You don’t need a degree from Harvard or an impressive resume to make good money with armchair consulting gigs. All you need is an opinion and the right personal or professional background. That can earn you between $25 and $200 per gig. And “gigs” typically take 15 minutes to an hour.
What is arm-chair consulting and why do you get paid so well to do it?
Simply put, armchair consultants provide a detailed opinion about a product or service that has an impact on their life. This could be a patient with a nagging disease talking about what they need in terms of medical support. Or it could be an avid gamer talking about what makes a game great.
These opinions are used by companies that are starting up, or are hoping to launch a new product or service. And they’re often the key to figuring out the right product features or the right price point.
How it works
In many ways, armchair consulting jobs are like participating in a focus group. You’re helping a company understand what potential customers want. However, instead of participating in a group discussion, armchair consulting gigs typically are done one-on-one, often online.
Because these gigs involve just one, well-paid individual, the vetting process to find the right participant is substantial. Indeed, the biggest complaint that people have about these gigs is that you need to answer a lot of questions to see if you qualify.
And you don’t get paid for answering those qualifier questions. They simply tell the company whether your experience is significant enough to make you the perfect candidate. To provide good feedback, you need very specific experience. And you need to be articulate enough to explain your thoughts on an often technical topic.
How specific? It’s easiest to illustrate with examples.
A recent browse through armchair consulting gigs offered at User Interviews found one that sought “company decision-makers with experience using governance, risk and compliance software,” for instance. This gig paid $100 for a one-hour online interview. Another gig offered $100 for a 40-minute interview with an executive who chooses mobile security software. And another offered $100 for a cybersecurity expert that’s used firewall penetration testing services.
Sorting through candidates
To find experts to meet these very specific requirements, the armchair consulting companies register millions of consumers and ask a variety of general category questions, such as your profession, your role, your family background and circumstances.
That gets you into a general category. When the site has a specific consulting request, it shoots an email to all the people in that category and asks them to answer more questions. The answers to those questions will determine whether you are a good match for any individual job.
Where to find gigs
There are three sites reviewed on SideHusl.com that offer general-interest armchair consulting gigs. And there is one site that offers these gigs specifically for patients with serious diseases and their caregivers. We’ll start with the general-interest sites.
Maven encourages people who want to engage in armchair consulting to set their own rates. And the site even provides a rate calculator to help. But, in reality, many gigs on the platform are set-rate projects that offer, say, $35-$50 for a 15-minute phone consultation.
However, the site also offers in-person panels and many more extensive and highly paid gigs. You can search for opportunities on the site’s dashboard. Or you can simply wait for the site to match you to a potential gig. The site also has a referral program, which pays commissions to those who successfully refer another consultant to the platform.
By participating in that referral program, SideHusl.com is notified whenever someone that our site referred books a gig and how much they’re paid. (This information helps inform our reviews.) Hundreds of our readers have successfully completed gigs with Maven, securing payments ranging from $35 to $500.
Like Maven, Respondent allows you to sign up and fill in a profile providing information about who you are, what you do and your areas of expertise. You can also search for appropriate gigs through the site’s dashboard.
Some of the opportunities listed when we reviewed the site in late September included a $125 survey looking for parents of athletic teens in Los Angeles to talk for 75 minutes about beverages. Another $75 survey sought immigrants who regularly send packages to Bulgaria, Romania or the Philippines.
There were also lower-paid gigs for “audio enthusiasts” ($10) and those who recently spoke an auto-finance company’s customer service agent ($35).
User Interviews operates in much the same way, asking a raft of questions to put users into categories and then a lot more questions when there’s a specific study. Complaints about rarely getting paid work, despite answering copious screening questions, are more prevalent here than with the other sites.
When we recently reviewed the site, the gigs included a 45-minute interview about food choices, which paid $75; an hour-long interview about health care products for $50; and a 45-minute interview with a small business owner about how the owner makes telecommunication choices. That study offered a $90 incentive.
There were also numerous unspecific requests for feedback on products, with incentives ranging from $20 to $50 per hour.
Rare Patient Voice
Rare Patient Voice specifically seeks people with diseases and their caregivers to provide feedback on medical products, drugs, health outcomes and customer experience. The site also recruits for medical focus groups and clinical trials.
The site says its average pay per hour is $120. However, pay varies from study to study. A 5-minute background study on Alzheimers patients pays $25; A one-hour focus group for bladder cancer patients pays $100. Joining an online community for Crohn’s disease patients offers a $50 welcome gift and $60 for participating in discussions.