Friday, January 18, 2008

The Cheapest, Quickest Way to Start a Successful Home Business

by Richard Driver
January 17, 2008

If you are considering a home business to supplement or replace your existing income, you might want to consider going to work for an established internet business as an affiliate. Many of us start out that way because it is the cheapest, quickest, and most economical way to start.

However, choosing a company to accept an affiliation with is not at all an easy task, as you will soon see. In fact, it can quickly become a very frustrating experience unless you know beforehand what to expect and what factors you should consider in making your selection.

Take a moment now or later, and type into your browser the word “affiliate,” or a similar variation of the word, such as associate, for example. You will see that there are between 469,000,000 to 482,000,000 different web sites offering affiliate related positions. With so many, which ones should you choose? That is a most difficult question that does not have an easy answer. However, ideally, you should chose a company offering a product or service that you feel good about, and a product or service that you yourself would use and want to recommend.

This makes perfect sense when you consider that statistics show that affiliates do better with products and services that they feel good about. Briefly consider some of the products and/or services that induce good feelings in you, then go ahead, and start your search. Do not be too serious or dogmatic about what products or services you will and will not choose to promote at first because as you surf you will expose yourself to new products and services that may induce good feelings and make you think “wow, “I could make some money with that. And who knows, perhaps you are right.

Whatever product or service you ultimately decide to promote as an affiliate, is your decision; however, to increase your chances of making an income, you should be selective and not jump into rashly accepting the very first thing you see that looks good. Instead, you need to make sure that the company and its products and/or services meets with your approval and satisfaction based on favorable answers to the following questions. If it does and you are comfortable with the company and its products and/or services, then and only then, should you consider accepting an affiliation with that particular company.

The questions below have evolved over the past several years in direct response to numerous request from aspiring affiliates and have helped to guide many of them, despite very humble beginnings, to attain the status of “super affiliate.” I hope that they will equally serve and prove of benefit to you.

1. Does the company provide an actual, tangible product or service? If there is no product or service, this is called a pyramid scheme and is illegal. You should avoid this type of association.
2. Do you feel good about the products and/or services being offered? This is most important because statistics reveal that you will do best with the products and services that you yourself are excited about. Note: You should never sign up with a company just because others seem to be doing well with it.

3. Is the company legitimate? While the answer to this may prove difficult to ascertain with any degree of certainty, you can, nevertheless, consider the following: How long has the company been in business? Is it a member of any organization, such as the Better Business Bureau, for example? Although being a member of an organization does not necessarily guarantee that the company is "legitimate", it is, however, a good starting place to help guide you into making the best choice.

3a. also type the word “scam” into your favorite browser and see if any complaints come up against the company you are considering. While some companies may have a few, for various reasons, such as from rival competitors, for example, these are rare and should not necessitate a need for alarm; however, many complaints would strongly suggest that you might do better with another company.

3b. although this consideration would not necessarily apply to free affiliation programs dealing with digital downloads of low cost software and ebooks, it most certainly would be a strong consideration in choosing companies that require you to invest a huge amount of dollars and those that deliver expensive goods via of shipping.

4. Does it cost you anything to become a representative or affiliate of the company? If so, how much? What do you get for your money? Moreover, when do you get it! While most business opportunities may have a start-up cost ranging from a few to several hundreds of dollars, this is not necessarily the case with affiliation programs. Most affiliation programs are free to join and that is why I recommend choosing this type of association, especially when starting out. However, if you should happen to choose one that requires an investment, just make sure that you actually receive something for your money.

5. Does the company provide product support and training? If so, how is it presented? Is it online training? Telephone conference calls? Audio files? One on one mentoring? Printed booklets, etc.? Is the support and training free or does the company require that you to pay for it. Make sure you clearly understand what support and training materials the company will provide and if they are free.

6. Is it going to cost you a monthly or yearly fee to maintain your business association with this company? If so, how much? Some companies may require that you purchase a certain amount of products each month, or in the alternative, they may charge you a monthly web hosting or administrative fee that can offset any potential earnings.

7. Will you need marketing materials? If so, who will pay for them? Will you have to pay for them or will the company provide them free or at a reduced rate. Some companies may require that you purchase business cards, brochures, catalogs, order forms, prospecting leads, etc. Since these added expenses would subtract considerably from potential earnings, you need to know this.

8. Does the company require that you meet and/or maintain a certain amount of sales quotas each month or year? If so, what amount? Additionally, are there any other requirements you must meet to keep your business active? If so, what are the requirements?

9. Is the company mainly an online or offline business, or both? Many companies have a web site but require that you do work online as well as offline. Some companies may require that you have home parties to advertise the product or service being promoted, or to run advertisements in local classified ads, etc., at your own expense If the company under consideration requires offline work, make sure it is something you will not mind doing and/or paying for.

10. Does the company provide a free website, or one that you have to pay for? Can you sign up perspective customers and representatives at the website, or do you have to go to the extra-added expense of doing it manually by phone or fax? While some websites may appear to have automated sign up systems, this is not always the case; so check it out, and read their TOS (terms of service).

11. Who will actually deliver the products to your customers when a purchase is made? Will the company ship it for you from their supply source, or will you have to stock and ship it out yourself? If the product is digital, will the company provide a download link for your customers, or will the company require you have to upload the product to your own web site, so that your customers can download it.

12. What income can you realistically expect to make? In your search, you will come across many hyped-up ads that claim you can earn $10,000 and upwards in a single month. While it may be possible to do this, it is not the norm, so avoid these; or in the alternative, be prepared to settle for making a lot less than what is claimed.

13. What exactly will be required of you before you can regularly earn monies from the company? Will you have to recruit a certain number of representatives or sell a certain amount of products each month? If so, are you willing to do that, and if so, what will be your expenses?
When you finally choose a particular company based on your answers to the above, be prepared to work hard and stay committed. While many advertisements make it sound ridiculously easy to make heaps of money with little or no actual work, just the opposite is oftentimes the truth. If you expect to make any money, you have to work. It is that simple. You will need to treat your business exactly as you would any other job where you are paid to perform a task. For example, if you work at McDonalds, and you fail to show up each day and do your assigned job, you will not make any money. The same is true of your internet business. If you do not work, you will not make any money.

Since YOU yourself are responsible for your own level of success, it behooves you to find and represent only those companies and products that you truly feel good about. Remember, you are more likely to achieve success when you promote products and services that you feel good about. Use the above questions to help yourself achieve this.

The Cheapest, Quickest Way to Start a Successful Home Business Copyright 2007 Richard Driver

About the Author

Richard Driver is an entrepreneur, author and consultant. He owns several websites and provides affiliates with a Free Opportunity to Earn a Monthly Residual Income. Take a look at his site -- and download a huge selection of FREE ebooks, software, and scripts as well as a free opportunity to earn Monthly Residual Income.

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