For a lot of people, making a lot of money can mean working long hours at a tough and demanding job. However, what if I told you there are companies who are willing to pay you over $100, maybe even $300 an hour?
I’m talking about paid online focus groups.
Of course, different groups have different rates but generally speaking, these companies are willing to pay you good money for easy work that takes maybe 30 minutes to 2 hours. This, I believe, is what makes them great side hustles.
Here, I’ll be listing legit online focus groups that you can sign up for to earn fast and easy money. Before that though, let me give you an overview on what these companies are all about.
What are online focus groups?
I think of focus groups as kind of like how we were brainstorming for a school project except here, we get paid tens to thousands of dollars. Pretty cool, huh?
That being said, focus groups, online or not, are a group of people from different demographics who are brought together to discuss a wide variety of topics. When it comes to online focus groups, however, discussions tend to revolve around market research.
It’s through these conferences that companies fine-tune their products and services and that’s why they invest so much money into paying people to tell share their thoughts.
Also, since it’s online, you will, at the very least, need a device that can connect to the internet such as a computer, a smart phone, or a tablet to communicate with the moderator and the other members. Depending on the specifics, you might also need a microphone and a camera.
Legit online focus groups that pay
We’re all probably already using Google so let’s start with this.
Google User Experience Research is the company’s way of gathering consumer data which it uses to improve its products.
The research can take place in either one of their offices, their research vans, or pretty much anywhere you can take your laptop or smartphone.
Unfortunately, Google won’t actually pay you in cash. Instead, they will donate money to your favorite charity or give you a gift card.
Personally, I’m all for it largely because of the charity. There are plenty of other places I can get gift cards anyway.
It’s a paid survey site — and, in my opinion, one of the best ones out there.
These kinds of websites are cousins to online focus groups and are pretty much part of the same market research family.
However, while I think completing surveys is one of the easiest ways to make extra money, it doesn’t pay all that well compared to focus groups.
This is why Survey Junkie is in this list, because it’s not just a survey site. It’s an online focus group, too.
When you sign up, you will get email invitations for both surveys and focus groups which can earn you points. When you reach 1000 points, you can use them to redeem cash (via PayPal) or gift cards from several of the country’s top retailers.
American Consumer Opinion (ACOP)
As with Survey Junkie, ACOP is better known as a paid survey site.
From time to time, however, you can also get invites for larger surveys or online focus groups. These invitations will fetch you significantly more points than the usual 10-minute surveys.
Again, like Survey Junkie, there’s a 1000-point minimum before you can redeem your points for rewards like cash, gift cards, or charitable donations. It’s pretty easy getting there though considering some longer surveys pay as high as 5000 points.
Well, what do you know? Another paid survey site that isn’t just about surveys. Here’s a list of categories that you get paid to participate in:
- In-person studies
- One-on-one interviews
- Focus groups
- Clinical research studies
- Remote studies
- Web conferences
- Online surveys
- Phone interviews
Their focus groups are particularly inviting. On their website, you can see various details about the sessions such as where they’re going to happen, what they’re about, their target audience, and perhaps more importantly, how much they pay.
And, speaking of payment, their focus groups pay huge money! I’ve even seen one where they pay $250 for attending just 1 session!
MindSwarms says that video is the best way to understand people emotionally, behaviorally, attitudinally, and pretty much every layer of the human psyche.
This is why the website is paying consumers like you and me to record videos of our own reactions to products, services, and concepts. Our candid, subtle, and spontaneous reactions are what they’re after because they tell the truth which, consequently, also helps shape the future of retail.
Oh, and with every study you finish, you get paid $50. Not bad for such a simple task.
This site is great for both participants (i.e. you and me) and companies needing customer feedback. As a matter of fact, some of the website’s customers include world renowned companies such as Uber, Pinterest, and Spotify.
For participants, however, they currently only pay through electronic Amazon gift codes. Personally, I would have preferred cash but, hey, it is what it is.
Nonetheless, as a participant, you have a variety of different research models that you can take part in, including:
- Focus groups
- 1-on-1 interviews
- Multi-day studies
- Unmoderated tasks
And interview type formats that can be done online, over the phone, or pretty much any place that you and the company agree upon.
The amount you get paid varies with each study but I think it’s safe to assume somewhere between $50-$250.
What’s an easy-to-remember site for focus groups? Oh, I know! FocusGroup.com!
The name isn’t the only thing straightforward about this website though. In my opinion, FocusGroup.com is one of the most user-friendly market research websites out there.
Once you’ve signed up, you can receive invitations to participate in studies either through email or text. Furthermore, you could also check on available ones yourself through their website or their app.
Plus, a lot of their studies are high paying, too. In fact, some even pay well over a thousand dollars.
Here’s another straightforward site for online focus groups.
According to 20|20, they’ve paid over 35 million dollars to their panelists since 1986. If they’ve been in the market research industry for that long, they must know how to keep their clients and participants happy.
Now, I don’t have anything to say with regards to their clients but as a participant, I’m telling you right now that they’re one of the best.
All you need to do to start earning money is sign up. After that, you just have to wait until they send you an email to studies and surveys that they think you could qualify for. If you do, each study will earn you $50-$300 in the form of virtual or electronic gift cards.
Engage has 2 categories of studies you can participate in:
- Consumer panel – For pretty much everyone
- Healthcare panel – For members of the healthcare/medical community
Regardless of what category you’re in, however, you get to be a part of focus groups, online discussions, website usability studies, and several other models used in market research.
Also, you can expect to get paid $50-$250 for every study you complete.
Recruit and Field is focused on consumers, business-to-business (B2B) transactions, medical professionals, and patients with specific medical conditions.
Here, you will have the chance to be part of focus groups, phone interviews, surveys, and even product testing.
At about $100-$275 per study, they’re also one of the higher paying market research websites that I know of so I do highly recommend them.
Fieldwork conducts studies from all across the country but specifically for focus groups, the site currently has facilities in 14 cities. You can join if you live anywhere near these cities:
- West Coast
- San Francisco
- Orange County
- Schaumberg (Chicago)
- O’Hare (Chicago)
- Downtown Chicago
- Fort Lee (New Jersey)
- New York City
If you don’t live near them, however, you can still join their community and earn money from other types of studies such as phone or online interviews.
A brand made by the Schlesinger Group who have been in the market research industry for over 40 years, Inspired Opinions does its studies online, in-person, or on the phone. Anyone above 18 years old can join their community and earn points.
Once you’ve reached 1000 points, you can use it to redeem rewards valued at $5 to $100.
Established in 2005, Probe Market Research (PMR) is a relatively new comer in the market research industry but, in my opinion, it has quickly become one of the best ones.
Particularly for interested consumers, participating in PMR’s focus groups can fetch you anywhere between $50-$400. Their studies can happen via phone, online, or in-person.
As with any of these sites, the length of each study varies but most should only last an hour or two with a few studies spanning several days.
Here, the average money participants (or respondents, as the site calls it) make is about $140/hour with each study spanning more or less 30 minutes. You also get to choose what time you want to participate so nothing interferes with your schedule.
Not bad for a side hustle, eh?
Also, Respondent has a neat referral program. Once your referrals participate in a study, you get an average of $50. That’s great money for pretty much doing nothing.
Brand Institute is a branding consultancy agency but it also has its hands on market research particularly when it comes to healthcare.
If you have anything to do with the medical/healthcare community, regardless of whether you’re a practitioner, a student, or a patient, all you have to do is sign up.
Once you’ve become a member, you can get email invitations to participate in studies and focus groups that help shape the image of several brands.
Here’s something that’ll make you want to sign up:
For simply signing up with watchLAB, you automatically get the chance to win $100 on their quarterly raffles. This is only good for new members though so you won’t get another chance to win after the draw date.
Nonetheless, you can still earn good money with watchLAB regardless if you win or lose the sweepstakes. When you become a member, you will be notified when you qualify to participate in focus groups, interviews, or online boards.
You can either get paid in person or via check delivered straight to your home. No credit card information necessary.
Other ways to find online focus groups for money
While signing up for any or all of the sites I listed above is a great and easy way to earn money from focus groups, there are still more opportunities you can explore.
In fact, there are websites dedicated entirely to helping you join focus groups near you. Here are a few examples:
As a member, you get to browse through an extensive list of market research, clinical research, clinical trials, and focus groups about a variety of products and services.
You can either browse through their website and check for available studies in your state, or you could also just wait for their weekly newsletters where they tell you about the latest paid studies.
The pay is pretty good, too, with some studies going well above $200.
Similar to FG Finder, Find Focus Groups allow you to search for studies in your state. However, they do take it a step further by also showing you studies in your city.
In their listings, you can see what date the study is going to happen, where it’ll happen, what it’s about, and how much you can get paid.
Speaking of pay, there is no set amount for each study but some of them do go as far as $450 for just 2 hours and as little as $50 for 30 minutes.
Their services span across 47 cities across the country and they have a huge list of easy ways to earn money, including:
- Focus groups
- Clinical trials
- App installs
On average, studies here typically last for about 2 hours where you can earn anywhere between $50-$250.
Focus groups and paid surveys are both ways where you can earn money for sharing your opinion. Focus groups, in particular, are kind of like longer, more in-depth surveys that also pay a lot (read: A LOT!) more money.
Having said that, opportunities to join focus groups don’t actually happen everyday which is why you shouldn’t do this as your full-time job but rather, as a way to make some money on the side. On that note, do sign up for as many of these websites as possible to increase your pool of focus groups you qualify for.
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