Making Money Like A Millenial: DoorDash

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After my bad experience with PostMates, I was a bit hesitant to try DoorDash. But I am glad I did!

What it is:

DoorDash is a food delivery app which lets you use your own car and set your own hours.

Getting started:

DoorDash was super simple to sign up for. I gave them my address and some other info, they did the standard background check, and they sent me a handy little bag and a card to use for orders.

I then downloaded the app, activated my card, added a bank account and headed out the door for my first deliveries.

General experience:

The biggest difference between DoorDash and PostMates right out the door was the use of zones. DoorDash breaks up the area into zones, you select a zone to work in and you stay in that zone for the entire time you are running orders.

When you first begin your Dash you will notice that it’s already trying to direct you somewhere. This was a little confusing to me until I looked it up. This is DoorDash’s way of trying to help you find a busy spot. It’s a little less intuitive than the shading used by Uber and PostMates, but it was still helpful.

I began to drive towards the hotspot and before I could get there, I got an order.

It doesn’t just notify you in the app, it sends you texts! Which can be a little overwhelming honestly. If I have the app running, I’m going to know when an order comes in. I don’t need a dozen reminders!

One of the first things I noticed when the order came in was the “Amount Guarantee”. Like the other services I have run, DoorDash guarantees a minimum for each order you deliver, but unlike those other ones, DoorDash tells you up front what that amount is. Also unlike those others, it doesn’t just have a blanket minimum, the amount changes based on various factors like miles for the delivery, expected wait time, etc.

When you accept the order you just navigate to the restaurant and slide at the bottom of the app to show you have arrived.

The app pops up with a list of things in the order and tells you whether or not you are expected to place the order and pay, or just pick it up. In my limited experience it appears that fast food places like Steak ‘n Shake are the former, while places like Cracker Barrel are the latter.

Orders can get pretty complicated, thankfully these are usually the pick up only variety. I didn’t have to remember to ask for salsa!

Get your food and check the items. Swipe that you have done the pick up and the app will tell you where you need to go. It will also give you delivery instructions like these:

Deliveries are also easy, just navigate to the location, drop off the food, and swipe delivered. After that you just drive near another hot spot and wait for another delivery to roll in.

The only hard part of the whole thing was when two orders came in at the same time. I felt a little bad making the first person wait while I picked up the second order. The app had me drop them off in the order picked up, but it added several minutes to the delivery time.

The experience was great, I didn’t have to drive all over the world like some of the services. I was able to stay within a 10 mile radius of my house, which was a gas saver.

How Much Money Are We Talking Here?

In short: WAAAAAY more than PostMates.

I worked 11-1:15ish and then 4-6:30, made 6 deliveries, and was able to earn about $50.

General Tips:

Work the lunch and dinner hours.

Make sure you have enough gas.

Don’t be like me and find a beautiful piece of furniture, send a picture to your wife, have to stop work, go rent a truck, and bring it home. That really cuts into your bottom line.

Use the bag they give you, it keeps that food warm in bad traffic. And it alerts the restaurant who you are so you don’t have to keep saying “Hi, I’m a DoorDash driver!”

Be warned: they expect you to make 25 deliveries and work at least two weeks before you qualify for Fast Pay. So unlike the other money making schemes, you will have to wait a week for your money. That is the only pitfall to this app though.

Bottom Line:

$10/hr minus a little for gas isn’t great money, but it’s comparable to Uber and it’s still over minimum wage. Unlike Uber, you can use any old beater car, and even a motorcycle (or moped, for you hipster types) if you wanted. And you’re not dealing with drunk people. So for spare time money making this is an excellent choice.

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Making Money Like A Millenial: Postmates

1200px-Postmates-Logo.svg

Once again, it’s been awhile since I did one of these. Last week while looking through employment sites and Craigslist I found Postmates. I had heard about it on Scott Pilgrim VS The World, at least I think that was it, and some other show and discovered it had finally arrived in Jacksonville.

I was eager to try it out as it seemed a bit more fun than Uber Eats and I could use my better gas mileage vehicle for it.

What it is:

Postmates (Use code:FL-RBKTW to get us both a bonus!) is a delivery app that allows you to deliver virtually anything to someone who orders it on the app.

Getting started:

I found a Craigslist ad which directed me to the Postmates site. All you have to do is answer a few questions about your license, agree to a background check, and download the app to your phone.

