Network Marketing For Retirement Income?

Source: forbes.com ~ Contributor: Robert Laura

At some point in your life you’ve been pitched a multi-level marketing (MLM), direct selling, or network marketing business opportunity.  While the pitch varies from company to company, it basically promises a chance to ditch your 9-5 work schedule, be your own boss, and make lots of money while making new friends in the process.

It all sounds good on paper, yet there is a seemingly endless debate over whether these companies and programs are legitimate business opportunities or not, so I dug in and got the real scoop.  As a result, I believe that the entire industry is poised for explosive growth and can be one of the most significant solutions to America’s current retirement savings crisis.

Initially, that may sound like a bold statement, but it’s not if you understand retirement the way I do.  The reality is, making a successful transition into retirement has more to do with psychology than with money… and the same may hold true for multi-level and network marketing.

Don’t get me wrong, money has a role in retirement, but it’s not the primary one every one gives it.  Combine that concept with eye-opening statistics like AARP’s estimate that half of all baby boomers (76 million) are interested in starting a business and the makings of a massive trend are in place.

As far as the retirement saving crisis is concerned, more and more people are coming to terms with the fact that they probably aren’t going to be able to save enough money to just sit around and slowly deplete their nest egg from age 62 to 100.  With the average 50 year-old estimated to have less than $50,000 in retirement savings, there is an obvious need to find alternative ways to either save more or generate supplemental income starting now, and continuing throughout retirement.  Moving beyond just the dollars and cents, boomers are growing tired of feeling guilty or bad about their past savings habits and are interested in moving towards possible solutions.

Another growing reality that could benefit MLM and related businesses is the increasing number of baby boomers who are disenchanted with their current careers.  They’re worn-out from years of the corporate grind and don’t feel the connection between their job and the people it impacts outside their office walls or company grounds.  They’re shifting their focus from accumulating a giant nest egg to a desire to be part of something bigger and better… to have a positive effect on others… and working in retirement.  Facets of life that can be fulfilled with specific types of products and service available through some MLM or Direct selling opportunities.

MLM and direct selling programs also offer very low barriers into entrepreneurship, often providing training, support, and ample encouragement along the way.  As retirees begin to realize they need activities that keep them busy, relevant, in good health, and connected to others, the time, energy and cost to participate in these kinds of companies make them very appealing to large segments of the population caught up in these dynamics.

This is not a ringing endorsement for the entire industry.  Like any investment of time, money, and energy, people need to be aware of what they are getting into and do their homework.  That’s the primary reasons I began researching the topic by reaching out to regular everyday people involved in these types of businesses and who were willing to skip the hype and offer a transparent view of the programs and give their opinions as to whether this can be a realistic source of retirement income.

I initially spoke to a retired friend who said she joined a health and beauty direct selling company as a means of meeting new people. She had recently remarried and moved to a new location, so she combined the practice of meeting new people with making extra money.  After almost a decade in the business, she’s built a small niche business with family and friends despite switching to from one company to another competitor after three years.

She admits she doesn’t attend all of the company’s local meetings and goal-setting sessions because she’s not interested in becoming a top producer.  She just likes to use the business activity to keep busy (particularly in the winter) and use the extra money she earns to travel and spoil the grand kids.

Having studied the psychology and behavior of boomers, this example represents a major shift in my thinking about the industry.  I no longer perceive these types of opportunities as money-making pyramid schemes.  Instead, I now see it as a way to enhance many of the personal aspects of retirement that are rarely discussed let alone planned for, with the added benefit of supplementing other popular retirement income sources such as pension and social security.

Daria M. Brezinski Ph.D, a practicing psychologist and former marketing director for a multi-level marketing magazine, echoes these sentiments.  “Many people don’t realize that multi-level marketing companies are successful because they help people satisfy a number of important human needs, including feeling significant, having connections, learning something new, and making a difference.  I have heard people in network marketing say again and again, ‘I’m doing this because I’m meeting amazing people … making so many connections … and I feel so good about myself.’”

Dr. Brezinski’s point is well taken and easy to see practiced by popular network marketing companies.  Many MLM and NM companies tout a three-to-five year plan to attain freedom and wealth, yet many of the people running company meetings have been in the business for five or ten years and still haven’t left their full-time job or landed on easy street.  “As it turns out,” Dr. Brezinski notes, “when other human needs are being met, the members and consultants don’t focus solely on the financial aspects.”

Continuing my interviews, I challenged three others who are in the business to be straightforward, and prove to me that the process really works.  What I found was good, consistent business advice applicable to any new business.

