Getting Started in Mystery Shopping (The Right Way)


If you intend to make mystery shopping a real career rather than just getting “paid to shop” it’s important to get started off on the right foot.

One of the most common questions I get from people who are looking to get started in mystery shopping is “how do I get started?”

Mystery shopping can either be the road to overworked and underpaid, or if you do it correctly, it can be quite lucrative for a legitimate, work-at-home, flexible job.

Unfortunately, the most common error newbie mystery shoppers make is that they go berserk applying to mystery shopping company web sites left and right. Signing up with companies is the last thing you want to do when you are just starting out–unless you want to be a new mystery shopper with sore fingers saying “I applied to 100 companies but I didn’t hear anything”. Going directly to companies, especially if you don’t have any, or have very little mystery shopping experience, is a waste of time in my opinion.

Most companies are inundated with requests from newbies wanting to become mystery shoppers; what they want are experienced shoppers they can count on. Think of a “real world” job search. If you just apply to companies all over the place without any experience, or knowing if they even have any job openings, it’s going to be a fruitless effort.

Another big reason why applying to company web sites is a waste of time is that the largest and best companies outsource their assignments to schedulers–the middlemen of the industry. So companies don’t bother going through their own databases. The real way to get started in mystery shopping is to get connected to schedulers in a way that makes you stand out from the crowd and gets assignments coming to you.

Summary: Despite what others may say, the biggest mistake you can make as a newbie shopper is wasting your time applying directly to mystery shopping companies. You wouldn’t look for a job in the “real world” this way, and the “mystery shopping world” is no different. Learn to work with schedulers and you’ll have started your mystery shopping career the right way.

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Melanie Jordan writes about, coaches and consults on a variety of topics that she is passionate about related to work-at-home lifestyles, infopreneuring, marketing and health and fitness. She is the author of The Perfect Work-At-Home Job: Mystery Shopping, and How-To Finally Make Money As A Mystery Shopper.

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