Making Money

Posts about making money from a 60-plus perspective. This includes sideline earning opportunities of all types.

Matched Betting: Prepare for the New Season!

Matched Betting: Prepare for the New Season!

I’ve talked about matched betting a few times on this blog. To recap, it’s a way of making risk-free (and tax-free) cash by taking advantage of bookmaker special offers and promotions.

Matched betting is perfectly legal and (done properly) it’s not gambling. You can read my introduction to matched betting here, and why I believe it is such a great money-making sideline for over-sixties in particular here.

The summer is typically a quiet time for matched betting, but come next month (August) all that is going to change. I am, of course, talking about the start of the new UK domestic football season!

To be clear, you don’t have to be a big football fan to look forward to this (I’m certainly not). No, the reason to anticipate the new season so keenly is the host of money-making opportunities it will present for matched bettors.

For one thing, the bookies will be pulling out all the stops to attract new clients and get current and former clients back onside. I expect to see a torrent of offers on the football especially in the next few weeks, giving the potential for some tasty risk-free profits by applying matched betting principles.

Also, once the football starts again, there will be many more opportunities to profit from one of my favourite matched betting techniques, Acca Insurance. This involves taking advantage of the offer by several bookies to refund a football accumulator in the form of a free bet if you have one losing leg. By judicious staking you can guarantee yourself a set profit on many such bets.

Finding accas that will work with this method and calculating the required stakes isn’t easy if you are working alone. I therefore recommend using my favourite matched betting advisory service, Profit Accumulator. They recently added a tool called Acca Catcher to the range of resources on offer to Platinum members.

Acca Catcher will find accas with insurance for you, show you how much profit they can generate, and reveal exactly what you need to stake on them and when. My recent blog post on How to Profit from Acca Insurance with Acca Catcher explains how this works in some detail. I have made hundreds of risk-free pounds using this technique and looking forward to making much more once the new season starts.

More About Profit Accumulator

Profit Accumulator is the marched betting advisory service I use myself and recommend to others. It is suitable both for those brand new to matched betting and for experienced matched bettors.

You can join PA free initially and they will provide details of two bookmaker offers you can take advantage of straight away. These should make you around £45 in net profit. If you wish to proceed further, you can then pay to become a Platinum member and get access to the full range of offers and services. As well as Acca Catcher (mentioned above), these include an oddsmatching tool and calculator for finding profitable bets to use with bookmaker offers and maximizing your returns from them.

A further advantage of joining Profit Accumulator is that you get access to the members-only forum, where you can get any questions you may have answered by more experienced members and/or the team behind PA.

If you think matched betting may be for you, I therefore highly recommend that you click through to the Profit Accumulator website to see what they offer and sign up for the free trial. By joining today you will be perfectly placed to take advantage of the flood of bookmaker offers likely to appear in the next few weeks.

As ever, if you have any questions or comments about matched betting or Profit Accumulator, please do post them below.

Disclosure: As well as being a member of Profit Accumulator I am also an affiliate for them. If you join and become a paying member after following any of the links in this post, I will receive a commission for introducing you. This does not affect in any way the cost of the service to you or the benefits you receive.

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Read More From Me in the Creating Wealth Newsletter!

Read More From Me in the Creating Wealth Newsletter!

Just a quickie today to let you know that I am back in harness with my former clients Agora (also known as Fleet Street Publishing). As some of you may know, I worked for several years on their More Money Review membership site.

I am now working again with my old editor, Michelle Roberts, on the Creating Wealth newsletter. This is a free email newsletter featuring a huge range of strategies for making money and building your personal wealth.

I shall be writing about ways of making, saving and investing money for CW, together with business and self-development topics, e.g. how to boost your productivity. So I will be covering some similar ground to Pounds & Sense, although there are certain subjects I sometimes discuss on the blog (e.g. health, travel, food and drink) that I won’t be talking about there.

In addition, Creating Wealth is aimed at all age groups, not just older people, so my articles will have a slightly different focus. I will also be covering career-building advice, which obviously isn’t something I normally discuss on this blog.

You can sign up to Creating Wealth here. As well as the newsletter, you will receive a free report titled Secrets of a Self-Made Millionaire (and no, that’s not me!).

I highly recommend subscribing to CW, not only because it is putting bread on my table, but because I genuinely believe you will enjoy reading the tips, advice and information it contains from me and my fellow contributors.

And of course, you can unsubscribe at any time if you decide it’s not for you.

I shall continue to publish on Pounds & Sense (and my Entrepreneur Writer blog) too, but perhaps not quite as frequently. I am meant to be semi-retired, after all!

If you have any comments or questions about Creating Wealth, as always, please do post them below.



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Should You Write a Book?

Should You Write a Book?

For many people one of the top things on their ‘To Do’ list when they retire is write a book. But is it a good idea or not – and will you make any money out of it?

I feel decently qualified to talk about this, as during my career as a freelance writer I have written over 100 books, mostly non-fiction. The first book I ever wrote was a guide for singletons looking for love. The most recent, earlier this year, was a guide to making money from forex trading (ghost-written for a client).

The first thing I would say is that you shouldn’t approach book writing with any expectation that you will make a ton of money from it. For most of the books I have written, my earnings have been modest set against the time and effort I put into them. In purely financial terms, article writing and copywriting have been a lot more lucrative.

On the other hand, even a modestly successful book can go on paying an income year after year, both in the form of royalties on sales and extras such as PLR (fees from library lending).

