This is the story of Tom S. Since starting mystery shopping a little more than year ago he has earned over $7,000, stopped living paycheck-to-paycheck, and has finally taken his family on a much deserved vacation. If you’re like me, you’ll probably find this story very inspiring. Here’s Tom, in his own words:
It is hard to believe that it has only been a little more than one year since I first began my new life as a Mystery Shopper. After completing three hundred seventy five mystery shops and having earned more than $7,000, it is fun to look back and remember how this adventure all started.
How I got started
Over the past many years, like many other folks, I saw many an Internet banner ad or junk email, all of which promised a path to easy and quick money, simply by getting paid to Mystery Shop. I never paid much attention to these ads, as I, like many others, simply dismissed these ads as a lure by scam artists to separate desperate and gullible people from their money. It wasn’t until I faced a large pay-cut at my previously stable full-time job that I stumbled across, almost by accident, the whole world of Mystery Shopping.
It was a mostly by happenstance that I learned that Mystery Shopping was indeed a great way to make extra money each month. I was browsing a blog that listed and rated many different paid survey sites when I noticed an entry about Mystery Shopping. Because I agreed with many of the blogger’s posts about paid survey sites, I knew that I could trust her opinion about Mystery Shopping. This is where it all began for me. Now that this blogger pointed me in the direction of well established and reputable Mystery Shopping firms and schedulers, I was off and running.
Within a couple days of signing up with a couple of these Mystery Shopping schedulers, I received my first email, altering me to a mystery shop opportunity. The shop offered to pay me $24 for less than one hours’ work. After successfully completing this first shop, I knew I had stumbled across a great way to both make extra money each month and also improve my family’s standard of living by getting paid to do many of the things we already did anyway.
My life before Mystery Shopping
Before I began Mystery Shopping, I always longed for extra work to help make ends meet. At my full-time job, my fixed salary gave little to no opportunity to get paid for any overtime or extra pay. Many times I thought about applying for a second job, but in every case, I always decided that I didn’t want to be away from my family on a regular basis.
Like many single income households, our family lived paycheck – to – paycheck. There was never very much extra money at the end of the month to do anything we wanted to do. Rather, my paycheck barely covered all of the things we had to do – things like paying rent, buying food, and paying the utilities bill.
Life after Mystery Shopping
Mystery Shopping fundamentally changed our family’s financial outlook. There are many unique and beneficial aspects of Mystery Shopping when compared to traditional employment.
Mystery Shopping has allowed us to pay for some of things we wanted to do, e.g. take an extended family vacation to visit the in-laws. The beauty of Mystery Shopping is that a person can do as many or as few shops as they want. To pay for our extended family vacation, I took every mystery shop I could find for two months. In the end, I earned almost $2,000 in a two-month period, and completed 75 shops in the process. Without Mystery Shopping, our family would never have had the extra money to even dream about taking this long overdue vacation.
Converting the Non-believers
Over the past year, I told many of my close friends and family about my new “second job.” Most of all of them had the same initial reaction – disbelief. Most of my family and friends told me they thought that Mystery Shopping was a big scam. I enjoy sharing stories about the types of shops I complete, about my travels, and about just how much the extra money has helped our family. Many of my friends, after listening to my success stories then ask, “So, how can I get started as a Mystery Shopper?” I then direct my close friends and family to the well-established companies in the Mystery Shopping world (e.g. Volition forums, the Mystery Shopping Providers Association, or other major Mystery Shopping firms’ websites.)
My Favorite Shops
When I first got involved in Mystery Shopping, I would take almost any assignment. After a few months, I learned that it was better to be more selective and only do shops that I enjoyed and only accept jobs that paid enough to properly compensate for the time and effort required to do the shop and then complete the necessary report.
My favorite Mystery Shops are those that require me to go to a new car dealership. My most enjoyable gig for this type of Mystery Shop was when I completed 15 new car shops within a two-month period. For this particular group of shops, I was reimbursed for my mileage. This extra pay enabled me to travel up and down my State, take a mini-vacation, and get paid all at the same time.
Another one of my favorite Mystery Shops involve going to a local pizza joint. I stumbled across the firm that scheduled shops at my family’s favorite local pizzeria. Although this particular mystery shopping company paid quite slowly, they paid well and always paid for each and every job I completed. Although this company has since lost the contract with this pizzeria, our family was able to enjoy almost a full year of free pizza, all from our favorite hangout.