Recent Posts

Resources for Military Spouses and Vets

Dear WAHFAQ, I’m a career counselor that recently moved to a military town, so many of my clients are military spouses and vets transitioning back to civilian life. Do you know of any resources that will specifically benefit them?  Veterans can face challenges entering the civilian workforce. They may have difficulty translating their experience into terms that companies can understand and find useful, or they may not be aware of how to leverage common technology, like social media, to grow their own personal network. Likewise, military spouses have a challenge of finding consistent income when they may have to move…

Get in on the ground floor — plus other home business lies

Dear WAHFAQ, I’ve been looking into different Direct Sales companies to join because I really want to start my own business. I don’t quite have the money yet to get started, but people are pressuring me to sign up, saying I’m going to miss out because it’s a new company and they’re growing really quickly. And it seems to be true. I’ve seen their growth charts! What do you think? Should I just take the jump now, or should I wait a bit until I’m really ready to start a business? Who wouldn’t want to be ahead of a trend?…

Have you Googled yourself lately?

Dear WAHFAQ, How can I make sure that my private info isn’t online? Thanks! You would be amazed at the amount of information that is available online. In just a few simple clicks you can find out so much information about a person including their family, where they live, and even their purchase history on Amazon or eBay. It’s creepy, so I recommend a few steps to make sure your personal information STAYS personal! First and foremost: Check all three major search engines: Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Not only the main web results, but also look through their image and…

Do I need a separate email address for Mystery Shopping?

Dear WAHFAQ, I just started Mystery Shopping…got your training program…love it! And I was wondering if I really need a separate email address to do mystery shopping with.  I already have so many, it just seems like a hassle! Thanks for the kind words! I’m glad you liked the Mystery Shopper Training Program 🙂 Y’know, it’s totally up to you if you want to use another email address specifically for mystery shopping.  I guess it depends on what you use the others for. For me, personally, I like to keep it separate from even my business account simply because I…

What are Reward and Revealing Shops?

Dear WAHFAQ, I’ve been mystery shopping for a little over a month now and yesterday I got an offer for a “reward” shop.  What is this? Reward shops can also be called Revealing shops.  They are when you are required to give up your identity as a Mystery Shopper and reward an employee on the spot for doing something fabulous. For example, you could go into a movie theater and purchase something at the concession stand to see if the employee up-sells you to a larger drink or popcorn size.  If they do, you say, ‘Congratulations!  I’m a mystery shopper…

Will a company still contact me if I ignore their emails?

Dear WAHFAQ, I have signed up with a lot of the mystery shopping companies you recommend, and I’m getting a lot of job offers but I simply don’t have time to answer all of the emails.  I’m concerned that they will stop sending me offers if I ignore them, but it’s a little overwhelming.  What happens if I can’t shop for awhile?  What do I do? Don’t worry about it.  Seriously. Mystery Shopping companies play the numbers game when they send out emails and they don’t expect you to respond unless you’re interested in the job.  Actually, they prefer that…

Should you pay for a work at home job?

Dear WAHFAQ, I’ve been going through the application pipeline of a company that (potentially) hires people to do customer service from home. I’ve had one phone interview, and it looks promising, but now they want me to pay fees for a background check? Is this legit? Should I be worried? Should I pay? Some may think that the general rule of thumb when it comes to work at home jobs is, “If you have to pay…stay away!” but even that phrase needs some clarification, as it’s a bit simplified within the complexities of the work-at-home industry. If you follow these…

Why I hate MLM and Direct Sales

Dear WAHFAQ, How on earth can you sing the praises of MLM and Direct Sales companies? They’re nothing but scams! I have lost so much money with them it isn’t funny. What is wrong with you? How I love fan mail 🙂 It’s true that I love MLM and Direct Sales. Moreso the opportunity itself than any one particular business. But I do believe someone should evaluate an opportunity before signing up. There are many good aspects to the industry, but, there is a lot about it that I don’t like. So, let me give a bit of balance to…

Reverse Marketing: Your way to millions

Dear WAHFAQ, What do you think is the quickest and easiest way to make money from a business? In the traditional business mentality, many times companies (or individuals) will create a product or service and then head out to find their customers. They spend way too much time and money trying to convince potential customers that their thingamajig is useful and needed and better than the competition’s thingamajig. Reverse Marketing, however, employs a much simpler approach: find a group of people who have a need, and then fill it. Yes, it seems like this concept would be in Business 101,…

Is this Mystery Shopping assignment worth my time?

Dear WAHFAQ, I recently received an email from a company for this assignment: Mystery Shoppers are needed in the NEW YORK cities listed below for BANK SHOPS. Payment is  $20 and requires an inquiry for a new checking or savings account. Shops may NOT be done on Saturday, or after 5pm.  Assignments are due before June 26. An online 2-page report will need to be completed with detailed comments regarding your experience. Manhattan              Binghamton             Westfield            Rochester         Albany Do you think it’s worth the fee they’re giving? Thanks! There are many factors to consider whether the assignment is worth…

Should I let a bad company go?

