My search for online workThere was a time I would have laughed at being paid $1.00 an hour. After all, I came of age when the minimum wage was $3.35 an hour. But being desperate sure makes a difference in one's perception of the value of a dollar. I even no longer suck up pennies off the floor when I vacuum. After all, 150 of those round beauties will buy a loaf of bread.
I need to make some money, but even more I need to do something productive. My self esteem is around zero, my computer is hanging on literally by a wire, and my car has been down since before Thanksgiving. I type "work at home" into the search engine. I can skip the "Make Thousands a Week from Home" come-ons. My momma didn't raise a fool.
Surveys look promising. A number of reputable sources say that even though you won't get rich, you can make some extra money from home. I'm in! I set up a new email address and follow a link to legitimate survey companies. I spend hours filling out forms with my name, age, address. Over and over. When I'm done I check my email. Eureka! Surveys await with promises of cash and sweepstakes rewards. I start the first survey, only to be kicked out after a few questions. "Sorry, you are not a match for this survey." Hmmm. Okay. I start the next one. Same thing. And again. And again. I realize that maybe the survey companies want people who actually can afford to buy a car, a new washing machine, or new shoes. Surveys are out.
I discover a transcription company that lets beginners work at their site for $30 an audio hour. I can type, sort of. I can do 30 wpm if I look at the keys. I take a test and pass. In like Quinn. I read the rules and get poised to type. The audio files are broken into 10 or 20 second clips. The first one is awful. The audio quality is bad, and the person speaking sounds as if he has marbles in his mouth. I have no headphones, and the dogs won't quit clicking across the floor. A gravel truck seems to pass by outside every 2 minutes. The first 10 second clip takes me 5 minutes. That means that at this rate, I'll earn $30 a week. Woohoo! I'll take it! Unfortunately, they do not always have clips to transcribe, so I look for something else while I wait.
Mechanical TurkAnd then I find it. The Holy Grail of work-at-home: Amazon's Mechanical Turk. This work from home gig is heaven sent. Amazon hooks up business people who need tasks done cheaply with people from around the world who will work cheap. From copying business card text for a penny, to transcribing audio files for hundreds of dollars, it is a stay at home worker's paradise.
I start out searching the internet for a company for 10 cents. I transcribe a recipe for 15 cents. Then I discover surveys. Many colleges pay people to fill out surveys, from "Moral Judgment" to "Visual Memory and Personal Preferences". The pay ranges from .50 cents to $2. I have many opinions about many topics, and I don't mind sharing them. This is right up my alley. So far, I am averaging about $10 a day. Nice if you only need a little pocket money, but I need to support myself. Those transcribing jobs look promising, so I'm ordering a foot pedal and headphones with the money I earned last week.
The most important thing about my work-at-home dreams is that I have hope and I feel like a productive human being again. Wish me luck!
Turkopticon is a must!
If you have decided to become a "Turker" (worker at Mechanical Turk) I highly recommend installing turkopticon into your browser. It is a free extension hosted at UCSD.
Like the real world, the are some "work providers" who will take advantage of workers. This nifty extension will allow you to see how other workers have rated the "employer." The ratings are based on fairness, how fast and how well he pays and communication, After completing a task, you too can rate the employer.
You will need to sign up to be able to post.
Turkopticon is invaluable when it comes to avoiding work assigners who don't pay well, or unfairly reject work completed. You can also see the good work assigners when deciding which tasks to perform.