If you’ve been dreaming of the day that you get to work from home, set your own hours and say “Goodbye” to the man, mystery shopping might just be what you need to get that chance.
While working from home and for yourself definitely has its perks, if you don’t do it right, you might find yourself buried alive in piles of paperwork, unpaid taxes and looking for checks that are never going to come because you didn’t invoice your client! With mystery shopping, if you do the shop, you’re going to get paid, but it helps to stay organized.
Here are some tips to being successful and ORGANIZED independent contractor:
1. Have a home office. Working from home does not mean working on your couch while reruns of Jerry Springer play in the background. Set up in area in your home that is your designated work space. If you don’t, you’ll never get anything done!
2. Get up and Get Ready. Just because you get to work from home doesn’t mean you no longer have to wake up to the sound of an alarm clock or that you get to go days at a time without a shower. If you want to stay motivated, stay on schedule. Getting up and getting ready will make you feel ready for the day and ready to work. Have a time of the day that you start working and a time of the day that you stop.
3. Put money away for tax day! Say this to yourself every time you get paid. Just because taxes aren’t coming out of your paycheck automatically, doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay them! Talk to an experienced accountant about how much of every paycheck you need to be putting away for taxes.
4. Keep your receipts! As far as work goes, you can exempt any purchases you make for professional purchases — if you have a receipt that is! Be sure that anything you buy from pens to printer ink to a new computer comes with a receipt that you immediately file away. Even mystery shoppers need supplies to do their work.
5. Record Everything You Do. While mystery shopping companies keep a record of all the work you do, you never know when things will get mixed up. So be sure to keep a record of everything you do and always follow up on payment. No one else is going to be sure you get paid so you have to! And don’t be afraid to ask for your money. Following up on payment seems awkward at first, but every person in the world understands that business is business and everyone understands that you have to get paid.
Being an independent contractor isn’t as glamorous as it might seem at first. It’s not all pizza rolls, pajamas and daytime television. And it’s not for everyone. To be successful, you’ve got to be organized and assertive.
If you really want to be an independent contractor, you’ve got to be able to manage yourself because no one else is going to do it for you. Just because you are your own boss doesn’t mean you should be a laid back kind of boss either. If you don’t work, you still don’t get paid.