Writing a book also has attractions other than the purely financial. For example, if you want it to be, a book can be your passport to public speaking engagements, conference bookings and consultancy opportunities. It may lead to paying commissions from book, magazine and newspaper publishers. You may also be asked to appear on local – or even national – TV and radio, talking about your book and (in the case of non-fiction) your area of expertise.

Don’t under-estimate, either, the personal satisfaction of writing a book. Many people find that the process of planning and writing a book is engrossing and fulfilling. The sense of achievement at holding your own book in your hands is hard to beat. And completing a book can give your confidence and morale a big boost as well.

Of course, it must also be said that writing a book isn’t something you can do in a day or even (with a few notable exceptions) a week. It is a substantial project and will require self-discipline and determination. You will need to be well organized and focused. And while you definitely don’t need to be Shakespeare to write a book, at least a basic grasp of spelling, grammar and punctuation is essential.



Fiction or Nonfiction?

Fiction can be fun to write, and the potential returns if you write a best-seller are clearly huge. On the other hand, you do have to be realistic about how likely this is to happen. There is a massive amount of competition, and a new novelist has to be exceptionally talented (and/or lucky) to get a publishing deal.

Non-fiction (factual) books are probably a little easier to get published, and have the advantage that you may be able to get a contract just by submitting an outline and proposal to a publisher (highly unlikely with a novel). You will need to demonstrate that you have relevant experience and/or expertise in the field in question, though.

Unless you are already a well-known celebrity with a high public profile, the bad news is that it is very unlikely that you will be able to sell a book purely based on your life story.

Book or Ebook?

While print books are still very popular, recent years have seen a big rise in e-books. These are read on e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle or tablets or smartphones.

It is actually quite straightforward to publish an e-book for the Amazon Kindle, and some authors have made a lot of money doing just that. There is even a small but growing number of Kindle millionaires. I will talk about writing Kindle e-books in more detail in another post.

Publish or Self-Publish?

Other things being equal, it’s still probably best to aim initially for a contract with a traditional publisher. If they like your book, they will then take on all the ancillary tasks such as editing and proofreading and getting the finished book printed. They will also have a publicity department whose job it is to promote the book, e.g. by arranging reviews and media appearances.

So far as payment is concerned, the usual arrangement is that the publisher pays the author royalties – typically around 10 percent of sales, paid annually or biannually. You may also receive an advance against royalties, though advances generally have been decreasing for some years. Nowadays a typical advance for a new, non-celebrity author is £1000 to £2000.

Self-publishing used to be called vanity publishing, but nowadays that derogatory term is less often used. Essentially self-publishers take responsibility for the entire publishing process themselves, from writing through proofreading and editing to printing and promotion. While there can be attractions to this, self-published books are generally not taken seriously within the publishing industry. It can be a lot of work for scant reward, and I don’t  recommend going down this route unless you have exhausted all other possibilities (and probably not even then).

Self-publishing an e-book is another matter, though. As mentioned above, it is quite straightforward to do this using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform. If you self publish a Kindle e-book, you will be paid a royalty by Amazon for each one sold via the store. This can be as much as 70 percent of the sales price, which is a lot more generous than the royalty rate paid by print publishers.

In some cases, also, self-published e-books have been picked up by publishing houses for release in book form. The 50 Shades of Grey books by E.L. James are one high-profile example.

Self publishing an e-book is therefore definitely worth considering if for whatever reason you don’t want to go with a traditional print publisher for your book, or you have no success finding one.



What Next?

In this introductory post I have only been able to scratch the surface of writing and publishing a book, but if this is something you have thought about, I hope it will have given you some food for thought.

I should like to conclude with a few useful resources…

For general advice on writing-related matters, you might like to check out my other blog, Entrepreneur Writer, where I share tips, advice and information aimed at writers and aspiring writers.

For advice and feedback from fellow writers, I highly recommend joining the (free) forum at www.mywriterscircle.com. I helped set up MWC some years ago. Although I am no longer involved with its day-to-day-running, I still visit regularly. It’s a friendly online community with a dedicated team of volunteer moderators, all of whom are keen writers themselves.

If you’re looking for a practical guide to book writing, you might like to consider investing in my top-selling CD-based course Write Any Book in Under 28 Days. Although primarily about writing non-fiction books, it also has a section devoted to fiction writing.

And for advice on writing Kindle e-books, my top recommendation is Kindling, a sort of one-stop shop for aspiring Kindle authors, produced and maintained by New Zealander Geoff Shaw. You can click here to read an in-depth review I did of Kindling on my EW blog.

Finally, to find publishers (and agents) who might be interested in your book (and much else besides), I highly recommend The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook or Writers’ Handbook. These are published annually, and in my view there is nothing really to choose between them.

I will return to the subject of writing books (and other writing projects) in future posts on this blog. But of course, if you have any comments or questions about book writing, please do post them below.

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Make a Sideline Income Renting Out Your Driveway or Garage

Make a Sideline Income Renting Out Your Driveway or Garage

Today I thought I’d share a sideline money-making opportunity that – if you’re in a position to do it – can bring in a steady income for very little effort.

The shortage of parking spaces in many towns and cities has created an opportunity for anyone who has a driveway or garage they aren’t using all the time.

One of the best-known operators in this field is JustPark. Through their website and mobile app, they put drivers in touch with home-owners (and businesses) who have parking spaces available near their destination. They claim to have over a million registered users and over 200,000 parking spaces on their books.

