Autoresponders, and when to use them

Autoresponders allow you to keep in touch with people by email on a regular basis, even if you're out of the office, away on holiday, or just having a break from business.

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.
As you can see, autoresponders can be used for a variety of reasons, but you need to make sure that you choose a service that builds-in different services such as a choice of templates, audio/video recorder, automatic split testing (so that you can make the most of your headlines), bulk e-mail sender, exit surveys and more.

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.


Utility Warehouse Products: Cashback Card

Utility Warehouse have a range of products, but what makes it different from other suppliers is it's cashback card.

The cashback card is available to any utility warehouse discount club member at a cost of £1.00 per month. It works like a gift card, inasmuch as you have to load it with money first, but once loaded, it can be used to make purchases wherever you see the MasterCard sign. So you can make your purchases online and offline. You can take it abroad. You can get one for your children if you want to put a monthly allowance on it whilst they're, say, at university or just setting out on their own, or on a gap year abroad.

The beauty of the cashback card is that Utility Warehouse have an agreement with a number of well known high street stores so that, if the card is used to make purchases with those stores, you will received a 5% cashback from your total bill as a refund on your utilities bill with Utility Warehouse. You even get 5% cashback on your Sainsbury's fuel bill. Imagine getting 5% off your utilities for every litre of fuel you buy!

You still get to take advantage of any of the in-store offers and discounts because the cashback card gives you cashback from your checkout or till total.

Utility Warehouse charge 35p for every top-up, and you can top up in a number of ways. Either regular top-ups, one-off's or an automatic top-up when your balance reaches a certain figure.

Look at this way. Let's say that you calculate that every month you'll spend £500 on shopping and fuel from the participating stores and set up a £500 top up once a month. Cost is £1.00 for the card and 35p for the top-up. Total cashback from the Utility Warehouse cashback card purchases is £500 x 5% = £25.00. The reduction in your next utility bill will therefore be £23.65. Not bad for shopping where you usually shop every week is it?

Imagine how much your utility bill could be reduced by if you use the cashback card to do your Christmas shopping!


Why Utility Warehouse?

The Observer, on Sunday 30 August, tells us that the OFT are to investigate the tactics of price comparison websites, amidst allegations of "dubious advertising and confusing prices" The article goes on to say that "If found guilty, the sites could be forced to change the way they operate and switch to a less profitable, more consumer-friendly system." Utility Warehouse do not pay commission to comparison websites.

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.


Study Spanish with the OU

The Spanish language is now spoken in many countries around the world with more & more people using different learning methods. Learning Spanish with the Open University isn't for everyone. But if you are serious about learning not only the language but also the history and culture of Spain and Latin America, then you might seriously give it a try.

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

Objections: How would I market the business?

Another good question, because it shows that your prospect is thinking ahead. However, until they are prepared to commit themselves, you don't need to go into a half hour speech about every kind of marketing technique available. In truth, not everyone uses every avenue of marketing in any event. Most people find ways that are comfortable to them and rarely stretch themselves out of their comfort zone. Some prefer to work completely offline, whilst others are prepared to try some online marketing.

So, to answer the question, let them know that once they're on board with you, you will be sitting down with them to design a marketing plan that is a good fit for them but, as a general idea, there is a range of effective and proven marketing strategies that are available to them, from word-of-mouth to online and offline advertising.

How to Generate Leads for your Utility Warehouse Business

Utility Warehouse offers UK consumers the opportunity to save money on household utililities. Every family uses them, and every family needs them, because where would we be in today's modern world without gas, electricity, telephone and broadband?

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.


Home Based Business Plans

Is it necessary to have a business plan for a home based business? The answer is yes and no.

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
Another important factor is to decide whether your home business will generate immediate income, or whether you will need to consider bolting it on to your existing job or business until it does. By performing the simple exercises above, you will have a much better grasp of your likely earnings than if you start your business with no clear goals or plans.

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!


Objections: I'm not sure I would be interested

Overcoming objections is part of the process for every business owner; particular within any kind of sales role. Learning to deal with objections can be fun.

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.


Donald Trump & Network Marketing

Is Donald Trump set to become the new Network Marketing guru? It wouldn't be at all surprising.

