Case Against MLMs & What You Can Do About It

In looking for home-based opportunities, Market Level Marketing (MLM) (or networking marketing) programs have for many years been offered as an option. Over the years there have been discussions as to whether in the first place these programs are legal or even ethical. In his book, “The Case (for and) against Multi-level Marketing,” Jon M. Taylor, MBA, Ph.D provides the strongest critical voice against MLMs.

DISMAL STATISTICS

According to Taylor’s research, the dropout rates are scaring. In his assessment of these probabilities, he insists that one is better off gambling than getting involved in these MLM programs. The following is the data that his  study revealed:

  • A minimum of 50% of MLM representatives drops out in the first year.
  • A minimum of 90% of representatives leaves within five years.
  • By year 10, at least 95% of representatives would have dropped out.

What is of great concern is that there is favorable comparative data on the average failure rates of non-MLM small businesses. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses fare better with 20% not making it past the first year, about 50% of them lasting five years or longer, and about a third making it past 10 years.

Taylor argues that based on the extraordinary loss rates MLM programs must not be promoted either as an “income opportunity” or as a “business opportunity”. He argues that this in itself is a misrepresentation. He details factors that make this model ‘unethical,’ though legal in many jurisdictions. He argues that in an MLM model, the market is assumed to be virgin and infinite which is not always true.  There is also the question of whether the prices of MLM products are competitive enough to be sold at listed retail prices. This raises the question as to whether the losses of the hapless downlines are what gives undue gain to their upline.

YOUR OWN RESEARCH

In 2017, AARP Foundation, a not for profit organization which helps vulnerable older adults build economic opportunity, did a study which revealed that only one-quarter of participants make a profit — and of those, 53% make less than $5,000.​ These findings call into question a promise often made by MLM companies of financial freedom through their programs and explain how crucial it is to do your own fact-finding when considering whether an MLM opportunity is right for you. Besides, you need to check that you are not joining a scam before it is too late.

When critical data is missing, such as the actual average income per participant, the reality of a business opportunity may be ill-advised. In the absence of any proper analysis, the easiest approach may be, first of all, to check whether the products or services offered are of benefit to you or your family. In such a case, the justification for your enrolment could be having access to beneficial products at a discounted membership price. This presupposes that your non-monetary benefits are quite crucial to you and your loved ones.

PRODUCT OR BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY?

Prudently, care must be taken to research the alternatives and to check whether the pricing is acceptable. Where you can establish a target market, with proper analysis, you may go ahead, approaching it as a business opportunity. In the final analysis, you would make such a decision knowing that this is a high-risk undertaking.

The internet is a valuable source of data that can be used to make informed decisions. However, there are many single-level marketing opportunities that may have a much higher income than a typical MLM business. This category may include retailing products or services and also affiliate marketing programs.

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

I have been involved in a number of MLMs and most of them I stopped on the way. There was one promoting fashion wear, the other marketing financial literature, the worst was traffic monsoon, offering advertising services, which was stopped by the US SEC. My experience in all this led me to the conclusion that one must fully come to grips of the business they seek to promote. For this reason, I am reluctant to give a sales pitch for my current MLM program.

I am currently an independent distributor with LONGRICH. However, my approach has been to leverage its market analysis and seek to identify a niche that I can personally exploit. This brand is vigorously promoted by mostly independent distributors. In the midst of the noise perhaps some aspects of the business model may be sugar-coated. It is for this reason that I am taking my time to understand the model. However, there is the part that I can easily decipher so far and that is the products being sold.

A REVIEW OF SOME OF LONGRICH PRODUCTS

Longrich is a multinational corporation with an advanced research and development program. They manufacture products under OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) & ODM (Original Design Manufacturers) for multinational companies like Walmart, Unilever, Marks & Spencer, Estee Launder, Avon, Tesco, etc.

Longrich has over 2,000 products from eight different categories. They manufacture top quality, unique, and highly effective products. They have a wide range of products which include health and fitness appliances, beauty products, personal care, skincare, dietary supplements, household equipment, furniture, detergents, cosmetics, pet care products and so much more.

ALKALINE ANTIOXIDANT PI CUP

The biggest appeal for their products is that one of them has been of great benefit to me. After I purchased a Longrich Alkaline Antioxidant Pi Cup, my digestion improved after using it. I had struggled with the problem of constipation for more than twenty years.  Now that I drink water from this cup, I have daily bowel movements. To understand how this worked for me, I researched on the internet and came across an article by Dr. Mahmoud Ghannoum, one of the leading scientists researching the microbiome, who aptly underscored the importance of alkaline water. He said Hydrochloric acid as essential as it is for the stomach, can cause gut complications if there is too much of it. He, therefore, recommends natural alkaline water not only for optimal acid levels but also for the promotion of the growth of good bacteria and fungi for the digestive system. He further adds that drinking alkaline water regularly can cleanse the colon, flushing out toxins and free radicals away from the digestive tract.

