I made $1,000 by taking pictures with this easy side hustle


If you want a side hustle that doesn't require a lot of, well, hustle, let me walk you through one of my favorites.

About three years ago, I started using the Job Spotter app from Indeed, the employment search engine. The idea is simple: People take pictures of hiring signs posted at businesses, making those jobs easier to find for people searching online.

I've made more than $1,000 in Amazon credit using this app, or just under $30 a month, on average. Here are some of my tips, as well as those from another active user, about how to make this side hustle work for you:

How to get started

Job Spotter is a free app available for both Android and Apple mobile phone users. You'll need to provide some basic information—including a username and contact information—before you can begin submitting photos of hiring signs you see while out and about.

The photos are geo-tagged to the business location and verified by Indeed, then posted online. You're paid for each eligible posting, although rates vary based on factors like:

  • Type of business. You'll earn more for positions at local businesses versus national chains.
  • How detailed the posting is. The more info, the better.
  • Ways the business accepts applications. In-person or via email are preferred.
  • Photo quality. Pics snapped from too far away, or that include people in them, might be rejected.

For my recent submissions, I earned as little as 5 cents and as much as $1.21. It can add up quickly. While visiting a friend in Pittsburgh, I made more than $30 in one weekend.

You can cash in earnings whenever you like, although the only available form of payment is Amazon credit.

The three top spotters each month earn bonus gift cards of $300, $150, and $50—but expect some fierce competition. As of publication, the May front-runner has earned more than $900.

Is this side hustle for you?

In a review of Job Spotter earlier this year, Kevin Ha, creator of the Financial Panther blog, said the app is "without a doubt, the no-brainer side hustle app I think everyone should have on their phone." Job Spotter is among several of Ha's regular side hustles—he's averaged earnings of about $21 per month in the past nine months. It stands out because it doesn't require a lot of effort.

"This is a good introduction to how you can earn a little bit of extra income from your normal, everyday activity," Ha tells Grow. "As a side hustle, this is good because you pretty much don't have to use up any of your time."

Hiring fluctuates, which means your income potential can, too. In Minneapolis, where Ha lives, the number of hiring signs is "pretty consistent" throughout the year, "although you tend to get more during the summer," he adds.

Like Ha, I enjoy Job Spotter because it's an easy way to make extra money while going about my regular routine. It takes just a few seconds to open the app, snap the required photos of the hiring sign and the business storefront, and submit them. An amused friend snapped the picture of me in action.

I live in New York and walk a lot, so I have more opportunities than others might to find hiring signs. Streets with a lot of locally owned businesses, particularly restaurants, are especially fruitful. But high-end stores are less likely to put signs in their windows, so you probably won't be as successful in these areas.

To maximize your earnings, look for opportunities to combine efforts. Ha says Job Spotter works well with some of his other side hustles, like delivering food by bicycle. "I think anyone that goes to business areas pretty regularly should be able to make at least $10 per month with very little effort," he says.

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