Listing your space is free (JustPark add up to 25 percent to your asking price and take this as their payment) and you can set your own price, based on how long the driver wants to stay. JustPark say that charges are still typically 60% lower than on-street parking (if you can find it), which makes the service attractive to motorists as well.

One big attraction of JustPark is that they handle all the admin on your behalf. All payments are made via the website, and space-owners can withdraw earnings via PayPal or direct to their bank account. JustPark also ensure you still get paid even if the booker doesn’t turn up.

All drivers using the service have to register on the site, so you know exactly who will be using your space on any given day. There is also a rating system so you can see any comments other users of the service have made about them. Space-owners are also rated by drivers, incidentally.

You can offer spaces by the day, week or month, and set any restrictions you wish on when your space is available. Anyone is welcome to advertise spaces on JustPark, but the locations in most demand are those near airports, stations and stadiums, and in major cities. According to a recent article in the Daily Mail, people in such areas are making more than £3,000 a year doing this. Even if that doesn’t apply to you, though, you can still earn from a few hundred pounds a year to £1000 or more by this means.

Of course, if you don’t have a suitable space to offer, you won’t be able to benefit from this opportunity. You could still use JustPark to save money on your own parking costs, though. Either way, the service is well worth checking out!

Disclosure: As well as being a registered user of JustPark I am an affiliate for them and will therefore receive a small commission if you click through any of my links and sign up. This will not affect the money you earn through the site and/or any savings you make if you use them to find parking spaces.

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Matched Betting: How to Profit from Acca Insurance

Matched Betting: How to Profit from Acca Insurance

I’ve mentioned matched betting a few times on Pounds and Sense. It’s one of my favourite income-generating sidelines.

To recap, matched betting is a risk-free money-making method that involves (legally) taking advantage of bookmaker special offers. By this means you can generate a guaranteed profit for no risk, regardless of how the event/s you are betting on pan out. You can read my post about how matched betting works here, and my post about why I believe matched betting is particularly suitable for over-sixties here.

In my post today I want to talk about a matched betting technique I’ve been using with considerable success recently. This is profiting from acca insurance. Obviously, for the benefit of those new to betting, I need to start by explaining what an acca is.

What Are Accas?

The term acca is short for accumulator. It is a set of bets (usually four or more) where every bet has to win in order for the acca to succeed and generate a profit. That means accumulators are typically quite risky bets. When one succeeds the returns can be substantial, however, as your winnings are calculated by multiplying all the odds together.

Normally if one leg of an accumulator fails, the whole bet is lost. However, a number of bookmakers offer something called acca insurance with football bets. In this case, if one leg of your acca lets you down, your stake is refunded, generally as a free bet to the same value as the original. By laying off some (or all) of the bets in your acca – and staking carefully – you may be able to take advantage of the ‘added value’ from the insurance to guarantee yourself a profit.

As we shall see there are various approaches you can use, but my clear favourite is the Lock In method. This guarantees a set profit however many legs of your bet fail, from none to all five.

Of course, this profit is less than you would get from a winning accumulator that you didn’t lay off, but as I said earlier accas are risky bets. Using the Lock In method all but removes the risk of losing money (in theory you could still lose if the lay odds on later legs move massively against you, but that is highly unlikely – and much more often the odds actually move in your favour).

Finding accas that will work with this method and calculating the required stakes is not easy if you are working alone. I therefore recommend that you use my favourite matched betting advisory service, Profit Accumulator. They have recently added an online tool called Acca Catcher to the range of resources on offer to Platinum members.

Acca Catcher is an amazing tool that will find accas with insurance for you, show you how much profit they can generate, and reveal exactly what you need to stake on them and when.



About Profit Accumulator

As I have mentioned on Pounds and Sense before, Profit Accumulator is a membership website that provides in-depth tutorials on how to apply matched betting strategies to make money. They also provide special ‘oddsmatching’ software to find suitable bets and calculators to work out the necessary stakes (which is of course crucial).

In recent months Profit Accumulator have added a number of new tools to their Platinum Membership. These include Match Catcher (a tool for those doing horse-racing refunds) and Dutching (a tool for finding arbitrage opportunities among two or more bookmakers). I’ll talk about these in future posts.

As mentioned above, however, the tool that I want to focus on today is Acca Catcher. I will reveal how this works below, though to get full details I highly recommend signing up with Profit Accumulator and watching the training videos they provide.

 

Using PA’s Acca Catcher

Here is a screen capture of the page that opens when you log in to your Profit Accumulator Platinum account and click on Acca Catcher in the Oddsmatching menu. Obviously, by the time you read this, the accas shown will have changed.

Acca Catcher opening screen

Acca Catcher shows a number of accas you can use with this method. By default they are arranged in order of EV, which stands for expected value. This is a measure of how profitable they should be, so the larger the better is the rule here. As you can see, the top one listed here (with the highest EV) Is with William Hill. This is often the case, as William Hill have the most generous terms and conditions and allow you to stake up to £50 per acca (some other bookies limit you to £25 or less).

The QLoss figure stands for qualifying loss. This only applies if you use what they call the Normal method. In this case you stake in such a way that if you end up with exactly one losing leg in your acca you get a free bet (from which you should be able to generate an 80% profit) and with any other outcome a modest qualifying loss. Using this method, on average you should make a profit equivalent to the EV shown. This is typically slightly higher than the profit available using the Lock In method, but of course it is only an average, and some of the time you will lose money.

