Thursday, September 11, 2008

7 Steps to finding a good MLM

So you have a friend, relative, coworker… who comes up to you to talk about his exciting new business opportunity. Lucky you, he wants to let you in on his newfound path to riches. You soon discover that he is pitching your involvement in a network marketing company (multilevel marketing) (MLM). You wonder, should I stay and hear more or run to the hills as fast as I can with my wallet securely grasped in both hands?

A lot of your decision is going to be based on a few factors.

First, network marketing, when properly operated is a legitimate form of direct selling. Several large companies have been direct selling through network marketing for years. Companies like Amway, Avon, Mary Kay, Herbalife, ACN and others. These companies have been around for years, and have a great track record of success.

Unfortunately there are others.

90% of network marketing companies fail in the first year.

So, how do you decide if 1) network marketing is for you, and 2) what company to join?

Here are some thoughts to help with those questions:
Advantages of network marketing as a business model for you:
1. You are self employed – your own boss. You set your own working hours. Yes, you do have to work to be successful, and work a lot to be very successful.
2. Your start-up costs are low. Most companies charge an initial fee to join. This will cover initial expenses, training materials etc. Remember even franchises like Mcdonalds charge franchise fees – your networking fess will be much smaller.
3. Established infrastructure/plan. What do 90% of network marketing companies do in the first year? (see a few inches above).
4. Good companies will have established support systems to improve your sales skills, and keep you motivated. An available mentor/sponsor will be critical to your success.

Disadvantages of network marketing as a business model for you:
1. Certain companies may limit your advertising/marketing to relationship only. It may be hard to build your sales strategies online.
2. You may be required to attend company training/motivational meetings.
3. Your success may vary depending on the reliability and commitment of your mentor/sponsor.
4. You may have to compete with your peers. Depending on how you are allowed to market yourself if you recruit someone in your sphere of influence than they willalso be selling into your joint sphere of influence. You may be selling and promoting the company to friends, family, others in your sphere of influence.
5. You have to be an effective speaker and presenter.
6. You may be looked upon “unfavorably” by people fearful or hesitant to believe in the benefits of network marketing.

Probably the biggest “PRO” is that you can build a business that earns you passive residual income – you leverage your time by building a team of people and you reap some rewards from their sales efforts.
What should I look for in a network marketing company?

7 Things to look for in a network marketing company

1. A solid product or service that you believe in.
2. A physical address for a company headquarters.
3. Review the compensation plan. Be sure you really understand the plan before you sign up.
4. There is a track record of success.
5. The company has been around for more than five years.
6. The company is continuously growing and expanding to other countries.
7. The company keeps its promises to members, e.g. motivational special awards etc.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Make Money Online ... in Pictures

From Forbes Magazine:
Most people would say that their favorite picture of their spouse is invaluable. Jason Stitt can put a precise dollar figure on it: $2,000 (US). That's how much he's earned by turning a single snapshot of his wife into stock photography.
Digital cameras have transformed consumers into an army of amateur photographers, most of whom upload, tag and share photos online. But are they selling? Stitt is. He's among the thousands of amateurs who are discovering how to turn their expensive hobby into a profitable part-time pursuit.
Stitt, a graphic designer, got his start in 2003 when he uploaded some beach photos from his honeymoon in Hawaii to, now an online subsidiary of Getty Images handling digital media. He sent in about a dozen shots, and to his surprise several started selling.
These days he takes hundreds of pictures during two shoots a week from a home studio in Southern California and puts up the best for sale on Selling stock pictures "is getting very close to being a full-time gig," he says.
Point, shoot, cash in
Stock photography is an increasingly lush business. Case in point: Last year, stock photo Web site iStock paid photographers $20.9 million in royalties on $71.9 million in revenue. In 2006, the Internet start-up was purchased by Getty Images for $50 million. Last February, Getty was sold to San Francisco-based private equity firm Hellman & Friedman for $2.4 billion.
Given all the digital pictures floating around on the Web, surprisingly few people are trying to cash in. A recent survey of U.S. consumers sponsored by the stock photography site iStockphoto suggests that most people simply haven't been exposed to stock photography. Of the 1,000 people surveyed, only a quarter had heard of "stock photography." Even so, a majority of them said they are aware that there are legal rights surrounding the use of photographs and video they might download on the Web.
For the record, stock photo, video and audio is ready-made content that people or companies can license for their use. Artists have licensed their work since the beginning of copyright law — but those kinds of exchanges are far easier to do with digital files, pixels and clicks than they were in the old world of film and paper contracts.
For consumers, selling stock photography online means that they can pick up a high-quality picture, video or audio clip for as little as a dollar. Pricing usually depends on size and quality. Once the licensee purchases an item, it is considered "royalty free," meaning they can usually do whatever they want with it. The online merchant handles the financial and legal elements and credits the artist automatically with a cut.
"When we first started [in 2000], people thought we were crazy," says iStock chief operating officer Kelly Thompson. "We have 3.5 million registered users on our site now and over a million paying customers. That's far bigger than most people ever thought the stock market could possibly be."
Much of iStock's success in selling digital stock can be attributed to creative tinkering with the economics supporting digital rights.
"We've found that people don't really mean to be malicious," says Thompson. "It's the same as iTunes: If it's easy and affordable, they don't mind paying for it."
The players
iStock isn't the only game in town — it competes with other Web sites trying to woo stock photography dilettantes. Other large suppliers that will help you pawn your pictures include, and
Jon Oringer started — the service that Stitt now uses — as a digital storefront for his own work in 2003. The site has since grown to host more than 4 million pictures.
"We've had small companies use them for brochures and Web sites. We've seen them on billboards and bus enclosures," Oringer says.
For artists, the royalties start small but can grow. At Shutterstock, photographers get paid 25 cents per download and more as the artist passes certain earnings milestones. These micro-payments can add up.
"There are photographers making close to $10,000 a month," Oringer asserts.
Stitt isn't quite in those ranks yet, but he's a good example of how a hobbyist can thrive part-time in the stock photo market. His top-grossing photo was one of his first — a picture of his wife, Ruth, sitting under the sun in a straw hat. The photo has been downloaded more than 3,500 times.
"A lot of the stuff I do, I just cross my fingers and hope that it sells," Stitt says. "Today I did a shoot with a female model lying on the floor surrounded by jelly beans. It's kind of out there, but we'll see how it works out."

