(Updated November 2017)
Today’s economy is not as stable or predictable as many of us would like it to be. Wages have stagnated for decades and the cost of living has continued to rise. This has led many of us to look for ways that we can tighten our proverbial belts and also ways in which we might be able to supplement our income. Many of us have kids and other responsibilities that make getting a second (or even third) job simply unfeasible, so does that mean there is no way to earn some extra money in your spare time?
Of course not! With the pervasive importance of the internet, there are now more ways than ever to leverage your information, opinions, and free time to provide you with an actual monetary benefit. Things like freelance projects, focus groups, and paid surveys are a great way to add your opinion to the business world while also earning a bit of extra money for yourself on the side.
The reason for this is simple: Information is as important as money in the business world. The marketplace is incredibly competitive, which means that businesses have to do more than ever before to stand apart from the crowd. One of the ways that a business can do this is by providing a better product, a better user experience, or speaking to their target market in a way better than their competition. In order to do this, businesses need to know who buys their products and what their wants, needs, and motivations are.
Market research pays dividends and can be the difference between success and failure in the business world. This is why it should come as no surprise that businesses and marketing firms are willing to pay you or otherwise reward you for sharing your opinion and information. The increasing presence of the internet in our lives makes it easier than ever before for organizations to collect data, and also easier for you to leverage your opinions.
But it should be noted that this is not a way to get rich. Not many people get to quit their jobs because of their success in participating in focus groups and taking online surveys. This is not to say that this is unheard of, but it takes an incredible amount of work and is not, by any stretch of the imagination, an easy way to earn a living. So it helps to have reasonable expectations about what you can expect if you choose to participate in online surveys and focus groups.
It is reasonable to expect a little bit of extra pocket money or a small supplement to your regular income. It is not reasonable to expect to get rich and live the high life for answering surveys and polls. Unreasonable expectations just set us up for failure and disappointment and as much as we wish it were so, and those places that offer us the moon for nothing are just offering you something too good to be true and should be avoided.
While this is a nice, legitimate way to earn some extra money, there are people who are looking to scam and take advantage of you. What follows is some basic advice on what to look out for and avoid when looking for a legitimate paid survey site.
Considerations to keep in mind when filling out surveys online
As we hinted at above, this is a good way to earn some fun rewards for just a few minutes of your time, but this doesn’t mean that every site out there is legitimate and trustworthy. What follows are a few things to keep in mind so you can avoid falling prey to a scam or data mining incident.
First and foremost, you should NEVER pay for membership or to participate in a money-making opportunity. Like any job, the idea is that you provide a service for the site and you get money as a reward for providing said service. You should never be charged for the privilege of working. Any site that requires a monthly membership fee or even a one-time payment should be avoided. These are either pure scams, or you are being asked to pay for something that is actually available for free online, which is, of course, still a scam, but a slightly less direct one.
Finally, you will want to look into the details of how rewards are actually paid out as it can often be vague and unclear. Most sites do not pay you in actual cash, though it is not unheard of for sites to pay via Pay Pal or Bitcoin. A lot of sites have points systems or equivalent dollar amounts that are rewarded to you for participation. What this means is that, in the case of points, you get a certain number of points for every survey you complete. With the equivalent dollar amount, you are paid a certain sum per survey, but is paid out by way of rewards, not actual cash.
Often, these points or equivalent dollar amounts can be exchanged for goods, like shirts, tote bags, and other promotional material. Another common way you are rewarded is that your points or equivalent dollars are exchanged into gift cards that you can use to buy your favorite products and services from selected retailers.
InnoPoll is a trusted and reputable paid survey site that provides a wealth of valuable data to businesses and other organizations, while also providing good financial incentives for people to participate in their market research surveys.
One of the ways that InnoPoll stands apart from the proverbial crowd is their commitment to user privacy. While you do have to provide an email address to use the site, and this means providing your real email address, your information will never be shared with a third-party source. You also do not have to set up a member account to participate; simply provide your current email address.
InnoPoll is one of the better paying survey sites that also provides incentives for continuing users. On average, you can expect to make somewhere between $1 and $5 per completed survey. Every three surveys you take will also net you a $2 loyalty bonus, thus encouraging your continued participation.
Unlike many other paid survey sites, you do not have to log on to InnoPoll or go through them in any way to use your rewards. They will be directly emailed to you after you successfully complete the survey. This is a unique way of handling rewards and is one of the reasons that InnoPoll is such a popular paid survey site.
You get a reward every survey you complete and that reward is provided immediately upon completion. You do not have to accumulate points and there is no minimum amount you have to earn before you can access the rewards. The site offers a wide range of different rewards.
You can receive your rewards via Pay Pal, Bitcoin, or in the form of an Amazon or Tango gift card. If you wish, you can also donate your rewards to Habitat for Humanity, making this a unique way to earn money for a great charity.
With a little bit of research and reasonable expectations, you can most certainly earn a bit of extra cash or spending money by participating in focus groups or paid online surveys. Your opinions and personal information are vital to businesses and organizations of many different stripes, as it helps to guide their product and service offerings, as well as their user interface and marketing campaigns. With this in mind, it shouldn’t come as too much of a shock that organizations are willing to pay you for this data.
There is a wealth of different sites that are legitimate paid survey site, like InnoPoll that we briefly reviewed here. These sites will be committed to keeping your personal data private, they will never ask you to pay for the privilege of using the site; they make their rewards and compensation system clear and easy to understand. While there are, of course, going to be people looking to scam you, armed with some basic rules of thumb and things to be wary of, you can most definitely leverage your opinion to work for you.
In a world where prices continue to go up and our wages seem to be stuck in place, a lot of people are looking for ways to supplement their income but don’t necessarily want to get a second job. Maybe our needs aren’t quite that great, or, perhaps, we have time constraints and responsibilities that make this impossible for our current situation. Thankfully, the dramatic rise in the importance of the internet has also opened the doors to opportunities for consumers to earn some extra money in their free time.