Do you like chatting with people and offering helpful tips? Is your schedule flexible enough to periodically allow you 4-5 hours ‘off’ in order to leave the house and work a side gig? Then you may have what it takes to become a product demonstrator and earn up to $14/hour by handing out samples and coupons, or showing potential customers how a product works.
Product demonstrators are everywhere, from the grocery store aisle to the shopping mall to even the local carnival. Companies make use of such demonstrators to capture audience information via surveys, promote new and/or existing products, provide discounts, and answer customer questions.
Where can you go to get started as a product demonstrator?
Product demonstrator online job sites
There are several online sites dedicated to listing demo gigs. Here is a sampling of such sites:
AtWork– This company offers product demonstrator gigs all over the U.S. and pays $11/hour plus benefits. When looking for work with AtWork, your best bet is to use its integrated job board and input search terms like ‘product demonstrator’ and ‘event specialist.’
Big Orange Productions– The average daily payout from Big Orange is listed as $77.14 on Indeed, and positions with this company pay $15-$20/hour. This company contracts demonstrators, or brand ambassadors, and sends them out to grocery and liquor stores, as well as other retailers, to help with demo set-up and product promotion.
Work shifts are about five hours long and run from Thursday to Sunday (11 am- 4 pm). Product demonstrators can select the events they wish to work by using the company’s portal. The company also provides position training.
Club Demonstration Services– This company offers product demonstrator positions all across the U.S. (and will soon be in Canada) on a part-time basis. According to Glassdoor data, demonstrators earn roughly $11-$12/hour. CDS is the in-house demo company for Costco, incidentally, so most if not all of your shifts will probably occur in that store.
CDS also offers part-time product demonstrator shift supervisor positions, which pay roughly $13/hour.
Crossmark-This marketing services company offers product demonstrator positions in both the U.S. and Canada. Most of the work occurs during the weekend and between the hours of 10 am – 7 pm. According to Glassdoor, the typical hourly rate for this gig is $9-$10/hour, with event demonstrators making a bit more at $11/hour. Demonstrators work up to 25 hours/weekend.
Dyson– This high-end vacuum company hires demonstrators, or sales experts, at $17/hour with no commission. Overall, the feedback is positive. Demonstrators report working half or even full days on weekends and weekday holidays at retailers like Costco, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Best Buy. Demonstrator jobs are part-time and available all around the U.S.
Zip Recruiter is a good place for searching on Dyson jobs. Type in “Dyson Expert” as your keyword and you should get a list of geographic locations looking for demonstrators.
Healthy Bites Demo Company– According to Indeed, this company averages $16.46/hour for demonstrators. Most of the work is based in California and involves driving from location to location to do demos of products like freshly squeezed juices, coffee, smoked wild salmon, etc.
Market Connect Group– This company hires part-time demonstrators throughout the year, but especially around November and December, during the holiday shopping season. Average pay seems to be a bit higher than at other companies, with Indeed reporting $18.90/hour. From the reviews posted about this company, it appears that you can’t expect steady work here.
To locate demonstrator jobs, go to the company jobs board and input the search term demonstrator. Hopefully, you’ll see a job listing such as this one pop up:
PromoWorks– This company hires product demonstrators (PDs), also called engagement specialists (ESs), to promote products at grocery stores and other retailers. PDs earn $11-$22/hour, while ESs earn $9-$10/hour. It seems that the demonstrators are more senior to the specialists and receive higher compensation due to their additional duties, such as mentoring.
Don’t forget to apply directly to stores and retailers
Not every grocery store or retailer works with a big marketing firm. Some businesses hire product demonstrators directly. Oftentimes, these positions will also be more lucrative because the business is paying you directly, and not a marketing firm middleman.
How to make more money as a product demonstrator
Once you have a few product demonstrations under your belt, you might be able to make a bonus by reviewing the product yourself, and especially if you can post your review to your own website or blog. At the very least, you should be able to keep the product as part of your compensation.
Successful product demonstrators can also sometimes collaborate with other demo and marketing companies to increase their number of gigs. This is especially useful if one store is working with two or more such companies- all you have to do is return to that same store and perform a slightly different gig to double or even triple your daily earnings.
When you’re starting out trying to earn money online it can seem like there’s a new scam every day trying to empty your wallet.
One of the more prominent types of scams doing the rounds at the moment is link posting scams.
Just today I stumbled across another one of these that I want to talk to you about, and hopefully convince you that it’s something to avoid.
What are Link Posting Scams?
The way link posting scams are sold to you is that it’s a very easy to do system: you get a link, post the link online and when someone clicks it you make money.
In theory, that is simply affiliate marketing, and that is a very real and legitimate method of making money online.
Affiliate marketing though is actually not that easy, it requires time, energy, training and a variety of skills to succeed in.
The way Online Income Now and other link posting systems tell it, is that all you need to do is post a link and you’ll be rolling in cash and that lie is the biggest problem I have with these systems.
It’s not my only concern though…
Online Income Now by Rory Ricord
The 24 minute sales video for Online Income now opens with several news reports talking about working from home.
These snippets, most likely taken without permission, are fairly old and talk generally about working from home.
