Making Money Like a Millennial: Instacart

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For this one I had to interview the wife. She did this. Not me. So here’s what she had to say, paraphrased of course.

What it is:

Instacart is a grocery shopping and delivery service that saves its costumers time and energy by allowing them to order groceries online.

On the shoppers end Instacart is an app which allows you to choose blocks of three hours to work in specific neighborhoods in your area. You can either sign up as a full-service shopper who shops and delivers or an in-store shopper who shops for orders within the store for pick up by the customer.

Whatever floats your boat.

How to get started:

Sign up as a shopper and download the shopper app from the Instacart site. Answer some questions, and wait for what seems like forever for them to accept you and send you the Instacart card.

General experience:

Unlike Uber where you can just jump in your car and start driving, Instacart requires you to apply for 3 hour time blocks in specific geographic areas.

Get in the zone…

The blocks are opened up every Wednesday and are first-come first-served. If you have “early access status” you can sign up for hours the Sunday before.

This screenshot sponsored by Uber.

When you are scheduled to work, drive to the geographic area you signed up for and wait for a call. Usually it makes sense to park at the grocery store you most expect an order from. This is not an exact science, sometimes you will get an order from a store on the other side of the “zone” you are working and you’ll have to spend time driving there.

Once you get the text you have a certain amount of time to accept the request. If you don’t accept it in time the request cancels and you get a ding on your rating. Before you accept it, you can click on the request and it will tell you how many items are in the order, how far away the purchaser is, and how much time you will have to complete the order. This can help you decide whether or not to accept it (though it is in your best interest to take it).

Then you shop. During shopping you can communicate with the customer via text if there are any items you need to substitute or anything you are unable to get.

Each list is divided by product type and in theory by store aisle.

Once you finish shopping you pay with the prepaid Instacart card. Then you load up and a drive to the customer’s house. You unload the groceries for them usually, but sometimes they will help if it is a particularly large order.

Make sure you inform them that the “service fee” is not a tip and the shopper never sees it. The customer will need to click on it in the final total screen and erase it before completing the transaction. If they want to leave a tip that has its own section.

How much money are we talking here?

During Thanksgiving week she made $500, but that was a super busy week. Usual revenue is more around $150, it really depends on tips. If you are nice, and you explain the “service fee” nonsense, folks are a lot more willing to tip.

People are so generous at holidays…

What makes it particularly difficult to make money is the fact that it is hard to get hours with the free-for-all system that they use to distribute them. We have heard that it has gotten easier recently though, so you may have a different experience.

General tips:

Try to get two orders at once. That doubles the money per hour.

Make sure you jump on the app early during the hours selection period every Wednesday. If possible qualify for early access by working 90 hours in 3 weeks or 25 hours in the past three weekends.

A rare day with hours available…

Bottom line:

Instacart is fun, you get to meet some cool people and enjoy the challenge of shopping on a time schedule. Money wise it’s not the best if you don’t jump on the hours when available, but when combined with other shopping services like Shipt it can be a great way to supplement income.

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Making Money Like A Millennial: Steemit Part 2

Last week I talked about Steemit and offered a couple of tips to help you succeed. I ran out of space so I decided to spread out the tips into a second post.

Here are the tips that I left out of the last post:

Discord Groups:

Want something more confusing than Steemit? Get Discord. Discord is a chat app which supports text and speech. It’s mostly used by gamers but there are quite a few Steemit related channels on there. Once you get the hang of them they are actually kinda cool and easy to use.

Some of my favorites include:

Peace, Abundance, and Liberty, this is probably the biggest Discord channel for Steemit users. It includes over a dozen chat rooms about topics from poetry to photography to sports to rap battles. Like all the others I will mention here, it includes a “post promotion” room just to post links to your blogs in. Unlike the others it also has three upvote bots you can register with and use simple commands to get a couple extra votes.

Minnowbooster, this is not nearly as extensive as PAL, but it has a post promotion room. It also has information about using the @minnowbooster upvote bot.

TPot, not sure why I like this one so much, it might be the logo. It’s a bit more cozy and intimate than the rest.

World Of Photography, this is the Discord group for participants in @photocontests.

What else? Oh yeah. Register with @ginabot. “She” can update you every time you get an upvote or a resteem and every time you get a wallet transfer. Very helpful!

