There are fewer times in the year when the need to reach out and touch the lives of others less fortunate becomes important.
If you are only able to do one thing for others this year, however small, consider replacing one gift with a donation to a deserving charity of your choice.
The pleasure gained from opening presents on Christmas day, knowing that you may have begun to make a difference, is reward in itself.
They're not complicated to set up, but the best ones do carry a monthly charge, so you need to make sure that you really do need an autoresponder rather than any other form of contact. Remember that they are only necessary if you need to broadcast regular messages to your targeted audience.
So when would you use an autoresponder in your business?
- You might already have a potential list of prospects. Perhaps you have an online shop and don't want your potential customer to just go away if they don't find what they want. Why not offer them a free report if they click on a link that will take them to your autoresponder? By capturing their email details, you can no only send the promised report, but you can send follow-up emails with special offers etc.
- If you want to create a list of potential prospects you will need to develop some form of marketing that will drive prospects to your lead capture / autoresponder page. This could be article marketing, pay-per-click, leaflet drop, business cards or any number of different forms of marketing. Give your lead capture page a memorable url name so that it is easy to remember if you tell people about it by word of mouth.
- If you want to create a series of mini-lessons on a particular subject.
- If you have an affiliate marketing business and want to create a stream of leads that you can offer your affiliate products to; or send your prospects to your blog etc.
If you search the web it will be possible to find some free autoresponders, but it is generally better business practice to choose paid-for services as they will often produce less missed deliveries and will abide by the anti-spam guidelines.
So, whether you're a business, an individual or an entrepreneur just starting out, autoresponders are a great tool for contacting your list. You create an email message once, add it to your autoresponder and forget about it. Whenever a new prospect joins your list they will automatically receive the first email in the sequence, then the second, and so on.
If you want to try out an autoresponder for 7 days to see how it works for only $1, click here.
It is clear from looking at some comparison website forums that there are staunch supporters of comparison websites, just as there are people who seem to have the time and the inclination to swap their insurances, their utility suppliers, their phone packages, and anything else that can be swapped with the aim of always having the cheapest deal. Utility Warehouse do not claim to always have the cheapest deal.
But is there really a 'one stop fits all' kind of shopping? If so, why do we need around 40 comparison sites to find the right product? Are we really so naive as a nation that we will only go for the cheapest headline rate, regardless of the product behind it? According to the article "The British Insurance Brokers' Association, which has campaigned on behalf of its high street members against what it called "the worst offenders", said the latest problem centred on car insurance quotes that appear cheaper as they include an excess that can be as high as £500. Customers usually opt for just a £100 or £200 excess, which pushes up the price of a policy"
So why choose Utility Warehouse if they're not going to promise you the cheapest deal or advertise their products on tv. It must be a scam, right?
Wrong. The OFT report on comparison websites won't be published until next year, but Utility Warehouse is a Top 250 company that has already won a raft of 'best buy' awards for its utility, broadband & phone products as well as it's UK based customer service. By not advertising, and not paying commission to comparison websites, Utility Warehouse can help to keep costs low by selling through a team of independent distributors.
But it doesn't stop there. Because Utility Warehouse can also produces everything on one bill, a 5% cashback card, internet telephone, business services, free calls, a community fundraiser option and a triple value guarantee.
Not the absolute cheapest deal for every minute of the year? No, and it doesn't pretend to be. Are you tied in to lengthy contracts to get the best deals? No. Everyone gets the same deal - it's not a 'new customers only' sort of company. A good all-round product base with award-winning customer service? Certainly. And if the growing band of consumers signing up to the Utility Warehouse brand is anything to go by, they're getting something right, even if they don't subscribe to comparison websites.
Be prepared to work hard. As a complete beginner, I found it harder than I expected. There are currently four courses that you can take, either by attending face-to-face tutorials, or online tutorials, leading to a Diploma in Spanish.
For the complete beginner, start with 'Portales'. Using the theme of a journey, the course takes you through a wide range of practical situations such as travelling, shopping, working and eating out in Spain, Chile and other Spanish-speaking countries. There are six tutor-marked assignments, and an end of course assessment.
Next is the Intermediate Spanish course 'En Rumbo' - It builds on your existing Spanish and teaches more advanced language in the context of Spanish and Latin American society and culture. There are four tutor-marked assignments and an end of course assessment.
