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Mystery shopping is an excellent way to make extra money. In fact, some people make a full time living doing it.
There are many mystery shopping companies that will pay you to shop, eat at restaurants and take part in focus groups.
A mystery shop consists of getting paid to go into a business without the employee's knowledge and reporting back to the mystery shopping company.
A focus group is when you get paid to sit down with other people who are also getting paid and discuss new products or services.
Mystery shopping jobs and focus groups are easier to find if you live in or near a large metropolitan area.
After you do a mystery shop you answer some questions and file your report with the mystery shopping company. These reports are usually set up as a series of questions and often can be completed quickly.
The reason they have mystery shops and focus groups is so that companies can get feedback on their employees, products and services. That way they can see where there might be problems and make the necessary changes to improve things.
A few years ago I had some free time and I wanted to make some extra money. I took a course, How to Become a Mystery Shopper, at a local community college. After completing the course I registered with a few mystery shopping companies online.
You can do a search on Google for "mystery shopping." Bypass the mystery shopping websites that are trying to sell something. You want to find the mystery shopping websites for the actual mystery shopping companies. These mystery shopping companies will never charge you any type of fee to register or to do mystery shops or focus groups.
Be sure to read all the free mystery shopping information you come across. There is an art to being a good mystery shopper. Basically you are like a reporter. You will never add your feelings or what you think to a mystery shopping report. Your job is to just answer the questions, report the facts and describe what actually happened during your shop.
You never want to give your own recommendations. That is not why you are hired. If the mystery shopping company wants a consultant, they will hire one. All they want you to do is to answer questions with just the facts of your mystery shopping assignment.
Once you find a few mystery shopping companies you can then register with them. They'll contact you by email whenever they have a mystery shopping job in your area. You'll only respond to the emails when you want to do the shop. Otherwise you can just delete the email. You get to pick and choose the shops you want to do.
A couple of years ago I did some apartment shops for the Jancyn Evaluation Company that took me about half an hour to complete. Since they paid $25, I was basically being paid $50 an hour.
You can register with the Jancyn Evaluation Shops Company. They may pay more than $25 today for apartment shops since it has been about two years since I've done an apartment shop for them.
Jancyn also does a lot of shops and surveys for the Ross Dress for Less retail stores. I'm not sure if Jancyn still has a business relationship with Ross, but I once handed out survey forms in one of the local Ross stores here in the Seattle area and made $500 for about 30 hours of work.
Here's the URL for Jancyn if you'd like to register with them to do some shops. http://www.jancyn.com/
Another mystery shopping company that I get a lot of email requests for shops for is the Secret Shopper Company. They seem to specialize in shops for Veterinary Clinics. They pay $15 plus up to $100 payment NOT including tip + $10. The only catch is that you have to own a cat or dog, which I don't, but maybe you do. Here's their URL http://www.secretshopper.com
OK, I've saved the best for last. Fieldwork specializes in setting up focus groups for some of the biggest companies in the US. They pay $50 to $75 for a focus group meeting that usually lasts about an hour.
The last one I did with them was for some research for eBay. They were trying to come up with a name for a new category on their website.
Fieldwork is located throughout the US in major metropolitan areas. You'll have to visit their website to see if they are located near where you live.
It's great if you have children since Fieldwork does a lot of focus groups involving children. Perhaps you can talk your kids into splitting the fee with you. Again, the pay usually works out to be about $50 to $75 an hour.
Unfortunately I have no children, but the next time I get an email for a focus group for children I'll borrow a couple of my neighbor's children.
Here's the link for Fieldwork. http://www.fieldwork.com/
Now you have a basic idea of how the mystery shopping and focus groups work. Start searching for more mystery shopping websites and get paid to shop, eat and taking part in focus groups. It's easy money!
Barry Stein is the owner of aWebBiz.com where he offers cutting-edge tips on all aspects of business. To find more advice, tools and resources to help you succeed in your business, visit: http://www.aWebBiz.com
Barry's Internet Marketing Blog: http://awebbiz.com/blog
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Job Search Campaign Tip: An Activity Diary
Looking for a job involves a wide range of responsibilities: preparing a resume, looking at ads, contacting employers, calling and visiting friends and acquaintances, follow ups, interviews. While none of us ever plan to be out of work for very long, it can be very useful to immediately start documenting your activities and your feelings to provide a road map of where you have been and where you want to go. It helps to have a central location for recording your daily actions so you don't miss anything important or forget a critical deadline. It is also reassuring to have somewhere to go when you're feeling blue and too lethargic to go anywhere or do anything you consider "productive."
