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Welcome to Our Blog!

The purpose of this blog is to keep you up to date with what is going on in the work at home industry by providing you news, tips, and other valuable informtaion to help you succeed in working from home.

Sunday, Feb 20, 2011
How to Get a Gig as a Mystery Shopper
By Julie Bennett - Wall Street Journal
Sunday, Feb 20, 2011 06:51
When Kim Keenum, 39, walks through the parking lot of a supermarket in Carol Stream, Ill., other customers may be searching for their lists, but she's counting abandoned carts and looking for trash. "See that crushed beverage cup?" she says. "There's no liquid next to it, so it's been there for a while." Mrs. Keenum is a mystery shopper, paid to act like a regular customer of banks, retail stores, restaurants, or even government offices, but is really there to report on cleanliness, food quality and customer service. There are about 200,000 "active" shoppers in the U.S., according to the Mystery Shopping Providers Association, a Dallas-based trade group that trains and certifies prospective shoppers. Although the pay for mystery shopping is low -- usually just a few dollars plus a voucher for free food or merchandise -- the field is competitive and applications deluge the country's 750 mystery-shopping companies, hired by client firms to recruit mystery shoppers, much like a temp service.

You can, however, rise quickly to the top of their lists by understanding how the industry works and by being very observant.

In the store's produce department, Mrs. Keenum activates the stopwatch on her cell phone and says, "I'll wait here a minute to see if someone offers to help me." At the 57-second mark a young man arrives and, when she asks for asparagus, walks her over to the display. He gets a good report, as do clerks at the pharmacy and camera counters, who answer her questions with courtesy. Employees at this grocery chain who aren't stocking shelves or breaking down boxes are expected to ask customers if they need a cart or other help, but a uniformed teen who walks past her twice doesn't even make eye contact. "I can't report his name," she says, "because I can't read it on his handwritten nametag, so I'll just have to file a description."

At the checkout, she times the lines and has no trouble reading the nametag of the cashier who is friendly and points out a store special but who forgets to ask for Mrs. Keenum's shopper identification card.

The store visit takes 17 minutes and 39 seconds, plus a couple more minutes in the car to write down information she'll download into a five-page online form that evening, a process that can take anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour. For the entire "shop," Mrs. Keenum will be paid $10 and reimbursed $2 for groceries. Since she spends $12.85, for items she and her 11-year-old daughter need, plus a Beanie Baby dog for her nine-year-old son, this shop is a net loss. But she'll hit another supermarket that afternoon, a couple of fast-food restaurants the next day and, by the end of the month, earn about $1,000 in her spare time, having done 75 shops.

Tom Mills, 34, president of Servicesleuth, in Franklin, Mass., says many people sign up as mystery shoppers "because they expect to do something amazingly fun, like go to Disney World or eat at a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. While some of our 70,000 active shoppers do elaborate shops, the rest are at gas stations or driving through McDonald's for 50-cent burgers. In general, it's such a low-paying job, he wants only shoppers who are "in it for the enjoyment," not the money.

Despite the low wages -- the average fast-food shop pays $7, plus $7.50 in food; a retail-store shop pays $10-$15; and an upscale shop like dinner in a fine restaurant or a night in a hotel may provide no fee besides the perk itself -- Mr. Mills has 200,000 additional potential shoppers in his "holding tank."

Getting to the top of that tank is no secret once you understand that mystery shopping is a game scored by punctuality and punctuation. There's not even an entry fee. Although scam artists advertise "Mystery Shopper Starter Kits" for $29 or more, you'll receive only a list of companies that you can find for free on the Web, at http://www.mysteryshop.org or http://www.volition.com/mystery.html.

All you have to do is fill out the online applications, but pay attention. Because the end products of mystery-shopping companies are the thousands of online reports filed by their shoppers, reports must be free of misspellings and grammatical mistakes. Most applications will ask for a writing sample, usually a description of a recent meal you ate out. Study their examples, then go to a restaurant and note such details as how you are greeted and how long it takes for your food to arrive. Write a one-page report that touches on important details, says Mr. Mills. "We want observations, not criticisms," he says. "And we don't want six-page novels." Applications that hit the mark and contain no grammatical errors, will rise to the top.

With 30,000 or more shops to conduct each month, large mystery-shopping companies don't have time to handpick shoppers. When a job order arrives, Mr. Mills says, a software program scans through a database and automatically sends out e-mails to shoppers who live in the area and meet the client's demographics. To increase your chances, answer all the questions on each application, no matter how personal. "If a heavyset woman doesn't include her weight, she'll miss out on shopping Lane Bryant," Mr. Mills says. Since 75% of all shoppers are female, new applications from men tend to get noticed.