They have been used singly or together on numerous other scam sites out there, so while I’m quite familiar with them you might see them as promoting Online Income Now.
That’s precisely the aim for them, it’s to try and legitimize this system, when the truth is they really have nothing to do with it.
From there you’re shown a couple of testimonials talking generally about the system. You may notice they never mention the system name, this is so that Rory can reuse the testimonials elsewhere.
In fact, the testimonials are fake:
A few dollars would pay for a testimonial on whatever you want from that lady.
As well as the fake testimonials, there are two guarantees mentioned in the video that should concern you.
Firstly is the $500 guarantee. This is where Rory will apparently give you $500 if you don’t make any money.
I wonder if using an image of money rather than writing out $500 nullifies a verbal guarantee?
Supposedly he will give you this guarantee in writing once you buy the system, and there’s nothing in the visible terms about this. Why isn’t the guarantee upfront and visible? What loopholes are there? You won’t know until you put money on the line and that means this is not a valid guarantee!
The other thing is the 60 day refund policy. This is in the terms, but it’s worded so loosely that they can break this guarantee incredibly easily.
Who is Rory Ricord?
Rory Ricord is apparently the guy behind this system, and a quick internet search suggests he is also behind numerous other online scams.
With his wife he runs Brunette Marketing which scored an F on the BBB website (not that you should trust the BBB scores but that’s another story).
The BBB site has 7 comments, all positive, but tellingly they were all added on the same day in 2017. One would think that a business that has been around for 18 years at the time of writing would garner more reviews than that.
Not only that, but he may even be the true person behind Kelly Scott/Simmons/Richards: a persona that fronts numerous link posting scams we’ve reviewed previously.
Back to the Video
The remainder of the video covers a variety of points and at the same time very little.
There’s a long spiel that eventually gets to Rick discussing adverts and how he has profited (100% profit apparently) by posting ads (links) online.
He says it’s so easy; all you need to do is copy and paste.
There is no copy and paste system to make money online, not one that works anyway.
Just think about this logically for one second. If all you had to do was copy and paste something and you could be making hundreds of dollars overnight, why wouldn’t everyone be doing this? Poverty as we know it would cease to exist! Rory Ricord would be hailed as a hero the world over.
Let’s face it, you can’t make money without working and posting links online is not work. No one will pay you to post those links, and even if you got paid when people clicked them and bought something on the other site (as with affiliate marketing) you’d still need a framework to support it: a website, relevant content, a group of people following you to click those links, skills to drive traffic and convert it and more.
Simply slapping links on Facebook and in blog comments is not enough and will just get you labeled as a spammer!
Mentors or Sales Staff?
The sales video for Online Income Now also mentions how you will get access to your personal “internet expert” to help guide you on your journey.
I have no idea what an internet expert is, it’s a bit like saying a business expert: it means nothing in reality without context.
What it means to me though is that they will be getting sales people to call you, to guide you into buying yet more products and services at inflated prices that you just don’t need.
The Bottom Line
Online Income Now by Rory Ricord is just another link posting scam. He is trying to dress up affiliate marketing as an easy guarantee to make a ton of money overnight. He’s full of shit and looking to take you for as much money as possible. “Link posting” is not a viable way to make money online and as such my advice to you is to avoid this and all other systems promising you can can make money by posting links.
Your wallet and sanity will both thank you for it!
If you purchase skin and beauty products, even occasionally, then you may have already heard of Jeunesse Global. This company markets high-end anti-aging skin care products as well as a nutritional drink/supplement called Reserve (which is actually from Jeunesse’s acquisition of Monavie). The company was founded in 2009 by two network marketers, Randy Ray and Wendy Lewis.
What is Jeunesse Global all about?
At its heart, Jeunesse operates as a direct sales multilevel marketing company. In other words, Jeunesse products aren’t sold through retailers or even online, and are only available to purchase through its distributors. These distributors, in turn, purchase company products a discount and then sell them at full retail price to outside customers, pocketing the price difference as their personal profit.
Jeunesse’s flagship product is Luminesce, which it states is made with stem cell factors. Here is the lineup of Luminesce products and their prices:
Luminesce Cellular Rejuvenation Serum: $134.95
Luminesce Advanced Night Repair: $99.95
Luminesce Youth Restoring Cleanser: $44.95
Luminesce Essential Body Renewal: $59.95
Luminesce Ultimate Lifting Masque: $69.95
Distributors purchase Jeunesse items at a 35% discount to their retail price and then sell them to others at full price. So, if a distributor wants to sell the Luminesce Ultimate Lifting Masque at its $69.95 price tag, she will first need to purchase it at $45.47. The profit for her will then be $24.48.
In order to become activated as a Jeunesse distributor, you must first pay $29.95 to purchase a personal Jeunesse website plus promotional materials. You must also purchase sufficient Jeunesse product to accumulate 100 Commissionable Volume (CV) points. The CV:dollar ratio is roughly 0.5:1. So, if you spend about $200 on product, you’ll have accumulated roughly 100 CV.
