I’ve Made $20,000 Through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk

by J. Money on Friday, March 18, 2016

make money - mechanical turk

[Got a fresh new hustle to share with y’all today! My man Michael Naab walks us through the world of making extra money using Amazon Mechanical Turk (or mTurk). He makes a couple hundred a week and tells us how it all works. Welcome to Hustle #65 of our Side Hustle Series!]

“Make money by taking surveys online” – how many times have you seen that claim made in online ads, pop ups or in your spam email folder? Answer a few questions while sitting at a computer and make a few bucks sounds way too easy.

I’ve researched a lot of sites that claim this. Most of them are bogus. Either they pay ridiculously low wages for the time spent, rarely have any work that fits your demographic or will only pay you in gift cards or some other type of credit instead of cash.

None of them fit what I was looking for until I discovered Amazon Mechanical Turk.

How I Got Started

I was days away from the birth of my first child and I started freaking out a little bit about money. I started thinking about all of the new expenses we were going to start taking on…daycare, diapers, food, etc. and I decided that we were going to need some extra income to handle it all.

I began researching ways that I could make money online. Already having full time jobs, my wife and I were only interested in supplementing our income. I came across an article on Yahoo that talked about ways to make money from home. There were things like sell things on Ebay or babysit, but the last item on the list was Amazon Mechanical Turk. I figured since it was featured in a Yahoo article is was probably legit, so I looked into it further and liked what I saw.

Ok Cool, So What is Amazon Mechanical Turk?

Amazon Mechanical Turk (or mturk) is a site hosted by Amazon that allows “requesters” to post tasks they want done by workers for a specific price. Tasks can be from universities, researchers, consumer product groups or small business owners to name a few.

Tasks are called HITs (human intelligence tasks) and each HIT from each requester is listed with the price it pays and the time allotted to complete it. At any given time, there are typically hundreds of thousands of tasks that can be worked on. You simply go through the list of available HITs, accept the ones you want to work on, then complete and submit them.

mechanical turk amazon

(Current screenshot of Amazon – 329,142 HITs available right now!)

HITs vary greatly from one another. There are surveys on a wide range of subjects (finance, products, emotions, personality, risk tolerance, etc.). There are transcriptions from audio, video or handwritten notes. Some want spreadsheet work done in Excel. Others are looking for things categorized into different groups. There’s something for everyone on there.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: I also like that their tagline is, “Artificial Artificial Intelligence” :)]

How Much Money Can You Make?

Well, that really depends on how much time you spend working on the site. You can find work immediately after signing up but there’s better paying work that opens up after you’ve completed more HITs. Some of the better paying requesters put qualifications of 100/500/1,000 HITs completed before you can work on their stuff.

I’ve been working on Amazon Mechanical Turk for about 2 and a half years (with a full time job) and make anywhere from $150-300/week. In total I’ve made about $20,000 in that time period simply working on tasks right from my computer.

Having worked on there for as long as I have, I meet basically every qualification from a standpoint of previous work completed (I have over 85,000 HITs done). However I have gotten a few friends of mine involved with it and they’ve gotten up to $100/week after 2-3 weeks.

Realistically, I would say that you can probably expect anywhere from $6-12/hour on there. You’ll be on the low side initially getting the hang of things but your hourly rate definitely goes up once you learn the ropes (UPDATE: $6/hour was the lowest I’ve ever made – I’ve had some that go roughly $20/hour, with the absolute best being $75/hour!). It also depends on the time of day that you work on there. Work is always available but the best work is usually available on weekdays during normal working hours.

Pros and Cons to Turk’ing (Awfully close to Twerking, right?)

Benefits

  • Do as much or as little work as you want to, whenever you want to. You can spend all day working on there or do something for 5 minutes if you have a quick break in your day.
  • Do it from anywhere, all you need is an internet connection.
  • Get paid in cash and transfer it right to your bank account. No gift cards or credit, no minimum amount to hit before you can cash out.
  • There are scripts that you can add to your internet browser that help you be more efficient with your time on there.

Drawbacks

  • You’re not going to get rich doing this. It’s a nice supplement to your job but it won’t replace it.
  • If your only availability to do this is nights and weekends, you won’t make as much as you would doing it during weekdays.

Sign Me Up! How Do I Start?

You can start on Amazon Mechanical Turk by registering at www.mturk.com. Once you sign up, it will take a couple days to verify your social security number (they need this for tax purposes when you sign up). After that, you’re off and running. There’s a 10 day probation period where you must complete at least 1 HIT for 10 days. During that period, you have a cap of 100 HITs/day and you can’t withdraw your money. Once that period is over, there are no restrictions on your withdrawals.

