Why Do I Write?

I wish I had a full sized Matisse… And a desk… And a quill pen….

Why write?

Why write when you are pretty sure no one is reading?

Why write when it gets stressful to keep pumping out posts?

I ask myself those questions sometimes. It can get crazy trying to manage real life and keep up with a blog (or two or three). Sometimes it’s a strain to come up with ideas about what to write. Sometimes I write a complete dud. I had a friend once who wanted to do a podcast with me, like I have time or energy for that! No, blogging is enough.

But why do I do it?

Once upon a time I wrote poetry. Loads of it. I had enough teenage angst to fuel all kinds of creative output. I was published a few times in some random youth anthologies and school lit mags. It was fun, but with age came a dwindling of talent.

In those days I even wrote songs. A few were recorded by my wife’s (then girlfriend) guitar instructor. He hated me. At least the recordings were okay.

Growing up, I was fairly political. I had tons of opinions. I made bumper stickers for my car, some of which I am now greatly ashamed of. My university had a well-read paper and I put my political thoughts and writing skills into innumerable letters to the editor. Some were published, most were not.

After college I went into a bit of a writing hibernation. I had written so many papers and reports that I was spent. It took several years before I started to write randomly again. It was mostly political, but after some prodding I started my first blog about my exploits as a homesteading parent. It was a short lived blog.

Giving up on the blog, I holed up in writing commentaries on social and political subjects. All of them were saved as Word documents, pointlessly hidden on my hard drive.

Knowing how much I enjoy writing, my wife encouraged me to start a new blog. Thus was born Drip Torch Press. It has not always been an easy thing, but I have tried to stay fairly consistent in posting at least once a week. It’s certainly helpful to have the ability to schedule posts out weeks ahead of time. If you ever notice that the posts have stopped, just know that I died weeks ago.

So why do I do it? The big reason: catharsis. As someone who struggles with anxiety it is imperative that I have an outlet for my jumbled brain. The benefit of having a place to dump my thoughts and collect them into little piles is immeasurable.

Having this project is also a perfect way to increase focus. With anxiety comes a frequently scattered brain. It is healthy to have a place that distracts the mind and focuses it on one thing at a time. Learning how to focus here translates into learning focus elsewhere.

Writing to an audience, big or small, is also an ego boost. If I didn’t have a blog my narcissistic tendencies would probably channel themselves into destructive and annoying habits. At least here the recognition is deserved, not just expected.

And last but not least (until I think of another reason) I write for money. I try to impress people into buying my photos and paintings (it hasn’t worked). I post all of these posts on Steemit, which over the course of a year and a half has allowed me to buy into the cryptocurrency markets. It’s a slow trickle, but a trickle nonetheless.

One day I will be able to buy a cup of coffee and say “I earned this from doing something I love!”

That is the goal…

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.

Just How Smart Is “SmartSteem”?

SmartSteem logo used by permission.

This may not be of interest to my WordPress followers, but anyone who is on Steemit should find this valuable.

A few weeks ago I realized I had not won a @photocontests contest in awhile. I thought maybe it was due to my use of SmartSteem to promote my posts. Then I noticed that @juliank, the sponsor of the contests, also uses it on occasion.

It turns out my photography is just crappy.

But it got me wondering, if someone as huge as @juliank uses it, it must be profitable, right?

I never actually did any calculating, I just took @smartsteem ‘s word for it that if you send them any amount you will earn 180%-216% (15% ROI) of that amount (after 25% curation).

So I decided to do an experiment. I decided to keep track of a week’s worth of my posts. I would spend various amounts on each post and see what the payouts ultimately were.

I made a spreadsheet for all the info and calculations and entered in the data once the votes stopped rolling in. Then I reran the numbers once the payouts occured. Most of the time they changed because of the fluctuating value of Steem Backed Dollars (SBD).

Method:

As soon as I made a post I upvoted it. Then I visited SteemBotTracker.com and used the SmartMarket bot to purchase votes.

