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Making More Money

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For 8 years now, I’ve been self employed. When I lost my corporate job after I refused to travel any more after my second child was born, I knew I had to find something that would allow me to stay home. After six months of stay at home mom unemployment, I knew I needed a job. During late night browsing sessions, I discovered virtual assistants, and knew that was the route for me. EPOH was born.

I’ve definitely had my ups and downs, taking pay cuts with economy crash, having clients fail to pay, gaining and losing clients along the way. But I’ve been able to support us, that is until last fall, I took a pretty big hit when my very first client had to let me go as their business just couldn’t support my cost anymore, and I couldn’t afford to work for a significantly lower rate.

I thought I could make it, I thought it would be fine. But then I fell behind. Then in November, after putting in a small time of marketing things started to look up again. And since then it’s been a bit of a stressful roller coaster ride of finding work. I’ve got a steady client list still, but I’m playing catch up, and trying to get ahead all at the same time. I MUST make more money, that’s all there is to it!

i love work

So this past week, with that goal in mind, I have been haunting my typical marketing methods:
1. Guru
2. Craigslist
3. Church Community Board
4. Local papers classifieds

But more importantly, I am starting to consider alternative revenue streams, which until now I’ve been very resistant to:
1. Etsy
2. Finding a local part time brick and mortar job (now that the kids are old enough and responsible enough to be left alone for short amounts of time)
3. Going back into the corporate world (really don’t want to, but more than I don’t want to, I want to be out of debt!)
4. Starting a business with my kids that has been burning a hole in my head since this time last year
5. Building my personal blog with writing and affiliate links
6. Product sales – I thought momentarily about selling some product like so many do and like Claire started doing, but I am so much of an introvert and do not do well with ‘house parties’ that have concluded that this is definitely not the route for me.

I can’t remember who said recently that in this debt pay off race you normally have more time than money which is definitely the case with me. So in my time, I am working hard to find the best way to increase my income while maintaining a healthy family life balance. I know I’ve got the skills, I just need to find the right way to go about it. Suggestions?


PACT

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Have any of you heard of the app called PACT? If not, it’s really cool and can help some of you to earn some $$$ (well, maybe not $$$, but at least a little bit of $) : )

Here’s the basic idea. You download the free app and use it to set up PACTS for yourself. There are three PACT options (you can select 1, 2, or all 3):

  1. GymPACT
  2. VeggiePACT
  3. FoodPACT

With GymPACT, you make a “pact” to work out “X” number of days per week; with VeggiePACT, your “pact” is to eat “X” number of veggie-heavy meals per week; and FoodPACT is to use a food diary to track your eats. There are some rules (a minimum of 3 days per week, 30 minute-minimum for workouts), but if you meet your goals, you get PAID for doing them! If you workout regularly anyway, you could get paid money to just do what you’re already doing for free!!!

Here’s the catch…..

If you DON’T meet your “pact”, then you OWE money!!! That’s how it works. The people who don’t meet their pacts end up paying the benefits to the members who DO meet their pacts. It’s also easy to add/remove/modify pacts (but not for the current week – must be future weeks only), so if you’re planning to go out of town, for example, you can put a “hold” on your pacts for whatever period of time you like.

So how does the app “know” if you’ve completed your pacts?

With GymPACT, your smart phone can “check in” to your gym. I don’t have a gym membership, but guess what!!! It also uses GPS/satellites to track your movements. I’ve been able to take it on runs around my neighborhood and meet my GymPACT that way (caution:  I’ve noticed the phone must track not only mileage but also movement. I’ve tried to put it in my stroller console, for example, and it doesn’t “count” my movement because the phone is stationary and I guess the ride is too smooth. If I hold it in my hand, it works fine).

With VeggiePACT, you take pictures of a veggie-heavy meal and post it to the online community for members to vote on! They can “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” your meal. You get credit if you get thumbs ups and you don’t if you get thumbs down (for example, I’ve seen someone post an apple pie…..uhhhh, totally doesn’t count!?!)

And with FoodPACT, you can diary your food either in the app or in MyFitnessPal (another free app), which PACT is set to “sync” with on a daily basis. I was already using MyFitnessPal prior to downloading PACT, so this was a no-brainer for me!

A couple caveats….

I believe you do need a smart phone in order to use PACT. I know that’s kind of a touchy subject because smart phones are NOT a necessity and many of you may not condone having them (preferring a more frugal option instead – which is great!). But, if you do happen to have a smart phone and you do any of these things regularly anyway, why not get paid to do them???

Also, the money thing… At a minimum, you have to wager $5 per pact per week. That means if you have all 3 PACTS set up and for some reason you don’t do any of them, you’re out $15 for the week. On the flip side, you don’t make anywhere near $15 (or even $5) per week if you DO keep your PACTS. My average has been about $2.00/week, and I only do the Food and GymPACT (I would never remember to photograph my meals!)

I’ve been a PACT member since January and have earned a total of $22. There was one week where I failed to keep my GymPACT and lost $5, so my net positive is $17.

Obviously you’re not going to get “rich” using this app, but I wanted to give it a blog-plug for any of you who may benefit from it. If you’d like to get started, go here and enter the promo code, GymPact$5 – you will get $5 for free just for joining (just FYI – I get NO BENEFIT from this whatsoever, this is not an affiliate link and I get no money if you do decide to join. I just want to share because I didn’t have this promo code when I joined and its like getting 2-3 weeks of PACT money free up front!)

What are some good (Free!) apps you use to make money and/or get free goods??

One of my friends swears by ShopKick, but for some reason it has never worked for me (it gives you points  you can redeem for merchandise by going to stores you already shop at anyway – like Target – but my phone never registered when I was in the store so I stopped using it).


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