When I first began working from home, I did not start with Elance. In fact, I exhausted a few other options first. Each of them, for some reason or another, did not work for me. But there is no way I would have known whether or not they were a good work-from-home option for me if I did not try them.
Following are the three other methods of online earning I attempted before moving on to Elance:
The first thing I found when searching for online jobs was a task-driven site linked to Amazon. It is called “Mechanical Turk.” The description states, “Mechanical Turk is a marketplace for work. We give businesses and developers access to an on-demand, scalable workforce. Workers select from thousands of tasks and work whenever it’s convenient.”
With three kids at home the ages of five, three, and one, I needed “convenient.” I signed up for an account and began looking for tasks, called “HITs,” and doing any of them that seemed to pay a fair amount. Within a couple of months, though, I realized that was the primary problem. Most HITs didn’t pay “fair amounts.” When I took into account the amount of time the project took, as well as the amount of time browsing for an applicable project, I ended up with well under minimum wage.
The main projects I did were transcription jobs, in which I had quite a bit of experience. I also found the occasional article-writing project, which paid a few dollars per 300-word article. One evening, as I wrote an article about chocolate-covered strawberries, it occurred to me that I could probably find other avenues for writing, ones that paid more. Ones on more inspiring and engaging topics than strawberries.
At around this time, my husband got an email from a friend that had links to at least a dozen survey sites. You sign up, they send you links to the surveys. You click on the link and if you are eligible for the survey, you complete it and get anywhere from 50 cents to a couple of dollars per survey.
Mturk also posted surveys and I thought, Hey, if I just filled in surveys, that’s a relatively easy task that doesn’t take too much time.
So I signed up for about half a dozen of these survey places and every day I would get invitations to participate in some survey or another. More often than not, I would click on the link, answer the first few questions, and then get “screened out” because I wasn’t in the right demographic. They never stated what demographic they were looking for, so I never knew what I didn’t have that they wanted. Maybe I was too old, or too young, or didn’t earn enough. In any case, I didn’t earn anything from that survey.
Within a month, I stopped clicking the links to all the survey sites and stuck with one, hoping that I could at least earn enough in one of them to get a payout. I never did though.
I had to scratch yet another online “opportunity.”
A friend of mine who spent a lot of time online suggested two sites to me. One of these was Guru, a site for freelancers. Its definition explains, “Create a profile and define the freelance services you want to offer. Employers will find you by these services when they search for freelancers to hire. Search and apply for jobs that interest you, in any category. We make it easy to showcase previous work you’ve completed to back up your proposals. We also provide Job Matches daily so you don’t miss out on an opportunity.”
This was a different kettle of fish than Mturk. In this case, I needed to “bid” for projects among however many other freelancers interested in the same project, and the client determined whether or not to accept the bid. I signed up, created a profile, and began to place proposals for jobs. At the same time, I created a profile on Elance, and as I mentioned in a previous post about my early days working with Elance, it became my main method for working from home.
Believe it or not, I still sometimes browse through Mturk when I don’t have anything going on. It’s still preferable (in my opinion) to playing a video game or crushing candy (or however candy crush works). I’ll fill in a survey and get a couple of dollars out of it. When I have enough, I’ll transfer the money to Amazon and order a book for myself, something for one of the kids, or a gift for someone whose birthday is coming up.
I also browse through “Guru” for jobs, but nothing has ever come through that. However, this is not to say that nothing ever will. Perhaps you’ll sign up for both Elance and Guru and find that your experiences run opposite to mine. Maybe you’ll start getting work on Guru and never get a project with Elance.
Work-from-Home Lesson Six:
Before you get settled in one particular area of online earning, look at all options. Something that did not work for another person may be the perfect option for you. You might find that you enjoy working in a variety of websites and accomplishing different tasks on each one. If you have the time, browse through one or more of the above sites and experiment. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
[Why am I writing about working from home? Every Tuesday this summer, I will post about a lesson I have learned from 111 writing and editing projects. I realize that today is Wednesday, and that is because I was camping with my family yesterday. Sometimes schedules have to go out the window when it comes to family, a priority.]
If you’re looking for an editor or ghostwriter, I’d love to hear from you. I have over ten years of experience in writing and editing and would be happy to work with you to take your project to the next level.