Using Amazon’s mTurk Service for Additional Income

Working from home is preferable for a lot of obvious reasons. It saves time and money on transportation, it often means much more flexibility with hours, and it means you don’t need to dress in any kind of business attire if you don’t want to. With the widespread use of the internet as a mode of dispersing information relevant to the workplace, telecommuting has become easier and easier.

SkipTheDrive is a company which has been created to help people skip their commute and work from home, and they are not the only one! In this article, we’ll look at mTurk, which is a service owned and operated by Amazon that allows people to work from home in various capacities. We’ll go through how the service works, some advantages of using it, as well as some recommendations about how it can be used most effectively to produce income.

About Amazon’s mTurk service

“mTurk” actually stands for Mechanical Turk. In a basic sort of way, mTurk is a portal that connects employers to employees. This can be in a more long term relationship or in a short term freelance kind of way. It’s based on the idea that there are tasks that humans are simply better at than automated processes. This includes things like research work, transcription of audio records, identifying objects in photos or videos, and so forth. These tasks are often accomplished by hiring huge temporary workforces, which is a time consuming process. With mTurk, companies post listings for jobs they need people to do, and then those jobs are connected with users on the website who are available for that kind of job. It’s all organized around the idea of a human intelligence task, or HIT. As described by the mTurk service, an HIT is a single task that a worker can perform, submit, and then collect a reward for doing.

Mturk advantages

We’ve talked about some of the advantages of working from home and, by extension, working for mTurk already: no need to spend time or money on transportation, flexible hours, and so forth. There are, however, other advantages particular to mTurk itself. For one, there’s no earning limit. Although there are limits based on the amount of money that a job will pay, there are no arbitrary restrictions imposed by mTurk itself on how much money you can make doing it. Also, it’s free to sign up for and to install. The jobs involved often don’t require much (if any) skills in order to complete. Additionally, they’re all independent from one another, making it really easy to set hours and benchmarks for yourself. Because of the flexible hours, it’s very easy to do mTurk work in addition to having a day job, or other work from home, and so forth.

Making money with mTurk

Making money with mTurk is achieved by completing jobs. As I mentioned before, each job is distinct and self-contained. This means that completing one job will result in a payment, usually between fifteen cents and a dollar. You can then complete another, or stop at any time, so long as you’ve completed your current job. Some jobs are more continuous than others. For example, you can earn money for attaching tags to images, usually at around one penny per tag. You could stop after a single tag, or after three hundred of them – you’re paid for each tag individually.

Recommended HITs

There are tons of different tasks out there, and all of them require different skill sets and offer different payment amounts. Which HITs are best really comes down to individual workers. Some people can type very quickly, which means that transcribing or writing will be ideal for them. Other people can fill out surveys quickly or tag images efficiently. The best way to make money using mTurk is to devise a strategy for tasks that yields the most money in the least amount of time. It’s also worth noting that more specialized HITs usually pay more, but also require a higher level of proficiency, which is tested before they’ll offer you the job.

How payments work

Payments are handled through an in house service called Amazon Payment. After a HIT is confirmed, the payment will be cleared to the account, where it can then be transferred to a bank account or into an Amazon gift card.

Tips and tricks

Making money on mTurk really does come down to what you can do and how fast you can do it. That said, there are a few general tips to keep in mind. For one, most of the very low-paying tasks aren’t worth your time to do. They’re very repetitive and most people end up tiring of them before they’ve been able to make any significant amount of money. Another tip is that many of these kinds of HITs fit well into the small breaks between periods of other work or classes, which makes them easy to do and in a small containment of time so you don’t get overwhelmed. Finally, be patient. It can be very disheartening to see tasks available that pay very little – but it won’t always be that way. Wait a little while, hit the refresh button, and take a look again. There are always new jobs being posted.

If you are looking to step out of the typical, 9-5, 40 hours per week job, check out services such as SkipTheDrive and mTurk to see the opportunities available to you right from home.