Steemstats:

Steemstats is a great page which will allow you to keep track of your voting power, your incoming votes, your upcoming rewards, as well as all of those things for any other Steemit user.

Which brings me to this tip: keep an eye on your voting power. Don’t go voting for everything on your feed. If it gets too low your votes won’t be worth much and your curation rewards will suffer. I like to keep mine above 80% if possible.

SteemAuto:

SteemAuto is a tool for more experienced Steemit users. If you use it incorrectly you could end up harming your account. So be cautious.

With SteemAuto you can create a “fan base” of people you will automatically upvote every time they post. You can even set upvotes for every time they comment. You can see how this can lead to a draining of your voting power, so use it wisely.

You can also schedule posts to post up to 100 hours later. This is helpful if you are going to be away from your phone or computer and you want to make sure you get a post up in time for things such as contests.

steemauto

Another helpful feature of SteemAuto is automatic reward collection. This handy tool collects your rewards for you so you don’t have to check your wallet 30 times a day like I used to!

There are other tools on there that I have not yet explored, but I imagine they are as helpful as the rest.

Steem Dollar Ticker:

SteemDollar

This handy site is great for calculating just how much your wallet is worth at any given moment. While your wallet tells you the total value, it doesn’t allow you to tell individually what each section is worth. This tool helps you do that.

SteemBotTracker:

This is another tool I would urge caution with. As of writing this I’m running a bit of an experiment to see if it’s really helpful. If used wisely, I think this tool could be very helpful to new Steemians to gain them some quick traction towards Dolphinhood. If used poorly, one could lose their shirt.

I’ll post more about this next week when I see the results.

Other Fun Stuff:

Steem Pacman: This gives you Steem for playing the classic Pacman game. Last time I tried it I didn’t get my reward, but it’s fun so check it out. They promise more games are coming.

Earncrypto: This is one of those “do things, earn money” kind of sites. You can set it to give you many different types of cryptocurrencies. I have mine set to Steem and I just run videos all night.

Coinmarketcap: This site will give you the prices of all cryptos, very handy.

I’m sure there are other tips and things that will come to mind after I post this, but I think these should keep people busy for awhile.

Anything Steem/crypto related that you use? Post it in the comments!

Making Money Like a Millennial: Steemit

Old and new logos. I prefer the old.

Thanks for your patience in waiting for me to pick up the series again. I have decided to start the new year off with my favorite way to Make Money Like a Millennial: Steemit.

This may end up being split up over a couple of posts since it is such a big topic.

What it is:

In short, Steemit is a platform which pays you to create blog posts and other materials.

It’s actually much more than that. Steemit is a social network platform designed to reward posters with a cryptocurrency known as “Steem” and “Steem Backed Dollars” (SBD).

I’ve heard it compared to Reddit or Facebook, but it really is its own unique format. It is similar to Reddit in that comment sections can get quite long and in that posts are almost infinite in subject matter. There are upvotes and downvotes also.

It’s similar to Facebook in that there are… actually no. I’m not sure why it is ever compared to Facebook. It’s pretty much Reddit, but with actual rewards for your upvotes.

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My Feed page, which contains posts mainly from those who I follow.

How to get started:

Very simple, go here and choose a user name, give them an email address and a phone number, enter the verification code, wait for a confirmation email, sign in and you are on your way!

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My Blog page, you can see the upvotes and amount of SBD for each post.

The best way to start your Steemit career is to post an introduction post about yourself. Basically just tell us your niche in the Steemit world. Do you write about cryptocurrencies? Do you blog about politics, love, marriage? Are you a photographer? Painter? Tell us about yourself!

What do you do

General experience:

Steemit is definitely a learning curve. The platform itself is relatively easy to use, but the finer details for success take time to learn. You won’t get rich quick by any means with this.

Overall I have enjoyed the experience. I like blogging anyway, so Steemit just adds to my experience.

How much money are we talking here?

I didn’t know a lick about crypto currency when I started and I didn’t bother to look into it for almost a year. Knowing how to trade your Steem and SBD for other currencies is key to success with Steemit.

At first you won’t make much at all. Your upvote will only be worth about $0.01 SBD and you won’t be out there in front of a lot of people. As you gain followers, get more upvotes, and upvote stuff yourself you will gradually watch your wallet grow.

