How I Made $1000+ a Month as a College Student

I do this. Every single day.

I do this. Every single day.

Holy crap it’s been a while. Almost a year to be exact. Regardless, I’ve been actually making money online, and IT’S FREAKIN’ AWESOME. Seriously, I’ve waited like 5 years for this. Yay. But enough bragging, you could totally do this too, whether you’re a college student or not, you can earn something on the side for sure. If you aren’t in college, this might take a bit longer to set up since you’re working, but it still works. Here are the two ways that I’m currently earning income:

Freelance Writing from Elance

Wage:  0.05 cents/word (1000 words is roughly 50 dollars not including Elance Fee)

Monthly Income: Around $450/month ($0 right now though, read below for why)

I should mention that my current situation is that they are switching to a much better CMS(like WordPress) and  are currently not paying for any new articles at the moment. However, Elance is great for getting writing gigs. With my particular employer, there isn’t a word limit, meaning I can write as much as I want to as long as it’s at least 1000 words. So with that, I’m making at least 50 dollars per article. The ability to increase my income is dependent on increasing my word count per article or assigning myself more articles for the week. While I have the option, it’s seriously as exciting as eating sand. Writing about mundane topics for 1000 words is hard enough, let alone 2000-2500. I’m lucky in that I only have one employer who pays me very well, but if this is something you want to do, feel free to get multiple contracts from those who are hiring if you’d like.

This also isn’t strictly for writers either. If you do web design, programming, even photography or illustrations chances are your skills are needed. If you have any questions about how to freelance your skills, leave them in the comments. 

Upsides

  • Can increase income
  • Work from home

Downsides

  • Topics can be boring; research is time consuming
  • Elance is competitive, expect rejection and low priced bids at first

Bottom Line

If you do plan on freelance writing, be sure to keep your profile up to date and your portfolio fresh. Use your academic papers as writing samples or blog posts that you’ve written previously. Writing samples are your friends and Elance is very competitive, so get your experience and feedback in. Don’t have any? Then start writing! Write about any topic you want, as long as it’s well researched and has a consistent voice, you should be fine. I do plan on quitting as soon as my other source of income can supplement this (which won’t take very long if I apply myself) because as stated earlier, freelance writing is very time consuming.

SEO Consulting

Monthly income: $1k

My friends have asked me what it is I do, and I usually just say that I do “Internet” or “Websites” and that’s usually good enough. Well if you’re one of my friends reading this (which you probably are…sorry we haven’t hung out :\) prepare to be filled with shock and awe and discover what it is I do!(Not really)

SEO? What the hell is that.

It’s basically getting websites ranked in Google. For example, whenever you search in Google, whatever shows up on the first page is golden real estate. That’s where I get websites to show up. That’s basically what it boils down to, oh and we apparently have a long standing battle with Matt Cutts and Google to game the system, so there’s that. I have 2 clients with one of them paying me about $1k per month. WHADDUP.

Website Making

When doing SEO, there’s also the route of making your own sites, writing articles, making videos and monetizing them with ads, affiliate marketing, or products. I have done this, but they aren’t doing too well after the Google update. Regardless, I hand wrote all the damn articles last summer and I should show you anyway because my pride can go f*ck itself.

http://foodmixerreviews.net

I have some other blogs in the works, one about nutrition and another about not being a wimpy skinny boy anymore, but those are currently in the works.

Upsides

  • It’s in VERY HIGH demand
  • You can charge a lot depending on the clients you go for(like doctors/lawyers in your area)
  • You can outsource the whole thing (I just hired a writer from the Philippines last week)

Downsides

  • Getting leads is hard (surprise surprise)
  • There’s a bit of a learning curve
  • With personal sites, you won’t see money for a while(it took me 3-4 months to see any money coming in)
  • Google’s algorithm update keeps you on your toes

If you’re interested in learning more about SEO, I don’t wanna get too technical and junk, so you can look at these sites since they explain it world’s better than I ever could (but I probably will try to later on anyway).

Some Awesome, In Your Face, Kick-Ass Resources(I go to these places basically every day.)

Seosunite.com Forum

Source-Wave.com

Matthew Woodward’s Blog

Viperchill

Cloudlivingjourney.com 

My 5k/month in 1 Year Plan

So there’s this “plan” that I have, where I basically want to make 5k a month through what I’m doing right now. I want to quit the writing job (which is basically nonexistent at this point) and do more personal SEO sites that interest me. I’ll probably do more affiliate sites for Amazon(like my food mixer site) and try my hand at local clients. The great thing is, I can really spread my income out wide and do a lot of things with SEO. So I got options. I’d ideally like to be making 3k/month by graduation, and 5k/month by next year. I’m already 1/5th there, how hard could it be right???

