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Put Survey Skills Onto Your Resume

Unfortunately, the country is still in an economic slump; more than one in ten people who want to work full-time are out of a job --that’s a big percentage of our population! Whether you are a loyal, long-time employee that has been recently laid-off or a new graduate that is struggling to find that first “real” job, taking online surveys can help you both earn extra cash and fill in the gaps on your resume.

Everyone knows that finding a job can be a catch-22; often employers only want to hire people that are currently employed but have no trouble letting people go. While this makes no sense, you can ensure that your resume keeps in smooth chronological form by taking on the title of “online survey taker”, “focus group contributor”, or “product reviewer.” You need to shine the spotlight on yourself in the best way possible.

Participating in online surveys when you are in between jobs shows future employers that you have the initiative to keep the ball rolling, even when it is slim pickings in the job market.  Instead of whiling away the hours, you are productively using your time to share your opinions and insights with corporations around the country. You feedback helps improve the way that companies develop, market and deliver products and services – and that’s an important job.

Taking online surveys really does keep your skills sharp. Many of the more open-ended surveys allow you opportunity to write and use your language skills to give reviews about the product. Also, the process of registering for, managing survey invitations and scheduling your day also keeps your organizational skills in top form, and that is always welcomed by your next supervisor.  

 To show what you’ve been doing in between jobs, create a timeline of dates that you have been participating in cash surveys along with a listing of the major companies you have contributed to. There are no guarantees in finding full-time employment, but highlighting your experience taking surveys might just be the “something extra” that helps you land the job. In the mean time, you’ll appreciate the extra cash and rewards earned by taking online surveys in your spare time.

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How To Join Focus Groups

The good news is that market research companies are always looking for people to join their programs. If you don’t already know about this good way to make some extra money, you need to get on board. Focus groups are used by companies and marketing firms to collect and analyze consumer opinion and insight on various topics. If you are a consumer of food, household products, cars, medical services and just about everything else, then you are a prime candidate for focus groups!  

 A focus group typically is a “live” event where you meet with a group of other consumers in a meeting room to discuss and interact about a particular product or service. This means you’ll need to have a car or reliable transportation to travel to the venue, which is almost always in a large-sized city. Recently, there has been an increase in online focus groups that allow folks who can not get out of the house or live in more rural areas to participate in the discussion. These online focus groups are set up as “webinars” or “web chats”, so you’ll need a phone line and a computer with decent Internet access.

 If you are interested in participating in focus groups, you can check the websites of your favorite products to see if they have programs in place and are accepting applicants. Also, there are databases that list legitimate focus group and online surveys; surf through these and apply for membership at the ones that interest you. Participants are chosen for focus groups primarily based on demographic information (such as age and family size) and interests (such as movie-goer or snack food eater); these qualifiers revealed when you fill out the initial registration forms for each focus group site. Occasionally, you also may be sent “screeners” via email or be called on the telephone to answer a few questions before you are asked to join a focus group.

 Other projects, similar to focus groups, may also come up from time to time. In addition to roundtable discussions, you may also be asked to participate in mock jurys, website evaluations, one-on-one interviews and take paid surveys. Usually these events take approximately 2 hours, although some may be shorter or longer. You will always be notified of the project details before accepting the job. Successful participation in the focus group could earn you $30 to $300 dollar based on the project and company.


Focus Group 101

Companies all over the country incorporate Focus Groups as part of a well-rounded marketing strategy. From large Fortune 500 companies to smaller start-ups, executives realize that they can uncover valuable insights about promoting their products by moderating a focus group. Understanding how this part of the marketing process works will help you better understand and seek out focus group opportunities that fit your interests.

 In a nutshell, focus groups are a form of qualitative research used to capture and analyze people's perceptions, feelings and thoughts. Because these “intangibles” are difficult to measure with numbers, the open-ended and verbal format of the focus group works well. Marketers have found that focus groups are a good tool to understand the emotional factors which can drive a consumer’s behavior. Sometimes focus groups are used to gauge reactions to new product offerings or to record opinions of proposed changes to products and services. Focus group input can also be used to guide the design and development of new products and services as well has help shape the launch of a new advertising campaign.