Personally I prefer the certainty of the Lock In method even if it might be marginally less profitable overall. You may see this differently, of course.

The other things shown on the opening screen are the actual games in the acca, the total back and lay odds, and the start and end dates of the acca.

One other thing you will notice to the left of each acca is a small calculator icon. This is very important, as if you click on it, it will show you everything you need to know in order to extract a profit from the acca in question. So let;s see what happens when we click on the first of the accas shown…

Acca Catcher - calculator page

Note that by default the ‘Normal’ button is selected at the bottom left. As I prefer the Lock In method, however, I have switched it to that.

The calculator now shows you the acca bet you have to make and the first lay. Note that while you place all the back bets together in your accumulator, using the Lock In method you place the lay bets sequentially. This is necessary as the required stake can change depending on whether each leg wins or loses (and after two losing legs with the lock-in method you stop laying).

If we were doing this bet, then, our first step would be to place a £50 acca bet at William Hill containing the five bets shown. We would then lay off the first leg using a lay stake of £47.67, exactly as shown in the calculator.

Once the match has been played and the result is known, we then return to the calculator and click on the green tick on the right if the result was as forecast (in this case a win for Manchester United) or the red tick if it wasn’t (a draw or away win). The calculator then shows us the lay stake we need to place in the next leg (see below).

Acca Catcher - after first leg played

So we now place a lay bet of £73.26 on Manchester City. This process continues until we reach the end of the acca or there are two losing legs, whichever comes first.

Let’s say for the sake of argument the middle leg of the acca loses but all the others win. The final calculator screen will look like this:

Acca Catcher - final outcome

As you can see, because one leg lost, the acca doesn’t pay out and you have made a net loss on it. However, you qualify for a £50 free bet on the acca insurance. By backing and laying the free bet using standard matched betting technique (and the free calculator on Profit Accumulator) you should be able to extract around £40 profit from the free bet. In the example above, as the calculator says, you would therefore end up with a net profit of £9.12. Give or take a few pence, your net profit would be just the same if all five legs won or none of them.



More Acca Insurance Tips

I have set out above the basics of how matched betting with acca insurance works. As I said earlier, I highly recommend watching the training videos on Profit Accumulator to see exactly how it works step by step. Assuming you are a PA Platinum member you can also play about with the software to your heart’s content without spending any money until you are confident with it. Here though are a few more tips to help you on your way…

  • Bear in mind that if you can get better odds than those shown in the calculator, the net profit will be boosted. I find that often as a match gets closer the lay odds will go down, making your bet more profitable. You can enter the new lay odds manually and the lay stakes and profit figures will be automatically adjusted.
  • Sometimes Acca Catcher shows lay odds from Betfair, other times from Smarkets. I use the latter as much as possible, as their fees are lower and it simplifies matters to lay all your bets in one exchange. In any event, it is often worth checking the other exchange, as you may be able to get a better price there than the one shown on the calculator. Exchange prices change constantly, and if there is plenty of time before the next leg you may want to try entering a lay bet lower than the current offer price in the hope that it will be matched subsequently.
  • As mentioned above, an alternative to the Lock In method is the Normal method. With this you aim to have exactly one losing leg in your acca in order to qualify for the refund. With any other outcome (no losing legs or two or more) you suffer a small qualifying loss. With the Normal method, as soon as you have one losing leg in your acca, you stop laying. With the Lock In method, by contrast, you don’t stop laying until you have two losing legs.
  • Another option on the calculator is ‘Lay All’. This is where you lay all your selections at the same time (obviously before the first leg starts). This method only works when all the selections are available at extremely short odds (generally no higher than 1.20). The profits vary according to how many legs win – typically you will make a decent profit if all legs win, but if one loses you will make a very small profit or break even. With two or more losing legs the winnings increase again, but at such short odds this is obviously rare. I haven’t bothered with the ‘lay all’ method myself, but the option is there if you want it. It does have the obvious attraction that you can do all your backing and laying at once.
  • One thing to watch with accas is that you don’t have more than one ending on the same day. In the case of William Hill (and some others) they will only give you one refund per day – so if you have two accas ending the same day, each with one losing leg, you will only get one refund. That would leave you with a net loss on the other acca, of course.
  • As you may gather, I’m a big fan of William Hill, not least as they allow you to stake a generous £50 per acca and have this refunded as a free bet if one leg loses. Using the Lock In matched betting method, I would generally expect to make a minimum of £10 per William Hill acca. I therefore highly recommend using William Hill with this method, but would also advise placing other ‘mug’ bets with them to try to reduce the risk of having your account restricted (or gubbed, as matched bettors say). You can lay off your mug bets to minimize your losses from them.
  • Different bookies have different rules about accas, e.g. Ladbrokes only allow insurance up to a maximum stake of £25 and a smaller range of national leagues is eligible. Other bookies specify minimum odds for each leg of your acca, e.g. with Paddy Power the minimum is 1/5 (1.20 in decimal format). Acca Catcher from Profit Accumulator should incorporate any such restrictions into its recommendations, but it never hurts to check if you are uncertain.
  • When entering results in the calculator, remember that the outcome that counts is the one at full time (90 minutes). Some cup and international matches have extra time if the teams are drawing after 90 minutes, but the result after extra time isn’t relevant for acca betting purposes.

Good luck with your acca insurance bets. If you have any comments or questions, as ever, please do post them below.

