As the cost of gas, groceries, and college tuition continues to go sky-high, with no apparent end in sight, you may be thinking of ways to earn some extra cash. Perhaps you like the idea of a side hustle and a bigger bank account and hope to find something you can do on your own time, from the comfort of home. One option is by taking online paid surveys.
The process of taking online paid surveys is rather straightforward: you take surveys on your smartphone or other device and answer questions on a variety of topics. Upon completion, you’ll be rewarded with cash or gift cards.
To ensure your online paid survey experience goes as smoothly as possible, keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind:
Do: Sign Up with Reputable Companies
Googling “online paid surveys” can take you down a rabbit hole of websites and opportunities, which may leave you feeling more overwhelmed than enthusiastic. Fortunately, there are a number of reputable and reliable companies out there that offer paid surveys. As you research your options, watch for companies that reward people for taking surveys with cash, gift cards, or the opportunity to cash out with PayPal or a Visa gift card.
In most cases, you can sign up on the website and start earning money right away. If you opt for the cash option, you can use it to pay your bills or other necessary household expenses. Or, if you’re hoping to set aside money for college tuition, you could invest your online survey income into a 529 plan, a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage saving for future education costs.
Don’t: Fib in Your Profile or Replies
Some people who earn money taking online paid surveys may register with the same company using multiple email addresses and create several profiles. Others may lie on their demographic profile to try to qualify for more surveys and/or rush through the surveys. Then there are those who routinely check off random answers to finish as quickly as possible. Needless to say, this is not the right approach to online paid surveys. Companies use these survey results for various marketing and research purposes. Thus, it’s important to take the process seriously and answer the questions truthfully — with a single profile per company.
Do: Take Regular Breaks
Although it may be tempting to complete multiple surveys on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop while your favorite tunes or TV shows play in the background, doing so may leave you with a headache or eye strain. Take regular breaks by walking around your house or going outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air. Or, if you’re taking an especially lengthy online paid survey, try the 20/20/20 rule to prevent eyestrain. This rule suggests taking a 20-second break from the screen every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away.
Don’t: Share Private Information
Your opinion matters for online paid surveys, but that doesn’t mean you need to turn over private information like your Social Security number or driver’s license number. Any website that asks for this type of sensitive data in order to participate is likely not on the up and up, and you should immediately leave the website. Additionally, if a survey asks you for personal information that makes you feel uncomfortable — for instance, questions about your health history or credit rating — by all means “X” out of the website.
Do: Get a Dedicated Email
Once you get started taking online paid surveys, you may notice an upswing in the number of emails you receive from each site. To help manage your side hustle and keep your survey work separate from your regular emails, consider creating a new email address dedicated to your survey work. This will also help you to stay organized and ensure that a survey offer doesn’t get lost in your personal email inbox.
Know That Your Opinion Definitely Matters
For people wanting to earn a bit of extra money on the side, signing up for online paid surveys can be a great option. By making sure you register with reputable companies, being honest, and not disclosing any personal information, companies will get the important data they need to make informed business decisions, all while you take home some extra cash. Indeed, it’s a win-win for everyone.