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Increase Your Chances Of Winning Competitions

by erin. (follow)
Blogger/Writer/Aspiring Millionaire Love of interior design, animals and arts and crafts

For those of you who keep asking "What's the point?" let me tell you how entering competitions changed my life.

I first started trying to find way to earn money from home when I became a stay at home mum in June 2012.

I knew that I didn't ever want to go back to a "real job" once I had children. I liked being at home with my son and watching him play and knew that I would feel like I was getting a raw deal in life should I ever have to return to work and have him in childcare full time. Not to mention majority of what I could earn would be spent paying someone to care for him.

My other half works away and because of that we struggle with a work life balance. He is only home for 5 days a month and most of that time is spent catching up with family or friends ( on a tight budget) or working on our home which we have found is just a money pit of problems! I have been writing for a while here and there, including guest posting on other blogs and my stories being featured in a couple of magazines however it hasn't brought in the tens of thousands I need to balance out my other half's wage so I am so glad I found success in entering competitions.

It's incredibly important for us to have an extra source of money because the industry my other half works in is turbulent to say the least. A full time or permanent job never has any meaning to us, with the big companies thinking nothing of hiring and firing within a few months because of share prices. This has meant any money we have saved sits in an account untouched should he suddenly become unemployed and unable to get a job for a few months. How boring is that?

To be able to "rely" on competition money or prizes coming in has been a blessing. I say rely loosely because obviously winning is never guaranteed, however if you increase the odds by applying what I do, I truly believe you will win regularly.

We have managed our money pit house from my winnings, something that we would otherwise have never been able to afford. That means the emergency plumbing, rewiring and floorboards in our living area have been funded outside of our income. We also managed to squeeze in a short holiday to Queensland.

To give you an idea this is what I have won to date over approximately two years.

$28,000 in cash (from four different competitions)
A local holiday
Two beauty packs
Books (mainly recipe books)
Tickets to pink
Two other theatre productions
Half a dozen bottles of wine
Tickets to Disney On Ice
Gift vouchers
Fuel voucher
Hair products
Movie tickets

The kinds of competitions I have been successful in were weight loss, Facebook likes, 25 words or less and radios. Some meant I had to travel to the local shopping centre but generally they were all done online from my lounge room and trusty Mac. I only ever enter one competition each year that costs me money which is the Hospital Home Lottery. This year I won the wine which meant we broke even on the purchase but I keep entering because I want the house with the ultimate dream be mortgage free. Fingers and toes are crossed for next year. All other competitions are done on free competition sites. More on this further down.

I really want others to feel the joy you get from winning and maybe helping others stretch their dollars that little bit further to "live" rather than "get by."

Now for the tips. Enjoy and good luck.

1. Most competitions are based on skill rather than random entry.

Because of this, take the time to put in the effort. Lots of people won't enter competitions because of the effort involved. It might be that you have to submit a a photo or a 25 words or less story. Take time to think carefully about what the promoter wants you to write about. If there is a particular brand involved, mention it somehow in your write up. Clever entries like this get recognised and show that you know exactly what you were entering and who is promoting the competition.

2. Increase entries equals higher odds of winning

It's pretty obvious really. The more competitions you enter the more chance you are going to give yourself to win. If you have competitions that allow multiple entries, keep a calendar of how often you can enter them to come back and re- enter.Some allow daily, weekly, monthly while others are once off entries only. There are a bunch of great websites around such as Competitions Guide,Win Free Stuff, OfferX and Aussie Contests that list almost all of the competitions available in Australia and you can create a free account with them so you can login and tick off all the competitions you have entered keep track of them all in one place.

3. Choose competitions with a bigger prize volume or that require more effort than usual

When you have a competition that has a high number chances of winning they are definitely worth putting your name into. These kinds of competitions are usually smaller prizes such as movie tickets, books or beauty products so they can afford to give out a higher volume of the prize. Don't discount these prizes, even if you don't want them for yourself winning them might save you some cash when it comes to buying presents for others or things that you normally buy for yourself.

I recently won tickets to a theatre production that wasn't really to my taste so I gifted it to my mum for Mother's Day who was thrilled for a free night out with a friend. When I won the local getaway I had just had my second baby so Mum benefited again at Christmas time. Not all prizes can be transferrable so know the conditions.

4. Ensure your details are up to date and forms are filled out correctly

Nothing worse than being drawn the winner of something for the promoter to be unable to contact you. When filling out forms ensure you use correct spelling, provide all contact details from phone numbers through to email. Most entries will require you to give permission to receive marketing material and if you don't your entry will be disqualified so check the boxes.

5. Take advantage of extra entries by sharing.

Even if you barely use them it's worth setting up all your social media accounts such as Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook because most promoters will provide you with extra entries for sharing on those media tools. The other bonus here is that often with sharing means you have your own special affiliate link, so that when other people see your post and enter via your link you can earn even more entries. I personally draw the line at competitions that are a popularity contents such as "vote for my photo." I think this is a terrible kind of competition and rules out a lot of people who choose not to have a million strangers/associates on Facebook or who aren't comfortable badgering their friends and family to "like" their babies' photo everyday. People have enough on their plate and it really proves it's not about the cutest pet or baby it's the amount of "friends" someone has.

6. Always read terms and conditions

Terms and conditions are there for a reason. Particularly with holiday prizes there may be a particular period in which you have to take the prize. For many people if the prize has to be booked and taken within a few weeks of winning or during a busy period at work its not going to be achievable for you. Sometimes it will say something like "Bali Holiday" but it doesn't include the flights. Most prizes will not be redeemable for cash or transferrable into another persons name so be clear on that. Others may require you to participate further once you have won the prize. This might include having your photo published, public speaking or even paying for your own travel or a courier to collect your prize. Keeping a record of what you enter and when and copies of your entries with end dates and draw dates as well as how the winner is announced is a great idea. There is always the risk you could be completely disqualified from entering a competition too many times or duplicate entries.

7. Keep your entries to promotions that are free or minimal cost

So many people spend tonnes of money on scratchie or lottery tickets and honestly I think they are a real waste of money. Not only are you spending money on beyond ridiculous odds but its not a great addiction to have especially when there is so little reward. Sticking with competitions that are free means the only thing you are giving up is your time but generally your odds of winning are much better. The only exception to this would be "shop to win" type competitions such as purchasing a particular food while out shopping or hiring a service to go into the draw to win something. If it's something you would normally I'd say buy anyway or if you can honestly justify purchasing it in that instance then go for it!

Have you won anything before or do you have any tips to promote your chances of winning you would like to share?
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