The next level up is Executive. To qualify for this level, you must recruit two new distributors under you, each of whom also purchase the $29.95 starter package and accumulate 100 CV points. For whatever reason, these new distributors are termed “legs.”
Being an executive enables you to earn team cycle bonuses, as outlined below:
As explained by Jeunesse, once your “left leg” and “right leg” recruits have managed to sell $300 and $600 of product, you qualify for a $35 bonus.
Other bonuses are gained once you progress even higher, such as to the Jade, Pearl, and Ruby levels. At the very top of this pyramid are the Emerald and Diamond Directors- these elite members not only earn all kinds of bonuses, they also get free company-sponsored trips to vacation destinations like Florida and Cancun.
Jeunesse pros and cons:
As with all MLMs and businesses in general, there are pros and cons to getting involved with Jeunesse:
Good products– Jeunesse products are packed with moisturizers and other ingredients that help maintain skin’s supple nature. For example, Luminesce Cellular Rejuvenation Serum contains sodium hyaluronate, which is known to be hydrophilic (water-loving) and to easily soak into skin. As a result, the substance helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles. The Luminesce Advanced Night Repair has loads of natural fruit extracts.
Expensive products– Jeunesse products, even when purchased at wholesale, are not cheap. Because of their steep price, these products will not sell as fast as similar products sold by Nu Skin, or Mary Kay, for example. As a result, you will need to probably purchase samples or full size products that you can sample out to potential customers. Taking this approach will of course cut away at your profit margin.
Additionally, despite claims to the contrary, Jeunesse products are not that unique. The company formulates and adds skin care ingredients to its products that are used the world over by many other skin care companies. These other companies often offer their products for far less cost.
Low compensation– Jeunesse makes it sound like it has a very generous compensation plan for its distributors. However, after taking a second look at some of the bonuses, you can’t really call them that generous. For example the team cycle amount must be $900 to earn $35. That’s just 3.9% of the sum.
Also, Jeunesse offers New Customer Acquisition bonuses to distributors who get their customers to buy product packages. However, these packages are certainly not cheap, and it’ll be a challenge getting customers to spend that kind of cash.
Dubious scientific claims– Jeunesse and/or its distributors often make bold scientific claims about the company’s products, such as that they contain stem cells and growth factors conducive to cell regeneration. However, just looking at the ingredients list of a product like the LUMINESCE Cellular Rejuvenation Serum, you don’t see any actual growth factors or stem cells:
What you do see in the ingredients list is a number of moisturizing (i.e., water-attracting) agents (e.g., allantoin, sodium PCA, panthenol, sodium hyaluronate), purported wound healers and skin smoothers (e.g., allantoin and Saccharomyces lysate extract), stimulants (e.g., gluconolactone, ipomoea batatas extract), thickening agents (e.g., hydroxyethylcellulose, xantham gum) and antioxidants (e.g., superoxide dismutase). The only real cells being added to this cream are Saccharomyces, which are common yeast.
Emphasis on recruitment– Much of Jeunesse’s website, videos, and collateral are dedicated to member recruitment. Very little material is dedicated to explaining the products, how they work, and how hey can best be marketed to customers for eventual purchase. The business has a disturbing pyramid scheme feel to it, especially when the company portrays images such as these in its training videos:
Should you sign up with Jeunesse?
Jeunesse offers decent skin care and other products, but they aren’t cheap or even that unique. As a distributor, you’ll be hard-pressed to sell these premium-priced products to your ‘legs’ and/or customers. Furthermore, you’ll also be pressed to purchase these products yourself or risk being deactivated.
Have you bought or sold Jeunesse products in the past? Please let us know your experiences in the comments below!
Are you are Cyrano de Bergerac? Can you quickly write tomes of flowery yet witty banter? Are you able to see and write about a person’s best qualities- and even present their flaws as endearing quirks? Then you just might have what it takes to become an online dating site ghostwriter cum virtual dating assistant.
eHarmony, Match.com, OKCupid and other online dating sites offer their members various add-on services. One of these services involves having a freelance writer produce the member’s description. This is a good start for someone who may not be adept at writing or for whom English is a second language.
However, what happens when that person is then contacted by an interested party to engage in some small talk? If they are not a profuse writer or tend to go off on boring tangents, that first contact will fall by the wayside fast. Alternately, they might say something inappropriate (up to and including the classic bartender no-no’s of sex, politics and religion), causing a would-be courtship to fizzle.
To prevent such online tragedies, there are several virtual assistant agencies that contract with freelance writers to bring interested parties together on online dating sites. These agencies will work with a client from starter profile and description to photo captions to regular chats and email exchanges, up until that client is ready to go out on his or her first date.
Where can you apply to be a dating site ghostwriter and/or virtual assistant?
ViDA– Virtual Dating Assistants, a company based out of Atlanta, hires contractors for their writing services and pays from $10-$17/hour (rate dependent on performance). The starting rate is $9-$10, but writers who get past training and gain clients of their own are bumped up in pay fairy quickly.
Applications are accepted online and involve a 90-minute writing test where the candidate pretends to be a man sending messages to a woman he met online. If this writing test is passed, the candidate then conducts several telephone interviews. Once hired, the contractor goes through a rather regimented training program in an effort to know and convey the ViDA brand.
