If you ever searched “how to make money online,” you probably stumbled on this topic. Often when you visit your favorite financial websites, you can find those ads promising easy money:
“Make $100 per week or more by filling online surveys!”
So you decided to see by yourself if this idea is as good as they say. Because who’s going to say No to easy money?
Is this a real opportunity?
Certainly, that’s not something we lack in the digital era. Everything is an opportunity to make easy money. People do it all the time.
I’d be more concerned about how quickly you can make it. When distractions are the biggest problem of modern society, you can’t waste time on <$10/h gigs, right?
Don’t get me wrong. Most of the sites that promote these offers are legit. But oftentimes, they overpromise on what they can deliver. You won’t get rich with them, and you neither make quick cash unless you are the creator of those sites.
It’s safe to believe some survey programs pay people really well. But those are almost never the ones you hear about. The most popular sites now dominate all advertising: SwagBucks, SurveyJukie, among others.
I’ve always wondered why these sites market their service for the tester and not for the company. It’s as if they were earning more money from bringing people like you than companies who create those surveys.
Don’t just listen to what the platform is offering you. Ask yourself: is my opinion that valuable for a company? That will help to set the right expectations.
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Many expect that when they join these sites, they will be able to kill many hours with surveys. They just pick whatever sounds better from the multi-choice question and move on. In reality, most spend 90% of the time trying to find the actual survey.
Due to some problems we’ll get into later, surveys are a source of income that, at best, can provide a few extra hundred of cash.
But not everything is bad news. In this article, you’ll find a type of survey that pays $100+ per HOUR. We also recommend you three make-money-online ideas that are as easy as surveys but with much more income potential. Keep reading!
Why Do Companies Pay or Surveys?
Whenever you’re making easy money, it’s important to know how money is made. Otherwise, it may turn into very bad scenarios:
- A “premium site” takes your money and gives you nothing.
- A deceptive platform collects your personal information. A phishing scam.
- You don’t earn anything, but you just wasted hours of your time.
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It’s what usually ends up happening when websites advertise to the testers and not the companies. As a survey worker, see yourself as if you were offering a service for a business instead.
Is my opinion worth their money?
And to answer that question, it depends on what you do, and whether you’re their target audience or not. You can’t expect every company to want your opinion unless you’re willing to work for pennies.
To help you understand, here’s how the average business owner can profit from companies:
- Before creating surveys, they must already have a marketing strategy and a tracking system.
- They offer surveys to potential buyers to find out what they want to buy. Companies don’t interest much for testers who don’t buy anything.
- With the collected answers, the marketer may optimize their campaigns, improve the product, or increase funnel conversion rates. That translates into thousands of dollars in return.
That’s why sellers offer hundreds of dollars for those surveys. But marketing isn’t the only force that drives sales, so each company may have a different budget based on what they sell.
Types Of Paid Surveys
It’s in your best interest to give the most value to the marketer so that they keep paying you to complete surveys.
Although there’s a lot of information businesses don’t know, they rarely come out from survey forms. Seriously, it wouldn’t take much work to program a bot to fill up those tests. Open many accounts, program more devices, and there you have it! Thousands worth of monthly passive income.
Marketers aren’t stupid.
They need to make sure they can trust the data you’re giving them. So the more facts you can provide them, the more valuable your response is.
Here are four categories of surveys, from least to most profitable:
a. Filling Up Forms
This is the one you hear all the time on ads. You love the idea of making money with little or no work, so you sign up for sites like SwagBucks, PrizeRebel, or SurveyJunky.
Within your first few minutes, you already made over ten bucks! Keeping on with the beginner’s luck, you find a decent survey in the next 15 minutes, which pays you another $10.
After the initial rush, you strike with reality. You can hardly qualify for any surveys other than the ones that pay a few cents. So the most you can earn goes from $0.50 to $2.50 per hour, unless you’re lucky. And that assumes you don’t run out of forms to complete.
Why is this such a grind?
Look at the entry barrier. What do you think will happen when survey sites start advertising to millions of broke people? These will flood the platforms, getting every single task done. And when there’s so much offer, the demand lowers.