When you are offered that first shop, confirm promptly, read the instructions carefully and complete the assignment on time. Sixty to eighty percent of new shoppers flake, says Cathy Stucker, author of the self-published "The Mystery Shopper's Manual" (Special Interests Publishing, 2002), that is, they accept a shop, then don't do it. And 25% of assignments go unfinished, so anyone who completes one assignment is sure to get more.

The report you file goes first to an editor who'll make any necessary changes and give it a score of one to 10. Shoppers whose scores are below seven rarely are chosen again: Top scorers soon have their pick of jobs.

You also can increase your chances by earning certification through the Mystery Shopping Providers Association. So far, about 12,000 shoppers are certified. On a recent Saturday, 42 women and eight men gathered in a hotel meeting room near Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to attend a lively workshop run by Mrs. Stucker, a founder of the association. Some attendees have been mystery shopping for years, while others, like Noriess Glover, 33, of Flossmoor, Ill., a downsized financial analyst, just started and wants to boost her current average of two shops a month. When Mrs. Stucker advises shoppers to sign up with 50 or more mystery-shopping companies, Ms. Glover makes a note to do just that.

Before you launch your mystery shopper career, however, remember that the task has other downsides besides the low pay:

Taxes. Mystery shoppers are independent contractors responsible for paying their own taxes. Working for many different companies and getting checks that include both fees and reimbursements for food or merchandise can be a record-keeping nightmare.

Organization. To make any money, you have to schedule several shops in one day and plan out what one shopper calls "a really good route." (She keeps track of her assignments in an Excel spreadsheet, works part time, and earns $400-$600 a month.)

Tedium. Keenan White, 30, of Madison, Wis., says he and his wife, Katie, 24, together earn between $40,000 and $50,000 a year by shopping full time. "I'm doing over 1,200 locations a quarter," he says, "but I'm doing the same type of work at most of them. I don't even have time to read the instructions for new jobs."

Not so perky perks. Some glamorous-sounding shops, like a night in a hotel, lose their luster if you're required to demand another room, then spend three hours writing up a report on how your request was handled.

Secrecy. Mystery shopping can be fun, but it's an enjoyment you can't share. Before each shop, you must sign a confidentiality agreement, swearing that you won't tell anyone details of the shop, especially the name of the location you've been assigned. Mrs. Keenum stands at a busy intersection in Carol Stream and says, "I've shopped every business you can see, and I could tell you which fast-food restaurants are clean enough to take your kids to. But I won't." Taxes. Mystery shoppers are independent contractors responsible for paying their own taxes. Working for many different companies and getting checks that include both fees and reimbursements for food or merchandise can be a record-keeping nightmare.

Organization. To make any money, you have to schedule several shops in one day and plan out what one shopper calls "a really good route." (She keeps track of her assignments in an Excel spreadsheet, works part time, and earns $400-$600 a month.)

Tedium. Keenan White, 30, of Madison, Wis., says he and his wife, Katie, 24, together earn between $40,000 and $50,000 a year by shopping full time. "I'm doing over 1,200 locations a quarter," he says, "but I'm doing the same type of work at most of them. I don't even have time to read the instructions for new jobs."

Not so perky perks. Some glamorous-sounding shops, like a night in a hotel, lose their luster if you're required to demand another room, then spend three hours writing up a report on how your request was handled.

Secrecy. Mystery shopping can be fun, but it's an enjoyment you can't share. Before each shop, you must sign a confidentiality agreement, swearing that you won't tell anyone details of the shop, especially the name of the location you've been assigned. Mrs. Keenum stands at a busy intersection in Carol Stream and says, "I've shopped every business you can see, and I could tell you which fast-food restaurants are clean enough to take your kids to. But I won't."

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Monday, Nov 29, 2010
Advantages of Becoming a Home Agent
By Jennifer Harrison
Monday, Nov 29, 2010 07:00
The Advantages of Becoming a Work at Home Agent:

A work at home agent works for the company by working from her home at timings suitable to her. Thus a work at home agent enjoys immense flexibility in the work hours and therefore can take care of her personal life in a much more effective manner. Make no mistake, work at home agents are in no way "inferior" or less paid than their counterparts donning full time office positions. Work at home agents get paid as much, if not more, than their counterparts.

A work at home agent usually works on something that is close to her heart, something she is passionate about. This is not always the case with the usual office works where one can get stuck with a job that one does not like but is forced to continue due to reasons involving livelihood. In addition, working online from home helps people pursue such options that are not viable in the offline world. For example, if someone is into psychic readings like the Tarot or astrology, there are really very few avenues open in the brutal job market of capitalism. However, one can always pursue this hobby into a professional work by being a work at home agent and helping people with their problems.

