|Typical fees:||$20–$40 per hour|
|Advertising:||Brochures, classifi ed ads, personalized notes to busy|
|executives, Web site with testimonials and rates|
|Qualifi cations:||An eye for a great deal and the ability to match gifts to|
|Equipment needed:||Dependable transportation, cell phone|
What You Do
Do you consider yourself to be the “shopping goddess of the universe”? Are you able to consistently choose tasteful and well-received gifts? If so, this business could be your dream come true. Many of today’s executives are simply too busy to spend an hour or two shopping for the perfect gift, so you can do it for them by oﬀering your services at an hourly rate. You’ll need to make sure that the client provides you with some method to purchase the gifts or arrange for the items to be held for pickup by the client. Build a strong network of places to shop; familiarize yourself with every gift/specialty store, retail store, and florist in your area. You’ll need this vast resource (and plenty of catalogs) to come up with refreshingly new approaches to gift giving. Another part of your business might be purchasing items for busy executives themselves; they could provide you with a personalized size (and preference) card, then send you oﬀ on a buying odyssey.
What You Need
Brochures and personal notes sent to managers of large corporations are a good way to introduce yourself and your services. Be sure to stress the advantages of using a shopping service (chiefly, the time-saving and money-saving factor), and be clear in the beginning about the way you bill. Then you’ll need to start collecting catalogs, visiting malls and unusual shops, and combing the newspapers for sales. Your clients will expect you to know everything possible about shopping, so take the time to prepare!
Keys to Success
If you only want to do this job part-time for individual clients, you won’t make as much as you would working full-time for large companies. Be sure that you bill on an hourly rate rather than a per-job basis; otherwise, people may try to take advantage of you. Diﬃcult situations may occur when the client isn’t happy with the purchase, but you should be able to return anything you buy. All in all, the joy of spending other people’s money is hard to resist—it gives you all the pleasure with none of the guilt.