We continue our 10 part money making series this week. Are you have as much fun as I am with this? I love talking about this and have gotten a lot of great feedback on this series, so let’s keep going!
Today is part 4 and we are going to talk about making extra money with survey sites & focus groups. I love talking about this topic with people and brainstorming ways this can be done. Oftentimes, making at least a little extra money is quite simple to do but for some reason does not come easy for people. Let’s change that!
The point of this series is to help you take small & incremental steps to start earning extra income. Earning extra income can come in many ways (some you might not expect) & some may surprise you!
It can be hard to think outside of the box in your own situation, so that is where I come in. I’m doing this 10 part series on making extra money to help you think outside the box and bring some extra money in.
Once you do that, you’ll be able to use the extra money to build up your emergency fund, pay down debt, give back more or take a vacation (or anything else that excites you). So let’s have fun with this and work together to come up with ideas to make extra money! Let’s get started!
The Difference Between Survey Sites & Focus Groups
I’ll be talking about survey sites and focus groups throughout this post & I wanted to take a minute to explain the difference between the two. When I’m referring to survey sites, I’m referring to websites that are specifically geared towards conducting consumer research surveys. You can participate in surveys in different ways (depending on the website) but the most common method is through an online survey where you answer questions right from your computer.
Focus groups operate under the same premise of getting consumer feedback on a variety of topics. The main way a focus group is done is in person (where you go to a specific facility) but I’ve also participated in online focus groups as well. Those are generally done through a chat room over a specified period of time (depending on the company, product, etc.)
A few important points to know about survey sites and focus groups:
- Signing up for survey sites and/or focus groups will always be free! You will never be charged a fee to sign up to participate.
- All information is kept strictly confidential. Often you will be referred to as a number as you go through the survey. Your true identity will never be revealed. You will be asked demographic information such as age, education, city of residence etc. as part of the process.
- You can earn things from cash, gift cards, free products to try (& give your opinion) etc. The rewards depend on the company and what is being offered at the time.
- It is important to be honest during the process. You are making your opinion heard and giving feedback that market research companies take seriously. It is important to be honest with your feedback.
- The most common way to be contacted about a survey or focus group is through email. Sometimes you will receive a phone call. Generally with survey sites and focus groups you will go through a series of screening questions to see if you qualify for the survey or study being done. This generally doesn’t take too long and you are asked a series of questions to see if you are the correct demographic. For example, if you are a new mother, you would likely qualify for a study for babies. But if you do not have kids, you would not qualify.
Why Should I Use Survey Sites & Focus Groups?
First off, they are fun! I’ve been doing surveys and focus groups for many years and I always have a lot of fun giving my opinions. I’ve done focus groups on cat litter, our local news anchors, gum and so many other things. I always really enjoyed trying the products and telling them what I thought!
You can try products for free when you do surveys and focus groups. I’ve scored many free products this way from health and beauty items to household items and it’s a great way to try new products free!
You get paid to give your opinion, which is never a bad thing! In addition to telling brands what you think about their products or services, you can earn cash, gift cards and other prizes in the process. The incentives vary by company. I have done many of these over the years and always enjoyed earning the extra money.
How Do I Get Started?
There are tons of survey sites out there, here are few trusted ones that I recommend: American Consumer Opinion Panel, InboxDollars , Swagbucks (be sure to read the full write up I did about Swagbucks in Part 2), Harris Poll, Epoll Market Research, VIP Voice, Your Surveys, Nielsen Digital Voice, Earning Station, Product Report Card, Vindale Research, Panda Research, 20/20 Panel, Nice Quest, Shop Tracker, Survey Voices, Survey Club, Survey Queen, Cash Crate, Pinecone Research (one of my favs, I’ve gotten to try a lot of free products through them).
Some of the survey sites will also offer online focus groups. If you would like to participate in live focus groups, I suggest doing a search online in your area to see what companies are available. In St. Louis, we have the following companies available: Peters Marketing Research, Focus Point Global, L&E Research. In addition, we also have a few medical research facilities in St. Louis at local universities.
You can make quick & easy money with survey sites and focus groups. I’ll start out talking about the pros of survey sites first. Survey sites are quick and easy to to from the comfort of your own home. You simply click through a series of questions and give your honest opinions, that’s it! Pretty simple. It’s an easy way to earn cash as well as other products you normally might not ever try.
Focus groups generally pay more because they take a little more time. I once did a medical research study on narcolepsy where I stayed at a hotel for 5 nights and of those 5 nights I had to stay up a full 48 hours for them to test the drug. I got paid $1,000 to do this. Now let me also say that during this time I was laid off and earning $1,000 a week to stay in a hotel, have all my food brought in in the dead of winter in the Midwest was actually not a bad thing at all. The staying up 48 hours straight wasn’t quite as easy but I did it and got the money!
Some of the cons for survey groups are that you don’t always get paid a lot for every survey. Some surveys can take up a lot of your time and you are only paid a few dollars. So you have to decide what your time is worth to you.
Focus groups can require you to drive to a specific location if you are part of a live group. This can be time consuming and impact your schedule, depending on where you live.
Additionally, if you participate in any focus group or survey where you are paid $600 or more, you will receive a 1099-MISC at the end of the year and are required to pay taxes on the earnings.
Who Should Use Survey Sites & Focus Groups?
Anyone who wants to make extra money, try new products and give their opinions to brands should use survey sites and focus groups. As I mentioned earlier, I have always had a lot of fun doing these because I love to give my opinion! If you are at all curious, you should give it a try and see what you think.
The point of this 10 part series is to give you ideas that are pretty simple on how to make extra money. Survey sites and focus groups allow you to do just that. If you start to use the ideas in part 1, part 2 & part 3, you will begin to see how quickly taking small steps on a regular basis can add up!
Do you participate in surveys & focus groups? What kind of fun stuff have you got to try out as a result?