What is Network Marketing
Network Marketing is often called Direct Selling, Affiliate Marketing, or Multi-Level-Marketing(MLM). It is an honest, viable business structure. It is designed to build a marketing and sales force by compensating not only sales made by the individual but also the sales made by the people that individual has introduced to the company. This structure effectively moves the task of building and supporting a sales force away from the company and onto the individual. The company benefits from this because it can focus on the product instead of building a sales force and the individual benefits because it can hire others and make overrides on their efforts in addition to their own. A company can use the structure to create a sales force quicker and easier than traditional means. That may be critical to the company’s success, particularly if the company has a new hot product.
What Network Marketing Is Not
Network Marketing is not a pyramid scheme. It is not a scam. A pyramid scheme is illegal, Network Marketing is not. A pyramid scheme is a business setup where the primary and many times the only way to be compensated is to recruit others into the business. In a pyramid scheme, there is essentially no product. Instead you simply sell “nothing” to others in order to get them to join. While con artists will attempt to use the structure as a guise for their pyramid schemes, it doesn’t mean all companies that use Network Marketing as a sales structure are themselves a pyramid scheme. In fact, it is fast becoming a recognized structure among business leaders today, including Donald Trump. It has also been used in part by respected companies such as PayPal, AT&T Wireless, Wachovia, and Vonage. It is also not a get rich quick scheme. As with any business, no matter the structure they choose to employ, you have to work to be paid. The same is true of Network Marketing. However, even though it doesn’t offer instant riches, it does offer some unique advantages over traditional employment opportunities.
Why Network Marketing
Network Marketing is a not a get rich program but instead a real business opportunity and one that requires real work. That being said, the unique advantages offered by Network Marketing are incredible compared with what’s available in the traditional job market. First, you get to set your own hours. You are effectively your own boss. So if you do not feel like working one day then you do not have to. Of course it goes without saying that just because you can doesn’t mean you should. But it is nice to know that you could if you wanted to. Another way to look at setting your own hours means that you can literally work as much as you want. You set your business hours and can operate whenever you want. This provides the potential to increase your earnings simply by working harder.
The second great benefit is the ability to work from home. We all hear about the work-from-home scams that are posted on those little signs on telephone poles along the roads. Well, unlike most other work-from-home offers, it truly allows you to work from home, provided you have the bare essentials to do business. By bare essentials, I mean a phone line and a computer if you need one. But you should consider that while working from home sounds great, it does require a certain level of self discipline to keep focused and get some work done.
Finally, the single greatest thing is the truly amazing opportunity that exists when they first begin. Imagine being there when Bill Gates decided to start Microsoft or when Google was first starting up and actually having a chance to join. Network Marketing provides that same kind of opportunity. Of course joining a Network Marketing company can be beneficial at any time but it is exponentially true when the company is just starting out. The expression of get in on the ground floor has a certain truth to it when regarding Network Marketing companies. This is mostly due to the fact that the earlier you get in, the more people you will have under you. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t join a company that is well-established and been around for a while. For example, Mary Kay is still a viable business and you can make some money in that company. However, you have to consider that to get into the company you will be going underneath someone and that person is underneath someone else and so on. Imagine being that first person way up the chain that has thousands of people below them. That is the opportunity that exists by getting in early with a company.
Examples of Network Marketing Gone Wrong
Networking Marketing companies, like any other business out there, can be fraudulent, unethical, and in certain cases just plain scams. However, when a single business is caught in a scam, say an investment banker, it looks bad for the investment banker but not necessarily for investment banking as a whole. The same is not true of Network Marketing. When one Network Marketing company is caught in a scam people take the assumption that this one bad company represents all Network Marketing. We have all heard of people getting scammed by Network Marketing companies that go out of business, never end up paying out, or simply prove too hard to make a profit in. I’d rather not point fingers but a certain MLM comes to mind. This particular company recently boasted in a national magazine that they had sales of over $2 billion dollars a year. Right below this they said they had over 1 million distributors. For those who can divide, that’s only $2,000 per year per distributor. That’s assuming all distributors were performing the same. In reality, the top 5-10% made decent money while the rest made pocket change or even lost money. In an Independent Business Owner Compensation Plan released by the company itself, it stated that the average distributor earned $115 per month or $1,380 per year BEFORE taxes. Folks, that comes out to about $.69 cents per hour for an average 40 hour a week job. And these people paid to join the program! The good news is that not all Network Marketing companies are bad. There are indeed some very good, honest, and reputable Network Marketing companies out there. Many of which can earn you a decent living with some work. The key to avoiding these kind of Network Marketing disasters is to do some diligent research, run the numbers, use your head (too good to be true and it probably is) and make a sound decision before signing up with any company.