The best thing about being a work at home agent is that there is something for everyone. Thus you do not need to take up something that you don't like at all. Instead, you have ample opportunities to pursue your passions and interests. So if you like to interact with people, are social and like to be involved in discussions, you can try becoming a sales representative for a company or be involved in telemarketing. If you wish to do this online, then you can consider becoming a forum poster and make money through your posts while helping others. Such a wide variety of options are not generally available to everyone, but work at home agents are always at an advantage in this area.

Another big advantage of becoming a work at home agent is that you can choose to work full time or part time and according to your convenience. This is a very big plus for many people, like say housewives, who want to do something in their idle time but do not want to take up a full time job or are not qualified enough to land a job they are comfortable doing. However, when they become a work at home agent, they can easily manage their work and personal life since they can work when they choose to work. This makes people not only financially independent but also more confident in life that they can do and achieve great heights. Coupled with the fact that they can work on things that interest them at times they choose to work, it is really a great option for one and all to try out. 

Real Pajama Jobs provides a Free Membership to anyone seeking legitimate work at home jobs.  They are experts at researching and locating legitimate work from home jobs. There trained staff have been working from home for 10 years and are skilled at connecting men and women just like yourself with legitimate work at home jobs with real companies.  Real Pajama Jobs provides you with 400+ researched and verified legitimate work from home jobs with real companies and promise that you will find No Scams, No Bogus Sign-up Forms, and No Jobs that charge you a fee just to apply.  Legitimate work from home jobs are Free and do not charge you an application fee or cost you any money to apply.  Also, their site is updated with fresh new work at home jobs weekly. So if you are a man, woman, mom or dad looking for real and legitimate work from home jobs, let Real Pajama Jobs help your dream of finally working from home come true.  Click Here to Become a FREE Member of Real Pajama Jobs Today - NO COST to Join or Apply for Jobs!

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Wednesday, Nov 03, 2010
A Closer Look at Searching for Work at Home Jobs
By Jennifer J. Harrison
Wednesday, Nov 03, 2010 08:54

There is no denying in the tremendous increase in the number of online businesses in the past 10 years, not only in the USA , but just about any place where computers can be accessed easily.

 As we all know that, among many online businesses run by good and honest people, there are some online businesses run by bad and unscrupulous people whose primary objective is to con money out of unsuspecting naive people who are desperately looking online for jobs due to their circumstances such as being a stay-home-parent with kids, wheelchair bound, or whatever their unique circumstances could be that made them think that online jobs made more sense.

 I decided to look around online, about 2 years ago, after seeing so many pop-ups about home based jobs such as paid online surveys, freelance jobs, etc to see if they were another one of online schemes to rip you off.

 After I signed up with many of them, of course I couldn't check all, and receiving hundreds, if not thousands, of junk emails from them I was able to tell which ones were good and bad.

 As in real life, we have to be careful and take some precautions by finding out if there is a physical address of business or a phone number or even by checking it out on BBB.org (Better Business Bureau) online before typing in our sensitive information.

 As we all know that there are good and bad people no matter where we live on earth, we just have to be more careful not to fall victim to their unscrupulous businesses.

Legitimate Work at Home Jobs do Exist:

It can be difficult sifting through the scams to know what is legitimate and what is not.  Real Pajama Jobs provides a Free Membership to anyone seeking legitimate work at home jobs.  They are experts at researching and locating legitimate work from home jobs.  There trained staff have been working from home for 10 years and are skilled at connecting men and women just like yourself with legitimate work at home jobs with real companies.  Real Pajama Jobs provides you with 400+ researched and verified legitimate work from home jobs with real companies and promise that you will find No Scams, No Bogus Sign-up Forms, and No Jobs that charge you a fee just to apply.  Legitimate work from home jobs are Free and do not charge you an application fee or cost you any money to apply.  Also, their site is updated with fresh new work at home jobs weekly. So if you are a man, woman, mom or dad looking for real and legitimate work from home jobs, let Real Pajama Jobs help your dream of finally working from home come true. 

Click Here to Become a FREE Member of Real Pajama Jobs Today - NO COST to Join or Apply for Jobs!