Following on from this is the upper intermediate course 'Viento en Popa' - The first course in the 'Diploma in Spanish', it will continue to develop practical language skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing. By studying a variety of authentic audio, video and printed materials from Spain and Latin America, you will learn how to communicate in situations ranging from everyday conversation to putting forward your point of view in a debate. You will also have the opportunity to work on grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary acquisition. The course has a compulsory residential visit to Spain where you will have the opportunity to practice and learn more of the language in a learning environment with visits to local places of interest. There are six tutor-marked assignments and a two-part examination; spoken and written.
Finally, there is the course 'A Buen Puerto' - fast forward in Spanish. This course continues to extend the practical skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing and aims to develop critical and analytical skills. It is structured around seven themes, which give a broad introduction to different aspects of society and culture in Spain and Latin America: cultural diversity, art, society, languages in contact, science and technology, trade and employment and the environment. They are quite in-depth and require commitment on the part of the student. There are nine tutor-marked assignments and a two-part examination; spoken and written.
So you can see that to take an Open University Spanish language course will take some dedication and, whilst it goes way beyond the basics, it's aim is to give the student a wider understanding of latin-american culture and heritage.
These are not easy courses for the complete beginner to undertake, but they are hugely satisfying in terms of beginning to understand and appreciate the heritage and diversity of another country.
For more information about studying Spanish, visit the Open University website at http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/languages/spanish/index.htm
But you also have the opportunity to earn an income from your utility warehouse business. But, like most home based network marketing businesses, your success or failure will be determined by how many customers you can generate, and how many new distributors you can bring into your team. For this, you will need a constant stream of leads. Here are two ideas using the internet that you can use in addition to the face-to-face marketing and other network marketing methods that you will practice every day to generate leads.
First, google 'homeworking forums UK' - choose two or three forums, create your profile making sure to include your utility warehouse site address details, and contribute to the forums. This is a good way to market yourself rather than your business. Be careful not to advertise in your posts; simply by giving good advice and information within the forums you will be positioning yourself as an expert. Over time, as people learn to trust you, they will check out your profile. After all, people are more inclined to do business with someone that they trust.
Secondly, write articles. This is not as hard as it sounds and you don't need any experience. If you read a few articles from different sites, you will soon pick out the ones that are interesting and give value. Follow the same style. Write about something that you know and give out information within your article. The principle is the same as contributing to forums - you have an opportunity to create a resource box or profile and it is here that you link to your utility warehouse site or opportunity page.
As you might imagine, using forums and creating articles is not a quick way to build your business. But they are free resources and, over time, you will build your credibility as a serious business person. As an entrepreneur you should be open to trying any method of lead generation so that you can pass on your most successful tips to other members of your team, because creating successful distributors within your team is the fastest way of growing your utility warehouse business.
If you are considering running a business from home that requires outside finance, then you will definitely need some sort of business plan, and the more comprehensive it is, the better your chance of success.
If you are going to have very little expenditure and few overheads, then your business plan need only be of a more personal kind that will allow you to keep track of your projected and actual daily activity, sales targets, marketing costs etc. Let's look at the difference between the two.
1. Using a business plan to secure finance - regardless of the kind of business you have in mind, this kind of plan ideally needs to follow a specific format and, unless you are an experienced business person, you may be well advised to take expert advice.
Alternatively you can purchase software that will allow you to tailor the plan to your specific sector. Google "Business Plans Academy" to find business-plans.co.uk for samples of templates for a variety of businesses, from child care to the hotel industry. Each one includes sections such as Executive summary, Description of Business, Product Summary, Business strategy, Financial Summary, Market Research, Market Trends, External Research, Market Estimates, Management Team, Business Location, Business Organisation, SWOT Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Customer Segments , Customer Demographics, Sales Strategy, Pricing Strategy, Marketing Plan, Advertising Plan , Objectives & Plans, Resource Allocation, Budget Allocation, Startup Budget, Forecast Profit & Loss Account, Forecast Balance Sheet, Forecast Cashflow, Sales & Profit Forecasts, Sales Charts & Graphs.
This, and similar, software can be purchased relatively inexpensively and will give you a professional-looking document.
2. Using a business plan to develop and maintain targets - Since you're not looking for finance this can be much simpler, but no less important. Statistics show that people who create and follow a business plan have a better chance of success. For the home based business entrepreneur it can be difficult getting into the habit of following a structured plan, but necessary.
