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How Much Money Can I Make Taking Online Surveys?

by Joel Thomas

One of the most frequently asked questions I get regarding online paid surveys is "how much can I make?" The answer to that question is not as easy or clear-cut as it may first appear.

First of all, let me get one thing straight. You will NOT get rich taking online surveys. In fact, you may not make any money at all. I will also be very honest with you: it's not the best way to make money online by a long shot.


Okay, let me explain. You see, even though I run this site and try to help people in their efforts to make some extra spending money taking online paid surveys, I also realize that survey taking is like an entry-level job. Entry level jobs play an important role in society. They help people who have little experience get some work-force experience or those who are just getting started in the job market to make some money. Entry-level jobs can also serve well for those who only need to make some extra, part-time income. But no one has any dreams of striking it rich flipping burgers at McDonalds.

Likewise, no one is going to get rich taking paid surveys online. Yet, it fills a role and a need. If you are reading this, you are probably looking for ways to make some money online. That means you don't have any experience. Just like a kid out of high school needs to take a job flipping burgers for a while before he moves on to managing people or doing executive work, so you might want to try something easy like online surveys before you try to open an online store.

Here are the reasons taking paid surveys is a good to place to start in your efforts to make money online:

  • It requires no initial investment (if you use my free site);
  • it does not require any special expertise other than knowing how to surf, click buttons and open email;
  • it is something you can do with very little time commitment once you get set up; plus
  • it is very flexible.

The trade-off for all this "easyness" is that you are limited in what you can earn. Although you may be able to earn the equivalent of $20 an hour if you get paid $5 for a 15 minute survey, the reality is that you aren't going to have hundreds of those 15 minute surveys all neatly stacked up, waiting for you to finish them off one by one. The reality is that you may only get that one 15 minute survey for that day. And the next day you may spend 20 minutes taking surveys where you didn't qualify for any payout.

The bottom line is this: You can make money taking paid surveys, but don't expect it to be a lot. When I was doing them a lot, I think the most I made was $300 in one month. That's all I was after -- some "funny money" to play golf with and go out to eat a couple times. Usually I made closer to $150 a month. While you may hear stories of some people making over a thousand dollars a month doing surveys, that is by far the exception. The cruel reality is that most people make less than $100 a month and many give up in frustration before they make a dime.

Part of the reason is that the market has become more saturated with online survey takers in the last couple of years. The Market Research Companies can now be much more selective and only go after the people who truly fit the profile they need. And with more people vying for the same number of surveys, that means less survey opportunities for each person and less money for everyone. The bad global economy has also led many companies to slash their advertising and Market research budgets. That means less surveys available and more people looking to get in on the bandwagon - not a good combination.

I still recommend you give survey taking a try, but if you want to make more than just extra spending money, you will have to look at other ways. I myself moved on from survey taking about 4 years ago. I then spent almost 2 years figuring out all the other ways you can make money online. Then I spent another year trying most of them out and seeing which ones worked and which ones didn't. I now can honestly say that I have pretty much done it all and have lost a lot of money as well as made a few small fortunes. Through a process of trial and error, I am now making a decent living online.

If you would like to find out more about other ways of making an online income, you can join my mailing list.

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Joel Thomas lives in southern Arizona with his lovely wife, their 6 children, a Golden Retriever and about 10 fish. Besides computer programming, Joel enjoys golf, gardening and trout fishing. You can contact Joel via email: JoelThomas AT