Anna Thurman is a work-from-home mom and blogger. Each week, she researches and reviews the best work-from-home opportunities on her blog, Real Ways to Earn Money Online.
I started entering giveaways as a hobby back in 2007. Starting out, I really didn't hold out much hope that it would turn into a lucrative hobby, but I could see from the various sweepstakes forums I visited that some people were actually winning. In fact, some people were able to win several times per week!
To make a long story short, I paid close attention to how these people were winning — their processes, their specific methods — and implemented those myself. Have I ever won big? No. But I have won tons of smallish prizes, and when I make an effort to enter sweepstakes regularly, I am almost always able to snag at least one small prize per week.
The holiday season is approaching quickly, and most of us are starting to think about gifts and shopping. If money is tight for you, you may want to consider spending about an hour per day entering sweepstakes to score small prizes for gifts. The small wins have definitely helped me out with gift-giving in the past!
Here are five giveaway tips to help you score some free gifts for the holidays:
#1 – Choose a Giveaway Resource.
The first thing you need to do is figure out where you're going to look for giveaways to enter. And no, Google isn't a good option here. There are several sweepstakes databases online that are regularly updated and well organized, making it much easier to enter for the prizes you actually want.
I personally use Online-Sweepstakes.com. This site seems to have more listings and better organization than other similar sites, but you have to pay for a premium subscription if you want to see all the giveaway listings. The premium subscription is not expensive ($30 for one year), and if you enter consistently, it should pay for itself multiple times in prize wins.
If you would prefer not to pay, the free option for Online-Sweepstakes.com is still very good. Sweepstakes Advantage is another great site that is 100 percent free to access.
#2 – Focus on Small Prizes
Let's face it — your odds of winning $50,000 before the holidays are slim to none, so there's no need in counting on that for helping out with gifts. That doesn't mean you shouldn't throw your name into the pot a few times for that kind of prize money, but it's not likely to help you out in the short term.
What you need to focus on right now are the smaller prizes because your odds of winning are better and these types of giveaways usually end faster — which means you'll know sooner if you won anything. Here's an insider tip — enter blog giveaways! Online-Sweepstakes has a feature that allows you to narrow down the listings to just blog giveaways, and you don't have to have the premium membership to do this.
Blog giveaways end fast, have few entries, and there are often fantastic small prizes being given away that make great gifts. In my entire sweepstakes history, most of my wins have come from blog giveaways.
#3 – Nail Down Your “System”
You need a system. Your odds of winning and winning consistently are better if you approach your new giveaway hobby in a very structured way rather than just doing it randomly.
For example, my system is to go through and enter the giveaways that allow daily entries first. Then, I browse through the new giveaway listings and enter the ones that interest me most. I never waste time entering for prizes I don't want for myself and wouldn't give as a gift. If any of the new giveaways allow for daily entries, I add those to my “dailies” list to ensure I don't miss out on any possible entries.
I also limit my entering time to about an hour per day. Spending more time than that on it means burn out for me, and getting burnt out means I stop entering and also stop winning. This short time frame often means that I don’t get a chance to go through all the new giveaways or enter all my dailies, but that's OK. This is a hobby, not a job, so there's no need to push yourself too hard.
#4 – Be Very Consistent
The key to winning is consistency. You cannot spend time on Monday entering giveaways and then not try again until the next week. The simple fact is that your odds of winning are better if you enter and enter often. I would recommend spending up to an hour per day, four to five days per week entering giveaways if you want to see results.
If a giveaway offers daily entries, enter that giveaway every day that it's possible. You also need to throw your name into as many virtual “hats” as possible — so enter a lot of different giveaways. The more “hats” your name is in, the more likely it is to get pulled out of one of them.
#5 – Practice Patience
The primary reason most people never win is because they get discouraged early on and give up. It's very hard to be patient and keep spending the time when you're not scoring any prizes. You may even start to think you're just not lucky enough.
It is not uncommon to go for a few weeks to a month with no wins when you first start entering giveaways. But I can almost guarantee that if you stick with it longer than that and practice consistency, the wins will start trickling in. This is how it happened for me, and if you read through the forums on Online-Sweepstakes.com or Sweepstakes Advantage, you'll see this is how it happens for many other people, too.
People who win and win often are not “just lucky.” There's no denying that luck does factor in, but it's not the only reason many people are able to win a lot. People who win often do so because they are persistent, patient, and optimistic.
If you put the above tips into play starting today, there's a great chance you may have some wins by the time December arrives and, hopefully, some prizes to use for gifts!