How to make money online – Part 1

How to make money online

As you may have read in my blog post about making a trip to Disney World affordable, I’m an avid fan of earning extra income. For those of us in a less than premium financial situation, whether it be self employed, unemployed or in low income employment, the ability to earn supplementary income is very welcome. I’m here to help by showing you in the best ways that I know, how to make money online.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I use, the bizzarely named ‘side hustling’ to significantly support my lifestyle. Now, the fact that so many people in the UK (especially disabled people, like myself) should need to side hustle, is in my opinion wrong, but very much a sign of our times. But that’s a discussion for another day! On the other hand, we are incredibly lucky to live in a time where the internet allows us access to so many ways to improve our lives, both financially and otherwise. I honestly dread to think of what our lives would be like without it.

My Exclusive List

This post will be part 1 of 3 on this subject, as there is just too much to talk about in one post. That has to be a good thing though, right? More options for you to earn some extra cash! Once complete, I will link parts 2 and 3 here.

I’m not going to claim that these are necessarily easy ways to make money, some require much more effort than others. I just want to show you that the opportunities are out there. I will only be recommending sites that I use myself, despite there being many more available out there. This is because, over the years, I’ve wasted a LOT of time with sites that are unreliable or pay so low that they are not worth your time. This is therefore, my exclusive list! You’re welcome 😉

Studies and Surveys

If you’re the kind of person that feels comfortable answering questions about your lifestyle and choices, then there is money to be made from it. I do this regularly. Almost compulsively really, as it becomes addictive. Here are my favourite and trusted places to earn money from surveys and studies.

Prolific Academy

This is by far the best way to make money from surveys (they call them studies), hands down. They pay high and you are never screened out. I actually love taking part in Prolific studies as they are mainly real social studies set up by Universities around the world. Sometimes, you even get access to the results. As a bit of a geek, this is a massive bonus for me. Top tip: Don’t wait for email notifications from them, you’re better off checking daily for new studies. I usually come away with at least £10 per week from Prolific. (note that they do die down somewhat over the summer due to University closures!)

One Poll

This is another site that I enjoy. The payouts for these surveys are much smaller, but they are quick, easy and regularly available. Most answers are multiple choice, so effort is minimal. The subject matters are varied and interesting, some even a little odd. I can usually make £25 (minimum cash out) in 2-3 months.


Pollpass have only been around for about a year, but have fast become a favourite of mine. Their way of displaying surveys on a rolling messenger style screen is unique and fun. All answers are multiple choice, which makes it fast and easy. You can choose cash or vouchers for payout and funds build up fairly quickly, with new questions available almost every day.

Panel Opinion

This has varied and fairly well paid surveys, which I enjoy, but they are available less frequently. Perhaps 1 every couple of days, depending on your profile matches. You will usually get email invites to these. I like the way they give you 5p if you are screened out. It’s a tiny amount, but it does make you feel less annoyed and more appreciated.

Market Research

Doing market research is like taking part in surveys that never end! In all seriousness, they can be a great way of making much higher amounts of money, but they do take more effort. They require way more detailed answer than surveys and often have numerous tasks. Think university length essays about your broadband provider and you’re on the right track!

The most I’ve earnt on a single study, to date, was £300. This required me keeping an involved 10 day diary and giving a 2 hour interview. The projects can be really interesting though and sometimes it’s nice to feel that your opinion is contributing to developments in society. Be aware that you need to be persistant, as the agencies are looking for very specific criteria and you won’t be accepted too often. Do keep trying though – it’s worth having a quick check back each day for new projects!

Research Opinions

They have various opportunities available, although lots tend to be Manchester and London based. I tend to stick to those that can be done from home, which will be advertised as ‘UK wide’. They are fairly well paid and projects average between £40 and £300.

People For Research

They have market research available in a good range of cities, plus some that can be done from home. Projects average at between £50 and £200. There are also referral fees available if you share projects on social media and your friends take part.

Take Part in Research

This is one of my favourites as they are the only company I’ve found who specifically have lots of studies based in Birmingham and the Midlands, as well as other major cities. They also have a larger amount of studies available at a time, than most. Most projects average at between £50 and £100 but there are also some lower and higher paid opportunities. The reward usually reflects the effort required.