Simply by looking at the elements of the full business plan, it is easy to see which sections will be important to the home based business, but it can be broken down into the following fields:
- know your product & prices
- know your market area
- know your competition
- know how to get help or training
- create daily/weekly/monthly 'to do' lists
- decide whether and where to advertise and compile costs
- set realistic goals and targets
Finally, a home based business is no different to a bricks & mortar business. It needs commitment and hard work to make it successful. Ask any small business owner how many hours they needed to put into their business when they first set up, and you might be overwhelmed by the answer.
Ask them if they would trade being their own boss to work for someone else, despite the hours, the headaches, the business planning, and everything else to boot, and in most cases you'll get a resounding NO!
Take the objection "I'm not sure I would be interested" How do we respond to this?
Well, consider that you've just had a conversation with your prospect. You've discussed what kind of work he/she does and they're shared with you a 'reason why' they want or need more money. Then say:
You know, from what you've just been saying about [their reason why], I feel that you can't really affort NOT to have a look at this. If you'll agree to keep an open mind, I'll give you some information that you can carefully review, then we can see if it will work for you.
Always keep in mind that you're only trying to help. You're not a pushy sales person. If this prospect comes on board you'll be spending a lot of time and effort helping him or her grow their business. If they don't come on board willingly and with enthusiasm then you're wasting your own time.
Called the Trump Network, it is set to lauch autumn 2009 and is designed to make people healthier with customised vitamins, whilst at the same time encouraging people to become entrepreneurs.
So what is it about network marketing that has caused such a well known and influential businessman to put the whole weight of his brand name behind it? Is it strong enough to overcome the perception by many that network marketing is just a pyramid or ponzi scam?
The simple truth is that genuine network marketing opportunities are not scams, but in our world of media hype, we see what we want to see, and believe what we want to believe, often without ever digging deep enough to get at the truth. For instance, how many believe that we need to drink eight glasses of water a day, despite there being no scientific evidence to support it? There is nothing wrong with drinking water, and no doubt it's good for you, but why eight glasses?
According to Donald Trump, "During hard times, people with an entrepreneurial spirit flock to network marketing opportunities." Certainly, people are looking more and more for ways to become financially independent and, as job losses, wage cuts and reduced working hours takes hold in an uncertain economy, there is nothing wrong with diversifying. Traditionally, as businesses fail during economic meltdown, new businesses take their place.
Donald Trump is placing his considerable expertise and marketing knowledge behind his new network marketing venture. It will be seen by many as a positive 'thumbs-up' for the industry that gives people an opportunity to earn a residual income; something that most bricks & mortar businesses fail to do. An industry that will allow people the opportunity to earn as little, or as much, as they want or need, provided that are willing to invest in themselves and their business.
Because no-one should assume that, just because an industry has the support of a business magnate such as Donald Trump, it will make them rich. As his co-author on the book "why we want you to be rich", Robert Kiyosaki says: "you need to ask yourself, "Do I have what it takes? Am I willing to go beyond my comfort zones? Am I willing to be led and willing to learn to lead? Is there a very rich person inside me, ready to come out?" If the answer is yes, start looking for a network marketing business that has a great training program - one that emphasizes education and personal growth."
Simply, self development is a means of continually evolving and updating one's learning and development. But is it necessary, and why can't we simply start up a business and get on with it?
Well, we can of course, but we'd better be prepared to be overtaken along the way. Because self-development is as important, if not more, than upgrading and beautifying the workplace from time to time if we are to be regarded as marketing experts in our chosen field.
So how do we go about it without spending loads of money on self-help, development and marketing courses? There are lots of ways, but the most important of all is quite simple... Take Action. Because by taking action, you are doing something, and something is always better than nothing!
The internet is a powerful self-development tool, because information is at our fingertips for free. Spend time every day reading articles that will help you develop your leadership skills, time management skills, financial skills, negotiation and marketing strategies. Learn how to set your own goals and work towards achieving those goals. Learn how to temper your creativity with sound business skills.
For the marketing entrepreneur, learn how to speak to customers, how to recognise buying signals and overcome objections. If your business is network marketing, make sure that you keep abreast of your product line and any changes. Attend as many training courses and events as possible. Align yourself with successful people and learn their methods.
