Money Talks, So Should You

Find freelance jobs and gigs for extra income

Hannah Kim
by Hannah Kim, Staff Writer (@dimespring)

More Americans are working, and yet household income is eroding because of declining housing values and portfolios. If your salary is fixed until the next pay raise but you’re looking for more income to pay off debt or save more money, what can you do?

Plenty actually. From writing an article to running a grocery errand, it's easy to find a paid gig that can fit into your schedule. Some people have been so successful at selling their skills online that they’ve made it into a full-time job. So whether you’re looking for a small gig on the side or a bigger project that can pay more, here are six websites to help get your feet wet.
oDesk claims that more than 350,000 businesses, including NBC, AOL and Hewlett Packard, have used its services and that it ranks first in annual contractor earnings, “almost double that of the next online workplace."
oDesk has 75 job categories ranging from mobile app development to writing. Contractors don’t have to deal with invoicing because work hours are logged by the system and payments are automatically sent out on a weekly basis. A rating and feedback system are also useful for freelancers to build a reputable profile or know where they need to make improvements.
TaskRabbit is the place to go if you want to earn some bucks running simple errands like assembling an IKEA desk, buying someone’s groceries or even waiting in line for someone looking to buy an iPhone 5. To ensure a safe community, everyone who applies to be a “TaskRabbit” has to pass a criminal background check as well as do a video interview before they start working.
TaskRabbit not only helps people get chores and errands done, but helps companies outsource office work as well. Companies can find people to do tasks such as filing and data entry through TaskRabbit and avoid higher temp agency fees. Currently TaskRabbit is available in nine major cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and New York.
Elance has more than 1.7 million contractors for businesses to choose from for an hourly or project basis. Elance verifies a contractor’s employment history and references and assesses skills through a variety of online tests. Hours worked and invoicing can all be tracked and automated online and freelancers can submit status reports for their projects and tasks.
Businesses and organizations that have used Elance include Facebook, Citgroup, Oracle and Google. The most popular job postings are in IT for bluetooth or game development and in creative jobs such as software drawing and infographics.
Fiverr is perfect for buying and selling tasks for as little as $5. The tasks are usually small in nature and can range from writing articles to the more bizarre tasks like “dress up as a cute geek girl and say whatever you want."
Buyers of tasks can track the progress of tasks and have two days to ask for fixes from the sellers. Buyers can also follow up with feedback and reviews. Sellers will receive payment securely through PayPal and as they build their status and reputation they can receive additional benefits, such as the ability to sell multiple gigs and offer additional upgrades to gigs.
Guru claims that “millions of employers worldwide” use its services and has more than 350,000 registered freelancers. Popular postings include programming, writing, editing and graphic design. Through their online dashboard, employers can easily read all the latest news, alerts and summaries regarding the status of their projects.
To find the right contractor, employers can look at the percentage of awarded jobs per bid, earnings and repeat businesses on a freelancer's profile. Businesses and organizations that have used Guru include Verizon Wireless, Texas Instruments, P&G and the American Red Cross. 
Are there other online freelancing job sites you've used? Share with us below.


Hannah Kim is a personal finance reporter at Dimespring. She has a master’s of journalism from the University of Maryland and has written for The Business Insider and Before changing careers to journalism, she previously worked in the finance industry for six years in New York City.