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Two More REasons for Matched Betrtors to Sign Up with Profit Accumulator

Two More Reasons for Matched Bettors to Sign Up With Profit Accumulator

I’ve talked about matched betting a few times on Pounds and Sense. It’s one of my favourite methods for making a sideline income.

For those who may not know, matched betting is a risk-free money-making method that involves (legally) taking advantage of bookmaker special offers. By this means you can generate a guaranteed profit for no risk, regardless of how the event/s you are betting on pan out. You can read my post about how matched betting works here, and my post about why I believe matched betting is particularly suitable for over-sixties here.

Although it’s not essential to subscribe to a matched betting advisory service, if you are new to betting in particular it is highly advisable. The service I recommend is Profit Accumulator.

About Profit Accumulator

Profit Accumulator is a membership website that provides in-depth tutorials on how to apply matched betting strategies to make money. They also provide special “oddsmatching” software to find suitable bets and calculators to work out the necessary stakes (which is of course crucial).

Profit Accumulator have also just added two new services to their Platinum Membership. Previously these were only available to people playing an extra fee of around £15 a month for Platinum Plus membership (in addition to the normal Platinum members’ fee). The services in question are Acca Catcher and Match Catcher.

These two services are both aimed predominantly at people who have completed at least some of the introductory offers and are now looking to diversify their matched betting income.

Acca Catcher is designed to help members profit from refund offers on accumulators. In these you select four or more events to bet on and all must result as predicted for the bets to succeed. Some bookmakers have an offer where if one leg of your accumulator fails they refund your stakes. By carefully calculating your stakes you may be able to guarantee a set profit however your bet turns out. Acca Catcher takes you step by step through finding and exploiting such opportunities, showing you exactly how much to stake and when.

Match Catcher is software that helps users capitalize on horse racing refunds. Again, some bookies offer refunds if a horse you bet on comes second (sometimes third as well). If you can get a close match between the back price and the lay price of such a horse, you can stake in such a way that you only make a very small loss whatever the outcome, and in addition get the refund when your chosen horse comes second or third. With racing refunds you won’t win every time, but overall you will make a steady profit.

At the time of writing Profit Accumulator Platinum Membership costs £17.99 a month, including these two additional services. You can also take out an initial free trial membership which includes two offers that should make you up to £45 in tax-free profits.

In my view if you are looking for a tax-free way to supplement your income, matched betting via Profit Accumulator is well worth considering. You can make over £1000 quite easily by doing the bookmaker welcome offers. After that there are so-called reload offers made by bookmakers to existing clients, and you can now also use Match Catcher and Acca Catcher to help you take advantage of racing refunds and accumulator offers.

If you have any questions about matched betting or Profit Accumulator, please do post them below and I will do my best to answer them.

Note: As per my disclosure statement, I should like to make clear that as well as being a member of Profit Accumulator I am also an affiliate for them. If you join and become a paying member after following any of the links in this post, I will receive a commission for introducing you. This does not affect in any way the cost of the service to you or what you receive for your money.

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Earn a Sideline Income as a TV or Movie Extra

Earn a Sideline Income as a TV or Movie Extra

Today I’m featuring an opportunity that won’t make you rich, but can certainly generate a useful sideline or even full-time income, and provide a lot of fun into the bargain.

As an extra, you’ll make some money, get a chance to see how movies and TV shows are made, and even become immortalized on screen.

This is something I have personal experience of. At one time I belonged to an amateur theatre company, and through that got the chance to take part in various productions, including a fire safety video for British Gas (I played the good guy who got up and left his desk the moment the alarm went off). I also had a small role in a cult horror film. I was in two scenes, and in the second met a gory end at the hands of a deranged gardener!

In principle, almost anyone can become an extra, and that clearly includes older people as well as young. It will help if you live near a film or TV studio, or a popular location for filming. Many gigs are for a single day, but occasionally they can go on for a week or longer. Some extras in long-running TV serials continue to work on the show over a period of years.

You don’t need to have gone to stage school to be an extra, and you definitely don’t have to be ultra-attractive. Indeed, that can be a drawback. Extras are generally required for crowd scenes or to provide background, e.g. as the main actors hold a conversation in a bar. In most cases extras are expected to look average and normal (for whatever may be the setting), so they won’t distract viewers from the stars.

Depending on their appearance, extras may also be asked to stand in for the main actors, e.g. in long shots or (conversely) in certain close-ups. This type of work pays better than simply appearing in crowd scenes.

One thing you do need as an extra is stamina. The work can involve a lot of waiting around, sometimes in cramped, uncomfortable conditions, or in the open air exposed to the weather. You may be required to stand, sit, or repeat some motion for hours on end, until the director is finally satisfied with the shot. A typical working day is 10–12 hours, and on a music video it can be even longer.



How To Get Work

It’s possible to get work applying directly to TV and film production companies, but most people get into this business by joining a casting agency such as Universal Extras.

In common with other agencies, Universal Extras charges a registration fee, but this is quite modest. The cost in their case is £25.00 plus VAT for two years, or £30.00 plus VAT for four years. Full-time students can join for free, however.

Although anyone can register as a would-be extra, there are certain minimum requirements you must fulfil. Clearly you will need to have free time available during the week, so this opportunity is not suitable for those in full-time work. You will also need to be punctual and reliable. Flexibility is important too, as shoots can start very early and finish late. And you will need to be courteous and considerate to everyone involved in the production. Leading actors and actresses can get away with being prima donnas, extras can’t!

