Companies and brands pay good money for Market Research: finding out about how their products and services work and are perceived. By interacting with the public, (ie: the “market”) they learn what is liked and disliked about not only their own offerings, but that of their competitors as well.
There are two types of data collection: Quantitative and Qualitative. Quantitative research requires a very large sample size that analyzes overall statistics. The best example is when you’re asked to take a poll answering several multiple choice and short-answer questions. The researchers combine this data from hundreds and thousands of participants to get an overall view of consensus among age ranges, ethnicities, genders, and income levels. Companies who will pay you to participate in Quantitative research are Globaltestmarket.com and mindfieldonline.com, both of which I have personally earned income from. Keep in mind that since this type of research requires a large sampling pool, you’re not going to earn much money. Usually they’ll give you points for completing polls and surveys and after earning a certain number of points, you can then “cash” them in for actual money. I think it took about nine months for me to earn $50 with Global Test Market…so yeah, it’s not a lot of money. But I can tell you that when I got that check, it certainly was appreciated!
Qualitative research is much more in-depth than quantitative (Think “Quality” over “Quantity”) and it what comes to mind when we hear the term “focus group.” This is where you may be in a small group setting of up to 6-8 people, or in a one-on-one interview. Usually the session will be recorded with video and audio, and you have to sign consent that you will not share the information revealed. Sometimes you’ll be in a conference room with a see through window, where market research analysts are watching the session, but you won’t interact with them. Instead, there is a group facilitator that asks questions and solicits feedback. These types of sessions are much more lucrative than the quantitative “survey” sessions, and generally pay $50-$200 depending on the company. In order to participate in focus groups, you have to go through a rigorous screening to make sure you fit their desired demographic.
Focus groups are usually carried out through local market research companies, so the best way to find this type of work is by calling them up and asking to be put in their database as a market research participant. Just Google “Market Research Company” and your city, and you should receive some companies that you can contact. You can also look on Craigslist under “ETC” and “GIGS” for focus groups.
There are also national organizations that do online studies (both quantitative and qualitative) there are plenty national organizations that do online market research. You can search for them online, or (shameless plug alert) I have more than 20 listed in my book, I Got Scammed So You Don’t Have To!
Keep in mind that the bugger about focus groups is that you can only do one, for any one company every 6-12 months. They don’t want to see you every day/week/month, they constantly need new people and new opinions coming in. So, while this sort of income isn’t consistent, it can be a fun way to make some extra money!
Think about all the extra money you could make by being a mystery shopper, starting your own business, or working from home for a legitimate company. Take control of your income and check out our LEARN page for a list of classes, books, and more!