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Saturday, Oct 24, 2009
Advantages of Being a Work at Home Mom
By Jennifer J. Harrison
Saturday, Oct 24, 2009 07:05

There are numerous advantages of work at home jobs for everyone, but the group of people who would be most interested in this would be work at home moms. This is because online jobs have revolutionized the way work at home moms are able to spend their time and contribute to the family economy. Consider what an average stay at home mom does with her time -- she is responsible for taking care of the family and home, which means she has work that involves her intermittent involvement. She is also responsible for the kids and ensuring their well being. However, all this doesn't take up the whole day, and usually the free time is spent watching television or spending time with other friends and family.  However, with online jobs, women at home are finding a new way to not only contribute financially but to also be able to have a level of personal independence.

Work at home moms can easily manage their job and their household duties. This is because they can work in their free time -- a convenience that is not offered by the more traditional offline jobs. In fact, the reason why so many stay at home moms who are qualified enough to get a good job do not opt for one is that they would not like to neglect their family or personal life. However, the good thing with online jobs is that you no longer need to compromise because of the immense flexibility offered by these jobs. Therefore work at home moms can work in her free time when the kids are away to school and her husband is out in the office. 

As we stated above, another very important advantage of online jobs is that work at home moms can now contribute to the family income.  This is especially useful in turbulent economic times when the family income is quite uncertain but bills need to be paid nonetheless.  No job is currently secure with the financial stalwarts themselves falling from grace. Therefore it always helps to have an additional source of income that will strengthen the economic position of the family in case of emergencies and economic calamities.  Work at home moms offer a financial support system that the family can fall back upon when the need arises.  In addition, it always helps to have some extra money in the family.  In fact, there are many work at home moms who are qualified enough that they earn comparable and in quite a few cases more than their husbands.

Apart from the economic help, work at home moms are also more financially independent. This is very important from a woman's point of view because it gives her confidence and self esteem, along with a way to live her life the way she wants. When work at home moms earn a good amount of money, they have the independence they wish and desire in life and do not need to depend on their husbands each time they need something.

To Learn how you can get a work at home job and join the hundreds of work at home moms around the world, visit www.realpajamajobs.com.

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Monday, Oct 12, 2009
Work at Home as a Customer Service Representative
By Jennifer J Harrison
Monday, Oct 12, 2009 08:57

All about Work at Home Customer Service Jobs
By:  Jennifer J. Harrison

Now is the time of year to think about applying for Work at Home Customer Service jobs.  As the holidays are quickly approaching, many companies are gearing up to hire thousands of Customer Service Reps to work from home. 

Customer service is at the center of any successful business, because only by retaining customers can a company really grow. Therefore any company that is serious about growth will naturally need great customer service, which means many customer service jobs. However, the way business is done today has drastically changed with the internet penetrating every aspect of our lives. This is where you need to take advantage of work at home customer service jobs. Many companies are now hiring home agents to do their customer service.  These are jobs where you don't need to leave the comfort of your home.  You will be taking customer service calls from home and be paid for doing so.  It is fun and easy.  These companies will even train you for the job!

Work at home customer service jobs are not necessarily simpler.  You will need to still maintain a professional attitude and provide excellent customer service when dealing with a companies customers.  Therefore it always helps if you are good with people and enjoy the process.  If you enjoy helping people, then a customer service job might be the right work at home opportunity for you.  You will not only be helping customers but also help to increase the profits and business of the companies that you are working for. There are a variety of things that you may be required to do, depending on the type of job and the type of company that is hiring you. You may be required to talk to people over the phone, take telephone orders and payments, help resolve issues, etc.  Or you may be required to respond to emails and complaints that customers might have. With just the minimal infrastructure and skills, but with lots of interest and enthusiasm for the job, you can really make a mark for yourself in being a work at home customer service representative. 

There are many different types of customer service jobs that hire at home agents.  For instance, customer service reps are often needed for taking reservations for airlines.  There are also many sales representative home agent positions available that are also in the area of customer service but focus more on sales.  You will find that there are a multitude of different customer service jobs available for you to work from home.  And the best part of all is that is will not cost you any money to apply or be hired.  These are legitimate work at home jobs.

At home customer service jobs are easy and fun to do and can earn you a very nice salary.  Many people have left their 9-5 job and are now full-time customer service representatives working out of the comforts of their own home.  So if you are a person, who enjoys listening to others and helping others out, then now is the best time of year to get your foot in the door with one of the many companies that are looking to hire at home customer service representatives.. Most companies provide free training for the people they want to hire, which is a great opportunity to develop and hone your existing skills. In training, you will learn everything about the job and the business, so it is sure to be an enriching experience for you. Working from home always has its advantages and flexibility and you don't need to compromise your personal life in any way. You just couldn't have asked for a better deal.

Start applying with companies that are hiring at Home Agents for Customer Service Jobs today - Click Here to Get Started.

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