Get ready. This episode is packed with content and unveils the truth about a little known and misunderstood money making opportunity. In this episode of the Part-Time Money Podcast, I speak with two different people about interesting world of focus groups.
Interview with FindFocusGroups.com
First, I speak with Danny DiGiovanni, owner and creator of FindFocusGroups.com. Danny’s site acts as a hub for legitimate focus group opportunities. Danny shares about the origins of the site, and how to use it affectively.
Interview with a Professional Focus Group Participant
In the second part of the podcast, I speak with a woman who is currently a full time focus group participant. She drops some serious knowledge on us. She is making around $1,000 a week from her efforts. She reveals exactly how she’s doing it, and she gives some solid advice to others who might just want to do this on a more part-time basis to earn $100 extra a week for a few hours work.
Listen to the Podcast
Interview with a Part-Time Focus Group Participant
Finally, I also conducted an email interview with another user of FindFocusGroups.com. Her name is Angie. Here is the interview:
1. How and why did you get started participating in focus groups?
I’ve been an active participant in some couponing blogs in my area for the past few years. I have a daughter who has some medical issues, making it hard to be able to hold down a full-time job, and am always looking for ways to help my family’s bottom line. One of the blogs mentioned focus groups and mystery shops as a legitimate way to earn extra income. The blog also gave guidelines to avoid scams. I enjoy talking to people and giving my opinions on subjects, so why not? I signed up for a local company after researching their background, did my first group, and was hooked.
2. Why did you turn to Find Focus Groups to help you find groups to participate in?
I usually spend some time on a blog first to gage it’s purpose before I participate in any of its suggestions, especially ones that recommend sites for part-time income. Find Focus Groups was listed, along with other sites for freelancers, and was noted for nationwide studies, which greatly expands my opportunities for qualifying for a particular study. I’m pretty technologically savvy, and wanted a chance to qualify for mobile applications and online testing. Find Focus Groups has allowed me to find those legitimate companies – all in one safe location. I do not worry about being scammed when I search their site.
3. How many focus groups do you do a month and how much are you making from this?
I would prefer not to discuss the number of focus groups that I have done, or talk about them, because it would violate any confidentiality agreement that I have signed with those companies. These companies depend on me to keep their secrets and to be honest. I will tell you, though, that in the past two years my husband and I have been doing focus groups, we’ve been able to save enough to take our kids for their first trip to Disneyworld over Thanksgiving – something we never would have been able to do without them.
4. Have you ever run into any scams?
I have been very lucky; the blogs I’ve been involved with all say the same thing. Never, ever go with a company that asks for money up front. Anytime I see that, I immediately flag it as a scam. Legitimate focus groups never ask you to pay them to join their panels. Find Focus Groups offers a safe haven and a comprehensive list of companies that offer a wide variety of panels, and never asks for a single dime in return.
5. Do you have any insider tips for someone looking to get started with doing focus groups for extra cash?
Do your research and find the legitimate companies in your area first. If need be, call them personally to verify. Sign up with them, and give your cell phone number first. Companies who don’t get a hold of you immediately will go on to someone else, and you’ll have missed out on an opportunity to qualify for a study. And always go to findfocusgroups.com to check out the nationwide studies. Don’t give up – it really works!
To read the transcript click show
Welcome to the Part-Time Money Podcast, Episode 2: Making Money as a Focus Group Participant. I am your host, Philip Taylor, creator of PT Money Personal Finance. In this episode of the Part-Time Money Podcast, we are going to be talking about focus group participation and how you can make some extra money doing that. The interview is 2 parts. I am going to be talking with the owner of findfocusgroups.com who has got a legitimate site where you can search through focus group opportunities. I am also going to be talking with a professional focus group participant, someone who does this on a full-time basis. Yes you can have a full-time income from doing focus groups. It seems hard to believe, but this is something that someone actually does. So, we are going to get the ins and outs of how the industry actually works, so even if you just want to do it on a part-time basis a couple of extra hours a month, there will be some good insights in here for you as to how to do it properly.