Focus groups are typically help in a group setting at the facilitator’s office space or rented hotel space although it is becoming more and more common to see focus groups online in a webinar or chat format. The standard focus group consists of eight to twelve people that are lead by a moderator who is charged with guiding the group, making sure they stay on topic, and encouraging all the participants to interact. Participants in the focus group will be asked to answer questions of the moderator and to also comment on the feedback from other participants.

 It is common for a focus group to last about 2 hours or so, give or take depending on the particular topic at hand. Your session will probably be videotaped or recorded so that marketing executives can refer back to the feedback at a later date and make sure they have your reponses noted accurately. You also may be asked to fill out a money survey about your experience. For your time and efforts, you will be compensated with a nice chunk of change – anywhere from $30 to $300 – depending on the company and project.


Don’t Pay for Survey Site Access

blog buyerbewareIf you’ve ever surfed around on the Internet looking for ways to make extra money, you no doubt come across many survey sites claiming to fill your pockets with cash for very little effort on your part. In fact, some of these companies can sound so sincere and promising, that unsuspecting participates eagerly pay some upfront fees with the anticipation that they’ll soon be on easy street.

However, we are here to tell you that paying money to view a listing of survey sites is not a good use of your money. We hate to use the word SCAM, because some survey site lists may charge for their product – a contact list of survey sites --- and make no promises about the outcome. So they aren’t really stealing your money, but it’s just not a cost-effective product to buy. Some of the come-ons might sound like this “We offer you a huge database list where you can instantly access over a hundred survey sites for a one-time fee of 29.99.”

Instead of paying nearly $30 of your hard-earned money, you can find plenty of databases of survey sites that offer your free access to legitimate, validated online surveys. The reason these no-cost survey databases can be offered free of charge is that the administrator receives a small referral payment from the listed survey sites. That is, each time you visit the database and click through a survey site link, a fee is paid to the list owner for directing new business to the survey site.

So, when looking to participate in surveys, understand that it is never necessary to pay money up front. Most companies with survey site information are being paid directly by the survey site; therefore, payment by the consumer to participate is not truthful. Also, when joining survey sites, make sure to always read the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy to understand exactly what you are getting into. Even if you are not paying money, follow the piece of advice “Buyer Beware.”


Paid Surveys – Your Questions Answered

The business of paid online surveys is rife with questions; where do I sign up, how much money can I make, is it a scam? The Internet is an infinitely huge place to seek out information and conduct business, so it’s no wonder that you might be confused about taking surveys at home. Some of the most common questions are answered in a straightforward manner that will help you decide if taking online surveys if for you.

 Where do I sign up for online surveys? Finding legitimate online surveys to take can be time consuming if you don’t know where to start. Just type in “online survey” or “paid survey” into the search bar of your browser and you will end up with millions of results! Often there is no rhyme or reason about which ones end up at the top of the search results; the first listings aren’t necessarily the best. You can visit your favorite companies to find out if they directly offer marketing programs featuring online surveys. Many market research companies conduct online surveys on behalf of companies, but these may be harder to access. The best alternative is to find a survey site database that gives you free access to the contact information of all the different survey opportunities available. Legitimate databases won’t charge you a fee as they are reimburse by each  referral sent to the survey site.

 How much money can I make? Let’s face it, you’re not going to get rich taking online surveys – first, they don’t pay oodles of money and second, they can often be sporadically available. However, taking surveys for money or reward points can be a great way to supplement a full or part-time income, help pay the bills while unemployed or just give you some extra mad-money to spend as you please. Typically, a short online survey might pay anywhere from $1 to $10 based on the project and company. Some larger projects can pay more and you will be notified of the project scope and payment before you accept the survey invitation. Also, survey sites like to give “reward points” that can be accumulated and later redeemed for popular merchandise, gift cards to major retailers and other fun prizes.