Anyways, that’s the end of this post. Again, If you have any questions about how to make money with your existing skills, leave them in the comments and we’ll figure it out.

Making my first sale on Etsy: A Reflection

We did it. We totally did it.

Words can’t describe how excited I am about this. I ACTUALLY SOLD SOMETHING TO SOMEONE WHO WASNT MY MOTHER. A real life person! Shouts out to you, new customer. You have given me motivation to actually do this and not kick it to the side like I do with all my other escapades. While it’s only my first sale, and it’s not enough data really to track a trend, it definitely did come out of left field for me.

# of views does not equal number of sales.

This one was a surprise, and while its obvious advice, its baffling when it hits you. I got a request for a custom order for a photo I haven’t even promoted yet, and was not featured or did not have that many views.

focusing on good photos

this leads me to believe that i may have to take shop on the content that I provide, although it could be a billion other things.

custom equals good. packages?

i guess people do like some choice and custom orders are what got me my first sale, so i might just keep going with that and add some nice packages, like packages for the home, the office, etc.

providing good customer service/follow up/retention

well now i can test out my customer retention model and customer service model. offering a discount for repeat purchases is something i’m looking into implementing, and of course building a list for a bimonthly newsletter as well. we’ll see how it all goes!

showing my product to the best place for it: Etsy itself.

this doesn’t seem that much of a revelation, but I have been posting my blog posts and shooting them to twitter, facebook, and social bookmarking sites, but most of my traffic comes from Etsy, and I need to be more involved with Etsy and the community there.

While there are other things like seasonal trends and colors that are in style, thats all I can really assess from my first sale. Now time to set some sales goals and really get the ball rolling. Ciao!

 

-Patrick

 

 

Selling my Photography on Etsy – Why I’m Doing It

So I’ve decided to try my hand at selling my photograph prints on etsy (I’ve also applied at a restaurant as a barista, can you say typical NY starving artist? Oh joy to me.)

Well I’ve decided to try and really push my photography and selling prints to people. They’re a little on the expensive side, as each one is custom and hand made by me. I’ll post more pictures on the process and things, but you should check out my photography page and look at some of the prints, and if you’re on etsy, add me to your circle! I’d love to check your stuff out.

I have a whole marketing plan and all that, but it’s all just a pipe dream for now. I’ll be making a contact list and reaching out to my extended network both here and at home for anyone interested in canvas art. Either way I’m essentially moving from amateur hobbiest to semi-pro, but it all starts with the first sale! My first sale will validate my idea and feed my ego, which is also sometimes   a good thing.

I’m also doing this in tandem with my Amazon Affiliate websites, which I’ve been slacking on ever since I started on etsy, so I gotta start hustling some more again and get things back on track.

The reason why I’m selling on Etsy is because aside from having an awesome office, I feel like it resonates with creating something of value, that you can offer to the world, which is totally bringing the hippie out in me. I sort of am excited to learn how to stretch my own canvas, do acrylic gel transfers, ship my stuff out and get paid for it. It’s like I’m creating something unique and tangible that someone else wants to buy. I’m showcasing my perspective of New York and presenting it in a unique way, where no two prints, even of the same picture, are the same. And who knows? The next 2 years, it could be NYC, then the next 2 years after that, maybe Shanghai, the Philippines, Africa, Ghana, you name it.

It meshes perfectly with the idea of making an income online and loving what I do every day. I can just take my camera and walk around NYC and it could potentially fuel my income, which sounds great to me. It’s going to take a great deal of work, and with the Amazon sites I may and already have found myself split in two directions, but these two things, when set up correctly, can definitely be my own blueprint to success that I’ve only dreamed about.

So once again, come check out my store at http://www.patrickdomingo.etsy.com  and I will keep you posted, since I’m going to try and start documenting my online journey with etsy and Amazon. Cheers!

Cheers,

Patrick

My Current Project: Setting Up Online Income Streams

So I haven’t at all been posting on here because I’ve been working on figuring out a way to set up some online income streams. Now, before you call “Bullshit” on this, hear me out. A lot of people are making a living online, even some people are selling their art on Etsy (which is what I plan on doing) and have made a decent side income on it. My goal is to have multiple streams of these, so I can diversify my income in case one goes under. I want to treat my income like people treat stocks –don’t put them all in one basket.

