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Work from Home Side Gigs I’ve Tried

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A lot of us are cooped inside the house because of the pandemic so a work from home setup is the best option. I was always home alone before I got a part time job. I tried to do a lot of things to pass time. It was difficult to finish the day staring at empty spaces and wait for company aka my husband coming home from work. I’ve started new hobby by learning to knit, writing again through opening the blog, and exploring online recipes. Despite everything I’ve been doing, there’s still this nagging feeling at the back of my mind whispering “Resorts World Manilaaahhh” style that I needed to do something else. [Click here for RWM context and listen at 0:41 mark]. It was hard to adjust to the fact that I’m suddenly not earning and not have money to spend.

Working 10 years in the corporate world and then shifting to being stay at home introduced a lot of routine changes. I needed something else to stimulate brain work. So I surfed the internet for a lot of home based jobs. I stumbled upon a blog post from HomeWorkingClub about UserTesting and a friend (shout out to @iam_color!) told me to try Amazon MTurk as well. Both need a mobile phone, a laptop, and a stable internet connection.

Amazon MTurk

At a glance

Amazon MTurk requires a person to do small tasks which they call Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs). You start by signing in as worker using your Amazon account and do the tasks based on its qualifications. Inside your account, you’ll get a dashboard that contains the available tasks and its corresponding pay. It will also include your earnings and your stats. You need to ensure that you completely followed the instructions. It’s the criteria of the requester to determine if you’ll be paid for your completed task. There are requester reviews outside of MTurk so you know which ones pay well, do not pay well, or do not pay at all.

Task type

Tasks for MTurk are very mechanical as indicated by the M in Mturk lol. Some require a specific qualification for you to accept a task, others do not required anything. There are a lot of surveys, image recognition, video recognition, and transcribing. Longer tasks require you to talk to bots which I personally enjoyed. The task list is usually long during US hours. It’s also a first come first served basis. If you search through the internet, people tend to use chrome extensions to monitor and catch tasks which I wasn’t able to explore much.

Pay out

Each task has a corresponding pay out which starts from $0.01. I know that’s really small but tasks are fairly simple. Although, you also need to gauge if the tasks requires more effort that what the requester is willing to pay. Of course the goal here is to have high earning. You’ll only achieve that by completing tasks for the shortest time possible. This is why a lot of seasoned MTurk users use chrome extensions to catch tasks. Unfortunately, if you reside outside of United States like me, you’ll only get paid with Amazon US credits. It’s not a viable work from home side gig for me.

Availability

These tasks range from short to long periods and payout starts from $0.01. here are unique tasks that require you to think like talking to bots, I personally enjoyed that one. Others do not need much effort like answering surveys (except if there are a lot of questions). Of course, the more complicated the task, the higher the pay. Unfortunately, if you’re outside US, you’ll only get to be paid via the Amazon gift card through the US site. Since I’m based in UK now, I won’t be able to use this even in Amazon UK so it didn’t really fly for me. It was a good experience though.

UserTesting

At a glance

Similar to MTurk, you need to sign up to create an account. Once done, you’ll be directed to a dashboard that displays the tests, your profile, messages, and help center. Your dashboard will display the list of tasks available in that section and will provide buttons to decline the test or take a screener. Some tasks do not require a screener and will take you to the test directly. These tests are once in a blue moon though and also first click first sere. Tests can either be done through the website and their mobile app. The website will require you to download their Chrome extension for the recording.

Task type

UserTesting requires you to talk so if you don’t like talking, this isn’t for you. The extension and the mobile app will record both your voice and the screen. In some instances, tests will require a live conversation via Zoom. It is very important that your work from home setup is in a quiet and undisturbed place. Each test will give you a series of steps that you need to read aloud. While exploring the interface, you need to give a detailed feedback as much as possible based on your experience. Test range from answering a survey, scrolling through a website, or exploring a mobile app. At the end of each task, your recording will be uploaded and the requester can rate you based on what you submitted. You need to maintain a high rating so that you will be given more opportunities to test.

Pay out

The site requires you to nominate a pay channel. I used my Paypal account since UserTesting sends payment in dollars. A test payment can be $10, $30, or $60. In my experience I haven’t been able to take a test that pays $30 or $60. I usually do not pass the live conversation screener which pays either $30 or $60. Payments come in within a week after you complete a test.

The verdict

Out of the two, I would recommend UserTesting over MTurk if you’re outside the US. If you’re in the US, then you’ll need to figure out a lot of tech things to get the most out of MTurk which I’m too lazy to explore. Also, I like UserTesting’s concept of recording both audio and video. It’s the exact kind of brain stimulation that I was looking for. My UserTesting account is still active and I do tests once in a while since the cafe I’m working at is closed. For me, it’s a great source of online income especially since they allow Paypal. I finally have funds for online shopping. 😉

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