My work-at-home journey actually started with taking paid surveys. It was one of the easiest things to get involved in: there were no tests to take, no pre-existing skills to have, and no special equipment to invest in.
So, I signed up for as many paid survey sites as I could and started getting online for hours at a time providing my feedback. Unfortunately, it didn’t take me long at all to realize that I was wasting a whole LOT of time in spite of all the misleading ads promising that I could earn hundreds of dollars per week answering all these questions!
It was pretty apparent from the get-go that there were all kinds of problems with the “paid surveys” gigs. For starters, I didn’t qualify into more than half of the surveys I attempted, and in many cases I wasn’t alerted to this fact until I had already spent 10 minutes of my time answering questions.
This problem was much worse with some survey companies than it was with others, but it was still a regular occurrence. This made me feel ripped off because the survey companies in question were still able to get a good bit of valuable information from me without having to pay me. I didn’t necessarily buy it that I just “didn’t qualify” when they had already been accepting answers from me for that long.
The other problem with paid surveys is the pay. If you’ve ever attempted any yourself, then you probably know you can’t earn much. Most expect you to sit there for 15 to 30 minutes answering boring, repetitive questions for maybe $1 or $2 a piece. Attempting surveys for dollar amounts this small is almost never worth it — especially when you know there’s a chance you won’t qualify.
Other companies don’t even pay in cash — they pay in points. The points thing makes it harder to determine exactly how much you’re earning per hour because you normally redeem the points on “stuff” rather than in exchange for money, but if you took the time to do the math, you’d see that you’re still not technically earning more than a buck or two for each survey you take the time to complete.
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In spite of all these problems with paid surveys, the fact remains that some people actually enjoy taking them and feel good about having a direct impact on the products and advertising of various companies. If you really do enjoy the questions and like voicing your opinions, taking paid surveys is undoubtedly worth your time.
Earning even a small amount of money is worthwhile if you’re truly doing something you like and care about. Just keep your expectations low because your participation probably won’t ever equate to more than a little extra money here and there and possibly an occasional free product to test out.
Needless to say, I have since moved on to other opportunities for extra money, but if I happen to get a survey invitation in my email that pays more than $5, I’ll usually go ahead and try to qualify. Unfortunately, I don’t get these invitations often. If you’re curious about which survey and market research companies are most worthwhile, you might want to check out 20/20 Research and Pinecone. Studies done by 20/20 usually pay very well (sometimes more than $50 a piece), and Pinecone is a guaranteed $3 per survey.
While $3 isn’t much, you can count on Pinecone to send it to you via PayPal very quickly after you’ve completed a survey — sometimes the day after! Pinecone isn’t always open for registration unfortunately, but you should keep your eyes peeled for their banner nonetheless. If you see it displayed anywhere on the web, you’ll know that means they’re taking applicants.
Read More: 39 Real Online Survey Jobs That Pay Cash
— Anna Thurman is a stay-at-home, work-at-home mom of two wild little boys. Visit her website at Real Ways to Earn Money Online for advice, reviews, and resources regarding all things work-from-home.