As the world struggles to break out of the recession, employment and job creation are of significant concern. A new company called MobileWorks is optimistic that their service has the potential to expand job opportunities to workers around the world. Basing its format on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, the site allows workers to perform simple tasks for a fee. The startup has seen positive results inIndiaandPakistanwhere workers do tasks that are “technical but unskilled—tagging images, proofreading articles, reading handwriting that computers can’t decipher.”
In an interview with Xconomy, a MobileWorks founder explains that the average member does about three hours of work each day and earns about $1.50 per hour. “Before joining MobileWorks they were earning an average of $2 to $3 per day, and after joining they are typically earning $4 to $5 per day. So it’s roughly doubling their income.” The work has been particularly appealing to people who can’t go outside the home to get work. They are caring for an aging parent for example, or an unmarried Pakistani woman who is prevented from working by social factors.
The work is designed to be done with equipment as simple as a low-end mobile phone, giving access to workers in low-income parts of the world, where data plans can be purchased for about a $1 a month. MobileWorks has developed partnerships in local banks in countries where they operate in order to ensure every worker has an account where payment can be sent. MobileWorks is still designing a system that will allowU.S.workers to do higher skilled tasks to earn payment of at least minimum wage.
Until those jobs are available, sites like Smashing Entrepreneur provides inspiration for creating businesses, particularly those requiring little or money to start. Among many ideas, the site provides tips for creative minds on using patents to earn passive income. While an inventor will eventually have to invest money in patent and attorney fees, they can save money during the process by protecting their idea in other ways. NDAs, a log book, and provisional patents can save money while they pitch their idea.