There has been a lot of studies that have been done on the benefits of alkaline water and quite admittedly it has hardly been conclusive. However, I do lean on the positive side of the argument because of my personal experience. I have even heard of cases where the intake of alkaline water helped someone to stabilize their blood pressure. There is also an account on the internet where someone was relieved of kidney stones as a result of the use of the Alkaline water cup.

An NDTV report cited a study published in 2016 where 150 mice, in an experiment, consumed alkaline water over a period of 3 years. The study results showed probable signs of slower aging in those that lived on alkaline water during the period. The benefits would also include stronger bones and weight loss. Overall, the proponents of alkaline water insist that it helps the immune system to battle foreign pathogens and gives protection from many diseases and health issues. I tend to agree with them.

With my personal experience and some of the data that I have extracted, it made me check for these “alkaline products,” beyond Longrich. I found that the cost that I incurred of $45 was quite a bargain because I found it going around US$148 on Amazon and around $85 on eBay. Similar products fetch around those amounts offering a potential of a good gross margin return on investment. There were other brands to look for like aQuasafe, Invigorated Water, APEX, and Aqua-Ionizer Pro offering me latitude in terms of any future business considerations.

ANION SANITARY PADS

Further, on my product assessment of Longrich products, there are sanitary products that not only meet the hygienic demands of women but also provide additional benefits in the form of Anion enhancements. Anions are naturally occurring and are known to increase the general healthiness and well-being of women. Following their extensive research and testing, Longrich developed anion sanitary napkin that inhibits the reproduction of anaerobic bacteria and improves women`s self-protection and disease prevention ability and vaginal itching.

The traditional padding of the sanitary napkin is made from paper pulp, which is the outcome of processing recycled substances.  There was a study from WHO that established that 62% of gynecological diseases suffered by women are as a result of poor-quality sanitary napkins. “Anion” sanitary napkin, on the other hand, is made from water-absorbing particles, fully wrapped by strictly sterilized, dust-free paper. It firmly meets the national hygiene standard. With my further checks of other brands, I found these notable names Winalite Qiray and Shuya. The prices for Longrich Superbklean napkins are quite competitive and within an acceptable range.

ORAL HEALTH FLUORIDE FREE TOOTHPASTE

Based on decades of research, fluoride has a proven track record of protecting teeth and improving oral health. However, excessive exposure to fluoride has been linked to numerous health issues. There is a definite danger of dental and skeletal fluorosis.

A safer alternative to fluoride, especially for children is a toothpaste with xylitol. Clinical studies are reporting promising results of tooth decay prevention with xylitol.

Longrich toothpaste is fluoride-free and is combined with xylitol as an alternative to those concerned with the effects of fluoride. I looked out for the other brands like Tom’s of Maine, Hello Oral Care, Dr. Sheffield, Spry Xylitol, and Epic Dental and I found that the prices of most of these brands are on the higher side in comparison to the Longrich toothpaste.

CONCLUSION

The choice is yours. You might want to ignore MLMs in terms of business opportunities. But how about their products? It might be a good idea to seriously consider the benefits of being championed in their marketing campaign. If you use these products, chances are that you fall in love with them as I did. The appreciation of the products could be a conduit of a business opportunity!

Please comment below and let me know what you think.

Make Money Creating Online Courses

All my life I had not heard a city called Roseburg, Oregon, USA. But there was a day I was frantically searching the internet for a skill that has been missing in my locker. Playing the piano has always been a dream but I had not found a course tailored to my schedule. Thinking the cyber world will offer a solution, I googled “piano for beginners.” I was pleasantly intrigued when I landed on something called “play the piano or keyboard for the very beginners.” This sparkled my eyes and that is the way I got connected to a music trainer, who trains online, in Roseburg thousands of miles away.

The internet is the biggest bridge mankind has ever developed and it can be a great platform for you to showcase your skill. It is just a matter of having the right passion and strategy and that can afford you a chance to make money creating online courses. One thing that is very basic in entrepreneurship is to discover the problem folks are facing and then offer solutions. If you aim to help people especially in a huge space like the internet, you will soon be connected to thousands of people near and far away.

In the times we are living, online learning has not only become popular but in some cases mandatory. Just this week in the USA, it was reported by several networks that most of the international students might be sent home as most of the universities are exclusively teaching online. There was a survey done by Bramble, a popular learning portal where most of the respondents indicated that they were not willing to go back to the traditional way of learning.

Online learning or training can be about anything that can generate enough interest. It could be a language lesson (I have seen online teaching on how to properly pronounce English words). It could be how to stop your android looping or to switch it off if it froze. The most important outcome is to know how to structure whatever you are offering into a course that will attract people over and over again.

