Did you know that there are thousands of people who make a living just entering contests and sweepstakes? I know it seems crazy, but for some entering contests is a full-time job. Most only earn an extra few thousand dollars each year, but for those who are particularly dedicated, or perhaps lucky, the annual haul can number in the tens of thousands of dollars.
I have immersed myself in this world this year and although I’m still waiting for the big win, I have a few tips if you would like to take a shot at earning extra money by entering contests.
1. Decide what’s worth your time
There are hundreds of thousands of contests open for entries at any one time so you’ll never have a shortage of contests to enter. You’ll need to set some ground rules for yourselves before undertaking your role as a professional sweepstaker. Will you enter only contests offering cash prizes? Or, will you choose to enter as many contests as possible and resell any items you may win that you don’t want?
You’ll also need to decide what type of contests you want to enter. As you begin to explore this world you’ll learn that there are many categories to choose from. Some are instant win sweepstakes and are as easy as entering your name, email, and street address into an online form while others may require you carefully mail in an entry using a certain sized envelope and black ink. And yet, others may require even more work such as writing an essay, filming a video, or coming up with a catchy jingle. The contests that require more effort always receive less entries and therefore increase your chances of winning, however they may occupy a lot more of your time. What kind of sweepstaker will you be? Will you enjoy filling out hundreds of forms each day or would you prefer to invest your time in a few, more challenging contests?
2. Sign up for a form filler
You will save yourself quite a bit of time and perhaps ever some carpal-tunnel if you sign up for a form filler. These programs make it easy to fill out forms as they automatically enter your information every time they see a form box. All you will have to do is hit the Submit button. It’s not hard to find these programs and many of them are free. One that I have used is RoboForm and it works great.
3. Use a Sweepstakes service
There are several services that gather contests from all over the web and list them in one place to make it easy to enter many quickly. One such site that I enjoy is SweepsAdvantage. They have over 5,000 current contests you can enter, plus they allow you to check off the ones you have already completed which can help keep yourself organized. I love reading the forum on this site too. The veterans always post when they get a win and it’s always very inspiring/motivating. Every time one of them wins a car or $10,000 dollars I usually get the urge to spend the day entering as many contests as possible!
4. Get a new email address
Do yourself a favor and head over to Yahoo or Gmail and sign up for an email address you will use exclusively for sweepstaking. Entering hundreds of sweepstakes usually results in hundreds of new emails that may crowd up your email inbox. Plus, I’m always so nervous that the “You’re a Winner!” email will get lost in my regular email inbox.
If you choose to try your hand at sweepstaking make sure you set a schedule that allows you to enter as many contests as possible. Most of the veterans set a schedule so that enter at least 100 contests a day, but some may enter up to 1,000 contests each and every day. The amount of time you spend is really up to you, but the more you enter the higher your chances will certainly be. And remember, be patient. It may be weeks or months before you get your first win.
Good luck Penny Hoarders! Please let me know in the comments if you win anything exciting or have won anything in the past that your particularly proud of.