In a previous post I asked, can you make a living from entering competitions? At the end of that post I made the bold statement; There is no such thing as a professional comper! I know many will disagree with this so here is my justification, (and do remember folks everyone can have their own opinion, it doesn’t mean someone is right and someone else is wrong).
Depending on which dictionary you use there are a number of different definitions as to what ‘professional’ means, but this short statement sums it up for me;
“Engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as an amateur”
Most people I know who are highly successful in winning put the hours in that would be equivalent to a part, or even full time position. But they still don’t earn enough to pay the mortgage or rent every month of the year. They may earn in value thousands and thousands of pounds. But that can’t always be converted into the actual cash that is needed in your account to pay for the mortgage and bills. Another guaranteed income stream is generally funding that, with ‘comping’ as a nice bonus. Competitions can provide a way for a family on a modest income to have a few luxuries in life. As per the definition above, if you can not rely solely on comping to be your main paid occupation then to me this means you are not a professional comper. (And is why I dislike the term so much)!
I’ve been on the radio talking about competitions, but I don’t class myself as professional – comping doesn’t pay my bills!
However, I do believe (and know) there are people out there that make a living from association with competitions. There are magazine subscriptions, online services, even blogs(!) out there. Some generate money for the people behind them, those who put the hard work and hours in to make an income. But to me if someone publishs’ a magazine for a living then wouldn’t they be a professional publisher? They may be a highly skilled comper as well, but it is the activity of publishing that is there ‘main paid occupation’. Food for thought!
The idea behind this post came about because I recently saw a national company include in their competition t&c’s, no professional compers allowed to enter! Its a term that has always frustrated me a little, so I wanted to examine it. My conclusion from both postings, (can you make a living from entering competitions, and this post), is that there is no such thing as a professional comper. Personally I’m just well practised, or good at my hobby – I should be after almost 15 years! What are your thoughts? Do you like the term professional? If not, what do you prefer?
As a successful comper for almost 15 years, I’ve often been asked why I don’t give up work and concentrate on entering competitions. But can you make a living from comping? Can you earn enough from giveaways and promotions to not go to work?
The short answer to this is NO!
I’m sure there may be people out there who would argue this point, as always in life people have different opinions. But these are my reasons as to why you should not set upon comping as a career, but enjoy it as a (potentially lucrative) hobby.
- THERE IS NO GUARANTEE YOU WILL WIN – Firstly and most importantly this is what you must realise. Yes there are ways to improve your chances, (which I share on this blog so do subscribe)! But you can have very long dry spells even when you enter 100s of competitions daily. The mortgage or rent still needs to be paid during these times.
- MINIMAL CASH GIVEAWAYS – Actual real hard cash competitions are few and far between. It is unfortunately the currency in which you need to pay your mortgage or rent.
- RESALE VALUE – If you are a very lucky and/or hardworking comper it is likely you will win some high value prizes. A widescreeen TV, an iPad, maybe even the compers dream of a car. If you were to sell these items yes it would generate income, but unfortunately not the full rrp. It is likely if you did win a fabulous prize you’d probably want to keep it for yourself anyway, (I know I do)!
- HOLIDAYS – Many holidays (and some experiences) are non-transferable and can only be taken by the winner so resale is not allowed, and no income can be generated. Thats fine you say, you like holidays anyway. But imagine you’ve just had a call to say you’ve won 2 weeks in Hawaii. You have to go straight away though, and you haven’t made enough from comping this month to pay the mortgage or rent. If you go you will miss two weeks work of entering as well. Its not a situation I would like to be in.
- AN ADDICTION – Any seasoned comper will tell you entering competitions, if you are so inclined to the hobby, is highly addictive and takes over your life! We gladly spend hours filling in our details, taking wacky photographs, and coming up with tongue-tastic tiebreakers simply because we enjoy it. If we could make a living and give up our jobs we definitely would as we’re all a bit bonkers!
Arguably entering competitions is more about saving money than making it. It would take time and effort to sell on and make profit from the numerous small prizes. But winning such goods as tea-towels or toiletries saves you from buying them. I know I’m not alone in gifting some wins which saves on birthdays and at Christmas time. Even winning a holiday saves on that budget.
Can you make a living from entering competitions?
Most people I know who are highly successful in winning put the hours in that would be equivalent to a part, or even full time position. But they still don’t earn enough to pay the mortgage or rent every month of the year. They have another guaranteed income stream for that. Competitions can provide a way for a family on a modest income to have a few luxuries in life, but in my personal opinion there is no such thing as a professional comper.
I hope this has given you a useful insight if you are new to entering competitions and had questions to ask. For those seasoned compers amongst you it would be great to hear your thoughts? I have another post planned to discuss the term ‘professional comper’, something I personally find a little irritating!