In this gig economy, there are many different ways to make money and earn a living. Amazon Mechanical Turk offers a platform where you can earn extra cash by accomplishing small tasks. Many of these tasks can be completed in a few seconds.
This article will show you how to make $50 a day on MTurk. Of course, everyone could use an extra $50 each day, right? However, you need to do a few things to get started and a few things to watch out for if you want to earn $50 a day using MTurk.
This guide will walk you through the process of making money with MTurk and help you navigate the platform. Once you know how to find your way around the system, you are good to go.
Table of Contents
What is Amazon Mechanical Turk?
Amazon Mechanical Turk is a crowdsourcing platform that allows companies to post jobs, such as data collection or information processing, and have them fulfilled by “workers” from around the world.
It’s not a new concept, but it has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its low cost and ease of use. This article will discuss what Amazon MTurk is–and isn’t–what you should know about it before using it.
As a worker, you can take on short tasks from your home computer or mobile device. You’ll find everything from surveys to transcription projects. These jobs often only take seconds, and you’re paid per task.
You can get paid through direct deposit to your bank account or with Amazon gift cards which can then be used for anything you want.
You get to pick and choose jobs. You can work whenever and wherever you want to. There are always plenty of jobs available, and you work whenever it’s convenient for you.
MTurk is a fantastic option if you are looking to earn some extra money when you have time.
What kind of work can you do on MTurk?
The work that you can complete for Amazon is called human intelligence tasks (HITs). The vast majority of these projects will be surveys, text entry tasks, data analysis, and other highly repetitive micro-tasks.
These could include transcribing audio files from an interview or analyzing the sentiment in blog posts about a particular topic.
Examples of work you can do on MTurk are:
- Transcription services – This job involves short transcription tasks. Transcription involves converting audio or video recordings to text form. You are paid a bonus based on the length of transcription.
- Search engine research – Using Google and other search engines, you research terms for the requestor and write a description for them. This requires some good research and writing skills.
- Surveys – Take various types of surveys on a variety of topics. Depending on your preferences, Mturk allows you to filter the kinds of surveys and find what you are interested in. It only takes a short period to complete. If you are good at answering surveys, this might be just the gig for you.
There are other types of jobs, including editing videos and images, writing web content, performing interviews, and validating evidence. Like I said before, there is something for everyone.
What is a HIT on MTurk?
A HIT stands for Human Intelligence Task. It’s a small task that can take less than 10 minutes to complete. These HITs can range from simple data entry to programming challenging algorithms.
A HIT may be as easy as clicking a link or scrolling through images. Still, they can also be more complex, like transcribing an audio recording or writing web content. Depending on the complexity of the task, it can take anywhere from 10 seconds to 40 hours to complete.
The average pay for a HIT varies depending on how difficult it is and how long it takes to complete. Therefore, the longer you work at MTurk, the more likely you can find high-paying HITs that will help you earn more money.
You can usually tell by looking at a job before you even work on it if it’s worth your time or not. But like everything, good jobs will disappear quickly, so be prepared to work.
What is a short task on MTurk?
“Short task” is another term for the jobs listed on MTurk. These are small projects that can be completed by any individual who decides to work on them.
Short tasks don’t require much skill and can be completed by just about anyone instead of people with formal education or dedicated staff. They may require transcription, data entry, research, project administration, or other tasks.
The companies that post short tasks don’t really care if these simple tasks are completed by different people. So it’s cheaper for the company to use crowd workers for low-level tasks.
How to make $50 a day on MTurk
It is definitely possible to make $50 a day on Amazon MTurk. Many people do. There are a few things you need to do to consistently earn your share. Let’s take a look at how to get started.
Build your profile
When you start with MTurk, you are graded on things like how many HITs you complete and your acceptance rate. These are the building blocks for future work.
Think of this as a portfolio or a resume. These metrics you develop are critical, and future jobs are dependent on these stats. Improving your qualifications will help set you apart, giving you access to tasks that other people don’t.
Many of the low-hanging fruit jobs you start out with won’t pay much but are necessary to complete so you can increase your numbers. This is how you build a foundation for better-paying jobs down the road.
It’s essential to start with a solid foundation, so you can build on that going forward.
After you get the hang of it and have in the range of 500-1,000 HITs completed (with a solid acceptance rate >95%), you will qualify for more HITs. Aim for the “Masters Qualification” designation assigned by Amazon MTurk. This will give you access to more work.
Then, when you hit 5,000 HITs (and a solid acceptance rate), you can get approved for all kinds of jobs. Getting to this 5,000 goal is a great way to set yourself up to make $50 a day on MTurk.