Lorene Hochstetler, from Ohio, recommends keeping your current job while slowly making the transition into MLM.  She’s been able to replace her full-time income but explains, “It didn’t happen overnight, and I still work every day.  I am very disciplined with my business and wake up every day knowing what I have to do in order to succeed at this.  You have to treat it like a business and be willing to follow advice from others who have made it.”

Tracy Willard of California began her MLM career out of necessity.  “Prior to getting involved in my business, I told my friends to never let me join one of those things… but when our family was hit by the mortgage crisis I had to do something different.”  She started her business with the intention some retirees may also find themselves.  “I started with the idea that I just needed to make my month easier.  My company helped me figure out what I needed to do in order to make an extra $500 per month.”

She reiterated a common theme I heard throughout the interviews.  “If you treat it like a hobby it won’t pay you like a business.”  She also acknowledged that, in spite of her success, she doesn’t sit around eating bonbons every day waiting for residual checks to hit the mailbox.  “That’s a common misconception,” she said.  “I work hard at my business every day, although it doesn’t always feel like work.  Similar to other entrepreneurs who profit from their passion, she says “It’s rewarding because I found a product that has made in difference in how I look and feel… and I love selling it and helping other people start a business.”

Staci Cahill runs her Washington MLM company in a way many people can appreciate.  She keeps her personal life separate from her business life by avoiding home parties, offering instead workshops that educate prospects on the products she offers.  “I didn’t want to be that person others hid from because they thought I was going to ask them to host a party.  I like to keep my business life and personal life separate.”

When I asked her if she was successful at her craft, she pointed out an MLM approach different from what many might expect.  “Yes, I am very successful given what I wanted to get out of it.  I’m a single mother who used to work 50 hours per week outside the home.  Now I’ve cut it to 20 hours, which is a major upgrade for me and my family.”

As a five-year veteran of MLM, she attributes her success to the fact that, “I switched companies a few years ago once I realized that pots and pans don’t change people lives.  The products I now offer has changed my life and that of others… and I find a lot of value in waking up and going to bed knowing that.”

The interviews and psychological connections lead me to conclude that MLM and NM companies, along with other small businesses opportunities, are important considerations for anyone entering retirement.  In fact, I believe the concept of starting a business for retirement income will become one of the most significant trends impacting retirement in the 21st century.  But it has to start with redefining entrepreneurship and framing it into a retirement lifestyle.  That means helping people find ways to turn a passion, hobby, or personal desire into extra money in their pocket… not to mention helping people see the importance of  planning for the non-financial aspects of retirement such as replacing a work identity, staying relevant and connected, as well as keeping mentally and physically fit.

Something multi-level marketing as well as network marketing companies are poised to capitalize on.  As a result, the industry could soon experience larger than life growth, spurred by baby boomers looking to adjust their retirement feelings and plans.

Fit, Feel Fabulous and become Financially Free

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You could Work From Home?

Design your hours, days weeks, and months?

Choose the people you work with?

Decide how much performance you are willing to give to get paid for it?

AND make residual income not active income?

The Evolved Economy does just that and you too can become an income earner.

The Surprisingly Simple “Secret” to Financial Freedom Most 9 to 5-ers Overlook

Simple “Secret” to Financial Freedom Most 9 to 5-ers Overlook

“I’m ready to get serious about financial freedom!”

I used to be that guy—loudly proclaiming my intentions to build wealth and passive income, with the desire to invest in anything and everything that might grant me the freedom from a life of 9-5 drudgery.

I was working 40-50 hours a week at a steady 9 to 5, earning a nice, median salary. I had an affordable, newish car, a nice apartment, and the best television package money could buy.

It’s a good thing that most people out there are like I was—because I recognize now just how weak and beatable I was. Just how lazy and incompetent. I for sure wasn’t serious. Thank goodness that most people are like I was. Otherwise, financial freedom might be difficult to achieve.

See, as a single person starting from zero, with no dependents and a decent job paying more than $40,000 per year, barring some extreme exception, I should have been building wealth atat least a rate of $10,000, if not $20,000-$30,000, per year—if I were really “serious”.

If I were married with or without kids, then progress towards financial freedom should have been far more rapid. With two people in my household earning serious incomes (and with tax advantages that I can only dream of), we would make our progress that much faster. Again, this is assuming that we truly were “serious” about building wealth.

Now, most people aren’t serious about building wealth, and that’s totally OK. I don’t intend to write for the average person interested in nice cars, fancy hilltop houses, and three meals out a week. I’m not judging them, and financial freedom is not everyone’s goal.