If you want to check it out, I also wrote a book (ebook) on helping people get started: Side Hustle From Home: How To Make Money Online With Amazon Mechanical Turk. It has all the tips and tricks that I’ve learned in my time working on there including the best scripts, forums, requesters and resources. My intention was to straighten out the learning curve for anyone looking to get started. Plus it’s free with Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime through the lending library (only $2.99 if not).

Happy to answer any questions! I find it a much better way to spend your time than checking Facebook or trying to beat level 2,000 on Candy Crash… And you get paid for it!

UPDATE: For those asking about doing this outside of the country: You can work on mturk outside of the US, but you can’t withdraw cash. The money you earn would go toward gift cards on Amazon. Some requesters may have qualifications that only allow workers from certain locations. However there is work available on there in most countries.

*******
Mike is an analyst, writer and online entrepreneur. His blog TopMoneyHabits.com shares ways to earn, save and invest money. You can also follow him on twitter @TopMoneyHabits.

[Photo cred: Paul Cleary]

EDITOR’S NOTE: To learn about 60+ other ways to make money, check out our side hustle series.


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{ 104 comments… read them below or add one }

1 MedSchool Financial March 18, 2016 at 6:49 am

This is an interesting post, and as you mention could help as a supplemental side income. Over time those small amounts add up, you could end up subsidizing the cost of your utilities, rent, transportation, or add to your investments. If approach with intentional goals, it may be something for people to look into as there appear to be more benefits than cons, merely from the convenience of it all. It also seems way less intrusive than some other options that make you either a walking or driving billboard, as a side hustle.

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2 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 9:28 am

It’s definitely very convenient because it can fit into anyone’s schedule at any time. I’ve had a couple people scoff at the small amounts when I first told them about it but you have to think about it from an hourly rate perspective. Sure, you might only be getting 50 cents for filling out a quick survey, but if it takes you 2 minutes, you’re working at a $15/hour pace.

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3 Sarah Noelle @ The Yachtless March 18, 2016 at 7:10 am

I used to post tasks on MTurk when I was working on research projects for my PhD — we had words and images that we needed people to make judgments about, and we paid about 5 cents per HIT. It never occurred to me to try it as a worker though — I should check it out!

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4 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 9:29 am

You definitely should! There’s a lot of interesting work on there and if you don’t like one type (maybe transcriptions), then there might be something else you enjoy doing (surveys). There’s plenty of options.

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5 J. Money March 18, 2016 at 12:05 pm

That’s cool, Sarah! I feel like you’d have a better understanding of what posters want too out of people, yeah? Might give you a leg up on others?

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6 Distilled Dollar March 18, 2016 at 7:27 am

That’s ~5 hours every workday with no vacations.

This type of works does sound hyper convenient, but your opportunity cost might be higher. You might be better off investing that time in developing a new skill set that can be utilized down the road for more than $6-12/hr.

Taking the $9 average and $20,000 total, that means total time spent ~2,200 hours. Given the higher rates occur during the workday when most people are at a job, you might be spending closer to ~2,500 hours to make that $20,000.

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7 Ramona @ Personal Finance Today March 18, 2016 at 7:57 am

Spot on.

While 20K is GREAT to earn, you still work a very low paying job after all. I used to work 8 hours/day (hourly based) and earn about 2k/month, which is great. And still, earning this kind of money in 2-3 hours/day of actual work is better. I just found better paying jobs and increased my rates.

Ideally you shouldn’t have to work a lot to earn money online. If you focus on the services that give you the best payouts and grow your portfolio/experience, you’ll earn this type of money in less time.

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8 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 9:34 am

Honestly the $6-12/hour estimate is on the low end. I didn’t want to put higher numbers to give people a false sense of what they might earn right off the bat (and have them be discouraged immediately if they don’t reach that). It really just depends on the requesters. The worst I get is $6, but I’ve had some that go roughly $20/hour. The absolute best I’ve earned is working at about an $75/hour pace on batches of work that get put out once in a very rare whlie. I honestly haven’t spent anywhere near 2200 hours to earn the amount I’ve earned.

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9 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 9:35 am

That said, you’re certainly not wrong in saying that there is an opportunity cost where you could be learning a skill that would pay a higher rate down the road.

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10 Oana March 18, 2016 at 7:27 am

Hello!
It is a very interesting article. Can you tell me please, this is an opportunity only for US people? Can I work at tasks form MTurk if I am form Europe (Romania)?

Thank you!

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11 Catwoman73 March 18, 2016 at 8:44 am

Foreign workers can only transfer their earnings to an amazon gift card. That’s not necessarily a bad thing- I use my earnings to buy gifts at Christmas time.

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12 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 9:37 am

Catwoman73 is correct. You can work on mturk outside of the US, but you can’t withdraw cash. The money you earn would go toward gift cards on Amazon. Some requesters may have qualifications that only allow workers from certain locations. However there is work available on there in most countries.

