'Microjobs': Quick extra cash
A number of websites offer links to one-time or short-term employment. Some of the work pays surprisingly well.
If Junior can't find a job, maybe he should look for a so-called microjob.
Whether you're a student home for the summer or an unemployed adult, sites like Fancy Hands and Agent Anything can hook you up with short-term or one-time gigs.
More-specialized gigs, such as writing and Web design, can be sought on sites like eLance and vWorker. Companies like Fiverr and Gigbucks let you offer your skills (whether savvy or silly) for hire.
Somebody out there wants you to pet-sit, deliver cupcakes, set up booths at trade shows, test video games, walk a dachschund, build a website, pick up dry cleaning or do countless other chores or errands. Poking around on a site called TaskRabbit, I found that people were paid to do things like:
- Take two or three loads of laundry to the laundromat and return it clean and folded ($23).
- Make sure an electronic coupon works at a restaurant ($12 plus free lunch).
- Remove and discard packing materials from 30 small boxes, flatten the boxes and walk them downstairs to a recycling bin (up to $29).
Who needs a microjob?
Look around on Craigslist, too. That's where freelance writer Becky Blanton found a $50 job helping a college student load his belongings into a truck (it took 20 minutes). She also landed a $60-an-hour gig speaking into a recorder for a company designing voice recognition software.
"It takes some searching, but there are always one-hour, one-day or short-term, pays-in-cash jobs there," Blanton says.
Depending on the number of jobs you have time for and the pay rate you command, you might be able to make a living at this. Abigail R. Gehring, the author of "Odd Jobs: How to Have Fun and Make Money in a Bad Economy," says short-term employment has its advantages.
"Usually you decide when you work and when you take the morning off to sleep, or the week off to go skiing," she writes. "And the variety of people you will meet, places you'll find yourself and skill sets you'll discover are sure to keep life interesting."
That flexibility makes the microjob a good bet for at-home parents, the underemployed, retirees who want to bring in a little extra and people who already have jobs but want to earn extra money for specific goals.
Making the everyday pay
You might even get paid to do what you were doing anyway. New York City artist Jenny Elfar, who works at home, takes dog-boarding jobs. She's caring for her own pooch, so why not care for other dogs from time to time?
"It's not that much more work. I'm making $20 to do the walk and take another dog," says Elfar, who signed up with DogVacay.
A few tips to keep in mind:
- Make a note of it. Keep written or electronic notes of all jobs, so you don't offer to work a trade fair on the same day you'd already committed to pack Father's Day gifts for an e-commerce site.
- Keep an open mind. A category that sounds like a no-go could actually be a good fit. "Grocery delivery" might summon up an image of four or five heavy bags. But one advertised job was to buy and deliver bananas, milk, a box of cereal, an avocado and a container of salad. Someone earned $23 to do this.
- Think ahead. Booked solid for the next week? Great. But what about the week after that? Set aside a little time each day to search for enough work to keep you busy all summer (or beyond).
- Be realistic. Allow enough time to do the job right. Otherwise you won't get much more work. (Some sites allow previous employers to rate/recommend workers.)
More on MSN Money:
A lot of great options here for sure - this is going to be one of the most interesting things to see where it all leads in the coming years IMO. This rogue-freelancer, micro job market has grown tremendously very quickly and is still on the way up. I wonder if a "Facebook-like" monster will join the fracas and push all these small players out for good or if it will continue to be one of the wider current markets? I'm certainly very intrigued to see where this all leads as I'm a user of many of these sites - trying to scrape together an income with all means possible is challenging to say the least, but it leads to great satisfaction in the end! I could list all the sites I use currently, but I'm afraid that list would be a tad long :) I can say that I enjoy Fiverr.com and do well on there and also a few of the smaller sites provide me with good income. I'm currently a big fan of Tenrr.com as they're one of the only places where I don't have to "pay the house" any of my hard-earned money and the sites works well and looks nice. The big thing is there has to be buyers on these sites and a lot of them lack that entirely, but on Fiverr and Tenrr, there are plenty of people willing to buy my jobs - so long as they catch their eye! OK, I've gone on a bit long - thanks for the article and am excited to see where this entire market goes...
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