Majority of people looking for an online income probably would have started by taking surveys and attending focus groups. What is a survey? It is basically a list of questions or questionnaire prepared by market research companies hired by large corporations, seeking our opinions about their products. It is very simple and also gives us a satisfaction that the corporations would seek the opinions of customers like us. As compensation for our time and opinions, these companies will pay us either in cash, gift cards (like Amazon.com gift cards) or they will enter your name in sweepstakes or contests. A few companies will also send products to us asking us to evaluate it and in return, you get to keep the product and also a small compensation. Not all surveys would suit a person. For example, a survey about feminine products cannot be answered by men. Similarly, if the survey is for men aged 18 to 35, older people would not qualify for the survey. Generally, the market research companies would get details about you while registering with them and surveys that suit your profile will be sent to you. There are many market research companies and once you register with them, invitations for survey would start pouring in to your email box.
While a survey asks for individual opinion, a focus group will consist of a group of people who meet the eligibility criteria and they will discuss about a product, health issues and other ideas or sevice. Generally, focus groups take up more time like maybe an hour or more and compensation is also better like $50 for an hour or so.
There are many market research companies and you could find them by searching on google. But it would take forever. To make the job easier for you, there are compiled lists of research companies available on the internet for a small fee. Surveyscout.com is one such list which provides you with the names of hundreds of research companies and their details. Although there are many such lists available, from my experience, surveyscout.com is the best and gives plenty of information for a small fee. Once you start taking surveys, you can earn back this money within no time.