But how do you know who you can trust? How do you know what system works? How do you protect yourself?
The fact is that you CAN earn money online from legitimate sources, here’s what to look for when picking an online business opportunity.
Products or Services with actual value
Many companies including large companies like Amazon and ClickBank offer what is known as an Affiliate marketing program, or sometimes called a Reseller program. This allows you to promote a company’s products or services and earn a commission when a sale is made through your website link. The key in knowing what is legitimate is to be sure you are actually promoting a real product, or a digital product, or an actually service. Beware of selling anything that seems without substance, and has no real market value. An example of something suspect would be getting paid to recruit people into a program who have not paid any money to do so. All business online and off works when there is an exchange of money for a product or service. Pyramid schemes exist online and off and are an example of focus on recruitment into a program rather then the sale of an actual product. In the case of a pyramid scheme, and example is someone paying to join a program but receives no product or service of REAL value in return. In short, make sure that you are actually selling something of value.
Customer Service and Support
Legitimate companies that sell actual products and services will support or service what they sell. In other words, good companies will have a Customer Support Department, or a Service Department or Technical Support division to assist customers who have either bought a product or intend to do so. Reputable companies offer this support in any number of ways, online chat, support forums, Twitter, Facebook, telephone support, or online support.
Time in business
Legitimate business opportunities most trustworthy are often those that have stood the test of time. On the web it is very easy to set up a company, sell questionable products and services, then disappear into the night when the business practices come into question. When picking an online business opportunity select a company that has been around for at least a few years. Companies that continue to exist are usually those that demonstrate an interest in keeping their customers happy, are accountable, and adhere to policy and legislation that permits them to provide a product or service.
When picking a reputable business opportunity people will often look to review sites for feedback from others. This can offer you some interesting details about what people think about a company and how the company responds to complaints. In reading the reviews though keep an open mind knowing that no company exists without complaints against it. Good companies that you would want to associate with, are those that try to address customer complaints or resolve issues brought to their attention. People with an axe to grind will sometime post negative reviews and hide in the anonymity of that post. So be smart when reading review sites, and look for dates, patterns or themes and try to separate the intelligent comments from the less helpful and questionable ones.
Look before you leap
When you decide on which business opportunity you wish to join, be sure to take your time and read over what you are agreeing to before you sign on the dotted line or hit the submit button. Determine what your up front cost is, your monthly cost (if any), your ongoing cost? What happens if you want to cancel, is there a guarantee, or is there any long term obligation or a penalty for cancelling? Find out how your sales will be tracked, how often will you paid, for which services and how will you be paid.
In summary, here are 5 questions to ask yourself for any company you are considering for a home business opportunity.
1. How long has the company been in business? What is their reputation?
2. What is the product or service you will be selling? What is the value in the market place? There should ALWAYS be a product or service being sold.
3. What is the initial cost to get started in the business? What do you get for that amount of money? What are the ongoing costs?
4. What kind of support or service will you receive as an Affiliate Marketer or Reseller for the company to help you make sales? What kind of support of service will the people you refer receive when they make a purchase?
5. How much money are you paid by this company when you make a sale, how often, and how will your sales be tracked?
These questions and information contained within are a guideline to help you make a smart decision about an online business opportunity that is right for you.
One final bit of advise. Once you have found a company to represent be sure to be realistic about your earnings and accept some responsibility for your own success. At the end of the day, your success comes down to you, and your efforts. It won’t matter what business opportunity you select if you don’t take the time to learn about the program, learn how to market online, and make an honest consistent effort to build your own success.
I hope this has helped you so you can select one or more legitimate companies and you can join the growing population of people making money at home using the power of the web.
About the Author
Sandi Hunter is the President of Worldprofit Inc., a company providing training and support for small and home based business since 1994. Services include home business training, reseller programs, affiliate marketing training, earn-at-home programs, traffic tools, advertising, webcasting, hosting, design, WordPress Blogs and more. Find out why Worldprofit is considered the # 1 online Home Business Training program by getting a free Associate Membership today at http://www.worldprofit.com