How to earn $20,000 doing small jobs from home

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Wouldn’t it be nice to make an extra few hundred dollars a week while lounging on the couch? It sounds like a sales pitch we’ve heard many times before, but it’s not. One man says he has earned $20,000 over the past two and a half years doing micro jobs through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, which users call MTurk.

Michael Naab told Budgets are Sexy that he stumbled upon MTurk when he was stressed out about money ‘ just days before his first child was born. Since then, he has become a pro, earning anywhere from $150 to $300 a week. And Naab continues to hold down a full-time job!

Read more: Need extra cash? Amazon is hiring and you can work from home

How exactly Mechanical Turk (MTurk) works

Mechanial Turk describes itself as a “marketplace of work.” As a worker, you search through thousands of Human Intelligence Tasks, which are micro jobs they refer to as HITs. You can work from home, set your own hours and cash out through an Amazon Payments account.

What types of jobs are available?

Loads of them. As of this writing, there are 658,109 HITs available. Some of the more popular tasks include surveys on consumer, health and political issues. If you type fast, there’s never a shortage of transcription work. And writers might enjoy drafting summaries of blog posts.

Can you really make money?

Yes, you can. But you might not make $20,000 in a couple of years like Naab says he did.

The pay for each HIT is low ‘ and sometimes really low. Some tasks pay 25 cents and others might give you a buck. The key to success is completing the HITs rapidly to boost your hourly rate.

Sarah Marshall, a young mother from Mississippi, told PBS that she earns more money on MTurk than she did as a line cook at a local deli. She said she completed roughly 20,000 academic surveys on the site in five years.

Tips and tricks

The folks at The Simple Dollar tested out MTurk for a bit and have a few pointers to maximize your earnings.

  1. It pays to be able to write comprehensible stuff quickly.
  2. The extremely low-cost Turk tasks aren’t worth it.
  3. Most of the tasks fit well into short breaks.
  4. Tasks that require “tests” seem to pay off.
  5. If you do take on a task in the lower price range, look at it first.
  6. Be patient.

To elaborate on that final point, Naab told Budgets are Sexy that better paying work starts to show up once you get more HITs under your belt. He also said the best work is available Monday through Friday, during the day.


Read more: Work from home guide

Getting started

So, are you ready to give MTurk a try? It might be a good idea to read through some of the online forums dedicated to the site before registering at In the forums, users share all their secrets to make the most money.


More ways to bring in extra cash each month:

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