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Sweeten Life With Candy Surveys

blog candySome sweet times are coming your way because June is National Candy Month. If you haven’t already been celebrating, break open a chocolate bar or bag of jelly beans and enjoy! And, while you sitting back enjoying this favorite treat of people around the world, consider another way to sweeten you day – taking paid online surveys. Just think you can make a little extra money in your spare time to help fun your candy habit!

 Many online surveys focus on consumer products, the household items that we all use every day. Your opinions may be sought out on many household items that could include window cleaners, sunscreens, makeup, pasta sauces, snack foods --- and candy! So, let’s use the example of candy to help understand how the paid online surveys work.

 In most online surveys, you will be asked to recall your experiences using the product, the specific brand of candy in this case. The questionnaire may ask you to rate your opinions on a scale, to write out your answers in a more subjective format, or some combination of both. The marketers may also ask for you to indicate all the brands of candy that you’ve heard of and your opinions on each of these; this is so they can gauge their position against the candy competition.

 Sometimes when taking paid surveys, you may really get to sink your teeth into the project. From time to time, a company may actually send you a sample of the candy treat to evaluate in your own home and maybe even share with family and friends for their opinions. You must always follow the survey instructions on how to use, distribute, and talk about the product. Sometimes the company encourages the free word-of-mouth marketing while other times the product and information you are sent is proprietary and should be held in strict confidence.

 After completing your free surveys on candy, most survey sites will reward you in one of several ways.  You may earn “reward points” which can be saved up and later redeemed for all sorts of popular merchandise and gift cards to leading merchants.  Or, you may be paid for your opinions with free entries into large sweepstakes offering you the opportunity to win a big prize. Finally, quite a few online surveys will pay participants in actual money via a check sent to their home address or deposited into an online bank account.


Unemployment Still High – Online Surveys Help Pay Bills

blog unemployementIt was just about a year ago in 2009, President Obama signed the mega-billion stimulus package into law, claiming that the unemployment rate would not surpass 8 percent. However, in the early months of 2010 the unemployment rate as been as high as 10.4% according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This figure has receded some, down to 9.7% for June, but much of this dip can be attributed to the 411,000 temporary workers that were hired to do US Census work.

If you are one of the nearly one it ten people who finds themselves without a job in these troubled economic times, there are ways to make extra money at home while you keep hitting the job market hard. For example, taking paid surveys is a good way to earn some extra cash that can be put toward paying the bills, buying groceries or covering your healthcare premiums. As a supplement to your unemployment check or part-time job, this can help get you through the rough patches until you can land a permanent position.

Online surveys may compensate you for your opinions in the range of $2 to $10 per survey depending on the length, complexity and the company conducting the research. While you obviously aren’t going to be able to call this a full-time gig, you can make a worthwhile endeavor if you have several surveys lined up per day. In order to maximize your opportunities to take online surveys for money, register with as many survey sites as you can and then when an invitation to participate comes your way, promptly complete the questions. Often, the more active your are taking surveys with a particular survey site, the more invitations you will receive.

Focus groups are another good way to make some extra money in your down time between interviews. Unlike online surveys, focus groups require you to meet at the researcher’s facility with a group of other consumers to share opinions in a moderated, roundtable format. Because participation in focus groups required travel time and a higher level of input, payment for completing can often be much higher. Occasionally, online focus groups can be found that offer the same multi-person exchange of ideas in an “online chat” or “webinar” type format.


Refreshing as Ice Tea – Online Surveys

blog ice teaQuench your thirst for a cool way to make some extra cash by taking online surveys. Every June 19th is National Ice Tea Day, and there’s no better feeling that pouring a tall glass of tea, booting up your computer and making some supplemental funds for your summertime vacation.

 Quite quaffable, ice tea can be enjoyed with a twist of lemon, a little sugar to sweeten and mint leaves for freshness – or you can drink ice tea plain. The same can be said about taking surveys online line – not that you should literally sprinkle a little pink packet all over your keyboard, but that taking surveys can be enjoyed in many forms and fashions.