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13 spamgirl March 29, 2016 at 6:13 pm

Nope. Amazon hasn’t approved any new mTurk accounts from outside the US since July 2012. Those of us using the site who are not American were grandfathered in. Sorry.

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14 Charlie March 18, 2016 at 7:34 am

Great idea Michael! I am definitely going to check this out today! I’ve been looking for another way to make another side hustle. I can definitely relate to your story about freaking out before the birth of your child. I freaked out and started clipping coupons! Either way, a side hustle or coupon clipping, it just helps the family overall!

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15 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 9:39 am

That was my take on it. Every little bit counts! I went into it without any real expectations (like I said, so may things online are scams). But once I started earning good money on there, it’s like it became a game where I wanted to constantly outdo myself. It’s turned into a really nice source of side income.

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16 kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor March 18, 2016 at 7:35 am

I was not familiar with this; thanks for covering it. I like that it’s highly flexible and doesn’t require a big upfront time commitment. And that you actually make money regularly from it.

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17 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 9:40 am

I think that’s the best part of it. You can really put as much or as little time into it. Before I found it, I would waste so much time just surfing around the internet not really doing anything. Now I’ve taken all of my free time and monetized it which has been awesome!

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18 Money Beagle March 18, 2016 at 8:26 am

I never knew about this. Definitely worth at least checking out. And it bears reminding that even if it is low paying per hour, if you do it during time that you would have otherwise made nothing, you’re still coming out ahead. I think people need to sometime be realistic about opportunity cost and realize that they’re likely not able to earn actively at the same rate 168 hours per week.

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19 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 9:42 am

That’s the way I looked at it as well. My alternative was making no money so at least I was pulling in some kind of money. And the more I’ve worked on there, the smarter I’ve become about how to manage my time on there. I’ve become a lot more efficient, spending less time but still making more money cherry picking the best paying work (some of the topics I cover in the ebook).

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20 J. Money March 18, 2016 at 12:17 pm

Yes, TRUTH! The same for hiring someone to mow your lawn to “save money” since you’re “worth more”, but all you ended up doing was sitting on your a$$ watching TV the whole time ;) Technically your time might be worth more, but savings on $0.00 earned is exactly worth $0.00, haha…

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21 Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies March 18, 2016 at 8:27 am

I’ve looked at MTurk a few times, but never pulled the trigger. It’s nice to see that it really does work out well for people. As for being able to find higher paying online jobs, I would say it really depends on how much of a commitment you’re willing to give. It sounds like the flexibility offered here makes this a real winner.

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22 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 9:45 am

That’s exactly right. I’m sure this isn’t the best paying thing out there, but it offers a ton of flexibility. Whether you dedicate a lot of time to it or just do some work here and there, you can still make a nice little side income. Even if you make like $10/week (very easy to do), that’s like a night out at a restaurant every month.

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23 Josh March 18, 2016 at 8:48 am

Are there tax consequences for this? Does this income get reported on a 1040?

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24 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 9:48 am

You do have to pay taxes on the money you make (at least you should be reporting it). You won’t receive a physical tax form from Amazon and I’m honestly not sure if/how they’re reporting it to the government. I report the income I make on the 1040-misc as miscellaneous income. After the year ends, Amazon adds a “show earnings detail” link on your mturk dashboard which shows how much money you earned in that year.

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25 J. Money March 18, 2016 at 12:18 pm

I second Mr. Naab there – you should report EVERYTHING regardless of whether someone reports it for you or not… Better to get into the habit of it than wake up to a nasty surprise later of owing a bunch of money + fines.

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26 Jason B March 18, 2016 at 8:52 am

I used to do used MTurk. I made a few hundred off of it a few years ago. Eventually, I realized that the return wasn’t worth and found other side hustles to work on.

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27 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 9:50 am

There are definitely ways to improve the return of your time on there. I’m making much more per hour now than I was when I first started out, but you’re right. There are other side hustles that will pay more. The advantage to this one is probably the flexibility it offers.

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28 Josh @MoneyBuffalo March 18, 2016 at 8:52 am

I am definitely going to look into this. Like others, I’ve never heard of it before but always find it amazing how companies like Google & Amazon have all these small ventures in addition to their main marketing platform.

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29 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 9:52 am

It’s a beautiful thing for Amazon. They simply host the whole platform. The requesters post the tasks, the workers complete the tasks and Amazon takes a cut of every HIT completed (paid for by the requester). Amazon does literally nothing except host the whole thing and makes serious money from it. So a better side hustle would probably be figuring out how to replicate that somewhere else haha.

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30 Latoya @ Femme Frugality March 18, 2016 at 9:07 am

I tried amazon turk before and always wondered why I had terrible results and others were raving about it. The weekdays are a no-go for me:(

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31 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 9:56 am

Ahh yeah, weekdays are definitely the best times to get work. Like I said, there’s always work available but weekends are notoriously slow. Nights can be a little better and something that pays well can drop at any time (one of the best ones I’ve done was on a Saturday. It was a batch of work asking you to write a paragraph about any place you’ve visited for $5. You could do as many as you wanted. That was my first day over $100). But if you’re looking for consistent good work, it’s going to be on weekdays.

