Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Can You Make Money Online in Saudi Arabia?

Hi there!

I’ve practically abandoned my blog. In fact, I’ve been caught up with a lot of activities during the past two years: taking care of baby number 2 (who is now a toddler), completing a course, and writing elsewhere. Yes, I do write and promote my work elsewhere, but I made it a habit to keep this blog as a place where I share my thoughts and experiences as an expat wife in Saudi Arabia. I’ve been keeping in touch with my readers, though, via email and through the comment section.

Since I created this blog in 2011, I can’t count the number of CVs that I’ve received. I can’t also count the number of CVs that I’ve forwarded to friends and relatives who worked as HR and recruiting agents. Unfortunately, I’ve never found out whether any of these potential candidates ever landed a job. As much as I would love to know what happened, it was (and it is) practically impossible for me to follow up every case.

The truth is, I still get CVs. And these are CVs from educated men and women (in most cases) who possess a bachelor’s or a master’s degree. It's a pity that some of these otherwise qualified persons face difficulties in getting a job and making a living. Thus, I did a lot of research and tried some programmes to help me put up something that will guide dependent expats in Saudi Arabia to make extra income while searching for a job. If done well, some of these can become a full-time activity that can help you earn substantial income.

Below is a list of what I was able to come up with:

Mystery Shopping

In mystery shopping, you’re contracted to pose as a “shopper”. You’ll purchase or use a service and give your feedback to the contractor at the end of your assignment. The contractor will refund (either in part or in whole) the amount that you spent during your “shopping” and pay you a small fee for your evaluation. While this might be a good way to earn extra cash, I don't believe anyone make a living on this.

There’re a lot of scams out there, and you don’t want to lose money when your goal is to make it. Be wary of 'mystery shopping' programmes that ask you to pay a small fee (even if it is $10) to join.

One programme that I found interesting was that of International Service Check (ISC). Read more about what they do here. The members’ area looks like this (see the screen capture below) when you sign up, and you have to complete a certification process to be assigned checks for projects in one of the following areas: Jeddah, Riyadh, Madinah, Makkah, Al Ahsa, Taif, Dammam, Qassim, Tabuk, Jizan, Najran, or Yanbu. They typically send emails whenever they need service checkers at particular locations.

They are legit and pay mystery shoppers when they complete their checks. However, you may have delays of up to 6 weeks before receiving your payment. One other downside of this programme is that if ISC isn’t satisfied with your evaluation, you won’t get paid. Imagine how distressing that can be—spending money as well as time and energy only for your evaluation to be qualified as ‘unsatisfactory’.  

Direct Selling

I’ve tried EDMARK®, Avon® and Forever Living® and can proudly recommend these to women (and men) who have a business mind and who wish to make part-time income while hunting for a job. I personally know a few women who earn between 2000 and 5000 SAR/month just from promoting and selling Avon® products, and I’ve heard about other women who make up to 10000 SAR/month.

I'm a fan of EDMARK® products, and there're specific products such as Red Yeast Coffee, Ginseng Coffee, Shake Off Phyto Fiber, and Splina that I purchase nearly every month. EDMARK® has a very interesting referral programme where they offer incentives to members who have the highest number of referrals and sales. Hard-working members can even earn a car or a villa! And before you scream, I've personally met a Filipino who won a villa in Jeddah through their programme.

Online Services

If you’re good at writing or you have other skills that can be offered online, then there’re good chances you may be able to make some money with Fiverr®. If you don’t know it yet, Fiverr® is a marketplace that permits people to buy or sell their services (also called ‘gigs’) for $5. Here is a list of services that you can offer on Fiverr®:

·         Writing and/or editing

·         Graphic design

·         Voice over

·         Ebook formatting

·         Book cover design

·         Data entry

·         SEO / SEM, etc.

Fiverr® is totally legit and they’ve been around since 2010. No get paid after each successful transaction, i.e., when your client is happy with the service you provided.

Another option is to create a free website and offer your services. I've tried this and I can tell you that it would very difficult to find clients if you don't know how to promote yourself.

Affiliate marketing

I’ve tried every affiliate marketing programme that you can think of, and I’ve lost a lot of money in my bid to make money from the comfort of my home. I’ve even joined programmes that permitted me to make only $3/month before I got mad and quit, and I would never recommend such programmes to anyone. At the end of the day, there’s only one that I can advise anyone to join: WealthyAffiliate® (WA).

Wealthy Affiliate®, in my opinion, is the number one programme that can teach anyone (from anywhere in the world) to make money online. I’m an active member of WA, so I’m speaking from the point of view of someone who has experienced this first hand. See a screen shot of the members’ area below:

These are some of the benefits of WA:

1.   You can choose to sign up FREE and only upgrade to become a premium member when you wish to take your business to the next level. I generally advice those who sign up under me to use the free option for as long as they want before upgrading IF they see the potential of this programme. I, for example, signed up for a free membership and only upgraded after 2 years. It took me while to understand the programme because I was skeptical at the beginning, having wasted too much time on other programmes that didn’t get me any close to my goals. 

2.   There are so many resources in the members’ area, where you are taught how to make actual money online. Members are provided with tools, training and videos to teach them how to build an online business. Members can also get support directly from the founders of the programme, Kyle and Carson.

3.   Wealthy Affiliate® has an active community. I’ve never seen such an active community in other programmes that I’d joined online. Members are always quick to respond to questions when another member is experiencing difficulties in setting up their business. In other words, you get support all round the clock.
(Disclosure: I used affiliate links in the paragraphs above. This means that if you decide to upgrade, I shall be paid a small commission; however, I'd appreciate your supporting me.)

I hope you’ll be able to find something that works for you on this list. If there’re other programmes that you think can help expats in Saudi, please feel free to leave a comment below.


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