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BellaOnline's Contests & Sweepstakes Editor

The Business of Sweepstaking

In regularly entering sweepstakes, you may find yourself giving it all the time and energy of a part-time home business. Truth be known, it can be run as other businesses, if you wish, and there are similar aspects to the trade that you may find beneficial to know.

First of all, the financial aspects carry basically the same benefits that any other home business does. You will want to consult your tax professional on this, as laws may vary in your state, however, as a general rule, any expenditures for your sweepstaking business can be deducted on your taxes, up to the amount of your winnings. This in mind, saving receipts for stamps, sweepstaking newsletters, envelopes, and other necessities of the trade is a good idea. There is also the potential of deductions for things such as internet expenses or for having a home office. It just depends on how you work it, and, as always, your local tax laws.

Another financial advantage to running your sweepstaking as a business is having a form of earnings (your winnings!). Although earnings may differ somewhat from other businesses in the fact that some are in the form of cash prizes and others in merchandise or other things of value. In my experience, when devoting regular time to sweepstaking, aside from any winnings with a substantial cash value (over $5,000), one can essentially average a base prize value in winning smaller prizes upwards of about $16.50 an hour. This includes reasonable amounts of time spent enhancing envelopes, filling out forms, entering on the internet, picking up supplies,etc. Any larger winnings can then be considered as the "bonuses". In effect, this is something similar to a salesperson who receives a base wage with bonuses (it is also akin to the zen practice of noticing the spaces in-between). Of course, the bonuses will bring wages up to a higher level. However, though you can anticipate the bonus coming, they are not guaranteed to come at a specific time (you just know that with time and persistence, they will come), and having a base wage is enough to keep you going until they do.

These figures come from my own studies on time and winnings, studied over a two-month time frame, on three different occasions, while balancing with home and family. Individual winnings may vary according to your own design. Should you choose to enter primarily for vacations, or focus on contests alone, for example, these figures will be entirely different. This is just meant to offer a basic idea of one way it can be done.

Next week we will continue our look at sweepstaking as a home run business.

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