If you are a multitasker who wants to gain a couple quick bucks whenever you have a few seconds of downtime, then Amazon Mechanical Turk has an opportunity for you! While each job only pays a few cents to several dollars, all the time doing penny, nickel, dime and quarter micro-tasks has the possibility of paying off big time. Read on to find out how to earn extra bucks working for this online powerhouse!
Throughout the world, there are people who need tiny tasks completed but don’t want to hire anyone to do them as it would cost more than a job is worth. These cannot be automated and must have a human reviewer, as mundane as they are.
That’s where Amazon Mechanical Turk, or MTurk, comes in. It essentially allows an employer (requester) to post a small job (which generally only takes a couple of minutes) called a HIT, or a Human Intelligence Task. Anyone who is participating as part of the available workforce can then decide to perform whatever task is best suited for her or him personally, and hit “accept” on the task.
While MTurk bills itself as a crowdsourcing marketplace (meaning that it uses the general public worldwide as its workforce), the concept behind it is simple. Individuals and businesses need tiny tasks done, but don’t want to hire extra employees or put them on already-stressed co-workers. People want to make extra money, but not do a lot of extra work. It’s a marriage made in heaven.
The name comes from a life-sized wooden mannequin wearing a fur-trimmed robe and a turban named “Turk” who sat in a cabinet and was used by his creator, Hungarian nobleman Wolfgang von Kempelen, to beat opponents across Europe, such as Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon Bonaparte, at chess. His owner boasted that Turk’s artificial intelligence was powered by gears, springs and cogs, but the statue’s decisions were actually made by a chess master who was hidden inside the cabinet.
Signing up takes a minimum of five minutes, if that. Once you log some basic information, you are taken to a screen that shows you lists of micro-jobs you can choose from ranging from reviewing two news titles to see if they say the same thing to simplifying sentences for non-native speakers. Other jobs include data validation, survey participation, content moderation, and transcription. For example, you could be asked to tag a photo or confirm a phone number of a particular restaurant in New York City.
After submitting a job, a requester can either approve or reject your work based on if you met the requirements of the job. If your work is approved, the requester has 30 days to pay you.
You are also given a job approval rating. This shows how satisfied the “requester” was with your work. A high approval rating means that a requester could ask you to do more and varied work for him or her.
Low approval ratings will often not result in many earnings and will mean you most likely will not be asked to complete additional jobs for that particular requester. It also means that you missed something that the requester asked of you, such as answering an “attention check” question. These generally appear in surveys and require you to hit a specific button or write down a word that appears in a box to show that you have read the instructions of the specific task.
Each job on the MTurk board clearly shows a description of the task, how long it will take, and how much you will be paid for it. It is not like Upwork or Fiverr, however, as it focuses on tiny, and I mean, teensy weensy, jobs that only take a couple of minutes as opposed to a couple hours or more, and don’t require a specific kind of skill.
MTurk is also not as competitive. Whereas getting a job through Upwork or Fiverr entails creating a profile, drafting a proposal, and submitting samples of your work, which then are used to convince a specific employer to hire you, with MTurk, there is no such thing. You are not competing at a high level with others of the same skillset who all want the same proofreading job, for example.
Instead there are thousands of the same types of jobs available and there is no need to sell yourself to a requester. Some jobs are better than others, but there are rarely any times where one who is looking to work will not find some kind of job.
You do, however, have to qualify for the jobs you choose based on your experience on MTurk. For example, you may be expected to have completed 1,000 jobs already in order for you to be able to take a specific one or have an approval rating of 99 percent or more.
While this may sound easy, especially given the nature of the tasks, don’t quit your day job yet. To be clear, it is simply a way to make extra
money. It won’t get you rich, or help you come anything close to it.
One of the most successful people who has made notable earnings from MTurk is Michael Naab, who has earned over $21,000. In his book, “Side Hustle From Home: How To Make Money Online With Amazon Mechanical Turk,” he said that he started doing it to make side money after the birth of his daughter. As of this writing, he has participated in 87,000 HITs, but still makes only $150-$300 extra a week doing it while maintaining his full-time job.
According to his book, to be successful and find jobs tasks that matter, you need to do at least 1,000 tasks or more. So be prepared to do a lot of clicking as you get started!
Naab also mentions that the most jobs are found from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, so if you are hoping to use MTurk just on weekends, you might want to revisit your plans or find alternate work altogether.
Again, one of the greatest downsides to MTurk is that it doesn’t pay much—AT ALL. One writer tested it for an hour and when all was said and done, he only made around $19.00 an hour. And that was by doing at least 20 tasks in just that short timespan!
Still, if you are looking for something that you can do from a home computer, laptop or cellphone, and almost with your eyes closed, this might just be the side hustle for you.
Interested in learning more about Mechanical Turk? Check out the video below:
If you have any questions I’m always happy to help. Ask them below!
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