As people go further into their respective careers, they find that they have to decide whether they want to specialize or not. The same applies to mystery shopping. Given the wide variety of mystery shopping jobs you can choose from, you have the choice to make any of them your specialty or become a jack-of-all-trades with a respectable amount of knowledge in each.
The two contradicting schools of thought both come with solid arguments. Neither is necessarily right or wrong, but one is usually the best decision for a particular individual.
People often think that once you make the decision to specialize in something, your workload will be easier to manage. Instead of having to juggle assignments from a variety of mystery shopping areas, you'll be able to focus on one area that you enjoy the most and excel within it. If you choose to specialize in mystery shopping assignments in fine dining establishments, for example, your expertise will increase. If all goes well, your reputation will exceed you, and you'll be at the top of the list of prospective shoppers. It will be easier to find the highest paying jobs, and providers may even come to you directly.
Another benefit to specializing is that you can obtain much more personal satisfaction given that you'll be doing the kind of work you enjoy. However, the biggest downside to specializing is that you may have to start over from scratch if you decide to transition into another area. People's interests and experiences change , so make sure you think the decision through before you choose a specialty as a mystery shopper.
The biggest benefit to generalizing your mystery shopping assignments is that you're constantly given the opportunity to explore. In one day, you could go from working a job at a fine dining restaurant, to a gas station, to a football game, and then finish at a hotel for the night. By generalizing, you're able to experiment and find which of these options you gravitate toward the most.
Another benefit of generalizing is that you'll be able to work a lot more jobs than a specialist. For example, someone who specializes in resort visits may only be able to get work during the traveling season, but the person who can also do well in gas station visits may have more luck.
The choice between specializing and generalizing is something that only you can answer. But the best choice is probably to generalize early with the intentions of specializing in the future once you've found your niche. This gives you the best experiences from both.