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32 Rose March 18, 2016 at 9:22 am

I never heard of anyone making more than around $36 a month on a regular basis with Mturk. A couple of times I have seen reports of $100 to $150 income a month. It always seemed to be a lot of time and effort for very little return.
As with all things, income is based on your skill level and amount of time invested.

Thanks for posting about this, I might give it a whirl – even $50 a month will come to $600 a year and would cover all my holiday expenses. So wish me luck:)

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33 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 10:00 am

You’re right! It really does depend on the time you invest in it. $50/month is extremely doable. That’s less than $2/day. There’s a HIT right now asking about preferences for smartwatch colors. It’s $1.50 and took me 5 minutes ($18/hour pay rate!). I’ve steadily gotten better on there to the point that I went from ecstatic to disappointed making $20/day on there.

You can definitely do it though, good luck!

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34 J. Money March 18, 2016 at 12:19 pm

GOOD LUCK! A fun experiment regardless :)

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35 Rose March 18, 2016 at 2:34 pm

Thanks:) – I’ll let you know how it goes – should be a fun experiment. The hits I looked at looked most entertaining:)
Waiting to be accepted…

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36 Rose March 31, 2016 at 9:30 am

Today is day ten of my M-turk experiment, also the official end of Amazon’s “trial period”.
$$$ RESULT: $60 in 10 days
Day 10 has just begun for me and I am at 103 HITS
Everyone mentioned that magic number of 100 hits completed to have access to better hits. We’ll see if that is true.
TIME spent: Waayyyy tooo many hours:), but it was time well spent figuring out how it all works – still a learning curve.

… and Michael, if you are reading this, I will buy your book, I can afford it now that I actually found a new sidehustle thanks to you:)

Bottomline: obviously has earning potential and I am happy to report that I made more money in ten days than I hoped to make in 30 days:)

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37 Mortgage Free Mike April 3, 2016 at 9:07 pm

Rose, I also started using MTurk after reading this post. I have done tasks every day, but some days it has been one or two. I completed about 150 another day, spending a few hours. I have made $77. I am experimenting with one particular type of HIT this week to see if I fare better. I will keep you posted.

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38 J. Money April 4, 2016 at 7:13 am

Love seeing this, guys! Such cool experiments!

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39 Mrs. Wanderlust May 6, 2016 at 12:45 am

I have just hit around a month (23 days). I spend 3 to 4 hours a day, in the morning. I have pulled in $278.62. Which is $12 bucks a day. Not great from an hourly perspective, but this week I’ve figured out some things that I was learning prior. I know how the site works. I’m also only aiming for $15 a day as my goal, which I have hit all week. I am excited to see where it goes!

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40 J. Money May 6, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Very cool!!!! Love seeing these real-life reports, haha… Now what do you plan on doing with this new sexy money? :)

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41 Bobby May 23, 2016 at 11:50 pm

I agree. I am on day 6 and have made exactly $33.00 with 23 HITs still pending payment.

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42 Mortgage Free Mike March 18, 2016 at 9:43 am

This is very interesting. The pay seems quite low, but the flexibility is key. There are a lot of people looking for extra work, but they can’t commit to the demands of traditional employers — like a set schedule. I will give it a shot and see what happens.

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43 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

The hourly rate is about as low as you should see as long as you screen out the crappy paying requesters (something I outline in the ebook). That was mostly if you’re going to sit there for an hour, that’s what you can expect to get, including time waiting for another good HIT to pop up. The HITs themselves may have much higher pay rates. I’ve had batches of work come out where its 25 cents each and I can hammer out 4 in a minute (that’s $60/hour!). A lot of it depends on being on there at the right time but it’s certainly possible to make more than that. The flexibility is also key though. There’s always some work available and even a couple bucks a day adds up at the end of the year.

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44 J. Money March 18, 2016 at 12:21 pm

Mike – tell me how it goes over the weeks/months. Would be curious to see how you fare!

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45 Toni March 18, 2016 at 10:13 am

I haven’t done mTurks in a few months but when I started I made about $250 in a month. I did do some of it during the normal business hours but with a full-time job it wasn’t always possible. I spent most of my time doing it when I came home from work. This was the time I spent making dinner and watching sports. I figure hey why not fire up the laptop and do HIT’s while watching basketball or football. I only do it for the extra money to put in my savings or if I need something on Amazon. I take it as I am making money when I otherwise wouldn’t be. The most I made in one day was about $20 bucks! I might pick it up again.