Just up front, a focus group is an opportunity corporations give individuals to participate in a quick study or a survey to find out information about their products or their service, to see how it is received in the industry, and so they will pay you for your time, your participation. Sometimes you need to come into an office to do this focus group, sometimes you can just do it over a phone call, or sometimes it can just be a quick email. So, there are different levels of participation, but we are going to be finding out the specifics about the industry. There are a lot of scams out there involved with this industry, and so I have searched for people who are on the up and up, doing this legitimately. It will be good to hear from them. So, thanks for joining me today, and let’s just jump right into the interview with Danny DiGiovanni who is the owner of findfocusgroups.com.
Philip Taylor: You guys have been around since ’06, so have you been on board the whole time?
Danny DiGiovanni: Yeah, I founded everything. It kind of started in 2005 where I had joined a few focus groups myself, and I kind of thought, “I wish there was a resource where I could find legitimate ones” because the ones I found were on craigslist, but half the ones I would apply to were something where they wanted me to pay money, and obviously it was some sort of scam or some sort of thing that I could not really trust. So, it was just kind of one of those things where there was a problem, and this could be a solution, so I created it.
Philip Taylor: Wow! How did you have the wherewithal or the knowledge or I guess the insight to be able to do that, to do what you have done with the site so far?
Danny DiGiovanni: Sure. Sure. So, I guess there is a technical aspect of it. I have been doing websites since high school, and they were always kind of just for fun or say a friend or relative needed a website, and I would be the one, kind of the go-to guy for that. So, I always had a little bit of knowledge as far as creating websites and that sort of thing. So, I knew I had the technical capabilities to do it. And I am in the L.A. area, so I would browse around for focus groups in L.A. When you start looking, you do see a pattern of what is kind of a scam or spam, almost similar to what you see in your e-mail inbox in your spam folder, kind of the same sort of warning signs. As I would look in other parts of the country, I would see the same thing. So, just taking that all in, I would sort of see what was real and what wasn’t. Some things you can tell. If there is a phone number, some of the companies will list their information and their company name, you can kind of do some fact checking on them to make sure that they are legitimate.
Philip Taylor: Okay. That is good. Do you make any type of guarantee with the site that places are legitimate?
Danny DiGiovanni: You know what, we tell our users that everything is manually submitted. We do not scrape anything. Nothing is put in here without passing our eyeballs, so we are always looking over every sort of post and making sure that it meets our guidelines. However, with that, sometimes, and it is very rare, one will pass through where it is just not as legitimate as we thought it was. We do always recommend to our users (it is in our disclaimers, and we always periodically remind them) that if something looks too good to be true or does not seem right, it probably isn’t. We always recommend they use their best judgment. We do have some things in line where they can report it. So, if our users are noticing something suspicious, or if it is just not right, there is a button where they can report it on our website, so we get notified of that, and then we will investigate and make any other changes that we need to, yeah.
Philip Taylor: Awesome! I love the look of the site. It is real clean. It is real simple. I mean it is easy to navigate. I sort of played around with it for my city locally. There are to me not many barriers to entry in terms of getting on board with a focus group.
Danny DiGiovanni: Right.
Philip Taylor: So, whenever you do I guess let someone know that you are available for a survey, what is the normal process after that point?
Danny DiGiovanni: You know, we made it real easy. We realized the people we’re trying to reach. There is a term in the focus group or market research industry called focus group professionals, and we are not trying to cater towards them. What they are is they are the people that kind of do that as their day job. Every focus group is about $75 for an hour or 2 of your time. So, if you do a couple of these a week or a month, it is pretty good income. However, market research companies, they don’t want that. They want a casual focus group respondent, maybe somebody that does it a few times a year. A lot of them actually have systems in place where they only want somebody who has done a focus group more than 6 months ago or not at all to kind of cut down on that.
Philip Taylor: I see.
Danny DiGiovanni: We are on the market researcher’s side of that. You know, obviously we know some people, and there is a percentage that use our services to go to as many as they can to participate in as many as they can. We want the people to when they see a Domino’s commercial about their focus group say, “Hey, what’s a focus group? How can I do one?” You know they Google it. We are the second result right under Wikipedia. So, they check us out, and they are like, “Okay, well there is one in my city or my area, and that’s how they do it.” We have found that we really did not want to require registration or anything like that. A lot of our users are doing it just for fun, and we feel like just creating barriers would harm the experience on both ends of it. You know when people see a signup form, they get turned off a little bit. That would result in less people responding to the surveys. So, in everybody’s interest we just want to make it free and easy to use.
Philip Taylor: I see. I see. So, how much do you think a consumer could make off of doing these focus groups on a monthly basis?
Danny DiGiovanni: On a monthly basis, like I said about the professional focus group respondents, but some companies I should say don’t mind if you do them often – some do and some don’t. What the professionals do (sorry I am jumping back – I just want to make it clear) a lot of them will sort of sculpt their answers to where they appear like they qualify for a survey or a focus group even though they don’t. So, it could be for Toyota owners, and they are like, “Well, I am just going to say I have a Toyota just so I can participate in that.”
Philip Taylor: I see.
Danny DiGiovanni: So, we are always looking for the honest people, and it helps everybody out that way. So, with that said, if you do honestly and legitimately qualify for a few focus groups a month, you could easily make around $250. I would say the average is about $75 to $100 per focus group, and that is usually for about an hour to 2 hours of your time.
Philip Taylor: Well, this is perfect for someone who just has that hour or 2 hours a month and maybe wants to bring in a couple of hundred extra dollars.
Danny DiGiovanni: Absolutely.
Philip Taylor: So this is good, and it is good to know that there is a place like this they can count on that is a legit place that is going to send them to reputable places.
Danny DiGiovanni: Exactly.
Alright, that does it for my interview with Danny. Let’s jump into this next interview with a woman who I said was a full-time focus group participant.
Philip Taylor: Alright, I’m here today with a woman, and she is a user of findfocusgroups.com, and she has been making money online now for a little while doing focus group opportunities, and so I wanted to kind of pick her brain and see how it actually works, how much you can actually make, and kind of what all is involved, and maybe she will give us some secret tips as well. So, welcome.
Woman: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Philip Taylor: Well, so tell me a little bit about your experience with doing focus groups. How did you get started doing this?
Woman: Well, ironically enough I am from the corporate world and had decided that I needed to spend some more time at home, but I still wanted to be able to bring some income into the house. And so I looked around for a variety of different online opportunities, things that came and went, didn’t work and really discovered that I wanted to start my own business, and that business was revolving more and more around what I was seeing on craigslist and other websites about participating in focus groups, and so I started to do some research and discovered that I was a pretty good demographic for what many of the market research companies were looking for. I live in a pretty target rich region of the country, living in the Bay Area where they conduct quite a bit of research. And so I started reaching out online and researching companies like findfocusgroups.com that had compiled data on not just local opportunities for me but also national opportunities, and that is a huge component to my monthly income that I bring in. I average, just to give you a pretty broad picture of what my income looks like, I gross about $1200 a week working focus groups, and when I say gross I mean that that is what I earn. But then, because I take this as a business, I will then peel out the expenses of travel and things of that nature that would be considered an expense to a business, and so that is how I come up with my gross versus my net numbers for my business.
Philip Taylor: I see.
Woman: By using findfocusgroups.com and other resources that are out there on the internet, I have developed relationships with a variety of different market research companies thanks to findfocusgroups.com, and now they specifically seek me out and will e-mail me, ask me if I want to participate. Generally now my average is I do 8-10 in-person focus groups a week, and then I do anywhere between 2 and 5 online groups during the week as well.
Philip Taylor: I see. When you say in-person, what does that involve, driving somewhere and doing something?
Woman: Yes. That is being in a physical focus group where there is a moderator. It may be a one-on-one. It might be a usability test. It may be a focus group where there are 4-12 people exchanging ideas with a moderator. Generally they are done in companies that are recognized names in market research like you know of several of them that are on the findfocusgroups.com site that you recognize. I have a great deal of success. It really was findfocusgroups.com that actually opened my eyes to the broader opportunity.
Philip Taylor: Okay. Okay. Wow! I think a lot of people who are hearing this are going to be impressed first off with your weekly income numbers, and then it sounds like you have some room to grow here in your ability to actually make this a full-time business.
Woman: Oh absolutely. I am making it a full-time business. I am now teaching others. I am recruiting others to participate, taking what information that I have gleaned and trying to pay it forward and help folks out by referral. I refer many people to your website, and of course I teach some of the insider stuff, resources that are out there that most individuals would think are locked resources or prohibited by the general public that you can actually access and get some really great detail on. For instance, the American Marketing Association actually publishes their membership directory, and so if you are inclined and motivated, you can certainly gain a great deal of information from using those resources as well. And the benefit with trying to go those routes, every angle I pursue, the ultimate goal for me is trying to obtain some nugget of personal information about a specific company so that I can use it as a jumping off point for developing a relationship with them.
Philip Taylor: I see. So, I would assume with a focus group a company would want different people from different backgrounds for every different study, so help me understand why they would want to work with someone who does this on a full-time basis.
Woman: Well there a couple of different reasons. First off, I would never apply for a research project or a study that I don’t have something to offer, number one.
Philip Taylor: Okay.
Woman: I run into a lot of people that do try to do this as a living and are making a living, and they see it as a quick buck. It really diminishes the quality representation that I like to bring to the table which is I am informed, I am communicative. If for instance I am working with a company that they have seen me 3 or 4 times, they know who I am. They will obviously say have you done this before; when was the last time you did a research project? I will tell them I just did a project with you 6 months ago or 3 months ago. There is so much work here that it is very easy for me to cycle it out and be working continuously and not hit the same company every 2-3 months. But, in a smaller regional graphic, what I find is that if I have done a study for say toilet paper, and now they are calling me about credit cards, well the person that is making the decision about whether or not they want to consider me as a candidate for the study is not the research organization; it is the client. And so, the client is the one that I am interested in knowing what their feelings are.
Philip Taylor: I see.
Woman: So, companies will say when you send in a study and you are filling out the survey, please don’t apply if you have done this in 6 months or so, I always am honest and say that I have done a study if I have. But then I also qualify that by saying I don’t believe, however, that the study that you are talking about me participating in is really anything remotely akin to what you are currently sourcing for.
Philip Taylor: I see.
Woman: And so, what will happen is if they say we are going to put you on a hold list or something of that nature, I will say, “Sure. That’s great. I think that’s fine. If you could please ask the client for me and see what their thoughts are, and if I could get your number, I would like to call you back, and maybe we can discuss it further.” And so, they are in my tickler. I go back to them in 4 days, depending upon the timelines – sometimes they are recruiting under 48 hours before a study – but I will give them a quick call back and see what the client had to say. And, what I have done is I have forced them into taking some type of action because we all want to help each other, and the recruiter’s job is to fill that study and to do it in the quickest way possible and the least painless possible way. And so, if I can offer them a solution, then they might take that solution. Last week is a perfect example. This past week was a fairly large week. It was a $1400 week for me. Three of the studies that I did were actually done by me coming off of a hold list where I called back and said, “So have you had a chance to talk with the client about what my prior focus group experience is and if they feel that it would interfere with this current project that they are working on.” “No. I’m glad you called.” And it just worked out fantastic that way. Generally that is how it works.
Philip Taylor: That’s great. That’s a good strategy it sounds like to be aggressive like that and to be available and a good communicator, and that is going to get you in a lot of doors that might otherwise not. That is a great tip, by the way. Backing up a little bit, if you were to talk to a stay-at-home mom in Houston say, how would you tell her to get started making money with focus groups?
Woman: First thing I would tell that mom is I would say, “Please stay away from the e-mails that you are going to be bombarded with by companies that are you offering points or the dollar first study or those kinds of things. It will suck the life out of you and make you become confused, so please try to avoid those types of groups.” I would say, “Please go to findfocusgroups.com and also to your local because you live in Houston and they have craigslist. Go to craigslist and start looking in the etc. tab and see what you can find there.” Oftentimes because craigslist has kind of become a known quantity around the country for companies putting out their research projects, they are starting to hide them in different places. So now they are putting them in the gig category.
Philip Taylor: Alright.
Woman: They are also putting them occasionally in volunteers. In the volunteer ones, when you find those, they are generally medical studies of some sort.
Philip Taylor: Okay.
Woman: But, they are compensated medical studies, so that’s also an option. The thing you want to do is make sure that you’ve got 4 or 5 companies that you trust that will provide you with perhaps overlapping information (hopefully it is overlapping information), and when you find them, stay with them and keep working them. So, timing is extremely important. Generally things are done on a first come, first serve basis. Because I am on the west coast, I start at about 5 o’clock in the morning here for national studies. And so, I do all of my national study work and my east coast work between the hours of 5 a.m. and 8 a.m.