What are some of the popular personal training courses online?

There are many courses offered online and some of these could provide a niche course that you may need to make money online and to work at home:

Music

A very recent report by the Indianapolis Business Journal reported one online piano tutoring company hitting a high note of demand. Of course, it was through an online search for piano lessons that I found myself learning music during the lockdown. So, if you know how to play a musical instrument, ensure that you organize your theory notes and offer those lessons systematically and easily to follow format.

Graphic Design

If you are apt at creating visual content and implementing them into multiple types of media, you might be a person being sought for by others on the internet. If you can convince one how useful this skill could be in business and how to get the tools together and you methodically go through the process, you might be the next online tutor.

Computer and Technology

Today Technology is not just an icing on the cake, it is the cake itself. There a lot of subjects being offered in this area. This might include programming, application software, and phones. For instance, you can take people through the process of preparing Powerpoint Presentations or Microsoft Excel lessons.

Diet and Nutrition

With the problem of obesity and most of the people checking their belly fat, its time for grandma’s recipes. There are those forgotten cuisines that might need revisiting.

Fitness and Health

Fitness trainers have seized on the opportunity of many people who are desperately trying to keep fit and healthy. There is also interest in the supplements that are available to give people wellness. For this reason, a course that takes them into the process may just be the way to go.

Entrepreneurship

At the heart of human livelihood and survival, is the ability to form enterprises that are the drivers of the socio-economic activities in our communities. Entrepreneurship is increasingly becoming a necessity as the economy faces the aftershocks of the pandemic. Offering courses in this area, therefore, is expected to always generate high demand.

How do you create a course online?

Becoming a course provider online does not have to be done at school. f you follow the below steps, you will be well on your way to becoming a professional online tutor:

  • Understand the core principles of the course
  • Ground yourself with the history of the Course
  • Familiarize yourself with the topics and focus on solving problems creatively
  • Offer preliminary lessons for free before subsequently including premium content
  • Learn from other professionals
  • Develop your proficiency, intuition, and flow
  • Put together a portfolio and blog
  • Participate in professional communities
  • Diversify your skillset (enroll in another course)
  • Consider advanced study & development (either online or at school)

What tools do you need to start your online course?

The tools can be as basic as a Laptop with a webcam and a Microsoft PowerPoint Office application. However, some web-based tools and platforms could help you to augment your resources and these could include the following:

1. Udemy

This eLearning platform is equipped with content creation tools such as PDF documents, PowerPoint, etc. Although 50% of your sales is deducted as payment to the platform, Udemy does have a captive market of more than 12 million students.

2. Teachable

Whereas Udemy restricts control of branding and pricing by the instructors, Teachable allows autonomy for the instructors. They even have a free eBook that clearly explains how to go about course creation, video creation, slides presentation, etc.

3. Thinkific

Thinkific is a platform that enables you to create an online course at a low-cost. It makes it easy for you to create, market, and sell your content. It gives you the ability to host your content and course materials (including PDF, video, audio and more), gives you the ability to deliver free, paid and subscription courses and to market your online course with a custom domain and branded landing page. With Thinkific you don’t worry about the issues of hosting your videos.

4. Beaver Builder

This works with those who already have a WordPress website and would like to host their online course there. It is an affordable word press page builder and it will work with your existing website to professionally design sales pages.

5. Camtasia

Camtasia will help you create videos and allows you to edit them to look like professionally filmed videos. You can use Camtasia to record the Powerpoint presentations and the good news is that there is a 30-day trial to check it out.

6. Vimeo

Vimeo has both free and paid options that allow you to upload, host, and share videos in high-quality HD. Once your videos are uploaded to Vimeo, you can share the link or embed them to your website for online course participants to watch. It has many privacy options to regulate either free or premium access to your content.

7. Zoom

Where you have to host a live online course content, Zoom will allow you to do so for free for 50 participants and within 40 minutes. If you choose to have more than that, then you can upgrade. This is currently the most popular remote working software for most webinars.

8. Zapier

Zapier is an app that allows you to connect different apps and create automation. It will bring together tools like Thinkific, MailChimp, and Zoom and helps to do your work with easy

There are many other established names in the eLearning industry which include WizI, Ruzuku, Educadium, LearnWorlds, Academy Of Mine, CourseCraft, and Skillshare. With platforms like Ruzuku, you don’t need much knowledge of technology whilst Educadium has a trial period where you are taught how to polish your course presentations. The options are wide and far-reaching and you can start making money creating courses online today.

How do you make money online with training?

The money you will make will mostly depend on the quality you give your learners and on your brand. The rate will depend on how serious the problem you solve is. You can consider a tiered structure where some courses are higher than others or at times a membership fee will do. In terms of marketing, you may choose to incorporate an affiliate system to it. However, It may be advisable to start with a free offering or trial period and then to kick in the charges at an appropriate stage in the process.

