Sign up for Pinecone Research & earn money for taking surveys


Wanting to make a little income taking surveys? Pinecone Research has some openings available for new applicants!

Pinecone Research is one of my very favorite survey companies and one that I found offered the most surveys for the best pay. Now, mind you, you’re not going to get rich taking surveys, but you can earn a nice little stream of income from it.

See more of my recommended survey companies here.

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.)
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How I got started blogging, balancing business & family, and the most important piece of advice I’d give work-at-home women

My interview with WAHM.com

Recently, I was honored to have the opportunity to be interviewed by WAHM.com — a site for work-at-home moms or those who want to be work-at-home moms.

In this interview, I share:

  • How I got started blogging
  • The most challenging aspects of having a business and a family
  • How I maintain a healthy balance between work and family
  • The most important piece of advice I’d give to any work-at-home mom

Read the full interview here.

Thinking of starting a blog? Check out my step-by-step post on how to make money blogging.

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Help! I want to start a blog but I can’t figure out what I should blog about!

How do I choose what I should blog about?

I haven’t set up my own blog yet, I’m stuck on a decision I have to make before I can really begin. How do I figure out what topic I should blog about? There seem to be blogs on pretty much every topic imaginable, so I know I could write about any topic, but how do I figure out what kinds of topics people would be interested in reading about? -Christopher

This is such a great question, Christopher, and one that many people have. Here’s my encouragement to you and anyone else who is considering starting a blog and wondering what topic would be good for them to choose as their focus:

Take out a sheet of paper or open up a blank page on your computer screen and answer these questions. There are no right or wrong answers. Just write exactly what comes to mind in answer to these — anything and everything you think of.

  • What do you love?
  • What are your interests?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What words come to mind to describe you?
  • What unique life perspective do you have?
  • What could you talk about for hours and not get tired of?

After you’ve done this exercise, then wait a few days and take out another sheet of people or start a new page on your computer and ask a few close friends and/or family members to go through the questions with you giving their answers and input.

At the end of all of this, you should see some themes emerging and this should give you some direction for where to go with your blog.

How to Choose What Topic to Blog About

One important note: I believe that the most successful bloggers are people who solve a problem, provide hope, and/or meet a need. When you are considering what you should focus on when you blog, make sure that you are seeking to do at least one of these things through your writing. If not, I encourage you to go back to the drawing board.

Here are a few things to consider:

1. You don’t have to pick just one topic.

While there is definitely a place for a very niche blog, I think it’s much easier to choose a focus for your blog that encompasses at least a few different topics.

This not only makes your blog more appealing to a wider audience, but it also provides you with more blogging options and it makes it less likely for you to run out of post ideas within a few months!

2. The best way to learn is to just start writing.

I’m a big fan of just jumping in and learning as you go. Yes, it’s good to have an idea in mind of where you’re headed for the first few months. And no, I don’t recommend publicly announcing your blog when you haven’t even written one post. However, don’t sit around and spend hours agonizing over a topic; just jump in and start writing posts.

Here’s the thing: it’s hard to really know what works best until you just get out there and try it. I would have never guessed that I would love writing on some of the topics I’m passionate about today. And I certainly would have never guessed that so many people would have been so wildly interested in certain topics. Had I sat and planned and brainstormed and mapped out and goal-set and analyzed and never just DONE SOMETHING, I wouldn’t have figured out what I loved to write about or what the market wanted.

So truly, just go for it. Start writing posts. Try different kinds of styles of posts. Experiment with different topic angles. Keep learning, keep tweaking, keep observing what’s hitting a nerve and what’s not. And then keep doing what works and let go of the things that don’t work.

How to Choose a Topic to Blog About

3. It’s perfectly acceptable to change your focus down the road.

When I started my first blog, I would have never dreamed that I would someday be writing about intentional finance, intentional family, and intentional business. At the time, we were just trying to make ends meet financially, I had just had my first child, and I was trying to figure out how I could make enough money from home to keep our family afloat financially while allowing me to still be a stay-at-home mom.