I’m setting up some websites that can cover my basic expenses (around $3000/month) then I can do my whole “travel and photograph the world” plan I’ve always wanted to do.

What’s awesome about this, is that most of the work solely depends on how much I put in, and once it’s set up, it will continue to grow with various tweaks and tests. Don’t get me wrong, this is a hell of a lot of work and takes months, even years to set up. I’m going to try and hack my way into it. More on the websites later.

P.S. I’m trying to tweet more, mainly asking questions and things like that, none of that “omg this is my day” crap. Follow me! :D @patdomingo

Cheers,

Patrick

A Quick Update

patrickdomingo

To all you people who occasionally read my blog, I apologize that I haven’t been blogging very much. I’ve been working on my website that will in a couple of years, (hopefully) give me some type of passive income. More on that later.

All I’ve really been doing is meeting up with old friends, making new ones, enjoying life. One thing I’m excited about is that tonight I will be meeting one of my favorite author/bloggers Ramit Sethi of the awesome blog I Will Teach You To Be Rich, and also Noah Kagan, founder of AppSumo. They seem like cool dudes, and I’m sure I can learn a lot from them, but I have no idea what to expect.

For now? Working. Paying off my credit card. Photographing whatever. Making Websites.

That’s the update! Off to work. Ciao.

-Patrick

P.S. If you don’t know, I entered a photography contest where I can possibly win $25,000 and a trip around the world! Please show your support by going to this page: patrickdomingo.see.me/onelife2012 

Food Photography: How to Make Food Look Shmexy For Less Than $20

It’s 5:30AM in the morning, and it’s way too damn hot to sleep, so I figure I’ll just rock out to some Beastie Boys and start on this blog post I’ve been postponing all week. Why not?

I’ve been doing food photography for my girlfriend’s food blog at Les Saveurs De Mimi for the last month or so. It’s an interesting relationship really. Our cooking/photographing time is when there is any semblance of normalcy. Every other time we’re just adorably weird. However, we made a deal that if she cooks the food, I have to make the food look good. The problem comes by the time I’m done photographing, since the food’s already sort of cold. It still isn’t bad, so this is just an ode to how much pain and suffering I have to go through to photograph it and make it look good, only to eat it cold. Not that I’m complaining. Far from it. I swear I will die of diabetes/some food related disease very soon. She cooks too many good things to not eat/photograph.

I use a simple 1 light set up with a plastic white picnic cover on it, which Mimi holds directly overhead, right above the food, and it’s done me wonders. I have Mimi’s food photography class that I dropped into to thank for that. It’s so ghetto, but works so well.

Here are some photos that I’ve taken with this setup:

I also do tethered shooting, just because it frees up the space on my camera, and it looks cool. However the set up can become to cumbersome, especially if you’ve been waiting to eat said food for an hour or two, so in that case it’s just better to shoot and get it over with before you eat. Tethered shooting’s awesome because it goes directly into your camera for viewing.

A quick tip on plating/composition/exposure.

I’m not saying I’m an expert, but if you know photography, then you’ve probably stumbled upon the rule of thirds. If not, it’s basically just a tic tac toe board across the screen, and all you need to care about is the intersection points, as those are the points that will make things aesthetically pleasing for you and the viewer. I also like to add some color if I can (garnishing with salsa, rosemary or other herbs) just to give it an extra pop. I keep my aperture wide open, around f11, unless I am looking for some bokeh, then I bring as big as possible. I shoot with shutter-priority, meaning I keep the shutter at at least 1/60 so I can shoot hand held, and either crank up the ISO or “stop-down” the aperture. Food placement and less negative (white) space is what I’ve learned from the food photography class. You just gotta play around with your food and see how it goes. Here’s my equipment list.

Equipment List:
Camera: Nikon D3100
Laptop: Macbook Pro
white plastic table cloth from Goodwill for $1
Software for tethered shooting: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 with a D3100 plugin or Image Capture on a Mac can be used for free.
Home Depot Lights – $13
Tungsten lightbulb – $5

Total: $19

So if you’re trying to get yourself some shmexy photos, the one-light-overhead-softbox-ghetto set up is what I would recommend for you if your’e just starting out. Happy shooting!

