Google the phrase – What gets measured, gets managed – and you will find a lot of discussion on its origin – and its truth.
Sure, there are things that we do that can’t possibly be measured, but somehow, most people manage them – and their lives are the better for it.
Things such as:
- Watching a sunset
- Relationships – of any type
- Serving one’s community
These are things that we do in life that do not need to be measured, but we ‘manage’ them just fine.
We recognize their value.
Your mystery shopping business can be managed ‘just fine’ by applying for mystery shopping assignments, conducting your shop, submitting your reports and getting paid.
Many people can get by without a need to measure much of anything.
Most likely, mystery shoppers who fly by the seat of their pants, are the same people that say there is no value or money to be made in mystery shopping.
The True Value of Your Business
To understand the true value of your home-based mystery shopping business, it pays to measure just about everything.
Using tools that are readily available on line, you can keep track of how much time you spend reading your emails, looking at job boards, responding to inquiries, driving to and from the assignment site, conducting the shop, writing up the report and any follow-up.
One neat (free!) timekeeper we use at Market Viewpoint is Toggl. You can set it up by each mystery shopping company, or type of shop or whatever will make it easiest for you to keep track of physical time that you spend on your business.
Including the time you spend reading secret shopping forums and hanging out in ‘groups’ on Facebook.
Once you recognize where you spend the bulk of your time, you may find ways to become more organized or efficient.
And make sure that you ‘toggl’ off when you are perusing other social media pages or reading other emails. You may find that you spend less time doing some of these activities than you thought you did.
Once you understand where you spend your time – you can manage it!
Remember, there are tax advantages to owning a home based business and being an independent contractor. But you have to keep a record of the equipment you use and how and when it applies to your business.
If you have a dedicated computer and area of your home (a little nook, the kitchen table) where you operate your mystery shopping business, there are tax breaks that are allowed to you.
Not reimbursed for your mileage for your shop? Keep track – that is a very viable expense.
Something you are not being reimbursed for but are required to purchase? Keep your receipt and meticulous records – and you can likely claim it as an expense as well.
Check with your tax advisor about what you should be keeping records of and which expenses are allowed.
There is a lot of ‘value’ in knowing how to properly operate as an independent contractor. Understanding these values help you to manage them more effectively.
Do you keep a running track of how much each shop pays, when the mystery shopping company makes payments and how they make it to you?
Profits cannot be made if the money is not paid.
While mystery shopping companies like to think we always pay every shopper for every shop exactly on time, mistakes do happen.
However, it is much more difficult for us to recognize when someone has been overlooked than it is for you.
If you think you are missing a payment – contact your scheduler or account manager. If it is poor record keeping on our part – we’ll quickly take care of it. If there was a reason you were not paid, we will be sure to explain it to you.
Measuring, or keeping track of, time, expenses and payments will allow you to manage your mystery shopping business making it fun and profitable for you!
What tools do you use to measure and manage your mystery shopping business? Please comment below.
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