 Some online surveys are short and sweet; a few questions about your demographics and simple quantifiable scales where you can mark your level of interest or disinterest in a certain product or service. Other paid surveys search deeper, asking qualitative questions about what you think; these types of projects will typically have a text box in which you can write answer an open-ended question.

 Another think about iced tea, it’s got a little pick-me-up in the form of caffeine. To make an analogy between ice tea and surveys may seem far-fetched, but just read on. A paid survey can add a little perk or boost to you as well in the form of cash compensation, merchandise or prizes. When you drink ice tea, it’s good but then it’s gone; but when you share your opinion with companies eager to listen, you will be nourished long-term knowing that you’ve helped make the consumer market place for everyone.

 Getting thirsty for a taste of paid surveys yet? Pour a tall glass of your favorite summer libation, hang out in the hammock with your laptop and sign up with one of the many online survey sites around. Soon you will be receiving invitations to participate in many exciting market research projects that will sweeten your summer-time budget.


Attention: Your Check is in the Mail

“Your check is in the mail,” how many times have you heard (or used) that expression?! If you want a money-making opportunity you can count on, consider taking paid online surveys. During lunch at work, between errands, in the evening watching television – these are all ideal times to take surveys for money. While some scoff at the idea of participating in this make-money-at-home opportunity, it really can be a legitimate way to earn a little extra cash

 It is easy to get started in online survey programs. To make sure you are signing up with reputable marketing research companies, get your leads from trustworthy databases of paid surveys, from friends and family, or from online forums that give the thumbs-up on a certain company. If you are feeling uncertain about a specific paid survey program, you can also check with the Better Business Bureau, Survey Police or the word-of-mouth scoop posted on survey discussion forums.

 After you submit your basic contact information and demographics, you’ll typically receive invitations in your email inbox to take surveys based on your interests. The length and scope can vary based on the project, but usually the surveys are quite interesting and even fun. After successfully completing a survey, you will be rewarded one of many ways according to the company you are working with. Points for merchandise and prizes are always popular rewards, but even better, participants can often get paid in cash.

 When earning cash compensation for taking money surveys, you can be paid in several ways. First, the check can literally be in the mail, where you can then cash it or deposit it however you see fit. Another popular way to send funds is a direct transfer into an online bank account such as Paypal. Finally, you may be sent a pre-loaded debit card with your compensation that can be used at the merchant of your choice.


Television Metering Services

blog tvWatching television is one of the biggest pastimes around the world. From catching the big game to getting hooked on drama series, watching television is a popular way to relax and unwind. Experts say the average person watches an average of 4 hours per day – that would equal 2 straight months if watched back to back. It’s no wonder corporations are eager to advertise their products and service during commercial breaks; it’s a huge business to the tune of 15 billion dollars per year for just the top 100 advertisers.

One of the leaders in researching the world’s television watching behaviors is Nielson, an industry name many have heard of. Taking into account hundreds of channels filled with thousands of programs, this television research company (as do other similar companies) collects data on participant’s habits and preferences and deciphers it for usable market information that corporations around the world value.

Ahead of the times, Neilson founder, Arthur Nielsen, came up with the idea for the “audiometer” (the first television metering device) very early in the history of television, in 1938 when there were just 200 TV sets worldwide! In a nutshell, the unobtrusive device quietly runs in the background to record what is being watched and when. In 1950, Neilson created the now-familiar national television measuring service to keep pace with the TV boom; by now the average household had one television set that tuned in three channels -- however, no remote controls yet!

Today, according the Neilson, the average American household has 2.93 televisions – that’s more TVs than people. With digital cable and satellite television, most people have up to 100 channels or more from which to choose programs. In addition, computers and mobile device also offer a platform for watching programs. People from all walks of life can sign up to join programs that allow companies like Neilson to monitor viewing habits across all platforms and receive compensation for their time.

Often online surveys and paid surveys are part of the data gathering process about how, why, when and what television is enjoyed by consumers. Each time a consumer will take surveys for money and share television opinions, advertisers, television networks and other service providers gain valuable information that make the experience better for all.