No discussion of business opportunities would be complete without exploring the opportunities in network marketing, sometimes referred to as multi level marketing, or MLM.
Because of their business structure, most network marketing or direct sales companies, offer several key benefits, especially for the person who is employed fulltime and is interested in starting a part-time venture of their own.
The network marketing model has been around for some forty or fifty years and, while it did have some problems years ago, with unscrupulous companies and greedy people, the industry has done a great job of policing itself. Also local governments have put controls in place to protect the individual.
The industry today numbers several hundred companies, with 13.6 million people involved either part or full time, offering one of the best opportunities for entrepreneur minded individuals. Network marketing is essentially a method of product distribution which allows an individual distributor to resell a line of products or services while at the same time compensating them for introducing other people to the business.
This model enables you to build a passive revenue stream. In addition to income, from their own sales, distributors earn overrides on the sales of anyone they sponsor into the business, referred to as their "downline." Depending upon the individual company the override can extend to several levels and, if executed properly, can amount to a significant income.
One of the big benefits to network marketing is the low cost of entry. Typically a person can sign up to be a distributor paying only the cost of the training materials usually about $50. Some smart companies are even offering distributors their starter kit free. Another benefit that attracts many people to network marketing is the low risk. If you haven't invested thousand of dollars to get started, you can't lose much if you decide this is not right for you.
That said, if you feel attracted to network marketing as a way of adding an additional income stream, there are some things you'll want to consider in making your choice from among the hundreds of direct sales of network marketing companies. In my opinion the most important criteria is to find a product or service that you are absolutely passionate about. Sound familiar? As I've said throughout, in any business, it's important to be passionate about what you're doing. if you're not, do something else.
What has made the direct sales industry such a huge success, aside from the potential to literally earn a fortune is the method in which they sell. Typically a person learns about a product from a friend or acquaintance, becomes a customer and begins enjoying the benefits of the product. They are then offered the opportunity to become a distributor. By the way, if you are taking a product that is sold through network marketing you might as well become a distributor if for no other reasons than to buy the product at a discount.
Another key benefit to network marketing is that distributors are following a tried and true, proven system. This makes it easy for the novice to get up a running quickly, even with no prior business knowledge.
The parent company handles all the details of product fulfillment administration etc. Most enable the distributor, for a few extra dollars, to set up their own private labeled Website to send people who would like to order online.
In addition to finding a product that you love, make sure that you feel good about the company. If possible, visit the corporate headquarters and meet the top management. I was once at a company who, fortunately, is no longer in business and when I reached a level where I met the top people I was so turned off by the lack of integrity that I immediately resigned. This was many years ago, and like I said before the industry has improved greatly. While watching "60 Minutes" one night, and seeing one of the former principals of the company being investigated for some other scam he was running, I knew I made the right decision. Fortunately, today's companies are run with ethics and integrity especially the ones that have been around for a number of years.
Many US network marketing companies have done exceptionally well in other counties, where the hand to hand selling model fits well into the culture of the country. The closely knit community structure in counties like Japan for example lends itself well to the person to person business model.
Various experts claim that in the future a very big portion of goods and services will be sold by direct sales.
One word of caution, beware of the hype.
A lot of people in network marketing companies will brag to you about someone in their up line, usually not them, who is making some amazing amount of money. They do this in a weak attempt to entice you into the business. Are there people earning amazing sums of money in network marketing? Yes there are, however, it is not as quite as simple as some people would have you believe. I personally know people who have gone from working in minimum wage jobs to becoming multi millionaires through network marketing. This, however, is not the norm nor is it what most people are looking for. Most people are happy and feel successful adding a few thousand dollars extra a month to their income working part-time selling a product or service that they believe in. The side benefit to network marketing is that you generally get to meet and hang out with some very good, positive and highly motivated people.
As my friend and hero Charlie "Tremendous" Jones said, "In five years you will be the same person that you are today with two exceptions, the books you read and the people that you hang out with." Being around people at network marketing gatherings is a good way to immerse yourself in positive energy on a regular basis.
One big mistake that new network marketers make is trying to reinvent the system. If you choose network marketing as a path to greater income, keep it simple. These companies have spent years developing systems that not only work, but more importantly can be passed down to any people you sponsor into the company. This is one of the keys to developing significant long-term passive revenue.
Keep it simple, work the system and pass it on.
Find a mentor
Some of the most successful people in the business got that way by finding a mentor who's higher up in the organization. Chances are the person that brought you into the business has not been doing it much longer than you. If that's the case, you'll want to seek out someone who can guide you. Choosing someone in your own upline is the easiest since they have an vested interest in your success, however, if you can't find a mentor there, don't hesitate to go outside your own upline.
It has always amazed me how few people in sales never take the time to speak with the top sales people in their company. If somebody is at the top of the sales rankings in your company, would it not be a good idea to ask them to share some of their strategies with you? Most very successful people are happy to share ideas. Most of them got there by being mentored by someone who went before them and are willing to give back.
Another mistake newbie's make is not allowing themselves enough time to succeed. Too many people get caught up in the hype of easy riches and are not willing to give their new business sufficient time to succeed. The people, who earn large sums of money in network marketing or for that matter in any business, have taken the time to build a solid foundation.
Another thing all top earners have in common is that most have been with their present company for several years. The unsuccessful network marketer on the other hand, tends to jump from company to company chasing the next big wave. Like a new surfer, they tend to wash out before learning how to ride the wave successfully. For a listing of some of the top companies in the direct sales industry, visit the DSA website at www.dsa.org
So if you decided that networking marketing is for you. Find a company whose product you like. Check out the company to make sure you resonate with them. Choose a sponsor in an up-line who will be supportive and will be willing to help you get started. Find a mentor and follow their system. Be patient and stick with it. It may be slow going at first. Patience and persistence will pay off for you in the long run. Above all have fun, not only will it make you feel good, but you will attract a lot more people by making your business fun.
If you want to take a look at something I believe will be one of the hottest opportunities to come along in decades, check this out:
Jim Donovan, is the author of several critically acclaimed self-help books, published in more than 20 countries, an inspiring motivational speaker and life coach. For a bonus gift and subscription to his "Jim's Jems" ezine visit his Web site.