Now, what i’m about to tell you is hands down the easiest way to make some money for your back pocket. Pocket money if you will. If you live in one of the big cities (London, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol especially), look no further than participating in research sessions and focus groups.

Companies big and small are constantly developing new products, websites and ideas that they want to test with actual consumers before they launch onto the market. They want good quality feedback that they can use to improve their business, so they will pay good money to people who can provide it.

The feedback they actually get from these sessions in my experience isn’t necessarily great, but that’s none of our concern. It’s an easy way to make some extra cash, so should be grabbed.

Signing Up

There are quite a few agencies that specialise in placing people with specific characteristics in client funded research projects. Simply sign-up with an agency like these guys, or these, or this friendly bunch. Once you’ve done that and have set up a profile explaining a bit more about yourself, you will be invited to apply for upcoming sessions.

As you might imagine, there are many more people interested in taking part than there are available places, but I have managed to average being selected for 2 sessions per week on average for the last 2 months.

But how?

How To Get Selected

It is largely a numbers game. The more applications you make, the better your chances of being selected are.

But, beyond this, there is value in gaming your application answers slightly to giver you the best chance of succeeding.

Often you’ll see questions along the lines of ‘On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident are you in using new technology?’ I have tried answering these questions several ways and without doubt have more success with unambiguously positive answers. Also, it has the side benefit of being true, which can help if ever probed further.

Often, recruiters will be looking for relevant people for a particular subject. Try to pre-empt this by saying that you use all the products and services listed so as to appear as useful a potential participant as possible.

Word to the wise, if you are fresh of face and claim to be something you quite clearly aren’t (a pensioner for example) you won’t get paid.

On The Day

Once you are selected, be sure to offer constructive, detailed feedback during the session itself and you might be invited back again. This has earned me a hundred or so quid per week for months on end. Typically this is in the form of cash in the hand, sometimes bank transfers or amazon vouchers.

Under no circumstances make any statements that could be construed as racist; as one chap did on a recent session I was involved in. You won’t be invited back.