Buy, read and re-read self-development and marketing books, google u-tube and watch videos, listen to cd's, watch dvd's. Constantly update and evolve yourself. Learn how to write yourself a business plan and follow it.
There are clearly many ways to improve skills and mindset, and to be a successful marketing entrepreneur then self-development is critical.
Or, as the inspiring Zig Ziglar says "Obviously, there is little you can learn from doing nothing"
In fact, the survey found that more than a third of the working mums said that they would give up work to look after their children if they could afford to do so, and 58 percent said that they would like to work fewer hours.
http://www.google.com/support/accounts/bin/answer.py?answer=97703 where you can also create your profile.
Whilst there are also many paid-for ways to advertise your business, all the above are free to register, so why not take advantage of these UK specific tools, and give your new UK home based business a head start?
This is a common problem for new network marketers, and in fact for many new salespeople. They focus on, and even expect, the negative rather than the positive, and will use the 'objection' as the reason why they weren't able to make a sale.
Here are a few ways to build your confidence in overcoming objections:
- Prepare yourself. Be professional. Understand your products or services so that when someone raises an objection related to the product, you can answer truthfully. Be positive about your product. People are generally intuitive buyers. If they like you, and believe that you know what you're talking about, you're likely to encounter less objections.
- Treat objections positively. Sometimes your prospect genuinely wants a reason to buy, or to join your network marketing team, but wants answers to some very real questions first. Did you join your network marketing business without asking any questions?
- Anticipate objections. If you anticipate the kinds of questions you're likely to be faced with, and prepare thoroughly, your answers will be more natural and won't come across as being scripted. You could even build them into your presentation.
- Treat your prospect like a person and not a number. If you come across as a pushy salesperson you'd better be good at overcoming objections, because you're likely to receive lots! Talk to your prospect with genuine interest, and listen to the answers. Engage with that person to discover how your product or service can be of benefit to them, and discuss the benefits.
- Third Party Credibility. If you have some, show your prospect some comparison data or third party recognition for your product. People can be wary of network marketing, but are less likely to offer objections if you can show credibility.
- Justify the objection. If the objection is a good one, tell them so. If others have also felt this way, tell them so. If you firstly justify their concern, then go on to answer the objection positively, you are showing them that they have no need for concern, but that others have felt that way initially.
- Pre-empt. By pre-empting, you are handling the objection before it is raised. There are many ways you can begin your pre-empt. You could start by saying 'A question I'm often asked is ...', or 'you might be thinking that ...'
- Ask for objections. If you're really feeling confident, why not ask your prospect if they have any questions? If you have prepared well, you'll come to love this, as the type of questions give you an insight into your client's mind. Validate the objection, talk it through to depersonalise it, and deal with it professionally.
After all, it would be a little unnerving if someone bought your product or service without raising any objections at all wouldn't it?
Energy saving tips include: turning off unnecessary lights and electrical goods such as computers & other office equipment; cutting down on the amount of time spent in the shower and regulating the heating in winter.
Other ways of reducing energy consumption is to make sure that your home is properly insulated, windows are upgraded or properly sealed, doors are weather-sealed, boilers are checked, the use of energy-saving lightbulbs etc. etc. and there are many savings guides available for those who wish to learn more about how to make their home more energy-efficient.
One such guide can be found at http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/ - this non-profit organisation gives advice, not only on energy-saving tips, but also on the availability of grants.
There are also a number of comparison websites that allow people to use as a guide to saving by comparing the cost of their gas & electricity and, if they choose, to change suppliers. However, since prices the the UK change often, and since there are lots of different types of offers to choose from, this can be a little confusing. The company supplying the cheapest gas or electricity today, may be the most expensive in 6 months time. Also, not all suppliers are necessarily listed on these sites so the comparison may not be fully comprehensive (Staywarm for example is not listed), but they can be an easy option for people wishing to change suppliers on an ongoing regular basis, and some people are fervent believers in changing suppliers regularly to obtain the best deal for them.
Anyone considering changing tariff should check to make sure that they are not already contracted to a specific term with their present supplier, since cancellation charges may be imposed.
Telecom Plus Plc, trading as the Utility Warehouse, offer a Triple Value Guarantee which, when compared with like-for-like standard domestic usage profiles over a year for low, medium and high users on a direct debit tariff, guarantees to be cheaper than British Gas; guarantees that electricity prices will always be cheaper than the prices charged by the regional electricity supplier for the area where you live, and that prices will always remain competitive compared with the cheapest standard tariffs available from the 'Big 6' suppliers. With no minimum contract, and all charges detailed on one bill, switching to Telecom Plus could be a risk-free guide to savings option for many people.