After initial sign up Postmates will send you a prepaid Visa card which you will use to purchase ordered items. You will have to receive it and activate it before you can get to work, but the whole process is relatively quick. I signed up on a Wednesday and was on the road the following Tuesday.

General experience:

When I first signed onto the app I noticed it looked a lot like the older Uber app, complete with bonus areas highlighted. And just like Uber, once you actually arrive at the area, the bonuses mysteriously disappear.

Now you see it….

Now you don’t.

Just like Uber or Lyft, the app dings when you get an order. You accept the order and navigate to the location. Be careful of the directions though. My first order was in the mall, and instead of taking me to the food court, the app sent me to the front entrance.

‘Twas actually on the south side of the mall.

The pickup experience is a bit different than either delivery services I have done, Uber Eats and plain old pizza delivery. With both of those the order is already prepared (in theory) and all you have to do is pick it up and deliver it. With Postmates you have to go to the store and place the order yourself.

As you can see above, the orders can be simple, or they can be very specific. Accuracy is key.

Once you place your order, you take a picture of the receipt, receive the items, tap “Pickup Complete” and then you are directed to your drop off point. Navigate to the drop off and deliver the items, with a smile of course.

Once you drop it off, click “Drop off complete” and you’ll get a message about how much you made for that delivery. This notification isn’t always instant. I had one take ten minutes. And from what I understand the tips don’t always show up for a few days.

Orders took about 30 minutes to complete. The quickest was a drive thru, but since I had to drive a distance to get there (without being paid) the speed of the pick up didn’t really matter.

How Much Money Are We Talking Here?

Well… I will be honest here. On a Tuesday night, during “Prime” hours, I worked 2.5 hrs, drove a total of 31.2 miles and made a whopping $10.91. After calculating for gas, I estimated my wages to be $2.50/hour. That’s pretty abysmal.

Maybe with tips and working weekends it would improve? I kinda doubt that. Postmates is new in town, so people may not know about it yet. And with a ton of other services out there, it’s not likely that they will be jumping on that bandwagon anytime soon.

General Tips:

Just like all the other apps, if someone tells you they are going to tip in the app, that’s code for “don’t expect a tip.”

Know your area. I had been out of town for six months and as a result I was a bit hazy on the locations of some things, like places in the mall.

Be prepared to travel all over town. Unlike Uber or Lyft, there is no function to travel to a particular location. So you just kinda wander wherever the orders come. For me, this meant turning down an order in the opposite direction that popped up right as I was ready to head home.

Bottom Line:

Maybe as an add on to both Uber and Lyft (though three apps at once gets cumbersome) Postmates would be a profitable venture. And maybe in a bigger city where people know about it. And a place where people tip. But around here, Postmates is just not profitable as far as I can tell.

I will give it another go and see what happens, when I am not unemployed and in need of real money.

Perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised.

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Stabbing Anxiety In the Face With a Soldering Iron, Part 1

Panic attacks, overwhelming urges to freak out, dark thoughts, emotional numbness, emotional rage: good times in the life of an anxiety ridden mind.

As I mentioned on Wednesday, I have managed to get a hold on my anxiety this year. Sure, it rears its nasty head sometimes (like yesterday and today, ironically), but it’s so much better than it once was.

So how have I managed it?

Anxiety has two different parts to it, at least mine does, one is a physical part, the other is mental.

The physical part frequently manifests itself as a feeling of dread. I get a tightness in my chest, my heart races, every stimulus becomes overwhelming, and I get an urge to move and yell and just generally explode. It can happen any time, but often after a ton of overstimulation or too much caffeine.

The mental is a bit more difficult to describe. Most people use the word “anxiety” to describe worried thoughts. But what I have experienced is a bit more than that. I had utter dread of future events, inability to think positively about anything, always searching for the negative. I create a hundred scenarios in my head and find every single negative possibility, every single thing that can go wrong, and every reason why those things don’t have a solution. My worry goes beyond the simplicity of “what shall I wear?” or “what will I eat?”

The thing is I know all things will turn out. Intuitively I know God cares for me and will provide. I know I am saved by His grace and I will some day be in Heaven with Him. I’m just not a huge fan of the wait.

But as I read in a quote this week if salvation was merely about attaining heaven we’d have a long gap between baptism and our funeral. God has given me the mind that I have and the personality that I have. He knows that my struggles with my mind and personality will drive me to Him. I sin far too much because my mind wanders….

