See this swag? I got this for sharing my honest opinions on tea. Yep, that's all I had to do and I was served orange juice, coffee, freshly made ham and salad sandwiches (I could have had a vego option if I preferred) and home baked chocolate cake while I did so!
The voucher card you see there is valued at $70, and I don't know the value of the tea and the wooden teaches, but who doesn't like free samples, especially ones that last!
Yesterday I went to my first focus group this decade. The last time I went to a focus group was way back in the early 1990s, and back then, you were lucky to get a drink. There were no samples or reimbursments - well, at least not for the one I went to.
Still and all I remember enjoying discussing the product (back then it was telecommunications) and feeling that my opinion might actually reach the ears of the people who decided what kind of product I would receive in the marketplace.
I'm an opinionated person (just ask me, I'll tell you), and I certainly have opinions on the products I choose or try. Like most people, I like to get value for money, and I also don't like to be bullshitted by advertisers - so having the opportunity to possibly influence ad pitches just kind of gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling!
The best bit (besides being paid in cash or products) is that I'm not expected to act as an agent for the company I'm doing the focus group for! I don't have to sell anything!
I'll concede that if I want to work from home, I'm eventually going to have to be a seller of someone else's product (unless I discover some new and wonderful skill I have that people might want to buy - I keep looking!), but for now doing focus groups allows me to simply speak my mind, maybe be influential and get some income of value to my family.
I've only just signed up with a company that recruits people for focus groups, and as I understand it, once you've done one focus group some companies require a period of up to 12 months before they will allow you to participate in one of their focus groups, however, other companies have no such restrictions, so there is the possibility of regular additional income into the household. Cash reimbursements seem to hover around the $50-70 range for 1-1.5 hours work.
Many focus groups occur in the evening (so after work hours, when it's easier to get babysitting), some during the day, and some even come to your home to interview you!
I would love to be able to do 10 of these a week and make that my main source of income, that would be cool! For now though, I'm basking in the afterglow of yesterday's experience - and I think I'll go make myself a cup of tea!