So your opinion is worth less and less. And due to the number of testers, marketers need to filter based on interests and demographics.
If you complain about the pay, you’d rather contact the company yourself. Survey platforms take a chunk of your earnings whenever you fill up those forms.
b. Recorded Surveys
Marketers prefer this variation because it makes data more reliable:
- You record yourself testing a product
- You record your screen testing a website as you talk out loud
- They record your responses on an online call
These reviews give a much better understanding of the customer. That’s why many of them are willing to pay over $50 for these. The length may vary from 15 minutes to two hours.
It takes a bit more work than filling up forms. That’s why sellers will try to qualify their testers better.
Some companies may still accept your work, but if you don’t meet their target criteria, they won’t consider it for payment. Read carefully before you apply.
To get started, you register into sites like UserTesting and Validately. When a new gig appears, they send you a push notification. The first people to respond get the survey.
c. Focus Groups
You rarely hear of this type because there’s not a single company doing it. These groups target narrow groups of people, usually in person.
Aside from marketing purposes, scientists create focus groups to better understand how we work. So the topic doesn’t limit to a product or service. They may choose any area of interest.
Before you apply, you can see what demographics and people qualify. If you do, you send an application, and after they review it, you can do it at the agreed date.
Focus groups usually pay $100-$150 per hour but could be less if you do it virtually. Some of these require you to live in a specific city, while others include the whole country.
I first thought it was impossible to join these groups due to how selective they are. But if you live in the US, it’s a lot easier than you think. What other job gives you $125 per hour to share your opinion (no experience required!)?
d. Status-Based Reviews
Most surveys serve to help marketers understand their audiences. And one thing we all know is, it’s easier to trust a customer than listen to what a business has to say.
Because the company has incentives to get your money. But the person who already bought from them can tell you whether it’s worth it or not. Social proof is that powerful.
There’s a wrong way to do this, which is paying strangers for positive reviews. Even then, you won’t earn much, because sellers can’t fool customers with a mediocre product.
However, legit companies will pay well for an honest review if many people care about what you say.
These days, people are well aware of fabricated reviews. But if you have labels like these, you instantly become a reputable source.
It works even better if people know who you are, not only what you think of the product. And that’s how most influencers make money.
They create a personal brand where they are transparent with everybody, and people who like that follow them. So whenever this person reviews a product, people take their opinion very seriously. And for marketers, that’s a good reason to pay them for interviews, videos, and reviews.
How much do they pay? It depends on how many people follow you on social media, or how much success you had with other products in the past. Also, you have to be able to identify with what you promote.
So you can make money by being yourself. But just because many people follow you, it doesn’t mean they’ll do everything you do. If you promote other products simply because they pay you, it will lower your credibility.
The Biggest Problems With Paid Surveys
When advertisers say you can make hundreds a week with their forms, they assume you are the ideal person. So most companies expect you to be the average American consumer who buys before thinking twice about things.
But if you’re looking for paid surveys, you may probably be a broke person in some other country. I think you can see the dichotomy here.
Paid surveys have some problems that make them inefficient. Sure, you might make an extra thousand or two this year. But if you spent your time better instead, you might as well create a six-figure business.
Surveys are okay when you have NOTHING better to do. And even then, you still face three factors outside of control.
#1 You don’t qualify for the survey
As a marketer, I’d prefer to target customers on my own. But that’s time-consuming, so I trust a survey site instead. But will they be selective enough? That’s their selling point.
You see, forms would be worthless when millions of testers mindlessly respond to Yes/No questions. You need to target survey participants the way you target your clients, or it won’t be worth it.
More often than not, you find all decently-paying surveys unavailable in your location. You can technically make money online from home anywhere in the world, but you won’t make nearly as much as someone living in New York.
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You can try using VPNs to disguise your location. You can lie about your consumer habits to get more approvals. It makes no difference. The platform gives no explanation on why you don’t qualify.
#2 Bugged Platforms Won’t Pay You
Isn’t it frustrating to spend over 20 minutes on a survey, only to be rejected at the end?