From there, the ghostwriter performs the following tasks on a 20 hour/week basis:
Personal Dating Assistants– This site caters mostly to men seeking women for love and companionship. PDAs hired on at PDA do a number of tasks on a part-time to full-time basis:
As you can probably tell from the duties described above, PDA offers a suite of services for its clients, from profile creation to date coaching- and beyond. As a contracted writer, you would probably be hired on to do mostly dating profiles, emails and text exchanges. Pay rate is not advertised on this site, but it could be equivalent to that of ViDA, especially given the fact that PDA mentions that its “dating assistant service works out to $9.50 per hour on average.”
The PDA application procedure is interesting, to say the least. You are expected to talk about your dating history as ‘proof’ that you can do this job. Links to your personal website and online dating profile are appreciated.
iDatingAssistant– This site occasionally lists opening for contract writers that will be tasked with profile writing/editing, email composition, photo captioning, and even texting. The pay rate is not disclosed, but it might be around $10/hour given that the company’s deluxe package costs $499 and includes 30 hours of work (equaling about $16.67/hour).
This site may or may not pan out for prospective ghostwriters, given that its newsletter subscription service isn’t functional right now and the site has sparse content, even though the domain was registered back in 2011.
Not everyone succeeds when attempting to find a job at ViDA, PDA or iDA. So, where else can you go to look for this kind of work?
Start with Google
Input the search term ‘online dating ghostwriter’ or ‘online dating assistant’ into Google and you’ll be served with several different search results that mention writing and rewriting of dating profiles. You’ll also find want ads for dating articles, which are not a bad way to get started in this line of work and may help eventually qualify you to work at ViDA and/or PDA.
Go to online dating sites
Match.com, Bumble, Tinder and other online dating sites often post openings for online dating writers. It doesn’t hurt to reach out to them and inquire- even if there is nothing posted directly on the site. Alternately, you can try inputting online dating site names into job boards on Indeed, Monster, and GlassDoor.
Start your own ghostwriting service
Many online dating ghostwriters get their start by helping out their friends and colleagues with their dating profiles. If they are successful, they are often referred to others. This can snowball into a full-blown business, as evidenced by Scott Valdez of ViDA.
Online dating ghostwriting and you
As an online dating site ghostwriter, you might raise a few eyebrows regarding the ethical implications of your side gig. What you do- and won’t do- for your clients will probably need to be established and then reestablished several times. This gig will also give you a newfound appreciation of the nuances of human psychology. At least it won’t be a boring job- and it will certainly help you out in your own dating experiences.
If you’re into sparkly jewelry and like bling, you may have come across Touchstone Crystal. This company sells Swarovski crystal jewelry and claims to trace its history for over 120 years due to its affiliation with Swarovski Crystal; however, the company itself, which functions as a subsidiary of Swarovski, is only eight years old.
What is Touchstone Crystal about?
In brief, Touchstone Crystal is a direct sales multilevel marketing (MLM) company. As such, it sells its merchandise directly to independent consultants at wholesale; those consultants then price their items at a set retail value and sell them to consumers.
Consultants make a profit on the price difference of their sold inventory. They also make a commission from the sales of people they recruit as independent consultants.
Touchstone Crystal offers some rather unique and dazzling pieces. Here is a small sampling of the company’s offerings:
You can purchase Touchstone Crystal by going to its website and selecting your desired products. From there, you are directed to get in touch with your local consultant in order to finish the purchase.
So, unless you deal with a consultant, you cannot buy the jewelry outright.
Of course, you could choose to become a consultant yourself, which would enable you to not only purchase Touchstone Jewelry at wholesale price but to also make a profit by selling it to others.
The Touchstone Crystal consultant process
To become a consultant with Touchstone Crystal, you first need to purchase one of these two kits:
Basic $139 Starter Kit
Enhanced $299 Starter Kit
The Basic and Enhanced Starter Kits come with 8 and 13 jewels respectively, as well as business tools. If you wish to set up a website, that costs an extra $9.99/month.
Once you have your kit purchased, Touchstone Crystal emphasizes that you sell to others using the home party model. The company estimates that you will make about $200 in profit from each party you host. Here is a more detailed breakdown of the process:
So, if you are just a starting consultant, you should be hosting one party per week, during which you will sell $700 worth of merchandise and pocket $210 for yourself. At the end of the month, you should have sold $2,800 worth of merchandise and earned $840 for yourself.
This also suggests that your wholesale costs on the jewelry you purchase are roughly 70% of retail cost.
You can also make additional money by recruiting others into your team. Touchstone Crystal provides the following information on compensation from your downline:
What if you can’t decide on becoming a consultant, or just want to snag some of the jewelry pieces at a lower cost? To this end, you can host a party for a current consultant and just invite your own family members and friends. The rewards are shown below and include 30% of sales coming back to you in free product.
While this all sounds great in theory, there are different pros and cons with being a Touchstone Crystal consultant.
Unique and beautiful jewelry– Touchstone Crystal definitely offers some good-looking pieces that sparkle and shine. Most people are well-aware of the Swarovski name and its quality.
