The Focus Room (693 Fifth Ave at 54th St; 212-935-6820, focusroom.com) is a market-research company that provides companies like the MTA, L'Oreal, HBO and major banks with feedback from people like you. Well, maybe not exactly like you. "Clients set the criteria—they may want people in New York who read travel magazines," says company president Ira Weinstein. Register through the website, then if your demographic info and preferences match what a client is looking for, you'll be contacted to participate, earning between $85 and $500 each time. Clients most often want nurses, doctors, travelers and prestige-product fans.
Run virtual errands. If you have a computer with Internet connection and are good at searching the Web and communicating with others, you can become a virtual personal assistant with Fancy Hands. The service hires assistants, who set their own hours, to help its users tackle tasks such as making calls to service providers, scheduling appointments, and finding the best prices for services and products. You get paid per task, starting at between $3 and $7.
Right now on Upwork, they are looking for more writers. Set up a profile and start offering up your fast writing skills. You can make decent money with freelance writing and some people are able to make it a full-time business.  Check out this interview I did with a freelance writer who has had a lot of success and shares how to start a freelance business. Ready to get paid to write for blogs like mine? Check out this course, Get Paid to Write for Blogs, by my friend Catherine.
Start a small business. Being passionate usually translates to a superior product and better service, which is especially sought after in the age of the anonymous, 1-minute online review. Worried that there isn’t a market for your interests? The fact is that though you may not personally know many people who want what you have to offer, thanks to the internet, there’s a huge market for niche-products (pigeon diapers, chainmail wedding dresses, you name it)… and you might just end up being a trend-setter. To create an online store, you can either make your own website or, if don’t want to self-host, you can sell on eBay or a similar site.
Websites like Survey Junkie will pay you a decent chunk of change for the low-maintenance, borderline mindless task of completing surveys. Companies want to understand consumers better, and one way they do that is by compensating survey-takers. Most surveys pay between $0.50 and $1.25, and many of them take less than 5 minutes to do. You can read our full Survey Junkie review for more info.
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