Jobs website enables you to boost your income
If you’re financially stretched or struggling to save, you’ve probably been advised you have only two options: spend less or earn more. Spending less isn’t an option if you’re already living frugally, and earning more might not be an option if you’re a wage slave with no prospects of working overtime. Until now.
Dean Furman, the chief executive of Betterwage.com, says there are opportunities galore if you think creatively about your skills and interests. He reckons it’s not so much the lack of an opportunity to earn more that’s the problem; it’s that people don’t know about the many income-generating opportunities out there.
Take Betty (not her real name), a cash-strapped pensioner from Johannesburg, who never imagined it was possible to make money chatting online to people who want to learn to speak English – until she met Furman last year, when he and business partner Rudi Shepherd were building Betterwage.com.
Betterwage is a new home-grown website that links people with opportunities to make money.
With the backing of Alexander Forbes, the site is the brainchild of Furman, an actuary, and Shepherd, a tech geek. Edward Kieswetter, the former chief executive of Alexander Forbes, is also a co-founder.
The site launched a month ago and has already signed up “a couple of thousand” members, according to Shepherd.
It doesn’t cost you anything to sign up to use Betterwage.com. When you do so, the site puts you through a questionnaire so that it can link you to opportunities that are appropriate for someone with your unique mix of interests and skills. Once you’ve been “profiled”, you’re presented with a selection of providers from the 460 sites showcased by Betterwage.
But these are not all merely job portals; they include the likes of Fiverr, “the world’s largest marketplace for services starting at $5”. Via this site, you can sell your talent – anything from a logo design, illustration or business tip, to a joke, impersonation or voice-over. Other providers include those that cater for specific classes of professionals, such as Experts Exchange for techies, CrowdMed for doctors and Clarity for entrepreneurs.
Betterwage.com is attracting a broad spectrum of people: “wine-makers and homemakers, plenty of lawyers, accountants and even an economist”, Shepherd says. Unfortunately there are also a “fair number” of people who are unemployed, he says.
“We started by wanting to help people generate extra income, but I think it’s clear that we’re being called to help with primary income and personal financial management, too. We want to teach people how to manage debt, show them how to earn money to pay their expenses and guide them to use their homes to generate more income. If your dream is to buy a house, dream bigger and add an extra room for letting out – and get your tenants to help pay your bond.”
Shepherd says subscribers to the site are not only seeking to make more money; they’re also looking for ways to pursue their passions.
When you see a marketing specialist whose goal is “to finance my photography gear and travels” and a highly paid actuary saying she wants to earn a passive income so she can quit her job, you see that, for many people, money is the means to do something more fulfilling, he says.
The most common goals listed by Betterwage users are to fund living expenses, get out of debt and own a home.
With goals such as funding living expenses and eliminating debt, it’s no wonder people are struggling to find money to save. Companies such as Alexander Forbes realise this. “Their motto is, ‘Securing your financial well-being’,” Furman says. “They have set out to do this by creating, growing and protecting people’s wealth now and into the future. BetterWage.com is a response to their mission to create more wealth for South Africans. Once consumers have created wealth,they can focus on protecting and growing it.”
Shepherd says the site doesn’t track how much money subscribers are making, but it does ask them to share their stories through testimonials. “It’s early days for the site, but we’re happy to report that people have indeed made a few thousand rand and are continuing to do so.”