Beware of "Paid Surveys"

Can you really get paid up to $100 an hour to sit around in my pajamas taking surveys?

Let me state the truth very plainly: No!

How's that for honesty? The real truth is that no, you will not get paid $100 an hour for this kind of work. The real numbers are quite a bit lower. That's the truth that no one else is telling you.

First, let me tell you what you can expect from paid survey sites. They all cost pretty much the same to join--between 35 and 39 dollars. What you get is an extensive list of marketing research companies that really do want to know what you think about certain products. And yes, they are willing to pay you.

But don't do that. I'll tell you why in a minute.

Here's the real truth about paid survey sites:

1. Do I really get paid for taking surveys?

Yes, you do get paid. If you take a $10 survey from a reputable market research company, you get paid $10. By contract and by law, they HAVE to pay you.

2. Can I get paid 25 dollars per survey?

No, don't expect $25 per survey. After you have proven yourself with some of the survey companies, you will start getting $25 surveys. You have to show to them that you are reliable and a good observer. It's also affected by your demographics. Moms are some of the highest sought-after opinions. Right behind them are students and retired people.

3. How much can I expect to get paid?

I hate to say "It depends" because that's such a weak answer, but the truth is that it does. The good news is that it mostly depends on you. Your opinions are highly valued by the market research companies. They honestly can't find enough people to survey about their clients' products, so they are willing to pay for your opinion. The key is that they are looking for certain people, of certain ages, with certain interests in certain parts of the world. So you will not be a match for some of the surveys. The way you work this to your benefit is by signing up with several survey companies -- it's a free registration process. The more research companies you sign with, the more surveys you will match for.

4. So can I expect to make even $500 a month?

Actually, yes, that is a very achievable number. Surveys paying $10 are easy to come by and just doing a couple of those a day puts you over $500 per month. Here's the cool part: there is a way that you can at least double that amount if you want to. Keep reading.

5. I've heard that some of the survey companies only register you for drawings. Is that true?

Yes. Some market research companies only reward their survey takers with a registration for a drawing for an iPod or an iPhone or an LCD TV, or something like that. But this is actually good news! Here's a little known secret about that: when most survey takers see that they are only going to get entered into a drawing (i.e. no cash), they don't take those surveys. That means that the odds of winning for those who do enter go WAY up. You could enter into drawings every day for prizes that very few people are competing for. After you win a few items, you might start doing "paid" surveys only to get the prizes. Not a lot of people are doing this so far. It's a huge untapped resource people just don't know about yet.

There is a way to make significantly more money in the market research world though.

Here it is: Focus Groups.

Do you know what a Focus Group is? Very simply, it is a group of people who are brought together to discuss a particular item for an hour or so. The item could be a TV show, a new kind of potato chip, an electric toothbrush, roofing shingles, a new refrigerator, you name it.

The focus group meeting usually last about an hour and they can pay from $50 up to as much as $250 depending on your unique background and where you live. $100 is not an unusual amount to make for a couple of hours at a focus group. You come together and talk about your experiences with the product, possible ideas about how to improve it, and then as you walk out, they hand you a nice $100 check (or pay you by paypal). And the great part about it is that it's fun too.

Sometimes it's just a phone interview. Getting asked to do an hour phone interview for $45 or so is not uncommon.

Focus Groups is the beautiful little secret about signing up for paid surveys. There are Focus Groups happening all over the world. Even in the smaller communities. If you decide to do Focus Groups, once you start getting email invitations from them, show up on time and be helpful with your evaluations. You will soon find that you are very much in demand by the Focus Group companies and you'll find more and more Focus Group invitations coming your way. Also, the more you do these, the more value YOU have as an evaluator. Eventually you get invited to "elite" groups where you will get paid even more--AND you get a LOT more invitations!

There are many places on the Internet where you can sign up for a service that tells you about taking surveys online and also about focus groups. Our favorite is

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