Recent Posts

How far would you drive for a Mystery Shop?

Dear WAHFAQ, I’ve read your book on mystery shopping, very informative. I was wondering what was the maximum number of miles you would drive for a retail shop? Well, as with all things mystery shopping: it depends. These are the factors you’ll need to consider for any shop, to make sure it’s worth your time and gas money: 1) How much does it pay? If it’s a $10 retail shop, I wouldn’t go very far. Unless… 2) Am I already going there? Of course, if the shop is for something that I already need like gas or groceries at a store that…

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?…

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…

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…

Why we work from home

Any time I send out a survey to my newsletter subscribers, I ask, “Name the top 2-3 reasons why you want to work from home or be self-employed.” I find it is always important to know why people want to do what they do. For those of you who have read, The Work at Home Training Program, you may remember how I started on this path: My grandfather passed away when I was in my early 20s. He had a significant role in both my sister’s and my life, but my sister’s employer wouldn’t give her time off of work…

Offline vs. Online Businesses

Dear WAHFAQ, I’m looking to start my own business, but I’m not sure if I should focus on something that’s just online, or if I should go for an in-person type of business, (like running a store.) What do you think? Before you decide to start your own business or follow an opportunity that has already been established, you’ll want to consider certain factors of the business: How much time you want to invest, how much money you can invest, the type of support system available to you, and the market to whom you want to pitch your wares. You…

Plan your business before you begin

    Dear WAHFAQ, I would like to be my own boss, but I’m having a hard time getting started. I feel like I have so many false-starts and so many different ideas that my friends and family are losing faith that I’ll actually succeed in just one. I know I can be successful, I’m just not sure HOW to do it. How do I get over this hump?   “Plan your work, and work your plan.” — One of my father’s gems…along with “Do your homework” and “Remember the Golden Rule” this phrase has stuck in my head over…

Why do they want my email password?

Dear WAHFAQ, I signed on with a few mystery shopping companies, but they all ask me for my email and password. That seems a bit invasive. Why do they want to log into my email account?  Do they need to? Is this normal? The Mystery Shopping company isn’t trying to log into your email. They want you to create an account on their site!  Your user ID would be your email, and then you create a NEW password for their system. Kinda like how any membership site, or bank, or credit card company, or forum asks you to create a…

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…

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 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,…

Is stuffing envelopes a legit way to earn money?

Dear WAHFAQ, I heard that a long time ago, you could make money while stuffing envelopes at home. Does this job still exist? How can I get started?   Wow. This question is a blast from the past! Ok, I’ll admit it. When I was in college, I sent away $19.95 so that I could become a millionaire…stuffing envelopes at home. Surprisingly it didn’t work out the way I thought. (Note the sarcasm.) I did actually receive something for my money: a one page piece of paper that had been xeroxed a million times. It said that all I had to…

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…

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

  I had an interesting experience while 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. When I…

Evaluating a home-based business opportunity

Dear WAHFAQ, I have been toying with the idea of getting into one of those MLM companies. I have been wanting to start my own business and have a friend who has been really successful with her health and wellness company. I’ve tried the products and really like them. I’m not sure I’m the “selling” type, though, and I just don’t know if I should do this. Do you have any tips to help me make a decision? There are a lot of options for starting a home-based business, even if you don’t have ideas of your own. MLM, Network…

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…

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…

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,…

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…

How to make money online

Dear WAHFAQ, I’m interested in making money online, but I don’t know where to start. I don’t really want to work for someone else. Can you help me? The Internet has completely changed the way we communicate, the way we research, and the way we do business. There are several ways of using the Internet to create income. Choosing the one that works for you will take time. You’ll need to do some research and be open to learning a completely new skill-set. But once you’ve found a way to make money online, you’ll see the joy of residual income and…