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How to Be Your Own Boss with Little (or No) Money

How to Be Your Own Boss with Little (or No) Money

It is easy to get sick of the grind: the dismal 9-5 system. Maybe you spend too much time for too little money. This is so ingrained in our minds that any alternative way of making money or becoming our own bosses seems to be a Herculean task. However, this difficulty is illusory. The secret to being your own boss and making decent money relatively easily away from traditional work may just lie in network marketing.

What’s Network Marketing?

Network marketing is a popular method of business and an alternative form of product distribution.[1] The traditional method of distributing products to customers is one we’re all pretty familiar with. Products are manufactured somewhere, then sent to a distributor who sends it to stores to be brought by customers. Its relatively straightforward and lots of people profit along the way. However, network marketing provides a different system.

With network marketing the distribution is done through a network of agents who market the products to other individuals. These agents may have other people under their leadership who market goods to others. Profit is made via direct sales and distribution of the products.

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“Wait. Is this a….?I know what you’re thinking. “Pyramid scheme”, right? While they are admittedly similar systems, there is one crucial difference.

Pyramid schemes focus on the money being made through the recruitment of others. These people may be duped into thinking that through the pyramid scheme they will easily find their fortune, when really they are just the means for others to make money. With network marketing the focus is on selling and distributing the products- not the recruiting of others.

It can be such an effective system that some very well-known companies operate and sell their products through network marketing. One of the most well-known examples of this is Tupperware.

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The good things about network marketing:

  • Why should you consider network marketing? For a start, it gives you a degree of freedom that an ordinary 9-5 job can’t possibly offer.[2] To an extent (meaning you’ll still need to get things done), you will be able to tailor your marketing around your life, working from home as you do so. There is no income cap. If you get really good at selling you will earn more money.
  • You’ll be your own boss without worrying about hiring and firing because there will be no employees. Whilst you may form relationships with other agents and marketers, you won’t need to worry about paying wages and all of the other responsibilities the boss of a regular business must handle.
  • Even when you’re not on the clock you will still be able to generate income. Network marketing relies on it.[3] You’ll be able to benefit from residual income if you help others start in the business.
  • Many of us have had to suffer the pains of being laid off or fired.
    Assuming you are successful at getting your network marketing business off the ground, you will have unbeatable job security. You’re your own boss after all!

The not-so-good things about network marketing:

Now before you think I’ve drunk the cool-aid and am now off to start a pyramid scheme, there are some negatives that are very much worth consideration. The most obvious is the clear similarity to pyramid schemes. If you do plan to involve yourself, you need to be sure that you are engaging in a legitimate network marketing system – not a pyramid scheme which is illegal. This will require significant diligence and research on your part to be sure, but a good rule of thumb is to note how the money is made.

The Federal Trade commission says the following about the difference between network marketing and pyramid schemes:[4]

“They all share one overriding characteristic. They promise consumers or investors large profits based primarily on recruiting others to join their program- not based on profits from any real investment or real sale of goods to the public.”

However, with direct marketing, the focus is money made via sales – not recruitment. When it works, network marketing can be hugely beneficial for all parties involved.

There are other considerations too:

  • Most sales you’ll make will be face to face.[5] Only a small fraction of sales through network marketing occur online and instead will be face to face or over the phone. This is something you’ll need to be comfortable with.
  • Even if you are comfortable with selling face to face, you will have to get used to rejection.
  • It is not usually a get rich quick scheme. It can take time and some investment to set up and even then you’ll be competing somewhat with other agents. Although it’s possible to make a lot of money, it probably will not happen fast.

So, how do you start?

The good news is that getting started in network marketing is a relatively simple process.[6]

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Firstly you need to decide on a product that you want to sell.

A popular choice is nutritional products.[7] Initially you will have to invest some money to register with the company and buy the product you wish to sell.

These prices can vary but often begin around $100. Companies like Tupperware, who are built around network marketing, offer down payments. Considering the amount of money they charge to get started is crucial because whatever is required you will have to recoup before you can make a profit.[8]

Many people are experienced and successful in network marketing and can serve as mentors.

It is advisable to listen to what they say. Companies experienced with network marketing will likely have systems in place to help you get started. After all, you’re part of the way they will make money.

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Spread the word that you are in business.

You should consider building a website, or market through social media, classified ads, and even to friends and family. (We’ve all heard of Tupperware parties which for all intents and purposes, are super-casual trade shows.)

After considering this information, all you need to do is select your company and get selling!

Reference

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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