My Unusual Hobby – Comping
So beyond writing this blog, I had one hobby that I have been *mildly* addicted to long before this blog existed. It’s a bit unusual, but something I really enjoy.
It’s called Comping.
Basically, it is someone who spends time purposely entering as many competitions as they can. Competitions where they can win prizes.
Before you say ‘how weird’ do you know how many competitions are currently available to enter for free in this country? According to ThePrizeFinder website a lot – they currently at the time of writing have 3325 competitions live on their website right now – and those are only the ones they have found. I promise you there will be much more.
Have you heard of the phrase ‘you got to be in it to win’, I cannot emphasise how true this is. All these prizes are available and WILL be won by someone. Why shouldn’t it be you?
I’ve had my fair share of luck over the years, at some points having winning streaks of winning a prize every week, or even 3 wins in one day. The things are, it is not just down to luck, it is a game of stats. The more you enter, the more your odds of winning. Equally when entering a prize draw with not many entries, suddenly your odds are better. I have genuinely entered competitions where I was the only applicant that entered… did I win? Absolutely… it was guaranteed.
I guess you’re now wondering how much time do I spend doing this, and how do I do it?
The time varies dramatically; I never give up my life to it. For example, I don’t cancel plans so I can comp, but I do build it into my daily routine (if it fits, again I don’t hold myself to ransom to do it.). It’s mainly online these days, with thousands spread over social media and also on individual company websites where often you just have to fill in your details.
My biggest advice at this stage is that the first thing you must do is have a separate ‘comping’ email if you decide to try this. It’s a must. Even when unticking form boxes you will still get spam, and be forced to join newsletters. If you have a separate email address that is not an issue, just remember to check it regularly as that is also where the winning emails go!
Why do companies do this?
It’s fabulous marketing, often worth far more the cost of the item(s) they give away. It’s a great way of building brand awareness. I can honestly say I have discovered many favourite brands, blogs and stores through my comping. Yes, I only found them because of their giveaway, but I loved their stuff and often ended up buying from them. There you have it, they have found a new customer in me. As part of the comping community, competitions are shared like wildfire so the outreach to new potential customers is fast and often reaps rewards for the brand.
Sadly sometimes companies (usually inexperienced ones) get ‘funny’ towards people if they find out they comp, so always make sure you engage with a brand where you can. It’s a shame those few are naïve to the real point of competitions. Companies should love us really!
But that is why there are so many competitions out there, it’s the best and cheapest advertising around for them.
How did I start comping?
My interest starting when I was about 13 when I won 3 times from a kids magazine (does anyone remember Sugar magazine?) and that got me hooked. For years I did it on a very ad hoc basis until I finally got drawn in and I started doing it regularly and efficiently about 4/5 years ago. Then when I started winning a lot…
My best wins
- A Brand new dishwasher. The crazy thing about this is that we desperately wanted a dishwasher, having moved into our first home. My hubby was about to buy one and I said give me a chance to win one. Genuinely one week later I did!
- 3 luxury Spa breaks, one of which included being featured in a magazine as West Midlands Wedding of the year winners.
- One year’s supply of Whittard flavoured teas. We’re still getting through them after a year.
- £250 Matalan vouchers
- £150 Superdry vouchers
- £200 Rocket St George voucher (homewear)
- An Honor 8 pro mobile phone
And much more… so much stuff I even keep a spreadsheet of wins. From May to Mid August 2017 I won a total of £1750.87 value worth of things.
My worst wins
- I once won a car aerial bobble that said Corsa on it (I don’t own a Corsa car) it must have been some sort of runner up prize. Totally random!
- A missed win! Unfortunately, I had the compers worst nightmare, a missed win. I wasn’t staying on top of my emails and the junk folder was completely out of control. One day I went through and discovered five attempts to contact me about a prize from a well-known lingerie company that I’d won.
I’d won a lovely set of lingerie and a £100 Ticketmaster voucher. I replied a few days late from the last email, and the lady apologised but said they selected a new winner and had already posted the voucher out. Gutted! However, I did get a surprise in the post of a set of lingerie with a ‘sorry’ note. I was so impressed by this bless her. Considering it was entirely my fault that was very generous of them.
A few places to start:
Check out Di Cokes dedicated blog to the hobby called SuperLucky, she knows her stuff and is always supporting other compers – She will explain the best way to get going.
Another blog you could look at to inspire you is The Life of a Student Comper, click here for her recommended lists.
I’d also recommend joining a competition facebook group as not only will you get competitions in there but you learn so much through others. The best one to start is a group run by SuperLuckys author Di Coke called ‘Lucky Learners’.
Is comping for you?
Whenever I tell people about this comping hobby, they get excited and they start doing it too. Then they very quickly get disheartened, frustrated, bored… it is not a hobby for everyone. It requires work!
Like learning an instrument you have to practise, and with this hobby you have to do the physical ‘entering’. This can be time-consuming and sometimes uninspiring. For me I enjoy the process, so even if I’m going through a ‘dry spell’ of wins I persist and it doesn’t feel like time wasted to me. However honestly if it does feel that way for you, I would recommend finding something else. You need to enjoy doing it otherwise it is a waste of your time, and will overall lead to resentment (especially if you’re not winning, which is as unpredictable as the weather).
But if you fancy it, why not give it a go?
Let me know how you get on in the comments below!