Using Your Whine Factor
Brian's work was exceptional. Still, as his boss, I rarely offered him additional responsibilities, never thought of promoting him or selecting him for a critical project. Why? His whine factor got in the way. He was quick to complain to anyone who'd listen how much work was on his plate, or how hard or how late he worked. His whine factor was a protective shield that insured he didn't get more work to do. But, it also shielded him from getting the opportunity filled assignments, more interesting work, and the highest pay raises. Stephanie was a different story. She was masterful at weaving vivid details with a precision that explained exactly why the expected outcome didn't happen. This week it centered on a miscommunication, last week it was the delayed delivery, or the reduced advertising, an incompetent supplier or a staff illness. Every story was accurate; every reason plausible; every explanation justifiable; always a good reason why she couldn't deliver the promised quality, precision or timeliness. As her boss, it took me time to realize that Stephanie's accountability decreased each time her whine factor increased. As she became more entrenched in offering reasons why something didn't happen, she became less personally involved in the actual results. I've seen the whine factor derail projects and people in my twenty years in management. Whining shifts a mindset from can do to can't do, allows potholes to become sink holes, turns challenges to complaints and reframes opportunities into woe is me. You can use your own whine factor as a barometer to keep you on track. If the factor is high, be alerted that your actions are, most likely, becoming less accountable. That should signal you to tune into what you can personally do to control, adjust or correct the current course so you can deliver the expected results. I think that point is worth repeating because it differentiates performance in significant ways. If you want to control the outcome, you'll need to get your hands a bit calloused along the way. Learning to listen to your whine factor is a helpful self-feedback mechanism to guide you towards greater accountability and winning at working behaviors. Less whine means more accountability. Higher accountability typically means better results. And better results are what most of us are after. (c) 2004 Nan S. Russell. All rights reserved.
Jobseekers! Look For Smoke, Not Fire
"If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always received," said some wise person. This is certainly true when it comes to job-hunting, especially during a "sucky" economy. How many times have you applied to a job on Monster.com? Now ask yourself, "How many other people have applied for the same position?" The numbers are discouraging I assure you. Should this keep you from applying to jobs online? By no means, job boards are a necessary part of the process. However, if you limit your jobsearch to seeking only those jobs that you are qualified for then you are making a mistake. Am I suggesting that you do a "shotgun" effect with your resume and apply to as many jobs as you can hoping that by some miraculous twist of fate you catch a recruiter's eye? No... and yes, in a way.
Is Pursuing a Career in Patent Law the Right Move for You?
What's It All About? The field of patent law is wide open to Biologists, Chemists, Engineers, Computer Scientists, and many other science and technology professionals. And it's true; individuals with the proper science or engineering degree need only pass the Patent Bar to become registered Patent Agents. Upon becoming a Patent Agent, you may gain employment writing and prosecuting patent applications at law firms, technology transfer offices, biotech or engineering corporations, and government institutes. From there, you may decide whether or not to go on to law school and become a Patent Attorney. In addition to writing and prosecuting patents, a Patent Attorney can also litigate in patent infringement cases. The Perfect Skill Set Patent law is the perfect field for many creative and talented individuals since it requires so many qualities to be successful. There is definitely a people-oriented side to a career in patent law. This is especially true when you consider the "isolated lab environment" most scientists and engineers are used to. Contrast this with the fact that an inventor's hopes and dreams will be riding on the invention and that you will be there every step of the way to help them achieve their goals. Obviously, a great deal of interviewing and excellent communication is required in order to adequately learn what was invented and write a patent application. Which brings us to the next point; patent practitioners must also have excellent writing skills. Drafting a quality patent application is tedious work that requires the absolute best in written communication. In addition, a strong background in either science or technology is a must. You will have to understand exactly what has been invented in order to write a quality patent application. Lastly, as a Patent Practitioner, you should possess a thirst for never-ending knowledge. You will be right on the cutting edge of research and development. You will constantly be exposed to new and exciting discoveries virtually before anyone else! The Dollars and Cents It's the million dollar question. What might you expect to make as a professional in the field of patent law? Well, the pay scale varies from $45,000 up to $250,000+ for Patent Practitioners and is determined by many factors (yes I realize that's quite a span). First, as we've already eluded, if you are a scientist or engineer without a law degree you will be classified as a Patent Agent after you pass the Patent Bar Exam. If you have a law degree and are already considered an attorney, you will be classified as a Patent Attorney upon passing the exam. As a Patent Attorney with the same level of experience as a Patent Agent, you will typically earn the higher income because in addition to writing and prosecuting patents, you may also help protect patents in a court of