Thursday, 28 July 2016

How to make money online in South Africa – methods I’ve tested.

I live in KZN, and I’ve been experimenting with a range of sites to make some extra money in South Africa – what they charmingly call ‘beer money’ - in my quest to be able to work from home on my own time, and hopefully grow a decent income doing computer work from home in South Africa. It sounds great doesn’t it? But is it actually possible in practice?

While I have signed up with and tested dozens of sites, my success rate has been incredibly disappointing. While microjobbing and survey sites do make people money, it’s near impossible to get any work unless you live in the US or UK; and unless you have existing clients who can leave you testimonials, your chances of getting clients on a freelancer site like Fiverr are likewise very small.

So I will be listing here some sites, as I find them, which have not only worked but have actually paid out. Scams abound, so do your research before wasting as much time as I have!

Sites I have been paid to do computer work online for:

This is a good opportunity if you have excellent written English, and only if your grammar is near perfect. You’re competing with international writers, and if your rating falls below the payout threshold, yip – you won’t get paid. But if you’re an aspiring writer with a broad general knowledge and ideally a chatty personality, this can work for you!

How it works:
Essentially Postloop matches up people to comment with blogs looking for comments! Simple enough yes? In order to make the grade you have to submit a few test comments on the Postloop Portal (make sure they are lengthy, and if in doubt check your posts with an app like Grammarly before posting. You will then receive a rating out of 5, and this is will dictate which blogs and forums you are permitted to subscribe and post on in order to earn points. Once you have 100 points you can cash out – the current payout for 100 points is $5, which works out to around 60 comments. So it’s a lot of work, but I have received payment from them so I know they are  legit. Below is an email I received them for a payment to my PayPal account, and the funds did come through almost immediately.

You won’t be able to make a living out of it, but if you enjoy commenting and sharing your opinion, and find some blogs which you really like, the work can be quite fun! So dedicating an hour or two each day, you can make some extra money this way instead of aimlessly surfing the internet.


This is essentially a paid-to-click site, where you view a webpage for a few seconds in order to receive a measly payout of a tenth of a cent. So why bother? You can also use the site to complete surveys, and this is where the earnings to stack up a bit. At first I was very discouraged because I was qualifying for almost none of the available surveys, but turns out this is normal. Make sure that you tell the truth so your answers remain consistent, and the amount of surveys you qualify for will increase. On most days however, your demographics likely won’t match up with any suitable surveys, but when they do it’s an easily earned dollar. I continue to click the ads simply because it takes up so little time, and it’s better earning something than nothing, right?

The payout threshold on a free account is $8. All those clicks do add up eventually, and it takes maybe ten minutes a day to click the available ads and check if you qualify for any surveys, so why not?

I will add any more sites that I come across, test and which actually work.

A few I have tried that won’t work in South Africa:
mTurk – while they say they accept all countries... well, they don’t. Pity.
*Update August 2016: I received an email from Mturk out of the blue accepting my application! (I like to think it was because of this blog post... but I doubt it, hehe) The next issue to tackle is that is appears as an international worker you can only be paid in the form of an Amazon Gift Card, which is of course not ideal - there are however sites which allow you to exchange gift cards for payment through PayPal and sometimes Payoneer. I will continue to work on mTurk and do a full post on it once I have successfully cashed out and have a voucher ready to play with - watch this space!
Clickworkers – even with near perfect scores on their English tests, there are simply never any jobs available for international workers, which is a pity because they pay in Euros.
Rapidworkers – this might work, and I have accrued a few cents there, but the type of work isn’t for me or perhaps I’m not understanding it correctly. If you have made money with them please share your experience!
ChatAbout - I was quite enthusiastic about this site, which allowed you to get paid simply for socialising, but the whole site disappeared with a cryptic message about the site no longer being available due to 'unforeseen circumstances'... Curious indeed... A look at Twitter confirms that it is a global issue. Another pity alas!

Have you found any other money making opportunities online which work in South Africa or been disappointed by other services? Please share your experiences, warnings and advice. 

