Here’s Why Focus Groups Are an Ideal Side Hustle

By Amanda Finn

Without committing to a new routine or schedule, focus groups offer the incentive of a side hustle without the time burden.

Scour Craigslist on any given day in a major metropolitan area and you’re bound to see a plethora of focus group listings. Topics from fast food to car preferences, technology to mock juries, businesses of all kinds rely on the honest opinions of strangers—and they’ll pay for it.

Focus groups can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or even a full day. They can happen in person, by phone or online and they can be extremely lucrative. Not all will be worth the time investment, but $200 for an hour talking about your last vacation? That’s not so bad.

In the gig economy, $200/hour is nothing to sneeze at and experts in the art of the side hustle are quick to defend the power of the focus group for freelancers or nine-to-fivers alike.


Why focus groups?

When it comes to the hustle Nick Loper (@nloper), chief hustler at SideHustleNation.com is one who knows his way around them. He even did a round-up of 10 of the best paying online focus groups back in 2017.

“I’ve been on several paid consumer research gigs, and they’re always interesting,” Loper said when asked about his experience with focus groups. “The first one was super random. Back in 2005 or 2006, a woman approached me in the parking garage of my condo in Atlanta and asked if I wanted to get paid to drink beer … and if I had any friends who might be interested as well. So I went to taste test this new beer with a couple friends and we got paid $75 each!”

MillennialMoney.com (@MillennialMoney) goes so far as to ask whether focus groups are the perfect side hustle.

In the article by Grant Sabatier (@sabatier), founder of Millennial Money and author of Financial Freedom, he ultimately decides they might not be the best side hustle, but their relative value certainly makes focus groups a great option.

“In most cases focus groups are actually a lot of fun, because not only do you get paid for your opinions, you also get to make a real difference,” according to Sabatier’s article. “Your voice matters and your input is actively used by the companies hiring out the focus group firm, so you get to influence what products may be coming to store shelves soon.”

Loper agrees that focus groups are still a viable and valuable part of the marketing process in the world today.

“One-on-one conversations with customers are always helpful,” he explained.

Getting started.

Thanks to the internet there are a lot of ways to aggregate market research organizations. Craigslist is an option, but there are several lists of viable companies to sort through in articles like this one by Crowdworknews.com.

To make the most out of your time, do not fill out surveys unless they’re screeners for qualified focus group participants. Surveys where you might win some cash aren’t the most efficient side hustles.

If you refer back to Loper’s list of ten high paying online focus group companies, you’ll have a great start to your focus group journey. Especially because online focus groups are much more convenient than in-person ones.

Loper acknowledges that the online studies are harder to come by, however, so be prepared for your focus group adventures to take place largely in person. And know that, while lucrative, focus group income is unreliable income.

“I definitely wouldn’t consider it an income stream to rely on, but it’s a nice little bonus if you have the free time,” Loper added.

That said, earning $100 or $200 at a time for market research definitely adds up.

Focus groups can be a lot of fun and very interesting, especially when discussing things you genuinely care about. Remember, when filling out screeners there are no wrong answers. The research organizations want a variety of viewpoints.

And even if you aren’t chosen for a group every time, don’t be discouraged. There are a lot of opportunities out there.

Later on in his article, Sabatier recommends checking out FocusGroup.com for a well-rounded collection of open focus group opportunities across many areas of interest and parts of the country.

Use that extra money wisely.

Sabatier also advises investing at least 50 percent of your focus group income at a time to further expand upon your hustling nest egg. And if you don’t have an emergency fund already, that’s another great place for you to put your side hustle money.

The more money you can earn and the more savings you can build, the less likely you’ll be to get caught flat-footed by an unexpected bill or financial shortfall, relying on short-term bad credit loans and no credit check loans (like payday loans, title loans, and cash advances) to make ends meet.

To learn more about how you can increase your earning power, check out these other posts and articles from OppLoans:

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Contributors

Nick Loper (@nloper) helps people earn money outside of their day job. He’s an author, online entrepreneur, and host of the “Best Business Podcast”-nominated Side Hustle Show, which features new part-time business ideas each week. As Chief Side Hustler at SideHustleNation.com, he loves deconstructing the tactics and strategies behind building extra income streams.

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