[Written in 2009 - some details may not apply - Updated in September 2013]
So, as most of you might be aware, I enter sweepstakes as a hobby. I had started back in April 2009 when I came across this site : Sweetie’s Sweeps. It opened a whole new door for me for making “money” at home while I stay at home. I started reading through all the articles and every tidbit of information I can find – Trust me, there is A LOT there to read, but its all worth while. [[I've noticed the main problem with people starting to do sweepstakes as a hobby, is they don't want to take the time to read through all the information to make sure they're 1. Doing it correctly 2. Getting the most out of their time doing all these sweepstakes entries 3. Finding out how to really win. If you want to win, seriously win, you have to work towards it.]] There’s a phrase we say often in the sweepstakes world, “Winning isn’t easy. There is a lot of hard work that is put into this, which is why we win.” … Well, at least that’s what I say.
Where do I start?
Well, the first place you can start is by reading through “Sweetie’s New Here? Here’s Some Help!” article. Which can be found HERE It will give you step by step information on how to start doing sweepstakes as a hobby, or like some of us, as a career. As you can see from this article your first steps include:
- Sign up for a new, free email account specifically for sweepstakes. – Personally, I use a hotmail account. They have loads of space, they are REALLY good with catching spam, and what isn’t spam. They also have the ability to have you set up keywords and folder sorters for you incoming mail. I have it set up where if the email subject line states “sweepstakes” it goes into a “sweepstakes” folder. If it says “congratulations” or “winner” it will go into a folder titled: WINS. This is strictly a personal choice and the choice is completely up to you as to what type of email account you use – but its highly recommended that you have a “spam” email account for all your sweepstakes entries. Otherwise you’ll crowd your personal email with hundreds, if not thousands of random emails from promos.
- Download Roboform or another auto-filler. - Roboform isn’t free, but I’m telling you right now it is WELL WORTH THE MONEY! It will cut your sweepstakes entry time in half or even more! If you’re serious about entering sweepstakes, this is a must have, otherwise you’re going to have to enter your same ol’ information every time. Name, Address, Birthday, Phone Number, Email, etc. [For more information and or questions about using Roboform, check out Sweetie's post HERE]
- Read, Read, Read! - I cannot stress enough how important it is to read entirely through Sweeties Sweeps site and get all the information you can about entering sweepstakes. Read through tips, tricks, and trades! It’s important when starting anything new in your life to research it until you’re content and believe you know all there is to know! That is vital here too. Reading all the information provided will give you the absolute highest odds and chances to be able to win! That’s the whole point of entering sweeps, right? Its to win!
You’ve been doing this since April, how much you won so far? (written in 2009)
Since April 3rd, when I won my first prize, I have won in value of over $1,300 worth of stuff. I have one three “bigger” prizes which included a $100 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods, $100 Rite Aid gift card, $87 valued free night at our local Sheraton Hotel. The list continues with tons of “smaller” prizes: lotions, deodorant, coupons for free products, etc. I have won many gift cards to help me purchase other items so I didn’t have to buy them also. $25 gift cards to: Target, Starbucks, Target.com, Amazon. A ton of other stuff too.
Wow. This seems like a lot of stuff to do to win tiny prizes. Is it worth it? (written in 2009)
I’m still waiting on my “big win” but there are hundreds of people, some of my friends from Sweetie’s that have won big! We’re talking trips, cars, one won a RV Camper AVR of $50,000. The question is not “Is it worth it?” It is definitely worth it. The question is “Are you willing to put the work into it to win big too?”
Update in September 2013:
In the four years of ‘sweeping’ on and off I have won a total of $11,549.59 in prizes. Now, like I stated, that was with me doing it on/off for a few months at a time during those four years. During 2009 – 2010 I was adamant about entering. I fell off the bandwagon in 2011 and 2012 only doing it a few times during the year and only winning about $50 worth of prizes on average. In 2013, I decided in August to start back at it again and I’ve won over $300 worth or prizes in a little over a month. You just gotta stick with it. I didn’t keep my own advice and stick with it when the wins started to dwindle down. I could only imagine how high the ‘total prizes’ number would have been had I stuck with it.
Update in February 2014:
I wrote another entry about winning. It writes about my exact wins and how I keep them in a spreadsheet for easy reading and future knowledge. You can see this entry here: “Winning is Fun”
Sweepstakes is a lot of fun. Its so much fun to tell people “I’ve won this by entering this sweepstakes.” Honestly, a lot of people are going to think you’re insane when you first start. They might even say that you’re wasting your time. My fiance thought the same thing when I started this and now that I’ve won as much as I have he calls me the “Sweeps Queen”. I have a system where I focus on what I want to win/buy and then really think hard about how I am going to get it through a sweepstakes. Maybe I focus on entering sweepstakes specifically for that prize – sure enough, eventually I get it.
Patience is another huge factor in doing sweepstakes. You MUST have patience. I have weeks where I will win every day for six or seven days straight. Then I’ll go two or three months without winning anything. That’s just how it works! I believe it took me over a month to win my first sweepstakes when I started entering them on a daily basis. IT WILL HAPPEN! Don’t ever quit. No matter how bored you grow if it when you stop winning, or tired you are of seeing a “Sorry, you’re not a winner this time” screen. Just stick with it! Who knows, maybe you will be the next big winner!
Last, you must have organization skills! I enter anywhere from 150-200 sweepstakes A DAY. I am very organized. I have all my instant win sweepstakes in a folder under my bookmarks, there is two or three for daily entering sweepstakes, etc. I organize them into folders as I find them so there’s no confusion later. If you use firefox, you are able to make notes next to the title of the bookmark – which is where I include the expiration date of the sweeps. Sometimes, sites don’t refresh saying “This Sweepstakes has Ended” and you end up wasting your time entering it non-stop for days after it’s ended.
Another thing I do is I have an excel spreadsheet made specifically for my wins. I’m working on making a download-able version of this spreadsheet available for all to use (if you have excel) Every time I win, I enter the winning information into my spreadsheet. Not only does it help me know what I have and have not received, how long its been since I won, my total winnings, etc. BUT it gives me inspiration when I’m going through a losing streak. If I feel like “Man, I haven’t won anything really big.” I just look at my spread sheet and really change my mind around.
I love entering sweepstakes as a hobby. If you have the motivation, organization, patience, and willpower, you can do it too! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment and ask! I’m willing to answer anything you need!
Here are some screenshots of all my wins I’ve got since 2009: