Mates rates

Day 1
Schemes active/complete: 1
Money made: £0.01

So, Day 1 of a brand new project. The first day of the rest of my strife.

Thankfully I can enjoy a fairly relaxed start, as unlike eating all the meats in a year where I knew I had to average consuming over 3 different species a week, I haven’t set a perfunctory time-frame for this project. Instead it’s simply a matter of knuckling down, getting all the schemes done, and seeing how my bank balance is looking at the end of it all.

The one money venture I already have live upon starting is this blog itself (Money Making Scheme #1: Start a blog), and even that’s not ready yet as it’s brand new and hence sat on 0 followers. I did want the WordPress URN Afoolandhismoney rather than just foolandhismoney, but that name has already been snapped up and offers “What I learned as a debt collector” followed by an utterly blank blog.

Still, my slightly truncated domain name will suffice. I’m following a smorgasbord of fellow blogs which concentrate on money making, and when the contents of this WordPress are a bit more respectable I will spam it everywhere I can; I need a steady influx of hits for this blog to become an earner.

You may have noticed I’m boasting a 1p head start, I do hope you’re not too jealous. That was as I had to set up a PayPal account, the popular conduit through which survey and competition websites grant you income, and to authorise linking your PayPal with a bank account a hearty penny sum is transferred along with an affirmation code. So I’m already in the black! Already 0.000001% of the way to becoming a millionaire from this project and I’ve only just started! Makin’ it raaaain dat cash money!!

The first proper step of this insane and hopefully enriching odyssey I’m getting stuck into is Scheme #31: Answering stranger’s questions. The idea is to sign up to a service whereabouts anyone can text you any question and you are paid to answer it, albeit a pittance. It’s not a way of making a lot of money short-term, but over a long period of time pennies can slowly dribble in, which is why it’s my first port of call.

Almost every list of money making schemes includes this idea, and the one site lauded above them all is ChaCha. A brief overlook of the recent questions assured me content matter wasn’t going to be too highbrow:

chacha

I was looking forward to diving into the fray with my knowledge of Chevrolets and German sexuality, but worryingly as I progressed further down this list of customer queries the answers painted a grim picture of ChaCha’s state these days:

chacha2

Sure enough when I tried to sign up as a guide I was told “Registration to sign up as a ChaCha Guide is currently closed.”. Disappointed I turned to whatever functioning clones of the site I could find – I applied for both AQA 63336 and 118118, boasting I was “an intelligent chap with a great deal of worldly knowledge”, and await their response and hopeful approval so I can start being bothered by text about whether lead guitarist Johnny Buckland uses a humbucker or not.

Sadly the remainder of sites that offer something similar don’t allow questions to be sent direct to your phone, you have to be logged in to their website in order to receive them which is something of a pain. Regardless I signed up to Quora.com, which first asked me to select all of my specialist subjects from a list of hundreds that started off with regular subjects such as ‘Biology’, ‘Novels’, ‘History of Europe’ etc. but by the end had devolved into ludicrously niche categories including ‘Batteries’, ‘Ovens’ and ‘Eggs (food)’. The most recent pressing questions asked on the site were “Do Chinese people have creativity?” and “what is it like to have a cool Dad?”, so it seemed to be in a similar inane vein to ChaCha but at least this one still looked alive.

Normally Quora doesn’t provide any cash incentives, it’s basically identical to Yahoo Answers so actually not like ChaCha at all despite many sites claiming it is. However it does offer a cash prize for one specially promoted question at a time, today’s being the unequivocally dull “What trends are we likely to see in ad tech in 2017?” I almost wept for how tedious an enquiry it was, but with $250 at stake for the best answer I fumbled something together about geographical rather than behavioural/demographical targeting and hit ‘Submit’.

quora

A few dead ends and false leads followed. Ether.com I couldn’t use as you need a U.S landline. Justanswer.com requires proof of a doctorate before you’re trusted to answer anything at all. Paidanswers.com, pickjack.com, expertbee.com, all these links confidently and only recently offered to be reliable were dead.

The best site I found which pays you to answer a stranger’s questions, and the only one I can really recommend, is Weegy.com. I filled in my details and passed an embarrassingly easy test to reach ‘Expert’ mode which permitted me to start answering questions and earning some moolah. The premise is to sit with the tab open waiting for a question from a randomer to roll in, which is signalled with the ‘ding’ of a little bell, leaving you 15 seconds to scramble to accept taking responsibility of researching and reporting the answer. You’re paid for each asker who accepts the solution you’ve provided.

For a solid hour I sat with this app open, sporadically summoned with that little bell like some cerebral butler, but generally thoroughly weegy bored. In that time I answered 10 questions, ranging from “what happens when a star dies?” to simply “what are people?” A couple sprung up which I didn’t even attempt as they were vastly too complex, and one I couldn’t as it just read “healthcare coverage for young adults”, but the rest were simple enough to Google and then copy paste an answer for. After an hour’s work:

weegy

Despite all my answers being thoroughly investigated and well-written only 2 had been kindly marked as ‘good’ by the asker. I’d made just 99 cents (81p), and even more dismaying was that hidden in the small print it reads that you need to have reached a minimum of $20 to actually get your hands on that money. Clearly this is going to have to be something I leave open in the background and pick at over the next few weeks.

In the meantime I hit up Scheme #8: Hire out your services as a mate. This is RentAFriend.com, a US-based site which now caters for the lonely and socially constipated worldwide. It’s a database of, at this time of writing, 621,585 members willing to hire themselves out as a paid friend from £8 an hour. Strictly platonic and aggressively deterring anything sexual (the rules dictate you are to report your “friend” if they offer even just a hug), the site advises its friends are ideal “to attend a social event or wedding, go to a movie or a restaurant with, show you around a new town or teach you a new skill/hobby.”

rentafriend

There were 121 mates for hire in my hometown of Bournemouth when I checked. There’s now 122. Good news for those of you who enjoy buying rounds in at the pub which are not necessarily fairly reciprocated – you can now pay to hang out with Matt Rose!

On my account settings I’ve ticked every single “available for” activity tickbox, so I’ve potentially got “pottery classes” and “workout partner” duties on the horizon with someone who is unable to find people to spend time with them for free. My USP in my bio reads “I have very few skills so am ideal to compete against in anything if you’re after an easy win”. My account is still currently awaiting admin approval but I’m told this should take less than 24 hours, so this time tomorrow I may be leaving work to go ten-pin bowling with a psychopath.

Very much on the other side of the rental coin we have the last new scheme I plan to activate today, Scheme #27: Pretend to cry at a stranger’s funeral.

rentamourner

Oh that’s right. Presumably for when the very same people who pay to rent out friends pass away, Essex-based Rent A Mourner will get paid candidates to attend their funerals and pretend to be torn up about it.

Unlike RentAFriend you can’t simply build a profile on Rent A Mourners website and await the grief-choked phonecall spelling big money, you have to apply via email which I have now done. I claimed to be “a courteous, friendly, sensitive individual” perfect to stand sombre as a hired griever, when actually I’ve only been to one funeral before ever and I mainly spent that doing Jägerbombs.

I’m realising quite a lot of these schemes are going to involve signing up to a service and then just constantly checking emails which is a bit of an impotent way of going about things, I prefer to have more control over a project. At least there’s Weegy which I can rely on, even if it is an infinitesimally piecemeal approach to raking cash together – only about another 190 questions to answer before a sweet £16 is all mine! Still, good to be underway.

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