How to make some serious extra cash with focus groups

How to make some serious extra cash with focus groups
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If you want to bring in extra money without a long-term commitment, then you might want to look into participating in a consumer focus group.

Focus groups are a great way to earn extra cash while sharing your opinion or knowledge on various topics. Essentially, you get paid to give your honest and focused feedback on consumer products or services that require some extra tweaking before heading to market.

Why it’s worth your time

And the best part? You get paid, usually in cash, for just a couple hours of your time. I’ve participated in three different consumer panels over the past few years, one about marinade labeling, another about a thermal cup design and a third about credit union branding. Each panel took approximately two hours of my evening, and I received between $100 – $150 for my valuable opinions. (And to be honest, but they were actually really fun.)

Let me paint a picture of what the experience is like. A group of 6-8 of us get seated around a conference table with a professional moderator to guide us through the research. There’s a two-way mirror along one wall, where marketing bigwigs hang on our every word. (Or more likely, a video camera.) Most of our feedback is verbal, although a small amount is written. There’s zero preparation required, so all you have to bring is your opinionated self. Also, there are snacks. Gotta love free food!

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How to make money through focus groups

  • Find a company with an outlet in your area. The company I’ve worked with has offices here in Portland, Ore., as well as Las Vegas and Seattle. Larger markets such as Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta will offer more than my own mid-size city, but you can find marketing companies almost anywhere through websites such as, and
  • Click through your area’s focus group website to fill out a profile, then browse through upcoming panels to see if you’re a good fit for any upcoming research. The key is to return to these websites every few weeks to check if any panels match your interests and demographics.
  • Once placed into a focus group, make sure to show up on time and be ready to impart opinions on stuff you might normally not think that much about. Be truthful though, as they’re paying big bucks for your thoughtful feedback.
  • Get paid. It really is this simple.

The opportunities are almost endless, and although most focus group require you to come in person, others are online. So really, there’s something for everyone!

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Consumer opinion focus groups are a great way to bring in extra money without the commitment of a traditional job. Perfect for those who need to work from home or choose to limit their commitments. Market researchers need this consumer feedback before rolling out their products and services, so you’re helping to keep half-baked ideas from reaching the market. Plus, it’s a fun way to spend an evening adding money into your wallet instead of draining it.

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