Not everyone who wants to work at home is seeking long-term career options. Sometimes you just want something relatively easy where you can make some extra cash fast. If that describes you, these five online jobs may be just the thing.
The online application process for these jobs—or perhaps “gigs” is the better word, since they’re all for independent contractors—is pretty simple and straightforward with very little required of candidates. Some of these opportunities—like the micro-jobs—you could very well apply and start the same day. And these jobs require very little commitment and can typically be done on your own schedule.
A word of caution: Remember that where very little is required, very little is offered. These jobs don’t pay much, and they are not going to provide a reference for your resume. It may take working at several different of these online jobs to pull in the income you want. And as always, know the signs of a work-at-home scam as you sort through the opportunities.
For even more home-based job options, see this list of work-at-home jobs at more than 200 companies or to simply use this index of work-at-home job lists to narrow your search to the areas where you have expertise.
A micro job is a small (usually online) task for which you receive an equally small fee, usually a few cents or dollars. These gigs are sometimes called short tasks.
These little jobs are done by people who log on to a company’s site and choose tasks, which could be as simple as clicking a link. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is one of the most well-known sites of this type. Also, there are crowdsourcing projects, which are similar to data entry, where companies engage an army of virtual workers to each do one small part of a larger project.
Also, in online services marketplaces, workers offer small services, usually for a set fee, and buyers browse the marketplace to find people offering the services they need. And then there are reward programs and surveys, which are perhaps the original work-at-home micro jobs.
Because the fee is so small but the task takes so little time, the strategy is to do as many of them as possible. However, be sure to read the fine print because many of these companies have a minimum payout, meaning that if you earn $8.55 doing 20 micro jobs, you may have to wait until you’ve earned as much as $50 to actually get your money. Read more about some of the pitfalls of this kind of work.
Attorneys preparing for trial often create a mock jury to get feedback from individuals similar to those who may eventually sit on a jury. Since it can be costly to do in this in person in the community where the trial, cheaper online jurors are the logical alternative. They might listen to audio and view video presentations, or read the material and answer questions.
Because lawyers are seeking people who match the profile of potential real-life jurors, online jury companies ask detailed questions of applicants. You should never disclose your Social Security number or credit card or banking info. Companies typically pay $10 to $60 to online jurors. Since most online jury companies won’t need a lot of jurors, signing up for multiple companies gives you a better chance of getting picked for “jury duty.”
Online data entry is a growing work-at-home field. New technology makes it easier for companies to hire independent contractors to work on data entry projects.
Data entry operators may remotely access a company’s infrastructure or use crowdsourcing technologies. Data entry can include fields such as basic general transcription; however, most transcription takes more experience than data entry.
Website or Application Testing
Have lots opinions on what works and what doesn’t on the web? Then you might just be right for a “career” in remote usability testing. Actually, no one really makes a career at it, but user testers can pick up some extra work reviewing websites or mobile applications that may still be in development. You don’t even necessarily have to be very knowledgeable about the Internet because some developers want the beginner’s point of view.
Usability testers are asked to perform tests based on their demographic profile (education, knowledge of the web, age, social media use, etc.). They are then given questions to address and/or tasks to perform, such as registering on a website and then providing feedback online. Reviews usually take about 15-20 minutes and earn typically about $10 each. After completing a review, testers are not paid until the client accepts their feedback. Work can be rejected and unpaid for technical problems, lack of detail, or other issues the client determines.
This particular work-at-home opportunity takes a little more work experience in general than the other four on this list, but it pays better too. Search engine evaluators examine Internet search results and give feedback as to whether they are accurate, relevant, and spam-free. To do this, the evaluator must be knowledgeable about current culture and the Internet, with good communication skills. Sometimes a college degree is required or preferred, but direct experience as a search evaluator is usually not.
These jobs are often for bilingual individuals, though there are some English-only positions. The job of search evaluation goes by many names, such as search evaluator, Internet assessor, ad quality rater, or Internet judge.