I was not in a position to be blogging about intentional finances, family, or business because I had little to no life experience in those areas. In the beginning, I tried out a LOT of different topics. In fact, my blog was so eclectic that I really couldn’t tell you what the focus of it was.

I had a lot of learning to do and a lot of life to live. But honing and sharpening my writing and thinking skills by blogging about whatever I was passionate about that day was one of the best exercises for a budding blogger. Not only did I quickly discover how little I knew, I also discovered there were a lot of topics I shouldn’t be blogging on — because I had no life experience to bring to the table.

As I continued to experiment, I slowly learned things that worked, learned areas I was qualified to write on, and developed a better understanding of what kind of blogging focus was a good fit for me. It took me a few years, though, and lots of writing and trial and error to find that happy medium.

Pick some topics you think will be a good fit for you, jump out there and start writing about them, and keep learning and tweaking as you go. I’m cheering for your success!

What advice do the rest of you have for Christopher? If you’re a blogger, how did you choose the focus of your blog? I’d love to hear!

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Thinking Of Starting a Blog?

Over the years, I’ve received many requests from folks asking for help and information on how to start a blog and how to make money blogging. I’ve written about this in past years, but I wanted to let you know that I recently put together a comprehensive page on How to Make Money Blogging with updated information and links. I encourage you to check it out here if you’re interested in how to make money blogging.For those who already have established blogs and are looking for some encouragement and inspiration to take them to the next level, my good friend, Ruth, has opened up enrollment for her brand-new course called the Elite Blog Academy.

This course will guide you through the process of creating a successful blog and show you, step by step, exactly how to grow a loyal following, generate a sustainable income, and transform your passion into a profitable business. Find out more details here. If you’re interested in purchasing, you can get $50 off by using coupon code IBLOG at checkout. Note: Course enrollment is only open through September 30, 2014.

photo credit; photo credit; photo credit

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Income-Earning Opportunity: Become a Mystery Shopper with MSI Services/TrendSource

msi

Looking for a way to earn some extra income? Mystery shopping might be a great option for you!

When we were first married, I did a lot of mystery shopping. And while it was sometimes tedious work, there were also many fun opportunities — like beauty shops, expensive restaurants that we would have never been able to afford to eat at otherwise, fast food restaurants, and more!

There are many different reputable mystery shopping companies out there that you can apply to work with. One such company is MSI Services/TrendSource and they are recruiting right now, specifically for grocery store mystery shop projects. Here’s what they emailed me about this opportunity:

MSI Services/TrendSource is recruiting Independent Field Agents to participate in Unrevealed Mystery Shop Projects at local grocery stores. An Independent Field Agent is an independent contractor who is paid to anonymously complete an evaluation and inspection of a local business based on specific criteria.

Independent Field Agents pose as regular customers while performing their evaluation. After the project is complete, Independent Field Agents submit their collected data through an online evaluation form.

A typical evaluation looks for the following information:

  • Counting the number of associates in each department.
  • Evaluating whether associates actively engage with customers.
  • Reporting how associates engage with customers.
  • Reporting how associates respond to specific questions.

ready

Becoming a mystery shopper is a great way to get reimbursed for your groceries. MSI Services/TrendSource pays agents twice monthly for their projects. Independent Field Agents spend approximately 30 minutes on-site.

Are you interested in applying for this opportunity? Head over to MSI Services/TrendSource to learn more and apply to become an Independent Field Agent today!

{Note: This post was underwritten by TrendSource. Read our disclosure policy here.}

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at my blogging processes

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I was honored to be interviewed by iBlog Magazine recently about blogging, online marketing, and what I’ve learned from this crazy and wild adventure I’ve been on as a blogger for the past almost 10 years.

In this interview, I share a behind-the-scenes look at some of my blogging processes, how I’ve grown my team (and some key advice for those of you who are thinking of hiring a virtual assistant), my Pinterest strategy and how much time I invest in it on a daily basis, the platform I’m currently experiencing with, plus a number of lessons I’ve learned the hard way as a blogger.

If you are a blogger, an online entrepreneur, or just want to know more about the behind-the-scenes of MoneySavingMom.com, I think you’ll enjoy watching this interview. Head over here to view it.

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