In this day and age, there’s no reason for you not to be earning money online, whether that’s only extra cash on the side or a legit fulltime income. There are literally thousands – no, millions – of sites on the Internet that offer real money-making opportunities, allowing you to earn from the comfort of your own home (or from anywhere).
MindSumo is just such a site. It’s an online platform that pays you to solve real businesses challenges posted by real companies, some of which are big global brands. If you’ve already heard of MindSumo before, then you know that it’s completely legit, it’s free to join, and it can be very lucrative, especially if you have what it takes and you put in the effort.
But if this is the first time you’ve heard of MindSumo, here’s little review to help you understand what it’s all about, how it can help you earn additional monthly income just by solving puzzles and challenges, and why it’s certainly worth looking at, and joining in.
What is MindSumo?
MindSumo is an online crowdsourcing platform where problem solvers are paid to come up with answers and solutions to real business challenges posted by some of the world’s top brands and firms.
For its client companies, MindSumo is like a quick and cost-effective idea engine. It’s where businesses can find insights, innovations, and solutions to many of the constraints and challenges they are facing. Whether it’s brainstorming ideas for a new product or service, or ways to improve an existing one, and whether the industry is automotive, finance, food and beverage, retail, or tech, MindSumo offers breakthrough answers and actions from its global community of creative problems solvers.
And for its problem solvers, MindSumo is the perfect place to find plenty of money-making opportunities and earn an extra income on the side. Majority of MindSumo’s users, who are mostly Millennials and Gen Z, are still in college, and the financial rewards won through challenges can be put to good use to pay for their schooling. Moreover, MindSumo is also an excellent platform to help students and young professionals learn and develop skills that can help them in their careers, such as problem solving, communications, and creative thinking skills.
Is MindSumo legit?
Yes, MindSumo is completely legitimate.
MindSumo is owned by the company MindSumo, Inc., which is currently located in Durham, North Carolina. It was founded in 2011 in San Francisco, California by Keaton Swett, Trent Hazy, and Rohan Puranik. It was a participant in StartX, the Stanford Student Startup Accelerator, and received funding from some of the top investors in Silicon Valley, including Voyager Capital, Google Ventures, Data Collective, and StartFund.
Regarded as two to three times faster than traditional ideation services, MindSumo has won the trust and business of many of the world’s leading companies, including over a hundred Fortune 500 companies. It is widely considered a premier innovation partner for big names such as Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo, Spotify, Dell, IBM, Johnson and Johnson, Unilever, Avon, Nestle, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Target, Starbucks, and more.
To date, MindSumo now boasts a community of over 700,000 problem solvers from six continents and over 3,000 universities from across the world. It has hosted thousands of challenges, vetted hundreds of thousands of ideas, and paid millions of dollars in cash prizes. The platform has also helped its users learn and develop professional skills: a recent survey indicated that 75% of MindSumo’s problem solvers apply and hone existing skills through challenges, and nearly 45% report acquiring a new skill which they expect will help them in their career.
Who can sign up for MindSumo?
MindSumo is free to join for anyone all over the world who is 18 years old and above.
While most of MindSumo’s users are Millennials and Gen Z, and are often students, the so-called idea marketplace is open to everyone wishing to apply their creativity and innovation to solve challenges and win cash rewards. However, do note that many of the challenges will most likely be directed towards college students and recent graduates. And although MindSumo is indeed open to anyone from around the world, there are still challenges that are only available to certain countries.
To create an account on MindSumo, all you need is a valid email. If you are a student, it is recommended that you use your school email, so that you can receive school-specific challenges.
How does MindSumo work?
How MindSumo works, from setting up your account to finally earning real money, is simple and straightforward. To get started, you need to:
1. Sign up. To create an account on MindSumo as a problem solver, go to MindSumo’s website. On the top right corner, click the ‘Login/Sign up’ button, then click ‘Don’t have an account yet?’ when the sign-in popup appears.
To register, you’ll need to provide your name, location, email address, and password. You’ll also be asked to provide optional details such as your birthdate and gender, and answer the questions ‘Why are you interested in using MindSumo?’ and ‘What types of projects are you most interested in solving?’. You’ll then be asked to provide the name and email of a personal reference who can vouch for your problem-solving skills.
2. Browse challenges. To get started on solving challenges, go to the Challenges page to view the current and past projects from MindSumo’s business clients. You’ll soon see that there are different and diverse projects available, each of which contains important details such as the prize money involved, the deadline of submission, and sometimes, the name of the company hosting the challenge.
You can filter between ‘Active’ and ‘All’ to view just the ongoing projects you can still participate in, or all the past and present challenges offered by MindSumo’s business clients, respectively. You can also filter the challenges by category (i.e. business, engineering, computer science, food science, math and sciences, and humanities and arts).
If you find a challenge that you think is interesting, just click on it to know more about it. You can then view all the details of that project, including the contest eligibility criteria, parameters, deadlines, etc. You can bookmark a certain challenge and tackle it at a later date by clicking ‘Add to Dojo’. Your ‘Dojo’ is where you can see all the projects you’ve saved for later or have participated in.
You can also ‘follow’ a company posting challenges so you can receive updates about upcoming challenges or even job opportunities. Companies are able to see who their followers are and only they can initiate a conversation via SumoMail.
3. Join a challenge. If you already have a challenge that you think is quite interesting, and you feel that you’re up to the task, just click on the challenge, and then the ‘I have an idea’ button to start drafting your entry to that project.
Note that different projects require different deliverables: solutions for standard challenges should follow the deliverables guidelines in the challenge brief. If paragraphs are required, then be sure to write real paragraphs and complete thoughts. In general, the solutions that have the best chance of winning are the ones that are fully developed, and don’t feel like they were hastily thrown together in a matter of minutes. You’ll also sometimes be asked a few survey questions, and to provide your sources for your answers.
