If you’re looking for a side hustle, avoid these job sites

A woman sits in front of a computer, on which a student is shown.
Some job sites say they offer viable moneymaking opportunities. But site terms — and freelancers who have tried the jobs they promote — tell another story.
(Charles Sykes / Associated Press)

I hate reviewing rotten job sites. After all, is all about finding good opportunities for freelancers.

Unfortunately, some rotten job sites snare even careful freelancers with marketing come-ons that make these sites sound good. But those attractive big-print promises are ripped away in fine print “contracts” that few people take the time to read.

So we review even the rotten job sites, so that you know what companies to avoid and why.

Here are four newly reviewed sites that use a medley of misleading tactics to make you believe that they offer viable moneymaking opportunities.


But site terms — and freelancers who have tried the jobs they promote — tell another story. Specifically, these rotten job sites pay dramatically less than promised; charge high fees for worthless services or demand that you spend plenty of your own money to work for negligible return.

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Notably, each of these sites has competitors that treat gig workers fairly. Here are the rotten job sites and the better options.

Artists: Creative Market

There are dozens of ways that artists and designers can make great money selling and licensing their designs. Creative Market is not one of them.

This marketplace for digital design was once a fairly good place to list custom fonts, icons, logos and clip art for sale. But in the last few years, the site has turned increasingly toxic.

How so? First of all, it progressively hiked the commissions charged to artists from 20% to a whopping 70% of revenue.

In big print, the site says it allows you to set your own rates. So, theoretically, you could adjust your prices to make up for the high fees. But the site’s terms — that’s the contract between the site and the artists who sell there — give Creative Market the right to change your prices at any time.


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Moreover, although you are allowed to sell your goods elsewhere, you are not allowed to sell at a lower price than what you offer at Creative Market. In other words, there’s no way to adjust your prices to make up for the site’s outrageous commissions.

Better options? Illustrators and animators truly set their own rates on Fiverr and pay just a 20% commission. Etsy, which sells all sorts of handmade items, including “printables” and digital designs, is another good choice. It charges commissions ranging from 6.5% to 21.5%. Those who specialize in repeating pattern designs should also consider Spoonflower, a print-on-demand site for wallpaper and fabrics. If you want to create corporate logos, consider Awesomic. If you’re an artist looking for full-time or contract work, check out Creatively.

Inspectors: JMI Reports

Insurance companies often enlist freelance “inspectors” to take photos at accident scenes, evaluate property for coverage and document losses. And there are several companies in this space where freelancers can make decent earnings.

If you relied on the FAQs at its website, you’d probably imagine that JMI Reports is one of them. The site estimates that freelancers will earn $20 an hour.

However, the company pays per job — not per hour. And it doesn’t pay for travel time or mileage. Freelancers who have worked with the site say each job pays about $7.50 and may require driving for an hour. To add insult to injury, it appears that you’d need to undergo unpaid training to accept these positions. And you may need to buy equipment too.

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Better options? ProxyPics and Ivueit, both of which generally pay better and require nothing more than a smartphone.


Drivers: Kyte

Kyte is a car rental company that enlists freelancers to deliver cars to the site’s renters and pick the vehicle up when the renter is ready to return the vehicle. The site pays freelancers from $14 to $33 for each of these assignments.

The catch? The site leaves the freelancer stranded at whatever location they dropped off the car. And, freelancers are not compensated for that time or for their transportation costs.

In a city with great public transit, this might mean that you’re spending a third to half of your pay on rail and subway fares. In a city with poor public transportation, this means you’re likely to waste hours of your day walking and taking buses.

Better options? Draiver enlists freelancers to deliver cars to rental companies and car dealers. But Draiver either sends a chase car to drive you back to where you started or it gives you money for your return journey.

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Other good options for drivers: Alto, which hires drivers as employees and supplies the car and gas. And GoShare, which hires freelance drivers to deliver packages and appliances and pays handsomely.

Instructors: Lessons

Lessons is a teaching and tutoring platform that claims instructors can sign up for free and set their own rates. The site will send you “leads” whenever it has a customer looking for a service similar to what you provide. However, to communicate with that customer, you’ll need to buy site credits and “spend” them on your quote.


The problem? Lessons estimates that the cost of sending each quote will amount to about 5% to 10% of your session rate. It also estimates that you’ll to send an average of 10 quotes to get a single job. In other words, on average, you’ll earn nothing to 50% of the rate you set, after accounting for the site’s marketing expenses.

If you want to teach or tutor academic subjects, Wyzant is a much better choice. It has millions of customers and charges only a 25% commission when you get paid. If you teach music, we recommend Lessonface, which charges as little as 4% of your pay. If you want to coach athletics, CoachUp is worth a look.

Kristof is the editor of, an independent website that reviews moneymaking opportunities in the gig economy.