Get Paid For Your Opinion In A Focus Group

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You work hard for your money, right?

Do you want more money?  Yep, me too!

Did you know you can get paid good money just for sitting in a room and talking?

Read on to learn about the easiest $100 I’ve made so far.

Market Research – Money for Nothing

While sharing what I’ve learned is the raison d’etre of Enwealthen, it’s also a great motivation for me to learn more about wealth and money management – earning more, investing well, and using my money wisely.

Since reading I Got Paid $60 to Eat French Fries And So Can You over at Wealthy Turtle, I’ve been itching to participate in a market research study myself.  Good money for answering questions?  Where can I sign up?

Explaining the ins and outs of market research and paid focus groups is beyond the scope of this article, but to summarize, large companies spend millions of dollars launching new products – press tours, conventions, advertising, free samples, you name it.  When you’re shelling out that kind of cash, you want to make every dollar count.  So what do you do?  Market research.  Sometimes, these will be called focus groups, paid focus groups, market studies or paid market surveys.

Companies build products for specific groups of people – women, 18-24, city dwellers – married men, 40-50 with 3 or more children – etc.  They then pay market research firms to find people in that group, so they can find out what the people they want to buy their product think about their product.  Maybe the product isn’t doing well, and they need to find out why.  Maybe they have an idea for a new product, and they want to validate it before investing money in development.  Whatever the reason, we consumers win.

How do market research companies find the right people?

They pay you.  And it’s just as easy as it sounds.

Cord Cutters – My Peers

Living in Silicon Valley, I’m fortunate to have several market research firms in the area.  After signing up for their participant pool and filling out their questionnaire, I receive a few calls or emails a month for possible research projects.  Even though you’ve already given them substantial personal information when you join the research company’s participant pool, whenever they contact you for a possible project, you often have to answer more questions to see if you’re a fit for the specific project.  If it’s a match, and it’s a time that works for you, they invite you in.

My first research project?  Cord cutting.

If you’ve been reading Enwealthen, you know I’m a huge fan of cord cutting – canceling your cable and only watching video over the Internet.  Ever since I gave DirecTV the heave-ho I’ve been saving $80 a month and loving every minute of it.  Saving money.  Great content when I want to watch it.  So nice.  So when I was called about this project, it was a perfect fit.

Going in, it was just like you see in the TV commercials – a dozen or so men sitting in a room with a facilitator and a big one way glass window.  I won’t name the company the market research was for, but it was a large player in the consumer video hardware industry.  As a company who invented and defined their market niche, they’ve been struggling to recover their mojo and wanted our opinions.  They asked about logos, about possible devices and features, price points for the device, and general background information on everyone’s video consumption habits.

Absolutely fascinating.  Here I was in a room full of people who were all variations on a theme – no satellite or cable TV, lots of streaming video, various home media solutions.  Some people had large home entertainment network servers, others had large antenna towers pulling in free over the air TV for hundreds of miles around, and some didn’t watch anything but whatever web video they could access on their phone.

End result for the tech company?  Not promising.  Their product was weak and not compelling to us, and the price points were too high.  It will be interesting to see what impact our feedback has on the final product once it’s announced.

Which reminds me, living in Silicon Valley, everyone’s in the tech industry in one way or the other, so there is always concern about accidentally sharing your product plans with your competitors.  One of the roadblock questions the market research company will ask you is if you work for any of the companies (competitors) specified by the client company, and if so, exclude you from the project.

End result for me?  After 1 hour of talking, I got a $100 Visa gift card and a free meal.




How to Find Paid Focus Groups & Market Research Studies

So how do you find a market research study near you?  Fastest way is with Google.  Search for “paid focus group yourarea” or “market research yourarea” and see what companies appear in your neighborhood.  Sign up to be a participant in their studies, and sit back and wait for the call.

If you live in a city, Craigslist can be a good source of studies.  Although in my neighborhood they tend to be low paying.

Other companies and websites to check for paid focus groups or market research opportunities are

No market research opportunities in your area? You can get paid for completing online surveys also, just Google “paid online surveys” and find one that looks interesting.  I haven’t done this myself, as I hear they don’t pay very well.  If you’ve tried this, leave a comment below with your experience.

Final say?  Don’t quit your day job – the money isn’t good enough.  But the feeling of someone paying you just to hear your opinion about something is one everyone should have.  So what are you waiting for, give it a try!

How about you?  Been in any market research studies?  What was it and how did it go?

Image courtesy of Camera Eye Photography.


    • I’ve had to skip a few focus groups also due to scheduling problems. Few things as frustrating as having to turn down almost free money because you can’t fit into their schedule.

  1. I’ve never been asked to participate in a focus before. My luck on small stuff like this is never any good.

    • Keep trying, Tony!

      I’ve been having a dry spell with focus groups the past few months also, but you never know when someone’s going to want your opinion on something. So you have to keep on trying!

    • Yep, I keep getting calls for groups as well. It’s amazing how easy it is, and how much they’re willing to pay.

      That reminds me, I’ve found a new way to be notified about focus groups that I need to write a follow-up article about.

  2. at first i was a bit skeptic about whether or not these paid surveys and paid focus groups do ever pay at all. i tried my luck at one, and then two, and now i am getting my opinion heard (or read) on six sites. perhaps one of the trickiest parts of looking for additional income on the web is looking for legitimate sites and staying away from scammer sites, which, unfortunately, are aplenty. now, the last section on the article talked about how to find focus groups. while it is a sound advice to start with your own local community, you can also use a variety of tools to narrow down your search. i find the focus group map of FGM quite useful in this case. maybe your readers would like to give them a try as well.

    • Thanks for the tip. I tend to focus on in person focus groups myself because they’re less frequent than online ones but they pay better. Perfect if you have limited time like I do.

      But I have heard of people making money doing many online surveys and focus groups.


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