Once you’ve finished answering all the questions, and you feel confident about your solutions, you can click the ‘Submit’ button.
4. Wait for the results. After a challenge is completed, the company hosting will review all of the solutions submitted. This usually takes about two weeks – the host company will be continuously updating just how far they’ve progressed in reviewing all the answers. Usually, for every challenge, there will be multiple winners who will share the pool of prize money, depending, of course, on the rewards tier established beforehand (e.g. top 10% will share $1,000, or first place will win $7,000, etc.). Winners are chosen based on the creativity, relevance, and feasibility of their solutions, following a 10-point scale solution rating assigned by the host companies (more on this below).
5. Earn money. If your solution is chosen as the winning entry (or one of the winning entries), you will be notified via email. You can then redeem your cash prize through the MindSumo payment system. Then keep joining more and more projects – the more challenges you solve and win, the more cash prizes you earn.
What kinds of challenges can I expect?
MindSumo offers a diverse array of projects and challenges. They range from very specific requests for last-mile innovations to complete a project or offer incremental improvements; insights to help define and identify behaviors and trends; challenges to source creative ideas specifically to expand existing product offerings or develop new lines of business; to very broad and open-ended prompts about the future. And the projects fall into a wide range of industries, from automotive, finance, food and beverage, retail, to tech.
For instance, a global banking firm might host a data science challenge involving machine learning and natural language processing. Or in the next challenge, you’ll be asked to help design a new and more efficient chassis for heavy duty vehicles, and attach an illustration or mockup of your design to your submission. Or perhaps an unnamed financial services firm will require you to describe and detail the factors that influence your decision of where to put your money. And in another project, you’ll be asked to come up with a novel idea for a new Asian/American fusion food.
Challenges are categorized by skill namely business, engineering, computer science, food science, math and sciences, and humanities and arts. You can filter challenges by skill to help you find a more appropriate match to your interests and abilities.
While there is no set schedule for when new challenges launch, you can usually expect a fresh project almost every week.
Can I work with other people on my solutions?
MindSumo makes it clear that most challenges should be completed on an individual basis. However, if you do collaborate with another person, they require you to list that person’s name as a contributor in your submission. Rewards will be sent to one person, so it’s up to you to distribute it fairly.
How are winning solutions evaluated?
Winning solutions are chosen based on creativity, relevance, and feasibility, through a 10-point scale solution rating assigned by the host companies. This rating is usually based on the following criteria:
- Meets deliverables. You must be able to answer each of the sections directly and address all questions. Solutions for standard challenges must follow the deliverables guidelines in the challenge brief. For example, if paragraphs are required, then you should write in paragraphs and complete thoughts. The solutions that have the best chance of winning are the ones that are fully developed. If you didn’t address the questions completely or properly.
- Clarity. Your thoughts must be well-communicated, complete, and clear. Also, it helps to avoid grammatical errors.
- Novelty. Your ideas must be truly unique.
These criteria, however, are simply guidelines, and sometimes, companies add or remove criteria depending on their project requirements.
Anyway, if your solution is chosen as the winning entry, you will earn cash for it, and the company gets a potential breakthrough to their problems, or at least a new idea to consider. The content from the solutions can be used by the company as they see fit. Rest assured that MindSumo will send you a notification if one of your ideas was successfully implemented by one of their customers.
How much can I earn on MindSumo?
Usually, MindSumo problem solvers can earn cash ranging from $5 to more than $1,000 per challenge, depending on the quality of their submissions.
However, note that your potential earnings on MindSumo will depend on a variety of factors – how many designated winners will share the pool of prize money, the number of challenges available to you, and how many you can win. There are challenges that reward a first-place prize of hundreds or even thousands of dollars solely to a single person, while some challenges split the pool of prize money to the top 5% of all submitters, or even the top 50%. It all depends. The only way to earn as much cash as possible is to solve – and win – as many challenges as possible.
MindSumo has an integrated payments system through PayPal. If you want to cash out, just go to the ‘Earnings’ page, click ‘Cash Out Now’ and you will be prompted to connect your PayPal account, if you haven’t done so yet. One downside of their payment system is that you will have to wait for your cash out to be manually approved by MindSumo, which usually takes 3 to 5 business days. But on the bright side, you don’t need to reach a threshold to withdraw your earnings. In case they notice fraudulent activity or if PayPal returns an error, MindSumo will decline your cash out request and send you a notification about it. Once the issue is cleared, you can try to cash out again.
In the past, MindSumo used to reward submissions with points. These points can later then be converted to cash. Now, however, it’s much simpler. They reward winning submissions directly in cash. Your earnings on MindSumo also serve as a measure of your performance on MindSumo. You can use your total earnings to boast of your achievements and ideas.
Is MindSumo worth it?
Yes, MindSumo is absolutely worth it.
Although your earnings depend on how much effort you put into your submissions, MindSumo pays really well. You can potentially earn hundreds of dollars if your solution gets chosen. The problems posted, however, are no cakewalks, and the competition is really stiff. Many of the challenges you will encounter require really creative solutions, and ideas that are well-thought out and explained have a higher chance of getting big prizes. On rare occasions, your extra effort can even get awarded with jobs and patents in addition to cash.
To be sure, MindSumo is not for everybody. It requires a certain set of skills that not everyone possesses. You have to be a good problem solver as well as a creative thinker to have a chance at earning from this site. Experience plays a part, too, and your expertise on a field of study matters a lot. But, if you have what it takes and are willing to put in the effort, then MindSumo is definitely worth it.
So go ahead and give MindSumo a try. Who knows, that next thousand-dollar prize might be yours for the taking after all.