My Steem wallet is currently worth about $3,000 US. Most of this is locked up in Steem Power, which is not easily converted. In the past four months or so, I have moved about $500 off of Steemit into other currencies. So, at my pace (admittedly slow, I was off Steemit for about 3 months) you can make about $3,500 a year.

I have seen some folks who have been on only a few months who already have twice as much. It depends largely on your content and how many whales you attract.

Also, just like any crypto you are able to invest your own money into Steemit. If you choose to do this your votes will be worth more and you will earn money quicker.

General tips:

Where to start? I may make a second post to give you all the tips, there are loads of them.

But for now I’ll give you these:

Stick with it! Persistence is key for most things in life, and Steemit is no exception. Post every day, even if it’s just a photo of something cool you saw the day before.

Comment and upvote, carefully. Don’t just scroll through your feed and ignore everything. Don’t scroll through and upvote everything either. Vote for only the stuff you think is really good. In the beginning you won’t have a lot of voting power, so use it wisely. And please, comment! A great comment can get you a new follower or two. And since it counts as a post and can be upvoted, a great comment can make you money.

Don’t follow everyone! Like upvotes, you should only follow people you think will post good stuff. Otherwise you will end up with a feed cluttered with crap. No one likes crap. It’s good to have 500 followers, it’s not so good to be following 500. Which reminds me, I need to go purge the rolls a bit.

Bottom line:

Steemit is a great platform to post blogs, photos, artwork, and just about anything else you can think of. With some persistence you can make a good amount of money. So definitely try it out.

And when you do, follow me. I don’t post crap! 🙂

Making Money Like a Millennial: Miscellaneous Tips

Since my next few installments of this series are going to require some research I have decided to put them off until next year. Thankfully for you next year is next month…

For now, here are some miscellaneous tips that I may have missed in my first four:

Unemployment:

In New Mexico, one can make up to 20% of their unemployment in other money before it affects your unemployment. As in, you can make up to $85 driving Uber before they reduce your $425 unemployment check. 

Arizona deducts dollar for dollar. I don’t know about other states, check with your local office for information. 

Uber and Lyft:

Get used to many many smells. Between the food you pick up for deliveries and the potheads who obviously don’t realize how much that stench sticks, you are going to smell many unusual and strong smells. You may want to keep an odor neutralizer around for the lingering ones.

And that one. And that one…

Which brings me to my next point. If you should happen to be able to tell that your passenger is enebriated, drive extra carefully. You wouldn’t want them to create an extra long-lingering smell for you in your back seat. I have heard there is a substantial clean up fee that Uber will charge for this, but who wants the hassle to begin with?

Uber:

It looks like they have finally added a feature like the one Lyft has which allows you to go online from any screen. But I haven’t been able to figure it out. So I would stick to the plan as outlined in my previous post.

Pizza:

Take a pen. Two pens if you can. 

Wear a shirt with two pockets. One is to hold your wad of twenty ones (for change) and one is to put your tips. Pants pockets tend to get a bit more sweaty, particularly if you are running everywhere you go. 

Which you should. Not only is it good exercise, it shaves off precious seconds. 

Keep ten each of quarters, dimes, and nickels. And twenty pennies. This gives you plenty of change to give exact change. And if you dig enough your costumers often get impatient and say “nah, just keep it”. 

Keep it in a coin purse. There is nothing more annoying than dealing with loose change at the metal detector in the courthouse or town hall. Which reminds me… 

This is a deadly weapon… Leave it in your car.

Any sharp objects, including can openers, should be left in your vehicle. A lot of security guards are jerks that won’t hold something for you even if they can watch you walk in, deliver, and walk out. 

Don’t worry too much about non-tippers, eventually you figure out that most non-tippers are balanced out by good tippers. Two good tips can completely erase a non-tip. Besides, getting grumpy just makes you sloppy, and being sloppy is a great way to guarantee non-tips.

I hope these are helpful, keep checking back for more installments. If you haven’t read the rest of the series, please do. 

And if you have any tips or suggestions of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments section below!

Making Money Like a Millennial: Pizza Delivery

Isn’t this how Millennials talk?

This may be one of the least Millennial of all the methods I discuss, but I include it because it has proven to be one of the more profitable ones.