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46 J. Money March 18, 2016 at 12:22 pm

That’s awesome :) Esp around the times you’d be making $0 anyways relaxing like that…

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47 Chris March 18, 2016 at 10:18 am

Yikes,
You’d make more $$ flipping burgers at McDonalds.

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48 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 10:33 am

It might be comparable to what you’d make at McDonalds but most people that want to make a couple extra bucks aren’t going to pick up a job there. If I have to fill out an application, wear their lovely uniform, work a 6 hour shift and deal with angry customers at McDonalds or sit on your couch while watching TV to make some extra money, it’s not a hard choice for me haha.

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49 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 10:22 am

The beauty of it is being able to do it whenever you want. If you’re trying to make a lot of money with it, you probably need to do it during normal business hours but if you’re just looking to make a few extra bucks on the side, it’s perfect when you’re just hanging out at random times of the day. Even a couple bucks a day is a nice night out once a month!

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50 Mrs. CTC @FromCostToCoast March 18, 2016 at 11:01 am

Twerkin’ my way towards financial independence, never considered that one before!

I tried a local equivalent of this for a while but I couldn’t get a reasonable pay out it compared to the hours I was putting in. It felt really silly doing that so I stopped. The only convenient thing was that you can indeed do it whenever, wherever.

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51 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Of all of the survey sites I found, this one was the best. The others seemed like a waste of time getting screened out of stuff constantly and not getting compensated. This one has worked a lot better for me.

And twerking your way to financial independence might be another topic worthy of making this side hustle series hahaha.

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52 Mrs. CTC @FromCostToCoast March 18, 2016 at 3:59 pm

I will definitely have a closer look at it and maybe give it another try.

Looking forward to that series: ‘Quit working? Start twerking!’

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53 Michael Naab March 19, 2016 at 2:50 pm

I would definitely read about that one haha.

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54 J. Money March 21, 2016 at 11:14 am

Haha… noted! :)

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55 Janeen March 18, 2016 at 11:34 am

I usually try to pour my efforts into actions that will result in long term (more passive) income, but this is intriguing. I think I’ll dip my toes in today and see what happens. Heading over to snag the book :)

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56 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 12:00 pm

I’m also trying some ways to build up income more passively (passive income is actually the subject of my next ebook that I’m working on), but I look at mturk as a good way to kind of “fill in the cracks” so to speak. There’s just a lot of flexibility so I try to be as efficient as possible while not taking away from the other things that I have going on.

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57 Brad B. March 18, 2016 at 11:34 am

I would love to hear more about how some of these tasks can be automated.

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58 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 12:04 pm

There are a number of scripts that you can add to your browser that automate certain things on there that allow you to use your time more efficiently (I talk in more detail about this in the ebook). There are also forums where people talk about all things mturk. Some of those people are very hardcore “turkers” and write their own code or scripts that help automate some of the more repetitive work that some requesters put out there.

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59 Jack March 18, 2016 at 1:24 pm

Looked at mturk 5 years or so ago when we were using it to generate training data for some machine learning algorithms we were working on.

It’s interesting, and you get out what you put in, but in the end you’re earning around minimum wage, basically trading time for money, and at the lower end of the scale to get some schedule flexibility. Great as a side hustle for someone who needs some flexible spending cash, but it’s not going to make you rich.

I’d rather invest my time working towards building a more passive income stream. If I wanted to do this on Amazon, I’d look at setting up an Amazon FBA sideline or perhaps some retail arbitrage.

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60 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 3:07 pm

I definitely wouldn’t recommend it as a primary source of income but I think it’s a useful side hustle for someone looking to put some extra cash in their pockets.

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61 Michelle March 18, 2016 at 2:18 pm

Sounds super interesting! I had no idea this even existed. I’ll have to tell my readers about this.

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62 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 3:09 pm

It’s definitely pretty cool. I’m glad that I randomly stumbled upon it a couple years ago!

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63 Yetisaurus March 18, 2016 at 5:29 pm

I gave Mechanical Turk a whirl for a few weeks and earned a whopping $6.29. It was really hard to find HITs that they would let newbies do, and often it was transcribing a grocery store receipt (a few mins work) for literally a few pennies. I tried to get more and more qualifications, thinking that would open up more lucrative work possibilities. I spent a few hours getting qualified to do transcribing and some other tasks. But no HITs opened up for those things. All I kept seeing was the $.03 tasks.

Also, once I had a dispute about a task. I signed up for a survey that was supposed to pay out a few bucks. Hooray, I thought. I answered about 20-30 questions, and then it said I had to click this other link to answer a few more questions to get credit. I clicked the link, and it sent me to this other survey. I finally answered about 50 questions in total, and then it said that based on my answers, I wasn’t in the demographic they were looking for to complete the “real” survey, so they didn’t have to pay me anything. Give me a break. They got real, substantive answers from me, not just pre-screening answers. I made a complaint through Amazon Turk’s customer service email, and they basically said they don’t resolve disputes between workers and the listing company. So that company is free to continue posting and taking advantage of workers, and Amazon doesn’t really care.