But now you need to generate visitors. So how do you go about it?
There are many good ways to generate Free leads for your home based business, and one of these is to send a steady stream of people to your blog and, by posting good quality content, showing them that you are a genuine person offering a genuine product or opportunity.
Many people use the obvious routes ie. using links to their blog in e-mails, forum posts, social network sites such as twitter & facebook, article resource boxes etc etc, but miss out on the golden opportunity presented by using Blog Directories and Carnivals.
So what are they? And how can they help generate leads for your home based business?
Firstly, a Blog Directory is similar to a telephone directory. You add your Blog URL and a few lines of information and, hey presto, your blog is listed. What's more, you don't have to restrict yourself to only one directory. Type 'blog directories' into the search engine, decide which ones are best suited to your home based business, and add your details. There may be a small fee for some of the directories, but most of them are free to list.
A Blog Carnival works in a slightly different way. A Blog Carnival is a particular kind of blog community where there are many kinds of blogs containing articles on many kinds of topics. They typically collect links for individual posts on particular subjects and publish them in Editions in a similar manner to how a magazine might publish articles on specific topics. This is especially good for generating targeted readers to your blog, as they will only click the link if the topic is of interest to them. In addition, because blog carnivals post regular editions, your readers may revisit your site every time you post a blog if you're giving good advice.
By constantly updating your site, and creating a stream of incoming visitors, your blog has a better chance of being noticed by the search engines, further increasing your opportunities to generate leads to your blog and, therefore, your home based business.
Click on the links on our blog to see a few of the blog directories and carnivals, and happy blogging!
But offline marketing still has much to offer the network marketer; after all, networking is vital to any business because, without customers, there is no business. Here are a few ways to start with offline marketing.
1. Start with people you know. You will feel more comfortable with friends, family and colleagues. Mention your new business in conversation and check their reaction. Be sure not to be a bore. Creating interest is much harder to master than blurting out everything you know about your new business, but you must be ready for the fact that not everybody is going to be as enthusiastic as you, and not everybody is going to be interested. You'll simply turn them off if, every time you meet them, you're harping on about your opportunity. Learn how to LISTEN with your eyes as well as your ears. Watch their reaction and be prepared to let it drop.
In fact, if you're nervous and you've just started your network marketing business, why not tell them this and ask them if they've got a few minutes to listen to you and critique how you're presenting your opportunity. Even if you don't make a sale, you'll have had some valuable practice sessions!
2. Attend events. Your network marketing company should offer all kinds of events, from training days to seminars and conferences. Attend as many as you need in order to feel comfortable with your product or service, and draw from the inspiration and experience of other network marketers who have been in the business for longer than you. Don't assume that, just because someone seems successful and has reached a high level, they won't be interested in a new marketer. On the contrary, successfull network marketers have reached that level because they're good with people and generally because they have a genuine desire to help others achieve what they've achieved.
Once you're comfortable with company events, you could move on to trade shows, networking lunches, chamber of commerce etc.
Learn how to promote yourself at these events. Make sure you have business cards to hand out and, above all, make sure that you take details of people who have expressed an interest so that you can follow them up.
Make sure you do follow up when you say you will. This is imperative, and picking up the phone is probably one of the hardest things to do for a new network marketer, but you'll have to learn to overcome your phone fear if you are going to have a successful network marketing business.
3. Create opportunities. There are many ways to do this. Some people are comfortable with the '3 ft rule' and can hand out a business card to anyone within 3ft of them, others prefer to put cards in windows or an ad in the local newspaper.
Why not spend an extra minute with the door-to-door or telephone salesman and pitch your own opportunity right back at them. (Give this a try next time someone knocks on your door - it's huge fun). They have, after all, just invaded your privacy uninvited, so why not? They are sales people and, who knows, they may not be making much in their present job, or hate having to work in an office if they're telephone sales.
How about holding your own network marketing event at home, or setting up your own network marketing group?
Send out letters to local households, postcards, flyers. If you're comfortable, offer to give a presentation to your local community groups about how to start and run a home based network marketing business, and the difference it has made to your life. Don't assume that retired schoolteachers, home based mums or junior football coaches won't be interested in changing their lives. After all, ask yourself why you started your network marketing business.
