Recent Posts

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…

Create multiple income streams from one idea

Dear WAHFAQ, I took your work at home class several years ago and I remember you speaking about all the different ways you made money with mystery shopping: as a shopper, consultant, author, instructor, etc. Can you remind me about how the rest of us can take our talents and diversify our income? Entrepreneurs are “idea fountains”, never lacking ideas for starting a brilliant new venture. But how many times have you sat down with ONE brilliant idea and found many ways of earning income from it? The point of this exercise is to take your passion and look at…

You need to stop reading and start doing!

Dear WAHFAQ, I’ve been wanting to start my own business for several years, but I’m a bit overwhelmed at everything that needs to be done. I’ve taken a few entrepreneurship classes through my local college, and have been reading a lot of blogs online, not to mention going through a ton of podcasts, and I just feel like there is too much to know. I’m afraid of making a mistake, but I really want to do this! Many years ago, I was in an acting for film class held by a casting agency in Seattle. For introductions, we went around…

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…

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….

Customer Service Job Ad: Is it real or a scam?

Dear WAHFAQ, I’ve been looking for a customer service job, and I saw this online. It seems a little too good to be true. $18/hr is pretty high in my area. What do you think?   I am willing to bet that this ad is marketing a MLM/Direct Sales opportunity. Let’s explore some of the language in this ad: “The work involves, fun, laid-back presentations with our customers, either face-to-face or done virtually….” This reminds me all too well of my time selling Rainbows. The company would NEVER say that we were doing sales, it was always “presentations” with customers….

Should you give out your social security number?

Dear WAHFAQ, It seems like every Mystery Shopping company that I sign up for wants my social security number. I don’t feel comfortable giving it out. What should I do? I know that Mystery Shopping does sound a little too good to be true, and it can feel like a scam when you’re first getting started, but, believe it or not, this is a job! Your employer, the mystery shopping company, needs to know that you’re legally authorized to work in the US, (or Canada, or wherever you’re shopping) and because of that, they need your social security number. Even…

Can I tell my friends that I’m a Mystery Shopper?

Dear WAHFAQ, I loved your mystery shopper book and class and have been shopping for a little over a month now.  The checks are just now starting to come in and I’m so happy!  I’ve been wanting to tell my sister and my friends about mystery shopping, but I know that companies are really strict about their confidentially rules.  Can I actually tell people that I’m a shopper? Or do I have to keep this a secret forever? Thanks!   You absolutely can tell people you’re a mystery shopper. Heck, if we couldn’t do that, I’d be in BIIIIIGGGGG trouble! …

Can I bring my kids on a Mystery Shop?

  Dear WAHFAQ, I was recently assigned a movie theater shop, and 2 restaurants. I’m so excited to get started!  The only thing is that my baby sitter cancelled on me, and I have to get these shops done TODAY!  What should I do?  Can I bring the kids with me? Ok, first of all, RELAX. Then, call your scheduler!  They are your life-line to help you when situations like these arise.  I cannot specifically speak for your scheduler or company, but most restaurant shops allow you to take a few people with you.  In fact, Mystery Shopping companies LIKE…

Can I make money assembling products at home?

Dear WAHFAQ, The other day, I was at the doctor’s office and reading one of their magazines, when I saw an ad for assembling products from home. Is this something I could really do? How does that work?   Oh dear. This one is still around, eh? I know you’ve seen the ads. Somewhere in the depths of the “Classified” section, there it is, calling out to you,”Assemble Products at home. No experience necessary. Make $200-$2000 a week! You get giddy. Perhaps you’re a stay at home mom, or maybe you have a disability or something else that prevents you from…

Mall Surveyor Job Ad: Is it real or a scam?

Note: This is an inquiry from 2012 that I thought deserved a reboot since it still applies today! Dear WAHFAQ, Is this a legitimate job post? You mention surveying in your Mystery Shopping book, is that what this is? Mystery Shopping and market research companies conduct spot checks and exit interviews where you’re placed at a particular location and required to count people. You may see these for movie theatres where someone is stationed outside of a particular theatre with a little clicker counting the number of people going to see a particular movie on a particular day. In this…

Mystery Shopping bait and switch

  Dear WAHFAQ, What does “bait and switch” mean in mystery shopping?  I can’t quite figure it out.   “Bait and Switch” is a practice with some not-so-nice Mystery Shopping companies.  It’s a rare occurrence, thankfully…but it can happen. When a Mystery Shopping company posts an assignment, they’re supposed to give you all the details, so that you know what you’re getting yourself into.  Sometimes, they don’t do that, and bait you into taking an assignment that looks easy to do.  Once you accept it, they throw a whole bunch of details, stipulations, and extra work that you weren’t counting…