But I digress. This post is not so much about how I don’t trust as much as it is about how I have learned to trust.

Trust takes care of the mental, I’ll get back to that in Part 2. But first let’s tackle the physical.

I’m not a doctor, so don’t take this as medical advice without talking to your doctor and doing your own research. This is just what has worked for me.

First, herbal supplements. I take a regimine of passion flower, lemon balm, chamomile, vitamin B, and CBD oil. On top of that I take a multivitamin. The dosage varies depending on how I feel, I may increase on particularly stressful days or decrease when I feel better.

They took awhile to start working but when they did it was a complete change. I actually had a ton of difficulty getting used to having feelings again. My anxiety had numbed me to so much when I actually had clarity it was scary to navigate.

Exercise. This is always the standard answer from most people. “Work out and you’ll feel great!” It doesn’t work like that for me, but combined with the above regimine I find it does wonders. When I stop doing the herbal remedies, or I stop working out, I find it much more difficult to get through the hard times. Panic attacks come back, my focus wanders, and I just generally have a bad time.

That would explain this week…

I also drink a little. I know it’s taboo to recommend alcohol as some people can get addicted. But I find one drink of wine or spirits can sometimes settle my mind enough to help me think clearly. If you are the type of person who struggles with addiction, definitely don’t go this route, but if you can control your appetite then moderate consumption may help you.

Diet has also been a great help. I cut back on sugar and processed junk. I reduced my caffeine intake. I started eating more “real” food. It was a night and day difference. I felt less sluggish. When your body feels good, it’s mush easier for your mind to go along with it.

For acute attacks I have found lavender to be particularly helpful. You can drink it as a tea (chamomile too) or diffuse the essential oil in your room. We also have a lavender lotion that is great for rubbing down tense muscles. Another great essential oil is Palo Santo. Diffuse it with lavender and you’re almost guaranteed to fall asleep!

As I said, I am not a doctor, so don’t take this advice as Gospel. I just have found these things to help with my generalized anxiety. If you have more severe anxiety, or depression, or other mental health issues, these may not work for you.

Next time I will discuss what I have done to get the thoughts under control.

Making Money Like A Millenial: A Few New Ones

It seems like it has been a millennium since I wrote my last Making Money post. See what I did there?

All jokes aside here are a few new things I have tried recently to create some cash flow.

Heleum by Uphold: I jumped into Heleum back in its early days (i.e. last December) when crypto was riding high. I took about $100 of my Steemit money and put it into Heleum. It quickly tanked.

Heleum is a great concept, basically it does all the work of a broker for you. You put your money in and Heleum “launches” it out as “balloons”. These “balloons” are small amounts divided into different currencies, and not just cryptos. Heleum trades in several fiat currencies as well. Heleum’s algorithm watches the market and moves your balloon from one currency to another. If it works correctly in 30 to 90 days the balloon will “pop” at a profit.

In the six months I have had money in it, I have had one balloon pop. The profit of $1.79 was reinvested into a new balloon. The rest of my balloons have sunk and what was a $100 investment is now $30. I put a little more in when they announced some major upgrades to the algorithm, so far it is also in the red.

But. I have hopes for them. Uphold itself is a great wallet and exchange (albeit a little limited in its currency range). They have invested and continue to invest into their Heleum product and I think in the long run they will get the kinks out and the platform will be successful. Besides, hodling for the long term is the name of the game in cryptos. I bought in during a “high”, so of course I am going to suffer a bit in the low.

If you are interested in joining Heleum use my referral code here.

Robinhood: Robinhood is an app which allows laypeople like me to buy and sell stocks with no (or low) fees. Stocks are less risky than cryptos for the most part, although Robinhood does allow you to purchase a few cryptos as well.

I joined it thinking it would be a bit like Heleum but with stocks. I was wrong. Unlike Heleum, the user has to initiate the purchases and trades. So while it’s easy to use and you don’t pay fees, you still need to do your research and make sure your purchases are wise. I can see someone losing a ton of money if they don’t know what they’re doing.

So far it’s been fun. I don’t have a lot to invest, but I picked up a few penny stocks and my investment has stayed pretty level for the short term.

Note: sign up using a referral (hint hint mine) and you and the referrer get free stock. I didn’t know about this until it was too late and missed out. Perhaps some of you can help… 🙂 I have made a couple of referrals and it’s been fun getting a few stocks I would not have thought to buy for free. Click this link to get the app with my referral!

