Sunday, December 8, 2013

Crush It – a review

Crush It: Why now is the time to cash in on your passion,  by Gary Vaynerchuk

With the recent economic downturn and so many people out of work there has been an upsurge in self-employment.  Many people want to start their own business but don’t know what sort of business to get in to.  Gary Vaynerchuk shows us how to cash in on what we are most passionate about in this business classic.

As Vayerchuk warns it will take a lot of work to make that dream come true, but if you are doing something you love it won’t seem like work.

There is a lot of emphasis in the business world right now on Branding; how to make your product or service stand out among the rest.  Whether you are an individual or have a small to medium sized business creating a memorable brand and using it to market your business across all the social media and internet is the new wave of marketing.  Crush It discusses numerous ways to develop a brand and disseminate it across the internet.

The main message of the book is to be true to yourself when creating a brand and deciding how to promote your business.  For example, I’m a writer so blogging is my medium, but folks with great oral communication skills would be great at podcasting.  The key is to find what you are most comfortable with, and that is most likely what you will excel at.

Building a community of followers and customers is what you are trying to achieve.  Your community helps get the word out about your business by sharing your information through social media.

Bottom line, whatever your interest or specialty, there are people out there looking for the information, products or service you can provide.   Thanks to the internet and mobile devices we are no longer restricted to marketing only in our local area.  The whole world is open to us so we have no excuse to not get out there and Crush It.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

How to be a successful Leapforce Agent

That’s great, you’ve been given a 6 month contract to begin working as a Leapforce Agent, now what happens?   After all your online “paperwork” is completed you can start working and earning money.

Much of the work you will do will be just like the applied part of the qualification exam.  Occasionally when there isn’t much work available, you will see some odd tasks in your Evaluation platform.  These tasks will have their own instructions to follow.  If the task is not very complicated the instructions will appear above the task itself.  If it is a complex task there will be a link to a pdf document that you can read to learn how to complete the task.  I recommend leaving the pdf open on your computer while you do the task, that way you can quickly refer to it when needed.

How to get good review scores

Leapforce reviews its agents’ performance monthly.  Most novice agents worry about getting good reviews.  There is a good chance that your first reviews won’t be very good.  Leapforce is aware of this and they will give you time to improve, but they do expect to see improvement in the first few months.  Leapforce will provide detailed explanations of their reviews of your evaluations.  When you get your review read the explanations carefully and learn from them.  There are also simulations on your rater home page that you can do to improve your skills.

You may occasionally disagree with the reviewer on how they interpreted the intent of the query, but you can’t argue about it so just learn from it and move on.  To be successful you have to learn how to think the way Leapforce thinks.  In order to get consistent ratings from all their workers they need us to all be thinking the same way, they aren’t looking for individuality.

How to monitor your speed

Another issue of concern to new workers is how to be sure that you are working fast enough.  Leapforce will have you change the time on your invoice if you work slower than their average time estimate.  But they don’t measure the time spent on each task individually, rather it is an average of all the tasks you’ve done in a month divided by the estimated time that should have been spent on all of those tasks.  So if you go too slow on some tasks it will even out as long as you work fast on others. 

It is difficult to keep track of your time while also trying to research and rate the webpages in your task. So it is best to not try to keep track of your time, but just be sure you are working efficiently. 

Some tips for working efficiently

  •   Have everything you need nearby before you login to start work
  •  Minimize distractions, turn off the phone, make sure everyone else in the house knows you are not to be disturbed when you are working
  • If you find a fascinating website or video that you must spend more time on – bookmark it and come back later when you are not working
  •  If something happens and you have to stop working for more than a few minutes, log out and log back in later
  • If a particular type of task takes you consistently longer to do than their estimate, don’t do that type of task unless there is no other choice, or at least don’t do those very often

What to do if there isn’t enough work for you on Leapforce

Leapforce does have slow periods when there isn’t much work available.  We agents have no control over that, but there are things you can do to maximize the amount of work you are offered.

  • Keep your review scores above average
  •  Always try to qualify for any new project they announce.  Leapforce will often give agents the opportunity to qualify for new projects.  Qualifying means learning new instructions and guidelines and doing some tasks that are evaluated to see if you can follow the guidelines.  Although this can result in time spent reading the guidelines without pay, if you qualify you will have more work available to you than if you didn’t try to qualify.  The more tasks you are qualified to do, the more work will be offered to you.
  •  Have a back-up plan like Mechanical Turk, Clickworker or freelancing to supplement your income when Leapforce work is not available.

Keeping in mind that I can’t discuss the specifics of how to complete particular tasks, is there anything that you would like me to discuss on the blog?

Thanks for reading Leaving Low Wages!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Passive Income!

