Recent Posts

Are you an independent contractor or employee?

Dear WAHFAQ, I recently started working with a company, and they told me that paying taxes is 100% my responsibility. They said I’m considered an “Independent Contractor.” I’m a bit confused as to what this actually means and what I have to do for taxes. When you enter into the “random job” world, you may find that not only can you get traditional employee work, but you might also score a few “independent contractor” gigs as well. It’s important to know the difference when it comes to keeping track of your business. The IRS website has three different Common Law…

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…

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 results….

What is a Retail Mystery Shop?

Dear WAHFAQ, What is a retail shop?  Do you have to buy something?  Do you have to spend your money, or will they give you some?  Are you supposed to keep the merchandise or send it to the company? Retail shops vary by company and assignment.  Here are the main points you need to know: 1)   You generally will NOT receive money from the mystery shopping company to buy anything.  You’ll have to use your own if a purchase is required. 2)   If a purchase is required, they may have something specific for you to buy. 3)   If a purchase…

Approach the media right with these quick pitch tips

Business owners should constantly be on the look out for new opportunities to get press for their business. Unfortunately, even some of the most seasoned public relations managers can fall flat when trying to submit a pitch to get publicity. Here are some quick tips to get you and your business noticed: Never pitch yourself. Pitch the issue that you are an expert on. Provide outside facts and stats. Never pitch your product. Pitch the problem your product solves. Writers want answers and solutions…not an infomercial. Give them the story. You can write an AP style story instead, framing yourself…

What to Expect on a Virtual Job Interview

Dear WAHFAQ, After applying to several companies for work at home jobs, I finally got my first virtual interview! Is there anything special I should plan for? What should I expect? Virtual interviews are not that different from regular in-person interviews, other than they’re conducted remotely via phone, Facetime, or Skype. Because you won’t have in-person interaction with your potential employer there are a few things to keep in mind for a successful virtual interview: Set aside time in a quiet environment. It should go without saying that you should make sure your dogs and cats and kids and other…

The problem with sponsoring dreamers

Dear WAHFAQ, I am having the worst luck with my network marketing company. I love the products, and I have a steady stream of customers, but I’m having a hard time finding people to sponsor. The purpose of me doing this business in the first place is to create some residual income from other people’s sales…but most of them flake out! What can I do? In various businesses, I have encountered many people who say that they are committed, who say that they want to make a change in their lives, but never really follow through. These people amaze me,…

Mystery Shopping on Vacation

Dear WAHFAQ, Our family is taking a vacation this summer, going to the East-Coast to check out all the historical sites and all…you mentioned in class that you can shop while you travel.  How does that work? Shopping on vacation can be a fun way to earn some money to defray the cost of travel!  Here are the basic things you need to keep in mind: 1) Who will you shop for? Do the companies you currently work with have shops in the area that you’re going to?  If so, contact your scheduler, and let them know that you’ll be…

The three most evil work at home scams ever

Dear WAHFAQ, There are so many scams out there. Are there any ones that are worse, or more evil than others? Granted, I consider most scams to be some kind of “evil” but there are a few in particular that have their own special brand of sinister wretchedness. That is because in these scams, you will actually be paid, but unbeknownst to you, you’re scamming someone else! Keep in mind that these are pretty sophisticated scams, so you may only be one part of the larger puzzle: Version One: The Payment Processing Clerk As a “payment processing clerk”, you may…

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…

Identifying rental scams

Dear WAHFAQ, I thought I did everything right. I’ve been looking for a place to live, and found this listing. I drove by the home and it actually existed and was listed for sale! But it turned out to be a scam and I lost $2100. I’m working with the bank to try and get my money back, but it doesn’t look good. How could I have known? What did I miss? The rental property you are interested in is 1 Standard Bedroom 1 full bathroom apartment, located at (Address redacted) Seattle, WA 98116 of which the fixed monthly rental fee…

What is an Apartment Shop?

