You may be wondering if giving advice online is a real way to earn cash.
As in, do people actually get paid real money this way?
Yes. There are legitimate websites that pay you a few extra bucks to answer questions.
But these sites are not the ‘be all end all’ either.
With the right knowledge and some creativity, you will find there are some very lucrative and untapped opportunities available to make money answering questions on the internet.
Not just through common websites most blogs link to.
In this article, I’ll show you some very real ways to earn some cash sharing your knowledge with people. Some methods will pay very little, and some can potentially pay off your mortgage. Really? You bet.
Do People Pay For Information These Days?
We live in the information age, with more freely available information than any one person can handle. So why the heck would people pay for information when they can get it for free by doing a quick Google search?
Good question. And the answer is simple.
People want the right answer, right now.
They could spend hours, days, or even weeks trawling through blog posts and learn enough to ‘maybe’ get the answer they really need for their unique circumstances. Or they could simply pay an expert who will give them exactly what they need, when they need it.
Makes sense right? Yep.
There are many ways that specific, organized knowledge caters to people’s needs. One way is through digital print media, which happens to be one of the fastest growing industries online.
According to Statista, eBook sales accounted for over $16 billion in global online sales in 2016 and this number is expected to reach some $29 billion by the year 2020. Staggering numbers.
Granted, this does include general and entertainment based content. But it very much includes academic material and specific information aimed at helping specific audiences, to solve specific problems.
The vast majority of information covered in these eBooks could be found online for free. But clearly, people happily pay for the right answers, at the right time.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the ways you can get your slice of the ‘question answering’ pie…
#1 Survey and Opinion Poll Websites
This is perhaps the most obvious way to go about sharing your thoughts, opinions and experiences for cash.
Survey sites like SwagBucks.com and opinion poll websites like iPoll.com allow you to sign up for free. Based on your demographic, you can answer questions about all kinds of topics such as your shopping habits, preferences, opinions on companies, events and so on.
Companies pay big bucks to conduct market research, so this is very real. They do this to improve their offerings, come up with new product ideas and better understand their target audience. These websites act as a kind of middleman between the company, and people like you looking to make some extra cash.
There are boatloads of these sites online, many of which I wouldn’t touch with a 20 foot pole! Don’t get me wrong, they can be a good way to make some extra cash. But this arena is plagued with very low income rates, people not getting paid, and outright scams.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan and I think they are a massive waste of a persons time in the grand scheme of things.
The pay rate is often as low as $2 per hour when you average it out, and they often pay in gift cards which won’t pay the bills. They are also notorious for getting people to sign up for ‘free trial offers’ that require your credit card in order to do the survey. They bank on the number of people who DO forget to cancel since they are often signed up with many companies doing the same thing, not to mention shipping items back is a pain in the butt.
But hey, that’s me! I’m sure some of you would disagree and love these sites. Cool.
I added this because there are some legit sites and you can make some extra money doing this.
#2 Question and Answer Websites
This is where you move away from answering survey questions for faceless websites, and start answering questions from real people, who are willing to pay.
This can be a good way to earn. How much money you make will depend entirely on the site you join and how specialized your knowledge is though.
One popular example of such a site is JustAnswer.com. This site connects experts across a variety of fields from tax professionals, to medical doctors and lawyers to people in need of advice.
This is one of the most popular question and answer sites online, with millions of active users.
Then, there are more specialized sites like FixYa.com which cater to people looking for answers on how to fix stuff. Anything from your broken washing machine, car trouble, to issues with your computer. Looks interesting.
Maven.co is another example of connecting experts (dubbed ‘Mavens’) with people looking for actionable answers. Mavens don’t just answer short questions either, customers can also pay for more in depth knowledge through seminars, workshops and the like. This is perfect for people with very detailed knowledge, and a passion to share that knowledge with others.
There are many more examples of these kinds of sites, some better than others. If you can find the right one to fit your needs this could be a great way to make some extra cash!
#3 Tutoring Students Online
Similar to the above question and answer sites, but this is for teachers or anyone with a formal qualification and a desire to work with students online. Sites like Care.com or Chegg.com are great examples of this and can be an easy way to boost your cashflow.
You generally won’t make the same kind of money as tutoring in person from I can see, but it’s a heck of a lot more convenient and can easily fit around your existing schedule.
It’s no secret that teachers are underpaid, so this is a popular option for the academics in the house.
Other ways you can leverage this space is by helping students with their exam preparation. As you can understand, exam time is very stressful and students need the right guidance to get the kind of marks they are striving for.
#4 Answer Questions On Forums
What? You can actually get paid answering questions on forums?
Not quite. But there is a very real, and legitimate way to make money this way.
This really is a topic in itself, but I’ll give you the basic concept so you can explore further if it sounds like something that interests you. Let me be abundantly clear on something though, the idea is NOT to spam anyone. That is dumb, and very uncool.
The right way, is to actually help people by answering their questions.
One great example of a forum is Quora.com which covers all kinds of topics. People sign up and post questions, then other people answer those questions. It’s very simple. Quora doesn’t pay you though, and neither do the people who’s questions you answer.
So how on earth do you get paid?
Step 1: Decide on a topic you know something about, or want to know something about and… well, learn it!
Step 2: Look for questions relating to your topic and begin answering those questions in the most informative way possible. As you do this over a sustained period of time, you will get an increasing number of ‘upvotes’ and build your credibility within the community. This matters.
Step 3: Within some of your answers, and within your profile description, you will have a link to your website or a landing page designed to promote an affiliate product. These are other people’s products that you earn commissions on when people buy through your links. There are millions of products to promote, so the options here are practically endless.
This is just one example. But there are many niche forums online and this is a great place to connect with people. If you can help them, they will naturally want to learn more about what you have to say.
While this will take more time and learning to build up, the potential income is WAY more than signing up with a site to answer questions since there’s no leverage in that. You are simply trading time for money.
On the other hand, this is a business. Once you have a few hundred questions answered, with links in some of those and within your profile, that content isn’t going anywhere. For years potentially, you could bank off efforts you did just once!
Again, there is more to actually making this work, but this is the general concept.
The same principal can be applied to social media sites for that matter. The logistics will differ, yes. But the overall concept is the same. Answer questions, build credibility, funnel people into a relevant product you are promoting that further helps them solve their problem. Again, not spamming. Actually helping people.
Food for thought.
#5 Start Your Own Website/ Blog
This is similar to the last idea in some respects, but you have much more control over things.
With this approach, you look for a topic you know something about, and publish useful content to help people who are looking to solve a problem. By following the right process, you can get that content ranking in Google, Yahoo and Bing, which means you get visitors to your website.
useful content + website visitors= you winning
Once you have visitors, you can monetize your website.
Some choose to use basic advertizing like Google Adsense, others promote their own products, while others (like myself) promote other people’s products and earn commissions as an affiliate.
You may be thinking it’s hard to build a website and learn all of this stuff. Not so.
Granted, this is not a quick and easy approach to making money online, but it absolutely does work. Affiliate marketing is a multi billion dollar industry, and niche bloggers scoop a sizeable portion of that revenue up by simply helping people with questions they have about topics within their niche.
The way I learnt to make money as an affiliate, is with a platform called Wealthy Affiliate which gives you a free website and some video lessons to show you how it’s done.
There are many ways you can make money helping people with their questions. Some more obvious than others.
Depending on how you go about it, you could sign up with a website to make some extra cash quite quickly, or begin building a business that can lead to a full-time income.
Whatever you choose to do, hopefully this post has given you some useful ideas! Cheers.