Sarah Palin Selling Smarts

From The Boston Hearald:
Within a matter of days, Sarah Palin has gone from virtual unknown to pop culture icon and now has her own - in fact three - action figures.

A trio of Palin action figures went up on the Connecticut-based earlier this week and founder Emil Vicale was fielding thousands of orders yesterday.

Talk about an online sales success story...

There’s the Palin “executive model” dressed in a pantsuit. There’s the “super hero” Palin with a .45 caliber strapped to her thigh and the midriff-bearing, red-bra wearing “school girl” Palin.
Whats Next? A McCain action figure? whoops... too late:
A bulked up-John McCain action figure and a bare-chested, ripped “beach blanket Obama.”
Vicale said he’s been getting “thousands of orders” for the Palin figurines - so many he couldn't even keep count. “We’re just trying to hold on and make sure the Web site doesn’t shut off,” Vicale said.

“She’s hot,” Vicale said of the Alaska governor and 44-year-old mom of five. “She put the hot in hot.”

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

iphone 3G Leads The Way To Real Estate Success

House hunting with a mobile phone
By Sue McAllister Mercury News

If you ride around in the car on weekends trying to find open houses while balancing a newspaper and map on your lap, it may be time to use your mobile phone instead. A display of properties for sale — and even open houses — may be as close as the screen on your wireless device.
Despite the housing market slowdown, many Americans are still house hunting, and they helped send sales of smart phones and wireless devices to nearly 21 million units in North America last year, according to research firm Canalys. Big companies and start-ups alike are scrambling to provide what could be described as the ultimate tech novelty for home shoppers and looky-loos: searching for homes from a phone.
New mobile services allow users to search for homes for sale, see pictures and details about the properties, get driving directions and call or e-mail the real estate agents handling the sales.
Here are a few of the companies delivering real estate listings to mobile devices:

Trulia: The San Francisco company, a self-described listings "search engine," two weeks ago announced its new downloadable Trulia Mobile, an application for iPhones and other smart phones, including some BlackBerry, Ericsson, Motorola and Samsung models. Because the devices can pinpoint your location, you can search for open houses and listings nearby without typing in a city or street address.

You can see one picture and a few details about the listing, phone or e-mail the
agent, and get driving directions. Listings come from Trulia's database, which is extensive but not as complete as most local multiple listing services' (MLS) data.

