Jamie Raucci has been answering online surveys for three years now. So far she has earned around $400. And while it might not be much, she told NBC10 Boston, it was money she didn’t have before.

“I would have been sitting here earning nothing at all. So even if I had only spent a few minutes and earned, you know, a few dollars, I would have at least earned something,” Raucci said.

Raucci uses Survey Junkie, a free website that pays you to take online surveys and cash out through your choice of PayPal, wire transfer, or gift cards. Survey Junkie members can cash out from as little as $5 if they want, which Tom Blake considers a “green flag” when looking for ways to make money online.

Blake, a financial blogger and creator of This Online World, has been experimenting with side businesses online for years, documenting his progress along the way.

“Survey Junkie is one of the most reputable,” Blake said. “Websites that have cash requirements of $25 or $50…I don’t think you ever see your money.”

Blake knows this from experience. He put several of these free survey websites to the test. In 10 hours, Blake said he had only earned about $15 completing online surveys.

“It’s not a good payday for me,” Blake said.

But for Raucci, she told us, putting in an hour a week is worth it for her and her family.

“I actually use what I earn to put into my daughter’s savings accounts,” Raucci explained, ”

“I hope she uses it for a college fund, but it’s her savings account, so whatever she decides to do with it will be hers.”

Some of these websites ask for your personal information, which lawyer Simon Dixon says can be very risky.

Dixon warned: “Any information you think you give can be used against you.”

“My belief is that anything free…there’s always a catch,” he said.

If online surveys aren’t for you, you can always put your administrative skills to the test and become a personal assistant. Blake explained: “In terms of virtual assistants as a side hustle, that’s another really popular one, especially if you want to work from home, you don’t want to get involved in the gig economy or leave your house. or something like that. “

Some of the best-paying cities for virtual assistants are on the West Coast, but according to Zip Recruiter’s list of top ten cities, Barnstable, Massachusetts, ranked 5e overall with an hourly rate of $24.65. That’s more than Boston, which Zip Recruiter says only pays about $23 an hour.

Blake said when it comes to picking the right side, it’s ultimately about playing with your own skill set.

“Most of the time people try to like online survey sites or money-making apps, and they get frustrated because they don’t really make a lot of money. But if you go for things like freelancing , even just by offering different business owners, your different skills, whether it’s graphic design or freelance writing or something like that, you can often make a lot more money in the long run, even if you give up on some of that immediate short-term income,” he said.