Examples of Real Network Marketing Success Stories
Like I said, not all Network Marketing is good, but not all is bad either. You can find several examples of successful Network Marketing companies out there. The key difference with a successful company is that it has a real product to sell. For the company to be successful with the Network Marketing structure, it must focus on the product. One such example is Mary Kay. Mary Kay started in 1963 and has since grown to a trusted global name in skin care, makeup & body care. It is an impressive organization in terms of volume and size. Mary Kay serves as one the few examples of a successful self-consumption company. In my opinion that is because they have a solid product that there is a demand for. Mary Kay offers some unique compensation to its beauty consultants including the very original pink Cadillac. Of course to earn the Cadillac requires you to achieve a certain level of success within the company. However, General Motor’s estimates that they have built over 100,000 pink Cadillacs for Mark Kay.
Another great success story is that of Art Williams and his A.L. Williams company which later came to be known as Primerica. Art Williams was a football coach from Georgia. He happened across the idea of replacing old whole-life insurance with term life insurance (which is cheaper) and investing the amount you saved from switching. On a coaches salary, Art had very little chance of getting a company started with traditional means. He instead adopted the MLM or Network Marketing model. This allowed him to hire and train additional part and full-time individuals to help market his product. Using the power of Network Marketing, Art Williams went on to sell billions of dollars worth of insurance surpassing the top two insurance companies combined. Today the company has over 100,000 independent representatives and Art himself has a net worth of $1.4 billion. I have several people who I know that have made millions with the A.L. Williams company. You’ll hear more about them later. For now, just know that A.L. Williams is the perfect example of how a company with a great product can use Network Marketing to become hugely successful.
How to Choose the Right Network Marketing Company
One of the first things you should do when entertaining the idea of joining a Network Marketing company is research. Find out about the company and what it is offering. As with all real businesses, the product is the key. The company has to have a great product that people are willing to pay for. If the product is not great than neither is the opportunity. Try to put yourself in the customers shoes, would you buy the product? If so, is it affordable compared with the current market? Take the time to research and fully understand the product. Test the product if you can. At the very least try to get some real life feedback from existing customers who have bought the product. Doing so will put you in a position to make an educated decision about joining.
As a general rule, there are certain types of Network Marketing companies that you should avoid. The key among those are businesses without a product. That is, you make a majority of the money from recruiting. These are shady MLM companies that are closer to a pyramid scheme than a real Network Marketing company. The second and perhaps more important to avoid is the self-consumption companies. These types of companies depend on you to buy their product as well as sell it. Do NOT invest in these types of companies unless you absolutely love the product and can afford it. Otherwise, you will eventually run out of “friends” and family to market to and will end up with a garage full of “product” and no one to sell it to.
Even with a great product a company still finds that a capable management team is essential to long-term success. Before joining a company, do some research on the founders. This is particularly true of new companies. Find out who is behind the curtain and if they have a reputation, good or bad. You are looking for people with a proven track record and lots of experience to make this company work. Another consideration is if the management team has a plan to manage growth. I’ve seen several Network Marketing companies with a great product, build a sales force just to collapse under its own success. The company should be upfront and honest about what plans it has to prevent this from happening. These should be real concrete plans and systems that are in place not just a “we have it covered”. Funding is very important as well. While it is true that Network Marketing companies are easier to start they do take funding to keep going and maintain. Particularly in the beginning when sales are slow and people are just coming on board. And as history shows us, there may well be times when the company needs more money to operate than it is making. Having a management team with access to capital is crucial for long-term success of the company. Most of the companies you hear about going out of business were founded by people without sufficient capital. The last and also one of the most important parts of picking the right company is to evaluate the compensation plan. That’s what Network Marketing is all about right? Making money and hopefully lots of it. So you have to make sure the compensation plan is viable, realistic, and still profitable. Never join any Network Marketing company that isn’t up front and honest about their compensation plan. Always demand to see it and demand that any point systems be fully explained with realistic examples.