If all that sounds like you, you can fill in an application on the agency’s website. You will be asked to complete a profile questionnaire, including basic information such as height and weight and contact details. You will also be asked about any special skills or experience you may have, from horse-riding to fencing, piano-playing to juggling. Clearly if you have any such talents they may lead to additional work, but don’t claim skills you don’t have, as you WILL get found out!

The other thing you will be expected to provide is photos. As a minimum you will be asked for head-and-shoulders and full body shots. These are clearly very important, as they will be used by casting directors when choosing extras for their productions. It is therefore important that the quality is as high as possible, so it’s best to use a high-quality DSLR camera. Some agencies will not accept photos taken on mobile phones. And they definitely don’t want selfies!

Once you are registered with an agency they will keep your details (and photos) on file, and contact you when an opportunity matching your description comes in. You will then receive a call sheet from the production office and told when and where to report.

Universal Extras, mentioned above, is one of the best-known UK agencies, but there are of course others you can apply to as well. Three other possibilities are Studio Extras, Film Extras , and Star Now.

  • If you’re outside the UK, your best bet is to search online for “film extras” plus the name of your country and/or nearest big city. In the US, by far the best-known agency is Central Casting, which has offices in New York, New Orleans and Los Angeles. You can find out more (and apply) via their website at CentralCasting.com.

On the Day

Your call sheet will tell you what time to arrive on the shoot and whom you should report to (on a film set this will typically be the 2nd Assistant Director or extras captain). On day shoots a 7 am start is not unusual.

When you arrive you will meet your contact and be given your “chit” or “salary voucher”. You will be required to fill this in and keep it with you at all times, to ensure you are paid everything that is due to you.

Before filming begins, you will be shown to the rest area where you’ll stay when you’re not on set. This is a good place to relax, read a book and meet other extras before your shoot. A runner or Assistant Director (AD) will come and collect you when you are needed for a scene.

According to the type of production you are taking part in (fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, period drama, etc.) you may be required to visit various departments before filming starts, such as costume, make-up and/or weaponry.

Once on set for your scene you will normally be directed by an AD. They’ll tell you what they expect and give you an opportunity to rehearse before filming starts. Once they’re happy that you and your fellow extras are capable of doing what they want, rehearsing will stop and the main actors will be brought on.

Once everyone is on set and in place the AD will usually shout “Background Action!” This means that you start doing exactly what you have been rehearsing. “Action!” will then be shouted to give the main actors their cue to start.

At the end of the scene the director will call “Cut!” or just “Thanks, everyone!” to let you know that the scene and filming has ended. Don’t stop acting until you hear these words. More often than not the scene will be repeated several times until the director is happy with the outcome.

Here are a few more things to avoid while on set…

  • Rushing up and talking to the actors
  • Asking anyone for an autograph
  • Taking photos (cameras and mobile phones are normally banned on set)
  • Staring at the main actors
  • Staring into the camera

Remember that the actors are there to do a job, like you, so they need to avoid distractions.

At the end of filming a scene, you will be taken back to the rest area until you are needed again. You may be asked to take part in many shots such as close-ups, long shots and mid-shots.

At the end of the day do not leave until you have been signed out and completed the necessary paperwork to ensure you get paid. And don’t forget to return all props and costumes given to you!



What Does It Pay?

Rates of pay vary depending on the type of work, but they are governed by nationally negotiated agreements.

The Film Artistes Association (FAA), for example, stipulates a daily basic rate for extras of £84 for a nine-hour working day including an hour for lunch. That is clearly not a fortune, but the basic rate may be supplemented in various ways.

For example, if your role requires a change of clothes or a haircut, you will be entitled to an extra £12.50. If you get wet in a scene involving mock rain, there is a £19 additional payment. And if you have to fire a gun or say a word such as “Hi!” that entitles you to an extra £25 in your pay cheque.

You will be paid even if, for one reason or another, your services are not required on the day. In addition, cooked meals are normally provided free of charge, including breakfast for early calls. A common source of conversation among extras is the quality of the catering!

Earnings can also be boosted in some cases by a “buyout”. This is a one-off lump sum paid to extras in lieu of royalties. In a few cases royalties may still be paid, which means you get a further fee every time the film, TV show or advertisement is aired. Royalty deals for extras are not nearly as common as they used to be, however.

You will normally receive payment four to six weeks after the shoot. Extras are regarded as self-employed, so no deductions are made for tax and National Insurance. Assuming you are hired via an agency they will take their cut, however. This is typically 15 percent of earnings, and there may be VAT to pay on this as well.

Closing Thoughts

If you have never considered being a film or TV extra before, I hope in this post to have whetted your appetite. As I said at the start, you are unlikely to make a fortune this way, but you can get a lot of fun and satisfaction from it.

In my view this is also an excellent sideline for home-based entrepreneurs, who often lead a rather solitary life. Being an extra will not only boost your income, in my experience it is great for meeting new and interesting people, and getting away from the computer for a while!

A few extras have been “discovered” this way and gone on to become genuine stars in their own right, but the great majority simply enjoy the work and the extra money it brings in. You will also have the fun of seeing yourself in films or TV shows, and pointing out the scenes you are in to your awestruck (or not) family and friends.

And finally, if you’re too shy to appear in front of the camera yourself, you can still make good money by allowing your home to be used as a location.

It’s a wrap, then!

