Work at Home Opportunities: Mystery Shopping

Q: Along with everyone else these days, I’m struggling to make ends meet. A lot of people have told me to look for work on the internet but I’ve been hesitant to do it. There are so many scams going on out there on the web.

Recently, one of my friends mentioned she’s always had an interest in mystery shopping but hasn’t ever looked into it. That got me thinking about how much I love to shop. I wondered, “Could I actually get paid to shop?” What is mystery shopping, anyway? And will I really get paid to do it? Can I make good money at mystery shopping?

A: You’re wise to be cautious about looking for work over the internet. Actually, you can find quality jobs online. It’s important, though, to take the time to investigate any online job opportunities you may be interested in so you can determine which jobs are legitimate.

So, you’re curious about mystery shopping.

With mystery shopping, yes, you can get paid to shop. Retailers of all types and sizes have found that mystery shopping provides them with good information about how customers respond to their stores, goods and services.

Department stores, boutiques, pet stores, hair salons, restaurants and other retailers use mystery shoppers to determine what they’re doing right and what they can change to bring in more customers and sell more products and services.


These retailers interface with mystery shopping companies. The mystery shopping companies handle all aspects of obtaining mystery shoppers to complete visits, called “shops,” to the stores and provide reports regarding their shopping experiences at the retail locations.

Mystery shoppers are paid per shopping experience as long as they properly complete the required online reports and forward receipts in a timely fashion. Mystery shoppers usually choose the shops they want to do from available shops listed at mystery shopping companies’ websites. Typically, there are time limits in terms of when the shop should be done.

In addition, each shop has specific guidelines to follow in order to successfully complete it. After a shopper enters the place of business and takes part in the shopping experience in the store, she returns home to complete the mystery shopping online report.


Payments for mystery shopping experiences usually range from $0 to $25 per shopping episode. Many shops require you to buy something, which takes away from your profit.

➡ For example, a recent shop offered by a hair cutting chain (through a mystery shopping website) offered $25 plus 20% for tip for a mystery shopper to obtain services at designated salons in various locations.

➡ This shop required that a receipt be submitted in order to receive payment. The shopper paid $25 for a shampoo, cut and style, plus a $4 tip. Although the shopper made no money on the deal, she did end up with a free haircut.

The reality is that you’re more likely to receive free services, meals and items rather than much extra money when you mystery shop. But if you like to shop and think it’s cool to receive free meals, haircuts and other items, you’ll most likely enjoy mystery shopping.


How to Start Working as a Successful Freelancer


Day Care Business for Work At Home Moms Part 1


Many potential work at home moms (WAHMs) think that starting an in-home daycare business might be an easy way to make extra money and stay at home with their children at the same time.

Owning a childcare business can be rewarding and does have many perks. However, the realities of this type of business are far from the expectations of most people considering childcare.

It is not the easiest way in the world to make money, and does not give you the freedom, and relative freedom from responsibility, of other work at home opportunities.

If you have experience in child care or a degree related to the child care field, then opening your own daycare as a work at home mom is a natural extension of your out of the home job, in which case, it would not be such a huge leap to take on daycare in your own home as a business.

However, there are a few important distinctions between working for someone else taking care of children, and running your own in-home facility.   We will deal with these distinctions in Part 2.


Making the Decision to Work at Home Part 1


Mothers who work at home (or Wahms) are a growing population of working America. Increasingly, more and more women want to spend time with their children and need to bring in an income, thus there has been a boom in the work at home industry.

Making the decision to work at home is not always an easy one. Before you decide that being a Work at home mom (Wahm) is right for you, you need to take a few things into account.

First of all, you’ll need to decide if being a Wahm is right for you AND your family. There are many benefits to working at home as compared with outside the home. You can set your own hours, you don’t have to commute to work, and you can be there for your kids when they need you.

However, there are some downsides as well. The isolation of working at home can be an issue for some women. There are also challenges related to juggling work time and family time, and clearly drawing the line between both.

You willl also have to look at the impact that working from home will have on your family’s financial situation. If you are moving from a high-paying full-time job, to working part-time from home while you care for your child or children, there will definitely be some financial adjustments that will have to be made.

However, whatever your cut in pay will be, you have to weigh that versus the costs going to work commuting and so forth, for example, and above all, of putting your child into daycare full-time, which can certainly be price-y these days.

Although it may seem like your work at home pay will be much smaller compared to your full-time outside of the home job, you need to consider that your housekeeping chores are of value, and keep in mind the high cost of daycare.

If you can make an equal amount of money or more by working part-time from home and taking care of your child yourself, it is well worth it financially to stay at home.

If you also see that you will save money on your commute, lunches, work clothes, and so forth, then being a WAHM would seem to be right for you.

In fact, many women see that raising their child without the use of daycare, whether or not they make a significant income, is the real benefit of being a Wahm. The perks of raising your own child, while still bringing in money for the family, are many. Children are only young once, and being able to stay at home with them is one of the top reasons that women choose a Wahm career.


Continued in Making the Decision to Work at Home Part 2