Side Hustle: Paid Market Research 

Written By Scott Kessman
Last updated October 20, 2021

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October 20, 2021

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Grocery prices are rising, home prices in some areas seem to be going through the roof, and shortages of many products are resulting in higher costs for those as well. Unfortunately, salaries for many occupations are remaining stagnant. So, to supplement their income, many people are engaging in a market research side hustle.


You’ve probably seen a few articles on the Internet detailing different ways to make extra money. Many of those articles mentioned something called paid market research. It works like this: by participating in market research studies for various companies, you can earn some extra cash for saving or spending. So, you’re probably wondering, what’s the catch?

No Catch

Believe it or not, there really isn’t one. But you do have to remember that the market research side hustle is exactly that — a side hustle. You won’t be getting rich doing this, but it is a relatively easy way to make some cash. And, depending on which companies you work with, you might not even have to leave your home.

Paid market research is a tool that businesses utilize to gain valuable insight into products, services, or the company itself. Essentially, companies pay regular consumers to divulge information, typically via a survey, about a particular topic. Then, the companies use that information to make informed decisions. That could mean making improvements on a product or realizing that the company needs to provide better customer service.


Companies offer a number of different incentives for consumers that participate in the market research study. Rewards could include gift cards, free merchandise, and, of course, cash. And that’s where you can really benefit by getting involved in a market research side hustle.

There are a few ways in which you may be asked to be involved in paid market research. These include:

Focus Groups

Along with a small group of people, you will take part in a discussion led by an independent researcher. You’ll be asked questions and be allowed to discuss the topic with other members of the focus group. Being part of a focus group can certainly be fun and interesting. However, it also requires you to be available to travel to a specific location at a particular time. If you have a regular work schedule, participating in focus groups may not be feasible.

Online Focus Groups

Just like a regular focus group, except you get to participate while in the comfort of your own home. You still need to be available at the time the meetings will take place, though.

Online Surveys

Online surveys are the most common research tools used by people interested in a market research side hustle. They also offer the most flexibility, because you can complete them whenever you want, wherever you want. Surveys can also be done fairly quickly.

Another benefit of doing surveys is that you have more of a chance of being selected for surveys than for a focus group. That’s because surveys require hundreds and even thousands of participants. Focus groups consist of much smaller numbers and are very targeted. The only drawback of doing surveys is that they don’t pay as much as focus groups.

The companies themselves usually do not conduct research studies. Instead, they hire market research firms. The firms develop the research surveys and recruit individuals to answer them.

Recruiting Company

To get started with joining focus groups, you’ll need to sign up with a recruiting company. The recruiting company will ask several questions. These are designed to determine your fit for various focus groups. If a company requires a focus group and you are part of the target market, you may be selected.

Do Not Pay a Fee

Please note, you should not have to pay a fee to join a recruiting company. Avoid these, as they could be a scam. It also helps to take the time to review various recruiting companies. Simply search for paid market research companies on the Internet and you should find plenty to get started with.

The process for filling out surveys is a lot easier. Once again, simply do a search for “paid surveys” on the Internet. Some of the popular and reputable companies that offer paid surveys will appear in the results. These include companies such as Survey Junkie,, and Ipsos i-say.

Just be sure to read the terms of each company before starting. Some don’t always pay in cash, but rather in points that can be redeemed for gift cards.

How much you make really all depends on both how much time you devote to paid market research and which companies you work with. Focus groups, both online and in-person, will pay a lot more than surveys. But being selected for a focus group is a lot harder. You could wait months, or even never be selected at all.


Surveys, on the other hand, are easy to find and complete. You can earn anywhere from a few dollars to potentially hundreds of dollars per survey. But a reliable, steady source of income is never guaranteed. So you shouldn’t rely on doing surveys and paid market research as your main salary.

Getting involved in a market research side hustle is a great way to make extra cash. You can work as little or as much as you want (opportunities permitting). And, your answers to surveys or in focus groups can actually make a difference in emerging trends and how a company develops its products. Just be sure to always take the time to gather information about any research company you are seeking to sign up with.

Check the Reviews

Read customer reviews to get a better idea of how the companies pay and how often you can expect to complete surveys. Sign up with more than one company to improve your cash-making chances. You can also follow the company on Facebook pages too, where you can learn about more opportunities that aren’t always delivered via email.

About the Author

Scott Kessman

I possess a strong 20-year background in marketing, digital marketing, and advertising. However, writing has always been a true passion of mine, and after working in corporate offices for many years, I turned my passion for writing into a full-time job. As a contract content writer for the last 12 years, I can craft engaging and informative content about a wide variety of subjects. I have also written and published two fantasy novels and a collection of short stories.

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