When I was about 5 months pregnant, I got a random voice mail from a company claiming to have gotten my information from a friend and they were inviting me to be a part of a research study. I was about to delete it, thinking it was some kind of spam voice mail, when they mentioned that they got my contact info from my very good friend Kelly. So I emailed her and asked her if she did in fact give my info to them, and she responded with an enthusiastic "Yes! Do it!". So, I called them back and got into the world of market research.
I have since discovered that Atlanta is actually quite the hot spot for market research for new and expectant mommies. So far I have done studies for Pack 'n Plays, baby clothing, baby toys, baby equipment, and diapers. Steve even got into it and signed up for several of the taste tests (I get disqualified automatically for the taste test focus groups because I'm nursing). It's not a reliable income by any means, but we've been able to get several hundred dollars (plus some free baby toys!) over the past year through these focus groups. It's fun and we usually spend the money on something fun to do together :-).
The only catch is that you do need to be somewhat flexible, you need to be able to have someone watch your kiddo, and you don't always qualify for studies. There are numerous studies for formula that I don't qualify for, for obvious reasons, and I also didn't qualify for a very high-paying study for Diaper Genies (damn!), but they do qualify you over the phone so you don't waste your time showing up for something that you can't do. Then they hand you cash or a check right after the study, and I have never been paid under $40 for less than 2 hours of offering my opinion on things. Today I got paid $125 for essentially window-shopping for baby clothes!
I am under the impression that most major cities have research companies, and I would highly encourage other mommies to get their information into local databases and see if you can earn some easy money! You can usually do a google search for your area, and a lot of the companies have forms where you can sign up on their website. The companies that I've worked with in Atlanta are:
Those two companies are seriously ALWAYS looking for more moms, so sign up and have fun!