Do you love to surf the Web? Did you know you can get paid to do it? Sandy Ferguson discovered this several years ago quite by accident … and is now a “secret weapon” for A-level copywriters and marketers nationwide. She’s worked with master copywriters like Clayton Makepeace and Carline Anglade-Cole, as well as clients such as High Reach Media, The Bob Livingston Letter, and Health Resources, among many others.

sandy fergusonSandy is not a writer. But she’s discovered a way to live the Barefoot Writer’s lifestyle all the same.

She has the freedom to work when and where she wants … and still makes a great income.

So how in the world did you figure out how to get paid to surf the Web?

Actually, it just fell into my lap. The idea was presented to me by a well-known copywriter who had a client in the supplement business that was inundated with finding research to market his products.

She suggested that he hire someone to do that work for him to free up his time to run other aspects of his company. They offered me the job – finding information on folic acid for a marketing piece. I was a part-time bookkeeper at the time.

After thinking it over, I thought, “What the heck. Give it a shot and see what happens.” Was I nervous? YEAH! But once I got my first client under my belt and delivered what he needed, I felt pretty good about it. I’m glad I didn’t pass up this great opportunity.

What exactly do clients ask you to look for?

Anything and everything that will give them “weight” to be able to market their product. If they’re looking for a study that substantiates a claim they want to make, then I look for that – for example, the effect of vitamin C on heart health.

You’ve got to make sure you get specifics from your client so that you understand exactly what they’re looking for.

This keeps you focused as you’re sorting through the information.

What’s the most obscure information you’ve been asked to track down?

I did research for a client that was looking for the price of metals like gold, silver, etc. I had to find out what they were worth yeeeeeeears ago – I’m talking back in the early 1900s or so – compared to their current value. It was definitely challenging.

Who are your customers – why don’t they just do this themselves?

I work with copywriters and heads of companies that hire copywriters. Research is time-consuming. It’s more economical for them to hire me to do it so they can spend their time focusing on more important company matters.

Can you really make a living at this?

Absolutely, you can once you build up your client base and get your business up and running. Right now, I’m averaging $50 an hour.

Do you have to be a computer geek to work in this field?

Absolutely not! I’m computer challenged on soooo many levels. However, I do know the basics – how to turn on the computer, create a document in Word, and use email – and that’s enough for me to get the job done.

Editor’s Note: Check out Sandy’s program, Secrets of Becoming an Internet Research Specialist.