Cheers,

Patrick

Slow Carb Diet Quick Start Guide

So if you’re interested in getting started with the Slow Carb Diet, maybe this post can help. I’ve had some friends who have followed this and have lost anywhere from 10lbs in a week to 30lbs in a month. Here’s how you can get started:

I’m not going to reiterate what has already been said. Read this post if you want to get started.

After you read that post, here are some unexpected restrictions and expectations you will/might encounter.

You’ll be eating a lot of the same meals over and over again, so plan your entire week out.

Pick a day like Sunday, and cook in batches. Use tupperware and store food in your fridge for the rest of the week. We didn’t follow it and spent more money than we should have on Chipotle lunches. Save yourself $10 a day and make it at home.

Have an accountability partner.

With Mimi, who made everything taste good, it was much easier than when I tried to do it by myself. Have a friend or your roommate do it with you, it makes it so much easier.

No fruit juice or dairy

This means no fruits or fruit juice, cheese, or milk.

Beans are a staple of the diet, it keeps you full.

If you don’t like beans, up the protein and veggie intake to stay full.

Butter’s OK.

Yayyyyyyyyyyyyy

Workouts are optional

We both lost weight and we worked out a total of 1 time for the last 2 weeks. If you want faster results, add Occam’s Protocol to your SCD.

Some staple meals:

Eggs/Turkey Bacon

Chipotle Burrito Bowl (or any general mexican bowl without the tortilla/taco bowl itself)

Steak/Chicken and Veggies

There is some room to mess up, but results will be compromised.

That bleu cheese in your salad might be a small amount, but the “just one bite” mentality might get to you, so it’s better to just stay away from any small amounts of anything that you could snack on. If you’re hungry or not full from a meal, just have another one. If you must snack on something, carrots and almonds, but only a handful.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment in the section below. Thanks!

Patrick

 

Slow Carb Diet: The Last Day + Photo Contest!

Apologies for the late post, but I had to ‘ve decided to combine both today’s post and yesterday’sLast day today. You all might be wondering why I’ve decided to cut it short. Well considering that I failed a bunch this week, it is just way too impractical. Not saying I wouldn’t do it again, but this week has been kind of rocky with work, two classes at 8:30am and guests who we’ve had to eat with. Especially when eating out, it becomes hard to avoid carbs/fruit/dairy at restaurants. Tonight will be our last no-carb dinner night, and I can’t wait. I learned so much from this experience, about myself and my partner. I’ll probably write a lessons learned post tomorrow and a quick start guide so if anyone wants to learn how to get started and what to expect, they can do it themselves too.

Yesterday

Breakfast

Tomato soup with bacon (the tomato soup had cream in it, but we were both too lazy to make something, so it was kind of a fail)

Lunch

Watched part of Bourne Supremacy and got some carne asada, onions, bell peppers, black beans, and salsa.

Dinner

Mimi went to Eataly with her mother dearest and a friend, while I…sort of forgot to eat because I was working on my websites. Schmerp.

Today

Breakfast

Since our photography class was at 8:30am, we so cleverly forgot to put an alarm on and woke up at 8:11am. So we rushed and had no breakfast, but TOOK SOME AWESOME PHOTOS OF BREAKFAST INSTEAD.

LOOK. BREAKFAST.

Totally aced that class..even though I didn’t pay for it. Seriously though, Mimi’s cooking blog photos will be so much shmexier.

Lunch

Stupid old me decided “Oh hey let me get the veggie quiche, since there are so many vegetables in them!” Well turns out the majority of it consisted of potato. White. Carb. Potato. My first (or probably second/third) fail came when we went out for lunch with Mimi’s mom at Le Pain Quotidien. I ordered the sandwiches thinking I would just take all of the bread off. Well I caved in because I was so hungry. And it felt good that I would enjoy the sweet thing called bread once again.

Dinner

Haven’t had it yet, but it will be shrimp and veggies all sauteed in garlic. Mmmm…garlic.

Thoughts on This Experiment?

The first week was so much better. Second week, not so much. It would have been damn near impossible to do it without Mimi, so I believe an accountability partner would be helpful. Sometimes you just have to cave in, and I would assume that more restraint would be needed if you’re actually trying to lose weight. If I were 20-30 pounds over weight, I may have been more motivated to do it, but since I didn’t need to really lose any, perhaps the second week I just lost motivation(although I did end up having a somewhat slimmer waist).

I definitely urge anyone who’s looking to slim down a bit to try this out for at least a week, two if you’re really motivated and have a friend you can rely on. Again I’ll probably come up with a quick start guide and post it up tomorrow.

