If you’re new to whole paid survey thing, take a look at our frequently asked questions about paid surveys for some tips on getting started before you read on.

About two seconds after you have the joy of cashing-out your first check from taking paid surveys, chances are you’re going to have what seems like a great idea… join more programs, make more money!

Unfortunately, as with many good things, there’s a catch.

Once you join that fourth or fifth program, you’ll start to get overwhelmed. Go beyond that and you’ll have more invites than you can handle. Plus, with all that noise in your inbox, it gets harder and harder to spot the good opportunities.

Fortunately, there are a few strategies you can use to keep your sanity as you start working to make make more money with a “multi-program approach” to paid surveys. Let’s take a look.

1. Get Organized From the Start

Here are five-tips-in-one that will help you get organized before you even take your first survey, and none of them require a trip to the Container Store.

  • Create a New Email Address :: Keep your stuff together with a dedicated email account for paid surveys. If you use Gmail you can easily set it up to check emails from another account so you won’t have to check two places.

  • Get an Automated Form-Filler :: Instead of constantly typing in the same password and personal info, download RoboForm or a similar tool that will automate the process of filling in lengthy forms.

  • Turn on Email Notifications :: Not every program automatically emails you new offers. Be sure to turn on email notifications to make sure you’re seeing what’s new. Some programs will even send SMS notifications.

  • Add a “Surveys” Folder to Your Bookmarks Bar :: For added convenience, add a folder for paid survey bookmarks to the bookmarks bar at the top of your browser. Here are instructions for Chrome and Firefox.

  • Start a “Paid Surveys” Spreadsheet :: Use your spreadsheet to track programs you’ve joined, how much you’ve earned, customer service notes, and other critical info. It’s best to use a cloud-based service like Google Docs so you can view it and update it from anywhere.

2. Eliminate Programs That Aren’t Working

Once you gain a little experience, you’ll certainly want to try a variety of survey programs to see which works best for you. There is little doubt that you’ll run into a few that just aren’t your cup of tea.

For starters, you may not like the type of rewards offered, the cash out requirements, or the type of surveys you’re taking. When that happens, try another program. There are many legitimate survey programs to choose from.

Else, you may find yourself getting disqualified from a given program’s surveys, even though you’re following these tips to avoid getting disqualified. If that’s the case, the program probably just isn’t looking for feedback from your demographic. Make better use of your time. Move on and consider trying that program again later.

Remember that spreadsheet we talked about? Stick a column in there for how long it takes, on average, to complete a survey with each program. If you’re spending 15 minutes to make $3 with one program and could make $10 in the same time on another, dump that under-paying program and stick with the one paying you more for your time.

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3. Try Some New Programs

Just as you want to eliminate programs that aren’t working, you should also keep your finger on the pulse of new programs that become available.

New programs offer you a great way to get in on the ground floor and build your reputation (and earnings) when you’re not competing with thousands or even millions of other people.

Here’s a full post covering what you need to know about new survey programs including links to the latest programs reviewed here on P$U.

4. Put Real Effort Into Every Survey

One of the reasons you don’t want to join too many programs is because it’s important to stand out as a panelist that actually reads questions carefully and answers them honestly. If you’re trying to do more surveys than you can handle, chances are you’re going to start trying to work faster, and you won’t be putting as much thought, or truthfulness, into your answers.

Giving short or generic answers isn’t just a good way to get disqualified from the survey you’re taking. In the long run it could lead to fewer invites being sent your way, and any one of those might be a great high-paying opportunity that you’ll miss.

Being honest is critical to building up your credibility, and leads to more invites and better opportunities. In fact, if a market research company finds your feedback particularly valuable, you’ll also have a better chance of being invited to participate in high-paying focus groups.

5. Find the Right Balance for You

Experienced survey takers who are highly organized can often manage as many as a dozen paid survey programs at a time. On the flip side, some folks start to get overwhelmed once they’ve joined just a couple of programs.

Although the rewards can be plentiful — some survey takers report earnings of $300 – $500 a month, and occasionally more — the effort to participate in a huge numbers of programs just isn’t for everyone.

Want to put in 20+ hours a week and dominate? Great. Only have a couple hours here and there for surveys? That works too. At the end of the day, look to strike a balance between your effort and your earnings and do what works best for you.

Closing Thoughts

If you prefer dollars to cents, you’re going to have to join multiple paid survey programs, which can get a little overwhelming. By following these (hopefully) easy suggestions, you should be able to manage at least a few programs and get on your way to making more money taking surveys.