Ever been called a know-it-all? Tons of people seem to think that’s an insult when really it just models your curiosity and drive to the world! If you have extensive education or simply read widely, you should show off that knowledge and even earn an income on it. Whether you’re looking for a side hustle or a new career as a professional know-it-all, I’ve put together some notes on a few of the opportunities available to you.
Online Research Jobs
One form of being a know-it-all is a Serial Researcher. If you’ve always enjoyed learning everything you could – whether by reading an entire encyclopedia or reading a bunch of nonfiction articles on any subject that interests you – you can make your endless curiosity work for you by turning it into a job! Countless industries and jobs depend on research, much of which can be done online: put your skills to work as an industry researcher, expert, or consultant.
Some online research jobs from home are entry-level and require no previous experience in research; however, some better-paying opportunities that are industry-specific may need either formal education or at least formal experience to land. For example, a court researcher should have some background in legal work – or an expert in nutrition might need to demonstrate an education in nutrition or a related subject.
10EQS hires Subject Matter Experts in specific industries, technologies, or functions – to qualify for this position, you should have extensive practical experience with your particular subject. You’ll join their database of prospective experts and have the opportunity to get assigned to live research projects with their clients. You may also have the option to complete these projects over the phone or in person.
Article One Partners is looking for quality Researchers, although this opportunity is rooted in competition. Once you register with them, you can submit research to a variety of Public Studies – and win payment as either the best submitted or for your high-quality work. They also recruit for Invitation Only studies that may come with guaranteed payment.
IT-Boss Research works with independent contractors (such as yourself!) to complete court research for their clients. This does involve going to local courthouses to find the data required by IT-Boss Research’s clients, but you still have the flexibility to do so on your schedule (within limits imposed by the courthouse’s open hours). They say the average researcher can earn between $10 and $15 hourly, while more experienced court research can pull $25.
Of course, maybe it’s not the thrill of internet research that drives you – maybe you just love having the answer to every question! If that’s the case, that know-it-all drive can create an income for you as well. There are several companies online today that sell just such a question-answering service to their clients – whether their questions are complex (companies needing to know if an idea has been done before) or simpler (a student needing help with their homework assignments).
In these cases, it does pay to have a particular area of expertise – but you can still find work even if most of your know-it-all vibe is based on being a skilled practitioner of Google-fu.
Wonder is one of the most popular companies to answer questions for – you’ll see them mentioned quite often. They invite their clients to submit questions, and then their researchers spend a little time finding at least five quality sources that answer that question. Then synthesizing that information into an answer for their clients. You must pass a quiz and complete a sample assignment to work with them.
Rachael Granby, the Director of Research, was kind enough to stop by and answer a few questions about the work-at-home job.
Wonder is a marketplace where each research question is priced differently, depending on a variety of factors including how quickly the client needs the research back and how challenging the research question is. Each researcher sets his or her own schedule, chooses which requests to work on and chooses which price points to accept. That's a long way of saying that each researcher's earning potential varies based on how much time s/he wants to spend researching each week and which types of requests s/he accepts.
Top researchers can earn as much as $35+ per hour, and make up to $2K per month.
In addition to the payment, researchers also get the opportunity to work on interesting new projects every day, to learn about new fields, to network with peers all across the world, and to build up a portfolio of research.
The two most important criteria are: excellent writing skills and a love of learning.
Creative problem solving helps too, as sometimes clients ask for information that isn't immediately available and then we need to come up with a creative way to guesstimate the answer. For example, a client might ask “How many songs are currently listed on the SoundCloud website?” SoundCloud hasn't released this data, but there was an article from 6 months ago which had the number of SoundCloud songs at the time, and a separate article which highlighted the rate at which new songs were being added, so it was possible to guesstimate how many songs there are today by using the number of songs six months ago and the projected growth rate over the last six months.
Researchers set their own schedules – they can work as often as they want, and as much as they want. A researcher will typically log onto our dashboard to see which requests are available, and then choose a specific request to start working on. Researchers also use Slack, a chat service, to talk to each other about what they're working on, to ask questions and to share tips.
We recommend that researchers answer a minimum of 1 request per week, to keep their skills sharp, and experienced researchers typically answer 5+ requests each week. However, there is no minimum requirement.
Researchers are paid via PayPal, every two weeks.
In addition to doing research, there are also earning opportunities for researchers who want to review the work completed by others. This involves reading through someone else's completed research to make sure it fully answered the client's question, that it's clear and well-presented, and that it follows Wonder's formatting guidelines. We pay reviewers $1 for each review they complete.
What tips do you have for those wanting to become a Wonder Researcher?
a) Read the instructions on the application! I know that seems like a silly one, but it's amazing how many potentially strong candidates submit applications that make it clear they didn't read the instructions. For example, we ask applicants to complete one piece of mock research and we include instructions for how to use the right formatting. If you're interested in joining the Wonder Research Network, use the right formatting!
b) There's definitely a learning curve, so we provide a resource center for all researchers with information about how to tackle different kinds of requests, and we have a community support system where researchers regularly ask each other for advice on specific requests. But the biggest asset a researcher can bring in here is a good attitude – if your English writing is strong, and you're willing to learn, and you'd like to be part of a collaborative environment with interesting fellow researchers from all over the world, then this is the right role for you.
StudyPool works with independent tutors to help students with their homework assignments – while working with them, you can browse questions in over 30 subjects and offer to help. The company acts somewhat as a facilitator since you get to set your own rates. You also set your schedule; payment is made when you’ve finished helping a given student.
Experts 123 provides a place for you to answer questions by writing articles that show off your expertise, although the pay is not always guaranteed. When writing their base level articles, what you make depends on how much traffic your article receives. You can graduate to higher levels of engagement that offer some guaranteed pay if your articles are amazing.
The answering-questions gig can also be good as a side hustle, with plenty of apps and sites offering cash or prizes in exchange for your answers regarding various companies and services (or even providing some mild technical assistance). Check out companies like Help Owl, FixYa, Weegy, etc.
Ask an Expert
If you’re an all-around expert on a given subject, you can earn an income by offering your services on an Ask an Expert platform. Requirements for these types of sites vary, but some may ask you to prove your expertise via a degree or proof of training. The amount of income you can expect to make in this role varies as well – from how in-demand your subject is to how many people you help. On the plus side, you can entirely set your schedule, and you can even arrange to take calls on the go.
Just Answer – Sign up to offer expert answers via JustAnswer, prove your credentials, and set your hours to get started! Any time a client has a question for your specialty – and you’ve marked yourself as available – you can speak with the client to provide answers. You’ll split the fee with Just Answer.
Maven refers to their experts as microconsulants and offers quick sign-up: just set your hourly rate and answer a few questions. Their system matches you up with their clients’ needs – you may answer questions via writing, talk on the phone, or participate in a project. You can also earn a commission from referrals.
Presto Experts connects you with their clients via chat, phone, or email (you can decide which) to answer questions in your areas of expertise – or perhaps even to provide tutoring. After registering, you’ll create your profile listing your credentials (education, qualifications, etc.) – potential clients can find you when you’re online when they search various categories. Set your own fees!
Clarity allows you to put your expertise to work answering questions for clients through one-on-one phone calls. They mainly deal with freelancers, executives, and entrepreneurs. They pay every two weeks, and you’re able to set your fees and availability through their platform. They take a cut of 15% for facilitating.
I hope I’ve shared a few things with you today you didn’t already know! Now get out there and find your perfect research job from home and answer questions to your heart’s content. I’d also love to hear about your experience with any of these companies – so drop me a note when and if you’ve worked with them!