Can you make money without recruiting people. That is a key question to ask yourself whenever you are introduced to a new compensation plan. Even though you are (or should be) planning to build a sales team, it’s important to know that you can make decent money without doing so. For this to work, the commissions offered by the company have to be sufficient. Depending on the price of the product and the amount of volume you expect to be able to sell the commission will differ. As a rule, you should be very wary of any compensation plan offering commissions less than 20%. Obviously, the higher the commission the better. Almost as important as the initial commission itself is the idea of a residual. Does the compensation plan allow for residuals? It effectively allows you to stack your work. In other words, you can sell something once and continually be paid on that sell every time the client renews. Residuals allow you to build true wealth by earning money on work you already did. That’s exactly how the guys at A.L. Williams got rich. To this day they continue to receive checks on policies they sold more than 10 years ago.
The final question related to the compensation plan is how does team building work. It’s important to have a full understanding of the mechanics used in the system. If they use points you need to grasp exactly how points are earned and how they convert into cash. If they use a binary or front line system, you need to understand the rules of both. Again, the company should be very upfront about how their team building works and how you are compensated for it. I’m not usually too interested in the team building because, as a sales man, I usually go after selling the product and consider the team building to be just an added bonus. However, if you are a big networker or well connected, the team building can earn you more money. By hiring and training the right sales people, you can build a very profitable team and earn more money than you could possibly earn just selling yourself.
Do Your Research, But Hurry!
As I said, you can have success by joining a well-established company. However, if you can manage to find that rare company with a solid product and good management that is just getting started then you should research quickly and jump on it. One key to easy success in any company is getting in early. As the company grows, super stars and rock star marketer will take notice and be recruited into the system. If you can get into the system before them they will be working for you and that can mean a lot of money. The longer you wait the more saturated the market will become and the harder it will be to make money. Time is money no matter what business you are in but it is particularly true in MLM. Once you join an MLM you should within two weeks recruit two other people and sell the product at least once. This is absolutely essential to your long term success with the company. Something about getting that first sell and hiring those first two people just makes it so much easier. Trust me, if you do this you will find the rest seems to just fall into place.
Where to Find Those Efficient and Hardworking Affiliates?
Everyone wants a hardworking affiliate, employee, associate, partner, or even spouse, and why not? It’s the next best thing to doing the work yourself. However with the massive outbreak of work and income opportunities available online, how can you beat everyone else and find that one (or more) ideal person who will make your online business explode with success? Here are some of the most ingenious and uncommon ways to snag the idea affiliates for your affiliate program
Direct Sales Agents
Direct sales people are really one of the most enterprising, hard-working individuals in business. They mostly work on commissions or rebates and are willing to literally go door-to-door offering their products to anyone and everyone they bump into. Imagine how much easier their job would be if they could be an affiliate and simply work via the Internet and a mobile device or desktop.
Also, most direct sales people tend to carry more than one brand in their product arsenal so signing up as an affiliate would be almost the same type of work but using a different approach.
Colleges and Universities
Many college kids would be interested in a part-time income opportunity if it would mean funds to help pay for their education, loan, or partying. All you have to do is make sure to offer them products they can endorse as a student.
Did you know that the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest annual report show that 75% of U.S. businesses used freelancers in 2011? Freelancers earned a whopping US$990 billion in 2011 which is a 4.1% increase from the previous year. The only industries where the number of freelancers decreased were in insurance, finance, and construction. Most probably your affiliate program isn’t a part of these 3 industries.
Furthermore, online business and finance experts are predicting the growth to increase incrementally every year even with an economy that is improving. People just want income security and more control over their earnings. With the spate of lay-offs, it’s understandable why many would prefer to work as an affiliate than as an employee.
Scout For Them At Affiliate Conventions
There are annual affiliate conventions held in different cities around the country. You should try to catch one when it is held somewhere near your location. The average turn-out for these types of conventions has increased regularly over the years. Last year, many of them were sold out weeks before the event.
The US Census Bureau has said that as of 2012, 15% of Americans are poor, 43% of young adults depend on their parents to some extent for money. Even more surprising is that the median income of young adults in 1982 was $31,583 and last year it was $30,604 for the same age group! Income is dropping and people are looking for ways to earn additional income outside of their 9 to 5 jobs. That’s where you can come in playing the hero and helping others realize their dream income.
Finally, go online and talk about your product. Make the affiliate marketers come to you and have the luxury of picking the best candidates. You will need some help in marketing your affiliate program so target a marketer who’s experienced in affiliate program and SEO.
Recession Is Here… Six Costly Mistakes Home Sellers Make During Recessions And How To Avoid Them
The U.S. is officially in a recession. What is a recession? A recession is a business cycle contraction or general economic decline due to significant drop in spending and other commercial activities. Most pundits and politicians will blame Covid-19 crisis for the recession, but even pre-Covid-19 the proverbial writing was on the wall.
