Are we most content doing the smallest imaginable tasks? Mobile apps can apparently make even the most insignificant market cog-work into a fun sort of game, especially if you’re getting paid. For a story, this Wall Street Journal columnist became a freelance mobile stock-boy—and liked it.
This week, I earned a little dough on the side using an iPhone and two free apps: EasyShift and Gigwalk. The idea behind the apps work is simple: Companies hire you to do some pretty simple work using your iPhone. You submit the work using these apps and you get paid via your PayPal account.
These jobs can become addicting really quickly. The tasks I completed were easy and some were even fun, like answering a few questions and taking photos of energy drinks at CVS for $2. I found myself scouring the apps’ built-in maps for nearby jobs as I drove around Washington, D.C., where I live. In cases when the job felt more like work than fun, I got paid enough that I didn’t mind ($8 for taking seven simple photos). I was startled by how much pride I took in doing the task correctly—all for a few bucks and a good reputation within the app’s community, which can lead to higher-paying jobs.