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12 reasons Matched Betting is a Great Sideline for Over Sixties!

12 Reasons Matched Betting is a Great Sideline for Over Sixties!

Pounds and Sense aims to cover financial matters from an over 60s perspective. So today I thought I’d talk about one of my favourite moneymaking sidelines (or side hustles in the modern parlance) matched betting, and why I believe it is ideally suited to people in our age group.

I spoke about matched betting in this post a few weeks ago. To recap, it is a way of making risk-free cash by taking advantage of bookmaker special offers and promotions.

I have been matched betting on and off since last September and my total earnings to date stand at around £2000. I know for a fact that there are people making this amount every month using this method!

Here then are 12 reasons why I believe matched betting is something anyone in our age group should at least look into…

1. Older people typically have some time available during the day (as well as evenings and weekends). This is ideal for matched betting, as to take advantage of some opportunities you need to be around during the daytime.

2. Matched betting is tax-free, as it is regarded as a form of gambling (although done properly it isn’t). It won’t therefore generate any additional tax liability for you, or affect your eligibility for means-tested benefits.

3. Matched betting income cannot be taken into account by banks or building societies if you are applying for a mortgage. That can be a problem for younger people, but it won’t typically worry older folk.

4. Most older people are careful with their money and avoid taking needless risks with it. Other things being equal, they are less likely to be tempted from matched betting into gambling. Of course, if you have ever had a gambling problem in the past, it is probably best to avoid this particular activity.

5. Most older people have at least some savings. That is important, as you do need a small amount of capital to start matched betting. This money is not actually at risk, but it is needed to do the offers, and you can withdraw it at any time. If you have no savings at all, however, matched betting will be difficult for you.

6. Online bookmakers typically perform credit checks before allowing you to open an account. As an older person you are likely to have a long credit record, which will reassure them. Younger people sometimes find themselves being asked to jump through various additional hoops before they can open an account.

7. Also, my experience is that bookmakers tend to be less suspicious of older punters. If you are over 60 you will probably not fit the normal profile for someone doing this. That means you are less likely to have your account restricted (or gubbed, as we say) if they suspect you are matched betting. Matched betting is not illegal, incidentally, but bookmakers don’t really like it. They much prefer ‘mug punters’ who bet recreationally and lose money steadily to them!

8. Hopefully as an older person you will have a degree of financial security. That means you won’t be totally stressed out over potentially losing a pound or two if you make a mistake. That’s important, as you need to be focused and relaxed when matched betting. It’s not rocket science, but it does require care and concentration.

9. And likewise, if you will excuse a further generalization, as an older person you will likely be punctilious about following the instructions from matched betting services (if you belong to one). And neither are you likely to be tempted to go ‘off piste’, at least until you have gained more experience.

10. As an older person, you will probably be accustomed to keeping financial records. This again is essential for a matched bettor, to keep track of your profits and where they currently are.

11. You don’t have to do matched betting every day. If you have family commitments, part-time or temporary jobs, holidays, medical procedures or just want to take a break from it for a while, it’s very easy to put it on hold and come back later.

12. And finally,  matched betting is a great (and enjoyable) way of keeping your brain active, with the bonus that you are making money as well 🙂

Getting Started

So how do you get started as a matched bettor? Unless you are already an experienced punter with a good understanding of the mathematics involved, I highly recommend joining a matched betting advisory service. They set out everything you need to know with step-by-step instructions, and also provide software tools with advice on how to use them. You can sign up and use these services even if you have never placed a bet in your life before.

The service I use myself and recommend for beginners is Profit Accumulator. This is a dedicated matched betting advisory service. You can join free initially and they will provide details of two offers you can take advantage of straight away. These should make you around £45 in net profit. If you wish to proceed further, you can then pay to become a Platinum member and get access to their full range of offers and services.

A further advantage of joining Profit Accumulator is that you get access to the members-only forum, where you can get any questions you may have answered by more experienced members and/or the team behind PA.

I will be covering other aspects of matched betting in future posts, so please do sign up in the right-hand column to be notified when the blog is updated (you can also follow PAS on social media and Bloglovin). And if you think matched betting may be for you, do click through to the Profit Accumulator website to see what they offer and sign up for the free trial.

As ever, if you have any questions or comments about matched betting or Profit Accumulator, please do post them below.

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Lights, Camera, Profit!

Lights, Camera, Profit! How to Make Money Offering Your Home as a TV or Film Location

Today I’m discussing an opportunity with the potential to generate a lot of money for little effort. As you will gather, that is allowing your home to be used as a location for film, TV or still photography.

Of course, this opportunity won’t be suitable for everyone. You need to live somewhere with characteristics or features that might be in demand by a production company. But, as I’ll be explaining, you definitely don’t need to live in a stately home. A huge range of properties is required, so wherever you live there’s a chance it could be the perfect location for an upcoming project.

I’ll put my cards on the table and admit that I haven’t any direct experience of doing this myself. Some friends who live in a perfectly normal suburban semi did, though. Their house was chosen for filming a toilet roll commercial. As well as a generous fee for two days’ filming, they received several large boxes of premium toilet rolls for their trouble!

What Homes Are Required?

