Research assistant jobs have always been popular among the work-from-home crowd. They typically don’t require a formal degree and many of us enjoy researching and learning new things.
I recently came across Wonder, a site that hires research assistants. Rachael Granby, the Director of Research, was kind enough to stop by and answer a few questions about the work-at-home job.
Tell us a little about yourself. What was your motivation to become a Wonder Researcher?
Wonder (askwonder.com) is a personal research assistant, helping people save time by getting detailed answers and resources delivered to their inboxes by a trusted network of freelance researchers.
I first heard about Wonder through Guy Cohen, the company’s Chief Revenue Officer. Guy and I had worked together in the past at a different company, where I had managed a network of 10,000 freelancers. I eventually joined Wonder as the Director of Research, and now have the privilege of running Wonder’s Research Network. Among other things, this involves finding strong freelance researchers to join the existing researcher community, and supporting those researchers in order to produce high-quality, timely research for clients.
My biggest motivation for working with Wonder was (and still is) the excitement of building something important and innovative, while getting to work with researchers all over the world and learning something new every single day. Wonder is disrupting the way businesses get their research, and is creating knowledge jobs for large categories of people who are highly skilled but choose, for various reasons, to not work in an office full-time. Our researcher base includes stay-at-home and work-at-home parents, students, librarians, military spouses, etc.
Please share your success on the site. Are you able to meet your income goals?
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.
How do you become a Researcher? What are the requirements?
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.
What’s a normal day like for a Researcher? Is your time scheduled? Are there minimum requirements?
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.
How do you get paid?
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.
Tell us about your favorite programs or resources for getting the job done? Any must-have tools of the trade?
Advanced Google search is a game-changer. It allows you to search for certain types of files, or to restrict your search to specific websites, or to exclude certain terms and set date ranges, and so on.
I often use a Google Images search if I’m looking for hard-to-find statistics, because it will often surface screengrabs of various reports or presentations which are not as easily found through a normal Google search.
I also read through the research which has been completed by other researchers and which has received a 5-star rating from clients. It gives me insights into which sources other researchers are using and their thought process for tackling the request in the first place, so I can learn by example.
Anyone who’s interested can read more details and apply at www.askwonder.com/application.