Have you ever received one of those annoying automated phone messages demanding that you “stop what you’re doing and listen to this important message.” Usually, you hear some nonsense about being able to make $10,000 / month without any selling or doing much. Online marketing campaigns make similar promises: lots of money for a minimum of work.
In an age when everyone is screaming about opportunities to make money from home, why are so many people “buying into” these scams and how can you choose an option that is right for you?
The Rise of the “Gig Economy”
There is no doubt the landscape of business is changing. Employers these days are doing all they can to avoid paying any additional overhead to cover benefits for full-time employees. Instead, the trend is to hire part-time “1099 contractors” to do the same work just short of a full 40-hour workweek. Hence, the rise of such companies as Uber, AirBnB, and Lyft who offer a way to provide additional income “on the side.” Some have referred to this trend as the “Gig Economy” as more workers are opting for untraditional ways to make money.
Direct Selling as a Viable Option
One option to earn some supplemental income has been gaining popularity since its inception back in the 1950’s. “Direct selling” usually requires minimal training, a low-cost entry point (anywhere from $50 – $1,000, depending on the company) and usually provides all the fulfillment options you need such as tracking of sales and commissions, shipping of product, accounting reports and more.
With thousands of these companies available selling everything from travel and legal services to nutritional supplements and beauty products, how do you choose which one is right for you? In selecting an opportunity that’s right for you, it’s best to turn to someone who has been successful in a similar endeavor to seek advice. Renowned network marketing specialist, Eric Worre, provides 5 key factors to determine the right company for you.
ACN as an Option: How Do They Stack Up?
Every year, the Direct Selling Association (DSA) releases their list of the top 20 direct selling (or Network Marketing) companies. Each company is subject to a stringent screening process to ensure they qualify to be a member of the association. One company, ACN, has been on this list for 8 consecutive years. But do they really belong there? How do they stack up against Eric Worre’s guidelines? In this ACN review, we’ll break down each requirement and see how they do:
- Company ownership. According to Worre, the CEO and owners are the most important factor in any business. “If you have a good one with a good mind and good heart, that will solve almost any problem. If you have a bad leader, it doesn’t matter how good the product or compensation plan is, they will find a way to mess it up.”
ACN was founded in 1993 by 4 entrepreneurs who seem to have been able to guide the company through the very rocky waters of changing technology. Greg Provenzano, Tony Cupisz, Mike Cupisz, Robert Stevanovski have been at the head of the company throughout its 24-year history.
- The product. The FCC defines a “pyramid scheme” as an organization to does not offer a viable product and pays participants to simply bring in other participants. Therefore, the need for a product that is in demand, is competitively priced and provides enough margin so the field and the company can thrive long term is critical. But, Worre states, most of all, you must love the product. If you don’t use it, you shouldn’t sell it.
ACN offers technology products and services for both customers and businesses. These include utilities (gas, electric, phone), TV, home security, high-speed Internet and other technology products. Merchant services are also available which does not limit to selling just to end users. While the wide array of products may be confusing, this does give you the ability to choose something that you value, know about, and can feel passionate about.
- The financial opportunity. While Worre doesn’t specify that one type of compensation system is better than another, some key elements need to be there such as incentives for the new person coming in, the ability to earn a “residual” income (rewards from other people’s efforts) and a reasonable long-term path to earn “career-like” income. While you probably won’t understand everything about the compensation system, you should be able to grasp enough to focus on the activities you need to get started. Also, see if other people in the company are enjoying the level of success that you are looking for.
Because there are so many products and services at ACN, understanding how you get paid on each (which differs from product to product) may be a bit daunting. However, there are opportunities to earn personal commissions as well as bonuses for new customers. All bonuses are paid only when a customer pays. While ACN’s plan only pays for customer purchases 7 levels or “generations” from you, there is no limit to the number of personal customers you can receive commissions on.
- Support structure. A solid support system is very important, says Worre. There need to be good tools, training events, and communication from the company to keep you informed of new products coming out.
ACN does offer a robust set of tools to help all “Independent Business Owners” (IBOs) to not only receive updates from the corporate office but also send information to other IBOs and customers you sign up. All commissions are tracked and paid by the home office and customer service for each of their products and services are either handled by the ACN staff or directly by the provider such as Vivint, Xoom, and others.
- Timing. Worre suggests that you have a choice between the stability of a mature company or the “newness and excitement” of a newer company. A good case can be made for both.
Within its 24 years, ACN seems to have been able to adapt to the rapidly changing technology markets and launch new products and services as old products become obsolete. It appears they have been able to identify trends that may be coming and put their focus on newer emerging technologies (such as security systems and home automation) as they become available.
If you are looking for an established network marketing company who has a product line that is in demand and usable by anyone, ACN would be a good choice. With the endorsement of the Direct Selling Association as one of their top 20 companies in 2017, you can be sure they adhere to a strict code of ethics. If you have any inclination toward technology and providing services that people need, this could very well be a viable “gig” for you to choose from, either to supplement income or to build a more long-term income stream.