Evergreen product– Jewelry is considered to be an evergreen product, meaning that most people can be persuaded to buy more of it, even if they already own other jewelry.
Expensive product– As this example shows, Touchstone Crystal pieces aren’t cheap.
This may pose an issue for some customers who can’t splurge on items that cost $100 or more. In fairness, the company does offer many of its jewelry pieces at $50 or below. Still, this isn’t $5 Paparazzi jewelry.
Warm market emphasis– Touchstone Crystal emphasizes that you sell to your warm market; i.e., family and friends. That might work for a while, but inevitably, your warm market will dry up. This is especially true if someone has recently spent $100-$150 on jewelry- it’s doubtful that the person will return and make another large purchase anytime soon.
Unclear compensation plan– The Touchstone Crystal website does not offer a full compensation plan breakdown, such as what exactly consultants earn at each level. Also missing is a detailed breakdown of downline earnings and what percentage is kicked up the recruiting consultant.
You must buy product– If you’re going to be hosting parties all the time, you’ll need something to showcase besides those Starter Kit pieces. As a result, you’ll be buying Touchstone Crystal jewelry before you sell it to anyone else. Even when priced at 70% retail, this is not cheap jewelry. And if your purchased pieces don’t sell, you’re out of the money you paid for them.
eBay– Why should your customers buy a $100 necklace from you when they can easily purchase the same necklace on eBay for half (or even less) the cost? Yes, eBay currently offers 174 auctions for various Touchstone Crystal jewelry pieces, and almost all of these pieces are new and priced at discount. More than likely, the pieces are being sold by consultants who have given up on the business and are just trying to recoup some of their losses.
Touchstone Crystal: Good jewelry, not-so-good business
Touchstone Crystal offers impressive jewelry that is sure to catch attention from others due to its sparkle and beauty. However, the business model has several insurmountable problems, including product expense, warm market emphasis, and an undefined compensation breakdown. If you really like the jewelry line, you’re better off hosting one party and getting a product discount. As far as the Touchstone Crystal business model is concerned, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
Have you bought or sold Touchstone Crystal before? Please let us know your experiences in the comments below.
This Canadian magazine accepts submissions from April 1st to July 31st for the Winter issue and September 1st to December 31st for the Summer issue. They will not entertain or read submissions any other time.
Up to three poems or 360 lines may be sent in a submission, and only one submission per year is allowed.
Crazyhorse is a publication from the College of Charleston, which accepts poetry submissions that reflect multiple poetries of the 21st century, especially those written by poets from underrepresented communities.
They welcome submissions from September 1st to May 31st. You can also submit your entry for their Crazyhorse Prizes from January 1st to January 31st.
Payment is at $20 per page, with a maximum of $200 payment.
Short-form poetry doesn’t pay much but if you’re constantly jotting them down, know that you can get paid for them.
50 Haikus is a literary journal featuring only Haiku poetry in open form, with each issue containing exactly 50 Haiku poems.
They are open for submissions all year round, but you can only submit up to 5 times each month, 1 poem per submission. They accept submissions through their Submissions Manager or through the post.
Token payments are $1.50 normally, with Editor’s Choice submissions paid $10. After publication, a one-year online subscription to 50 Haikus is awarded as well.
How Much Can You Get Paid to Write Poems?
You can get paid anywhere from $2 to $250 to write poems, depending on whether they are published. Every site above has a different payout schedule and various requirements you need to meet before you get paid.
A lot of these sites only accept submissions a few times per year.
How to Get Your Poems Accepted
You can’t get paid to write poems if your poems don’t get published. Here are some tips to increase the chances of your poetry getting published.
1. Read and follow the submission guidelines carefully.
For every poet who doesn’t know how to follow instructions, there are hundreds out there who do.
Why risk getting ignored when you can simply follow their submission guidelines?
2. Familiarize yourself with previously published works on the websites you’re submitting to.
Knowing the styles of poets who have already been published on those websites will help you know what the publisher expects.
Publishers would much rather pay those who can provide what they’re looking for.
Some publications require you to buy back issues for a discount, while others have their digital issues available online for free.
Weigh the investment of buying back issues or even subscribing against the potential earnings to know if it’s worth it.
3. Submit as often as you can, to as many websites as you can.
The more poems you have out there, the greater the chances that someone will be interested in your work.
As you have probably read above, not all of them accept submissions year-round. It’s useful to have a calendar marked with submission schedules of the websites you’re interested in.
Ready to Get Paid for Your Writing?
Getting paid to write poems all day long may seem like a dream to some, but the reality is it’s often challenging and submission fees can quickly add up.
If you’re new to making money online, you might have an incorrect perception that it’s easy and incredibly quick to generate cash. Sadly, that’s not true but many systems state things like this in the hope it will make you buy them.
For example, take Secure Job Position which states “within 5 minutes you could be making real money”.
Not only that but they suggest you’ll start earning immediately even with no skills or experience. That’s quite a claim to make but the reality is they are targeting desperate people who need extra money and fast.