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."


Inspiration - Team Hoyt

Every now and then we come across a remarkable feat of love and inspiration. I came across this today and it touched my heart. Click the photo to watch the video

Self Development and the Marketing Entrepreneur

Google 'self development' and you'll be hit with over 100 million results. So it's a big subject. But what does it mean to the marketing entrepreneur, and how does it help anyone make a success of their business?

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"


Working Mums, UK Style

According to a report in the Daily Express online dated 7 August 2009, a recent survey, commissioned by the Department for Children, Schools & Families, found that most mothers in the UK would like to work less or quit their jobs altogether to look after their children.

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.

These statistics are perhaps not surprising to many mums who are trying to balance the roles of work and family, but whose choices are limited because of the need to bring more money into the family home.

Equally frustrating is the UK's general attitude towards working mums. British Actress Emma Thompson echoed the feelings of many recently when she was quoted in the Daily Express as saying that British working mothers often suffer from Victorian aged British attitudes.

In the current economic climate, with many jobs being lost and others taking pay reductions and reduced hours, it's little surprise that mums are looking around for alternative types of home based work that will allow them to earn whilst still being able to spend more time with their families.

A simple google search of 'working mums uk' or 'home based work' will reveal many different kinds of possible work, ranging from party planning to internet consultancy, driving instructor, independent distributors, marketing & advertising, property inventory clerks, telesales, language-teaching franchises, catalogue distributors, energy efficiency inspectors, etc etc. The list of opportunities is endless, and can take the form of employment-based home working or self-employed work.

Being self-employed can be a bit of a minefield if you've never worked for yourself before and will necessitate some research into the regulations, how to prepare a business plan, and how any earning might affect benefit entitlements. But in the UK we're seeing an increase in women who are turning their hobby into a business; particularly in the arts & crafts businesses, for example creating private dinner parties, baking cupcakes, making jewellery etc. and selling their wares on market stalls, to friends and family (initially anyway) and even using sites such as e-bay. We're seeing professional working mums who are turning to network marketing businesses as a way to combine working from home and choosing their own hours with generating a monthly income. And more and more, we're seeing working mums beginning to control their own work-life balance in a more satisfying way.

Will it work for every working mum? No, of course not. Will everyone make a success of their home work? No, of course not. But, with 58% of those surveyed saying that they would like to work fewer hours so that they can spend more time with their families, there is certainly no lack of motivation to give it a try!


Marketing your UK Home Based Business Online for Free

Online Marketing techniques for a UK home based business can be dramatically different to those used for other countries.

Network marketing in the UK is becoming a popular way of starting up a new venture from home. Start up costs are minimal, the parent company usually has a proven business model and quite often a proven business brand, which all go to limiting the risk of failure.

However, as with every business, whether traditional office based, online, or work from home, it will need some form of advertising to attract customers, and advertising can of course take many forms. But if you want to market your UK business online, you will need to be aware that many of the suggestions you can find online are directed mainly at the US market.

As a first step, make sure your website is listed on the three main search engines Google, Yahoo & MSN by logging onto http://google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl, http://search.msn.com/docs/submit.aspx & https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/submit

Next, register your website with some Free UK business directories. There are lots of these, but a few suggestions are: http://www.hotfrog.co.uk/, http://www.freeindex.co.uk/, http://www.uksmallbusinessdirectory.co.uk/, http://www.scoot.co.uk/, http://www.thompsonlocal.co.uk/ & http://www.yelldirect.com/

Also, register your site and post ads with some free classified directories such as http://www.gumtree.com/, http://www.ukclassifieds.co.uk/ & http://www.freeukclassifieds.co.uk/ . You could try posting on http://london.craigslist.co.uk/ which, although a predominantly U.S. site, does allow you to post ads in major UK cities.

Then, build your site on http://www.bttradespace.com/ - this can take a little while, but it's worth completing the profile, adding photos and even creating blog posts. Google seems to like the BT Tradespace site and constantly changing the content will keep the site fresh.

Finally, make sure you have a google profile. You will see more information for this at

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?


Overcoming Objections in Network Marketing

You've just joined a great network marketing opportunity but you can't seem to get started because all you can think about is what kind of questions people will ask you.