The whole process takes time and effort, but so does everything worthwhile in life. Once you build a solid foundation with MTurk and achieve that 5,000 HIT level, you are well on your way with a 95% or greater acceptance rate.
Watch out for low paying HITs
When you are just getting started, it’s kind of hard to avoid, but watch out for lower-paying HITs as you progress. As you complete more HITs, says 500, 1000, etc., better-paying tasks are available. For the first week or two, focus on getting HITs done vs. the payout.
You might see a job that looks like a no-brainer. Literally, not much brainpower is required, but you have to think about how much you will make per hour.
If you find a job that is easy to complete but takes a long time, you might want to move on. Or you can test the waters and see how long a task takes to complete, then do the math.
It’s up to you how you spend your time. But if you have limited time, you need maximum payout for your time.
You will have to try some jobs and do the math and see how you fare. If you find a HIT that has 20,000 jobs and pays $.05 each, that’s $1,000, and it might keep you busy for a while.
But if each of those jobs takes one minute to complete, then you are making $3/hour. So try to look for HITs at least in the 10 to 15 cent range.
As you navigate the platform and gain experience, you will understand how long a task will take you. Typically you can look at the HIT before you work on it, so you can get an idea if it’s a good task for you.
When you find a HIT you want, be quick. As with most good things, it won’t last forever. So grab the good jobs before they disappear.
Batches are a great way to get a lot of work done fast. With a batch, you can complete related tasks one after another quickly, in a short period.
A lot of people tend to blow off batch work because of the low payout. But if you look a little closer, you can make a lot of money with batches.
Since you can complete these tasks quickly, you will become very efficient and increase your hourly rate. If you find a good batch, grab as many as you can. Open more than one tab to increase your efficiency.
Take advantage of batch HITs, and this will help increase the amount of money you make.
Beware of scams!
Anytime you do online work, you need to watch out for scams. Unfortunately, it seems like scammers are everywhere these days trying to separate you from your money.
MTurk is no different. You need to be able to identify scams, so you don’t fall victim. Let’s take a look at basic best practices to help avoid getting scammed.
People who post jobs (HITs) on Amazon MTurk are called “Requesters.” When a worker completes a task for the requester, they will provide a rating for that requester. You can also see how long the requester has been active on MTurk.
Check to see that that activity level is “high” and the HIT approval rate is also high (> 95%). At the end of the day, all these factors together to see if the requester has a good reputation. If they have been active for two years and have a 99% acceptance rate, then it’s a pretty good bet.
After you have worked with a requester and are happy with them, save their profile (bookmark them) for future jobs they post. This will save you the time of vetting a new requester each time.
Push your comfort zone
Let’s face it, it’s uncomfortable to learn new things. But the more you learn, the more you can earn on MTurk. Maybe you are good at research or surveys. Stick to those in the beginning. But, if you can learn a new skill set, like video editing, you can earn more money.
You might also need to do tasks that are “beneath” you. For example, if you are really good at video editing, you might need to perform a lower-level task to hit your $50 per day goal.
Learning new skills will help to boost your qualifications and help you get access to higher-paying gigs.
As with many freelance websites, and as mentioned above, it takes time to build your skill set and “portfolio.” You will have to do enough lower-paying jobs to get your feet wet and move up the ladder.
Through hard work, resilience, and patience, you can build your resume up on MTurk, and requesters will start choosing you over other people.
Typically, the highest paying tasks are available during “normal” business hours on weekdays. This is when businesses post the tasks. Knowing this will help you reach the $50 per day mark.
These hours can make it kind of tough for people to earn extra money, who have a full-time job or other obligations. So it’s best to figure out when the best jobs (for you) are posted. Then you don’t have to spend all day staring at your computer waiting for a HIT.
If you are available during weekday business hours, then log in and go for it. Or if you can access the platform on a break from work, that works too.
Sure, there are jobs posted all the time, but not as many as during 9-5 hours. Of course, it’s up to you when you can work on HITs, but it’s good to have an idea when prime hours are, so you know what to expect.
Qualify whenever you can
Some HITs require Qualification. This usually means there is a test or performance metric before you can complete this type of work.
Get qualified whenever you have the chance. This will improve your chances of earning and cut down on competition for the folks who are not qualified.
Also, check out your Qualifications tab, see what tests are available, and see what tasks you are qualified for.
Search for good HITs
Using the search function on Amazon MTurk can help save time and improve your results. Over time, you will find your groove and figure out what you are good at.
