I used to have fun doing surveys while I watched TV. I was choosy about the companies I used and I never paid to sign up for any. I got about $25 in free BlockBuster movie coupons, cashed out about $25 from another site and did an in house project trial where a company sent me to full size body lotions to use and record information about. I had fun, felt like my input was improving the business world, but I wasn’t looking to get rich quick, just earn a little bit in time that typically wasted. Some survey companies pay very little, others pay better. Of course, it is not fair to the businesses conducting the research to lie in order to qualify for a survey and they certainly deserve honest and thoughtful answers to their questions. The companies I worked with told me how much the survey would pay and how long it would it would take. Research for the reputable companies.
If your career path is going nowhere, resign gracefully and switch careers. Research occupations to find out how much they pay and what their future outlook is (in the U.S., you can find this information in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook). Find an occupation that pays well, and invest in the education and/or training to get you that job. Look for employers that offer competitive salaries and ample opportunity for advancement.
Make and sell crafts. If you are even a little bit crafty, consider selling your goods on a site like Etsy. Though you can make more money on intricate projects (ex. an exquisitely woodburned gourd), even labor-light projects can bring in good money if you’re willing to produce them in high quantities. Who knows – if you do well, you might even be inspired to start a crafts business.
Great article, I have tried a few over the years. I had a side business cleaning offices for years. It did great, but I hated never being able to take more than 3-4 days vacation, so I eventually gave up. I tried MTurk, but if you multiplied my earnings on an hourly basis, it was a little over $6/hr. My blog is much worse, probably less than $0.25/hr.