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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 ...'

  8. 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.
Above all, be calm. Treat your prospect with empathy rather than condescension. Write down their objections as they're being raised, and work through them. Be factual. Show your prospect that you have respect for their concerns, and you're well on your way to making a success of your new network marketing business.

After all, it would be a little unnerving if someone bought your product or service without raising any objections at all wouldn't it?


Guide to Savings with Telecom Plus - Gas & Electricity

As the cost of energy rises, more and more people are becoming conscious of their utility bills, and look to ways of reducing both costs and energy consumption in the home.

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.


Is Network Marketing a Ponzi Scheme?

The Telegraph Digital Headlines dated 20.7.09 tell us all that "Celebrities lose out in 'British Bernie Madoff Ponzi fraud."

It reports that more than 600 people have lost, in some cases, a huge amount of money in an alleged scam by British Consulting International (BCI), including a household name 1960's pop star and other well-known figures.

They say that "The fraudsters behind the conspiracy are said to have used their business connections to target wealthy names in the sports, music and finance industries, although people with modest incomes have also lost out. Like Madoff, the conmen "befriended and groomed" their victims, many of whom recommend friends and family join the scheme."

So how is it that people can be taken in by such schemes? Why is it that people are so gullible when faced with a seeming 'get rich quick' proposal? Is it greed, or are the Bernie Madoff's (who was recently jailed for 150 years for orchestrating a £39.5bn fraud) so clever that they can weave a tale that will fool most people?

To the Network Marketer, the hallmarks of a scam are all too apparent. For instance, in this recent alleged Ponzi fraud, the Telegraph reports that "According to police, BCI and connected companies offered returns of between six and 13 per cent a month, claiming that the tempting dividends were generated by lending money to struggling firms who were willing to pay high rates of interest. In reality the monthly payouts were funded by the original investments. The con men used the rest of the capital to fund lavish purchases including a fleet of luxury cars, it is alleged."

Network marketing simply doesn't work this way. Whoever heard of your Avon or Kleeneze rep, your Betterware distributor or your Telecom Plus distributor contacting you to ask for huge sums of money?

Ponzi frauds, like Pyramid schemes, are generally asking you for money. Network marketing is offering you goods or services. What's more, to join a network marketing scheme as a distributor will generally cost you less than £200 and even this is refundable with some companies.

In the current economic climate, with companies asking staff to take wage cuts, sabbaticals or part time instead of full time work, NOW is a great time to consider starting your own home based business in network marketing. It's a way to protect yourself against the changes in the economic marketplace, and it's a way to build yourself a residual income that you will receive For the rest of your life! Plus, it is NOT a Ponzi scheme, and it's NOT a Pyramid scheme.

No, it doesn't promise 'get rich quick' and, yes, you will need invest some time and effort. In fact, to go one further, you may need to invest some time in Yourself. In other words you might have to be open to change, and be open to learn, and to set your own goals. But then, the people who promise get rich quick may, Like Madoff, find themselves to have bitten off more than they can chew.

In sum, network marketing may well make you rich, but it won't come about by conning your friends, family and colleagues!


Why using Blog Directories & Carnivals can help the Home Based Business

You've chosen a home based business and you're confident that people will want to buy your fantastic product or service, or join you in your opportunity. You've created a great website and a blog that you update regularly.

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!


