Any given week there are thousands of giveaways starting and ending.
Pepsi alone had over 400 sweepstakes/giveaways this Summer for a marketing campaign.
Countless blogs start giveaways every single day, and some blogs have hundreds of giveaways on their site every single year.
The question most people have is can you actually make money entering giveaways?
My wife and I have made a lot of money entering giveaways, and I’ve even won two trips this year alone. I’ll do my best to explain how to make money entering giveaways.
My experience with giveaways
My wife and I started to enter giveaways about a year and a half ago. Since then we’ve won at least 50 giveaways ranging in value of $0 to thousands of dollars. Some things we win aren’t worth much, others are worth a whole lot.
Some of the biggest giveaways I have won were relatively recently.
I won a trip to Hawaii earlier this year in a giveaway/competition that was put on by IZEA. This post about how ordinary people can make money on social media helped propel me to the win. We won a $5,000 trip to a resort on Wakiki Beach that we’ll be taking during the frigid months here in Minnesota. Definitely a big win.
Recently I won another trip, ironically to my hometown of Minneapolis for the All Star Game. This was a really great win because it came with $200 of spending cash. It was supposed to come with airfare and ground transportation, but I was compensated $500 instead. Finally, I was able to sell the $295 face value tickets on Stub Hub about 9 hours before the game (after stub hub fees it was less than face value, but I’ll take it!). Almost forgot to mention that we also got a hotel stay out of it at a nice hotel in town.
I don’t mention these giveaway wins to brag. I mention them to show that it’s possible to win big prizes. These are obviously two of my biggest wins, but there are countless smaller ones we’ve won, including a number in the $100-$250 range.
This leads me to what I look at as optimal giveaway strategy. If your goal is to make money by entering giveaways, it’s best to follow this strategy:
- Cash and cash-convertible giveaways are king – If the goal is to make money, obviously cash giveaways are the best ones to win. Gift cards are also good giveaways to win because of how easy it is to sell them (or use them if they are places you shop).
Don’t underestimate your ability to convert giveaway wins into cash. We won a Ryobi lawn mower worth $400 and I was able to return it for a $400 merchandise credit at Home Depot. We have also sold a Pfister faucet, baby carrier, baby book shelf, and many other things on Craigslist. It takes very little time. Be sure to read our post on how to stay safe when buying and selling on Craigslist if you plan to go this route.
- Focus on bigger giveaways – Because of the sheer number of giveaways out there, you will not have time to enter all of them. Even if you have only 10 minutes a week to enter giveaways, it can pay off to get your name in the hat for the bigger ones – there are typically multiple giveaways on our roundup alone that are valued at $500+.
Of course it can’t hurt to enter smaller giveaways if you have the time. I use the word “smaller” lightly – even giveaways valued in the $100-$300 range can sometimes be considered “small” because they don’t attract as many entries as the $500+ ones.
One final thing I should mention is taxes. Companies are required to give you a 1099-MISC if they run a giveaway that has an estimated value of $600+. That means the IRS will know about your giveaway win.
So even though I won a $5,000 Hawaii trip, I do owe taxes on it as if I had earned $5,000 of blog income. Still, I’ll take the trip!
How much money can you make entering giveaways?
I wanted to end with a quick blurb about how much money you can make entering giveaways. I won’t pretend to have the correct formula or algorithm to calculate how much money you can make per hour entering giveaways. At the same time, I think it’s misleading when others claim to have the formula figured out.
Another blogger ran some numbers on how much you “make” entering giveaways. He guessed one entry takes about 30 seconds. I’ve gotten 100+ entries in some giveaways in less than a minute, simply because I had already done certain things in the past (i.e. followed accounts on twitter, liked accounts on Facebook, etc.) so it goes really quickly for me. Even on giveaways where I have not already followed accounts I can typically get entries in just a few seconds and move on to the next one.
Even in online poker – which is a relatively controlled environment with set rules – you can play optimal strategy for a year and still lose money. Variance is killer and goes both directions. You may enter 10 giveaways and win half of them. You also might enter 1,000 giveaways and lose every single one.
I have talked to others who have won thousands and thousands of dollars worth of giveaway wins. Treating it like a “side hustle” is a good approach if you want to make a lot of money. People who win a lot of giveaways aren’t lucky, they are more likely giveaway grinders. The more you play the luckier you are, just like most things in life.
Final Word – Have Fun!
As with anything that you do on the side on top of a full-time job, make sure you have fun entering giveaways. If you aren’t having fun it’s really not worth it.