Finally. Enjoy your business. Nothing is more infectious that talking to someone who enjoys what they do. Someone who looks confident and secure. You are unlikely to do well in network marketing if you present yourself as pushy, ill informed and needy. Be well prepared and invest some time in your own training and knowledge of the business and you're well on the way to a successful network marketing future.
What is the Telecom Plus Internet Phone Line ?
Basically, it's an extra phone line, but it has two important differences:
Firstly, it costs just £2 line rental per month (that's currently over 80% cheaper than an extra line from BT) and:
Secondly, the phone number on this line is completely portable, and can be used for making and receiving calls anywhere in the world!
It costs nothing to receive a call, and any calls you make are charged on the normal Telecom Plus Home Phone/BoadCall (including "free global calls") or Office Phone tarrifs. All that's needed to benefit from the service is a broadband connection - which doesn't even need to be supplied by Telecom Plus.
How does it work? - simple. There's no engineer visit involved, no software to install (so it's not like SKYPE, no headset to wear and no extra hassle. Just a little adaptor that you plug into your broadband router (and it must be a router), and you're away!
You plug the phone into the adaptor; the adaptor into the router; the router into the broadband socket. And that's it !
There's an initial one-off connection charge of £50 whether the customer chooses one line or two. Therefore it's much cheaper to install than a new standard phone line.
Who will benefit? (perhaps the question should be who won't benefit?)
- Families with teenage children wanting to use the phone at the same time;
- People working from home & would like a separate line for business calls;
- People who want to keep a dedicated line for elderly relatives or children for emergency calls;
- Anyone involved in a local group or club which means lots of time on the phone;
- A sole trader who wants to ensure availability when they're on another phone;
- A business person who wants to be able to answer the 'office' phone from home out of office hours;
- A partnership where both partners want to use the phone at the same time;
- A small business that is growing & needs more phones, but without high BT charges;
- People with an overseas home who would like friends to be able to call on a UK number - at UK rates - wherever they are;
- Anyone who would like to benefit from "Free Global Calls" while they are abroad. Just imagine - free calls to any number in the UK from anywhere in the World! And any calls which aren't included (like calls to mobiles) are charged at the normal low UK Home Phone, BroadCall or Office Phone rates;
- Businesses with lots of home workers; each home worker can have their own 'office' number at home;
- Each home worker can have the same area code as the main office, even if they're based in different areas or working overseas or on holiday;
- All calls are charged and detailed on the business's monthly bill - no expense claims or paperwork to deal with;
- Business people who spend time based in different locations, but want clients to be able to contact them on the same number, not a mobile, wherever they are;
- Business people who want or need to go abroad for a while, and doesn't want clients to know they are out of the country - or to have to pay international rates to speak to them.
- Sole traders who need to exhibit at conferences or exhibitions but still need to have their office phone number with them;
These are just a few examples of the uses of an internet phone line. Because the internet phone line uses the internet to carry the calls, it can be used anywhere there is a fixed broadband connection point - including many hotel rooms and holiday homes abroad.
No more commuting in rush hour traffic. No more being told what to do and when to do it. No more inter-office politics or bickering. It sounds like heaven!
But those who have the opportunity to work from home would tell you that it's not just a case of taking home the files or uploading your work onto the company's server, it can involve a change of lifestyle.
For instance, have a good look around your home. Is there a space that you can convert into your 'office' space? Do you have the necessary equipment? We take our offices very much for granted with computers, photocopiers, fax machine, printers, filing cabinets, storage etc. If not, you will need to make sure that you have the space for everything you need to work from home effectively.
And, just because you're working from home, it doesn't mean that there will be less work. So, one of the most important changes that you will face is that you will have to learn how to discipline yourself in an environment that is normally your place of relaxation and family.
The idea of rolling out of bed and strolling to your 'work' for a couple of hours may sound appealing but sitting at your desk in pyjamas, shorts & t-shirt or scruffy jeans without bothering to shower, shave or do your hair will quickly alienate you mentally from your professional colleagues. In order to make a success out of working from home, you will need to create an office space in your mind as well as your home.