Long story short, this Secure Job Position program exists for two reasons:
To get you to pull out your credit card and make a purchase without thinking twice about it.
To label you a sucker and to sell you more products in the future.
Don’t fall victim to this crap.
Secure Job Position by Kelly Simmons
One of the first things you encounter on the Secure Job Position website is a form to get your email and phone number. In theory this is to check for availability in your area, but the reality is more sinister.
If the system available where you live? If you live anywhere in America then yes, it’s available. The form is what I call an email harvester in that they are just trying to get your details so they can send email after email and make call after call to you to sell you stuff.
(January 2018 Update: I first reviewed this system in June 2017 and Kelly was quick to notify me that “There is Currently 7 Positions Left In Your Area.” It’s now 7 months later, the glaring grammatical error hasn’t been fixed and those positions somehow still haven’t been filled.)
If you pass this so called check, you’ll end up on the main sales page.
Cookie Cutter Sales Pitch
I’ve seen this sales page numerous times, and it’s virtually the same each time. The only differences are the name of the product and occasionally a different name than Kelly Simmons.
If this system was legit, why would they need to add it under dozens or more different domain names?
Do you see any other business having a duplicate of their site under a different name? No, of course not!
This sort of tactic is to steel themselves against the inevitable burning of one of their domain names due to bad press or worse.
The tactics used in this sales pitch are common, but not something any upstanding marketer would use.
For example, there are several well-known news agency logos on the site most likely used without permission. It states that work from home opportunities have been featured on them, and this is likely true, but the real aim is to suggest that this product has been featured on them, which it has not.
“But it was featured on the news!”
This program wasn’t actually featured anywhere. The news logos you see are not endorsements.
Kelly Simmons is banking on the fact that you will see the logos and skip right past what it says above them:
“Work From Home Opportunities Have Been Featured On:”
And I’m sure they have been, but Secure Job Position has absolutely not. The people behind this want you to see the logos, associate legitimacy with the program, and continue on down the page.
As well as that, there are several scarcity tactics used. This method is common place in marketing, but where most marketers will actually follow through and remove the product, that’s not the case here. This sales page will always say there are only a few spots left, regardless of how many they sell!
A Repeat Performance
Further down the sales pitch is a legitimate news clip about work from home opportunities. This video seems to appear on every single underhand system out there and is used to bolster the idea that this system is legitimate, when in fact the video is old and only talks about home from home opportunities in general terms.
Testimonials can be hard to verify but when they use stock photography for the people and general untraceable names, it should concern you.
In this day and age social proof is an important way for people to tell if a product is good or not, so these fake testimonials are really just trying to abuse that.
Is Secure Job Position a Scam?
Well, yes. But keep reading to find out why.
If you were to buy this $77 program (the price continues to drop as you try and navigate away from the page), what would it teach you?
Well, the general idea behind it is link posting. This is where you add a link to somewhere on the internet and people click the link and you magically make money!
The sales letter pitches it to you as if there are multinational companies begging people to post links for them.
Apparently these companies, big names such as Apple and Netflix, will pay you between $5 and $30 per link you post!
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
First of all, if a company wanted links posting in this manner, they would either a) pay someone in a foreign country pennies on the dollar to do it or b) use their in house coders to make an automated system to do it.
No company out there will pay you that kind of money for “posting” a link. As well as that any sensible company would know that randomly posting links on the internet is not only ineffective without context, but also a type of spam!
The reality is that this system is based on affiliate marketing: you post your affiliate link, if someone clicks it and then (and this is important) buys something, you get a commission on the sale.
Affiliate marketing as a whole is a legitimate business opportunity and a very effective way of making money online, but it takes much longer than 5 minutes to make money with it!
Internet users are savvy people for the most part so they will not just click some random link, which is why affiliate marketers spend hours, weeks, months and years providing value and building a following of people.
Just because you post a link in a forum/blog comment/on social media doesn’t mean people will click it. At best the site in question will simply remove the link, at worst you’ll be labelled as a spammer and/or banned from the site.
Secure Job Position is preying on your vulnerabilities. They are using hype and non-sense to get you to buy into their system without thinking rationally.
“But they offer a 30 day money back guarantee!”
Their terms state:
6. Refunds: Secure Job Position offers a 60-day refund policy from the date of purchase on the initial enrollment purchase price only. All we ask is that you examine everything and put forth an honest effort for the first 30-days and you may make money – it’s that simple!
I have seen these exact terms used in the past and similar scams use the “honest effort” line to prevent you from getting your refund.
If you have paid them already and are looking to get your money back, their listed customer service line is 1-877-843-6846. Be prepared to put up a fight. It might be better off to just dispute the charges with your bank or credit card company.
All you need to do is ask yourself one simple question: if anyone could be making over $1,000 per day by doing something that requires no experience, skill, or expertise, why isn’t everyone doing it?
That tells you all you really need to know about this opportunity.
The Bottom Line
Can you make money with Secure Job Position?
No, absolutely not.
You are going to be sold dodgy, outdated training and when you fail to make any money, they will come along with another program to buy that will guarantee you success again beyond your wildest dreams.
You are simply handing over your credit card information to scammers and telling them “Hey! I’ll buy anything you have to sell me!”
