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Friday, July 9, 2010

Income and Outsourcing with Microworkers

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Income and Outsourcing with Microworkers 

 I can’t remember where I first heard about Microworkers, but I put it on my list of services to try out,
since the basic idea behind the website was intriguing to me.  The basic idea is this:  An “employer” (could be anyone like you and me – doesn’t need to be an actual employer) posts a task that needs to be completed.  “Workers” accept the task, and if the task is completed in an acceptable manner, the “worker” is paid by the “employer.”

The tasks are quick, so workers can make money very fast (sometimes under 3 minutes, even if it’s only for $1), and employers can easily outsource tasks that are helpful to their online business.
Depending on who you are and what you’re looking to do, both sides of this employer-worker relationship on Microworkers are appealing.  Let’s look into the detail about how each side works, and the benefits for engaging in each.

Joining as a “Worker”


If you’re looking to make a few quick bucks online when you’re bored, this might be one place you visit.  First, take a look at a little cartoon put out by Microworkers‘ website that explains how the role of a “worker” functions:
The “jobs” you can select from vary, but all of them are internet based, and nearly all of them can be completed within 10 minutes.  Let’s take a look at some examples that are currently on the Microworkers.  When I log in, the site tells me that there are 198 jobs available to me – they range from paying $.10 to $2.20.  At first glace, it looks like you’d be a part of sweatshop-caliber labor.  If you actually look at what the tasks are, it’s not so bad.  Here are a couple of the top ones:
1) Online College Info Request – Short Form – $2.20: Estimated time to complete: 3 minutes.
If I look at the details on this job, the task is to go to a website, click on a banner, fill out a short form (I’d assume you would not use your primary email address), and then copy the URL of the page after you submit (so you can prove you completed the task).  Assuming this does take only 3 minutes, you’ve essentially earned an hourly wage of $44 ($2.20 x 60/3).  Unfortunately, you can only do this task one time.
2) Dish Network Quote Request -$1.55: Estimated time to complete: 1 minute.
Similar to the first task, you simply need to fill out a form. I don’t think any of these ask for sensitive information like your SSN or credit card number, so you should be safe.  Again, it’s a small amount of money, but it doesn’t demand a lot of your time.
Just for fun, let’s see how much you would make if you did every task that paid above a certain amount, what your hourly rate would be:
All tasks paying $.50 or more: $53.99 for 284 minutes ($11.41 per hour)
All tasks paying $.75 or more: $42.09 for 191 minutes ($13.22 per hour)
All tasks paying $1.00 or more: $30.65 for 89 minutes ($20.66 per hour)
All tasks paying $1.50 or more: $22.04 for 58 minutes ($22.80 per hour)
All tasks paying $1.75 or more: $11.47 for 27 minutes ($25.49 per hour)
All tasks paying $.50 or more, with the more time consuming tasks removed: $33.83 for 99 minutes ($22.32 per hour)
As you can see, your hourly rate completely depends on how selective you are.  While it does seem like there aren’t many “jobs” available, you have to keep in mind that this is what’s on the site right now.  This site is fairly new, but there are jobs being posted all the time, so there are always new tasks to complete if you so desire.  As for getting paid, I’ll copy this straight from the website:
I’m a Microworkers… How and when do I get paid?
Workers get paid when their Employer rates the task submitted as “satisfied”. When a Worker logs into their account, they can check the status of various tasks they have submitted. If a task is marked “not satisfied” by the Employer, you (the Microworker) will not get paid. If a task is marked “satisfied” you will get paid. Workers can withdraw earned money through several different methods: PayPal, Check, Moneybookers, etc.  After you have requested a payout, it takes up to 30 business days to process your payment.
Personally, I will probably be more on the employer side of things (which I will explain further below), but I think this is a legitimate way to make a few extra bucks if you are bored.  And as you can see, if you’re selective with the jobs, you can earn a decent hourly rate.  We’re all at different places in our lives (some of us our millionaires while others of us are unemployed), so I have to think that this has value to someone.  Also, they are currently offering a $1.00 sign up bonus to all new workers.

Joining as an “Employer”

Joining Microworkers as an employer is where you can really get a taste for outsourcing work.  If a virtual assistant is too expensive or elaborate for your needs, you can use Microworkers to get a feel for delegating certain basic tasks to other people.  Let’s have a look at the Employer cartoon from Microworkers‘ website:
Employer Cartoon
If you take a look at the current available jobs, you’ll notice one thing many of them have in common: they relate to online business/website promotion.  This is precisely what I will be using Microworkers for.
When you have a new online business or muse, it’s difficult gaining traction early on.  One popular means of promotion is through social networking, with sites such as Twitter or Facebook.  Social networking is a lot like starting a fire – once you get it going, it spreads and flourishes provided there is something to burn.  The problem is, starting it can be a major roadblock for many new internet entrepreneurs.
Think about it:  You start a Facebook “fan page” for your muse, like many online (and offline) businesses do.  Someone sees your Facebook link, clicks on it, and lands on the fan page to find no fans.  How quickly will you want to become a fan of something that has no fans?  You might still click to become a fan anyway, but I have no doubt that having no fans or a very low number of fans is a deterrent to potential fans.
Now, to tie it back to Microworkers.  Here’s a way for you to inexpensively get your social networking “fire” burning.  For as low a 30 cents a person, you can pay someone to become a fan of yours.  Yes, this sounds lame.  It sounds like you’re paying for friends.  Really, you’re spending a little bit of money to get past one of the many roadblocks to starting a successful online venture.
Here are some other tasks you can outsource on Microworkers, to help grow your business:
1) Twitter followers - in addition to paying someone to follow you, you can require that they “tweet” about your website, so that their followers will also become aware of your business.
2) Blog reviews – You can pay someone to write a short review of your business, on their blog or website.  Again, it’s another quick and cheap way to get exposure.  You can require that their blog/website meets a certain page rank requirement (“PR”), to ensure that your review is actually being posted on a legitimate site that receives real traffic.  (What’s a “page rank” and how can I check it?)
3) Search engine ranking – This goes along with #2 above.  By having someone write about your site and link to it, search engines like Google will like your website more and rank it higher in search results.  This is a topic for its own post, but the number of sites that link to your website is one of the determining factors for how high you rank in search engine results.
4) Comments on your blog – To help increase the perception that your blog is popular and legitimate (which WILL cause people to read it more often – people like knowing that they are reading a blog that others enjoy), you can pay the “workers” to leave comments on your blog, and specify how long the comments should be.
5) View and rate your YouTube videos – If you’re someone who posts videos on YouTube and need help getting your video noticed and rated, you can pay “workers” to help you out.
There’s a lot more you can do if you use your imagination.  Anything that can be boiled down to one simple task that takes less than 10 minutes and can be explained in a few simple steps can be outsourced on Microworkers.  I plan on making Microworkers one of my basic tools that I’ll use to get any of my muses off the ground.
Please feel free to ask any questions you may have about Microworkers, or comment on any experiences you’ve had with them.

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