How to Start a Side Hustle as a Personal Shopper

Written By Melanie Green
Last updated September 30, 2021

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Personal Finance
September 30, 2021

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

One key to building wealth is developing a side hustle. Learning how to become a personal shopper gives you the chance to earn money without the traditional problems associated with a 9 to 5 job. Quickly grow your side hustle business by learning how to become a personal shopper.

Personal shopping happens when you do the shopping for someone else. For example, a person hiring you to do their grocery shopping is a form of personal shopping. Personal shoppers help their clients to narrow down the items they want to purchase from a store, department store or online retailer. Then, they usually help deliver the item to the person if they purchase it.

Personal shoppers typically work for companies that do the following:

  • New retail outlets, such as boutique shops, often hire personal shoppers.
  • Cosmetics stores often hire personal shoppers to help their customers find the best products.
  • Individuals or families that want someone to do their shopping for them. They are usually higher-wealth individuals.
  • People interested in a specific niche of items or shopping.

The short answer is no, you do not need to start a business in most places to be a personal shopper. However, you will need to if you make more than a certain amount of money in one year. In many places, this threshold is $500 to $600. If you make more than the threshold amount in your state, you are legally required to start a business and claim that as business income. If you do not plan to make more than that since you are doing a limited amount of work or your shopping will earn less than that amount, then you may be allowed to do it as a hobby.

Fictitious Names

Another thing to consider is if you want to use a fictitious name. You cannot adopt a fictitious name for your side-hustle without filing it with the state. You may not have to start a business to do this depending on the state, but many states require you to create a business to use a fictitious name. You may also see this referred to as a DBA (doing Business As) name.

A fictitious name is any name that you represent yourself by while conducting business other than your legal name. For example, John Doe can do business as John Doe without registering a fictitious name since it is his legal name. However, John Doe has to register any other name than John Doe if he wants to use it for business.

It is possible for anyone to become a personal shopper. If you are new to the industry, you can get a job as a personal shopper with a company to gain experience. In most cases, people choose to do this as a freelancer or business owner. There are several steps that you should follow to get started.

Do Your Research

Before starting down this path, do your research. Check with your state to see what the legal requirements are. Also, learn everything that you can about the market. It can be beneficial to focus on a specific niche of personal shopping. For example, you can be a personal shopper for jewelry, apparel, or cars. There is no limit to what you can shop for, but you do need to be able to speak knowledgeably about your area of interest.

Check how saturated the market is in your area for that niche. If there are too many personal shoppers in a specific niche, consider choosing another one. Try picking several options, then doing the research to see what the industry looks like for those choices. You may find that you need to make adjustments to be successful.

Start a Business If You Need To

You may or may not have to file a business in order to start your side hustle in your state. Start the filing process. States make it very easy to start a business. In fact, all you may have to do is file some paperwork and pay a small fee. If you are also filing a fictitious name, do so as soon as possible. It can take a few weeks to get the fictitious name approved since most states require that it is posted for several weeks in a trade publication or newspaper.

Market Your Services

Once you have any of the back-end requirements in place, start marketing your services. The most cost-effective method is to use social media. Develop a social media marketing plan that targets your niche. Here are a few things to include in your plan and subsequent posts.

Contact Information

Every post that you make must include contact information or a link to a place that has your contact information. If people can not get in touch with you, they cannot hire you to be their personal shopper. Include a phone number and email address to give them options.


Images have a bigger impression on potential customers than anything else. If possible, use images in your marketing. Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook excel at this and can help you position your products or services more effectively.

Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a 30-second explanation of your business. You should be able to tell people who you are and what you do within 30 seconds while convincing them to seek more information. Developing an effective elevator pitch takes time and practice, but it is one of the best marketing tools you can develop for yourself. If you meet people or market on social media, being able to deliver that information quickly and effectively can lead to more leads.

Developing an elevator pitch also helps you define what your business does. New business owners and entrepreneurs often struggle to generate interest because they are trying to do too many things. Instead, focus on one or two things that you can do well in your niche and market those skills.

Have a Pricing Plan

The final piece of the puzzle is developing a pricing plan. This determines how you will charge for your services. Are you compensated based on the value of what you find? Do you charge a flat finder’s fee? Knowing the answer to this is critical since it will influence your potential customers’ decisions to hire you. Have a clear plan before you get your first customer to avoid any problems.

Starting a side hustle to become a personal shopper can seem intimidating, but success is worth the effort. The extra money that you can make can help with your personal finances. You don’t have anything to lose by taking a chance as long as you are responsible for how much you invest. Now that you know how to become a personal shopper, take the leap and become a personal shopper with your own side hustle.

About the Author

Melanie Green

I'm a professional freelance writer living in Tampa, FL. I've been freelancing full-time since 2012, maintaining key relationships with my clients through always aiming to exceed their expectations. I have an MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in screenplay writing from National University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Writing. I love writing about a wide range of topics including movies, technology, food and business marketing.

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