Avoid programs like these, and any ones out there that claim you can make millions overnight with no experience, skills, or effort required. You are setting yourself up for heartache and lost money.
If you’ve purchased vitamins, protein shakes or other wellness products online, then you may have heard of Melaleuca. This company, which was founded in 1985, offers many (400+) different health and wellness products, including the following:
Vitamins, minerals and supplements
Bath and shower products
Weight loss products
Melaleuca’s unique value proposition is that all their products are organic. So, even though the products do cost more, they are better for you and the environment. It also appears that the company attempts to work with local farmers and suppliers whenever possible.
When you reach the Melaleuca website, you can shop for products and even place them into your shopping cart. Prices are not advertised on the storefronts, nor are they displayed when your items are in your shopping cart. Once you attempt to checkout, the site forces you to create an online account, which involves providing your phone number and email.
Why would you need to provide your phone number in order to create a shopping account?
Because this information is eventually used by other Melaleuca members to contact you and encourage you to sign up with the company as a member.
I know this because I had to call the company in order to set up my account. On top of my phone number and email, I was asked for my full name, state of residence and zip code. I was then told that my account would be set up in 48-72 hours once a marketing executive had gotten in touch with me. Alternately, I could work with a current Melaleuca rep in my geographic area to create my account.
When I responded that I was only interested in purchasing some products from the Melaleuca website and seeing their prices, I was provided with the following guest access site address: melaleuca.com/usguest
What’s good about this guest site is that, while you still can’t purchase your products from it, you can at least see their actual prices. To complete your purchase, you are again forced to sign up as a member.
So, why is Melaleuca so interested in having you become a member?
Because the company operates as a multilevel marketing or MLM business. Except that, in the case Melaleuca, it is always called a “referral-based” business.
What is the Melaleuca referral-based business about?
Melaleuca operates as both a health and wellness product e-tailer and a referral-based business. Company members, who are non-employees, sign up with the company in order to purchase its products online and have them shipped to their homes/businesses. The price of signup is not openly advertised on the website, much like its product prices. However, the current cost of signup is $35.
In order to complete signup, the prospective member must work with a current member and sign up under him/her. As a result, that current member, who is now referred to as a Product Advocate, earns a commission every time his/her new downline member makes a product purchase. The standard commission is 7%, which adds up quickly if the Product Advocate recruits a few more members under him/her.
Whether you are a member or Product Advocate, however, you must accumulate a set number of product points each month in order to remain in active status and collect commissions. Currently, the point level is 50, which translates to about $80 of product. So, for every month you wish to remain with Melaleuca, you must place a product order of around $80.
Interestingly, Melaleuca never uses the word MLM to describe its recruitment emphasis. Instead, it always states that it is a “referral-based company.” However, if a business offers incentives to its contractors/members to recruit others into the business, and pays them a commission for doing so, then that is the essence of network and multi-level marketing.
As with any MLM or other business opportunity, there are pros and cons.
Eco-friendly, organic products– Many of Melaleuca’s products are on par with what you would locate at stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. The company emphasizes that its products are better for the environment, and it employs fair trade practices with farmers and suppliers.
Expensive products– It can be argued that organic and ecologically friendly products are going to cost more than mass produced items found at regular grocery stores and discount chains. However, that’s sometimes hard to justify when purchasing $10 toilet bowl cleaner or $8 glass cleaner.
Automated purchases– As a member or a Product Advocate, you are enrolled in a product auto-ship program. You can opt out of receiving certain products, but you must make a purchase each month or be deactivated.
Warm market emphasis– The company encourages its members and Product Advocates to reach out to their warm market (i.e., friends and family) as a method of recruitment. This is fine at first, but warm markets eventually dry up once everyone has either been sold to, recruited or attempted to be recruited. Steady sales and promotion in the MLM ranks is usually accomplished by those members to reach beyond their warm market. Unfortunately, Melaleuca provides very little training in this arena.
Low average earnings– Melaleuca discloses how much its Product Advocates earn as they recruit other members and move up the ranks. It’s not that much, as shown in this table:
The average yearly income for a Product Advocate 3, who has around 6 personal customers and 20 active customers, is only $550. That’s not a side income, or even enough money for a vacation.
Is Melaleuca a good business to enter?
While Melaleuca offers organic and good quality products to consumers, its commissions are too low to warrant this company being a good business opportunity. The Product Advocate would need to recruit dozens of personal customers and hundreds of active customers in order to make a decent part-time to full-time income. While this is possible, it also requires reaching out to a wider audience, not just one’s warm market.
A final drawback to this business is its emphasis on buying products each month for personal or demo use. This leads to Product Advocates having product stockpiles at their homes. Even months after quitting Melaleuca, many reps still reports having product backups and stockpiles in their closets and basements.
Overall, there are better and higher-paying business opportunities out there, and which don’t require monthly product purchases.
Have you worked with Melaleuca as a Product Advocate? Please leave a comment below about your experiences.
