In a tough job market in a tough economy, sometimes you have to think of non-traditional ways to fill your wallet. If you’re on interview #354, “make money at home” ads might be catching your eye. But how do you know what’s real and legitimate among so-called business opportunities?
One of my blog readers, Susan Sheridan of Fairfield, CT, recently started her own home-based business. She had a long professional career in medical publishing and had never owned her own business. I was curious about how Susan came to her decision to trust and start a home-based business under the umbrella of another company.
It all started with a few books. Susan says she has always been a great fan of Robert Kiyosaki’s work, especially Rich Dad, Poor Dad. “The most valuable take-away from that book was my new understanding of the difference between residual and linear income. I had always worked in salaried jobs (linear income), and I was intrigued by the idea of supporting myself via residual income (income that continues to be generated after the initial effort is expended).”
Susan then read Kiyosaki’s books The Business of the 21st Century and The Business School for People Who Like Helping People. In these books Kiyosaki talks about the many advantages of home businesses. He introduces the concept of network marketing, which is a business model based on the idea that if you help others succeed, you’ll succeed yourself.
“That idea was enormously appealing to me”, Susan explains. “You build a team and then help those on your team build their own teams. The more money you help your team members make, the more money you make.”
After reading these books and doing some additional research, Susan was convinced that the network marketing model was valid–as a vehicle for improving her own cash flow and as an expression of her personal values. “I knew I wanted to get involved in one because I like the idea of helping people become successful–but, I also knew that I didn’t want to sell lotions, potions, or vitamins to friends.”
Then, a couple of months ago, a friend told Susan about a company she was partnering with called Ambit Energy. Ambit married the network marketing model with the growing emergence of U.S. energy de-regulation. Today customers can choose their electricity and/or natural gas providers. Through a network of independent marketing consultants, Ambit sells electricity and natural gas at reduced prices to residential customers and small businesses.
The fact that Ambit is partnered with Royal Dutch Shell, the 2nd largest corporation in the world, gave Susan a strong comfort level. Focusing on the exploding energy deregulation market seemed to make good business sense. When Susan learned Inc. magazine named Ambit the #1 Fastest Growing Company in the U.S. (in 2010), she was on board. Susan is now one of the company’s independent marketing consultants: cost to affiliate, $429.
“I am now helping people save money on a bill they have to pay month after month”, she says, “and I earn residual income every time a customer turns on a light.”
What’s most interesting to Susan is the diversity of the people involved. “I have met physicians, firemen, lawyers, teachers, stay-at-home moms and former Wall Streeters who have started a part-time Ambit business and grown it to a level that provides a comfortable income–which can entirely replace or even exceed their income from traditional jobs.”
All without potions, lotions and cockamamie deals.
- Don’t believe any “get rich quick” scheme. There are few legal or G-rated ways to make a lot of money fast.
- Make sure you’re dealing with a reputable company that has reputable partners.
- Stay away from pyramid marketing schemes that often involve no real product or service—just an ambiguous membership. Network marketing is a different and legit animal.
Want to learn more about Susan’s network marketing venture? Contact her firstname.lastname@example.org.
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