Of course, there are advantages other than the lack of commuting. Who amongst us don't like to turn the telly on for that special tennis match, or a special football game, Ashes tour, even the odd afternoon soap, but don't normally get the chance when we're at the office. To work from home means that the temptation to leave the desk for a couple of hours to watch that programme, or have an extended lunch, perhaps take the kids out swimming, all have to be overcome if we are going to get our work done.
Let's face it, there are dozens of things that take up our time when we're at home that, if we were in the office, we just wouldn't do, so why should it be any different if we work from home?
The answer? Attitude.
For this to work successfully you have to develop the right mentality. Ask any successful work at home mum or network marketer and they will tell you that they have their day planned down to the last minute. Time management is an artform that you will need to work at. You will soon find out whether you have the self-discipline to make it work. Time off in the afternoon means that you have to catch up either earlier or later in the day. Long telephone conversations with friends means that you have to catch up. Constant interruptions from your partner or children means that you have to catch up.
Don't forget too, that in the office there is usually a lot of activity and interraction with colleagues. Do you like your own company for hours and hours on end? Work at home can sometimes be lonely. Make sure that you allow for this.
Work from home is just what it says on the tin. It has many advantages, but carries with it the temptation to be lax. Trade-offs and sacrifices will have to be made. Do you have what it takes?
In fact, the truth is quite the opposite. Most great network maketers never need to stick their foot in the door (metaphorically); they generate business by 'offering' their products and services, whether it's to friends and family, work colleagues, talking to strangers and bringing it into conversation, or working the business online. Sincere network marketing businesses never promote spam and, these days, bullying marketing tactics rarely work. The public are much better prepared to say 'no' if they think they're being 'sold to'
So, in answer to this objection, we recommend that you say "That's great, because neither do I"
In truth, the fact that you're not 'selling' to your prospect is proof enough that it's not a selling business.
But choosing the right network marketing company for You can be a little hit and miss. It is important that you do your homework because, if you don't feel entirely comfortable with either the company, the product or the service, then you are unlikely to be able to offer them to your friends, family, neighbours and colleagues.
Here are just 4 of the better-known network marketing opportunities on offer for the home based entrepreneur.
1. Avon - Avon Cosmetics has its headquarters in the USA and was originally founded in the 1880's. Their products are marketed in over 100 countries, and are sold by over 5 million independent distributors. Marketed as 'the' company for women it seems to be marketed mostly by women; generally from brochures of womens (and some mens) cosmetics. Practically every household in Britain will have heard of this brand name, and it has recently been given extra exposure through tv advertising in the UK.
2. Telecom Plus - Operating under the brand name Utility Warehouse this British FTSE Top 250 company, was founded in 1996 and is headed by Charles Wigoder, who made a huge success as founder of Peoples Phone with a turnover of over £200m before selling to Vodafone in 1997. Named by the Financial Times as Company of the Year 2008 and with a string of Which? Best Buy and consumer awards, the company supplies over 300,000 customers with their gas, electricity, fixed telephony, mobile telephony and broadband. In addition, they offer an innovative 5% cashback card and all charges are on one bill. Already gathering momentum, this UK only company does not advertise on television, offers unlimited free training to its distrubutors and provides distributors with their own free utility warehouse website.
3. Betterware - A successful UK home shopping company, selling to customers in the UK & Ireland, mainland Europe, Channel Islands, Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus & Central America. Known initially for its extensive homeware and housecare cleaning products, the range has grown over the years to include gifts, personal care and beauty as well as outdoor products. Works in a similar way to Avon, with distributors providing a brochure and taking orders. There is no television advertising and customers can order products either through their network of distributors, territory sales agents, by post, over the phone or online from the company.
4. Herbalife - Founded in 1980 by Los-Angeles based Mark Hughes (died 21.5.00 aged 44) it is one of the world's largest distributors of herbal wellness products in over 70 countries with more than 1.9 million distributors. Its headquarters are in Los Angeles. Like Telecom Plus and Betterware, there is no television advertising. A distributor earns profits by buying Herbalife products at wholesale and reselling them at retail.
Anyone can make a financial difference to their lives by becoming an independent distributor for a network marketing company, but few people realise that it will only happen with commitment and a genuine desire to succeed. Companies that offer overnight success are often scams but many, including the companies above, are legitimate work from home network marketing opportunities. Get it right at the outset, and be prepared to put in some time and effort, and you will reap the rewards, whether you only want to make enough money to pay the mortgage each month or whether you want to retire early with a residual income for life.