Philip Taylor: Okay.
Woman: And then I will move into my more local channels and start to reach out to findfocusgroups.com, Focus Forward, SGC global I believe is another one. I don’t think it is appropriate to give away your competitors.
Philip Taylor: No. No. No. No, that’s quite alright. I actually don’t work for findfocusgroups.com. They are the focus of my interview, but if you want to mention any other sites, that’s fine.
Woman: Okay. Well, there are some great sites. What I did is I spent a great deal of time discovering how I was going to be hitting the most target-rich companies and areas. So, for instance, what many people do is mock juries. I have 3 or 4 trial jury companies that I talk to every couple of weeks, and I do a couple of them a month, maybe 4 or 5 juries a month. For me it is a good thing to do something different. I have a little bit of flexibility to do that. But for somebody that needs to really make some cash, it eats up a great deal of time, oftentimes upward of 3 days, and it really only pays you about $300. So, if I’m looking at something 2 days of work, I could make 4 times that or at least 3 times that if I was working, but sometimes it is a good way to decompress for me. So I pick and choose when I do those types of things.
Philip Taylor: I see.
Woman: I overbook. Just to let you know I do not ever cheat a company. Say for instance I have overbooked with Yahoo (I overbooked with them just last week), what ends up happening with that is I have to make a choice. I had 2 very good studies, and they were running up against each other. One was Yahoo, and one was another company. Because I have a really good relationship with the recruiter at Yahoo, I picked up the phone, and I called her and said, “I’ve got a problem. I didn’t realize this, but I may have overbooked my schedule.” “No problem. Let’s go ahead and find another time that would work for you.”
Philip Taylor: Awesome!
Woman: So really communicating with them is the best thing that you can do because every time I happen into a research group, I see there are 10 people that are supposed to be in this research group, and there are clearly only 6 of us standing there and 4 little nametags are up on a counter, and they are trying to track down these people who have just failed to respond. First off, there is no reason for it. Second off, it’s so unprofessional. There are some companies that are getting smart enough that they will blackball you. They will put you out. I would much rather pick up the phone and say, “You know what. Just shoot me in the foot. I made a mistake.” And, I have done that. But by doing that and being honest with them, I have been able to repair my relationship, and so I am hoping there isn’t a group in the Bay Area that doesn’t know who I am, but when I go to a group, I give them my absolute 100% best that I can. If they want me to be prepared with homework and collages, or they want research done, I do all of that and do it to the best of my ability. They are paying money for that. They are paying me to do something for them.
Philip Taylor: I see.
Woman: And so, I have sat in enough groups and watched people be nonchalant and almost just sitting there for the hour or 2 hours just rolling their eyes, saying pay me my money type of thing. And it really reflects poorly on all of us that try.
Philip Taylor: Right. Right.
Woman: That really are trying to do something and give positive feedback and sometimes negative feedback, but the truth either way. If I had to spread it out, about a third of the time, groups will come to my home. I have had one-on-ones where they bring stuff to the house and video cameras and then they want to tape me doing something and go to the grocery store and video tape me grocery shopping. Those are quite fun because I don’t have to go anywhere. I have allowed them into my home. I had a lot of fun with those.
Philip Taylor: It’s like you’re a mini celebrity for a little while.
Woman: Exactly. And it’s kind of fun, and I like helping. I like what I’m doing. And that’s what is important. I think you have to like it.
Philip Taylor: So, you think this is something that you could sustain for a while and would it be possible to ramp up your income any more, or do you feel like you are optimized already?
Woman: I’m not optimized already. I still have plenty more to go. I know it.
Philip Taylor: Okay.
Woman: Because I have very diligently recorded my resources, and I’m really no more than a third honestly into my research library. So, I have a long way to go before I ever exhaust all of the resources that I have.
Philip Taylor: Okay.
Woman: Now, I am 1 person, and that is the 1 drawback.
Philip Taylor: Right.