All sorts of properties may be of interest, although those meeting the following criteria are in most demand…

  • Good accessibility and parking – film-makers in particular may have trucks and lorries that need to be parked near-by.
  • Large rooms and through lounges – around a dozen crew members plus their equipment are likely to be in the house at any time, so there must be enough space for them as well as the actors.
  • Unusual features – traditional stone fireplaces, spiral staircases, farmhouse-style kitchens, extra-large bathrooms, and so on.
  • Not too many narrow stairs and hallways, and not too close to main roads, busy railway lines or aircraft flight-paths.
  • Homes with a particular “look” – a typical English country cottage, for example, or a 1970s-style bachelor pad!
  • In addition, homes within the M25 are likely to generate more interest, as most production companies are based in and around London.

Earnings can range from a few hundred pounds for an ordinary house or flat, up to £5,000 or more for an unusual (e.g. ultra-modern/architect-designed) home. Other things being equal, film-makers tend to pay better than TV companies.

As mentioned above, there is also a demand for properties for still photography (typically featuring the latest designs or fashions). For this type of opportunity, it helps to have a larger house, ideally with attractive gardens as well.



How to Apply

The Location Partnership is one agency that is always keen to hear from people willing to offer their homes for filming. It is free to register with them, and all they ask initially is that you take some photos of your property (interior and exterior) and send them with a completed registration form.

If your property is used, The Location Partnership will negotiate the fee for you and provide a contract and any other advice you might need to ensure a successful shoot. They charge a 20 percent commission (+VAT) of the final fee paid to you by the production company.

Two other agencies you can also try are Location Works and JJ Media.

Follow Electric Cinema Too!

The Electric Cinema in Birmingham is owned by the son of a friend of mine. They have a film-making offshoot called Electric Flix, which sometimes needs locations. Here’s an example ad from last year which shows that even run-down properties can be in demand…

Our production company Electric Flix is in production with our second feature film. We need a Midlands based house to shoot in for three days and will pay up to £800 for the right location.

We are looking for a terraced or modest semi-detached house. Ideally it will have a drive to park a vehicle (or space outside to park) and the hallway leading to the kitchen or another large room. Rooms needed for filming are hallway, kitchen or other ground floor large room and a decent sized bedroom.

The house should be sparsely furnished – or even empty. A student house or a run down property would be preferred over anything recently renovated. The house is needed for filming October 16th-19th October.

If you would like to put your house forward please email xxxxxxxx with photos of the house (exterior, hallway, bedroom and kitchen/large room), along with your contact details including mobile, confirmation that this house would be free on the dates stated, and you have permission to offer it up as a location.

I have blanked out the email address as this ad is no longer current. However, you can follow them on Facebook where they posted this (and also learn about the latest films they are showing!).

Good luck, and I hope to see your home in a film or TV show sometime soon 🙂

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Free Postcode Lottery

How I Won £614.53 on the Free Postcode Lottery!

A few weeks ago I posted about free online lotteries and why they are worth playing.

I mentioned then that Free Postcode Lottery was one of my favourite such sites, and that applies even more now. Last week I logged in as usual and saw my postcode staring back at me as the winner of the main draw 😮

I honestly thought for a moment that I was dreaming, but quickly realised that I wasn’t. I looked for and found the claim button (it wasn’t quite as prominent as I expected) and clicked on it. And that was it – I had just won the Free Postcode Lottery!

The prize fund that day was £1200 and FPL said there was one other registered player in my postcode area. I must admit that I was slightly disappointed when, a few hours later, that person put in their claim as well, meaning I would have to split the £1200 with them. Still, I’m really not complaining, as an extra £600 (tax-free) has come in very handy indeed as the winter bills pour in.

And if you’re wondering, the other £14.53 is my loyalty bonus. I accrued this through introducing other players and signing up for offers on the FPL site. When you win FPL, your loyalty bonus is added to your winnings. I only wish I’d signed up for a few more offers now 😀



More About Free Postcode Lottery

I’d been meaning to write a special post about FPL anyway, so I shall say a bit more about it now.

As mentioned, this is a free lottery site. There is nothing to pay and all prizes are funded by advertising. It is not to be confused with The People’s Postcode Lottery, which is advertised on TV and you have to pay for.

To be eligible for prizes on FPL, all you have to do is sign up on the website, including your postcode, email address and PayPal account details (any winnings are paid into this). You then have to return to the site every day to check whether your postcode has come up. If a prize isn’t claimed the fund rolls over to the next day. With the Main Draw, it currently goes up by £400 a day. The prize can easily rise to over £1000 if a few days go by without anyone claiming.

One thing I really like about FPL is that there are multiple draws, greatly boosting your chances of winning. As well as the Main Draw (which I was lucky enough to win) there is also a Survey Draw (where you may have to complete a survey to see the winning postcode) and a Video Draw (where you have to watch a music video). There are also Stackpot and Bonus Draws, with smaller prizes. And finally, there is a £50 gift card to be won every week by courtesy of the price comparison website Quidco. All six draws can be accessed via the tabs at the top of the page, as shown in the screen capture below.

Free Postcode Lottery

It only takes a few moments to check all the draws. Personally I use the Tab Alarm add-on in Firefox to open up FPL and all the other free lotteries I am registered with at the same time every day. That means they can all then be checked in five minutes or so. It also ensures that I don’t forget on the day my number comes up!

I know you will hear people say that “It’s a scam” or “Nobody ever wins”, but I am living proof that it’s not and they do! Please give Free Postcode Lottery a try, therefore, and sign up also with the other free prize lotteries listed in my earlier post.

Good luck, and if you have any comments or questions about Free Postcode Lottery, please do post them below.

 

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