Home Business

Mystery Shopping Career Advice

An entrepreneur will make sacrifices so that he/she can live a life like others will only dream of living. You can still enjoy some of the fine things in life. Freelance as a mystery shopper in your area. Many Fortune & Global 500 companies rely on the feedback from quality certified Mystery Shoppers to help improve their level of customer service. Mystery shoppers get an opportunity to enjoy being a customer at restaurants, retail stores, grocery stores, dealerships and financial institutions or a guest at a casino, hotel or resort.

Mystery Shopping Responsibilities

Mystery Shoppers are responsible for meeting deadlines, following detailed instructions and writing fact-based reports to provide our clients with actionable data. If they do not meet the requirements any expenses will not be reimbursed. Good Mystery Shop companies will offer training and evaluations to make sure the shopper is ready for his or her assignment.

There is no formal certification to be a Mystery Shopper. A Mystery Shopper must be 21 years of age or older; must have reliable transportation; must have good written communication skills; must be able to focus on details and must have full internet access.

It is best not to use a computer located in public facilities (i.e. libraries, computer labs) due to security settings in place to protect the identity of Mystery Shoppers. Another requirement is that you need to be able to upload photographs and receipts to a website.

Companies that hire Mystery Shoppers provide training and certification for their shoppers. A representative is assigned to each state to help Mystery Shoppers. The representative will also be responsible for evaluating each report. If the report does not meet the specification of the client company the report will be rejected. Your representative from the company will provide training on how to complete each company’s evaluation. Each assignment is different. It all depends on what the client company would like to evaluate.

There are impersonators that portray themselves as reputable Mystery Shop companies.

Be careful and please do not do any the following activities:

1. Cash or deposit a check as part of a mystery shopping assignment OR for any other service (such as child care, purchase of ANY product/service, etc.).

2. Transfer funds to an account as part of a mystery shopping assignment.

3. Respond to a letter via the mail telling you that you have been selected to participate in a paid consumer research program.

4. Meet with a representative in any area of the country to complete an assignment.

5. Pay for and complete on-site training to become a mystery shopper.

Mystery Shopping is a new adventurous freelance opportunity for me. I never knew jobs like this existed. My first assignment was for National Shopping Service. I ordered and took pictures of pizzas for a local pizza shop. Just recently I discovered a website called Shadow Shoppers. This website put me in contact with many more mystery shopping companies. Recently, I have done assignments for coffee shops, dealerships, banks and shoe stores. I am creating a list of all the mystery shop companies along with their compensation plan. This will keep me organized. It helps to know when and how you will be reimbursed for your expenses.

Many companies are looking to hire mystery shoppers. If you have any questions about a freelance opportunity please contact me. I am working on an article to publish more information about legitimate companies.

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Home Business

Is Selling Avon Worth It?

The Real Profit Percentage

Avon recruits tons of women by advertising their 40 – 50 percent commission rate. While this is true in the portion of the sale sense, it is not the whole situation. Just to get to the 40% commission rate, you need to sell at least $425 worth of Avon products every campaign. Since the average person spends around $25 per order, you would need 17 customers every 2 weeks.

Example Scenarios

The examples are going to be on the generous side. I am not going to include gas costs since everyone gets a different gas mileage. I am also going to assume that you will be delivering all of your orders on your own. However, I can almost guarantee that if you are selling enough Avon products to make a decent profit, you are not going to be able to handle it all on your own. Keep that in mind as you look at the figures.

Casual Avon Representative Scenario

You order and hand out 20 brochures. You get 5 orders for an average of $25 each. This is a total order amount of $125. You deliver each order yourself in a delivery bag.

  • 20% Commission on order = $25.00
  • Processing Fees Collected = $3.75
  • One Simple Fee = ($7.95)
  • 10 Brochures = ($5.75)
  • Bags = ($0.63)

Total = $14.42

Small Business Avon Representative Scenario

You order and hand out 40 brochures. You get 10 orders for an average of $25 each. This is a total order amount of $250. You deliver each order yourself in a delivery bag.

  • 30% Commission on order = $75.00
  • Processing Fees Collected = $7.50
  • One Simple Fee = ($6.95)
  • 40 Brochures = ($12.10)
  • Bags = ($1.25)

Total = $62.20

Medium-Sized Business Avon Representative Scenario

You order and hand out 100 brochures. You get 25 orders for an average of $25 each. This is a total order amount of $625. You deliver each order yourself in a delivery bag.

  • 40% Commission on order = $250.00
  • Processing Fees Collected = $18.75
  • One Simple Fee = ($8.95)
  • 100 Brochures = ($19.00)
  • Bags = ($3.13)

Total = $237.67

Hardcore Business Avon Representative Scenario

You order and hand out 300 brochures. You get 75 orders for an average of $25 each. This is a total order amount of $1875. You deliver each order yourself in a delivery bag.

  • 50% Commission on order = $937.50
  • Processing Fees Collected = $56.25
  • One Simple Fee = ($10.95)
  • 300 Brochures = ($45.00)
  • Bags = ($9.38)

Total = $928.42

These numbers are all based on each campaign, which span a period of two weeks. Just to make $928.42, you are going to have to find at least 75 paying customers. Imagine doing this on your own every two weeks. Every customer is not going to order something from you every campaign.

Selling Avon is just like opening up your own store. The only difference is that you wont have a physical building as your storefront. There will still be costs of merchandise, employees, office supplies, etc. If you can’t think of selling Avon as a business, you are bound to lose money and fail in the long run.