That was the last straw. Done. I’ve got better things to do than spend hours trying to qualify and find tasks to get paid a measly $6.

I’m glad to hear that someone’s making money on that thing, but I wouldn’t give it another try. I feel like the system is set up to take advantage of the workers.

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64 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 6:38 pm

There are definitely some scammy requesters on the site (those grocery receipts are horrible and I would recommend that nobody ever do them). One of the scripts that you can add to your browser is called Turkopticon which allows users to rate requesters on several metrics including pay. Any requester that offers crappy pay or is known to have long screeners that eventually boot you out without compensation are typically always rated very low on pay, allowing you to avoid these types of HITs and be more selective with what you work on. That script is absolutely essential to effectively working on there.

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65 LuckyOz March 18, 2016 at 6:55 pm

Great post, I had never heard of Mechanical Turk.

How does posting tasks work? Is this a good way to crowd source out work? Have a huge range of global workers available at minimum wage 24/7, looks like there is some opportunity in creating side hustles that pay significantly more, and crowd source the work.

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66 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 10:02 pm

It’s a great way to crowd source work out. There are constantly people working at all hours on mturk so you should be able to get whatever work you’re looking to have done quickly (as long as the pay is fair enough to entice workers).

I can’t speak to the specifics of posting tasks but mturk and other forums have plenty of resources to help requesters with what they’re trying to accomplish.

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67 Aliyyah @RichAndHappyBlog March 18, 2016 at 8:19 pm

I’ve used Amazon Mechanical Turk before, but never thought of it as a serious money maker. This is making me reconsider!

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68 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 10:06 pm

There are definitely tools that can help you make more serious money on there. It’s all just a matter of how much time you want to put into it!

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69 Heather @ Simply Save March 18, 2016 at 10:49 pm

I recently signed up for Mechanical Turk but haven’t actually done anything with it yet. Thanks for giving the DL! With my FT job I don’t think I’d make a ton with MTurk. Glad to know some of this before I put a ton of time into it!

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70 Michael Naab March 18, 2016 at 11:19 pm

You’re welcome! It wouldn’t be bad to check out in your free time. Even with full time work, you can still find work on there at other times that will at least give you some extra income. That’s how I looked at it when I first started out. At least I was being more productive then just binging on netflix haha.

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71 Dr. Beard March 19, 2016 at 11:26 am

Ha. This is timely. We’ve been working up a survey to drop on Mechanical Turn for my research group. Michael may be working for me soon, and I’ll be getting paid to travel all over the world presenting the results from his work. Mwuhahaha-evil laugh.

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72 Michael Naab March 19, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Hahaha I’ll be on the look out for it so I can give you good results and help you make a lot of money off of it

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73 J. Money March 21, 2016 at 11:11 am

That would be awesome :)

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74 Chris March 19, 2016 at 1:43 pm

This sounds too good to be true. I have worked on mturk for about 1-1/2 years. I make about $2, $3, or $4 an hour. I only work a little bit and make a few hundred dollars a year.

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75 Chris March 19, 2016 at 1:44 pm

And the people that put jobs on there can be ruthless. If you make a mistake, you get blocked and if you get so many blocks, you cannot work at all on mturk. There is no negotiation or communication sometimes too, with these problems.

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76 Chris March 19, 2016 at 2:00 pm

I’m sorry. I posted before reading the comments. I see he answers a lot of questions about this. Feel free to delete all my comments. Thanks.

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77 J. Money March 21, 2016 at 11:12 am

It’s all good – we like raw thoughts here :)

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78 Investment Hunting March 20, 2016 at 8:06 pm

I like fiverr.com – Same concept, nowhere near the size of Amazon’s offering.

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79 Melissa March 21, 2016 at 3:18 pm

My main side-hustle is petsitting, but I feel like MTurk can be one of those excellent side hustles to your side hustle. Ex.) I had a 10 hour dog sitting gig on Saturday night, and even if I’d spent a third of that time work on MTurk, I could have made an additional $15-20 in sidehustle funds. definitely something to consider!

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80 Michael Naab March 21, 2016 at 10:02 pm

Side hustle stacking, I love it! Nothing like making money while making money.

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81 Mortgage Free Mike March 22, 2016 at 10:32 pm

Melissa, we think the same! I also take care of dogs and thought Mturk would be easy to do while they are napping.

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82 J. Money March 23, 2016 at 2:03 pm

*Runs out to buy HustleStacking.com*

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83 Steve @ Think Save Retire March 21, 2016 at 6:36 pm

Nice, appreciate the lead. I just signed up about 5 minutes ago based on this article, so I’ll see how it goes and will probably write a review of it myself (linking back to this post, of course). Less than a year away from early retirement, I’m always looking for interesting ways to make some additional cash here and there. This looks like an interesting opportunity to pull in some bucks.

