Completing specialized surveys for a side revenue stream

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capitalG
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Completing specialized surveys for a side revenue stream

Post by capitalG » Sun Mar 20, 2016 12:41 am

A few years ago I started receiving online surveys soliciting my professional opinion on a few targeted topics - I'm in a specialized field where megacorps are interested in selling me fairly expensive products and the surveys are from third-party firms that ask things like "what would I think of a product that did X", "what are the biggest problems I see with Y", etc. These surveys typically offer an honorarium of $50-$150 each and may take 15-30 mins to complete. I used to occasionally (1-2/year) complete a survey if I was stuck in line at the DMV, etc but in 2015 I decided to try to complete every survey that met a certain bar (e.g. compensation is >$X/hour, taking surveys would not impact me professionally, could be done during otherwise wasted time, etc) and see if it was a worthwhile revenue stream. I just did my taxes for 2015 and was surprised to see my survey total reach ~$1200, making me wonder if this is worth taking this to the next level (e.g. accepting invitations for phone and/or in person interviews that pay >$, responding to invites for surveys from new firms, etc) and if it could be a regular side revenue stream.

I feel strange discussing this topic with my colleagues but I'm sure I'm not the only one to participate in such surveys - I'm fairly certain the firms originally got my contact info from a conference or professional association group. Does anyone here participate in these specialized surveys? And if so, how did you decide your level of involvement and how worthwhile have you found it to be? And are there any watchouts that I should consider before deciding my future level of involvement?

terran
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Re: Completing specialized surveys for a side revenue stream

Post by terran » Sun Mar 20, 2016 1:26 am

Sounds like a good deal if you happen to be in a highly sought after profession for survey companies. You might find this recent guest post on the White Coat Investor interesting: http://whitecoatinvestor.com/taking-sur ... ake-money/

ResearchMed
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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: Completing specialized surveys for a side revenue stream

Post by ResearchMed » Sun Mar 20, 2016 9:24 am

capitalG wrote:A few years ago I started receiving online surveys soliciting my professional opinion on a few targeted topics - I'm in a specialized field where megacorps are interested in selling me fairly expensive products and the surveys are from third-party firms that ask things like "what would I think of a product that did X", "what are the biggest problems I see with Y", etc. These surveys typically offer an honorarium of $50-$150 each and may take 15-30 mins to complete. I used to occasionally (1-2/year) complete a survey if I was stuck in line at the DMV, etc but in 2015 I decided to try to complete every survey that met a certain bar (e.g. compensation is >$X/hour, taking surveys would not impact me professionally, could be done during otherwise wasted time, etc) and see if it was a worthwhile revenue stream. I just did my taxes for 2015 and was surprised to see my survey total reach ~$1200, making me wonder if this is worth taking this to the next level (e.g. accepting invitations for phone and/or in person interviews that pay >$, responding to invites for surveys from new firms, etc) and if it could be a regular side revenue stream.

I feel strange discussing this topic with my colleagues but I'm sure I'm not the only one to participate in such surveys - I'm fairly certain the firms originally got my contact info from a conference or professional association group. Does anyone here participate in these specialized surveys? And if so, how did you decide your level of involvement and how worthwhile have you found it to be? And are there any watchouts that I should consider before deciding my future level of involvement?
Some years ago, I somehow got on a list about evaluating cars.
(My work has nothing to do with cars, other than perhaps that I often drove to work.)

One event was an evening focus group. It was pretty intense, in that the focus group leader really seemed to be trying to get opinions and not just chit chat. The divergence of opinion was fascinating.

Another time, it involved going to what seemed to be a private car showroom, and inspecting a variety of actual "cars with future developments" inside. We were to sit inside, fiddle with the instruments for ease of use, clarity, etc. I forget now if they also asked about things like overall appearance or comfort.

Each paid several hundred dollars (and that was when a hundred dollars actually bought something :wink: ).
Then it all stopped.

It was actually very interesting.
I did it more out of curiosity than for the money, but it was half decent pin money nevertheless.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

desiderium
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Re: Completing specialized surveys for a side revenue stream

Post by desiderium » Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:59 am

As a physician I receive many survey offers every day. The vast majority are thinly disguised efforts to market to me. In my field I routinely prescribe medications that cost over 100k annually to individual patients; heck, one is going to hit 1M. I feel like I have a giant target on my back. Adding these survey solicitations to my spam filter does nothing to diminish their appearance.

Cramerica
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Re: Completing specialized surveys for a side revenue stream

Post by Cramerica » Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:49 pm

I do get medical surveys and I know of fellow residents that make up to 10k a year doing this. Nice to have that 1099 income to play with in addition to a W2.

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LowER
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Re: Completing specialized surveys for a side revenue stream

Post by LowER » Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:29 am

Sometimes the Sunshine Act will apply to these.

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capitalG
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Re: Completing specialized surveys for a side revenue stream

Post by capitalG » Fri Mar 25, 2016 10:23 pm

Thanks everyone for your responses, especially the White Coat Investor link - sounds like there's quite a few people completing such surveys! I am not a physician nor completing medical surveys (which sound to be higher $ than what I am offered) but I think the advice still holds for me - I have a perception for how much your time is worth and use that to gauge if/which surveys are worth completing. Keeping track of the surveys for tax purposes is/will be a bit of an administrative pain but obviously necessary. Money aside, I also agree with the comments about another driver being intellectual curiosity - these surveys are sometimes quite random (e.g. company X and Y are merging, what should the call the new company) and stimulating (making me think about why I make certain decisions and if its not more habit than logic). I will stay the course!

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