Side Hustle Series: 5 Tips for Making Money with Amazon Mechanical Turk

While looking for side hustles to help stash cash for a downpayment on our first home, I stumbled across’s Mechanical Turk program (MTurk for short.)

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What is Mechanical Turk?

Unlike many work-from-home offers, Mechanical Turk is NOT a scam. Mechanical Turk is an opportunity by Amazon in which workers (“turkers”) accept and complete small tasks for a small payment. For example, you may transcribe a grocery receipt for Ibotta for $0.08. You may take a survey posted by Stanford University researchers for $3.50. Most tasks (known as HITs) are easy and quick. However, you are not going to get rich completing hundreds of micro-tasks for mere pennies. However, the more simple tasks you complete, the more high-paying HITs will become available to you. Efficient and experienced Turkers can expect to earn between $6-$12 an hour as an independent contractor. Here are a few tips to make the most of your Mechanical Turk experience:

  1. Stay away from the low-cost tasks. Even if you CAN complete a penny task in about a minute, you’re still only earning $0.60 an hour. Not worth it! (The only exception to this is if you need to raise your HIT acceptance rate quickly in order to qualify for better-paying HITs.)
  2. Look at the task before accepting it. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve accepted a low-paying task, only to discover that it was going to take 20+ minutes of my time. Not worth it. Learn from my mistakes!
  3. Take the test. Taking tests for higher-paying tasks seems like a waste of time, but will open the doors to increased earnings!
  4. Be patient & refresh. Good tasks come and go in the blink of an eye. If you don’t see anything worthwhile, refresh your screen and keep trying!
  5. Join a forum. I highly recommend Reddit, where posters share higher-paying tasks, recommendations for scripts, and warnings about HITs to avoid.


Is Amazon Mechanical Turk worthwhile?

Yes, if you’re looking for a way to earn some extra cash in your downtime – I turk from my iPhone while watching Hulu* at night!

Any questions or advice? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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*Check out Hulu for 2 weeks free, on me! Plans start at $7.99 after the first 2 weeks. Terms apply.  —>

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