That’s what I wanted to know. If you’ve ever read an article on “How to Make Extra Money” or “How to Make Money from Home”, you’ve inevitably seen taking online surveys listed as a viable option. I read one such article last year and decided to give it a try. After all, it wouldn’t cost me anything and I could do it from home in my spare time. Perfect!
I proceeded to sign up at every survey site I could find and the survey invitations started rolling in. I dove in accepting every survey invitation that was sent to me. Here’s what I learned:
- I didn’t qualify for many of the surveys. When you start a survey the first set of questions are screening questions that determine if you fit the demographic they are targeting their products or services to. It may take you a few minutes of answering questions before you are told you don’t qualify.
- When I did qualify and complete a survey, often the reward was entry into a sweepstakes. I wasn’t interested in drawings, I wanted cold hard cash.
So after about a month I deemed the whole thing a big waste of time and canceled every single survey account.
But I kept seeing those articles saying taking surveys is a great way to earn extra cash. Ok, maybe I would try this again but apply what I learned during my first foray into the world of survey taking. But first, I had to set some criteria:
- Cash only. I consider taking surveys for entries into sweepstakes or for points that can be redeemed for over-priced merchandise a waste of time. If I was going to do this again I would only do it for cash compensation.
- It has to be a productive use of my time. I need to be able to qualify for surveys without spending a lot of time wading through surveys that I will ultimately reject me.
With this criteria in mind I found FocuslineSurveys.com and decided to give them a try. Here’s what I like about them so far:
- They pay cash. You can cash out using PayPal or donate your earnings to charity.
- Instead of sending email invitations to surveys they have a dashboard that tells you what surveys are available, how much they pay and the percentage chance that you will qualify for the survey.
I’m qualifying for more surveys now but there are still instances where I get pretty far into a survey only to be told “I don’t qualify” or that the “participant requirement has been met”. That can be frustrating. But all in all it is going pretty well.
In order to ensure I’m making the most of my time I’ve imposed some restrictions on my survey taking.
- I only take them in my spare time, like when I’m watching tv.
- I limit the amount of time I spend on surveys. I don’t want surveys to interfere with other activities like this website or managing my household.
I’ve been taking surveys with Focusline Surveys since late January and have earned $118. I estimate that with the parameters I’ve set for myself I can earn about $100 a month. That may seem like a small amount, but considering I only spend 30-45 minutes a day and have no overhead costs it’s not a bad deal. And there are a lot of things I can do with an extra $100 each month, like:
- Buy diapers
- Save for a vacation
- Fund a hobby (like cooking classes, gardening supplies, boat gas for wakeboarding)
- Contribute to my son’s college savings account ($100 a month invested over 18 years with an 8% return will grow to over $35,000 in 18 years)
- Pay down debt
I’m still in the very early stages of what I consider The Survey Project so I’m not prepared to say this is a viable long-term option for earning extra income. I will continue to take surveys and update you once a month on my progress.