How we boost our income

How we boost our income | H is for Home

Our web shop and spaces in local antique centres are perhaps the most obvious sources of revenue for our vintage business. However, we also earn part of our livelihood from other online sources. Some methods run into the thousands of pounds per year and others are simply a bit of ‘pin money’. Here’s a run down of the ways in which we boost our income.

Sponsored posts

Sponsored posts on the H is for Home Harbinger blog

Sponsored posts are where we make most of our income outside of our vintage shop sales. It’s something that has taken us many years to build up into a viable stand-alone income. We’ve been blogging for a decade, we’ve built up traffic, a following and a reputation in our field and are now able to monetise in certain ways.

Most of the sponsored blog posts we do these days are repeat transactions via long-term relationships with freelance writers and SEO companies. Sometimes though, we seek out opportunities on the ever-increasing number of sites that link up advertisers with bloggers.

Places from which we’ve received sponsored post opportunities include:

Sponsored posts usually take the form of blog posts but they can also be posts via social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. If you’re less of a blogger but post frequently on Instagram, Twitter and/or YouTube and have a large following, these are a few of the places where you can sign up for sponsored social media campaigns:

Affiliate schemes

Affiliate marketing infographic

There are lots and lots of these schemes available out there. Some that we’re signed up to have been more successful than others. The user dashboard interface on some are much quicker and easier to navigate than others. This can make a lot of difference to the amount of time it take you to register, build links, input and run performance reports.

We have most success with Skimlinks as they have perhaps the largest range of merchants in the categories about which we write e.g. interiors and food. They also cover many of the merchants found on some of the other schemes.

Bear in mind, payment thresholds vary widely from scheme to scheme. Currently, Skimlinks pays out once your earnings reach £7 / $10 / €8. Whereas with the eBay Partner Network the figure is $25, Affiliate Window is £20 and Rakuten Linkshare £50.

You just need to try them all out to see which one works best for you.

Advertising

Blog advertising illustration

We get quite a few visitors to our blog who are into décor, gardens, food etc so sometimes we get asked by companies within those niches to host banner ads on our home page in the sidebar.

We also host ads placed via third parties either in our sidebar, within or at the bottom of blog posts or in our comments section. Usually what you do is register via their website, specify the type of content and the size of ads you’re willing to carry, insert some code into your blog template and presto – ads appear! The more traffic your blog receives – and the more people click on the ads – the more revenue you make. Here are the ones with whom we’re signed up.

Surveys

Online survey illustration

Surveys are just a bit of fun in the evenings when I have one eye on the television. I tend to prefer lots of short surveys or single questions over ones that take 20-30 minutes – but that’s just my personal choice. Again, payment thresholds vary; Opinion Outpost is £2.50, Prolific is £5, Viewsbank is £12.

Smartphone/tablet apps

Apps on a smartphone

I’ve downloaded a few to my iPhone which allow you to scan receipts from select high street shops and supermarkets. Depending on the app, you’re given money off, free (usually food or drink) items or entries to win cash prizes. We don’t ever buy anything that we wouldn’t have bought anyway. At the end of the year, we cash-in and treat ourselves to Amazon vouchers, PayPal payments or a few Christmas-y treats with the money earned.

We hope that you find the information and tips useful. A bit of extra income can be useful – and sometimes invaluable to the small business or the self-employed. Do you have any ways in which to earn money online that you’d like to share with us and our readers?

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Friday Folks – Dee Adams

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screenshot of Dee Adams' dee9:14 blog

Friday Folks – as the name suggests, this is a series of short Q&As we’ll be posting on Fridays. They’ll feature some very talented people that we admire – whether it be their creativity, knowledge or entrepreneurship – and sometimes all three!

First up is Dee Adams who we first came across on Flickr through our mutual love of vintage and the colour orange!

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Who are you & what do you do?
My name is Dee Adams aka Dee Dee aka deedee9:14.

By day I’m an internet superhero pushing pixels and managing a design team as Senior Lead Product Designer for the Yahoo! Applications team. (I work on stuff like Y! Mail, Flickr, and Y! Messenger) By night, I’m a painter, illustrator, photographer, freelance graphic designer, interiors consultant, mid-century enthusiast and the blog author of deedee9:14.