Woman: And so, I have been booking work for other people and helping them get work. That is sort of turning into a new element of my job, of what I’m doing. Now it looks like I might be doing a little bit more of that and paying it forward a little bit. Maybe that will evolve into an adjunct to the business. I don’t know. I’ve had enough people, particularly women, say, “You know you really need to be conducting seminars and teaching people how to do this.” I just never really thought about it before. But you know it very well could be something that is out there for me. I still like doing what I’m doing, and it’s not like I’ve been doing it for years. I’ve only been doing it for just about a year. It took off very fast for me.
Philip Taylor: Do you know of any other people who are doing it at your level?
Woman: Yep. I sure do. There are actually 2 other women that I network with, and what we do is we just sort of recognize each other for who we are and the skill sets that we have. One woman in particular her area of interest is not so much in focus groups as in brand ambassadoring. And so for her, she passes off the periodic, “Hey you don’t work on the weekend, right?” I’m doing focus groups all week. And so she said, “You want to do something over the weekend? Here, take this one.” And so she will hand off work over this way, and then I will say look I know all of her technology, and for instance this past week I hadn’t gotten a phone call from Ido which is a research company here in the Bay Area. They said they wanted me to do an iPad study. I said, “Well, I’d love to except my iPad is down. It’s actually at the doctor’s being fixed right now.” I said, “But you know, I have a really great friend who is just like a carbon copy of me. What do you think about maybe having her come along?” “Sure that’s great.” And so, I hooked those 2 up, and now she is doing the job.
Philip Taylor: Awesome!
Woman: And so we try to all work together. And there is a third woman, and she’s just starting, and right now she is just more on the receiving end, but she is at some point going to be I think a really great asset. I have sent her, I don’t know, 3 or 4 jobs that she is doing now this upcoming week. You know it works out. I have not spread out much beyond that because it seems like those that are really interested in doing it and being committed to it because it is a huge commitment (That is something I should say. I will get back to that.), if you can get involved in it and make the commitment to it, it will really pay off for you if you stay focused and honest and you work it. Now what I was going to say to you is that I hear a lot of these stories about people that are online who say you work in your spare time and make hundreds and hundreds. That is not what this job is like at all.
Philip Taylor: Okay.
Woman: It requires care and feeding all the time, so I work a full-time schedule, more than a full-time schedule. Like I said, I am up at about 5 in the morning when I start, and from right there it is go time. I go from there until I am out the door for studies for the day. It could be that my day ends by not getting home until 9:30 at night from the study. If that is the case, all I will do is come home and check my email to make sure that I haven’t missed anything in any of the sites, in the findfocusgroups.com site or any of the other sites, and then hit the sack and start over again.
Philip Taylor: Okay.
Woman: But there are times when I’ve not done a focus group at night, and I will work online preparing myself for future days and booking my calendar.
Philip Taylor: Awesome! It sounds like you enjoy it. To go through all that you’ve got to enjoy it.
Woman: Oh I love it. I absolutely love it. It is not just the fact that it is pretty impressive income when you think about it starting from zero to this. But it is just really interesting. I was just sitting here the other night and watching an advertisement that came on at the 5 o’clock news, and I looked up and told my husband, “Hey, that’s the toilet paper tagline that we did.” Just there it was literally, the whole “I like to feel clean.” And I thought you know what, this is just so funny. It’s nice to see it come around. By the way I also have 2 other things that I do as well. I do Userlytics. I don’t know if you’ve heard of them.
Philip Taylor: No, I haven’t.
Woman: Userlytics and EmSense. Userlytics is a company that what they do is they send what are like user tests for websites, but they are asking you to do specific tasks associated with the website and then speak out loud. You’re actually cammed up to them. You get paid in PayPal $25 each time you do it. It takes 10 minutes or so. I get about 4 or 5 of those in a week. Then also EmSense is a company that they sent me a little apparatus that actually goes around your head and hooks into a little like modem thing that then hooks to your computer, and then you’re cammed up. You are watching movie trailers, and they are actually monitoring your brainwaves are you are doing it.
Philip Taylor: Wow! How do you spell that company?
Woman: It’s EmSense. For some reason I have had this weird feeling that every time I use EmSense, if it’s sucking stuff out of my brain, what are they putting in it? This concerns me. But you know again they pay immediately. They pay anywhere between $10 and $50. It goes immediately into your PayPal. You know, it just takes care of it. I can tell you without a doubt that there is not a day that goes by that I don’t have a check coming in the mail, $100 or so. There is not a day when I don’t have some kind of earning happening of some sort.
