The Paid Survey Side Hustle: Is It Really Worth Your Time and Effort?

Millions of Americans are overwhelmed with thousands of dollars’ worth of various types of debt. As a result, these same people take on a variety of side jobs to not just make ends meet, but to help pay down their debt before it has a bad implication on their credit. Many debt-ridden people work full-time jobs that don’t pay enough to tackle what’s owed, so part-time gigs such as jobs with a temp agency and freelance writing are often appealing. However, there’s also the option of taking paid surveys online.

Having the ability to take paid surveys online is as compelling an offer as stuffing envelopes used to be. It gives you the illusion that you’re able to earn money in the forms of cash, gift cards, or even reward points; you just need an opinion. You don’t need to go anywhere, either. You can take the surveys from the comfort of your home, in your comfortable clothes, or on your break at work instead of perusing social media.


The majority of survey sites advertise that you can earn $1-$35 for each survey, though student loan researchers have found that it averages to be $1-$2 per hour. Paid surveys are ubiquitous; there are hundreds of them on the internet. The surveys are run by marketing and research firms who are looking for consumer feedback, but is it worth it to you? No. The reality of getting paid to take surveys is far different from the expectations: you’re set up to fail from the get-go, and you barely make any money.

You Waste Your Time

To take paid surveys online, you do need to qualify. The sites are designed with an array of questions that you need to answer upon sign up. You can spend as much as 10 minutes answering qualification questions to get the surveys, just to get declined anyway. It takes too long to determine if you’re the right demographic to make five dollars, and you spend the majority of your time answering questions that you don’t get paid for.

The Surveys Take Too Much Time

Research into paid surveys has shown that it takes far too much time to complete the survey that you’re working on, if you end up getting one. The majority of the surveys take twice as long as they say they do. If the study claims it takes 30 minutes, it would likely take an hour; these same researchers say that securing a minimum wage job is better.

When investigating further, it seems like the only way to make it work would be if you could dedicate hours upon hours of survey work, which defeats the purpose of a part-time gig. It makes it worse that you aren’t able to plan your time accordingly because the surveys are never timely accurate, which provides unpredictability.

What You Should Do Instead

If having a part-time job is something that you really need, you should look into legit jobs that give you the opportunity to make real money that can help you. You won’t feel like you’re wasting your time, and the financial stress of having debt on your shoulders could get lifted. Side jobs in the technology industry such as web development, quality assurance testing, and even copywriting are growing industries, and they pay well. Not to mention, your mind isn’t going to go numb from continually trying to qualify for a survey that’s on a product or campaign that you likely don’t care about. Take a look at some of these other side jobs that pay well and don’t waste your time:

  • Web Development – Fundamental web skills such as HTML and CSS are typically required for a development position
  • Web Design – Fundamental web development skills along with experience with Photoshop, Web flow, and other design software are beneficial
  • SEO Consulting – Basic understanding of web development, social media and blogging platforms, as wells as tools such as Google Analytics is recommended
  • Copywriting – A solid writing background, along with SEO, HTML, and WordPress experience looks good on the resume
  • Social Media Manager – Strong social media presence, SEO knowledge, and some tech skills are desired qualifications. It also doesn’t hurt to have very lively and active social media accounts
  • Tech Support – Basic computer support skills. Google’s IT Support Certificate is a great starting point. The more time you spend on the job, the more you learn. Start with the basics
  • Quality Assurance Testing: Experience with multiple software and coding is highly desired as you need to be able to spot flaws and bugs.

The most important thing to consider about the better options is that they can bring in thousands. If you want to earn serious money, then it’s possible that you may need to upgrade your skills slightly, but those types of investments can pay off hugely. Mindless and easy side-jobs do sound appealing, but they’re meant to. The majority of the time, the marketing team behind these side hustles design their campaigns to make it seem like you can earn thousands without having to really work for it, but rarely do they pan out. Instead, you just get left feeling more frustrated than you were before you started.

Have you ever tried experimenting with paid surveys? Leave a comment.


The Paid Survey Side Hustle: Is It Really Worth Your Time and Effort?

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