On Demand Work From Home; suggestions?
August 7, 2012 2:03 PM   Subscribe

Digital Widgets: What kind of work can I do online that I can do as I'm available? Is there something I could just log in, pick up work, do that work for a couple hours, and get paid on a regular basis (weekly, monthly)? My skills are web design, front end dev, and graphic design.

Long story short, I'm not able to work because of medical issues, and I never know how I'm going to be feeling from one day to the next, so most freelancing I would do would be out. But sometimes I have brief periods where I feel okay. I never know when that will happen or how long it will be. I thought about something like mechanical turk, but my research suggests I'd only be able to make pennys.

I feel like I should be able to put my skills to good use somehow. Like digital envelope stuffing or making widgets. I realize I won't be able to bring in a premium for this type of work, but even a few bucks for dinner sometimes would be awesome. I have looked at freelance sites, but I'm afraid that by the time my bid was accepted, I wouldn't be able to work on stuff. Also considered; crowdsourcing/design contests, but I'd rather get paid less for a sure thing than spend lots of hours doing work for free that may never be chosen.

Also willing to look at ideas outside this scope, such as article writing.
posted by [insert clever name here] to Work & Money (7 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Well, there's Mechanical Turk, but it's not likely to pay very much since you'd be thrusting yourself into a labor market with people from countries that have much, much lower wages.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 2:07 PM on August 7, 2012

With your skills, you could develop themes for WordPress (or whatever CMS you prefer) and list them for sale on theme marketplaces. It might not be huge money, but you can work at your own pace. And once you've completed a theme you can sell it a billion times over, so it'll create nice steady-ish residual income over time.
posted by logic vs love at 2:32 PM on August 7, 2012

you don't list it as a skill, but if your command of spelling and grammar is decent and your eye for errors is sharp, you could try copyediting for demand media. it works exactly like what you're looking for. they expect a minimum number of hours per week, but i think you can slide by not meeting the quota some of the time.

i did this for a little while but finally found better-paying, more interesting work (for demand media i was editing hastily written ehow pages, mostly).
posted by nevers at 2:43 PM on August 7, 2012 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh, I actually quite enjoy editing writing. I've never done it professionally, but I have helped out a lot of friends. I'm a much better editor than a writer too, I seem to be able to see the places to improve others writing much more than I can my own. Thanks for the suggestion nevers!
posted by [insert clever name here] at 3:00 PM on August 7, 2012

Textbroker works pretty much like that. It does not pay much, but you do grab assignments you want that happen to be available when you want. If you have done at least $10.00 of work, you can request a payout weekly. I have looked at elance and mechanical turk and not been able to make them work for me. I have made a few hundred dollars through textbroker.

Given your skills though, in the long run you would probably be better off developing an app or something. In the long run, that is my general plan. I also have health issues and get stuff done when I can. I am gradually making progress.
posted by Michele in California at 4:08 PM on August 7, 2012

Response by poster: Michele, I'm actually working on something like that too, but I really could use some money sooner than my project will pay off; so I'm kind of hoping to find a balance of both - something that will pay 'now' (or monthly or weekly) and something that will hopefully pay off later. I realize the type of work I'm looking for won't pay a lot, but even a few bucks here and there can help.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 4:24 PM on August 7, 2012

Textbroker works exactly like you described. Elance has more types of freelance work but you bid for projects. It is a lot less oriented towards "I feel okay this afternoon, what can I get done today?" Textbroker is writing and I think editing. I don't recall there being other types of work, like coding. Elance and some other sites are aimed more at coding and design professionals, but, again, are less aimed at pick it up and do x right now.

You might also take a look at Group Talent. I don't think I bothered to complete the sign up because I don't have the right skillset for the type of work offered. It might be more up your alley and would probably pay better. But I have absolutely no idea how "do it now" friendly it is.
posted by Michele in California at 4:41 PM on August 7, 2012

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