What it is:

Well, it should be self-explanatory. You take pizza or other foods from the restaurant and take them to the customer.

How to get started:

For this job you usually have to actually go and apply, usually at your local big chain pizza place, online or rarely, in person. 

For me this is one of those right place,  right time situations. I was picking up an Uber Eats order when the store owner asked if I would be interested in helping him out a couple of days a week during the lunch rush. Of course I said yes, any money is good money when unemployed. 

General experience:

This is actually more difficult than driving people, and actually more difficult than driving Uber Eats. You have a real boss calling you to see where you are, you have people who are expecting a higher level of service than Uber Eats customers, and you are collecting money and keeping track of receipts. And instead of a GPS preprogrammed with your destination, you are given a chicken scratched ticket to decipher and enter in your phone yourself.

OK, threes? Fives? Eights?!

Maybe that’s just the small joint I work, who knows… 

So far it has been fun. I’ve seen even more parts of town and have met even stranger people than those I meet when I drive. The most annoying times are when people make me wait or don’t tip (frequently both) and just the general annoyance of finding parking. Thankfully I have a magnet on my door which gives me magical parking powers in any loading zone in the city. 

How much money are we talking here? 

I said this was the most profitable, but that is not because of gross earnings. What makes this the most profitable is the simple fact that I get to drive a beater van which gets better mileage AND I am not driving the 130 miles in a night that I do with Uber and Lyft. It also has the added benefit of being paid in cash, hourly, and nearly every person tips. 

So for between 3 and 4 hours I can bring home between $35-70 after gas. I’m not sure how comparable this is to other places, or to the big chains, but I’m satisfied with the little bit of extra cash. 

General tips: 

Dress “nice”, people appreciate someone who looks kinda put together coming to their door. 

Make sure the voice entry works on your phone, there is nothing like wasting time typing in an address, especially when you have less than one full hand available. 

Carry change, and make sure it’s ones. Giving back ones in change is a good way to encourage tipping. Having exact change and taking time to count out every penny is as well. 

Bottom line:

There isn’t flexibility about hours like the other driving jobs, but the only person you have to worry about killing is yourself. And mangled pizza. And you can drive whatever nasty wheeled contraption you favor. And the pay is pretty well considering the amount of time and effort. 

So if you can, I’d say try it out. 

Making Money the Millennial Way: Why Not Both?

So…. Uber…. or Lyft?

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This is the best discovery I made yet. Both apps can be run at the same time and with a bit of savvy you can easily make good money with both of them.

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Two apps, one screen.

How to:

Turn on your Lyft Driver Shortcut in your Lyft settings menu. Then open Uber. Go online with Uber, then drag the Lyft Driver Shortcut to the center of the screen to go online with Lyft. Then go back to the Uber map.

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This is what you’ll see, and both apps will be looking for passengers.

When you accept a ping for Uber, make sure you swipe that steering wheel to the center to go offline for Lyft.

It’s not as easy when getting a ping from Lyft. Accept the ping and then navigate back to the Uber app to go offline. This takes a bit of getting used to, but so far I have not had a ping from both at once, so the extra few seconds haven’t been much of an issue.

Drop off your passenger and turn back on whichever app you went off line with. It’s really that simple.

By doing this, I was able to increase my earnings by about 15%, which isn’t a lot, but every bit counts. My phone died last week and I had to borrow a phone and use only Uber this past Friday. A night that would usually net me $50 after gas ended up being a very slow night for less than $30. Running both apps keeps slow nights moving.

There are apps that automate the whole process, but from what I have read in reviews they are too buggy to be worth the price you pay for them. Plus you are already running several apps at once and of your phone is as finicky as mine it may end up costing you a few rides with screen freezes and other delays. So why risk it? It’s simple enough to do it manually and once you get the hang of it probably quicker than automation anyway.

Next up: Old fashioned pizza delivery.

Making Money The Millennial Way: Lyft

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As I discussed previously, I’ve been doing Uber now for about 9 weeks. I’m super familiar with the app and its pros and cons, and I’ve had moderate success with making money with it.

What about its closest competitor, Lyft?

I was going to write a diatribe against it, because my first night with it was horrible, but after a few more nights I’ve moderated my view.

