Category Archives: Choosing a Business

Which Opportunity Is Right For Me?

Take This Quiz

Ultimately only you can answer that question but the following quiz will help give you a guideline and narrow down the dizzying number of choices out there.

1. Why are you looking for a work at home opportunity?

a. I’d like to have a little extra spending money and do something productive with my time.

b. I need to supplement my current income to help with expenses.

c. I’d like to replace a full-time income.

2. How much time are you willing to set aside for your business each week?

a. I’d like to fit it in where I can.

b. I can consistently put in 5-10 hours each week.

c. I can set aside 20 hours or more each week.

3. What does your circle of friends look like?

a. I really don’t know anyone and I’m very shy.

b. I have a group of friends and family that I know well.

c. I’m really outgoing. You could say I’ve never met a stranger.

4. How much money do you have to start your business?

a. I really don’t want to invest anything at all.

b. I’d like to be up and running for $250 or less.

c. I could invest $250 – $700 provided it was for legitimate startup expenses.

5. How much support do you need?

a. I want to go at my own pace and don’t want anyone to bother me.

b. I’m fairly self-sufficient, but need to learn the ropes.

c. I’m self-motivated and willing to work hard, once I know what to do.

So what does all this say about you? If your answers fell mostly into:

a. – What business you choose is not as important as who you choose to start a business with. You want to be sure that the person you get started with is very supportive and understands that your business is not necessarily a priority in your life but more of a hobby. You shouldn’t expect any big paychecks but you’ll probably make something here and there. If you enjoy what you are doing that’s all that matters.

b. – You can choose a business that satisfies your interest but make sure that is not the only qualification. The compensation plan has to make sense. And your support team should be able to show you other people who are making the kind of money you expect.

c. – There are only a handful of businesses that can realistically meet your expectations. Make sure you research the company thoroughly through credible sources (individual opinions on Google don’t count).  When you choose one make sure you jump in with both feet. The support team you choose is critical. They need to be able to show you what to do and keep up with you.

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You Have to Give Some to Get Some

Money is important but time is often the number one reason for starting a business. After all, no matter how you slice it there are only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and a limited number of years in our lives to enjoy them. So we look to business opportunities to provide the flexibility that we are long for.

That time flexibility that businesses promise is not a gimmick or false hope that they provide to reel you in. It really is achievable. BUT and this is a very big BUT you have to be willing to sacrifice some time in the beginning to get that extra time later on.

Starting a business is like getting a plane in the air. Initially it needs a lot of power and energy to build up speed on the runway. As it gets faster and faster it begins to lift off, but it still needs a lot of power to get to cruising altitude. Once the plane is cruising however the pilot can just maintain a consistent amount of energy and the plane will remain steady.

Here’s a scenario:

You find a business that suits you well and you are ready to go but you are the PTA president, you drive for different carpools four nights a week, Friday is date night with your husband, weekends are filled with soccer games and swim meets and you work from 9-5 Monday through Friday. Where are you going to find another 10 hours a week to squeeze in time for your new business?

It’s not as hard as it may seem. You just need to make your priority list, decide what must be done and decide what can happen later. In the scenario above, maybe your husband can help with car pool two nights a week, maybe you can find a few volunteers to take some of the PTA pressure off, or maybe you can find time during your lunch hour at work.

Before selecting a business, determine how many hours you are willing to commit each week and check your calendar to determine if that is realistic. If you set business hours and make them a priority the results will come quickly and you’ll get your business to a cruising altitude that provides the time flexibility you were looking for.


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If you’re considering your own business it’s probably for one of two main reasons. Either you want more time or you want more money. The ironic part is that starting a business is going to cost some of each. First let’s talk about those “upfront investments”.

 In general there are three types of investments required to start your business:

1. Product/Business Knowledge – As an initial startup cost you can expect to invest $200 – $700 to get product and marketing materials for your personal use.  This is a legitimate expense and I would have a hard time believing in or being comfortable starting a business that didn’t expect me to get to know the product that I was selling.

Many people want to start a business with zero investment but consider this; if you were hired in a traditional job by the marketing department of a widget factory, they would provide you with a wide variety of widgets so you can better understand the value that you are bringing to your customers. When you start your own business you are your own marketing department, and as such you are responsible for the costs associated with that.  

