Tools for Independent Contractors
The links below are valuable tools for the mystery shopper because they provide advice, information, and assistance for independent contractors. If you are, or want to be, a mystery shopper, you should know as much as possible about independent contractors and the resources available to "IC's".
This site has great graphics and interesting content, profiles on other small business folk, CyberSchmooze with various sites to enter and share stories of start-ups, the "daily grind", inspiration for those working alone, as well as resources of free trade publications and internet radio.
This site is for Canadian shoppers. Type ?independent contractors? in the search engine within the site for more information.
The IRS site has a comprehensive section just for United States independent contractors and small businesses. They feature online courses, virtual workshops, and products, most are free of charge. An example is the Tax Calendar, which advises important dates and also has clear explanations of car expenses, meals, receipts needed, using an office in the home, self employment taxes and retirement plans for the self-employed, including links to all the attendant brochures. The CD ROM courses are entertaining and very informative, walking you through all the skills and resources needed to meet the responsibilities and record keeping required by the IRS.
The Social Security site is also vast and can be confusing. Just use this direct link to request your statement or figure your benefit.
This site, with the slogan "Everyday Law for Everyday People," has a Small Business section with many features including "plain English articles on the legal topics that affect you most," a guide to doing your own legal research, calculator tools for crunching numbers, a dictionary of legal terms explained for the common user, and Ask Auntie Nolo, a collection of frequently asked questions with their signature, easy-to-understand answers.
This site is presented by Cathy Stucker, author of The Mystery Shopper's Manual, The site is filled with ideas and resources for independent businesses, including mystery shopping and much more.
This site labels itself as the "Business Owner's Toolkit, Total know-how for small business" and though some features are directed to businesses larger than an individual mystery shopper, their section on Offices and Equipment is very helpful.
Hosted by Entrepreneur Magazine, this site accesses various newsletters, how-to guides, and a focus section with changing subjects such as finances, start-up checklists and more.