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What to watch out for in a home business

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There are many types of home business opportunities. There are some great opportunities out there and there are also a lot of scams. You need to be aware of this in order to avoid losing time and/or money on business schemes that have been designed to take advantage of you. Although it all depends on the specific company, we will cover some basic tips on how to recognize the good and the bad opportunities.

Some legitimate opportunities present themselves as:

  • Online surveys: you may be required to pay a small upfront subscribers fee to get access to pre-approved companies. Survey websites spend time and money to find out which companies are genuine, which have more surveys coming and which pay on time.

  • Online sales: this can be anything from selling things on e-bay to owning your own website and selling a product that you make. You receive your commission when you sell a product.

  • Online editing, proof-reading, medical transcription or writing: you are normally paid per assignment according to the terms decided upon in advance

  • Website designing, website optimizing, writing eBooks, publishing eMagazines and freelance photography: any of these may require a bit of experience, but you should get paid for your product or service as you deliver it.

It is much easier to filter out the bad home based business ads that are meant to scam you and that are fraudulent, than it is to find one that is legitimate. There are many things that should send up a red flag. We will cover these, but take note that even good, legitimate companies probably display some of these characteristics from time to time. Some things that you will want to watch out for are:

  • High income + short time period + little work = bad news: There are many ads and websites that claim business success overnight. Home businesses take time to develop. Beware of any home business ad that claims otherwise. You should give at least three months to any home business venture to decide if it is the right thing for you. Give it at least a year to really reach profitability. The rate of growth at that point is in your control. The potential of making money is unlimited in a home business.

  • Ads or websites that claim there is a software that will put your business on autopilot.

  • Be wary of companies wanting money: of course, there are many legitimate companies that will want a fee from you to receive their start-up package, but be leery of any company that wants you to pay them money. It's nice to know that if you don't ever get paid, all you are out is time and not money.

  • Avoid Pyramid Schemes: (not MLMS) although sometimes referred to as pyramid schemes, multilevel marketing or MLMs are different. Pyramid schemes are illegal in most states. Basically, a pyramid scheme consists of people recruiting other people to join the pyramid, usually for a fee. Your income is based on recruiting other people, not selling a product (MLM). There are only so many people you can recruit, so these schemes make a very few people some money, but for most people, they never see a cent from a pyramid. An ideal MLM business opportunity should require low initial investment and have high profit potential both in the short term and in the long term. It should allow you to build a profitable business of your own that will be a source of income far into the future.

  • Stuffing Envelopes and Home Assembly: these are almost always scams and you see them everywhere. The most common complaints are that they require a fee upfront and then the business owners never get paid. This is usually because their product or service didn't meet the company's so-called standards.

  • If the advertisement uses lots of capitalization and exclamation marks, begins with stating that you will make hundreds of dollars a week working from home or says that no experience is necessary. Other things to watch out for in ads is if they are extremely vague leaving you with no idea what the company is about, gives a 900# as a contact, asks for a fee to give access to home business opportunities or pressures you to act fast.

If you do become the victim of a scam, first, write the company that you feel has ripped you off telling them you would like your money back. If they don't agree with you, then you need to let them know you plan to notify officials. The following people should be notified:
Consumer Protection Association of America
888-727-4272
Postal Crime Hotline - If you were mailed the scam.
800-654-8896

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Posted by DF
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