The topic of part three in my sweepstakes series is going to revolve around your entry frequency. How often should you enter in order to see good results? This is something that people get confused about, so I figured I’d discuss how I do it and also how I used to do it. Additionally, I want to make it really clear that there’s no “right” or “wrong” way. Whatever system you determine works for you is the “right” way — for you.
Plain and simply, the more you enter, the more likely you are to win. But of course that doesn’t mean you won’t win at all if you only enter sometimes. You can always get lucky. But yes — the more virtual “hats” you throw your name into, odds are good that your name is going to picked at some point. The odds are far better if you’re entered into hundreds of contests than if you are entered into maybe 20 or 30.
How I Used to Enter
When I entered sweepstakes as a hobby, I was very consistent with it because in all honesty I didn’t have a whole lot else going on at the time. This was back in 2007 and 2008, before I had a “real” work from home job. Mostly I just took paid surveys and entered sweeps for extra money.
I was a premium member at Online-Sweepstakes.com and I had a very specific system that I followed. The great thing about Online-Sweepstakes is that they are essentially a very organized directory of just about every sweeps on the web. When you make an account there, you have the ability to save sweeps so you’ll know what you’ve entered and what you haven’t. There’s a little red circle next to each listing, and if you click it, it turns green which saves that listing for you. If you’re not a fan of Online-Sweepstakes, I recommend Sweepstakes Advantage which is another great, totally free sweepstakes directory.
What I did was first go through the “daily entries” that I had saved under “MySweeps.” These are sweeps that allowed entries every day, so I took advantage of that and entered them as often as possible to increase my odds of winning. Next, I would go through the sweeps listed under “Expiring” for that day’s date so I didn’t miss out on any that were about to end that I may not have entered before. Because I saved everything I entered for under “MySweeps,” I could see as I sorted through these which ones I had already entered and I just made sure not to enter those again. And finally, I would go through the “New” sweeps for the previous day’s date. I found it a better plan of action to enter what was just listed on the previous day because when you enter the new sweeps for the current day, you might miss out on a few because the listings get updated all the time.
On average, I probably followed this system anywhere from 4-6 days per week, and it would take me anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half at a time to do it. And there were many days when I just didn’t get through everything even though I wanted to. I would either get burnt out and tired of entering and decide to quit early, or other responsibilities would prevent me from finishing it.
Was this an effective way to enter? Yes. I won pretty regularly. Granted I mostly won small prizes, but I did reach a point where I won something at least once a week. Do other people who do sweeping as a hobby enter the same way I used to? Yes. My method was a very, very popular one.
How I Enter Now
I do not follow the above system anymore for a few good reasons. Number one, I no longer have time to do it that way. Trying to earn real money from home and family responsibilities just don’t allow for it. Number two, I don’t want it to feel like a job. The way I did it before, entering sweeps often felt more like a job instead of a hobby that’s meant to be enjoyable.
I used to feel guilty when I didn’t — or couldn’t — follow my usual sweeping routine. I know that’s silly, but at times I did. And of course that made it seem like a chore and not at all fun. So now I don’t really follow that same system because I don’t want to put myself under unnecessary pressure.
Despite what I just said, I do realize that in order to make this a lucrative hobby, it is still important to be consistent. So I do take time to enter sweeps 4-6 times per week, but I don’t normally sit there for longer than an hour trying to enter everything. I don’t have time to, and I tell myself that’s OK. I know that as long as my name is in the “pot,” I still have a chance to win.
What I do now usually is go through the expiring sweeps first and make sure my name is in for all those things that are about to end (or at least as many as possible), and I only bother entering for things that I know I really want or could use. I often don’t get through the whole list, and that’s fine. If I do get through the list and feel like continuing to enter, I’ll start on the new ones that were listed the previous day. I don’t really bother to go through the daily entries anymore because that is a big time suck. I know my odds are better the more I enter those since I can, but I just don’t have time to get through them all. Online-Sweepstakes has a “Top 100″ sweeps list you can go through that shows the highest-rated sweeps they have listed. Some of those are for really awesome prizes and some are also daily entry. If I feel like it, I might go through that list and enter again for some of the daily ones on there if it’s something really good.
The purpose of this post was to maybe help you out by showing you basically how I do things. This doesn’t mean this is how you should do things — it’s just meant to be kind of a guide to help you work out your own little system.
Just make sure that you don’t stress about it if you can’t enter all the time. You’ll burn yourself out if you do, and then you won’t even want to enter for anything at all. And you can’t win if you don’t enter at all, so it’s better to do it at least a little than to just abandon the whole hobby. So if you start feeling burnt out, change your system around some or possibly even take a step back from it for a few days until your enthusiasm returns.
Are you actively entering sweeps now? Please feel free to share what your current system is in the comments below.