SoloLearn: this is an indirect way of making money. SoloLearn is an app where you can learn basic skills in several computer languages for free. It won’t give you a degree or anything but it is a stepping stone to further learning.

Right now I am learning SQL, a database management language. From what I have been told by an acquaintance in the field there is a high demand for Database Managers and if one can become proficient in SQL they can easily land a job paying $30/hr part time.

It’s boring, honestly, but the payoff potential seems worth it. I’ll keep you posted on my success or failure (probably this winter, when I have reliable internet).

The last few are Steemit centered:

Steepshot: for lack of a better way of saying it, Steepshot is the Instagram of the Steemit universe. It’s still in Beta so it has some problems occasionally, but for the most part it is just as easy as it’s non-paying counterpart. If you aren’t into blogging but you still want to jump on the Steemit bandwagon, this is a great way to do it. Post pics, get paid. Pretty simple.

DTube: again, for lack of better comparison, dtube is the YouTube of Steemit. I know many people make money on YouTube, with this the money is a direct result of how popular your videos are. No affiliate linking, no marketing, just upvotes. I haven’t done much with this since I’m not much of a video maker, but I have seen tons of people succeed on it.

Busy: Busy is Steemit, just under a different team. But it offers a few features that Steemit doesn’t. Busy allows plankton and minnows to determine their voting percentage, which is a big deal if you are limited on voting power. It also allows you to upvote your post when you post it, something which disappeared from Steemit mysteriously. Probably my favorite thing about Busy is that it allows you to create a footer to go at the bottom of each post, this is super helpful when you have a site or service you want to promote.

Anyone out there have any more suggestions for ways to grow income with little to no monetary investment? I am definitely interested in trying new ways to make money and telling everyone about them. Let me know in the comments what you think I should try next!

If you’d like to read the rest of the series start here.

What I Use to Climb Up The Steemit Ladder

Again, a post which might not be much use to exclusive WordPress users. But hey, if you’re having success here, maybe you will have success on Steemit.

Here is a list of things I have recently found useful on Steemit, as well as a few old ones.

SmartSteem: I used SmartSteem for a while without knowing it’s full potential, I even wrote a post about it a little while back. Smartsteem is great for increasing your Steem Power as well as getting a few more SBD’s out of your posts. But it’s good for more than just that. You can delegate some of your SP to the bot and share in the profits from it. You can also sell your votes and not only will SmartSteem pay you, you will get curation awards as well. It’s not a ton of money but a steady trickle is better than nothing.

Minnowbooster: again this is one I have used for awhile. They also provide a delegation service and a place to sell your votes. I’ve never been disappointed with them.

@bubblebee: this is one of those services that sends you a transfer saying “use my service!” and promises a bunch of great things. In this case it promises 50+ upvotes in exchange for 0.5 SBD. I was skeptical about it but after using it a few times it has definitely delivered. You won’t get 0.5 SBD worth of votes, but you definitely will get 50. I reserve this one for times when I want to get somewhere close to the trending pages.

@haji: another one of the spammy kinda users. I got way more votes out of it than @bubblebee as well as some resteems, but not the 1 SBD I sent to it. Again, great for trending.

Steembulls discord channel: this channel offers an upvote exchange. Vote for the post above you then post your link. Pretty simple way to get at least one vote. Plus you get to meet some other people, and networking is key on Steemit. @Steembulls is a great community for meeting other Steemians. I do warn you though, don’t get too post happy. I posted more than the limit of one per 12 hours and got cut off. They were gracious enough to let me back in when I groveled a bit.

Busy.org: How do I describe busy? Well, like the name it is a bit busier than steemit.com in terms of layout. But it gives the advantage of allowing you to create a footer to go on all your posts and allows you to auto-upvote your post when you post it. I haven’t found much more of an advantage than that honestly. It’s still worth checking out.

Steepshot: Steepshot is a great place to post photos and art. There is a great community there and since it displays just photos it’s great for visibility. Even though it limits your description to a short paragraph, it gives you the ability to use up to 20 tags instead of just 5. I highly recommend this if you are a photographer or artist.

I hope these are useful to you. Keep checking back for my disclaimer on vote buying. It’s going to be a douzy.

Making Money Like a Millennial: Instacart

Instacart_logo_and_wordmark.svg

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.

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!