Hello hello F22 crew!
Do you spend most of your days out and about running errands? Do you LOVE shopping or reporting back about your daily events to your significant other? Then secret shopping may be for you! With so many different stores looking for secret shoppers to report on their experiences, there is bound to be one that strikes your fancy! From pet stores to high end handbags, there’s something for everyone!
Name: Kaila Penner
Side Hustle/Freelancing Niche/Profession: Secret Shopping
Give us the short version of who you are, what you do and why you love it!
My name is Kaila and I’m a Secret/Mystery Shopper and also the co-owner of Successfully Simple Sisters, a blog where we talk about achieving financial freedom through things like secret shopping. Secret shopping means you are hired by a company to pose as an actual shopper to evaluate their customer and/or shopping experience. I love not only the freedom it provides, but also the opportunity to learn so much about many different companies and products.
How did you get into secret shopping?
It all started as a means to make extra money so I could pay off my student loan debt. I first read about it on a blog. This guy was doing it full time and I thought it would be awesome to try it out. I researched secret shopping companies online and made sure they were legit. Then I signed up, tried them out, and fell in love with secret shopping.
Did you have any preconceived notions a bout it before? If so are they true or false?
I was unaware that there were many scam companies that wouldn’t pay you for your work. So it pays to do your research. I also thought shopping would be much more difficult. If you aren’t detail oriented, it might be a little tricky to remember all of the details at first, but overall, I’d say almost anyone can be successful.
How did you go about monetizing your side hustle?
When looking at shopping opportunities, I make sure the pay is worth the process. Most companies will ask that you perform the shop, then fill out a survey describing your experience. I’d start to learn which opportunities were more worth it than others and focused on those whenever possible. For instance, some opportunities will reimburse you for your purchase while others won’t. It’s all about trial and error until you find the ones that really pay off for your time.
How long did it take for your side hustle to build to a full time salary?
I’m not looking at this to be my full time gig, but I’ve heard of many people making it their full time thing. If you find enough reputable companies with enough opportunities, you can essentially work full time once you find enough opportunities to fill your time. It would take some research (you’ve seen I keep saying that) but I would imagine someone could do it full time in as little as 6 months.
How do you market your side hustle?
Secret shopping is different than many side hustles because secret shopping companies will often publicize their opportunities, so you don’t have to find your own work. With that said, you get a rating at every company you work with, so the best way to market yourself is to be thorough, detailed, and accurate in your post-shopping surveys. More opportunities will be available to you once you build a good reputation.
What do people say when you tell them in person about it?
People will say things like “that sounds fun!” or “you really get paid to shop?” I always agree that it is really fun and yes, you do get paid to shop.
What did your family/friends say about the idea of you starting secret shopping at the beginning?
My family and friends have always been supportive of my pursuit of secret shopping. In fact, my sister and mother-in-law have now also become secret shoppers because of my recommendations!
What words of wisdom do you have for anyone wanting to give you secret shopping a try?
I’d encourage anyone interested to give it a try. It’s a great side hustle because it doesn’t require money up front to get started and you can really choose how much you want to work. Plus, I’ve learned so much about the customer experience throughout the process. Anyone who likes to evaluate their shopping experiences and is detail oriented would be a great fit for secret shopping. Just make sure to DO YOUR RESEARCH so you find the best companies to work with.
If you could have any other occupation in the world, what would it be?
I’d probably get into graphic design. I’ve been designing for 15 years, but mostly as a hobby or as a means to an end (i.e. designing my own wedding invites, for instance). I’d love to wake up every day and create things for a living. I suppose there’s still time!