Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.
Looking for an easy way to earn some extra cash on the side? Participating in market research could be just the thing for you.
However, finding out where to sign up and how to join in could be a bit of a pain.
To help you on your way, we’ve done a bit of research and found a few basics guidelines to help you make money from focus groups.
Focus groups are a method of conducting market research where companies gain insight into consumer opinions and behaviour through a planned discussion with a pre-selected diverse demographic.
They are normally conducted as a series of gatherings where the subject remains constant, but the participants vary.
Since focus groups encourage participants to share their thoughts and opinions openly in a relaxed environment, companies tend to value the feedback as honest and reliable.
While the term traditionally refers to a physical gathering of people mentioned above, focus groups may also be conducted online or over the telephone.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what to expect from each:
There are two main types of online focus group – the one mimicking the traditional version through video conferencing technology and the other requiring participants to complete a series of virtual tasks.
While the former doesn’t require too much explanation, the latter is specifically aimed at tracking and documenting online user experience.
During these focus groups, participants are typically expected to interact with a website, react to an advertisement, view a video etc. While conducting the task, the participant’s webcam records his/her facial expressions and, at the same time, specially designed software records every action taking place on the screen. After this, the participant will answer a few survey questions based on their task.
Telephonic focus groups work on exactly the same premise as physical discussion groups, with the only difference being that they’re conducted via conference call.
A strong contingent of researchers believe that this may be the preferred method of leading a focus group, as participants would typically be in the comfort of their own home but also able to respond more spontaneously than they would online.
Focus groups can really cover any topic under the sun. A few common examples include:
There are currently lots of companies in the UK conducting focus groups for companies, so choosing the right one isn’t easy.
In an extensive online search, the following three proved to be the most informative, accessible and user-friendly:
People for Research have been recruiting members of the public to take part in paid research studies and usability testing across the UK and overseas for the last 25 years.
What you can expect to earn: Anything from £25 – £250 per focus group. The average is £40 for one hour.
Check out the People for Research website for more information.
Take Part in Research is designed to help people get involved in research projects that require more input than just a simple questionnaire. Their members take part in market research conversations of 30 minutes to 2 hours in length. They offer both group and one-on-one discussion opportunities.
What you can expect to earn: £20 on sign up and £5-£10 each month after.
Check out the Take Part in Research website for more details.
With the slogan ‘Take part, give your opinion, earn money’ Paid Focus Group is pretty upfront about what it is they do.
What you can expect to earn: Projects typically pay anything from £10 to £350.
Check out the Paid Focus Group website for more details.
Signing up to be a focus group participant is normally as easily as filling out a form with all your basic details (normally: age, gender, location, mobile number, email address etc.) and creating a profile on the company’s website.
The hardest part? Probably the waiting game that is sure to follow. You may not be selected to participate in a focus group immediately, but patience will pay off, as you will surely fit the profile at one point or another.
If you’re looking to make money from focus groups, there are a few things you should consider:
Once you’ve been recruited for a focus group, you will need to set that time (anything from an hour to a couple of days) aside and commit to the entire process in order to receive your payment. If you have a demanding fulltime job or family responsibilities that take up a lot of time, you may want to reconsider.
If you want to make a lot of money in a short period of time, you’ll be bitterly disappointed.
However, if you’re simply looking to earn a bit of extra cash on the odd occasion, focus groups are ideal.