I am finally ready to start my sweepstakes series. During the month of May, I was not able to focus as much as I would have liked on this hobby because we moved and things have been hectic/crazy getting settled in. Therefore, I didn’t even really get started until the last two weeks so I have not won anything yet. But I’ve done this before and I know that if I keep at it, I will win something eventually. Being optimistic is a big part of doing this, trust me. Once you lose that optimism, this stops being a fun hobby.
First, I want to invite you to read an old post I wrote about entering sweepstakes here. I feel like this post more or less explains most of the details. Still, I’ll go through the specifics again. Here’s a list of things you should do before you start:
Make a new email just for entering sweepstakes
This is very important because no matter how careful you are not to opt in to newsletters, special offers, etc., you are still going to get a lot of junk email. It’s just part of doing this. I prefer to have all that stuff go to one email so I can sort through it daily or every other day, tossing out the junk and being careful to notice any winning emails. If you get an email saying you won a huge prize in the UK lottery or that you’ve been left an inheritance from a long-lost cousin in Siberia, toss it. That’s junk 🙂
You can use any free email you want. I use Gmail, but Yahoo!, Hotmail, etc. would all be fine, too.
Create an account at the major sweepstakes directory sites
This is how you’re going to find all these sweeps to enter. My site of choice is Online-Sweepstakes.com (established 1997!). I like them the most because they have a very neat, organized layout and pretty much every sweepstakes you can think of is listed there. You can also save the sweepstakes you entered and it keeps track of if things are daily entry, weekly entry, etc. and that makes it easy if you want to be sure and enter for the same thing every day. Online-Sweepstakes also has a very active, helpful forum as well.
Online-Sweepstakes does have two different kinds of memberships, free and premium. You can sign up for free but if you do, you won’t see all the sweeps that are listed. There are some that they show only to premium members. I pay for the premium membership, which starts at $12.50 for three months (or $30 for a year), but I don’t know that I would advise anyone new to sweeping to pay for it right away. Before you spend the money, it’s better to see if this is a hobby that “sticks.” Most people who start give it up within the first few weeks because it’s usually not an instant gratification thing. You’re going to spend time entering and not see a return on your efforts for a month or more, and this makes it hard for some people to continue with.
If you’re new to this and don’t feel comfortable paying, you can sign up with Sweepstakes Advantage. This is another sweeping directory that has also been around since 1997, and it’s totally free to join. It’s a good site, they do have a lot of sweeps listed and also a forum. I’m not as fond of the layout and I don’t think they have quite as many listings, but if you’re not comfortable paying for the premium Online-Sweepstakes membership and want to be sure you see as many sweeps to enter as possible, this site would be my next recommendation.
I want to add that I know there are other sweeping directories out there, but the two I mentioned are the oldest, best, and most reputable.
Use a Form Filler
Make sure you have some type of form filling software installed, either on your computer or on your browser. You need this because your hands will get tired of typing out all that info. A lot of people use Roboform. It’s free to install, but the latest version that has come out doesn’t work that well for me in Google Chrome. Works great in Firefox, though.
If you’re using Google Chrome, it has a built-in form filler. It’s not as fast as Roboform is, but it’s not too bad either and you can use it without downloading any software. Roboform sort of bugs me because it’s forever popping up on me when I go to different sites asking if I want to save my password, etc, but my solution to this is to use it only in Firefox. And I only use Firefox when I’m entering sweeps, so it all works out. There is probably also a form filling extension you can download for Firefox if that is what you use and you don’t want to download Roboform.
Now you should be ready to get started! Try to spend some time every day — maybe 30 minutes to an hour, at least 3-4 times a week, entering sweepstakes. Consistency is the key to winning. The more you enter, the more likely you are to win something. A good place to get started is with this list I made the other day of some good sweeps that are up now. I think it’s important to see this as a hobby and not as a job. If you start looking at it like a big responsibility, it stops being fun. If there is a day where you just don’t feel like entering, just don’t. It’s not the end of the world. Take a step back and you’ll be ready to get back at it the next day.
To keep yourself motivated, check out the “Hall of Fame” thread here in the forum at Online-Sweepstakes. These people are posting there because they won BIG! If they can do it, you can too 🙂
I will be back in a few weeks with Part Two of this series. I may even decide to turn it into a weekly series because there is a lot to say about this stuff 🙂 Good luck if you’re getting started today! Please comment and let me know about your wins if you have them. Hopefully I’ll have a few of my own to report next time.