The U.S. had over 120 months of economic growth, which was the longest expansion in the modern history. Other indicators, such as negative yield spread on treasuries (long term bonds having lower interest rates than short term T-notes), were pointing to an imminent change of the economic cycle and an impending recession. The only real question was: when and how bad?
Then Covid-19 came… If the cycle was going to change anyway, Covid-19 acted as a huge and unexpected accelerant to make the recession much more immediate and severe.
Inevitably during recessions all classes of real estate, including residential homes and condominiums, will be negatively impacted as lower consumer spending and higher unemployment rates affect real estate prices and marketing times.
Here are the six costly mistakes home and other real property sellers make during recessions and how to avoid them:
Mistake #1: This will pass and real estate market will be hot again soon
First thing to remember is that real estate cycles are much longer than general economic cycles. Even if the general economy recovers, which eventually it always does, a typical real estate cycle takes as long as 10 to 15 years. The cycle has four key stages: Top, Decline, Bottom and Rise.
Let us consider the last real estate cycle, which lasted approximately 14 years:
- 2006 – Prices hit the Top
- 2006 to 2012 – Prices Decline
- 2012 – Prices hit the Bottom (Trough)
- 2012 to 2019 – Prices Rise*
- 2020 – Prices hit the Top
- 2020 to? – Prices Decline
*NOTE: In 2016 the national residential real estate price index reached its pre-recession 2006 peak levels. It took 10 years for the real estate market to recover.
The way to avoid this mistake is to recognize that real estate cycles take years to run and plan accordingly. Additionally, nobody knows for sure when the prices will hit the top or bottom until after the fact.
Mistake #2: Low interest rates will make the economy and real estate market rebound
Between 2006 and 2011 the interest rates (Fed Funds) were continuously cut by the Federal Reserve Board and went from low 5% to almost 0%. However, that did not stop the real estate recession and depreciation of property values.
Undoubtedly, low interest rates made the economic decline and real estate recession less severe and saved some properties from foreclosures, but it still took six painful years for the real estate market to hit the bottom and then four more years for the prices to go back to their pre-recession levels.
Some markets had never fully recovered. For example, residential home prices in some parts of California, Arizona and Nevada are still below their 2006 highs.
To avoid this mistake, one needs to realize that although low interest rates help stimulate the economy and the real estate market, they do not cure them.
Mistake #3: I don’t need to sell now, so I don’t care
If you do not need to sell until the cycle plays out, which typically is over ten years, then you will not be as affected, especially if you have a strong equity position, limited mortgage debt, and solid liquid assets.
However, it is good to keep in mind that “life happens” and either professional or personal circumstances can change and we may need to sell property before the downturn runs its course.
Furthermore, if a property has a mortgages and its value declines to the point being “upside down,” meaning the mortgage loan balance exceeds the value of the property, then the options of selling, refinancing or even obtaining an equity line of credit, will be significantly limited.
This does not mean that everybody should be rushing into selling their real estate if there is no need to do so, just keep in mind that circumstances may and often do change and property options will be affected, so plan in advance. As one wise proverb says: “Dig your well before your thirst.”
Mistake #4: I’m selling, but I won’t sell below my “bottom line” price
This is a common and potentially very costly mistake. Generally speaking, every seller wants to sell for the highest price and every buyer wants to pay the lowest price. That’s nothing new. When selling real estate, most sellers want to achieve a certain price point and/or have a “bottom line.”
However, it is important to understand that the market does not care what the Seller, or his/her Agent, think the property value should be at. The market value is a price a willing and able buyer will pay, when a property is offered on an open market for a reasonable amount of time.
Overpricing property based on Seller’s subjective value or what is sometimes called an “aspirational price,” especially in a declining market, is a sure first step to losing money. When a property lingers on the market for an extended period of time, carrying costs will continue to accumulate and property value will depreciate in line with the market conditions.
Additionally, properties with prolonged marketing times tend to get “stale” and attract fewer buyers. The solution is to honestly assess your selling objectives, including the desired time-frame, evaluate your property’s attributes and physical condition, analyze comparable sales and market conditions, and then decide on market-based pricing and marketing strategies.
Mistake #5: I will list my property for sale only with Agent who promises the highest price
Real estate is a competitive business and real estate agents compete to list properties for sale which generate their sales commission incomes. It is not unusual that Seller will interview several agents before signing an exclusive listing agreement and go with the agent who agrees to list the property at the highest price, often regardless if such price is market-based.