This is a slightly different market research company that I’ve only discovered recently. All projects for them are carried out remotely via webcam. This is excellent for folk like me, that have trouble getting around. I’ve only done one project so far, as they have very specific requirements that usually relate to certain careers. They do update regularly though and the pre-questionnaire gives you a percentage out of 100 of being accepted for the study, which is helpful.

Code 3 Research

Code 3 Research projects tend to be heavily London based and a bit few and far between, but they can pay well and I’ve worked with them successfully. Their research types range from online communities to phone and face to face interviews.

Mystery Shopping

Mystery shopping can be a convenient and fun way to make a ‘few extra pennies’. You’ll need a certain amount of confidence to do the face to face enquiries, as you are essentially acting. My problem with mystery shopping is that I’m fairly stunted by mobility, or lack thereof. Those of you that have access to a vehicle or can walk more than a few metres, will be able to make a decent amount of money from it. I would definitely advise signing up with multiple companies. You’ll be happy to know that most of them do offer online assignments too, but these are snatched up quickly. Usually by me!

A great tip is, if you’re going out for the day to a town or city centre location, have a check what’s available. Sometimes it’s possible to stack numerous assignments. I did 5 once on a day out at the Bullring and came home with £40+ in earnings. It’s not often you get paid whilst you spend money!


RedWigWam are not exclusively a mystery shopping organisation. They are more of an online agency, that also offers mystery shopping assignments.

Although I’ve done a few assignments for them in actual shops, I mainly focus on the online grocery shopping jobs. These involve purchasing specific items with your usual online shop and then reviewing them. You’ll usually get refunded for the products you review plus a payment of around £10 for the review.

If you are willing and able, there are lots of hourly paid roles, such as merchandising, telesales and stock checks available. Unlike traditional agencies, everything is done online, so there’s no need to visit over enthusiastic consultants that you never hear from again!


ESA are my absolute favourite mystery shopping company. They offer way more interesting assigments, such as hotel stays, train journeys and day trips for review. I’ve done quite a few financial assignments for them, as they pay pretty well, usually around £30 – £60. There are also some more standard assignments such as supermarkets or jewellery stores and a few online options. Usually there are upwards of 1000 jobs available at a time, so check back daily and sign up for email alerts.

Retail Active

Retail Active looks exactly the same as ESA, stylewise (it may be owned by the same people!). The jobs are mainly small, straightforward mystery shopping assignments for around £5-£20. I think the West Midlands area is oversaturated with candidates already, as the assignments are usually snatched up so quickly now, that I don’t even get a look in. If you live elsewhere in the UK though, it’s certainly worth signing up. I should add that I have successfully worked with Retail Active in the past, I just struggle to find assignments now.

Market Force

Market Force is probably the most user friendly mystery shopping site. You can easily define areas you are willing to work and types of assigment you want. You also have the option of using list or map view. There are a fairly wide assortment of roles available, but they pay is not the best with some jobs earning as little as £2.75. If you are out and about anyway and don’t have to go out of your way, the pounds do add up.

I like the leisure type roles, such as bowling alley reviews. Bear in mind though, usually you don’t earn very much for these, rather, you get the trip for free. If you’re looking for free things to do over the summer holidays though, there are plenty of kid friendly assignments, such as this or Wacky Warehouse.

Next Installment

So I think that’s probably enough information to absorb for one blog post. Feel free to bookmark this one and check back, as it will eventually link you to all 3 of this series of posts about earning money online. I hope that you can see how possible this is, if you are willing to put in some time and effort!

Please do take my advice and not just sign up to every survey site going! I did this when I first started my journey to make money online and really wasted so much time. Many of them you will spend hours filling out surveys only to never reach the minimum cash out amount (or when I say never, I literally mean in over a year). You could be putting this time and effort to good use elsewhere!

Also, if you don’t feel that any of the above are for you, remember, I have some more topics up my sleeve for you next time. I would love to hear about any success you have with these or how you make money online.

**Get a £25 voucher for The Vegan Kind Supermarket when you sign up to Ecotricity via this link!!**




Please note: There are some affiliate links on this page, this means that I get a small fee or other benefit if you decide to use them.This does not cost you anything and it allows me to continue to run my blog. Thanks for your understanding.

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