More Mailbox Notes
By Steve Gillman - October 26, 2013
Once again I have been perusing my emails from subscribers
to the Unusual Ways Newsletter, and have found some interesting
stories and comments. Jess, for example, who is 13-years-old,
read something I wrote about unusual treasure hunting techniques,
and liked the part on "snow dumps" in parking lots.
You might recall that I wrote about how when the snow piled up
by plows melts away, there are often little treasures which appear,
having been scooped up and piled together there with the snow.
My friend and I had recently checked out your website and
it had been a long winter. I mentioned your article and we walked
over to a melting snow dump. It was pretty dark but there were
street lights. We didn't have much time to search but I found
a dime and my friend found a Cadillac hood ornament.
These are not big finds, but it is always fun to discover
things of value anyhow. And who knows, rings and currency have
been found by others. And some of you probably recall that I
once reported on a couple who could spot the sparkle of a loose
diamond in a parking lot, and regularly found them. The receding
edge of a snow dump might be a good place to look for these,
and more gems pop out of their settings in the winter, due to
temperature changes as people move from cars or stores to the
It seems that younger people are more likely to experiment
with new ways to make a buck. Jess, a 15-year-old, wrote to tell
me that he bought a used "tennis tutor machine" for
$5 and later sold it for $660 on eBay. Then he bought a headlight
assembly on eBay and disassembled it to sell the parts for a
profit. He told me:
Wii's are also a great way to make money, at least for
now. I bought one at target on Sunday then sold it on craigslist
the next day for a $100 profit.
One request I get fairly often from subscribers is to provide
more information on legitimate online jobs. I received this email
last year, for example:
Newsletter looks great - I like the way it is set up, I
so enjoy your suggestions. I only wish I could find a legitimate
online true job, have you ever thought of having like two or
three special newsletters only about legitimate web sites and
jobs that are available for people with different skill levels.
I really wish I had a good response for this type of email,
but honestly, for all the different ways there are to make money
online, few of the "jobs" or packaged "opportunities"
offered are anything but scams, in my opinion. I did try doing
online surveys for money, and it didn't cost me anything to try.
I even made $40 or $50. But it took me something like twelve
hours spread out over weeks to do that, and I am pretty fast
at completing the surveys. You can read about my experience on
Places that claim they'll pay you "x" amount of
dollars for each email you send are all scams. Just like the
mail order scams that came before the internet was here, they'll
feed you a line like this: Send our email out to 1,000 people
per week and if "just 5%" buy the product, you'll make
$40 for each sale or $2,000 every week! That's $2 for every email
you send!" Of course nobody gets a 5% conversion rate from
unsolicited emails. More likely your efforts at spamming people
will net you less than one sale per week.
If you want to make money online you can start a business
or do contract work for others. The best place to do the latter
is perhaps Elance.com, where you can bid on projects that range
from writing articles to creating software. There are sites like
Fivver.com where you can offer services of all sorts -- making
$4 of each five after the site takes its cut. This could be fun,
but minimally profitable for your time. As a user of the site
I've paid for articles, a short video, and to promote my site
on a Facebook page. These are very ordinary services compared
to some of the stuff that is sold there.
In another email, Shane F. wrote:
I am creating an information package on marketing carnivorous
plants. My problem is I don't know how to create a website and
there is so much info out there I don't know where to start.
I am looking for a simple way to build one so I can go in and
make changes when I want. Would you please advise me where I
can learn to do this?
Here's my response:
You'll need a page maker of some sort or you can use one
that comes with hosting. We use Hostgator, for example, and I
think they have packages that start at less than $10 per month,
and they have tools for building a site. We use an old page maker
that is no longer sold, and we use a $25 plan because we have
Here's an alternative: You can start a free blog at http://wordpress.com/,
and then buy a domain name at Godaddy or somewhere for about
$12 per year and redirect it to the blog for now. This is usually
a free service of the domain host -- at least it is at mydomain.com,
where our domains are hosted. Your total cost to get started
will be about $12. Then, once you have gotten used to working
online and working with Wordpress you can pay for hosting and
move everything to your own domain. In the meantime, promote
your site using the domain name, and let visitors get forwarded
to the Wordpress site, so when you make the move all of the existing
links are already pointing directly to your site.
The reason for the free blog is to play around with everything
until you are comfortable with how to create pages and get links,
etc. Provide some free information at first, learn how to be
an expert, and when you are ready you can create your ebook and
sell it using Clickbank or Paypal so you don't have to personally
process credit cards.
Nick, a long-time subscriber, wrote a while back to tell me
how he made $150 from dumpster-diving. I had written about my
own experience pulling Playboy magazines out of recycling bins
when I was young, and selling them in school (yes, I guess I
was a teenage porno dealer). That reminded him of his own more
recent experience (and at age 59). He wrote:
I recently checked the city dumpster's near the public
works building and found about 60 adult sex letters magazines
and hauled them home in a box. I broke them down in groups of
ten and listed them on eBay and sold them for $150 total.
Make $150 from things found in a dumpster? Not bad. By the
way, if you have your own story to tell or question to ask, just
hit "reply" to any newsletter mailing. If you are not
subscribed you can do so using the form on the homepage or in
the side bar to the right.