In 2001 Sjolander read an article about competition entering that said “if you aren’t winning you’re not trying hard enough” – she began devoting more effort to participating in the countless competitions that, combined, are worth billions of dollars every year in cash and prizes, and was soon rewarded with a steady stream of wins; in How to Win Competitions she explains how you, too, can become a successful comper, either alone or in a comping club.
Sjolander systematically takes the novice through the process, from an overview and advice on getting started, to a guide through the terms and conditions (including why it’s vital to read and understand them), to a step by step explanation of the various kind of competitions available – magazines, in store and product purchase promotions, how to improve your ‘words or less’ responses, and the use of the internet. She includes sections for children, and a comprehensive discussion about cheating (don’t do it, but this is how those who successfully cheat do it). The final chapter is the diary of a month in the life of a novice Sjolander guides through the process, from her first day to her being successfully hooked on the competitive thrill, including a $1000 win, movie tickets and a free mascara.
This is a comprehensive and (so far as I can tell) accurate guide to the (previously unknown to me) world of serious comping. Tailored tot he Australian market, Sjolander discusses tax consequences, the differences between state regulations, and potential pitfalls. To be a successful comper clearly requires organization, discipline and dedication, as well as thriving on the competitive nature of the hobby. She includes links to internet groups, and advice on joining (or even creating) local organizations of like-minded folk, and suggests an organisational system to keep track of what you’ve entered, when the prizes are drawn, and when the second draw prizes will be announced. She also has advice on what to do if you win but nothing arrives, from how long to wait to what to do if the organisers are unhelpful.
The first thing you need to know is that, though you can earn in excess of $20,000 a year in tax-free rewards, this takes dedication. In addition to the financial outlay – which varies depending on how and what you enter, but includes stationary and postage, SMS texts, buying dozens of magazines a month and copious volumes of products for their barcodes – the Sjolander method consumes vast quantities of time. There are tasks for the morning and afternoon of every weekday, and the anonymous diarist says there are always more competitions to enter.
If you’re at home, have broadband already, have some down time, an eBay account to sell your unwanted prizes through, and want to make some extra money, this could be the answer for you. However, for me (work full time, study part time, don’t drive, and am already a little overwhelmed by chaos) participating in the world of quasi-professional comping would be more stressful than successful. - Alex