In the spirit of trying different things to generate income, I decided to sign up for a focus group as just like mystery shopping there seems to be a lot of advertisements about it. I had a general idea of what to expect as I have seen and read about such events and it turned out to be exactly just that. In a nutshell, you are basically placed with a certain group of people of a similar category such as your race or age as the company conducting the event attempts to analyze your thoughts and feedbacks about certain topics through a group discussion.
I got to witness and experience some interesting things such as failure during the recruitment process to properly inform participants on what was expected from them. For example, there were no indications that participants had to read or write a specific foreign language which created some interesting obstacles when the survey forms were not in English. However, for the most part everything went fairly smoothly as the conversations felt casual and they tried their best to not make it look like some sort of interrogation room as there were microphones everywhere and at times you could clearly tell that there were people behind the mirrors as you could clearly see a door of light as they enter and left the room.
Of course everyone wants to know, how the pay was right? Honestly, the compensation seemed pretty high considering I was only there for two hours. The compensation almost makes it look like an hourly rate of a professional such as a consultant. Compared to mystery shopping, so far from my experience focus group assignments seem to be more financially rewarding as you are not directly required to spend your own money to complete the task. As of now, I would recommend participating in focus groups for people looking to do something fun and at the same time making some spending money. Like everything else though, different organizations run differently so always keep that in mind as opinions will vary.