actually fairly similar to that of Facebook’s, complete with cover photos, friends lists, groups, the ability to add a youtube video or blog post with just a link and have the featured image show up without a problem.  The second aspect of this business is quite prominent in the left hand sidebar, because FutureNet anticipates that you’ll actually want to turn this social network into a business for yourself and those you bring to the network.  If you don’t already have a blog, $5 will get you a blog on their site.  If you want to create a landing page for the site, that’s another $5.  Training videos, webinars, and events get planned periodically.  Their advertising system is a revshare and a single investment of the amount of your choice (lowest is $10) will get you into the business side of the site.  I haven’t invested yet, as I’m still playing with the system, but they encourage downline support, so my “sponsor” has already contacted me to make sure I have the information I’ll need to launch out.  One could however, simply join this site for the social aspect if they were wanting something different than what Facebook or LinkedIn have to offer.

It will be interesting to watch these three “social networthing” sites over the next few years to see what pans out, who stays, who goes, and who ends up paying out the most to their users on a regular basis.

What Have You Baked in Your Toaster?

In the first blog post here, I wrote about several things you can do with your toaster.  Our toaster oven died on my birthday this year after serving us well for many years!  It became a very good cost saver, allowing me to do many things with it that normally require the much larger 220V oven.

One of those cost/energy-saving tasks in the first article’s list, was that of baking.  Single-meal size baking tasks, or tasks to feed a small family, fit very well into our toaster oven.  From baking the last few scones that just wouldn’t fill a complete tray in the larger oven, to baking pies, small cakes, and small batches of baked pasta, this little oven became a staple in the kitchen!

A toaster oven typically only pulls 110V in North America, versus the 220V of the larger oven. 

While not all toaster ovens are built with the same depth and height available, they all have room for a small tray and can accept single-serving pasta dishes, some sizes of corning ware, and more.  The toaster oven that died could not accept a 9″ pie plate, but could accept a full-height long corning ware casserole dish!  Our newer toaster oven can accept a 9″ pie plate, but can’t accept a full-height casserole dish.  So you’ll have to experiment with what oven dishes your toaster oven can take.  Once you find them, use them in your toaster oven instead of your larger oven to save money on your electrical bill.

Review of ShoeMoney Network’s Course

We live in tight economic times!  This week I ran across a course offering to teach Internet Marketing for FREE! The word FREE lept off the screen at me and I had to watch the first video!  When I found out that ShoeMoney Network would PAY me to take this course, I signed up.  The Terms and Conditions were great, but there was a caveat that I might need to pay third-party companies for their services. 

ShoeMoney NetworkThe claim that you get paid $1 for every task you do is true.  Some of the tasks I did were not paid out to me for reasons I am still uncovering.  I am pretty sure one task wasn’t paid out to me because I used an existing account rather than create a new one.  A second task might not get paid out to me because I thought I’d completed the step when I found out later that I didn’t.  I completed the step when preparing to do a step related to it.  So it’s quite likely I will be one of the few students out there who don’t get everything they otherwise could have earned while taking this course.

The other potential negative, if you are not tech savvy that is, is the age of the videos.  It appears the video teachings were created at least 1 to 2 years prior to 2016, as interfaces and options shown in various third party websites have changed.  If I find a suggestion box, I’ll be recommending an update to the video content in order to stay current with what’s out there.  A tech savvy student however will see the changed interfaces and still be able to do 95% of the stuff shown in the videos.

If you live in Canada, as I do, the exchange rate works in your favour when exchanging your Paypal funds from USD to CAN.  That is extremely helpful for someone struggling to pay the bills!

At this point in the ShoeMoney Network course, I am about to learn about boosting a post on Facebook.  Although I’ve been actively marketing my author page on Facebook, and have a sizable business page on Facebook as well, I have never used the boost feature.  I did run Facebook ads for awhile, but those did not convert as hoped-for.  So It will be interesting to learn how ShoeMoney Network handles boosting, and see what the results are.

The biggest thing I’ve learned about this course is that it is for people who have never had a blog before, never used a newsletter system before, never created a Facebook page before, etc.  I’ve done all of this in the past, not just for myself, but for others as well.  However, we are about to reach the part of the course I’ve been interested the entire time, which is learning about the focus of this course, namely – Internet Marketing.

My goal is to glean new things that I might have skipped over so far in my own efforts, learn something new I can try for my existing websites, etc.  To that end I have made a couple notes regarding the use of autoresponders.  I need to give those notes some serious consideration going forward, to see if they will assist me in making more of a career with my writing and my books.

By the time I have done with ShoeMoney Network, I will have spent just over $70 US, and earned just over $12 if I do get paid for some tasks I’m puzzled about, and don’t make further mistakes like the two I know about.  If the marketing lessons I’m about to take turn into cash right away, that will be awesome, because I couldn’t really afford to pay for another webhost.  The course doesn’t let you input an existing webhost and accompanying url.  So that’s a disappointment.

Overall, if you are brand new to the concept of using a blog to promote your ideas, ShoeMoney Network will walk you through step by step to where you have something you can polish, populate, and promote.

Thank you Jeremy for paying me as I take this course!  Your concept is unique and something I’ll also tuck into the back of my brain for future ideas.

If you’d like to get paid to take this course for yourself, Click here to register.  It isn’t every day that someone is willing to pay you to take their course instead of asking for registration fees.

EDIT:  MAJOR EDIT ALERT!  I completed the white to black belts in two days, and the real meat of the focus at ShoeMoney Network has suddenly been unlocked!  I hadn’t seen these before this evening!  Attendees of this course get access to over $400 worth of further, deeper, more in-depth online marketing training upon completion of their Black Belt!  Two courses and a PDF’d textbook for one of them, plus a number of unlocked instruction videos covering link tracking, legalese and copyright, even making wise and optimized use of services such as Youtube and Pinterest.

Now Pinterest has already been rather instrumental in the sales of my grad gift, “Mom’s Little Black Book: Godly Advice for the High School Graduate”, which I sell on Amazon, on my author blog, and many others places online.  I’ve even made a video about how to use Pinterest for Authors.  But these advanced online marketing courses are precisely what I was after when I signed up!  I just thought for awhile that maybe they weren’t there.  I apologize. . . I was wrong, and I’m quite happy to admit it!