If you find a particular task that suits you well, you can search for similar projects. For example, if you are good at photo or video editing, you can search “edit” or “editing,” etc.
You can also bookmark a requester and search for them. Keep in mind that jobs are being added all the time, so keep refreshing and keep searching to find the ones that work for you. Good jobs go fast!
Join a forum
Believe it or not, there are a lot of people looking for HITs just like you are. Online forums are a great resource to help you stay updated on MTurk. In addition, you can read about other user’s experiences and change your approach accordingly.
These communities can help you find the best payouts and help you keep in touch with all things turk. Forums are a great way to stay away from scammers, too, based on other people’s reporting.
Sometimes the HITs don’t provide you with much information, so it’s good to connect with other turkers.
Some popular forum options are:
Watch your approval rate
A high approval rating (like 98%) will give you an advantage over other turkers, the higher, the better. If you think that a high approval rating is unrealistic, remember these are usually pretty simple tasks. Be sure to follow the instructions every time you complete a task to maintain a high rating.
Productivity tools can make your life a lot easier and help you make money on MTurk. Extensions and scripts are two tools that can make a huge difference.
Be very careful with the scripts you use though, don’t violate the terms of service with MTurk. Also, the Human Intelligence Tasks need to be completed by you, the human, so don’t use anything that will fully automate the process.
First off, you can download the Chrome extension MTurk Suite if you use Google Chrome, that is. This extension helps you get notifications quickly while you are doing other tasks.
Turkopticon is a tool that can help you filter out low-ranked employers. Low-rated employers may be a red flag and mean that they are not suitable to work with. In addition, they might have a history of rejecting work, which impacts your rating.
You can find more information on scripts here.
Big surprise, if you want to make $50 per day on MTurk, you need to be consistent and put in the work. To consistently make $50 a day, you have to be disciplined and treat MTurk just like you would a job. You have to work to get paid.
Save the good requesters
If you find an excellent requester, save them. If a requester has a high approval rate and pays well, save their info so you can search for them for future work. Check and see if the requester posts regularly. This is an excellent way to save yourself some time in vetting requesters.
How much money can you earn on MTurk?
It’s impossible to tell you how much money a person can earn on MTurk. There are so many factors that come into play: your skillset, how many hours you can devote, etc.
As you gain experience and qualify for higher-paying HITs, you can earn more. In addition, as you get more comfortable with the platform, your efficiency will improve, which can help you earn more.
A study shows that 80% of tasks completed on freelance platforms (all freelance platforms) are done by 20% of registered workers. So you have to act fast, be consistent, and choose the right tasks if you want to consistently make $50 per day.
The tasks vary greatly, and how much you make can depend on how quickly you can act on a HIT. Some HITs are very low-paying.
This article outlines how much you can make per hour based on different tasks performed. A 2017 study shows that only 4% of workers earned more than $7.25/hour.
Choose your HITs wisely, and do the math. Figure out how much each HIT pays, how long each task will take to complete and how many tasks you can complete in one hour. This will give you the hourly rate so you can plan accordingly.
Even if you can make $12/hour, it will take you over 4 hours to earn $50 in gross revenue, so keep that in mind.
How do you get paid on MTurk?
Per the Amazon Mechanical Turk FAQs, all payments are in US Dollars or Amazon.com gift cards. Your preferred payment method can be selected and scheduled on your earning page.
How to get started with MTurk
Create an account
You can sign up for a Worker account here.
Sign in to your Amazon account
If you already have an Amazon account, sign in with your existing credentials. If not, you will need to create an Amazon account.
Create your Amazon MTurk account
Once you have your Amazon account set up or are logged in, you need to set up your MTurk account. After that, you just need basic information like name, address, etc.
Wait for your account to be approved
Next, wait for your approval which takes about 24-48 hours. You will notice some limitations for the first 10 days. After that, you are set to turk as much as you want.
Pros and Cons of MTurk
- You can make extra money
- Work on your schedule
- Lots of different jobs available for different skills
- Easy to start
- You can work remotely
- There are no special skills required
- Get paid cash or with Amazon gift cards
- It can be very low paying
- Some tasks are very boring
- You need to be available consistently
- Some of the best jobs are posted during regular business hours
Making $50 a day on MTurk is possible if you are consistent, diligent, and know how to efficiently navigate the system. There are many tasks available on MTurk, but you have to choose wisely since some are very low-paying.
You will need to figure out which tasks will pay you the greatest reward based on time and effort. Unfortunately, you only have so many hours in a day.
If you are looking for other options and are interested in learning how to build a long-term source of consistent income, click here.