Terabitz: The Palo Alto company that builds Web sites and customer management systems for realty brokerages has also developed mobile listings search for some of its clients, including Intero Real Estate Services and, the listings site operated by Home and Garden Television (HGTV). So far available for iPhones only, the technology features listings straight from MLSs, including multiple photos and plentiful details about each property. An "explore neighborhood" feature lets you see recent sales as well as school and restaurant information. Released last year, the downloadable products for iPhones and some other smart phones let users search listings, and includes a "Homes Near By" feature that will search in a 10-mile radius based on where the user is at that moment. As the official Web site of the National Association of Realtors, features nearly 4 million listings nationwide.
Home Finder: This iPhone application from Alexander Mobile draws listings from the Google Base database, which incorporates some but not all of the nation's MLSs.

Experts say the above sites are only a beginning and that mobile phone real estate services are certain to develop and improve because customers are eager to use them.

Pete Flint, chief executive of Trulia, said more than 10,000 people downloaded versions of Trulia Mobile in the first few days after it was released Aug. 25.
"We've been genuinely staggered by the demand," he said.

One thing that prompted the development of the application was that analysis of traffic to Trulia showed that among visitors coming to the Web site via iPhones, the peak time was on Sunday afternoons — prime house-hunting hours. Flint said the company plans to improve Trulia Mobile by adding more photos and information about recent home sales.

Ash Munshi, president of Terabitz, also said his company will be adding new capabilities to its mobile search, and will expand to serve devices other than iPhones as phone manufacturers increase the size of video screens.

Surfing for listings on a small screen is not everyone's idea of fun.
"Although I can do it, I don't find it enjoyable," said Mary Pope-Handy, an agent with Keller Williams who lives in Los Gatos. She's used a mobile listings-search product for Realtors called Pocket MLS on her Palm Treo 700, but only occasionally.

"It's just too annoyingly small," she said.
But Robert Whitelaw of Whitelaw & Sons, a real estate broker in Morgan Hill, said he likes the Trulia mobile application. He described it as "prettier" than other such products, but thought some consumers would be frustrated by it because Trulia does not incorporate as many listings as MLS-based services do.

The iPhone-toting broker said home buyers he works with are gaining both the tech savvy and the proper devices to complete more of their real estate searches and from mobile devices.
"We're in the infant stages" of the trend, he said.

Apple's iPhone 3G 'siphons' sales from other smartphone vendors in July

From the Associated Press this week: Sales of the iPhone 3G "siphoned off sales from other smartphone vendors" in July, Morgan Keegan analyst Tavis McCourt wrote in a note to investors Tuesday.

It seems that Apple has finally been able to breakinto the business smartphone market.

The iPhone 3G remains the top-selling phone at most AT&T stores in North America and the U.K., according to data from Morgan Keegan. Inventory issues related to the iPhone arose in August at AT&T stores but not at Apple stores, the analyst said.

McCourt said the iPhone 3G ranks higher than the Blackberry Curve, which had kept its spot as the top-seller at AT&T stores for more than a year. The Curve has been repriced to $99 from $149, and McCourt believes that will accelerate sales.

At AT&T stores, top-sellers behind the iPhone 3G and Blackberry Curve are the Samsung Blackjack 2, Palm Centro and Blackberry Pearl.

At Verizon and Sprint stores, where the iPhone 3G is not available, the top three sellers are the Blackberry Curve, Palm Centro and Blackberry Pearl.
So, the question remains - is the iphone 3G a great tool for increasing your sales success, or is it a fun phone for watching Star Trek reruns?
Beam Me Up Scotty
The new iPhone 3G gets all the good business features. If your company uses Microsoft Exchange, iPhones will handle email, calendar items and contacts the way Blackberries and other Smartphones do.Included in the new feature set: push email, push calendar, push contacts and access to your corporate global address and distribution lists.
Now, off to watch Trouble with Tribbles.

Keys to Successful Sales part 1

Strategy One:

Visual your objective.

Take some time to relax in a a quiet location. Grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, a pen and pad and let your mind go wild. Visual what your goals will be, and then most importantly - what meeting your goals will do for you. Don't hold back, go crazy with your wildest dreams.

Now take your pen and paper. Draw a line down the middle of the page. On the left write what your goals will look like when met. For example "I will sell $10,000 worth of services per month" or "I will close 3 additional sales this year".

Did you notice that the goals are specific and timely? "Make more money next year" is not a goal. "Increase my sales by $50,000 in the next six months" is a goal. Specific and timely. On the right side of the line write what meeting your goal will do for you. For example "Pay off my credit cards" or "support my family" or "Buy a new Car" or "Take a Vacation".

The keys to this first step are: 1) Visual your objective; 2) Visualize what meeting your objective will do for you; and 3) writing both elements down on paper. The last step is critical - when the ideas go from fantasy to hard cold words you mentally begin making a commitment to meeting the goal.

OK, congrats - Step One is in the bag. On to Step Two