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Get money for nothing

Despite living the dream as PC Advisor's art director, I have two compelling reasons to make a little extra cash. They're called children. Here's how I keep them in mittens

This article appears in the May 07 issue of PC Advisor, available now in all good newsagents.

Read the papers and you might believe the world is filled with spotty young entrepreneurs. Oiks cashing in on successful websites and exciting online business ideas, run from a PC set up in a bedroom. Teenage millionaires who lord it up, rent-free in their parents' house.

If you believe this is so – personally, I can see no reason not to – I have three very important things to say:

  • 1. Never let your children have a computer in their bedroom. God only knows what they'll get up to. When I was growing up I had to work really hard to get a look at the sort of stuff today's kids can view with a simple click of a button.
  • 2. I hate the fact that I'm not using the internet as a cash cow. I work in the media, I can use a computer and, surprisingly, I'm quite web-savvy. So why is it that I haven't earned a single penny from the net? It's very simple, isn't it?

Well it all stops – or should I say, starts – here.

I've used online photography stock libraries for donkeys' years. Lately I've dumped the large, corporate and very expensive libraries I traditionally used, and moved to smaller independent ones. Crucially, these are much cheaper alternatives.

One good example, iStockphoto.com, has created a vast web-based international stock photography community. Members are able to buy and sell photos, illustrations and videos at a fraction of the usual stock library price.

This is brilliant for designers such as me who need to keep a tight reign on costs.

Until now, I have only ever bought stock photography and haven't tried to sell any of my own. Well, it's time to change that. iStockphoto will give me 20 percent of the proceeds from each photo sale. A photo will sell, on average, for about £2.50. That's a whole 50p for me. Happy days.

This doesn't sound much until you consider that the most popular images can be downloaded a thousand times in a three-month period. Strike it lucky and you could make £500 without lifting a finger.

Multiply this figure by the number of really good photos you upload and, hey presto, goodbye PCA Towers, hello Barbados! Well maybe not, but it's worth a try.

(Sorry, I nearly forgot.

  • 3. Rent free? Are you insane?)

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