“Filler” Income for Writers: Taking Surveys

I’ve always believed in diversification with my business. That’s why I write feature magazine articles for print and magazines, blog posts, catalog copy, press releases, keyword articles and, well, anything that pays.

But, for the past several years, I have also earned money taking surveys. This isn’t full time income for me, by any means. I equate the extra cash to the “cashback rewards” I earn by using certain credit cards (and then paying them off that month.)

Like cashback rewards, money I earn from surveys has a knack of showing up in my Paypal account or mailbox right on the day when I could really use that extra $10 - $50 for a treat.

I like surveys because I can do them while I’m drinking my morning coffee, before my brain is in gear to start anything that looks like a writing project.

Could I earn filler income by posting articles on Associated Content and the like? Of course I could. But the way I see it, my writing talents deserve better pay than what those sites offer at this stage in my career. If I’m writing, I want to be paid what I deserve for my writing. I don’t mind making a few dollars a day just for clicking buttons to take a survey, though. I hardly consider it work. I want something different—a diversion from writing—for my filler income. We've all seen the ads to "earn money taking surveys," and it turns out, you really can!

What survey sites do I currently use?


This was the first survey site I ever signed up for, and I’ve earned $120 total just for taking easy surveys. I do this while I’m watching T.V., drinking my coffee in the morning, letting story ideas percolate. There are no catches that I’ve found with this site, no money to lay out, nothing to ever purchase. You don’t need to supply a credit card number – ever.

When you earn 1,000 points (surveys range from 10 points to 200 points), you can “cash-out” for a $10 check, donate the money to a charity of your choice or “buy” merchandise from their rewards store. You can also put the money into a raffle to win prizes like flat screen televisions. I always cash out or, if I’m feeling generous, donate the money.

I’ve also received free samples of household goods like paper towels and cat food. The real money from Mysurvey.com comes from referrals, which earn 150 points each, but you have to send an e-mail to get people to sign up.

Bottom line: I definitely recommend this site, as it’s fun and hardly takes any time. Post a comment if you’d like an e-mail from me with a referral link.

Vindale Surveys

I recently signed up for this survey site through a link on Twitter and so far, I love it. In one week, I’ve earned $24, all while drinking my morning coffee and getting geared up for the day. If you’re sitting in front of the computer, anyway, and have a few minutes to spare, why not sign up?

In addition to cash for taking surveys, I have also received:

- all three of my credit reports FREE
- FREE business cards from Vista Print
- $5 in FREE Postage from Stamps.com

What should you be aware of?

In many cases, you need to supply a credit card number and sign up for a free service, which you must cancel before the trail period expires or your card will get charged. In my experience, you need to call an 800 number to cancel, so expect that to take a few minutes out of your day.

I simply jot down on my calendar the date I need to cancel (actually, I mark down a week earlier, to give myself some extra time.) As soon as the survey is “verified” and the money is in my Vindale account, I call and cancel.

Stamps.com put cookies on my computer that Spysweeper caught, so I would make sure all your spyware is up to date.

Like other survey companies, you can also earn money through referrals: $5 per referral.

Bottom line: If you are well-organized and not susceptible to sales pitches, you can earn $100 a month or more with Vindale and it won’t take a lot of time out of your day. Highly recommended! If you like what I have to say, please sign up through my referral link. Fortunately, I’ve kicked my cup-a-day Starbucks habit, but I’m sure I can find a good way to spend five bucks. Two canisters of organic baby cereal, maybe?

Valued Opinions

Like other survey companies, Valued Opinions sends notifications to your mailbox when you have a survey.

After a week of being a member, I just received the first survey I was eligible to participate in today. One of the “qualifying questions” asks if you are employed by a media firm or a member of the media, and disqualifies you if you are. I have to learn to lie on these surveys!

I just spent about 30 minutes taking a survey about frozen foods and earned $3. Not fantastic, but if I had nothing better to do, I wouldn’t mind. Again, if you’re vegging out in front of the television with no pressing chores, it’s some money. But realistic, $6/hour is nothing to write home about, even in the realm of doing surveys online.

Also, I wasted quite a bit of time answering survey questions only to find out, 5 questions in, that I didn’t qualify. If you don’t qualify for a survey at MySurvey.com, you still earn 10 points for trying.

When your account at ValuedOpinions reaches $20, you can redeem the money for a gift certificate to a popular online retailer, including Amazon.com. So you’re not earning hard cash, either.

Still, what writer can’t use an extra $20 to spend at Amazon?

I’ve been a member for one week, and have only earned $3 so far. There is no referral program that I can find for signing friends up at Valued Opinions.

Bottom line: If you have absolutely nothing better to do, $6 an hour to spend on books, magazines and other fun stuff isn’t bad. Or if you just enjoy taking surveys and sharing your opinion and feedback with product manufacturers, sign up. What have you got to lose? No credit card required.


Dollarsurveys.net deposits $1 in your Paypal account weekly for each survey you take. A reminder arrives in your e-mail every day reminding you to try for that day’s survey. So far, I haven’t qualified, and, like ValuedOpinions, you waste time answering questions only to find out you don’t qualify.

In theory, you could earn up to $30/month if you qualify for every survey and take a survey every day. There is no referral program to increase your earnings. No credit card is required, in my experience, which is a benefit.

Bottom line: You have nothing to lose, why not start your morning with a short survey and earn a dollar?