phone fear and the home based business

Fear of picking up the telephone and speaking to people is, for some, a very real phobia. So much so that the very thought of picking up a ringing phone can set off an anxiety attack, palpitations, feelings of dread and nausea etc. For this extreme phone fear there are a range of treatments available, including hypnotherapy, that can help.
If this is you, and you feel alone, don't! You only have to type the phrase 'phone fear' into google to see that there are many, many sufferers.
But for the home based business entrepreneur, fear of the phone is something that you will need to master if you want to make a success of your business because, unfortunately, few businesses will survive without telephone contact.
Even successful sales people experience periods of phone fear. Times when it's easy to find 'other' jobs that need doing first in order to avoid picking up the phone. Filing every piece of paper on the desk, making a few lists, doing the washing/ironing/cleaning .. sound familiar? So how can we overcome these fears?
One of the first steps to overcoming phone fear is to understand exactly what it is that we are afraid of. Is it fear of rejection? fear of appearing pushy? fear of not knowing what to say and becoming tongue-tied and stammering? fear of someone asking us a question that we don't know the answer to? A feeling that the person on the other end just won't be interested? It may be one, or all of these, but it's important to understand your fear in order to take steps to overcome it.
Many years ago I had a bad stammer which became worse the more I couldn't say particular words. For me, help came in the form of a group of friends who made a game out of my stammering, each trying to guess what I was trying to say as I got more and more embarrassed. At first, I thought they were laughing at me and making fun of me, but I soon realised that they too were a little embarrassed by my discomfort and were trying to help. Over time, I learnt to laugh with them when they played the game, and the laugh brought about a release of tension that enabled me to speak properly. As I became more and more relaxed in the company of other people and more confident about myself, the stammer disappeared, but I never forgot the unconscious kindness of that group of friends.
To become a success in your home based business, you have to generate a confidence to others because, after all, you are trying to convince them to join your business or buy your product. If phone fear is stopping you from doing this, take some steps to enable you to relax and feel comfortable with the telephone.
Ask someone to help you. Prepare two or three 'opening' sentences - you will rarely need more than these - and perfect them so that you say them naturally. Try not to give your prospect the opportunity to say 'no' with a poor opening like "I wondered if you'd had a chance to look at the dvd I sent you?" - far better to say something like "I'm ringing as promised to find out what parts of the dvd you liked best." Ask your friend to be your prospect and respond to you. Role play can seem very daunting at first, but if you turn it into a silly game, it will soon have you laughing at yourself until, ultimately, you will feel more comfortable.
Take this one step further from the introductions, and practice some follow-on conversations. Jot down some scripts of questions and answers with your friend and go through them until you have the answers off-pat. If you need to keep your 'scripts' by your side for the 'real' phone calls, by all means do so, but try to make yourself sound natural - it's so much better for rapport-building than sounding as if you're reading from something. Also, ask your current clients what they've found best about your products. Knowing what works helps you to feel confident when talking to others.
Next. Allocate yourself a specific time frame - say a half-hour slot - and have a go. Try rating each conversation on a scale of 1-10 where 1 is a prospect slamming the phone down on you, and 10 is a sale. Treat it like a game and you will be less likely to be overcome by fear. You'll probably find that most scores will hover somewhere in the middle, initially at least, until you become more relaxed, more knowledgeable, and therefore more enthusiastic on the phone. Practice this again and again, and your home based business is well on the way to success.
Finally, learn to Listen. Try to develop the mindset that you don't have to chase the sale on every single call. Build a rapport with your prospect so that you can genuinely help them with your product or service. Be honest if it's not the right product for them. Many times I've given people advice that at first seems detrimental to my own business, but my honesty has led to 'word of mouth' referrals and repeat business.
Above all, the telephone is not your enemy. You are! If you want your home based business to be a success, you will need to understand this and overcome it but, in the process of learning how to overcome your phone fear, you may just realise a new found self-confidence that you didn't know you had!


Network Marketing Online

The internet has added a new dimension to network marketing. It's another tool that can be used to generate leads for your new network marketing business and can be used as an add-on to your offline marketing, or as a major part of your business, and one that is well worth mastering. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

1. Decide your level of online activity. Do you simply want to use the internet as a means of communication by e-mail, or do you want a full-blown online presence to generate leads into your network marketing business?

To build a successful presence takes time and effort and in many cases a big learning curve. It's a good idea to surf around some of the networking sites to get an idea of the kind of activity being followed by others. Check out their websites and decide which ones you find the most appealing.

2. Create a website. This can be a full-blown website or a lead generation page with back-up autoresponder, but you're going to need somewhere for people to visit.

3. Create a blog. Somewhere where you can talk about your product and ideas. Somewhere for people to visit to find out more about you the person, and whether you're the kind of person they would like to do business with. Your blog could be your website if you prefer, with links to your products, services and network marketing opportunity.

