Let’s face it. We’re all tired after working all day (whether your work is paid or not, am I right moms?). The idea of working another job isn’t always something we want. Having some extra money, though, that’s always nice!
So when you’re feeling brain-drained and the last thing you want to do is go “job hunting” or “build a business” or “go sell some stuff” or anything else like that… well, guess what? There are still things you can do, from the comfort of your own home, any time of day or night, whenever you feel like it, to bring home some extra money.
What I’m talking about, specifically, is called micro jobs, microtasks, or short jobs. Micro jobs are just that – quick odd jobs that you can do and get paid.
The Pros and Cons of Micro Job Sites
There are some perks to working with short task sites. This type of work will require no startup costs, assuming you’ve already got a working computer and internet connection. There are no interviews. There are definitely no phone calls. There rarely are minimums, which means you don’t have to make a hard commitment. It requires very little experience in pretty much anything.
On the flip side, you aren’t going to find major paydays with this stuff. If you want to see returns higher than a couple of dollars, you’ll need to build micro jobs into your routine — like microtasking while you watch Netflix, or while you’re waiting for your kids to fall asleep, or wherever you have pockets of time where you can add in some brainless activity.
With even the slightest commitment, however, bring in some pocket money to help fund a night on the town, a wardrobe upgrade, a little extra-something for an upcoming vacation, or whatever you want. So if you want some no-strings-attached money and you don’t mind doing boring stuff in exchange for complete autonomy, microtasking might be a great fit!
Types of Micro Jobs
Microtasks often boil down to things like data entry and categorizing. You’ll also find things like surveys and no-skill-required things like that. Entry-level microtasking is about as entry-level as it gets. It doesn’t always have to stay so basic, however. You might find you enjoy microtasking, and that will open the door for faster earnings.
As you spend more time on crowdsourcing jobs and building your experience on any given platform, you’ll get access to higher-paying tasks like transcription. Depending on what site you’re using, you’ll probably also have the opportunity now and then to take special tests that qualify you for more complex, higher-paying work. The other benefit to “leveling up” on your favorite platforms is that you’ll face less competition for any given task. Keep in mind that this won’t move you into serious hourly rates or anything, but if you can make $8 an hour microtasking instead of $4 an hour, why wouldn’t you?
Legit Short Jobs Sites
These are some of the best and most established microtasking sites:
- Swagbucks. It’s no secret that I love and use Swagbucks. You can do surveys and watch videos for rewards on Swagbucks, but what you might not realize is that there’s a microtasking page on Swagbucks where you can do some short tasks too. Payments are made as “Swagbucks” — which you can then exchange for cash, Amazon gift cards, and more. Swagbucks is completely legitimate and I can’t recommend them highly enough. Sign up for Swagbucks here.
- Amazon Mechanical Turk, or mTurk. Amazon has really systematized their short task site, and it’s one of the most respected microtasking sites out there. If you focus on just one platform, this might be the one to choose because you have the opportunity to level up over time. The mTurk tasks are some of the more “traditional” short tasks — it’s things like copying hand-written information into a form or transcribing short audio clips. Payouts from Mechanical Turk are made as deposits into your Amazon account, so they’re not exactly cash but if you use Amazon a lot, it’ll still be beneficial.
- CrowdFlower. CrowdFlower is very much focused on simple tasks like basic internet research, data categorization, and more. This is one of the go-to platforms for short tasks.
- ClickWorker. This is another of the well-known short task sites. You’ll be able to choose from tasks like translation, research, and data collection at ClickWorker. They pay in Euro and require tax information, so not everyone uses this site.
- Humanatic. If you’re able to listen to audio while you’re microtasking, this one might be interesting. With Humanatic, you’ll listen to voicemails and sort the calls based on different criteria. It’s not the highest paying short tasking you can do, but it’s also not the lowest.
- Spare 5. With Spare 5, you’ll have access to a pretty big variety of really quick tasks, usually relating to things like audio clips and images. They pay via PayPal.
- InboxDollars. I used InboxDollars for years, and the payouts were nice. With InboxDollars, some of the short tasks will be as easy as reading an email and clicking on the link. You can also take surveys, play games, and more. Payments are made via check.
- CashCrate. CashCrate is another platform for surveys and games, but they also have more typical short tasks like watching videos and true microtasking opportunities. You can have your payments sent to your PayPal or by check.
- OneSpace. If you get really into microtasks but you want to flex your brain muscle a bit more, you can check out OneSpace. Many of these tasks require a bit more from you, including things like transcription and some quick copywriting jobs. This site pays via PayPal as well.
- Usertesting. There are several sites like Usertesting that will pay you for testing websites. These gigs take about 15 minutes in which you will be providing feedback to website owners on your experience.
- Fancy Hands. This site is often an entry point to online virtual assisting. The tasks are varied and can run the gamut from setting an appointment to inbox management. Each task has a set rate based on difficulty and time involved.
- ShortTask. This site connects “Seekers” and “Solvers.” The sites main categories on the homepage are data entry, writing, design and research.
- Rev.com. This site offers transcription and captioning services. They welcome beginners and those without experience provided you can pass their test. These are often small files in need of transcribing.
If you find that you really enjoy performing tasks like these, and you want to turn it into something that brings in more significant income, you might want to consider becoming a freelance virtual assistant. Many people, however, are perfectly happy keeping up with their microtask sites and avoiding that whole “starting a business” thing. That’s the great thing about the Internet — it gives us this kind of freedom!
Micro job sites are great for people who are looking for something with little commitment. I’ll often see students, moms, and caregivers working the short job sites.
Whether you’re socking away your money for some fun “extras” in life, or you just plain like the idea of earning some money on the side without having to commit to anything significant, microtasking is worth a shot!