That’s how it feels like working for most platforms. If you want to qualify, you need to offer the answers they want to hear, which means reading carefully and thinking about what you will choose. But if you take too long, the page may time out. And that cancels any work you made.
The next thing you know is, the survey is no longer available.
These websites often start with a pre-survey, where they decide whether you qualify for the actual survey or not. If you do, hope that nothing goes wrong.
- Hope that the page finishes loading
- Hope that it doesn’t glitch at the end
- Hope that it redirects you to the platform when you’re done
Sometimes, screen loading times take longer than answering questions. But if the servers are that slow, there’s nothing you can do.
#3 You can’t cash out unless you earn enough
Do you know about all those welcome gifts companies make? It’s a marketing tactic to make you stay with them. Because you don’t want to lose those rewards. Survey sites are not different.
Say you need to earn a certain amount in order to cash out your reward, whatever it is. They usually let you earn 20-40% of that minimum value within the first ten minutes of joining. But people don’t realize it may take WEEKS to earn the rest.
Seriously, I never understood the reason these limits exist. I guess it helps the platform make free money from all those people who give up later.
Don’t get it wrong. It’s not hard to get immediate rewards from your work. There are many perks and offers for as little as five bucks. The problem is, most of the people who join are only interested in cash rewards. And those are usually the biggest milestones in the platform.
Who Is The Right Person For Surveys?
If you want to kill time and earn a few bucks along the way, you can always do surveys. But remember that the intent of these sites is to reward you, not make you money as they advertise.
And that reward could be as little as $2 per hour. Or it could turn into $100 per hour, but it’s not something you can make a living from.
If you look at surveys as a way of grinding hours for pennies, you’re going to be disappointed. There’s simply not that much work to do even if you join five different platforms.
If you like the idea of making extra cash but don’t want to waste your time, it’s still worth signing up for them. Once in a while, you can do surveys in your downtime. Maybe you find a $150 task this month, or a $200 focus group on the second one. Treat it as an opportunity, not an income stream.
The most effective form of survey is the status-based, because your opinion matters. But it takes a long time to get followers and reputation. That’s why focus groups are your second-best choice.
But before you try any of these, remember you can always make FAR more money in other ways. Some tasks are as easy as surveys. But they pay thousands of dollars every month.
So if they take the same work, isn’t it worth trying?
3 Better Survey Alternatives
Social Media Marketing
If you spend time on social media, you may eventually meet lots of people. If they like what you share, they may start following you. Which means that whenever you post something new, it appears on their news feed.
Imagine if you had a thousand of those people. You can almost get an instant reaction to anything you share. And companies will pay good money for social media marketing.
It’s not true that everybody hires only the most popular profiles. Although that’s desirable, smaller businesses will probably look for smaller influencers. No matter your size, there may be a client looking for you right now.
How you get paid depends on the agreement. It’s standard practice to start with a base rate and keep everything else as a commission percentage. That means, for example, that you can charge $50 to post on your media platforms. And that you get 10% of all the revenue the company earns in the next three months as a result of your campaign.
If what you share is important, many people may be interested in learning that information. That’s why so many people read blogs, watch videos, or listen to podcasts.
Hey, you can even start a website today and start generating traffic. If what you share is good, you eventually become an authority in your field. Other companies may want you to collaborate with them because of that reputation.
If starting a website sounds like too much work for you, you can always get paid by helping others to do it. Online entrepreneurs prefer outsourcing content creation to focus on the business.
Do you know what’s better than getting paid for a review? Getting paid for a product you don’t own. That’s how crazy affiliate marketing is, and many influencers are living off of those gains.
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Let’s be clear: affiliate marketing is a loong journey. It takes months of consistent work before crossing a thousand dollars per month. But once you create an affiliate offer, it’s there forever. Anybody who finds it and buys will make you money.
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So all the content you create is always working for you 24/7. You just need to put it in front of the right people.
Influencers have it easier because of their following. But you can always use other sources of traffic.
If you think it’s easy to fill up survey forms, then you already have what it takes to start any of these models. Don’t sell yourself for less.