Sunday, 24 January 2016

How to make a simple slideshow style video for Youtube with PowerPoint, Audio, Free Music and Windows Movie Maker

Hi! In this post I will be creating a simple, tutorial-style video for Youtube. If you are looking to make a start with Youtube videos without investing in expensive software, this is a great beginning. The resulting video will be shown at the end!

Free software that I use; download links are given where applicable.
- Microsoft Powerpoint to create slides and visuals
- Audacity for narration and music - you can use any other audio software you are comfortable with of course.
- Windows Movie Maker for compiling the final product. I am using the basic XP version. If you are making a short video under 15 minutes in length you can also use YouTube Movie Maker which is also very simple to use and lets you upload straight to YouTube as well. 

Step 1.
Set up your slideshow in PowerPoint. To create the optimal sizing for video display you need to set the page display to 16:9 which is very simple, the default display is 4:3.
In the Design Tab, select Page Setup:

Choose 16:9 ratio and select OK.

You will see the slides now look proportionate to a standard YouTube video. Remember to do this first before you start adding images or text so you get the sizing right from the beginning. The great thing about using Powerpoint for this is that you can view your show in fullscreen to get an idea of exactly how they will come out in the final video!

Set up your slides just as if you were making a standard Powerpoint presentation. Here is how I will be setting up the final video:

Useful tip:
Use the duplicate slide function to keep the slides looking similar.

Once you have your slides ready, we can export them as image files for the video.

Go to Save As menu, and scroll down to Jpeg option:

You will be prompted to save the current slide only, or all slides. 

And now we're ready to record the audio and add music! I like Audacity as its simple to use for basic narration and music, but also has great effects such as echoes, speed and pitch changes if you do want to use them. If you're only recording narration good old sound recorder is fine, or if you have a piece of music ready then skip this step.

Step 2. Recording and preparing audio

Plug in your mike and get recording! For this video I'll use my blog text as narration.

Finding music for your video:
If you intend to monetize your video on YouTube you need to make sure you don't stand on any copyright toes as your video may be blocked for copyright violation. Luckily there is plenty of royalty-free music which you can use if you give the artist credit. The YouTube Audio Library is a great place to source a range of music, and the awesome composer Kevin MacLeod has a fantastic selection of royalty free music at which you can sort by genre, tempo and... 'feels', sample on the site and download as MP3 files. 

Make sure to include attribution details in the credits or video description. I will be using his groovy piece 'Gonna Start' for this video, so the following credit will appear in the description of the YouTube video:

"Gonna Start" Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Once you have your music, add it as a track to your Audacity project. Go to File, Import, Audio and select your track.

Your music appears as a new track below your narration track. Depending on your microphone the music is often too loud for your narration, so use the volume slider while playing back the audio to adjust it until it sounds right and the speech can be heard clearly. Trim the audio if it's longer than your narration, or you can repeat the section if it isn't long enough. Simply highlight the area of the track you wish to edit or remove with your mouse cursor and play around until you're happy. There are Audacity tutorials online as well if you get stuck - or maybe I'll do one some day ;-)

Once your piece is complete you can export it as an MP3 file ready to be included in your video: Go to File -> Export Audio. 

Step 3.
Now we have our visuals and audio it's easy to put them together in Windows Movie Maker:

Import your slide images and audio into collections and drag your narration and music file and slide images to the music and video bars:

You can change the duration of each slide to make it fit the narration with the slider bar between each slide:

Windows Movie Maker also has a great set of video transitions which work particularly well for a slideshow-style video. Drag them between slides to add.

Preview your movie, and once you're happy it can be converted to a movie file! Important Note: If you save your movie as a project file you won't be able to upload to Youtube, it needs to be saved as a WMV file. If you want to save your project for working on later choose Save Project, if you're finished, go to File -> Save Movie File

Name and save the movie file to your selected location. 

Important: For YouTube it is best to save the file at high quality:

Click next, and Windows will start creating the movie file. The movie project is saved as a WMV file and is ready to upload to YouTube!

And here's the result!

Feel free to ask questions in the comments if you have any :-)