Dear WAHFAQ, I have a dilemma.  I really don’t like one mystery shopping company I have been working for.  They’re realllllllly picky about the assignments, they send them back to me all the time for re-writes, they don’t pay that great, and my scheduler constantly calls and emails me to remind me of shops.  I work for a bunch of other companies, and I don’t have that problem with them so I don’t think it’s my work.  I don’t want to burn bridges, but I don’t think I can work for this company anymore.  What do you suggest? The wonderful…

Make extra money with Print on Demand (POD) companies

Dear WAHFAQ, Can you explain how those t-shirt printing websites work? I’m an artist and have some designs but I’m not sure how that all works. Thanks! Sometime around 2003, my brother-in-law told me about a company, Cafepress, that would allow him to create his own t-shirts. He runs a political commentary website, and was looking for ways to earn revenue. My sister would help create designs and they would upload the images to the Cafepress site. They chose where they wanted to “sell” the image: t-shirts, bags, or bumper stickers. Cafepress had a base price for the item, and my…

Why can’t I get a gift certificate for mystery shopping?

Dear WAHFAQ, I’m supposed to do a really high-end restaurant shop this week, but the mystery shopping company won’t get me a gift certificate.  I’m supposed to take 10 people!  This is going to cost me around $300, and even though I’m going to get reimbursed, it’s going to take awhile. Why can’t they just give me a gift certificate and make my life easier? First of all, congrats on the restaurant shop!  That’s going to be a lot of fun, and a really hefty reimbursement!  I totally understand where you’re coming from, and that’s why some of these high-end…

The ridiculous Craigslist furniture scam

Dear WAHFAQ, I’ve been selling items online, and keep getting emails like this one. What is the deal with these people? They can’t actually think that I’m going to fall for this? Hello,   I was just drafting this.Thank you for getting in touch with me,i’m fine with your price as listed and looking to buy your furniture but the only way I can is through a Check which I will mail to you through UPS I am willing to wait for the check to clear before the pickup is done. I will be responsible for the pickup and it…

My mom makes me proud

My parents are of the mindset that people should rely on their jobs and companies to take care of them. My father was a newspaper editor for nearly 40 years and my mother is retired from being in the education field. They’ve always tolerated my whims, although, deep down I knew that they didn’t understand why I never got a “real” job. Residual income, cash flow…these whole concepts of making money without going to “work” never really clicked with them. I’m pleased to announce that Mom is finally coming around. I don’t know if it’s because she’s collecting residual income…

What is a Financial Mystery Shop?

Dear WAHFAQ, I know you said that Mystery Shopping companies don’t deal with certified checks, but I had an assignment recently where I had to cash a check at a payday loan place.  So, I’m confused.  What are good and bad shops that deal with money? To clarify: Mystery Shopping companies do not PAY by certified check.  That’s actually a really big scam! Financial institutions have a variety of shops available.  Here are the main ones you’ll see out there: 1)   Pay-day check cashing: The mystery shopping company will give you a check to cash. It is usually pretty small,…

Who Mystery Shops Walt Disney World Cruise Lines?

Dear WAHFAQ, Can you tell me who shops Walt Disney Cruise Lines?  I’m also interested in doing Panera, or Shell Gas Stations…I can’t seem to find out who shops these companies, and I don’t want to waste any more time! I would tell you if I could…but this is the cardinal sin of Mystery Shopping: revealing “who shops who.”  We can’t do it. Please don’t ask me to violate my confidentially agreements…It just won’t happen! We can’t reveal these things because Mystery Shopping companies don’t want to lose their clients.  If they didn’t have the confidentially rule, we’d be able…

Mystery Shopping Memory Tricks

Dear WAHFAQ, I’d really like to mystery shop, but after looking at your sample forms (in the Mystery Shopper Training Program) I’m a little nervous. I quite possibly have the worst memory ever. How on earth can I do mystery shopping? Mystery Shopping does require a fair amount of memory…but, no one is perfect, and there are always tricks to help you get the details you need for a great shop. Here are some that I use: For Apartment Shops: They always give you brochures, or floor plans, or community newsletters, or business cards, or whatever. Take them, and take notes…

Save cash and barter for your small business instead

Dear WAHFAQ, I’ve had a lot of hidden costs in starting my business. Things I didn’t even think to think about! Do you have any suggestions for keeping costs low while I get started? Before the time of MasterCard, Visa and Amex, people paid for things by cash or bartering. As a new business, bartering is a wonderful way to trade services and products for other, well, services and products. You’ll save your cash flow for bills instead of other necessities. I love trade. Don’t get me wrong, I do still much prefer earning money for my skills, but if someone…

Why businesses fail

Dear WAHFAQ, I want to start a business, but I’m scared to death of failing. At this point in my life, I just don’t have the energy to start something without knowing for certain it will be a success. How can you tell if something will be successful or not? Time and time again, people with good intentions and great ideas fail at creating their own business. How many step back to analyze their failures, re-group and try again?  Success comes to those who are able to push through set-backs and learn from their mistakes. Before you start on your…

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