P.S. I just entered a photo contest which would help me go around the world and win $25,000! If you check out my page and click “Collect Me” it will help me win. I’d definitely appreciate it if you did. Thanks!

Link to Photo Contest: www.patrickdomingo.see.me/onelife2012

Cheers,

Patrick

Slow Carb Diet: Day 8

Today wasn’t so bad, considering the food photography class, which was awesome. Definitely gonna write a guide on it. Look out for that coming really soon. Funny since I’m in a final group, but I’m only auditing the class, so it’s not like I’ll get a grade or anything. Anyways, really quickly here’s the eating list.

Breakfast

  • Mimi’s leftover sweet Italian sausage with green bellpeppers and onions.

Lunch

  • Taco Salad (surprise surprise) from Kimmel

Dinner

Finally another picture!

 

Easily the worst photo I’ve ever posted, but oddly the most delicious dinner I’ve had in a while. I think it’s the bacon that makes it so much better. Not pictured was mushrooms and spinach sauteed in butter, which also made everything taste so good. We tried to make our own version of KFC’s double decker chicken sandwich, but that kind of failed. I feasted like a king once again.

On another note, we have an alarming amount of sweets in the fridge, including chocolate truffles, a frozen ice cream pie, and pumpkin bites. Oh shall we feast on Saturday. We’re still contemplating whether or not we want to continue this through saturday into sunday and monday, but honestly, we’ve had enough of a go at it and will probably just switch to a normal diet come sunday. We may try a hybrid, with two “no white carbs” days of the week, which doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all.

P.S. For those of you who are looking to try the diet yourselves, check out Tim Ferriss’ awesome post on it. If you want some tips, recipes, want any advice, definitely check out my previous posts, or look at my girlfriend Mimi’s blog for recipes.

Cheers,

Patrick

Slow Carb Diet: Day 7 + A Question For You, the Reader.

Halal. Fries. Ice Cream. Sandwiches. Burritos. Just some of my favorite/convenient/drunk foods + a billion other things. I can’t even handle this right now. The pain…I WANT TO EAT ALL THE THINGS. I AM A RAGING EATING MACHINE. I WILL EAT EVERYTHING IN MY PATH..

Anyways..

Diet’s sort of inconveniencing me in terms of..well convenience. Street carts, birthday celebrations, drinking(water), trying all of the foods. I don’t know how people with full time jobs do it. I have just a part time job and after everything I can barely keep up. I just can’t wait for this week to be over, then it’s back to gorging with my every-day-is-a-cheat-day mentality.

I’m glad I’m doing it though. I can’t believe it’s only been one whole week! Time’s gone by so slowly for me, and it’s taught me a lot about myself. I’ve learned to be more patient and disciplined with my decisions, and while pure willpower can only go so far when changing a habit, it is still necessary for a habit to be changed. Hopefully I’ve learned to be more conscious about my eating decisions and be less impulsive when it comes to eating out and drinking.

Here’s the typical eating list.

Breakfast

  • Cobb Salad at Pret a Manger (accidentally ate some blue cheese and some cranberries, but felt like a negligible amount)

Lunch

  • Tri Tip Steak Salad at Grand Central Station

Dinner

  • Las Tortugas Tortilla Steak Salad (without the taco shell)

Salad was a huge theme of today. Glad I got tons of veggies, but wow I felt so..”diet-y” I guess. Went to my favorite bar to do some keyword research and drink (real) water. Not a bad day, although I got a lot of work to do for the next week. Tomorrow will be a 7AM wake up call for Mimi’s Food Photography class, which I will be dropping into :) Can’t wait, uber excited. But enough about me, a couple of things that require the attention of you, my fellow reader(if there is anyone reading this, of course).

I’ve realized talking about myself all the time, while enjoyable, is a tad narcissistic and I’d like to start providing posts that are helpful to you.

I have some ideas, but I’d like to hear your thoughts? Here are some of mine:

Self-Improvement (Achieving Goals, Getting Things Done, etc.)

Photography (Lighting, Composition, Headshots, Pricing Your Work, Membership Comparisons)

Health & Fitness  (Getting in shape, eating right)

Random Helpful Tips (Best Brunch Spots in NYC, Flea Markets, How to Haggle)

I figure I’d probably start writing about all of those, since I don’t want to be pigeonholed into one thing just yet, but I wonder if there’s anything specific that you’re interested in reading about? Maybe it’s too early for that? Either way I’d like to know.

Give me your thoughts in the comment section!