I’ve been asked by a lot of people how they can start a business without paying a single dime to anyone to start. They tell me they pay more money than they make every month.

That’s not unusual for people to pay their bills and have nothing left over for gas and groceries. My wife and I were in that situation for a while. After the bills were paid, we were forced to charge our other expenses on a credit card. We saw our debt climb out of control.

My wife and I were able to dig out of it through our network marketing business. However, we struggled with the business in the beginning. Plus, there are some out of pocket expenses for network marketing.

At the height of our struggles, we needed to make money in our spare time and not spend a dime to get it off the ground.

The one thing we found that fit the bill was mystery shopping.

There are several hundred legitimate Mystery Shopping companies around the world that you can apply to become a shopper. There are shops for grocery stores, convenience stores, retail stores, check cashing locations, restaurants, apartments, new home builders and a lot more.

There is no fee to join a mystery shop company. You apply to the mystery shop company online and they will give you a list of shops they have available in your area. You have to apply for certain assignments and wait for approval. If they give you approval, you’ll be required to complete the shop in the time frame given.

You can get a FREE list of these companies by going to http://www.dondiana.com .

For the most part, the pay is not going to be substantial and it is not residual like network marketing. Payment for shops performed can take some time as well. Most checks I received were between 2 and 4 weeks. The longest period I waited for a check was 2 months.

The only out of pocket expense for mystery shopping is the purchase of items at the location you’re at. You may be required to make a small purchase at a retail or hardware store so you can upload a receipt to verify that you shopped at the correct location. That can be buying a candy bar or soft drink.

Restaurants are a different matter. You will be required to pay for the meal (including tip) and get reimbursed later. Some companies will pay an additional shopper fee, but others don’t. I’ve had some locations that will reimburse up to $40. If you spent more, you will only get the $40. In those cases, you don’t make money. But, you end up with a great meal that didn’t cost you very much.

Video mystery shopping is more lucrative, but a bit harder to get assignments.

Plus, you'll have to check state laws about mystery shopping. Most companies require you to be an independent contractor. However, the state of Nevada only allows mystery shoppers that are actual employees of a shopping company. This would limit your opportunity to perform mystery shops in that state.

Beware of a popular scam in mystery shopping. Some people I know received a check worth thousands of dollars in mail. The letter explained that they could cash the check to perform mystery shops in the area.

If you receive a letter like this, report it to federal authorities. The check is NO GOOD. You probably won’t have a problem cashing it. However, the check will bounce and come back to you in a couple of weeks. You’ll be responsible to pay everything back.

Once we got established with several different mystery shop companies and video mystery shopping, we were able to make some money and put it toward our network marketing business. We eventually found our niche in network marketing and have been living comfortably ever since.

We would not have gotten there without mystery shopping. By the way, we still do mystery shops because we get a lot of requests from companies to do them.


Don Servais


My newsletters will also look at the world of network marketing. There are FREE eBooks to learn more on my website.