If you’ve done any inquiring about a viable home business, you’ve no doubt found your mailbox and email inbox overflowing with various offers. The numbers seem literally endless. A search for “home business” on Google alone will turn up about 2.44 billion (that’s “billion” with a “B”) hits!
If you’ve spent any significant time trying out different offers, you’ve also discovered that nearly all of them, for one reason or another, just aren’t viable options. Many are outright scams. Envelope stuffing schemes are a prime example. Others are legitimate (sort of), but their claims are always overblown. They’re never as fast, as easy, or as profitable as you’re told they are.
Many just plain don’t work! For example, you’re offered one or more “free” websites and told you can drive traffic using free online classifieds. Ever tried this one? Place all the free classifieds you want, but you won’t get a single order. You WILL however, get loads of spam. And the “free” websites costs you monthly hosting fees paid to (you guessed it!) the vendor from whom you bought the program.
So who’s really making money here? You’ve probably figured it out by now. In almost every case, the only people who really make any money are those making the “work at home” offers. You’re left discouraged, frustrated, and poorer than when you started.
But while the search can be very disheartening, it’s not hopeless. There ARE some legitimate home business opportunities, and there ARE ways to make money, even very good money, working from home.
Now whatever you do, don’t just give up on your search. But you do need to develop a sense for what’s obviously over-hyped and what’s worthy of further investigation.
Continue your search while keeping the following guidelines in mind.
1. The “We do all the work for you!” deception.
Anytime you see an offer that promises instant riches with no effort on your part, you’d be well advised to run the other way! You need to realize up front that absolutely nothing is going to make money for you unless you’re willing to put forth some effort.
You’ve probably seen statements like “Everything is done for you” or “The lazy man’s way to becoming a millionaire.” So ask yourself “What do they need ME for anyway?” Would anybody set up a business and do all the hard work himself just to send his profits to a total stranger? Get real!
2. The “Start making BIG money immediately” deception.
In some cases it’s possible to start making SOME money in a relatively short time span. You shouldn’t necessarily dismiss a business idea that promises quick startup. But “immediate riches” is just not realistic.
You need to realize that growing any business to its full potential isn’t going to happen overnight. This is especially true if your financial situation is such that you’re forced to depend on your present job to pay the bills.
Find a home business that you can start part time and grow, until your business produces enough income that you can get by without your current salary. At that point, you can quit your job and devote full time to your home business.
3. The “Make $50,475.00 (or some other unbelievable sum) the very first month!” deception.
You need to have realistic expectations regarding just how much money you’re going to make.
Are you expecting to become a millionaire in a home business? While it’s not impossible, don’t fall into the trap of jumping at an offer based on wishful thinking. You’d do well to give more serious consideration to those home business offers that make more realistic sounding claims.
That’s not to say you can’t start and grow a business that COULD eventually make you wealthy. But again, it won’t happen tomorrow, next week, or even next month. At the risk of being redundant, it bears repeating that you should focus on offers that don’t promise immediate wealth with no effort.
4. The “This is completely FREE” deception.
While it’s possible and not at all unusual to get free information online that’s both valuable and useful, don’t expect to launch a home business without spending any money. There will always be some startup costs.
If you’re offered a free eBook, newsletter, course, software product, or whatever, go ahead and accept it if it interests you. Most such offers are legitimate, and are a great way to get some ideas and do some research into a home business.
Just make sure you read all the fine print. If you subscribe for information and give your email address, look for a notice that reads something like “We will not share your name” and “You can unsubscribe at anytime.” Just about every legitimate marketer (and every smart one) will promise this, and faithfully adhere to his promise.
5. The deceptive “Money Back Guarantee”
Almost every offer comes with a “money back guarantee” and most of them are legitimate. Every reputable business person knows that failure to honor his or her promise regarding a guarantee (or anything else for that matter) will inevitably result in failure of his business.
Nevertheless, there are a few who engage in deceptive practices regarding their guarantee. Always take a close look at the wording. Is the guarantee conditional? For instance, does it read something to the effect of “Follow the instructions in our program for 3 full months, and if it doesn’t live up to our promises, just return it for a full refund!”
The catch is that “Follow the instructions in our program” could well involve some kind of purchase or investment. For example, you might purchase a mail order program that instructs you to buy a minimum of 3 mailing lists and send 3 mailings. Let’s say that you give it a try and find out after the first mailing that your profits (if any) fall far short of your expenses and you’ve lost money, maybe even a LOT of money.
But when you attempt to return the program for a refund, you’re told that you’re ineligible because “You didn’t follow the instructions in our program” which would have meant 2 additional mailings and the loss of even more money, maybe more than you paid for the program to begin with!
Another sneaky and extremely unethical trick you may run across is a guarantee in which the “conditions” are never mentioned up front, but only revealed AFTER you’ve make a purchase. If you come across this type of scam, contact the vendor and remind him that you purchased his program expecting him to honor the guarantee as it was stated in the offer.
Tell him you’re going to file a complaint with his local Better Business Bureau, another with the US Postal Service (if your program was sent by mail) or take other appropriate legal action. Give him a reasonable time frame to refund your purchase. Then if he still refuses TAKE ACTION and make good on your threats! You’ll be doing a favor not only for yourself, but for other consumers AND for all the honest business people everywhere.
In summary, make sure there IS a guarantee, that it’s unconditional, and don’t let the vendor get away with adding “conditions” after the fact.
6. Follow your passion.
You’d be making a huge mistake selecting a home business that doesn’t take into account your personal interests. No matter how realistic, how profitable, how easy, or how quickly you can start it up, you’re unlikely to be successful in any home business if you’re doing something you just don’t enjoy.
The reason? As stated above, success will demand both your time and effort. But to a large extent, how MUCH time and how MUCH effort you’re putting forth is a matter of perception.
Everyone knows how quickly time passes when you’re having fun, and how slowly when you’re doing something you consider drudgery. The same is true of effort. Work just doesn’t seem as much like work when you’re task is something you like doing.
If your home business is something that doesn’t really interest you, the demands on your time and energy will sooner or later seem unbearable. Your enthusiasm will falter, and with it, your productivity. Even if you encounter some short term success, your waning eagerness will eventually spell doom for your business.
It’s the nature of us humans to tend to believe those who tell us what we most want to hear, whether they be politicians, marketers, or whoever. Anytime you’re presented with an attractive offer, ask yourself “Is this really believable based on the offer itself?” To put it another way, try and imagine you were someone else who had no interest in starting your own home business. Would you find the offer believable enough to suggest it to someone who did?
In conclusion, when determining whether to pursue any home business offer, examine critically not only the offer itself, but your own emotional involvement as well! Try to look at it dispassionately and ask yourself “Does it really sound realistic, or do I just want it to?”
And remember that you have literally billions of offers from which to pick, so you can well afford to pass on any that don’t fit your interest, or that make outrageous claims that are most certainly unrealistic!
(c) 2005 eBusiness Power
Jim Eastman is support contact for CreditRepairBiz.com. The credit repair business is a realistic and easy-to-learn business well suited to the Entrepreneur. To learn how to make money in Credit Repair visit http://www.creditrepairbiz.com and sign up for a free mini-course.