You've seen the commercials for kgb
-- that "Got a Question?" service that answers your texts. While we're a little skeptical about "information service companies" in general (people really pay for this? Ever heard of Google Text
?), there are people who get paid to answer these queries. So we found one.
Meet Maya Deleon, a 25-year-old stay-at-home-mom from Winston-Salem, N.C., who earns extra spending money as a professional question answerer for ChaCha
. How She Got the Gig:
When Deleon's husband lost his job in 2008, she needed money. As a full-time student, her options outside the home were limited. She had been helping to moderate an online coupon forum when another moderator told her about ChaCha.com.
"When I first checked it out, I was skeptical because so many work-from-home jobs are scams," Deleon said. ChaCha -- your "Mobile BFF" as they say -- lets people ask questions in three ways: on the Web site, via text message or by calling a 1-800 number. You can ask basic facts: "How many muscles are in the human body?" or get more personal: "How do you have a healthy relationship?"
to keep reading and learn what Deleon's day is like.
Deleon applied through the Web site and was invited to test for one of the company's three roles: guides, who are divided into generalists and specialists and answer questions; expeditors, who convert questions into a standard form, categorize them and determine if an answer already exists; and voice transcriptionists, who listen to the questions called in to the 800 number and convert them to text. Deleon was accepted as a generalist/specialist in September 2008. How it Works:
Deleon started out answering mostly science and math questions from students asking for homework help. [Editor's Note: Seriously?! Where was ChaCha when we were in school?]
Focusing on those areas helped her refresh for the biology and chemistry classes she took to graduate with her BA in Forensic Biology in July.
To do her job, Deleon hops online to answer questions for 20- to 30-minute intervals throughout the day while her kids are playing or at night. Her workload depends on the time of day, day of the week and how many other guides are working.
"I've had to answer some pretty tough calculus problems before," she said. "Those are definitely the hardest hands down. The strangest questions I get are similar to, 'If you are traveling 60 miles per hour next to a train that is traveling 45 miles per hour and you pass a Denny's on the left, what color is David's shirt?' Answering silly questions definitely gives me a break from trying to decipher someone's calculus problem." Her Advice:
Deleon uses her ChaCha income -- which ranges from $3 to $9 an hour according to the Web site
-- to pay some of her bills, and she advises not to rely on the site for a major money source, but to consider it if you're a trivia buff who likes surfing the Web.
"If you have a busy schedule and don't have time to get a job outside of the home, then ChaCha is great for you. With ChaCha, I can squeeze in an hour here or a few minutes there. A lot of other work-from-home jobs don't even offer that flexibility." Is there a job you want to learn how to get? Not sure how to go about a life change? Tell us, and we'll answer!