My own company is also called deedee9:14 which serves as the umbrella for all my creative work whether it’s software design, illustration, or interiors consultation. I get to do it all and I love it.

portrait of Dee Adams

How did you get into the business?
In terms of my life as a product designer, I started shortly after giving up a career in medicine having graduated from Cornell University.

Art has always been a part of my life as my parents were both artistic people. My mother is a writer and my father a musician so I had a very wonderful childhood full of amazing experiences. Out of uni I freelanced as a colourist and illustrator for several independent comics in New York. It wasn’t great on the pay so I moved into the advertising and print industry.

Tired of the Big Apple, I decided overnight to relocate to California in 1997 to work for several ad agencies. I made another transition working for Disney which eventually led to Yahoo!

The crazy thing is, I am totally self taught. It’s a bit rare in the industry but I was originally a pre-med student with only a background interest in art. I had been painting ever since I could hold a brush but somewhere along the way someone thought I had a natural gift for graphic design. I taught myself all the tools like Illustrator, Photoshop, html, CSS, javascript etc. and here I am.

I was born to be a designer I think. It’s definitely in the blood to find creative ways to solve problems in all that life presents us.

iPhone 4

Who or what inspires you?
I compartmentalize my life. Most people don’t associate Dee the interaction designer with Dee the illustrator or Dee the blog writer.

Artistically, I am inspired by Sol Lewitt, Josef Albers, Bridget Riley, Michelangelo, and Mark Rothko.

In the internet world, the world of application design, interaction and graphic design, I’m inspired by Frank Chimera (whom I’ve had an unhealthy crush on for years), Kalani Kordus, Apple’s industrial designers, and Edward Tufte.

There are too many amazing illustrators to note but early childhood favourites were Shel Silverstein, Ron Barrett and Brett Helquist.

Music is such a huge part of my life that I’d be remiss not to mention the people who inspire most of my work when I’m painting including Miles Davis, Amel Larrieux, Jill Scott, Nina Simone and of course my dad for giving me everything from opera to jazz.

I have a very small circle of people in my life who inspire me creatively just because they understand my quirks and are themselves brilliant people I want to grow up to be like. They include Karl Adam, Mathew Tizard, Addy Beavers and Frederique Dame.

Dee Adams' loft apartment

What has been your greatest success?
That I haven’t burnt out and ideas still come to me!

If you’re looking for something more concrete though, I’ve had a few great moments where I could finally say to myself, “Yes, you really are a good designer“.

I was part of a grass roots marketing campaign to elect then Senator Obama and one of my poster designs made it up in Times Square.

When Apple released the iPhone 4, they contacted me about licensing some of my abstract colour photography for use as wallpapers on all their new devices. I was honored to say the least. My relationship with them ongoing has been a good one.

I also had some of my work in the Tate Gallery in London a couple years ago alongside the likes of the art greats I mentioned before.

I will also always count the first painting I ever sold for more than $10,000.00 as a big success.

Obama billboard designed by Dee Adams in Times Square

Have you got any advice for someone wanting to break into the business?
Definitely. The world is full of people who think just because they can use a piece of software that it makes them a designer. It doesn’t. The best creative people in the world are those who know the rules behind the medium they’re working in and then how to break those rules to create something new and delightful.

Learn by copying the greats but develop your own style that is uniquely you. Take the time necessary to develop your own style and don’t assume it’ll come quickly or easily. Get to know other people who are where you want to be and don’t be afraid of the criticisms that come with the territory.

Develop a thick skin because the hardest thing for most creatives is to accept commentary or criticism about work that came from your heart. Everyone has an opinion and they’re not afraid to give it.

And lastly, you can always contact me personally about any of this stuff. I had a wonderful group of people who mentored me and helped me become the person I am today and I’m always hoping to give some of that back to the community at large.

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We hope you’ve enjoyed chapter one of Friday Folks – we’ve added lots of links to Dee’s answers – her blog, website, Flickr etc. What a brilliant insight into her life & work – truly inspirational – many thanks Dee.

We’ll be back with our second guest interviewee soon!!