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When Is A Scam NOT A Scam?
Author: Donovan Baldwin

Copyright 2006 Donovan Baldwin

When I started in my first network marketing business in the early 90's, I was sure that I had picked a good, honest company with a valid, useable service. I was ready to take my message out into the world. I was confident that not only would I be able to convince people that my new business provided a service they needed at a reasonable price, but, since it was a multi-level marketing company, that they would see the possibility of starting their own business and making money for both of us.

I had previously done enough sales to be aware that there would be a certain level of rejection. There always is. I was also relatively aware that, since I was not representing a well known company, that the rejection might be a little more than I might normally expect. What I wasn't prepared for was some of the hostility I encountered!

More than one person told me, "It's just a scam!" and predicted that I would regret ever having become involved with it. Others simply said, "Nobody makes money with those things." I began to have doubts, but then a check came in. It wasn't big, but it showed that money could be made. Then I got to know some people in the business a little better, and met one who was making several thousand dollars a month at it. Not only that, I had reason to use the product, and, since it was a health service and I had kids needing the service, I saved several hundred dollars with it. Later, in addition to other brokers, I got to meet several people who, although not selling the service, were saving lots of money with it, much as I had.

However, the remarks of the doubters and detractors troubled me. I saw only positive aspects of this new business and the new world of network marketing and my network marketing friends, but there seemed to be a large number of people who automatically assumed that I was working a scam, or at least working for scammers. I couldn't seem to reconcile the two sides of the issue.

After a while, I quit that program, and tried some others. I didn't seem to do as well with some of them, and I began to think that maybe people were right. Maybe all these network marketing companies were just scams, and maybe only a few people could ever make money with them...probably because of some shady business.

Somehow, I still felt that I was missing some point. I saw friends of mine doing well in different network marketing companies, yet again and again, I kept hearing how these companies were just scams. I began studying the subject of network marketing, and, in the course of trying different companies and tactics, actually began to make a nice amount of money with a company that I really respected, a company that treated me honestly and well, and a company that I sometimes heard people call "a scam".

Finally, through enough study, conversation, and experience, I uncovered what I considered to be the basis of the problem. There were actually four reasons, alone or in combination, why people figured network marketing and multi-level marketing businesses were crooked.

First, the network marketing and multi-level marketing area IS plagued by a lot of crooked programs. That is without question, and many people have been burned by these programs or know someone that has. Part of the problem is that minus adequate information and knowledge plus the human desire to get more than what one puts in, it is easy to be duped by these crooked programs. They just seem to make SO MUCH sense! Unfortunately, recruiters for legitimate and crooked programs alike seem to have one thing in common. They really like to heighten the expectations of their candidates in order to convince as many as possible to sign up...including many who shouldn't. They also tend to use a lot of the same claims, headlines, and phrasing, so it is easy to be confused about what is or is not real.

Second, it is easy to fail in any business, but particularly easy to fail (and to succeed) in a network marketing environment. The visible support of an employer is missing, as is the guidance and structure normally provided by someone who gives us a job. There is guidance and structure available in good network marketing programs, but since we can't seem to put on a "job" uniform or face, and can't walk over to Bob's desk to ask for advice, or call the manager up to the counter to explain things to the customer, many beginning network marketers feel alone and out in the cold once they have spent their hard-earned money to get started in this business. Additionally, although they want the lifestyle the network marketer claims to have, they possibly feel somewhere inside that only a crook or con man could "work in their underwear", or whenever and wherever they feel like it.

Third, most people have no idea of what they are really getting into in any business, or what to expect from the business in return. While network marketing may offer flexible hours, the option to set our own schedule, the chance to make lots of money, and so on, it is still a business and needs to be operated as a business. While it can be run as if it is a hobby, game, or part-time job, this will usually delay the returns from the business. Any new business will take some length of time to begin returning the investment made in it, and, in a network marketing startup, this may be quite a long time. I personally know many successful network marketers who were in their business two or more years before experiencing anything that could be even politely considered "success". Most people are going to drop out of their new network business in a few weeks because they are not experiencing the level of success they were expecting or hoping for.

The fourth reason is perhaps the most important. Human nature being what it is, very few people can try something like a network marketing program, fail at it, and then turn around and say, "It was my fault." Of course, as pointed out above, many factors may be involved in the "failure", but very few people will understand that they didn't do enough, didn't learn enough, didn't talk to enough people, etc. What they will feel is that they did "a lot". That is what they will believe and tell others, whether it is an accurate assessment or not. Having reached the conclusion that they had done a "good job" or had given it an "honest go", they can only conclude in their heart of hearts, and in all sincerity and honesty that the game was rigged! There is where a lot of the rejection and even anger comes from when network marketers try to move about in polite society and mingle with the normal people who get up at six, go to work at eight, and have Saturdays, Sundays, and certain federal, state, and local holidays off.

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Retired from the Army, the author has worked as an accountant, purchasing agent, optical lab manager, restaurant manager, instructor and long-haul truck driver. An active internet marketer since 2000, he now makes his living online. Find more of his articles at donovanbaldwin.blogspot.com and business-info.xtramoney4me.net/

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