You can leverage on the internet by becoming a course creator. The tools are available for you to start even today! So, start online courses and start making money working at home.

Work From Home Proofreading

I came across a story of someone who stumbled on a business working from home. Interestingly what started as a by the way matter was soon transformed into a fulltime career earning $3-$5k/month. Eventually, it became a booming business. This is an account of the owner of “Proofread Anywhere”, Caitlin Pyles, who in early 2015 launched a course called Transcript Proofreading: Theory and Practice™. She became a multimillionaire within four years! Little wonder then that she has been featured by Forbes, Business Insider, Fast Company, and many more respectable publications. She is now helping other people own proofreading business. In her training, she offers marketable skills for those passionate in this trade to start a business.

There are many more stories out there of regular people who found some proofreader jobs online and went ahead to make it a career and succeded while working from home.

Is proofreading the same as editing?

No, not all. Editing is part of the writing process where one strives to improve the structure, quality, and readability of the draft while ensuring that the obvious spelling and grammatical errors are corrected

Proofreading comes after editing and it is a stage where one reads to mark off any errors that might have been overlooked at the editing stage.

How can you become a proofreader?

While being a proofreader can come naturally with a good command of English, there is always the need to have some certification. This is because finding online proofreading jobs for beginners might be a  daunting task. Courses like Transcript Proofreading: Theory and Practice™ will offer one the key steps not only to become competent but also marketable in this field. A Course structure also helps in providing a network and a team of mentors who will help to shorten the learning curve as well as give one a sense of direction.

Caitlin Pyle, from Proofread Anywhere fame, has two very popular courses that can help a beginner find their feet in creating their own successful proofreading business from scratch. It might be a good idea to start with them.

Is Proofreading in demand?

According to a recruitment.com outlook, proofreading is expected to have a formidable increase in demand. With the growing attraction, there will be more opportunity for work from home proofreading jobs. The flexibility of remote working, with more tools coming onto the market, could be ideal as a side hassle or for a stay at home mom who wants some extra income. There are many part-time proofreading jobs online and many people are being employed as long as they demonstrate an expected level of skillset.

There is a lot of content on the internet today and this would only get better. With this body of knowledge always expanding, the following will command demand for proofreaders:

  • Newspapers/periodical/book/directory publishers
  • Professional scientific/technical services
  • Employment services
  • Motion picture and video industries
  • Advertising/PR/related services

Where can one get hired as a proofreader?

As a beginner, you could visit Proofreading Services who are hiring part-time and full-time proofreaders. As long as you can demonstrate superlative proofreading and editing skills, there is a chance for you. There is a selection test that you undergo and in case you don’t meet the criteria, they will refer you to other sites that might be a possibility for you.

Some key phrases to help with your search

The search engines have made it possible for you to check proofreader jobs online. Keyword search of the following will get you going:

  • Proofreader
  • proofreading
  • editor
  • editing
  • copy editor
  • line editor
  • academic editor
  • book editor

We have numerous websites that delve into the details of this area and you will discover them as you use any search engine. However, it will be important to caution that the internet is a place where nothing ought to be taken at face value. Giving away your details may make you vulnerable. For this reason, you need to be sure you are dealing with legit sites and avoid any that promises you overnight success.

Are there any tools that can help with proofreading?

There is quite a number but we can just look at a couple:

  1. Microsoft Word

This is a useful tool that highlights the sentences that have grammatical errors or those that have any misspellings. There is a possibility of using macros that help to check grammar. However, Microsoft is limited and so there might a need to check on other useful tools.

  1. Grammarly editing and proofreading

Grammarly is quite popular as it is simple to use and one can sync it with all web applications including email. It works differently from a word processor as it can identity words correctly spelled but used in a wrong context and lacking in terms of vocabulary.

3.  PerfectIt

This software appeals to most of the health editors.  It is used with Microsoft word and also has free apps available to check abbreviations or spelling consistency in your writing. Style guides can be adapted by customizing PerfectIt that brand requirements are met.

  1. Hemingway Editor

This application will help to simplify your content by improving your readability and flow.

  1. Phrase Express

This tool can complete or correct phrases. It can expand abbreviations thereby saving you time.

Google Docs – This allows the sharing of documents online and it will also help with markup procedures and adding of comments. Alternatively, Dropbox can be used to share documents.

Why should you give it a go?

With the desperate situation that many find themselves in this post-covid19 era, it will be important to have an open mind and even try on non -traditional occupations.

Proofreading is a work from home opportunity that requires exploring as long as your English diction is impeccable. There are openings daily for freelance proofreading jobs even for beginners. There are also plenty of part-time proofreading jobs online. Your skill can help you get going in this career.