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Alternate Ways to Earn Income

Alternate Ways to Earn Income    By: David Thun


Everyone’s been through slow periods when it’s harder to find assignments.  Taking on other kinds of part-time work can help bring in additional income during lean periods.  Below are three (3) types of freelance work that can fit well into a self-employed professional’s schedule.



 Mystery Shopping


What is it?  A “Mystery Shopper” visits businesses as a customer and provides detailed feedback on the experience.  Assignments can range from a quick stop at a convenience store or dining at a restaurant to an overnight stay at a hotel.

What qualifications are needed?  There are no specific qualifications, but companies prefer shoppers who are detail-oriented, observant, and punctual – traits that successful Notary entrepreneurs typically share.

How much does it pay?  Fees can range from $5 for a five-minute store purchase to $100-$200 for an evaluation that requires an overnight hotel stay.

How can I get started?  The Mystery Shopper Providers Association ( is a good place to start.  Or register with a provider company offering assignments in your area.  Avoid companies that want you to pay them in exchange for work.




  Field Inspections


What is it?  Field Inspectors verify information about businesses.  For example, you might be sent to verify that a medical clinic is a valid business by visiting their address, looking at their business license, talking to a manager or taking photos of the office.

What qualifications are needed?  Generally, no special qualifications are needed.  Companies may require a background check and offer brief training over the phone.  Most inspections require a high-speed Internet connection and a digital camera with a flash and time stamp for each photo.  You’ll also need a reliable vehicle.

How much does it pay?  A typical inspection – a business verification, for example – generally pays around $35 - $40 and takes 10-15 minutes.

How can I get started?  The Society of Field Inspectors ( provides guidance on getting started.


  Virtual Assistant


What is it?  Virtual Assistants are independent contractors who work remotely from their home or office to provide clients with services such as bookkeeping, event planning, data processing or administrative phone and email support.

What qualifications are needed?  This can vary depending on your skill set (e.g. administrative assistant, web designer, event planner, etc.).  The blog recommends five (5) years of ‘brick-and-mortar’ office work experience, computer skills, good grammar and communication stills, and the ability to work unsupervised.

How much does it pay?  This depends on the type of services provided and the amount charged by the individual assistant.

How do I get started?  More information is available through the International Virtual Assistants Association (



David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association



Published by the National Notary Association, 9350 De Soto Ave., Chatsworth, California, 91311-4926, and reprinted with permission.  Contact the NNA at (800) 876-6827 or online at



Revision Date 11/8/14

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