What is Network Marketing?

Many older Americans are beginning to realize that despite the effort they have put into planning for retirement, there will likely exist gaps between how much they will need and how much they will get when they add up social security benefits, pensions or other sources of post-retirement income. Retirees have the option of filling those gaps by continuing to work in another field post-retirement, but that defeats the purpose of retiring in the first place when all you want to do is enjoy life and pursue personal interests. A new option, which has been gaining popularity across various demographics is what is called network marketing, multilevel marketing or pyramid schemes, by critics.

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Use your network! (Photo: Getty Images)

Network marketing is a growing category that is estimated to generate up to $30 billion in annual sales across the country, or about $1,875 per person a year. Network marketing has many benefits, including requiring little to no capital to get started. Also, many programs offer seminars and other services, like providing websites, to aid their sellers in the selling process. Many retirees can benefit from any form of side income, and network marketing offers a simple and often times guided approach to generating a side-income at your leisure.

How network marketing works is individuals selling products or a group of services to their “affinity groups”. Basically, that includes their friends, friends of friends, family, and colleagues. From those sales, the person receives a straightforward commission and they can also invite people they know to sell the products or services as well. Eventually, you would earn a commission off the sales from people who you have referred to the network marketing program. This creates an income stream that varies in size depending on how much effort you put into selling or recommending other people to the program. At times, some people get to the point of no longer selling and just receiving the commission stream from their referrals.

But do not be mistaken, as convenient as this can be for most people, it is still not a get-rich quick scheme. It is recommended that before getting involved in network marketing, an individual should be knowledgeable and passionate about the product or services they will sell. It is much easier to sell a product or service you have used and benefitted from than selling something you have little to no personal connection with. Also, always research the company you wish to affiliate with as well as their products. You wouldn’t want to sell your friends and families a faulty/unsafe product with no likelihood of a refund, and it would help your overall progress if you sell something that is high quality and of use.


How to Know if Self-Employment is Right for You

The perks of being self-employed are certainly enticing. While it comes with financial security risks, it is everybody’s dream to be their own boss. Many people daydream about quitting their job and making that leap to self-employment for countless reasons. It could be an incompetent boss, coworkers that you cannot stand, frustration of not having your ideas or a annoyance with the status quo. Whatever the case may be, you know that you are ready for change.

Although self-employment is not for everybody, there are clear similarities between those that have been successful at doing something on their own. If any of these characteristics sound like your personality, then maybe it is time you stop daydreaming and finally make the leap to self-employment.

  1. You want flexibility in your schedule – Everybody wants a more flexible schedule, but the person cut out for self-employment is the one who understands that a flexible schedule will also usually mean a longer work day. There are tradeoffs between a typical workday and what you will get as a self-employed worker. While you have the option to take an afternoon off on a nice day, you will probably not be able to take a long vacation anymore. As a self-starter, you can make your own schedule. But it is important to remember, that time not working is time not paid. You must be able to appreciate this and be willing to embrace it in order to make it on your own.
  2. You want more control over your ideas/ leader – If you are a born leader who is a control freak with a Type-A personality, then you probably cannot stand having to run every idea past your boss before proceeding. However, as a self-employed person, you make the rules and you call the shots. If you are comfortable making decisions and can hold yourself accountable then self-employment will certainly sound better than than a normal job.

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    Is self-employment right for you? (Photo: Getty Images)

  3. You have a passion for what you do – If you want to make it on your own then it is important to have passion for what you are doing. When you care about the work you are doing and truly enjoy it, work will not feel like work. The self-employed thrive on the eagerness and vigor of their own work. If you do not have the passion, you will most likely burn out and become discouraged.
  4. You have a support system – While being self-employed gives you the freedom from your boss and substandard co-workers, working alone can become lonely. It is important to have friends and family that you can turn to for advice and help. Your support system needs to people that support your decision to be self-employed and will encourage you to stick with your plan, especially when you start to doubt yourself.
  5. You have self discipline – If you are going to succeed at self employment, then you are the type of person that does not need anyone else to tell you what to do. You not only take initiative but you are eager to get something done. This involves effective time management, proactiveness and an ability to say no to distractions. If you screw around and avoid doing work, then you will not be successful and you will not get paid. You need self discipline.
  6. You are resourceful – As your own boss you will be responsible for all areas of a typical business. This includes sales, finances, taxes, legal issues, accounting and various problems that could arise. You need to be able to juggle multiple tasks efficiently and you should be enthusiastic about taking on all of this responsibility. A successful self-employed person needs to have the ability to think for themselves and solve problems on their own.

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Let’s Talk About Direct Selling

Direct selling refers to the $30 billion industry in which products are sold away from a fixed, brick and mortar store. The benefits to the consumer are obvious, but the benefits to the seller are what we are concerned with presently. So let’s take a look at some of the benefits of being a part of a direct selling company.

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Direct selling and be rewarding and fun (photo: Getty Images)

Firstly, there is usually a low cost of entry. Opening your own business is an extremely expensive and risky venture. You can invest your entire life savings into a store and have it all crumble around you. There are taxes, utilities, fees and a million other ways that a store front will drain cash. Beyond the intense financial commitment, what if no one comes in? That leads us to the next benefit of direct selling.

By selling directly to the customer, away from a physical store, you are bring the product to them. Let’s think about this from the buyer’s perspective. You walk into a store and see hundreds or even thousands of products all along the walls and aisle. Often, the sales person working doesn’t really have the expertise to discuss specifics about products. It’s not even their fault, really. Who could keep track of a thousands of different pieces of merchandise? With direct selling, you can concentrate on the core products your company is selling and bring them directly to the consumer.

Another benefit of a direct selling strategy is you can establish your own hours. If you want to take a day off to go visit family, you don’t have to check with anyone to make sure it’s OK. You get to choose how much or how little time you want to invest into your career as a direct seller. Granted, the more you put in, the more you will get out, but it is nice to not have to answer to anyone about what you did last Tuesday.

These are just a few reasons why direct selling is a great fit for many Americans. It is certainly true that you need motivation and desire, but the tools to success are right in front of you. All you need is a good company to work with and a product you believe in. The rest is up to you!

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