4. Join network marketing groups. These are another way to gain contacts. All network marketing forums will allow you to create a profile that will generally appear on all your posts. Give good value and advice and people will look at your profile. Forums are also a great way of seeking advice from other network marketers. Never be afraid to learn from other peoples' mistakes. However, if there's very little activity on the forum, move to another one.

5. Use social networks to promote yourself. Twitter, Facebook, Digg ... there are lots of social networks. Again, create your website link within your profile.

6. Write articles and press releases. This takes a little practice, but can be a very effective way of getting your website noticed by Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engines. Don't ignore the power of generic (free) search engine listings.

7. Advertise. This can cover anything from posting free ads on the many classified ads sites and directories to creating a PPC, or Pay Per Click, campaign with Google. These are the 'sponsored' ads that you see down the right hand side of the search results pages and can be a hugely effective way to drive leads to your site. But beware, they can also be ineffective and costly and need some thought and planning before committing to a big budget spend; particularly if you are new to network marketing.

Whatever your level of online activity, be prepared to invest some time. Online network marketing can become very very addictive!

Network Marketing Offline

In today's high tech world, the internet has given every network marketing business a boost by enabling online marketing. So much so that traditional offline marketing sometimes gets forgotten by new home based entrepreneurs; particularly if they're a little shy or unsure of how they will cope with meeting and talking to new people about their business opportunity or product.

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.


Telecom Plus Internet Phone Line

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.


Work from Home - Do you have what it takes?

Ask most office-bound people if they would like to do their work from home and they will jump at the chance.

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?


Utility Warehouse & Award Winning Customer Service

Sometimes it's appropriate to blow your own trumpet; paticularly when you've achieved something worth shouting about.

For many years our patience has been tested, sitting on the other end of a phone waiting to be put through to a phone company, energy supplier, bank, etc in an overseas call centre with long queues and often unhelpful or unknowledgeable advisors.

Well, Telecom Plus Utility Warehouse have been awarded Which? Best Buy status for their customer service from their UK call centre. Click on the French & Saunders image and listen to them tell you how 90% of all calls are answered within 15 seconds.

Do Telecom Plus customer services get it right every time? Of course not. It would be lovely to say that everything is perfect, but I've never yet come across a business that is, including my own. However, what is great is not having to waste at least 20 minutes (and once over an hour with BT) trying to get your message across and still not resolving the problem.


What is Residual Income?

We hear the term 'residual income' talked about a lot in network marketing, but it's a concept that confuses many people. If we have a look at the general term 'Income' it can be thought of as being divided into three main groups:

1. Earned Income - that which we would earn from our job, with a weekly or monthly salary. When you stop working, you stop earning.

2. Passive (or residual/recurring) income - money received on a regular basis with little effort required to maintain it.

3. Portfolio income - such as we might receive from a portfolio of stocks and shares.

Residual income can therefore come from a number of sources including rental from a property, royalties from publishing a book or even, some might argue, a pension. Many recording artists receive residual income in the form of royalties; Sir Paul McCartney might have left the Beatles many years ago, but he will still receive a residual income from the work he did whilst part of the band. In sum, it reflects an ongoing payment for work that was done some time ago. Harry Potter might be the name everyone is familiar with, but the recurring income from all the hours and hours of work that went into creating him will go to J.K. Rowling.

In the world of sales and network marketing, residual income is therefore the repeat regular income generated from the payment of a product or service, that must be renewed on a regular basis in order to continue receiving its benefits.

Psychologically, the idea of creating and receiving a residual income for life is a powerful motivator for many internet and network marketers; particularly if they don't already have excellent pension plans in place, or if they are looking to put all their energies into building up a successful network marketing business so that, after a few years, they can either quit their full time job, move to part-time, or even retire early with a monthly residual income to look forward to.

If you are an internet marketer and wish to generate a residual income, there are a number of ways to do this, but basically you would create a website and fill it with affiliate content as well as something that you have created yourself, such as an e-book, that you can sell. In theory, it could practicaly run on autopilot to generate your residual income.

If you are a home based network marketer, you would generate a residual income from selling your products or service to customers and, at the same time, encourage new distributors into your business. You will then create a residual income from the repeat sales to your customers, and also from the sales generated by your distributors.