Learn more about making money from home, saving money and managing money at

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Home Business Life and Money

PayPal Admits Holding Transactions as Normal Procedure

I had to spend almost an hour on the phone to straighten out a problem with PayPal and I don’t even use PayPal!

Recently a seller from an auction site where I had purchased a 0.99 item (+ 1.00 for shipping and handling) contacted me to tell me that his PayPal account had been limited because of my transaction. This made no sense to me as I did not pay with PayPal funds but had paid with a bank debit card. Furthermore the funds had cleared my bank about a week before this happened! I replied to the seller and told them that I didn’t pay with a PayPal account but had used a debit card. The seller replied back that PayPal had informed him that I must call them to get the transaction released and to free up his account.

I went to PayPal’s website to search for a phone number so I could call and see what was going on. They make it very difficult if you don’t have a PayPal account. Even after I got someone on the phone they asked me for my PayPal account email and the last 4 digits of my card associated with it several times even though I kept saying I don’t have PayPal. The rep tried talking me into getting an account. I told him that I wasn’t interested and I didn’t call for a sales spiel but just wanted to get some problems straightened out with someone I had made a purchase from.

Home Business Life and Money

PayPal Horror Stories Holds and a Lawsuit

If you do some searching there are tons of PayPal nightmare stories just like this one (This is a real story):

“I had my PayPal account closed recently. I had the account for about 12 years and had never done one thing against policy or rules. My wife responded to a company to do drop shipping and she got scammed out of hundreds of dollars. PayPal closed my account just because we had the same address! Each of us maintains our own bank accounts and have separate computers and have for years. She did no wrong and she was shut down by PayPal in addition to her being scammed. AND PayPal closed my account when there were 0 infractions in my account – just because they noted the mailing address.

The both of us have talked to PayPal on the phone numerous times. We have been told conflicting information and have been treated very rudely by most PayPal reps – although several were very polite and tried to feign being helpful. In the end there is no recourse. Today I was literally told – “You are welcome to look around for another payment processor…” The bottom line is that they do not care. I told the guy on the phone today that he was just doing his job and watching the clock for his breaks and quitting time and had no real concern for me at all.

Home Business

Avoiding Internet Scams

I want to be rich. Don’t you? Of course you do! For all of us chasing that big money sign in the sky (yes, all of us online marketers / webmasters), we are so desperate to strike the big time that we can so easily become suckers. It’s just so easy for us to be fooled with internet scams that target us that thousands of scammers from around the world (especially developing nations) are literally becoming wealthy off of us.

Here is how the typical internet scam goes that targets us, or at least a common blueprint for it that you can find on any webmaster forum out there:

Make $250 A Day With My Blackhat Secrets!

That’s right friends. I have been making over $250 every day for 2 years now with my blackhat methods. I spend an hour a day, every day, and the money just pours in! Now for the good news- I am going to sell all of my money making secrets to you, right now, for just $5! Only the first 20 buyers of my e-book will get this system, and all of its secrets, for $5. After that the price is $10. Act now before the price doubles!

Did you notice a few things here? let’s break down some problems:

1: If he is making at least $250 with these tricks, why is he selling it to you for just $5?

2: If he is working only 1 hour a day, and he’s making this much, why isn’t he working 10 hours a day and banking $2,500 a day?

3: Why does he want me to hurry? Why is he telling me to buy now before the price doubles?

4: If he is making $4+ per minute with his secret, why the hell is he spending hours on a forum trying to sell it for pennies per minute?

We could go on forever, but you get the point. This is such a common internet scam, and you can see it dozens of times per day on any webmaster forum, that we really need to start spreading the word. If people would just start posting any of these questions on these scam sales threads, maybe these punks would shut it down due to no sales.

These scams come in all shapes and sizes, from $5 e-books to $500 ones. They come in all flavors, from copied “unique” content sales to fake pagerank domains.

There are so many scammers filling up the online world right now that are solely targeting online marketers. It’s a minefield on the net, and only those that really think about it before shelling out their hard earned money will not get cheated in the process.

What is my advice? Be very careful on the internet! Just because you make a living online, or at least a partial living, that doesn’t mean that you are too smart to be duped. It happens to almost everyone eventually. At least to everyone that is chasing an online dream.

D. Slone, Copyright 2008

Home Business

Start Your Own Web Hosting Business

Starting your own web hosting business is much easier, and probably not as expensive, as you may think. You can actually get started with Host Gator for only 24.95 per month.

Here is how it works:

As a web host reseller you will be completely in charge of the rates and features of your hosting packages. You pay a set small monthly fee and keep 100% of the money your clients pay for hosting (minus any payment processor fees of course).

First you will create your hosting packages from within your Reseller cPanel Web Hosting Manager. Here is where you will define the disc space, bandwidth, and other limitations of each hosting package.

Once you have created your hosting packages you will then go to your WHM Autopilot admin and setup the same packages along with the addition of the rates. You can even give discounts for those who want to pay for more than one month in advance. You can offer the first month free, and even create special discount coupons as you need them.

The WHM Autopilot makes your job very easy as everything can be completely automated from ordering to account creation. Your clients will be able to visit your site, place an order for hosting, make payment and start to build their website right away. Their hosting account will automatically be set up in cPanel and they will receive confirmation emails including their log in credentials.