Recent Posts

End of year tax tips for the self-employed

One of the most daunting aspects of being a small business owner or freelancer is trying to figure out how to navigate bookkeeping and taxes. While it may seem overwhelming at first, it really is just a matter of being organized and surrounding yourself with smart people who “nerd-out” over things like deductions, receipts and contracts. We rounded up some of the best and brightest accountants and tax advisors to help you get ready for tax season. Don’t wait for 2019 to get your business in order! Putting these tips in place before the end of the year may just…

Make the most of your holiday vacation

One of the downsides of being self-employed is that we are surrounded by work 24/7. Sometimes we love what we do so much that it’s hard to stop…even during the holidays. I’ve found that I actually prefer working when the rest of the world is on break…I’m more productive, focused, and less distracted by the day-to-day. Here are some tips to make the most out of your holiday vacation, without sacrificing family or relaxation time: 1) Take a “Technology Free” Day…or Two This is listed first because we really do work too much. In order to really be productive, it’s…

Is Jigsy Shadow Shopper a Scam?

Dear WAHFAQ, I came across this website, Jigsy, and was wondering if it was a legitimate Shadow Shopping company. Is it? Thanks! For those who aren’t aware, “Shadow Shopping” is just another term for “Mystery Shopping” it also can be referred to “Guest Shoppers”. These are all blanket terms for my favorite way to make extra money by anonymously evaluating customer service. Check out the Mystery Shopping FAQ, (or even the Mystery Shopper Training Program) you may find that it’s a great way for you to earn extra money as well! Let’s go ahead and dissect this website. First of…

How can you tell if an opportunity is a scam?

Dear WAHFAQ, How can you immediately tell when a Work At home opportunity is a scam, before providing your personal information? The first thing you have to do is figure out if you’re looking at an actual “opportunity” or a work at home “job.” There’s a difference. Opportunities mean you run your own business, you’ll have to put up capital, develop a marketing plan, etc. “Jobs” mean you work for someone else, just at home in your fuzzy bunny slippers. Many people get these confused and lump them all together. Then they get frustrated because they’re asked to put money…

‘Tis the season for scammers

Many of us let our guard down during the holiday season. It’s just so cheery and bright and sparkly, that our attention turns elsewhere. Unfortunately, because of the hustle and bustle, we overlook the red flags that are usually so obvious. Here’s a quick round up of 7 top holiday scams: (Swans-a-Swimming not included) 1) Giftcards Nearly every major retailer (even supermarkets) offers gift cards at checkout stands and even on “virtual mall” racks. Most of these cards have scratch off codes to prevent information theft. However, if cards are not protected, those codes can be written down for later…

“But I didn’t order that!” Scam

Dear WAHFAQ, I got this email that I bought these bracelets, and I didn’t! These people are scammers! I don’t know if I should contact them or not. I’m afraid that if I do, it’ll dig me into a deeper hole. What do you think?   I think you are very wise 🙂 Yes, this is a typical “BUT I DIDN’T BUY THAT!” scam. Scammers and spammers will send out tons of emails like these, (moreso during the holidays!) hoping that someone will take the bait. The email is disguised as an invoice or receipt saying that you ordered something…

How to Avoid Charity Scams

Dear WAHFAQ, I am SO SICK of getting calls and solicitations from charities this time of year. And it’s not because I don’t want to donate…I do! It’s just tiring because it’s hard to figure out what is real. I’d prefer to donate to some of the smaller charities that don’t have the budget to advertise. Do you have any suggestions?   Holidays are ripe with scammers trying to tug on our heartstrings. Be very aware of people standing outside of stores, in parking lots, and yes, even at your front door. Wearing costumes, using props, donning fireman or police…

The “Letters from Santa” scam

Dear WAHFAQ, I was talking with some mom friends the other day and they told me about this service that provides letters from Santa for your kids for the holidays. It seems sketchy to me. Have you heard of it? I search the web fairly frequently for any new scams that may be making the rounds. During the holiday season, the “Letters from Santa” scam is prevalent in various lists of seasonal scams. But what is it exactly? There are various companies and individuals who will charge you, (probably around $19.99) to receive your kid’s letter from Santa, and send…

How Real People Earn Extra Money for the Holidays

Dear WAHFAQ, I’m a student heading home for the holidays, and was wondering if you have any ideas on how to make some money during the month or so I’ll be at home. Any suggestions? Getting temporary jobs can be challenging because sometimes it takes a month or two just to get an interview with a company! Of course, I have my own favorite ways to make extra money (like Mystery Shopping!) but I wanted to see what others had to say. So, I put a call out for real people to offer their advice on how to earn holiday…

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…

Facebook Data Study Job Ad: Is it real or a scam?

Dear WAHFAQ, I saw this ad, and I know you’ve mentioned focus groups before. Is this a legit job? First of all, I want to make sure that you understand that this isn’t a job. It would be considered a gig. You won’t be hired by Facebook to work continually on this project. It’s a one-off type of thing. Market research companies are continually looking for new participants in a variety of studies. This one just happens to involve Facebook. If a market research company has local field offices — where you actually have to show up at a specific…

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…

1 2 20