© Nejron | Dreamstime; Stock Photos
What are Niche Sites?

There are people making money online through (relatively) passive income websites. These sites are often called Niche Sites because they focus on a narrow market and have a focused customer base.  They do it by setting up a website that is primarily focused on selling a product or specific product type; the site earns money when people buy the product.  Affiliate marketing is another way to sell a product by linking to a commercial site where the customer buys the product.  An affiliate marketer will have advertising and product information on the page with links to the product page of the seller.  When the user clicks on the link on the affiliate site and buys the product on the seller’s site, the affiliate earns a commission. Until the affiliate site begins showing up on the first or second page of search engine results it probably won’t make much money, so most of the work early on is getting traffic to the site.  Once the site is getting a good share of traffic it will earn income without a lot of additional work.

What is required to start an affiliate marketing or commercial site?

Website and Domain name

Although you could build an affiliate or commercial site from a free blog there are restrictions on how you can organize and monetize that blog site which will limit your ability to compete with other commercial sites.  A free blog format limits how you can organize the site; the blog format may not be appropriate or as user friendly as you want if you are selling products.

When choosing a domain name you want to include the main keywords that will direct people in the market you are targeting to your site.  Having the keywords in the domain name will also help your site show up on the first page of search engine results.  It is important to have your site on the first page of search results because as you probably know users rarely search past the first page and almost never go past the second page.

Keyword Research

The choice of keywords is important in getting users to your site.  You ideally want keywords that are searched fairly often, but you also don’t want keywords that have a lot of high-ranking competing sites.  A beginner shouldn’t start out trying to compete for keywords like “quick weight loss” or “cheap Viagra” there is just too much competition.  So you need to research your keywords to find just the right balance between a highly searched topic and low competition from other sites.


Once you have chosen your topic and keywords you have to be able to write (or have someone else write) a substantial amount of content for your site.  This content should include useful information, product reviews, comparisons, product options, how to choose the best product, etc.  If your site is too thin on content it will eventually be downgraded by Google and other search engines and will show up lower on search engine results.

Creating Backlinks

Backlinks are links to your site from other related websites.  Backlinks are needed to provide users with another way to find your site, and backlinks are used by Google to determine the quality of your site.  Google uses both the number and of the backlinks to rate the quality of your site.  The higher the quality of your site, the higher Google will place it in the list of search results.

On-site SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Not as important, but also not to be ignored, is the process of optimizing your titles, headings, tags and content for the keywords you want to focus on to bring people to your site.

On-Site Ads and Affiliate Links

Google Adsense provides ads that are geared to the searcher and the site.  It is easy to sign up and get started

Amazon has an affiliate program that allows you to link to any product sold on, and they sell almost anything.  You can get more information or sign up for the Amazon affiliates program here:

Commission Junction also lists other commercial sites that have affiliate programs or that want to place banner ads on appropriate websites.  For more information go to:

Niche Site Duel

I haven’t started a niche site yet, I’m still studying and learning the process, but one blogger that I follow, Pat Flynn of, has started what he calls the Niche Site Duel.  He has challenged his readers to follow along with him as he starts a niche site and goes through the process step-by-step.  I’ve committed to joining in the Duel.  I don’t know what niche I’m going to target yet, I’m still in the keyword research process.  As I get deeper into the process I’ll be posting on each step in more detail.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Leapforce Qualification Exam Advice

Recently several people have asked me about the Leapforce qualification exam so I thought I’d write a short post to address this kind of question.  I can tell from what people are asking that the exam is very different now from the one I took 2 years ago, so my experience taking the exam probably won’t help any of you taking it now.  When I took the exam I was tested on only one type of evaluation task, and I don’t think they even use that task anymore, at least I haven’t seen it in over a year.  So the best I can do is give you general advice.

What Leapforce is testing is how well you can follow instructions, and how well you can understand and apply the guidelines when evaluating a landing page or website.  Therefore, the best advice I can give is to study the guidelines, go over the examples they provide until you understand what they want.  Do not try to apply your own criteria when making an evaluation—Leapforce wants everyone evaluating the same way so everyone must use the guidelines and not their own opinions.

It may seem like a lot of studying that you aren’t being paid for, but if you enjoy doing this type of work it will pay off in the end.  Leapforce pays the best of the work-at-home opportunities I’ve researched.  It’s good to have a back-up source of income when Leapforce doesn’t have enough work to keep you busy, but I still rely on my Leapforce income a lot.

To everyone taking the qualification exam:  Study hard and good luck!

Updated Information Available!  Read the most current information here: Explaining the Leapforce Qualification Exam

See my initial post on Leapforce and my 2nd year Leapforce Update