Again, thanks for the write-up. :)

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84 Michael Naab March 21, 2016 at 10:05 pm

I think it’s definitely a great opportunity for retirees or stay at home parents looking to make a little extra on the side. Just hop on in your spare time and make a few bucks from the comfort of your living room. it certainly beats a minimum wage job if you’re just looking to supplement some money, in my opinion.

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85 Christiana March 21, 2016 at 8:40 pm

Thank you for this article, Michael! I signed up with MTurk ten days ago, after reading some convincingly good reviews online. I started with .25 and .50 HITS, and worked on as many as I could during my free time, for several days. Then I read something about how you will have more HITS available to you after you’ve submitted 100, and since then I’ve been only focusing on getting to that point. I’ve even done a few HITS that didn’t pay, just to boost my numbers. So here I am, ten days in, and I have submitted 92 HITS (I’m almost there!) and have made close to $40 ($38.45), and I’m excited to keep going! I have a lot to learn, which is why I continue to read reviews and whatever else I can find, but I am very happy with my results so far. :)

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86 Mak3sha March 22, 2016 at 2:53 pm

How do you choose which ones are decent to work on? I just become verified and some codes that you have to enter never show after the hit. :/

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87 Christiana March 22, 2016 at 6:30 pm

I don’t think I have run into that problem yet. I’m sorry that has happened to you, but try not to get discouraged because it really will pay off! I am so new to this, I don’t really have any good information to offer. I mostly work on surveys, and I’ve done a couple of transcriptions that I enjoyed quite a bit. The surveys are easy and self-explanatory, and since many of them are offered by university psychology departments, I find them fascinating. There are many other types of HITS, I just need to get brave and try something different. My total is up to 104 today, and I’m still working. :)

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88 Michael Naab March 22, 2016 at 9:14 pm

Add the Turkopticon script to your browser. It rates requesters on several metrics so you know who the good ones are to work for. When I complete a survey and don’t get a code at the end, I submit the HIT with my worker ID (found on your mturk dashboard) and a short explanation saying that I didn’t receive a code at the end. Requesters are able to match your work to your ID.

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89 Michael Naab March 22, 2016 at 9:12 pm

Yes! Things definitely open up the more that you do. I would say the magic number is 1,000 HITs (sounds tough to reach but it comes quicker than you might think). A lot more good stuff opens up to you at that point. I recommend looking for lower paying batches that you can do very quickly. One example is the requester Venue Quality. Their HITs consist are 1 cent but they are literally one click and you’re done. They come in periodic batches throughout the day. Look out for those and you’ll be able to reach higher HIT counts much quicker!

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90 Terry March 23, 2016 at 2:12 am

I think Mechanical Turks is just okay. Like with anything, if you work hard enough at it, you might be able to learn some tricks to squeeze more out of it, but I found it to be pretty time consuming. To be “qualified” on there for tasks that pay more is pretty ridiculous…if you’re that qualified, better to use your qualifications elsewhere than just to earn a few extra pennies.

Although I fully relate to your skepticism about surveys, there are a few good sites out there. Not many, and you do have to be patient, but I don’t think it should be dismissed completely. I make a few dollars every month taking surveys from Pinecone and Paidviewpoint….we’re talking around $20 if I’m lucky. SurveyPolice.com is a really good resource for this.

Anyway, these online gigs are really, really, hard to make any decent cash off of. I think getting selected for a well-paid focus group is one way to earn good money, but one can only hope that you’ll be selected. Otherwise, hi ho! back to regular 9-5 work we go!

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91 Michael Naab March 23, 2016 at 11:36 am

You’re right, there are a couple of survey sites that are ok, but I’m not crazy about them. I used to do Pinecone but it got to the point that I’d spend 5-10 minutes on a survey only for them to tell me I don’t qualify. So no compensation and a waste of my time. Plus I had to wait for them to tell me about a survey I can try.

I like mturk over this because you can go on at any time and find something you legitimately qualify for and can be paid for. You’re right though, it’s not necessarily going to pay you big money and you can definitely make a great hourly rate getting into a good focus group. It’s just an option for people that have some free time and want to make some money from home (or wherever).

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92 Roy Largo @ Band of Savers March 23, 2016 at 9:32 am

Awesome sounding option. I think I might have just figured out what to do with my Friday afternoons that I don’t have to work. Thanks for the info – can’t wait to look into this more.

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93 Michael Naab March 23, 2016 at 11:37 am

No problem and good luck with it!

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94 Harshal-M March 29, 2016 at 6:01 am

Hy few days back i got to see te post of amazon mechanical turk .I have started working on this and i made almost 26$ by doing various jobs, now the problem is that i m unable to transfer my savings to indian rupees.