Nope, this article is intended for all the 9 to 5-ers out there, starting from scratch or close to it who really badly want financial freedom. I want to show them that as a fellow 9 to 5-er, there is only one way that truly makes sense for you to get started on your journey to financial freedom.

And you aren’t going to like it.

It’s not by investing or building multiple income streams. It’s a far easier and more common sense approach:

Preserving capital. 

build-wealth

If you stop reading right there, that’s your prerogative. It’s likely that you’ll never, ever have the chance to compete in any serious real estate or business endeavor, and again, that’s totally fine.

Wealth building begins and ends with preservation of capital, and for pretty much all of the people like me out there—those with full-time, demanding, but decently paying jobs—the hard truth is that that first step in the process to escape from a 40-year cubicle life has been and always will come down to preservation of capital. Frugality. Savings. Penny pinching. Whatever you want to call it.

See, when I actually became “serious” about building wealth, I of course realized what everyone else does—that there are three things that all must be applied consistently over the long-term:

  • I must preserve more of my current income.
  • I must seek greater and additional sources of income.
  • I must intelligently apply preserved capital to investments capable of producing outsized returns.

Almost anyone thinking about building wealth understands these basic premises. What most people don’t understand is that for full-time, W2 employees, any hope at real wealth mustBEGIN with preservation of current income.

Nope, at zero/negative net worth, you cannot begin by seeking outside sources of income after long hours at your day job with a high probability of success. And no, you cannot expect any paltry investments made from your cubicle to pay off outsized returns (like investing in stocks, for example).

If your plan is to do either of those things, then you will have a long career. I hope that you like your job. You’ll never (or at best, you will slowly) accumulate large amounts of capital because you aren’t working the system correctly, and you aren’t approaching wealth creation in the correct order.

The 3 Secret Reasons Why Frugality is (& Always Will Be) the FIRST Step of Wealth Creation

Reason #1: Frugality exponentially increases opportunity.

If you are like me, then you might have been listening to all those big shot investors and businessmen out there on the forums. Those guys that say things like, “Don’t limit yourself to a scarcity mindset” and “Don’t sacrifice! Build your income!” They’ve convinced you to, “Expand your mind—money is unlimited.” They’ve convinced you that you need to focus on income, not savings.

Guess what? Mr. Big Shot isn’t wrong! Income (and chasing higher and higher investment returns) is a necessary path forward, the path to financial freedom and true wealth. Youshould build more and more income streams, in ever increasing amounts over time!

But the intimidating big shot investor that looms over you telling you to focus on investments and earning more is forgetting something that is painfully obvious to all of us currently employed in full-time, average, wage-paying work:

You CAN’T seek greater opportunity because if you lose your 9 to 5, you’re screwed! In fact, because you aren’t frugal, you can’t even take a lower paying job with more upside. 

Think about that.

Let’s say you earn $50,000 per year. If I offered you a job that would allow you a ton of opportunity over the medium term, but resulted in a short term loss of benefits and pay, could you take it?

I couldn’t—at least not back when I first started working. I had bills to pay. The car, mortgage/rent, the internet, the partying, the cable bill, and whatever else I spent my money on. But fast forward a year or so later, when opportunity approached, I was able to quit my job and do exactly what I describe above. Why? Because I had become frugal. I lived far below my means and saved a ton of money every paycheck. I could afford to take a chance on a startup and to pursue my dreams.

You will never be able to keep up with the frugal, truly serious fellow in the game of long-term wealth creation if you are totally dependent on that reliable stream of income from your employer. You can’t take risks. And scaling your income is a heck of a lot harder to do when you can’t take risks.

If you can easily get by on significantly less income than you currently earn, you open yourself up to an entire world of possibilities or opportunities. I like to call it “luck.” Those possibilities absolutely include jobs and businesses opportunities that offer short-term sacrifice for huge long-term gain.

Are you in enough control of your spending that you can take advantage of opportunity when it comes your way? Or will you take the long way around?

Reason #2: Frugality negatively impacts your lifestyle WAY LESS than trying to build a business.

It’s always fun to hear people talk about how frugal people “sacrifice” and that “life’s too short” to pinch pennies. It’s pretty incredible that most people out there like to say things like, “Yeah, I wish I could save, but I’ve got a family and want to have fun. I need to focus on earning more money instead!”

These people have created an argument that I am unable to comprehend. They claim that both financial security AND family/recreational time are priorities in their lives, yet they somehow believe that being frugal will hurt their lifestyle more than attempting to earn more money. These people must be living on a different planet than me.