What it is:

Lyft is just like Uber, it’s a rideshare app that allows you to pick up and drop off passengers and make money doing it.

Getting Started:

Like Uber, Lyft has a long list of requirements for vehicle age and such, and these vary from place to place.

You will need a smart phone, obviously, and the app downloaded to said smartphone.

You will also need pictures of proof of insurance, registration, and your driver’s license. Lyft will conduct a background check, which can take 24 hours to a few days, and will let you know when you can start driving.

General Experience:

First impression: eek. The app feels like a knockoff brand of Uber, not quite generic, but different enough that it makes you uneasy. Like Tab. Lyft is the Tab of ridesharing.

The process for signup is a bit more tedious than Uber, but still not difficult. What made me cringe at first was the clunkiness of the app. There’s no other way to describe it, the app is just more clunky feeling than Uber. Everything is a tap, not a swipe, which can be tricky for accident prone folks like me.

Picking up passengers is an especially clunky process compared to Uber. Instead of automatically alerting the passenger that you have arrived and starting a timer like Uber does, you have to manually tell them you have arrived (two taps, one to say you’ve arrived, another to confirm it, like you messed up the first time). This is a bit of a distraction, especially if the area was crowded with people or cars.

Screenshot_2017-11-08-22-16-01
Tap to arrive, then tap again to confirm you’ve really arrived.

 

Unlike Uber’s two minutes, Lyft gives passengers five minutes to get to you. According to the countdown timer you do get paid for the wait. I have not found out if it cancels after the five minutes. Five minutes is an eternity when picking people up, especially in busy areas.

After picking up the passenger the app works exactly the same as Uber. Person gets in, you confirm the start of the trip, navigate to location, drop off person, end trip, rate passenger, get paid, everyone’s happy. This I liked. They will even find you the next passenger before you drop off your current one and add them to your navigation, just like Uber does, but unlike Uber, you don’t have to accept them, it’s all automatic.

One of the biggest things I noticed about Lyft: they love to send you text messages. When I first turned on the app, it sent me a text message telling me I was online, like I needed that. When someone canceled (more on that in a bit) Lyft would send you a text message. When you sign into Destination Mode, Lyft would send you a text message. It seemed like every few minutes I was getting another distracting text message telling me something the app could have easily told me itself.

How Much Money Are We Talking Here?

The Lyft rates can be a bit confusing. There is no breakdown in the app of per mile or per minute rates. Passengers can see how much they pay here, but I can’t personally find how this translates to drivers. I know for a fact I am not getting $4.25 as my minimum fare.

Lyft Rates

The only night I exclusively did Lyft was so filled with cancellations that it is impossible to tell you a good night from a bad. From what I can tell though, when the app runs smoothly the amount you make is comparable to Uber.

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And I got a text message for every one of those….

The rates are not spelled out as clearly on the trip pages. You just get a breakdown of “Ride Payments” and “Lyft Fees” and while it does spell out time and distance, who wants to do the algebra required to figure out exactly what each mile and minute pay?

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5.92X+18.4166Y=6.82 is too much math!

General Tips:

These are all pretty much the same as the Uber tips. Don’t drive around, watch your gas, and chat up your passengers.

I do think it may be good to chase “Power Zones” in Lyft. From what I can tell, they aren’t calculated the same way as Uber’s “surges” and don’t go away just because more drivers go into them.

Be prepared to turn around a lot. It seems Lyft likes to pair you up with a passenger, then pair you up with a different passenger once it determines someone else is closer to the original passenger. This may mean turning around at the next exit or making a quick u-turn on a residential street.

Be prepared to go the long haul. Uber on average sends me 4 miles to a passenger. Lyft has sent me 20 miles once, and 8-10 quite frequently. Sometimes these people are only going 2 miles down the road and for 10 miles of driving I only make $3.19. This may seem like a lot, but with my gas guzzler I end up only keeping 1.48 of that after gas. Depending on lights that trip could take 20 minutes total, giving me only $4.44/hr.

Bottom Line:

I hate to make this a comparison blog, but I honestly like Uber better. The only way to make Lyft better is to do both at the same time, which is what I will talk about in my next installment.

But. Still. Go get the app, go through the process, and start driving it as a filler when Uber is slow.

And again, hit me up for a referral code @ driptorchstudio@gmail.com or on my FB Page.