Sounds easy? In theory it is, but in practice you need to make sure that you have a product that people want, and will continue to want despite changing trends. For example, would Sir Paul still be receiving royalties if no-one bought the Beatles music, or J.K. Rowling if no-one ever read a Harry Potter book or watched a film?

The simple answer is NO. Every product or service needs an audience. So if you have a great website it won't make you any residual income if no-one visits it, and you won't make any residual income in network marketing if you never offer your product to anyone, or its so obscure that there is only a small market for it.

The key to success is Marketing. One of the main reasons why people fail at network marketing, or only generate a tiny residual income, is that they give up too early. Network marketing is a game of longevity. Build your business from the ground up. Offer your products to as many people as possible (by whatever means suits you best). Bring new distributors into your business and TEACH them how to be successful; let them learn from your mistakes. But, most importantly of all, don't give up at the first hurdle. Some network marketers are quick off the starting blocks but run out of wind easily, and others pace themselves all the way round the track. Who hasn't heard the story of the tortoise and the hare?

Do these things, and you will generate for yourself a solid residual income that will allow you to set your own goals and achieve your own dreams.


Set Your Own Goals

Are you an 'if only' person?
If only I had more money I would be happier ...
If only I had a better job I would have more money ...
If only I didn't have to work ...
If only I could afford a new car ...
If only my boss would give me a promotion ...
If only I had enough to retire early ...
If only ... if only ... if only ...
If you are, then you're probably in the majority. People who long for a better life, more money, better job, but don't know how to set their own goals in order to achieve them.
Because if you don't set your own goals, then who is going to do it for you? It's no good wishing that health, wealth and happiness will simply fall in your lap if you're not prepared to do something about it.
You have to believe in yourself, and believe that you can make a difference to your life and the lives of those around you, and then you have to take action.
Would Nelson Mandela have become President of South Africa and seen the end of Apartheid if he had accepted the conditional release offered to him in prison, which would have meant renouncing his political ideals?
Would we have had Body Shop without the foresight of Dame Anita Roddick? Or the music of Billie Holiday? Or the Virgin empire founded by Sir Richard Branson, who suffered from dyslexia and left school at 16? Would Mohammed Ali have fought the 'fight of the century' or been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom if he had not fought for what he believed in, despite being stripped of his title and his licence to fight professionally?
And so the list goes on. These are people who were NOT born with silver spoons in their mouths. They ALL had to overcome personal issues, illness or hardships, yet they not only changed their own lives, but they changed the world.
There comes a time when we have to step off the shelf that we've been sitting on, choose our own path and set our own goals.
If not, then perhaps we should stop saying 'if only ...'

Network Marketing Versus Pyramid Schemes

One of the biggest fears of the prospective network marketer starting their first home based business is that it will be percieved as a Pyramid Scheme. This is entirely understandable, when we consider that Pyramid Schemes have been around for over a century.

Let's have a look at the two models:

Pyramid Schemes - Now illegal in most countries, A pyramid scheme is a non-sustainable business model that involves the exchange of money primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, often without any product or service being delivered. Essentially one person, 'Mr. X' makes one payment only and in order to earn money, has to recruit others who will also make one payment each. Mr. X gets paid out of receipts from those new recruits, who then go on to recruit others. As each new recruit makes a payment, Mr. X gets a cut. He is thus promised exponential benefits as the "business" expands.

The flaw with pyramid schemes is that there is no end benefit. The money simply travels up the chain. Only the originator (sometimes called the "pharaoh") and a very few at the top levels of the pyramid make significant amounts of money. The amounts dwindle steeply down the pyramid slopes. Of course, the worst off are at the bottom of the pyramid: those who subscribed to the plan, but were not able to recruit any followers themselves.

One such scheme was the 'Women Empowering Women' plan. Thought to have been brought to Britain from the US by an Isle of Wight businesswoman, it invited female investors to hand over £3,000 into the pyramid kitty and then try to find 8 other recruits to join. If they succeeded, the woman at the top got a one-off payment of £24,000, but the scheme collapsed when the recruits dried up.