Imagine this scenario:

You currently work a 40-50 hour per week job, and though it pays at or near the median US income of about $50,000 per year, you spend almost everything you earn and live paycheck to paycheck. Also, you live in the United States of America where employers don’t take too kindly to you working on outside businesses or freelance work while you sit at your cubicle.

For those living in a world like the one described here, there are only two times during which they can work on this whole “earning more money” thing:

  1. After work, during those times when they would have otherwise been relaxing with friends or family
  2. During the time they would have been sleeping

Now, I don’t know about you, but having attempted to do those things, I can tell you that working harder and longer hours for my own side businesses was WAY more intrusive to my lifestyle than cutting back on certain physical amenities.

You know what affected my life way less than working really hard to start a business after work? When I moved my work closer to home (new job) and then moved my home even closer to work (new home). I did both and now bike to work.

income

This approach to wealth creation creates both more time and money. Contrast that to me driving an Uber after work. Or trying to build a website from scratch. Or starting a tee-shirt business. All of which I tried. All of which were hard. And all of which produced taxable income. All of which were not fun in the slightest.

Biking is easy. It’s also fun and healthy and FREE. It actually doesn’t negatively impact life at all. When I’m forced to commute via vehicle because of snow, that affects my life. I have to sit in a traffic jam, get no exercise, and deal with parking and the rest of it.

I’m not sure where the word “sacrifice” comes in for you, but you are out of your mind if you think that cutting back on spending in the ways that I’m talking about—intelligent frugality—are hurting my lifestyle, especially in comparison to trying to develop outside income streams from scratch.

But let’s say that you hate biking, love your big swanky apartment/house, and love eating out, even on your own. Think about this: Is it easier to found a business that creates a meaningful income or to get happy with a bike commute, some cheap and healthy lunches, and a slightly smaller, but 2x cheaper apartment/house? Which of those activities allows for more quality recreational time and more financial comfort?

If you think you are going to build a business that will earn you hundreds or thousands of dollars per month while maintaining your quality of life, think again.

Reason #3: Becoming frugal does NOT preclude you from earning more income!

I somehow had the ridiculous proposition in my head that frugality excluded me from focusing on earning more and achieving excellent investment returns. Wow! I hope you’ll laugh at my ridiculousness and learn from it. The complete opposite was actually true.

See, instead of trying to start side businesses and invest with close to nothing, as I became frugal, I started to accumulate thousands of dollars with which to get “serious” about investing and building businesses. Then, I started to accumulate tens of thousands of dollars, which allowed me to get even more serious. Give me another year or so, and I plan to have accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I’m not talking about taking the employer match on my IRA or building up an emergency fund, which everyone should do regardless of what their other life goals are. No, I’m talking about building up large, liquid capital, enough for you to consider buying things like real estate and small businesses.

If you’re really serious about building wealth, then go out there and earn more and spend less. As I see things, there are really only three logical ways to build wealth, assuming you have low to no liquid assets with which to currently invest:

  1. Save more and earn the same
  2. Earn more and spend the same
  3. Spend less and earn more

Of these approaches, the only approach that seems absurd to me (as someone who wants the maximum financial gain at the least cost to my quality of life) is option two. As someone just entering the game of wealth creation with low to no assets, that is the lowest marginal use of my time of those three approaches and the one most likely to frustrate me.

Trying to earn more money after work starting from scratch is the approach that will have the largest negative impact on your lifestyle with the lowest impact on your financial position. You’ll give up after six months. And you’ll pay a hefty amount of income tax on your earnings.

It’s amazing to me that I even considered doing the really hard stuff involved in becoming an entrepreneur from scratch, when tens of thousands of dollars I was already earning were begging to be rescued. And it was so easy. And it made my life so much better. And enabled me to buy real estate, which I guess made me an entrepreneur automatically.

first-deal

Conclusion

Before you write off frugality as a limited mindset befitting only the narrow-minded, remember that in this article we are referring specifically to the case of those who currently work full-time jobs. These are the people who currently have no or low liquid assets and live paycheck to paycheck.

For these folks, I believe that for the reasons stated above, starting with frugality is the fastest, highest probability way to accumulate large amounts of wealth quickly and to increase income and investment opportunities exponentially. It’s also the way that they can do that without significantly hurting their lifestyles. To repeat what we all know, building wealth comes down to two things:

  1. Accumulating larger and larger amount of capital
  2. Investing accumulated capital at higher and higher returns

For the employee with low assets, there really are few good ways to accumulate wealth by focusing in on investing or building additional income streams after work hours. Sure, it’s possible and you’ll hear about those stories from time to time, but I’ll bet you that those stories exemplify extraordinary hard work or some little known advantage.