law. Second, your degree level will help determine your pay. If you have a Bachelor's degree in your particular area of expertise, you will typically make less than someone with a Master's or a PhD. Third, your experience level will make a difference. Your previous positions will count when factoring your salary. The number of years you have worked as an engineer or scientist will make a difference. The more experience you have, usually the more valuable you will be perceived by the company. The longer you have worked in the field of patent law, the higher your pay will be as well. Lastly, where you seek employment makes a difference in your pay. Law firms typically pay the most, whereas a Technology Transfer department at a University will usually pay the least. Furthermore, the state and city you apply for work in will also play a factor. Hot Commodity Businesses in the science and technology sectors regard patents as their lifeline. Therefore, gaining status as a registered Patent Practitioner can open many career doors for you. Since the fields of research and intellectual property are so intertwined, imagine the new career opportunities you would be presented with if you were trained in both areas. Furthermore, as a scientist or engineer, most of the qualifications necessary to achieve registration as a Patent Practitioner have usually already been met. It is likely that your only requirement may be to pass the Patent Bar Exam. It is a difficult hurdle, but in comparison to the time and money you already spent to become a scientist or an engineer, the time and money necessary to pass the Patent Bar Exam is reasonable. In today's unpredictable job market, expanding your skills makes sense, especially when this can be accomplished for a relatively low expense and little time. Compared to getting a degree, setting aside even a full year (although it can be completed in much less time) to learn about the patent prosecution process and take the Patent Bar Exam is very reasonable. Especially when you further consider the fact that it will open an entirely new career door for you. Whether you wish for a complete job change or the desire to become more marketable for technology based companies, gaining skills is always a smart move to make. Please review www.PatentBarStudy.com to learn more about the Patent Bar Exam and how you can jump-start your career as a Patent Practitioner.
If Youre Fired, Will Past Employers Keep Your Secret?
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The Recruiting Truth...Time Is Not On Your Side
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Youre Bright And Talented -- TooT Your Own Horn --
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Playing from the Blue Tees: Women in the Federal Government
Throughout the past decade, workplace diversity issues have allowed organizations to adjust their policies in response to the need for workplace equality in all aspects. As a result of the dynamic political, social and economic changes, some companies have willingly become more inclusive, integrating women, people of color, gays/lesbians, and individuals with disabilities into their workforce at all levels of their organizations. However, others have failed to make this paradigm shift. The Federal government has failed to see the benefits of a diverse workforce, which is evident by the lack of diversity of the people it serves. Research by the Center for Creative Leadership (2002), show women in business have been required to adapt to a well established hierarchal system built around the strengths of its majority of male players. As women have entered the workplace, they initially try to create only a modest variant in a male dominated workplace. Gender diversity could be very beneficial to the Federal government, causing greater creativity in group decision-making and improved task performance.
Job Interviews: Use the Personal Touch to Get a Job
A study conducted by the Journal of Consumer Research in 1995 showed that sales people who used their prospects' names generated a 239% increase in sales. In today's fast-paced world, that personal touch is even more important.
How to Become a Real Estate Agent
If you're wondering how to become a real estate agent, the basic process is fairly simple, although it does vary a lot from state to state.. You will need to take classes, pass exams, earn a real estate license, find a broker to work for, then find sellers or buyers as clients.
How To Find Quick, Free, Job Search Resurces
There are many free job search resources available in any community, large or small. These resources are available to the aspiring CEO as well as to the person who wants to make sandwiches. Some job seekers are not aware of what helpful places and people there are, especially for FREE. The resources are:
Learn How To Succeed At Career Fairs
This career article will give you some great tips on successfully navigating thru career fairs.
Wonder Woman makes it looks so easy. She gets up every morning, fights the good fight, calls it a day, and starts the whole process all over again. This is the way most of us begin our workday. We work hard, accomplish lots, and get up in the morning for an encore presentation.
Your Job Search -- a Marketing Campaign?
The successful job search is really just a personal marketing campaign. And the same techniques used in infomercials and junk mail can help you get hired, too.
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In one of my past lives I held a Top Secret clearance as a Civil Service employee working for the Air Force. So I am familiar with background checks. But many job seekers are not. Here's a little background on background checks...
Are You In A Groove Or A Rut?
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Ideal Job and Handling Criticism
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5 Characteristics of a Dynamic Loan Processor
Not everyone is cut out to be a mortgage processor. Find out if you or a team member has what it takes to be a dynamic processor.
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