Article by Charlie Wright
Back in 1997, I scrounged a fax machine.
It was huge thing, like a mechanical stegosaurus, sat in the corner of my living room.
Every night, my flatmate and I would drink wine, talk and listen to music. In the morning, he’d stagger to work, and I’d sleep ’til I got hungry enough for lunch.
After ‘Neighbors’, I’d haul myself in front of my computer.
There I’d knock out 20-second adverts for various local radio stations… push the pages into the jaws of the fax machine… and hit ‘SEND’.
I had no email, no Internet. Just a word processor. And, of course, the prehistoric fax machine.
But yes, it was my first home business.
Using a radio station directory, I’d get in touch with sales reps and ask them what companies they were talking to…
usually second hand car dealers, sofa warehouses and local restaurants… then offer to come up with a short script.
If the sales rep could get the business to agree to my advert, I’d get £20.
My idea was that if I could sell 3 a day, I’d make £60 per day. That would be £300 a week… £1,200 a month… just for writing little ads each the afternoon.
Not mega bucks exactly, but it was as big as any salary I’d ever been offered.
And in THEORY, it could have worked.
In a moment, I’ll explain why it didn’t and how you can learn from my disaster.
But first, here is one of my ads…
Make way for Paddy the Clown!
Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit’s Paddy the Clown and Little Squirt’s Laughter Show.
At the Barry Memorial Hall on the 27th of December at 2.30pm.
Come on, kids, bring your parents along for laughs and surprises with this award-winning show, on for one day only.
You’d be mad to miss it!
A work of genius, right?
As you can see, I was massively talented.
But there was one problem. I was at the mercy of other companies’ salespeople.
Instead of controlling my own business, talking to potential customers, doing the deals myself… I was just a lackey, hawking scripts to sales reps who I’d never met.
I couldn’t even tell if the ads were used or not, because I couldn’t listen to the regional radio stations I was selling my stuff to.
For all I knew, they were re-writing my ads and taking the money. Even worse, the sales reps would go to the second hand car salespeople and do the pitch for me.
Who knows how they went about it. But it was rarely successful.
Instead of £60 a day, I made about £60 per week. And that was my ONLY income. The rest I borrowed from the bank.
After 5 months, I stopped flogging the dead horse.
The idea was there, but there was no way I could make serious money working at the bottom of the food chain for someone else’s business. With just a fax machine, I couldn’t research, challenge, investigate… I couldn’t go to the customers and sell myself, or my unique sales proposition.
(Erm, I didn’t actually have a unique sales proposition, but never mind that for now.)
So I was screwed. And more skint than when I started.
Which brings me to my point…
(‘There was a POINT?’ you cry.)
An important lesson about internet biz opps
Ever had that awful feeling where you realise could have done NOTHING at all… and actually been better off?
Where you’ve only made money for someone ELSE?
See, I worry that many people fall into the same trap as I did. You shell out for a biz opp where you become an affiliate salesperson for someone else. You get a cloned site and sell their product, or make them commission, or recruit new suckers for them.
And you’re one of thousands doing the same thing and selling the same thing.
A lot of affiliate-style schemes work a bit like multi-level marketing. Essentially, you PAY someone money to find out how to sell THEIR stuff, and get more customers for THEM!
(Cue: angry emails of accusation from MLM and MLM- style millionaires – AGAIN – not that I care!)
Here’s my view:
To start a home business, you should create or find a valuable product or service to sell to customers. Like my radio scripts, for example.
Then you need to sell that product for a higher price than you paid for it… (buy low, sell high)… or at a price that compensates you for the time spent developing it.
This is where I went wrong.
But at least I had a product. The potential was there, even though I failed.
How to avoid the easy money honey trap
A lot of biz opps seem like ‘no-brainer’ opportunities to make money by doing nothing.
Be careful to check out exactly what you are getting into.
Don’t become a recruit, working for other people’s marketing empires.
Make sure the biz opp offers you a chance to learn how to run your own independent business, too.
Yes, it might take a bit of time and effort on your part. But show me one successful home businessperson who hasn’t worked for their success.
When you get your next sales pitch from a biz opp ‘guru’, watch out for these danger phrases:
*** ‘Instantly make money at the click of a button, day and night!’
While premium rate phone lines and Ebay shops can actually do this, you still need to set up a business before you get to that point. If a guru offers something that instantly makes you money day or night, for doing absolutely nothing, beware.
*** ‘You won’t have anything to write, produce or sell!’
If you aren’t actually creating or selling something, where’s the business? How can that be?
What is it that you are providing? Where’s the ‘thing’ or ‘idea’ that will make you unique, or better than your rivals?
Only the guys at the top of the pyramid get rich
It’s the originators of automatic ‘cash generator’ systems who get rich… people who START their own information marketing system and market it by getting others to market the same stuff… and so on…
Those of us who buy biz opps where we learn to sell the biz opp we just bought into… we’re on a crazy merry-go- round.
I, for one, avoid these things.
…Personally, I like biz opps where you buy low sell high, where you trade one thing for another thing…
…Where you create a service or product and sell it because it has real value…
…Where you have control over the biz opp and don’t need to rely on other people to do the selling for you…
…Where you are at the top of the pyramid, and not the last fool to get in…
…Where you feel proud of the product or service you are involved it, and believe it is really worth something…
…Where you know, simply by reading the sales page – what you’re getting into, what you’re selling, what the secret is about, and what the real deal is…
… Where, once you’ve learned the business, most of the profits go into pocket.
I’ll stop ranting now.
I know I’ve been uber-negative today and come up with NO solutions.
Hardly the way forward…
Don’t despair. Next time I will come up with alternatives to the endless cycle of making money for marketers who market the secrets of marketing other marketers so that marketers can get rich by marketing marketing…