Why do all that hard work and not take the easy pickings of giving up needless luxuries that really don’t improve your quality of life at all? If you really want to get rich that badly while also living the good life, why would you work long hours on earning taxable, after-hours income, when you can put in far less effort for a far greater marginal return by focusing on preserving what you already have?

Want to live comfortably with more free time and experience the magic of exponentially increasing control over your own destiny?

Cut back on needless expenses. Become frugal. Build assets.

Then, build businesses!

Source: biggerpockets.com ~ By: 

To Thrive You Need to Wake Up to These 5 Hard Truths

Entrepreneurship isn’t an easy journey, and we’re in uncertain times for sure. With overwhelming complexity, insurmountable change and big competition, it’s became more important than ever to be strategic and intentional.

I want to share a couple insights that I feel can make a different in the results you achieve in your life and business, but more importantly help you thrive regardless of the economy. Some might make you mad at first, that’s fine. Sometimes the things you don’t want to hear are the things you need to hear the most. Most blogs you’ll read will try to make you feel good, and tell you exactly what you want to hear. That createsno real change, just a good feeling in the moment. They don’t spark your mind or make you think, they don’t challenge you, and they don’t go against traditional thinking.

This one will.

1. Do the opposite.

Strange tip for those not familiar, but a real GAME CHANGER. This is a killer strategy for those serious about improving their life. The more people do something, the less valuable it is.

  • Most people over eat and eat based off pleasure vs. health.
  • Most people sleep in and have no morning routine.
  • Most people make excuses instead of progress.
  • Most people focus on the negative vs. the positive.
  • Most people spend more money than they make.
  • Most people talk about success vs. take action.
  • Most people go to college, get in debt and get an unrelated job after college.
  • Most people pray for weekends, and hate Mondays.

Don’t be like most people! No one wants to be typical. We all want to be special and different, yet most of us do the same things. The majority of us live like one another and then wonder why we continually don’t achieve any real results or success in our lives. We follow each others’ lead and rarely break the mold. Life becomes so much more convenient when you really take this seriously.

All the greats in our society live life to their own choosing, not other peoples. One way to be outstanding and valuable is to do what others aren’t doing, or what most can’t.

2. The 90-day focus.

What is your #1 goal that you want to accomplish in the next 90 days? What’s the #1 skill that you need master that will have the biggest impact on your #1 goal?

There are specific skills you have to master to reach that goal at a fast rate. Skills are weapons in your industry, so figure out the top skill you need right now and master it. Sadly, most people operate on information overload instead of mastery and have too much noise. Or, even worse, they learn just enough to get by and stop learning. Apple said it bluntly….

“We shouldn’t be criticized for using Chinese workers, the U.S. has stopped producing people with the skills we need.”

Ouch!

3. Destroy your momentum killers.

Write down your top three potential distractions and momentum killers that have held you back in the past. Now create a prevention plan for each. If you don’t have a plan to interrupt your interruptions, your plans will always be interrupted.

Distractions kill productivity, creative expression and income. Either you control your days or your days control you. Learn to concentrate and focus on the most important tasks with no interference or distraction. Prioritize your activities based on importance and then get to work with no distractions! Remember, activities without purpose are the drain to all life, wealth and peace of mind.

4. Analysis vs. emotions.

Base your decisions and actions off intelligence, not emotion. Ask yourself before every choice you make “is this the most intelligentaction to take right now, and does this action or decision get me closer or farther away from my 90-day goal?”

When you pass the stage of making decisions based on what others think or current emotion, you will start seeing real success. The best can silence their ego, push away anxieties, and analyze the situation. Don’t judge, don’t overreact, just analyze.

5. Stop the ideas, start the execution. 

“Innovation is  rewarded, execution is worshipped.”          —  Eric Thomas

Hard work trumps IQ seven days of the week. Great accomplishments don’t happen overnight or even in a few months. They will take years of consistent action linked by failure, sacrifice and discipline. If you want real changes in your life, expect that your actions need to be substantial. If you truly have the desire to create something you’re proud of, your addiction to ideas and other mindless distractions must be retired and replaced with meaningful action.

I know people who would rather poke their own eye balls out than take action, and I always find them struggling with another challenge followed by another validation or excuse. Execution is the foundational key to success. Once that happens, doors will consistently start opening for you.

Get serious about who you are and where you want to go. Realize the only way to get there is to differentiate yourself, invest in real education and start doing more than your talking.

Source: entrepreneur.com ~ By: Peter Voogd