I know that I’m saving my family a lot of money by raising our kids at home instead of paying for daycare. But things are tight when you’re a family of four on one teacher income. So I’ve been looking for months at the best ways to really make some money at home, while taking care of two young children. Today I’m here to tell you all about my two winners, Rev and User Testing: two real simple ways to make money freelancing.

Neither of these companies have given me anything to review them, so rest assured that I’m being totally honest and unbiased here!

Let’s be honest: if you’re a stay-at-home parent, you don’t exactly have oodles of free time to lounge about drinking hot coffee and making leisurely plans, much less being on the clock with an employer.

So here are the qualifications I was looking for when I was attempting to find a freelance job:

  • Must be flexible hours: I log on when I want, for as long as I can
  • Must not require me to be on the phone, because kids
  • Must be able to pause and start again
  • Must not require any special equipment other than computer/phone and headphones, which I already had
  • Must be reliable, and pay at least once every two weeks
  • Must not require any specialized training or previous experience
  • Had to be worth my time and money (no $.50 surveys that everyone hates)
  • Had to actually be interesting (see previous)

Rev and User Testing: Two Real Simple Ways to Make Freelance Money - Real Simple Mama

I’ve gone through countless number of freelance writing, survey, testing, transcription, editing, video watching, ad clicking jobs over the last year or so; and the two employers which I’ve stuck with – and have made me the most money while keeping me entertained – are Rev and User Testing.


What it is: Rev is a transcription website where you type out what you hear in audio recordings from customers. Topics range from medical to education to celebrities to sports to business to law, and recordings are as short as one minute and as long as a few hours.

How you’re paid: You get paid every Monday for the work you did the previous Sunday-Saturday. Payment is via PayPal and you get 100% of what you earn (Rev doesn’t keep a cut).

Rev and User Testing: Two Real Simple Ways to Make Freelance Money - Real Simple Mama

my earnings from Rev in less than two months

How you pick work: Rev has an employee dashboard where you can see all the available jobs. You see the customer who submitted it, the length of the job, pay per minute and total pay for the job, the number of speakers in the recording, how many times it’s been unclaimed by other employees and why, and when the job is due. Click on a job to preview it, claim it if you want it, and the user interface opens up right on your browser!

What I like best: Rev is amazing! I learn so much from each job I hear (from new potential cystic fibrosis medications, to analysis of dolphin sounds, to people working on reality shows like Project Runway). Their UI – where I work – is really well-designed, with things like spellcheck and intelligent hotkeys.

Rev is also always working to make sure that we, their employees, are happy; they have frequent updates and improvements which make my job even easier.

And the best thing for me: I always have work during the week when the kids are playing or napping.

screen shot image earnings transcription

screen shot of Rev jobs – where you log in and preview/accept work

What I like least: On the weekends, there are tons of Revvers working, so I usually can’t snag much work. You’ll also not make a ton of money in the beginning, but you just need to keep working up through their three tiers so that you can get to the higher pay grade.

This also has to be done on a computer, no mobile options here.

How to apply: Fill out an application and do a test job on Rev.com – I’ll warn you, pay close attention and do a great job of your initial transcription! It’s not something to do while multitasking, as they only accept about 12% of applicants and you can’t reapply for over a month.

Rev and User Testing: Two Real Simple Ways to Make Freelance Money

Rev user interface during a job: no extra software, just work in your browser

User Testing

What it is: UT is a hub for customers to put website or app “tests” for users to test. Essentially they have a prototype and they want to see what the public thinks about it. So the customer has a set of questions or tasks to be completed. You are the user, providing the customer with useful feedback about your user experience.

How you’re paid: $10/test, paid 7 days after the test, to your Paypal account.

How you pick work: You log in to your UT Dashboard and can see available tests for all of your approved devices: computer/laptop, tablet, phone. Click “Take Screener” to answer a few preliminary tests to see if you qualify: the customer may only want feedback of certain people, like someone who’s bilingual or who has kids living at home. If you qualify, your device is tested to ensure that the screen capture and microphone are working, and you complete the test from your device! The video/audio uploads to UT and you’ll be paid seven days later.

screenshot mobile iphone upload

mobile screenshot of available UT jobs

What I like best: I’ve gotten to test a lot of big names and I love feeling like my opinion matters. It’s varied and fun, and sometimes a test takes less than five minutes!

I’ve also gotten some bigger surveys through UT which take a week or longer; those pay out close to $100 and are really fun. I’ve done a few for a big mobile game franchise – I get to play an unreleased game for free, help make it better, and get paid for it!

What I like least: It’s very inconsistent work. A lot of the qualifying questions like to know “What you do for a living” and don’t someone who’s a SAHM. So even if I log on and there are eight tests available, I may not actually be eligible for any. I am only making about $10-20/week from UT right now.

How to apply: Go to UserTesting.com and look for the option to “Become a Tester.” You’ll do a sample test, upload it to be graded, and will hear back from UT shortly.

screenshot Mac UT UI jobs user tests

screenshot from my laptop of UT’s user interface and jobs

My Strategy

I’ve found a way to maximize my earnings with the limited time that I have. I’ll always look on User Testing first to see if I can get a job, since it’s $10 per task and they usually take less than 15 minutes. (Technically that means I make more per minute with UT than with Rev.)

If I don’t have a job with UT at the moment, then I’ll go to Rev, where I know I can pretty much be guaranteed a job. I don’t get paid as much per minute, but it’s steady work, and I’m getting close to the top tier of pay!

Hopefully you now have some idea as to if Rev and/or User Testing might be a great freelance option for you. I’ve tried tons of other freelancing companies, from BlogMutt to What Users Do, and have never had nearly as much success. This formula is working for me!

And if you’d like to get some easy cash with things you’re already doing (no videos nor surveys), check out Money-Making Apps for the Busy Mom.

Rev and User Testing: Two Real Simple Ways to Make Freelance Money - Real Simple Mama