Lee's Survey-Taking Routine, Part One

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After 32 months of taking paid online surveys, I guess you could say that I have settled into a routine that I find works best for me. Initially, I would sign up for every survey site: Get Paid to Try (GPT), Get Paid to Click (GPC), prize sites, sweepstakes sites, etc. but eventually I learned that time is the limiting factor that determines how much money you actually earn taking paid online surveys. If you join 200 different sites, you might earn more incentives in a month, but the time you spend doing them will make it less worthwhile and less enjoyable as well. That’s why you must prioritize your survey-taking. You really only need about 20 to 30 good survey sites to earn between $100 and $250 per month plus all of the shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, deodorant, razors, toilet paper, paper towels, frozen entrees, cookies, crackers, breakfast bars, etc. that you may need over the course of a month. All of these things and more are sent free as product tests and must be considered as part of the earnings, although I don’t keep strict accounting of these products.

I’m not an early riser, so I like to drink a cup of coffee, read the morning paper and watch The View before I ‘officially’ start my survey-taking day. I find that most of the higher paying surveys will hit your inbox by noon, so this is a good time for me to start. I like to keep a regular schedule because in the beginning I would spend eight hours per day or longer taking surveys and risk eye-strain, wrist strain and general frustration over filling in hundreds of tiny little check boxes for hours on end. Not only does this put your physical and mental health at risk, but it also compromises the quality of the data, which helps ensure that you receive the higher paying survey opportunities. I rarely spend more than three to four hours per day (not including frequent breaks) taking paid surveys and always quit by 6pm for the local news, unless there is an Invoke Interactive that pays a substantial incentive. These usually begin later in the day and last 60-90 minutes or longer. They can pay from $15 to $200.

The very first thing you should do after clearing your inbox of spam and other unrelated items is to check each and every survey invitation, making note of the higher paying surveys. Always take the surveys for $5 or more first followed by lower paying surveys for $2 to $4. You do not want to take a survey on Toluna for 1200 points (40 cents) only to find out that you have the exact same survey from Global Test Market sitting in your inbox for $5. Although your own priorities will differ from mine, I tend to look at survey invitations from these sites first:

  1. Survey Spot
  2. Opinion Outpost
  3. Global Test Market
  4. Valued Opinions
  5. My Survey (product tests)
  6. Pinecone Research (product tests)

There are also higher paying opportunities from other sites, but I have them bookmarked on my browser favorites because they do not send email invitations as frequently. After finishing the survey invitations in my inbox, I check them in this order:

  1. Surveyhead
  2. Only Cash Surveys
  3. Toluna
  4. MyView
  5. IPSOS I-Say

The single most important thing to keep in mind with point sites, like Toluna and MyView, is precisely how much each survey is worth. Toluna points are only worth 1/30 cent each; therefore, if you are spending an hour taking a survey for 1200 points (40 cents) you are probably wasting your precious time. If you are taking a 350-point (25 cent) survey from MyView that takes longer than 20 minutes, that might also be a waste of your time. A general rule of thumb is that 10 to 15 minutes of time spent taking a survey is worth about $1. On days when you have very few surveys, then it’s fine to spend more time on surveys worth $1 or less, but if you have been staring at the computer screen for six hours, or longer, taking 40 cent surveys, you will eventually become mentally tired, physically fatigued and frustrated. Take a break after ANY survey (other than an Invoke Interactive) that requires you to be seated at the computer for more than hour.

My final bit of advice is that if you must check your Facebook, MySpace or Twitter, do it BEFORE and/or AFTER you work on paid surveys; otherwise you will have no real frame of reference for how long you are spending at the computer earning incentives. As long as I know that I am averaging about three to four hours per day most days of the week taking surveys then the $250 per month I earn seems cost efficient; although $250 divided by 30 hours per week is only about $2 per hour. Even factoring in all the free products, the Apple Macbook, the Apple iPod and the $500 that I won earlier this year, I am still not earning minimum wage; therefore, I have to view this as a fun hobby that pays, not a career choice. If it makes you frustrated, angry or causes you eye-strain, wrist strain or any other physical or mental ailment, then walk away from the computer and take a nice long break!

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Comments (5)

  • Lee New October 22, 2010 Reply
    Great question Adam! I don't know the answer for certain and there is a chance that it varies depending on the survey site, so you probably need to ask SurveySpot and the other top sites.
  • adamd October 22, 2010 Reply
    Hey Lee,
    I had a general question and wondering if you could help...My mother and I both use these survey sites such as surveyspot that only pay with paypal. She lives in a seperate household so there is no problem with the adress but we use the same paypal account although with 2 different e-mails attached. I know you can't have 2 different survey account's with the same mailing adress for checks, would you happen to know about the same paypal account? I can't seem to get an answer and don't want to jepordize the payment process. Any advice? I can't creat my own paypal because it locked years ago but I have my bank account attached to her paypal. Thanks for your time...The top 5 survey sites you recommend are great.
  • Robert the Survey Guy October 20, 2010 Reply
    Nice submit Lee! It really is essential to keep in mind that Paid Surveys are a fun and attention-grabbing solution to earn extra cash online. Everybody has completely different amounts of time they will spend taking surveys, so it is very important find that stability between time spent / reward supplied / and surveys that interest you.
  • Lee New October 14, 2010 Reply
    Well said Joe. I did not mention that you actually learn about new products before they hit the shelf and, often, you are allowed to test them first before anyone else. I enjoy being the first to learn about new products.
  • Joe the Admin October 14, 2010 Reply
    Great post Lee! It really is important to remember that Paid Surveys are a fun and interesting way to earn extra money online. Everybody has different amounts of time they can spend taking surveys, so it is important to find that balance between time spent / reward offered / and surveys that interest you.

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that you should treat taking surveys online as a fun hobby that pays. It is important to remember that, as I cannot tell you how many people send me emails daily asking how they can make big money taking surveys online. It simply cannot be done, but if you try to focus on the better paying surveys, and focus on surveys that interest you, I believe that most people will find that taking surveys online can be rewarding. For instance, I have an interested/background in gadgets and technology, and I have learned about a lot of new concepts and products before they hit the market by participating in survey panels, and have earned some extra cash just for doing so. Basically, just try to have fun with it, and who knows maybe you can earn some extra money too!