I then waited for the votes to stop rolling in, or for the refund to come back. SmartSteem returns whatever it can’t spend on votes. I would then subtract the refunds from the amount spent to calculate how much I actually spent.

I did have to re-enter my bid on a few occasions. I only did this if the returned amount was 80% or more of the total amount allocated.

I then recorded the reward in SBD, subtracting my upvote amount from the total, since that would be there ordinarily.

I didn’t break down the votes by whether they were from SmartSteem voters (you can find out from your SmartSteem profile) or organic votes. I assumed the organic votes were harvested from the exposure from the SmartSteem votes. This may not always be the case, but for this experiment I made that assumption.

I also recorded the Steem Power rewards. It was not possible to calculate a rate of return for these since I only spent SBD and not STEEM in this experiment. I converted the amount of SP into SBD at the end just to see what difference it made and it made quite a bit of difference.

Overall I spent $39.203 SBD with an initial return of $38.914 SBD and 11.37 SP.

Results:

Actual return in SBD was $29.934. This was a 23.64% loss.

SP return was 10.246. I converted this to SBD (1.39 SP/SBD) and found the equivalent return to be $14.27 SBD.

Adding the total return of SP and SBD gave an ROI of 12.77% ($14.21 SBD). Given that SmartSteem has a flexible ROI I would call this close enough to the 15% usually quoted.

Pros of SmartSteem:

Easy to use, just go to https://smartsteem.com or https://steembottracker.com/ or send Steem or SBD through a transfer.

Gains user post exposure by getting posts into “trending” or “hot” categories.

Gains user followers.

It’s easy to keep track of votes and their total value on the SmartSteem site.

Great customer service through their Discord Channel. The few times I have had issues with refunds, @TheRealWolf has been more than willing to help.

You can buy upvotes for any post, even if they are not yours. This allows you to do a little undercover charity work for smaller minnows or people working for a cause.

Cons:

If you are hoping for a positive return just in SBD you will be disappointed (unless SBD value is on the rise). I think this very thing is the reason SmartSteem has had some negative press lately. The guy spreading the slams doesn’t understand how the returns work.

Sometimes you have to send your bid a couple times to get it through. This is more of an inconvenience than anything else.

Conclusion:

While my SBD return was a loss, overall return was a gain when one considers SP as well.

SBD dropped in value 24% from the first post to the last payout. This definitely had a negative impact on the results. In fact it lines up exactly with the difference between initial returns and actual returns.

SmartSteem is definitely not a get rich quick scheme. Like anything on Steemit it takes patience and time. It does however offer an easy way to snowball returns for quicker results. You don’t have to buddy up to some whale anymore for decent payouts on your posts.

Overall, SmartSteem is an easy to use tool to gain Steem Power, SBD, and followers. It is a great way for minnows to grow into dolphins and whales quicker than simply waiting for the system that is Steemit to find them.

If you want to get in on the action and give me a little bit of credit, use my link to join: https://smartsteem.com?r=driptorchpress

Thanks for reading!

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.

Steemit1
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!

steemit2
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 the Millennial Way (First in a Series)

I know what you are thinking, here is yet another in a million blogs telling you how to make money. And next he’s going to tell me about how this isn’t like the others.

Well, you are correct, on both counts. This is yet another blog out of a million about making money. And I am going to tell you it is different.

“How so?” You ask, incredulous.

Well, instead of telling you I made $1000 from my blog, then telling you all I had to do was give a guy who read my blog a Lyft referral code, and all he had to do was drive fifty trips in 30 days, I’m going to discuss various options for making money these days.

I’m going to give you a low down on all options from blogging to Uber (and yes, maybe even Lyft) to good old fashioned pizza delivery and product sales. I might throw in a yard sale as well, just to cover my bases.

All of these will be things that I or my wife have tried, or are in the process of trying. We are still collecting data and forming our opinions of the various options we have chosen. Therefore this is going to be a series spread out over awhile, so keep checking back, maybe you’ll learn a thing or two.