Network Marketing - This is another name for 'social networking' since it is the term used for marketing performed by an individual to create an independent network rather than a company network; the most common marketing tactic used by network marketers being 'word of mouth', or 'social networking'. Compensation plans within network marketing usually follow the MLM or multi-level marketing structure, and for this reason the two terms are often used interchangeably.

In the MLM model, independent distributors will receive commission for their own personal sales of the company's products or services, as well as for the sales of any other distributors they introduce to the company, creating an incentive to enrol distributors as well as sell products & services, thus creating a hierarchy of levels.

The nature of the commission and the levels of payment often means that the independent distributor will create a 'residual' or ongoing commission that will grow as the numbers of distributors and customers grows.

The key difference is that pyramid schemes are simply a transferrence of money with rarely a product to show for it; whereas network marketing (or mlm) involves a product or service. Who hasn't heard of Tupperware, Avon, Usborne books at home, MonaVie, Telecom Plus (Utility Warehouse), Herbalife, Amway, Goji Juice, Betterware, or literally hundreds of other schemes available to individuals looking for a way to start a home based business in network marketing?

Are all network marketing businesses successful? Can anyone guarantee massive profits and 'get rich quick'? Of course not. It is, after all, simply a business. One that you run yourself from home and, like all businesses, it can succeed or fail. But at least you are in control of your own success or failure. It's up to you how much effort you put in and that will, ultimately, reflect on how well you will do in your own business.


Objections: I don't like selling to people

This is a great objection, because it's frequently misconceived by people that in order to be a network marketer you must necessarily be a pushy doorstep salesman.

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.

4 UK Network Marketing Opportunities

Network marketing offers an excellent way of generating income from a home based business. Either as a part-time or full-time income, with very few overheads, no complicated staffing issues and, best of all, you can choose your own hours to suit your lifestyle.
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.


Why Most People Fail at Network Marketing

You've watched the video, seen the compensation plan, asked your questions, been to the presentation and it looks easy, right? If those other people at the conferences can become rich, you can too, yes?

So why aren't there more millionaire network marketers?

Why do we constantly hear from people that "this, or that, product or opportunity doesn't work"?

Why do people jump from one opportunity to another with no success?

Understanding the, very simple, answers to these questions can show you why most people fail at network marketing and why others succeed.

First. Be realistic. Don't set your aims too high right from the start. Set your goals to within manageable limits. Want to retire early ... well who doesn't? But perhaps your first goal should be to earn enough to pay your mortgage or utility bills each month, followed by paying off the car (or buying a new one) or mortgage completely, foreign holiday, school fees, etc. Then perhaps going part-time in your J.O.B. or even saying goodbye to the boss completely and working full time in your own network marketing business. Finally, the retire-early goal becomes achievable. Ok, perhaps not within the first three months of your new business, but certainly within five years if you've stuck around that long.

Next. Educate yourself. You don't have to go to business school or anything. But you should be able to draft yourself some kind of plan, and you do want to sound as though you know what you're talking about when someone asks you about your compensation plan, or about your products. Try to imagine yourself as the customer or prospect. Would you buy from you, or join you in your business? Work on yourself, your knowledge and your presentation. If you need help, ask. There should always be someone in your business who can mentor you because, as you'll quicky find out, sharing knowledge and helping your own team to succeed is one of the quickest routes to your own success.

Finally. Be prepared to put in some effort! I know, it would be great if the riches just fell into our outstretched hands, but it's never going to happen and you might as well accept that right from the start. There's no point complaining that 'this doesn't work', or 'that doesn't work' if the truth is that 'you don't work'.

How much effort do you need to put in? It's different for everyone. There are people in network marketing who knock on doors and sell beauty and household products to repeat customers and make a good enough living out of it to pay for the luxuries (and sometimes necessities) in life. Then there are those who have a high online presence with pay-per-click marketing campaigns who take their presentations to chamber of commerce meetings, seminars, entrepreneur summits etc, and there are all manner of people in between. There is no Right Way, or Wrong Way to market your business - but there has to be Some Way.

Understand these simple points, and you will understand why most people fail at network marketing, and why you are going to succeed!


How to Choose a Network Marketing Opportunity

If you've been made redundant or your company has gone out of business. If you're only just managing to make ends meet. If you're doing ok but you just can't make that holiday this year. If you watch your boss and realise that you could do the job better if only you had the chance. If you see the new people getting promotion in front of you. If you would like to work from home to spend more time with your family. If, if, if ....

