This is article No. 2 of my Alternative Moneymaking Series. Alternative Moneymaking is a way of making money, alternatively. Which means most moneymaking ventures outside of the traditional moving to New York or San Francisco and working in a corporation. And it most definitely means your income doesn’t derive from being a lawyer, banker, or consultant.
Imagine you lived a life completely on your own terms. You were not a victim to the vicissitudes of someone else’s schedule or plan. You had your own schedule, your own plan. You lived life on your own terms.
A friend of mine—Mark Wetzler—has composed a life where he does exactly this. He lives life on his own terms and doesn’t look back. He travels the world and writes about it at his highly acclaimed blog Where’s Wetzler. He surfs. Hand rolls his cigarettes. Periodically approaches women. Speaks fluent Spanish and fluent French. Mark is free.
How has Mark composed such a life?
One, Mark is smart—which can help with a few things. Two, even more important than smarts, is that Mark is curious. Consider this quote from Albert Einstein:
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
Mark has not lost a holy curiosity.
Three, and take note of this, is that Mark understands he does not need much money to live life on his own terms. Mark’s goal is to soak up experiences. To do this, he focuses on protecting his financial downside, rather than focusing on the soul-crushing, chasing-your-tail upside. He generates sufficient income to do what he wants to do, and travels on. [He’s also dolphin-like savvy when it comes to credit card churning and accumulating frequent flyer points.]
So where does this “sufficient income” come from? What does Mark do to maintain his lifestyle?
Mark is a Google Ads Quality Rater.
I asked him a handful of questions to learn more:
1. Why did you get involved as a Google Ads Quality Rater? Osea, what was the context of your getting into this Alternative Moneymaking Gig?
I needed a job and my friend who had done it in either French or Italian or Finnish told me about it. I applied and then a couple months later out of the blue they messaged me saying they wanted to start the onboarding process. The rest is history.
2. What do you exactly do as a Google Ads Quality Rater?
What I do is basically this: I’m given a search term that someone actually searched for on Google like “best steak restaurant in jersey city” and then shown an ad that might say something like, “Come to Jimbo’s, Best Seafood in Jersey City!” and I have to say how relevant that ad is to the search term and how likely it is to satisfy the user. In this particular case I would probably say it’s somewhat irrelevant and that dissatisfaction is possible, though I feel like I’m too nice in my judgements and Google would rather have me say that this ad is shit for the user intent and not likely to satisfy them at all. But I like to think that homey who’s looking for a steak restaurant in Jersey City might also be interested in some bombass seafood. Jersey City is the new Greenwich Village, btw.
Another example would be looking at various sites to determine whether or not they have religious content, since advertisers don’t want their ads on sites with controversial content, and basically anything religious is controversial. Those are more interesting. You see the word “god” and you basically don’t have to review the site anymore, mark it as “religious”, and move on to the next.
As far as workload I’m supposed to rate 20-40 ads an hour. I usually do about 22 just to keep the man off my back. But neither Google nor ZeroChaos [the company that hired Mark] has said anything to me about the quality of my work in over a year. Do you know what that’s like? It means you feel what you’re doing really doesn’t matter, like building a beautiful sand castle everyday only to have it destroyed. But I’m lucky to have a job, blah blah blah.
I do it because it gives me absolute freedom. Since I have started working as a Google Ads Rater I have traveled to Mexico, France, Spain, Morocco, Colombia, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Serbia, Romania, Ukraine, Poland, Germany and, because I’ve been working, have actually made money in the process. Wonderful.
3. If one wanted to become a Google Ads Quality Rater, how would you recommend he/she go about it?
Google “ads quality rater.” It helps greatly (see: it might be essential) to speak another language in addition to English. I haven’t seen any ads for Spanish for a long time but I feel like they’re hiring for Asian languages.
4. Where do you do your work?
Wherever the f$ck I want. Not supposed to work outside the US. Used a VPN for the first year and then said f$ck it and stopped using one. They’ve [ZeroChaos] never said anything. I’m convinced their bases are covered just by putting it in the contract so they don’t actually care what you do. VPN’s suck ps. They slow everything down, or maybe that’s just because I have a terrible laptop.
I wouldn’t recommend using one.
5. What are the benefits in terms of lifestyle, job satisfaction, etc., etc.? What are the downsides?
If you ignore the thing about being in the US, you can be ANYWHERE at ANYTIME.
This is hard to underestimate. And I guess I should qualify that by saying you must have reliable internet. There is nothing more stressful than working with unreliable internet. In the US you’re not going to be a king/queen working this job, but say you’re in the Ukraine, where I was last year, and their currency has just gone through the floor, you can absolutely live like a king working 20 hours a week.
Downside is you’re on a computer screen a lot of the day usually talking to no one. Very little job satisfaction because your work is not evaluated so you don’t really know if you’re doing a good job or not. This could also be seen as a plus.
6. What is the pay of a Google Ads Quality Rater?
15 dollars an hour USD hard f$cking cash. Must work at least 10 hours a week and no more than 29.
Gilbert: So weekly pay ranges from USD $150 to $435, before taxes. For Americans who crave $100k salaries, obviously this will feel like a pittance. But if you isolate the things you truly value—in Mark’s case, travel—you’ll probably discover you really don’t need much money. Particularly so if you live in a place where the dollar has a strong advantage over the local currency like in Ukraine.
Gilbert continued: Also remember, you have options. 1) If being a Google Ads Quality Rater strikes your fancy but $15/hour is too low a wage, you can always start SAVING now—building up your Money Mustache. Stashing cash is a fine strategy for anything. 2) You can work other jobs at the same time! Because Mark has freedom of time and space, he can stop on a dime and run a tour in Nicaragua or Colombia (which he’s done) or try whatever other Alternative Moneymaking Venture that comes calling. Freedom gives you options.
7. Any extra thoughts, comments, tips for the Alt Moneymakers?
I feel fortunate to have this job but at the same time often take it for granted.
When I tell people about it they’re sometimes psyched and I’m always quick to say “it’s boring as shit.” But traveling is rad, and usually when you travel you just have gastos [expenses], but I have ingresos [income] now too. Party!
For questions, you can write me at [email protected]
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