Could you pls help me in solving this problem .

Regards
Harshal-M

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95 Mike Naab March 29, 2016 at 9:51 am

Here are the instructions from the mturk FAQ page for transferring earned mturk money to Indian Rupees:

How do I receive payment in Indian Rupees?

If you are a Worker in India, you can elect to receive a direct deposit for your earnings in Indian Rupees. You will need to provide your birth date and a scanned copy of your Permanent Account Number (PAN) card in order to be eligible to receive direct deposit. It may take up to 7 days to verify your card information once it is submitted. Once we’ve verified your PAN card information, you’ll be able to provide your bank account information for verification. Once your bank account is verified, you can disburse your earnings to your bank account. Please visit the Earnings page for instructions on providing your bank account information.

If you’re still having issues, let me know.

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96 Diane April 2, 2016 at 7:26 pm

I discovered the SECRET as to why working on Mturk could be a huge financial breakthrough! When I read this article I revisited my old Mturk account where I had made 40 cents at one time. Since then I have made about $35–go me! Okay, the SECRET I discovered is that I am REALLY thinking before I spend ANY money because when you start looking at things in terms of 10-15 cent HITS you make different spending decisions. In my full-time job I make a reasonable income and that can cause one to spend more freely. But, I have financial goals I want to reach and Mturk really changed my thinking. Instead of thinking before I spend $50, I now think hard when I spend 50 cents.

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97 J. Money April 4, 2016 at 7:12 am

LOVE THAT!! Talk about an unintended effect, eh?

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98 Harshal-M April 5, 2016 at 5:20 am

Hey boss couldn’t solve my issues regarding transfer of money..its getting transferred to amazon gift a/c’s ..Please me help me to sort out this issues…

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99 Chris April 7, 2016 at 2:29 am

If you are going to do Mturk,make sure you get a script called Opticom… When a person posts a job to do ,the script allows you to see their rating as far as reliability,communications,ect…Because people will post stupid jobs with what appears to be descent payment,people do the work,and find out that it was a scammer.This can effect your % of successful Hits, and that will have an effect on your quality of jobs you can do. It is easy to use….

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100 Michael Naab April 13, 2016 at 11:43 am

The script is actually called Turkopticon, and you’re correct. It’s an essential script to make sure that you’re not working for people who try to scam you into getting data without paying you. I actually talk about this script in the book as something that anyone using mturk should absolutely have.

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101 blake April 13, 2016 at 4:26 pm

well, the pay sounds better than a “regular” job. why not do this full time.

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102 B.C Kowalski May 23, 2016 at 11:12 am

I had resolved to sign up for this, and wanted to report back once I’d spent some time on the site. I had an initial setback, since when signing up for Amazon Payments I had just moved, and my addresses didn’t line up. Basically I had to wait to get my first bill so I could prove what address I lived at.

Eventually, though, that happened and I’m up and running. I’m happy to report I finally hit my first $100 after a little more than 2 weeks! I learned a few things along the way – beware of batches unless they’re recommended, such as from the “HITs worth Turking for” reddit page. A batch of rejections can set you back!

One thing I’ve found with a lot of side hustles, is if you don’t live in a major city, the opportunities aren’t there. I did some buying and selling on ebay, which was OK. I signed up as a secret shopper but there are hardly any in my area (mostly car service ones). mTurk, however, can be done from just about anywhere, and even on just about any device (my iPad has become my favored device, surveys are a breeze on it).

The thing I like about this is that I “punch the clock” whenever I feel like it. If I have a spare 15 minutes, I can do a couple of HITs. I usually do some in the morning with my coffee, and a few at night. The best is when a batch comes up from a reliable source, because I can get right to work when I feel like it, versus spending time searching for HITs to do. For someone with a full time job with sometimes odd hours, it’s nice to have that option to work when I can.

My plan is to put all my turk money to pad my savings. I think about my future retirement era traveling adventures whenever I log on to mTurk!

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103 J. Money May 23, 2016 at 11:20 am

Rock on man! Loved reading about your experience with it so far – thanks for taking the time to drop it by! Great insight for sure about it being nice that you can do it from anywhere and your options aren’t limited by many of the other hustles out there. Keep making that $$$!

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104 Bobby May 23, 2016 at 11:44 pm

How have you been making $6 – $12 an hour. I have heard of others doing this as well. I am at least average on the computer, but still only manage to make about $3 an hour. Much of my time is spent trying to find a HIT. Are you using a different website to locate the muturks? I have downloaded scripts which make it a little easier as I find that every time I use the mturk website, I have to select “mturks for which I am qualified” and then sort by “creation date’. However, they don’t delete the HITS you have already worked. I have done just over 100 turks in 6 days and over 965 approval rate. Please tell me it gets easier. My goal is to make $10 or more a day in an hour to an hour and a half of work each day. Thanks for your reply!

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