While product/business knowledge should be an expected upfront expense there are a few things you should ask. What is the return policy? If there isn’t at least a 30 day refund policy, be cautious. How quickly can you expect a return on your investment? How long did it take your support team to see a return on their investment?

2. Inventory – With an inventory business you purchase bulk products at a wholesale price, then you stock those products at your house and deliver them to your customers for a retail price, usually 30%-50% over wholesale. Inventory costs can be anywhere from $500 – $5000 monthly or quarterly. If you are a driven sales person and have the money this might be an investment that you are willing to make and you could actually make some decent money. However, this is also a pitfall that could hurt you. If you make the investment and don’t sell your inventory you are out that money. Even worse, some people choose to put those investments on their credit cards. I met someone in one of these businesses who earned “the car” and I commented to her,  “you must be doing very well in your business”. She replied, “Yes, I am, I have $30,000 on my credit card to prove it.”

 Buy In – There are many companies that allow you to pay an upfront “buy in” this can be anywhere from $2000 – $10,000 or more. Nothing tangible comes with this buy in, instead what it allows you to do is buy your position within the business before you’ve done the work. It doesn’t guarantee you an income, it just guarantees that if you meet whatever quota is expected you’ll get more of an income than if you hadn’t bought in. While you may have the money to buy in, or be comfortable risking your credit to buy in, would you be comfortable asking your friends to do the same?

In short, you can expect to invest something, but you should know what you are getting for that and be comfortable with the risks entailed if you decide that the business is not for you.


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Things That Make You Go Hmmm?

Key Phrases That Should Make You Run

Advertising in general is meant to play with your emotions, reel you in and getcha. Business opportunity ads are no different but they often lack the subtly you’ll find in a soft drink commercial. If you stop and think about what you’re reading or hearing you might find yourself scratching your head. Here are a few terms that should be a red flag:

1. “Ground Floor Opportunity” – If you have to get in on the ground floor to make money that means that the individuals that “get in” after you have missed the opportunity. The people who “get in” after you would be your friends and family that you’ve “brought onboard”. So “ground floor opportunity” really translates to you’ll make money but your friends and family won’t.

2. “Catch the Wave” – If you don’t catch the wave you would be getting tossed around “under the wave”. Again similar to the “ground floor opportunity”.

3. “Make Millions” – It is true that there are a handful people in many businesses that have made millions but more importantly, is everyone making something? Many people making $500 – $1000 per month is much more indicative of a legitimate business than 2 or 3 making millions.

4. “Quick, Easy Money, From Home” – There is nothing quick and easy about building a real business. It doesn’t have to be painful, you should really enjoy it but you’ll put in a lot of hard work as you do so.

5. “Just Send Us $5” – You send them $5 to learn how to get in on the ground floor so you can catch the wave and make millions quickly and easily from home. Seven days later you get a letter in the mail that says the key to making millions is to photocopy that letter, put an ad online that says, “Just send us $5 and we’ll show you how to get in on the ground floor so you can catch the wave and make millions quickly and easily from home.” Then to receive your millions $5 at a time all you have to do is photocopy that letter and mail it to the next person.

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As I think about researching any opportunities online one word comes to mind, “legitimate”, which for me translates to “not a scam” or “legally allowed”. If you knew for sure that the flashy ad, promising you all your dreams would come true was legitimate you might at least want to get more information. But how do you know? Well, it’s not all that difficult to find out actually. The first place to check is the Direct Selling Association at There are about 200 registered companies and if the company is listed there it has to be legal. That does not mean everyone makes money, it just means that the government isn’t shutting it down… yet. The next place to check is the Better Business Bureau, not just to see if they are listed but what is the company’s rating. Neither of these sources guarantees that it is a great company but it’s a good start.

Other areas to consider; what awards has the company won, how long have they been in business, what is the company’s debt load? One thing I would not recommend is simply Googling the company you are considering. Everyone has an opinion. In fact, some of them are just fabricated stories posted by competing businesses. If you are going to put your time and energy into something make sure you are getting your information from credible sources.

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