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British Expat Newsletter:
18 April 2007

Hello, and welcome to those who have joined up since our last newsletter.

In this issue

  • This week: Making money online
  • Virtual Snacks
  • Bizarre Searches
  • Quotation and joke

This week

Sorry, there was no newsletter last week because we were on holiday in Cambodia. No new content either. Never mind, there’ll be more next time round.

We always ask at the end of the newsletter editorial to please let us know if you have any ideas for future topics. One such request a while back was “making money on the Internet”. A worthy topic indeed, but one which I hesitated to embark upon. Well, it’s often said that people should write about what they know. 😉

Anyway, stuck for anything else obvious to write about this week, I thought I’d give this one a go at last.

I suppose what most people mean when they talk about making money on the Internet is having some kind of portable “work from home” job, which can be done wherever you are in the world. (I’m not talking about online trading here – although that might be a subject for a future newsletter – as in most cases use of the Internet is incidental to the main activity rather than the core of the business.) It all sounds relatively straightforward although, naturally, there are many pitfalls.

The main types of jobs which fall into this category are IT-based (web design and development, web content creation) or editorial (writing and editing).

Jobs within the website design and development field might include things such as building websites for others, SEO (search engine optimisation), writing custom scripts or helping others with scripting problems; the list goes on and on. Although the barriers to entry are low – it’s very cheap to set up such a business, and the scope for expansion of the Internet is virtually limitless in theory – the competition is extremely fierce and you need to be highly skilled and dedicated to hard work to make any money at this. Even then, there’s no guarantee of success. If you’re not already doing something like this it’s probably not for you.

Alternatively you might try creating and promoting your own sites. Just about anyone can do this. Find some cheap software and create a website about your hobby, your locality, or anything you want. The catch is: will it make money? Well, website traffic is the crucial thing. It’s no good having a shiny new site with lots of interactive features for your visitors to enjoy playing with if you don’t have any visitors! Getting people to visit your site is a complex process which involves a lot of time-consuming work promoting it on other websites and on search engines.

Even then you need your visitors to actually perform some function on your site – whether it’s buying something, booking online using your links, or doing some other revenue generating thing. It’s all very well having thousands of visitors every day but if they’re just there to browse or socialise and they never buy anything from or via the site, then you’re out of pocket! So again, unless you have a fantastic idea about how your site will be different, and solid plans about how to make it work, then again I’d say, “Don’t quit the day job.”

Another option is to try writing for a living. This is another difficult area to break into; there’s fierce competition for any good assignments and it’s very difficult for newcomers to become established. On top of that it’s often low-paid, especially for newbies, so don’t expect to be able to jack in the day job unless you’ve got substantial financial reserves to fall back on. It goes without saying that you need good writing skills – basic grammar and spelling at least – before even attempting this. It might seem obvious but you don’t have to look far to find commissioning editors constantly moaning about the standard of English in much of the speculative work they receive. If you have a specialist skill such as technical writing or languages you might have more luck, as these are rare cases where demand appears to outstrip supply.

A trawl around the various writers’ sites should give you some ideas, whether you want to write articles, a book, or even a screenplay. There are also some good mailing lists you can join who will email paid writing opportunities to you. So the possibilities are there, it’s just that it’s not easy.

If your grammar and spelling skills are good but you’re not particularly creative, you might try giving proofreading and copy editing a go. A good proofreader is likely to get a fairly steady flow of work, especially if they have a specialist skill or technical knowledge they can bring to bear on the draft they’re correcting. But again, the rates are not that fantastic. So it’s likely to be more a way of earning a bit of beer money rather than the mainstay of your income.

There are a wide array of jobs and various things you can do to make money at home (and of course that’s to say nothing of the non-Internet opportunities). We don’t have the space here to go into everything in detail, but I hope that’s given you a small taster at least.

Finally, I said at the start of this piece that there are some pitfalls. Avoiding scams is the main one. If I had £1 for every advert I’ve seen telling me I can make $5,000 a day or get rich within a week, I would indeed be a millionaire. Always remember: if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Yes, there are people who’ve struck rich; but they’re usually among the first to discover a clever technique. By the time every man and his dog are selling it the opportunity for wealth has probably long gone. Be careful out there.

Do you have anything to say about this topic? Or do you have some suggestions for other issues we might discuss in our weekly email? Why not tell us on the forum?
British Expat Forum: BE Newsletter discussion

Virtual Snacks

Just a few suggestions if you have a little time to spare:

Here’s a great way to make money – build a tongue-in-cheek site taking the mickey out of get-rich-quick schemes!
Buymystupidebook.com

[Obsolete content and links removed]

Bizarre Searches

Some strange search terms which have led people to visit British Expat recently:

  • an ill woodwind
  • toyah battersby looks like 7 of 9
  • hitler s bunker address
  • boob jobs in grimsby
  • freckles.talent
  • sewn with hankies
  • just born peeps for sale vancouver
  • bird eye custard
  • rotrax body
  • shpping sex

Till next time…
Happy surfing!

Kay
Editor
British Expat Magazine

Quotation

“The sweat of hard work is not to be displayed. It is much more graceful to appear favoured by the gods.”

– Maxine Hong Kingston, US author (1940- ), in The Woman Warrior (1976)

Joke

A young man asked his rich old great-uncle how he made his money.

The old man fingered his worsted waistcoat and said, “Well, son, it was 1933. The depth of the Depression. I was down to my last penny.

“I invested that penny in an apple. I spent the entire day polishing the apple and, at the end of the day, I sold the apple for tuppence.

“The next morning, I invested that tuppence in two apples. I spent the entire day polishing them and sold them at 5:00 pm for fourpence. I continued this system for a month, by the end of which I’d accumulated a fortune of one pound three and ninepence.”

“And that’s how you built an empire?” the young man asked.

“Good god, no!” his great-uncle replied. “Then my wife’s father died and left us two million quid.”

PG Author: Kay McMahon

Kay has been an expat for nearly 30 years. She set up the British Expat website back in early 2000, whilst living in London and missing the expat life. These days she spends much of her time lugging computers and cameras around the world. (Dave gets to deal with all the really heavy stuff.)

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