If you’re looking to earn a healthy side-income from completing micro jobs online, you’ll appreciate this guide. Whether you have a wide breadth of online skills, or none at all, completing tasks online is something virtually anyone can do.
This guide features a full explanation of what micro jobs are and how they work, plus a list of where you can find some of the best micro jobs sites.
What are micro jobs?
Micro jobs are one-off tasks that typically take a short time to complete. The customer who pays for the micro job posts the task online and workers can pick up the micro-assignment at will. People who do these jobs are considered gig workers and part of the 1099 economy (a reference to the 1099-NEC form that businesses fill out for tax purposes for contract workers who earn more than $600/year).
In the present day, most micro jobs are advertised and booked online, but the task itself may be delivered online or out in the real world.
Types of micro jobs
The first type of micro jobs are known as Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) and are entry-level tasks that require just a few minutes, or even a few seconds to complete. They are offered by Amazon mTurk (whose workers are called ‘Turkers’), as well as by Appen.
Some work examples include: identifying photos, conducting simple research tasks, and classifying items.
The second category of jobs may require a little bit more skill, but are still generally very simple. These can be things such as image editing, voiceovers, copywriting, copy editing or basic web design.
Offline micro jobs in this category include deliveries, mystery shopping, home maintenance or DIY work.
Both type of these kinds of micro jobs are part of the gig economy and workers who engage in this type of work can do this piecemeal; that is, they set their own hours and work as much or as little as they choose.
How do micro jobs work?
The easiest way to get a steady supply of micro jobs is to sign up for an online micro jobs website and become part of the crowdworking community.
If you’re looking to become a ‘task rabbit’ to earn extra income, you can visit websites that offer Appen jobs, and choose from a list of small jobs available. The jobs will display the pay rate offered, the task and how many tasks of that nature are offered. This type of work rarely requires much skill – a simple attention to detail is what is most required.
Alternatively, some more skill-based websites like Fiverr will ask that you create a profile, explaining what jobs you are willing to do and your experience level. It’s best to explain your qualifications and include a portfolio of your previous work, as you’ll be competing with other workers to be chosen for the job.
When you sign up for one of these websites, you can expect your services to be advertised to a broad audience for a fee, typically issued as a percentage of your total earnings.
Most micro job websites let you set your own prices. You can also expect them to include a review system where previous customers can rate your work.
Workers with loads of good reviews tend to get pushed to the top of search results. At this point, their workload – and therefore their earnings – can often skyrocket. It can take a lot of hustle to get those first few gigs though.
What are the best micro jobs websites?
Here is our selection of the best online micro job websites:
Appen specializes in micro tasks that train artificial intelligence programs to learn and respond better to real-world situations.
Common examples of these tasks include transcribing audio, moderating content, drawing shapes etc. Appen pay varies, depending on the task; you will be paid more for tasks that require more skill or precision. Even so, as most tasks only take a few seconds or at most, a few minutes to complete, the Appen pay rate per task completion will typically be less than a dollar. The key to making more is to focus on volume – the more tasks you complete, the more you will earn.
Appen tasks are available through get-paid-to websites including:
- Swagbucks – get a $5.00 account credit, just for joining
- PrizeRebel – cash out your earnings for PayPal cash or a gift card
- ySense – open internationally, tons of earning opportunities
- instaGC – as the name implies, earn instant gift cards for your efforts
Amazon Mechanical Turk
As you might expect from a brand the size of Amazon, there are thousands of workers selling their services here and even more looking for jobs to be completed.
Amazon mTurk specializes in jobs that ‘people can do much more effectively than computers’, ie Human Intelligence Tasks. These include data proofing, audio transcription, language translation, content writing and web research.
Upon signing up as an Amazon micro jobs worker, you’ll need to complete one HIT per day during the first 10 days in order to demonstrate your ability to follow instructions and complete simple tasks. After that, you’ll be able to pick up as many micro-jobs posted to the platform as you can complete.
Fiverr is one of the most well-known and most-frequented micro jobs websites. You will find a huge range of jobs advertised on Fiverr, from the common jobs mentioned above to absolutely bizarre tasks that no-one knew they needed doing.
Originally, sellers had to charge $5 for their services (hence the name, ‘Fiverr’), but now they can set their own prices.
There are plenty of people making a decent living on Fiverr. Perhaps you’ll be the next one.
TaskRabbit is an offline micro jobs website. It focuses primarily on DIY and manual labor. It’s available in 60+ U.S cities, nine Canadian cities and six UK cities. It has been used by millions of people since it was founded in 2008.
Roamler is a micro jobs app available on iOS and Android in 15 countries across Europe. Most tasks are offline jobs completed in the name of market research.
You’ll be asked to visit shops around your local city, answer questions about them, take photos and perhaps engage in mystery shopping tasks. The Roamler app is used to record the results of your task.
This app differs to the aforementioned online services in that the jobs are available on a first-come first served basis.
When you agree to complete a job, you’ll be given a time limit to complete it.
Upwork meets the definition of a micro jobs website. However, this website is more aimed at professional freelancers than your average Joe looking to make some beer money.
The marketplace works differently, as it’s buyers who post their job and sellers who bid to do the work. It’s a race to the bottom as the cheapest qualified individual is usually chosen.
The jobs still tend to pay more on this website than others on this list though – and you’re more likely to be enlisted for ongoing work too.
A smaller micro jobs marketplace than most of the websites listed above, but that potentially means there is less competition to stand out from. Sellers can only sell services for between $5 and $50.
The majority of jobs advertised on GigBucks are related to online marketing or social media promotion, although there are 19 job categories listed in total.
Zeerk claims to have the world’s largest list of real micro jobs. It focuses primarily on web design, SEO and online marketing tasks though. Sellers must charge between $3 and $200 for their services.
Zeerk also has an eye-catching affiliate scheme, where you’ll make 10% of the money paid to sellers by customers who use your unique referral link.
Upon deciding to become a micro gig worker, here are some factors to consider when deciding which websites to work with, if you’re offering skill-based work:
- How many people are visiting the website? There are various online tools you can use to estimate a website’s monthly traffic or people searching for its brand name. These tools are likely to be more reliable than the figures the website itself advertises.
- Are its customers searching for your job? You may prefer to advertise on a website that specializes in your line of work.
- Fees. Some websites will take a bigger chunk of your earnings than others.
- Reviews. Check various reviews websites to see what sellers think of the service. If the website has a mobile app, check the reviews on the iOS store and Google Play store too.
Quick tips when using a micro jobs site:
- Be available – ensure you log in frequently to the sites above, to ensure you’re first in line when a new job becomes available.
- Subscribe to notifications – sign up for e-mail notifications that match the jobs you’re looking for.
- Use the app – if the site you’re using offers a mobile app, be sure to use it; not only will you be notified to new jobs faster, but you may be able to complete the job itself using your phone.
- Use your skills – if you possess skills in things like image editing, transcription, etc, make sure you’ve listed this on your profile, or complete the simple online assessments for this type of work, if offered on the micro jobs site you’ve joined.