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? In 2011 at the 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. Read More…

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 shopper. Read More…

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. Read More…

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 Read More…

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 Read More…

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 Read More…

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, Read More…

Mystery shopping dilemma: What if an employee hits on you?

I love mystery shopping, but I swear, sometimes the weirdest things happen on assignments which leave me scratching my head and thinking, “Ok, how am I going to write this one up?” In one apartment shop, my cover story was that I was single, and looking for a one-bedroom apartment. The leasing agent was a young man who had just moved to the area and had been working at the building for only a few weeks. I doubt that he had much experience within rentals, as we spent a lot of time talking about me. He did a fair job Read More…

The nonsensical 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 Read More…

Unconventional Million-Dollar Ideas

Through my classes and website, I encounter many people who believe that it’s only “other people” who can have success in a non-traditional work environment.  It’s these “other people” who have the creative ideas, and the “other people” who will make the millions. I constantly challenge that assertion because opportunity is all around us.  It’s just a matter of developing the habit of recognizing it, and allowing yourself to have courage to pursue it.  You don’t have to go to college and get a degree or have a high-paying 40+ hour a week job to earn money to survive.  Remember Read More…

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 Read More…

Is this a real job offer or scam? (Mystery Shopping WalMart)

Dear WAHFAQ, I got this email the other day, and I was wondering…is it a real job or a scam?  I know you like Mystery Shopping, and I just wanted to get your professional opinion~ Thanks! One of  America’s largest, discount departmental outlet is re-branding. The Retail Industry is a competitive world, with each retailer vying for the attention of consumers in an increasingly clustered market. We do not want to rely on proprietary data collection processes and technology alone, we need appraisers to collect specific data about their experience and opinions when they visit this any of our outlets, Read More…