Dear WAHFAQ, I heard that apartment buildings get shopped.  Is that true?  Would I actually have to rent an apartment?  That just seems weird, plus I don’t have the best credit, so I would probably be denied anyway.  I don’t really understand how they would work.   Apartment shops are actually my favorite shops to do!  You do NOT need to rent an apartment, fill out an application, or leave a deposit to do an apartment shop.  It’s pretty simple: You call up the apartment building and talk to a leasing agent over the phone, setting an appointment to view…

Should kids pay taxes on a lemonade stand?

Each summer, entrepreneurial kids will hit the driveways of America selling cookies and lemonade to passersby. Little thought is given to the legalities and regulations of this rite of passage because, after all, they’re just kids, right? At the 2011 US Open in Bethesa, Maryland, a group of kids decided to have a lemonade stand in hopes of earning some money.  They were shut down because they didn’t pay the $500 vendor fee. Meanwhile, other (older) entrepreneurs who paid $300 for land use permits continued collecting $60 parking fees so that they could have cars parked on their lawns. After…

Is Rexair (Rainbow) a Scam?

Dear WAHFAQ, Someone told me that you used to sell Rainbow Vacuums.  I’ve been thinking about doing it. Is Rexair a scam?  Is it legitimate?  What was your experience?   Yes, it’s true, I used to sell Rainbows.  Well, OK, I sold a Rainbow. And no, they’re not a scam.  Rexair is the company that manufactures the Rainbow vacuum and they’ve been around since the 60’s or so.  They’re a Direct Sales company, which means you’ll be selling the Rainbow directly to customers, not retail outlets. Because of this, Rainbows are hella expensive.  When I was working there, they were about $2000….

Is Shadow Shopper a Scam?

Dear WAHFAQ, I found a company called Shadow Shopper and they said that they could get me started in mystery shopping, but they charge a fee.  I remember that you said that you should never pay to shop, so I just wanted to know if they’re legit or not.  Help me out? Shadow Shopper is not a mystery shopping company.  No legitimate mystery shopping company would ever charge you the joy and privilege of working for them.  Shadow Shopper is an assignment service for mystery shopping companies.  How it works is that mystery shopping companies will post their jobs on Shadow…

Unclaimed Money: Go get yours!

Dear WAHFAQ, I’ve moved around a lot, and I think a utility company is still holding a deposit from several years ago. I remember you mentioned something about tracking this money down, but I forgot who to contact. The company, of course, doesn’t exist anymore, (they merged so many times!) so maybe I’m out of luck? Can you help?  Ah yes! The fun of tracking down unclaimed property! I remember I first heard about this process from a friend of mine several years back. She told me she had received notice from a company trying to track her down and…

Don’t pay cash for a high-end return shop

  I had an interesting experience the other day when doing a purchase and return mystery shop at a high-end shoe store. My job was to go in and purchase shoes around $200, and then return them the next day.  Because I try to stay away from credit cards as much as possible, I paid cash. This particular store prides itself on customer service, and had me fill out customer paperwork when I made the purchase.  I gave my real first name, but a fake last name, as I’m always paranoid that people will Google me and discover I’m a…

The Difference Between Work at Home Opportunities and Work at Home Jobs

Dear WAHFAQ, I’ve been looking online for work at home jobs, and it seems like every one wants me to pay money. Are they all just scams? While you’re surfing online for “work at home” jobs, you’ll see many ads from companies that require fees to get started. Keep in mind that these types of offers aren’t necessarily scams. The company wants you to buy into an opportunity, as opposed to get hired for a job.  Granted, the company may be advertising in the wrong section…they should be under “Business Opportunities” instead of “Help Wanted” but they chose to post…

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…

Work at home without going insane

Dear WAHFAQ, I just started working from home, and frankly, I kinda suck at it. I sleep in too late and get so easily distracted by regular “home” stuff…not to mention my family and friends keep bugging me during the day. How in earth have you been able to do this for so long? I feel like I need a babysitter…for ME! Ah the joy of working from home. Waking up when ever you want, going to bed whenever you want, working whenever you want…That’s what most of us think of right? Well, in actuality, just because you work from home,…

1 2 19