Philip Taylor: That’s great. That’s awesome.
Woman: It can be done.
Philip Taylor: Yep. It sounds like it can. I’m really impressed by this interview. It sounds like we could delve even deeper. Maybe you and I need to put together a resource for people out there.
Woman: I would love to.
Philip Taylor: We could put your knowledge to work even more.
Woman: You know I’ve thought about it.
Philip Taylor: Are there any resources out there for people to kind of learn the ins and outs, the basics, or did you really just have to learn a lot of this yourself.
Woman: I did so much of it myself. What I learned was I learned what not to do first.
Philip Taylor: Okay.
Woman: And so by doing that, and that is getting involved in if you start to Google surveys for money, or whatever your Google words are that you want to use. You end up with Toluna and just the odd your free surveys and all the ones that get you sucked in with they’re easy studies that generally are 30 minutes long. They have sucked the life out of you by the time you are done, and you are getting 500 points, whatever that means. You are getting an entrance into a sweepstakes that I have never certainly seen anybody win. I am sure they do. I just really would much rather be in charge of my own destiny and not leave it up to some drawing. About as risky as I’ll go in that is if I’m in a study group where they say, “Hey everybody that shows up half an hour early, their name is get thrown into a pot for an extra $150 at the end.” That’s about as far as I’ll go with it.
Philip Taylor: Okay.
Woman: So the companies that aren’t offering meaningful cash, I mean really, they’re going to suck the life out of you. Eventually I think that’s how people get discouraged and ultimately stop doing it. It is because they just can’t see how this could lead to anything, and they’re right, it can’t. They have to step beyond it and look for the companies that can pay them cash money and in a meaningful way. I wouldn’t accept a job for anything $50 or under. I would never do that unless it is something that I am sitting at my computer and I know that it is going to be in my PayPal, no harm no foul. That is how I feel about that. The people that I really feel bad for are the ones that live in places like South Dakota or places where you don’t have a great big hub of market research companies that are available to you, but yet I would turn that into the advantage of I would flip the margin on my work. The vast majority of my work then would be focused on securing online jobs, and I so I would look for online and then occasionally do some kind of a face-to-face thing. Oftentimes when you do the online jobs, I’ve done a couple of them now where they’ve turned into repeat visits, 3 and 4 times, where I am now helping a company in the Bay Area build a company called Trulia that is a real estate web service.
Philip Taylor: Yeah, I’ve heard of Trulia.
Woman: Their new website, all of it came out of my head ironically enough. And I when I saw it, I was surprised. I asked them finally when I was there last week when they showed me the data, I said, “This looks like everything we talked about from the time before.” And she said, “You’re right.” She said, “We took everything that you said.” I said, “Well, this is amazing to me.” It was just so amazing. I felt so great. She said, “So you know we’re going to have you back a couple of more times so we can get the last of it picked out of your brain.” And I said, “Sure. No problem.”
Philip Taylor: It sounds like you are going to be able to transition into a business consultant job after this.
Woman: I think so. Probably. Probably. I hope so.
Philip Taylor: Well, it was so good to talk to you. This has been really valuable information for people looking to get involved with online surveys and/or focus groups who really want to know where to turn, who they can trust, and they really want to hear people who are really making money, and so I think your story and your tips and advice and resources that you have shared with us today have been invaluable for those people, so I think this is going to be a really positive interview. Thank you so much for being with me. Any last bit of advice or tips?
Woman: No. I just say go for it, be honest, do what’s in your heart, and you’re going to have to work at it, but when you do, the rewards are wonderful. They’re irreplaceable, the freedom that you get from it, the control over your life that you get from working for yourself and doing it with integrity, it’s really changed things for me coming from a pretty secure corporate world. I wouldn’t trade it for anything really.
Philip Taylor: That’s great.
Woman: I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Please do keep in touch. Love to help out anytime.
That does it for this week’s podcast. This has been Phil Taylor with the Part-Time Money Podcast. You can contact me at pt[at]ptmoney[dot]com or just visit me online at ptmoney.com. Again thanks for listening, and see you next week.