There are hundreds of reasons why people choose to look for a network marketing opportunity that they can work from home, either part-time or full-time and now has never been a better time.

Network marketing has undergone a transformation. It is no longer thought about with scepticism and the 'pyramid marketing' stigma of years ago, but is recognised for what it is. An opportunity to work from home, to work for ourselves, to be our own boss, and to be responsible for our own success.

Plus, it has the added benefit of few overheads, no staffing issues and it can fit around our lifestyles or even our full time job, if we want it to.

So how do we go about choosing the right network marketing opportunity?

First. Look for longevity. Has the business been around for a few years? If not and it's a new venture, then you take the risk. Ok if you're in the risk business, but most people want a company with a history and, furthermore, a history of success. This is as important as the compensation plan because the greatest compensation plan on the planet is no good if the company goes out of business!

Next. Choose a company that fits in with your own ethos. Few people can successfully offer either a product or service to anyone else if they don't believe in it themselves. Ask youself whether the company will impose unrealistic targets on you, or whether you will be able to build your own business at your own pace. This is a MUST for most new network marketers because it takes a while to build confidence, build routines, build a customer base and build a distributor network.

Finally. Make sure that your chosen company offers unlimited, free, quality training. Ideally you will need a company that will offer a mentoring system. Don't forget that successful network marketing is about 'partnerships' - you will be creating partnerships between yourself and your customers, yourself and your team, yourself and your sponsors. And the better the partnerships, the more successful your business will become.

There are plenty of network marketing opportunities on offer. Take some time to choose the right one for you, and you're almost there.

Telecom Plus Utility Warehouse ticks all those boxes for us. Have a look at our free video to see if it could be the business for you.


What to do when people are downright nasty!

I came across someone today who sent a nasty email and, for a second or two, it upset my equilibrium. Then it reminded me of a buddhist saying that goes something like:

"When we hang on to hostility, anger, and discontent, we become thieves, robbing ourselves of happiness."

I'm sure that everyone has at some time been angered by someone else, but have you noticed that the people who remain angry, who can't let go of the wrongdoing, are actually unhappy themselves?

What does this have to do with network marketing? Not a huge amount, but in some ways it reminds us that when we present our opportunity to people, some will say yes and some will say no. Some might not even be polite when they do so. What matters is whether we let it bother us, or whether we shrug it off. We are, after all, only presenting an opportunity. What does it matter if it's not right for some? The answer is that it doesn't. Not at all.

The moral. Don't ruin your own happiness by hanging onto feelings of discontent.


Personality Types: Green

Is your business prospect open or self-contained, direct or indirect? Do they listen more than talk, or talk more than listen? If you're not sure, then you'll struggle to know how best to offer them your opportunity. Typing personalities by colour is a well-used method of determining your prospect's strengths and weaknesses, and understanding this will help you to cement your relationships more easily.

Of the 4 basic colours, the Green personality is by far the most complex in terms of the effort you will need to convince them to join you in your business.

Why? Because people with Green personalities are often overly analytical, perfectionists and resistant to change; typically they will work as researchers, scholars, computer programmers, accountants, etc where logic, accuracy, detail and organisation are core disciplines.

But don't give up on the cautious Green, because they're often persistant, ambitious, self-assured, confident and excellent planners. Their efficiency means that they rarely put themselves in tense situations; although don't try to impose deadlines on them, because they will happily miss a deadline if it means getting the job done properly!

You will need to give your Green prospect as much information (and possibly more) as they need in order for them to make a decision so, unlike the Red's, Blue's and Yellow's who have different motivations, the Greens generally need to know everything!

Above all, don't try to rush them into making a decision. Just ask whether they need to know anything more because, once you've got a Green in your business, you'll discover that they are solid, dependable, good listeners and diplomatic communicators. They can be a little self-critical, overly sensitive and sometimes a little critical of others, but they're also stable, compassionate and intuitive of other's needs.

Greens can be great leaders who like a good challenge - make that little bit of extra effort to get them on your team and you won't be sorry!