Who’s That Little Surfer Dude Earning Cash with Every 10-Second Wave?

On my birthday last year, I awoke to an email box full of greetings. One came from my globetrotting friend Marianne Cantwell who was in Bali.

The title line simply said “A Birthday Surprise”. Somehow, Marianne had gathered a wide array of friends and family from around the world to send birthday greetings in video clips and photos.

My sister Nancy was on a rooftop in Athens with the Acropolis gleaming over her shoulder. My friends Georgia and Per-Erik Makitalo sent greetings from their home in Sweden. Friends in far places including Vietnam, Australia, Belgium, and Canada held up signs with birthday wishes.

But there was one mystery. Who was that cute little surfer from Costa Rica wishing me a happy birthday while catching a wave? I couldn’t think of a soul I knew who lived there.

“I had to cheat a bit on that one,” admitted Marianne. “He’s an entrepreneur.”

I laughed out loud. “How do you know him?”

Her answer surprised and pleased me. “I found him on a microgigs website,” she said. “I realized we didn’t have anyone on the video representing Latin America so I went looking for someone there. He and his father do this together and will record a message and send it for $5.”

Clever Marianne. Clever surfer dude and dad. Don’t you just love entrepreneurial creativity in action?

Microgigs are a real fun way to make a little money. People are drawing cartoons…doing voiceovers…singing birthday greetings…creating custom ring tones…compose jingles…all for $5.

They take very little time and are fun to do. And the amounts keep adding up so it can be a handy way to bonus pocket money.

There’s another bonus in microgigs. They’re a great way to test drive an idea and see if you want to build into something bigger and more permanent. You might discover that updating resumes or translating short documents is something you truly enjoy.

Or you might find out that it bores you to death.

Either way, turning that experiment into a microgig means you are getting paid to learn and clarify your ideas.

If you think some of these ideas are quirky, just look at the quirky things people want these days. Like Marianne looking for a birthday greeting for me from Latin America.

Don’t underestimate the market.

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