Similarly to Mistake #4, this mistake can be very damaging to Sellers, as overpriced properties stay on the market for extended periods of time costing Sellers carrying expenses such as mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, utilities and maintenance.
Furthermore, there is the “opportunity cost” since the equity is “frozen,” and it cannot be deployed elsewhere till the property is sold. However, the most expensive cost is the loss of property value while the real estate market deteriorates.
During the last recession, we have seen multiple cases where overpriced properties stayed on the market for years and ended up selling for 25% to 40% below their initial fair market values.
The solution is to make sure that your pricing strategy is based on the market, not empty promises or wishful thinking.
Mistake #6: I will list my property only with Agent who charges the lowest commission
Real estate commission rates are negotiable and not set by law. A commission usually represents the highest transactional expense in selling real properties and is typically split between Brokers and Agents who work on the transaction
Some real estate agents offer discounted commissions, in order to induce Sellers to list their properties with them. But does paying a discounted commission ensure savings for the Seller? Not necessarily.
For example, if the final sales price is 5% to 10% below property’s highest market value, which is not that unusual, due to inadequate marketing, bad pricing strategy, and/or poor negotiation skills, it will easily wipe out any commission savings and actually cost the Seller tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenues.
The solution is to engage an agent who is a “Trusted Advisor,” not just a “Salesperson.” A Trusted Advisor will take his/her time and effort to do the following: 1) Perform Needs Analysis: listen and understand your property needs and concerns; 2) Prepare Property Analysis: thoroughly evaluate your property and market conditions; 3) Execute Sales and Marketing Plan: prepare and implement custom sales and marketing plan for your property; and 4) Obtain Optimal Results: be your trusted advocate throughout the process and achieve the best possible outcome.
Finding such a real estate professional may not be always easy, but it certainly is worth the effort and will pay off at the end.
In conclusion, this article has outlined six costly mistakes real estate Sellers make during recessions and how to avoid them. The first mistake is not understanding that real estate cycles are long and take years. The second mistake is a misconception that low interest rates alone will create a recovery. Another mistake is not realizing that circumstances may change and not planning in advance. Mistakes number four, five and six pertain to understanding the market value, proper pricing and selecting the right real estate professional.
By understanding and avoiding these mistakes, real estate Sellers have significantly better chances of minimizing the negative impact of a recession while selling their properties.
Useful Tips To Build The Best Gaming Computer
Every gamer will want their computer to be the best gaming computer among their peers. Sometimes, with a little knowledge and tips and tricks, it is possible to build the best gaming computer and show it off to your peers. This article will show you how:
1) You can’t get the best gaming computer from computer retailers
If you want to get the best gaming computer, you have to build your own. Different gamers have different requirement for their gaming machine. Unless you are willing to pay a high price, you will not be able to buy a commercial computer that fulfills all your gaming needs. The only option you have is to build your own gaming computer.
2) You don’t have to be rich to build the best gaming computer
It is not necessary to burn a hole in your pocket to build the best gaming computer. With some due diligence, do some market research and compare prices around the marketplace. Merchant such as TigerDirect and NewEgg give regular discount to their products and you could save a lot of money if you catch them during their promotional period.
3) Most expensive parts do not have to be the best part
Sometime, the latest model or the most expensive model does not have to be the best part for your computer. It requires various components to work together to form the best computer system. When choosing a computer part, what matters is how well it can integrate with the rest of the components. Compatibility is more important than individual performance. What use is there if you spend lot of money on the latest quad-core processor and find that your motherboard doesn’t support it?
4) You don’t need to change the whole PC to own the best gaming computer
It is a misconception that you have to change the whole gaming machine to build the best gaming computer. If you already have a good barebone system, what you need to do is to upgrade the necessary parts and your gaming computer can roar back to life instantly.
5) Brand is important
Unless you want to see your computer system malfunction every few days, it is important that you purchase the parts from branded manufacturers with strict quality control. Motherboard brand such as Gigabyte, ABIT, ASUS are some quality brands that you can consider
If you follow diligently to the tips stated above. You will be on your way to build the best gaming computer. While price can be an issue, it is better not to scrimp on important computer parts such as motherboard, CPU, RAM and graphics card as it will cost you more to upgrade in the future.
Where to Find Those Efficient and Hardworking Affiliates?
Recession Is Here… Six Costly Mistakes Home Sellers Make During Recessions And How To Avoid Them
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