Network Marketing Or Pyramid Scheme?

Often considered a road to riches, direct selling can lead to financial disaster without the proper research. Consider these tips before you sign up.

Mind the costs. No matter which network marketing company you choose, it should cost you very little to join. Most startup fees of legitimate firms are less than $500. This cost typically includes a sales kit complete with company information and a few product samples. Some incoming distributors opt to pay more than the required fee so that they can have more products on hand. When considering the costs, watch out for companies that pressure you to pay large amounts for the privilege of joining or that try to load expensive inventory or training aids on you.

Get literate. Secure copies of all available company literature, including the company’s most recent financial statement, to check gross sales. Bear in mind that in most cases this document will be next to impossible to get unless the company is publicly owned. But ask anyway. Look at the number of years the company has been in business, the areas where it operates, and how many distributors it has. Talk to company officers about the average earnings of its distributors, its product return policies, and the distributor dropout rates.

Look into the pay structure. Network marketing is an industry that has produced millionaires, but very rarely do people get rich in this business. Most direct sellers take in a modest income of a few hundred dollars per month, some more, depending on how hard they work and which company’s products they distribute. When investigating the pay structure, first look at the company’s claims of average earnings to determine how much money you can make. Also, study the compensation plan to figure out how you will make the money. Remember, you should be paid for products or services sold, not solely for recruitment of other associates. Next, determine whether the plan is multilevel or single-level. Some companies use a single-level model in which the seller is paid only on his or her own sales. But most operate using a multilevel structure in which distributors receive a percentage of their sales and the sales of members in their downline. The number of levels and the percentages paid per level vary from one company to the next but can run anywhere from a 5% commission on the low end to a 15% commission on the high end. Within a multilevel structure, some companies, rather than paying a percentage per level, pay on total sales accumulated by its distributors across several levels.

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