One of the best ways of making a residual income either to support your main source of funding or as a stand-alone “occupation” of sorts is through market research. Big companies plough huge sums of money into gathering intelligence on their products or services in order that they may be pitched and marketed to maximum effect. Here are a few of the different forms of paid market research that are widely available to interested parties:
- Focus Groups
Many people derive something approaching a full-time income by making themselves available for research projects, attending focus groups or one-to-one interviews in which they share their opinions on new innovations and products. Sometimes projects will involve testing a website or a smartphone app. It is not unknown for participants to take home up to £150 or even more for a few hours’ relatively easy work.
- Online Surveys
There are literally scores of companies which pay participants to fill out surveys on their computers from the comfort of their own homes. Returns from this tend to be fairly poor, and even the modest rewards promised need to be factored against the amount of time spent undertaking surveys which result in “screen out”, or rejection by the customer after a few minutes’ wasted effort, for which the participant is paid either a pittance or more often nothing at all. But some survey providers are better than others, and at the top end it is entirely possible to make something approaching a living income.
- Mystery Shopping
Companies often commission mystery shoppers to receive goods or services which they can then give their opinions on. It can involve reporting on an incoming service or going out to a shop or a restaurant and reporting back on the service provided. As well as getting to enjoy the product on your employer there is also quite often a decent financial reward involved.
- Product Testing
Similar to mystery shopping, but this can involve simply receiving an item through the post and using it over a period of days before giving an opinion on it, possibly at a focus group organised after the event. Once again you get to keep the goods as well as receiving sometimes rather generous payment.
- Clinical Trials
It sounds much more scary and sinister than it actually is. Drugs and medicines which are offered for trial have invariably been safety-tested before they go out even to the guinea pigs whose brief it is to use and assess them. These can involve anything from a one-off injection to a stay in hospital over several days during the lifetime of the programme. Very popular with students, these trials can pay hundreds or in some cases even thousands of pounds depending upon their complexity and duration. Some travelling is frequently involved.
There are so many companies out there offering research opportunities that nobody can fail to make some money from using them. Cast your net wide, and it will be filled – there’s work out there for everyone!