If you take an interest in jewelry, purses and accessories such as sunglasses, you may have heard about a company called Stella & Dot. This company offers several different lines of chic jewelry designed mostly by New York designers, as well as purses, belts, tunics, scarves, etc. The company was founded in 2003 by Jessica Herrin and has even been featured in Vogue and Cosmopolitan.
You won’t find S&D items in stores because the company operates via a direct sales model, working with so-called “Independent Stylists,” who are actually private individuals (like you and me), to sell its goods. The company does offer its goods via its website, however.
Stella & Dot is also an multilevel marketing (MLM) company. So, independent stylists that recruit other individuals to also become stylists receive commissions from their sales.
How do you become a Stella & Dot stylist?
To sign up, you must first purchase a starter kit from the company. There are three kit choices:
Once you receive your kit, you are encouraged to showcase your wares by hosting a “Trunk Show,” which is essentially an in-home party/demonstration. You can also feature and sell your goods online, via your own dedicated Stella & Dot website. However, the company strongly emphasizes that trunks shows are the way to go:
You start off earning a 25% commission on your sold goods, which jumps up to 30% if you sell over $2,500, 32% if you sell over $5,000, and 35% if you sell over $10,000 in a single month.
If you start recruiting others to become stylists, you earn a percentage from their sales. Stella & Dot advertises that up to an extra 18% commission can be earned from sales generated by your downline; unfortunately, this information is not broken down or otherwise elaborated on through the website.
As with all direct sales MLMs, there are pros and cons to working for Stella & Dot:
Transparency– The company seems to lay out its compensation plan rather openly and, except for the missing breakdown of downline commissions, most information is shown online. For example, here is the company’s average stylist income disclosure table:
Fashionable jewelry and accessories– Stella & Dot jewelry is chic, trendy and imaginative. The clothes are unique and many pieces are embroidered. Purses are sturdy and several are made from genuine leather.
No sales quota– An independent stylist with no downline has no set quote to meet when she sells Stella & Dot products. She can sell even a single piece per year- and still earn a 25% commission.
Responsive company– There will be customer complaints with any company or business. Where customers have complained about Stella & Dot products, the company has been quick to respond and rectify the issues involved. This also goes back to the “Delight Guarantee” that the company offers to its customers, including 24/7 customer service and free product returns.
Expensive products– Stylists who host trunk shows at their homes and assume they’ll make an easy $500 in revenues per show are in for a surprise: Guests will be hard-pressed to pay up to $228 for a stylish purse or $39 for a pair of bead earrings. It will take some convincing to get people to pay hundreds of dollars for jewelry that, at least in their minds, carries no brand recognition and/or is not made with precious metals/gems.
As an example, check out what two tunics would cost for the average customer:
Sales quota with downline– If you end up recruiting new stylists, you will be required to “lead by example” and sell at least $500 of merchandise per quarter or your commissions from their sales will be reassigned to another lead stylist. So, if you are good at convincing others to join but only so-so at selling Stella & Dot jewelry, too bad for you.
Low average earnings– If you look at the earnings disclosure posted above, you’ll find that 72.7% of stylists don’t even average $2K in earnings for their work, and almost 90% don’t make an average of $5K/year. Those odds are quite sobering when you account for the fact that these stylists are probably out there, working hard, and trying to recruit others as they go.
“Warm market” emphasis– Stella & Dot’s website assumes that its salespeople are going to consist of women, mostly stay-at-home moms and housewives, who somehow have plenty of relatives and friends to sell their wares to. Granted, every person has a certain number of people that she knows and can gather together for a party or two…but that market is quickly used up within a few months. To be truly successful, that person must eventually reach out to and attract a wider (outside) audience of potential customers.
Unfortunately, Stella & Dot says little about this larger market and how to sell to it. In fact, the company almost seems to de-emphasize online selling and advertising in favor of trunk shows- in spite of the fact that online selling and advertising have immense potential for reaching a wide target audience.
Is Stella & Dot worth it?
While Stella & Dot does offer fashionable products and impressive customer support, it may prove too great of a challenge for independent stylists to make a steady income from, or even a side income. Also, the products are expensive and require a certain demographic of customers with sufficient disposable income to afford many of the offered pieces. In my opinion, there are less challenging business opportunities out there.
Have you sold or do you sell Stella & Dot products? Please leave a comment about your experiences below.
If you have looked into any skincare and/or nutritional supplement MLMs lately, then you may have heard of Nu Skin. This company offers a direct sales MLM sales model to its independent contractors, who are called distributors. Anyone can sign up and become a distributor by filling out an online application on the Nu Skin website.
What is Nu Skin about?
Nu Skin is a Utah-based direct sales MLM company that was founded in 1984. It offers several lines of skin lotions, spa products, nutritional supplements and even select foods. Nu Skin’s 200+ products are strongly based on the premise that their use will delay and/or mitigate the process of aging. This claim is promoted quite strongly in the company’s ageLOC lines of skin care and nutritional supplement products.
Over time, Nu Skin has worked with and acquired scientific and health related companies to expand its product lines.
In 1996, Pharmanex, which is a nutritional supplements company, was added to the Nu Skin portfolio. This addition brought about the launch of the Pharmanex BioPhotonic Scanner, a device purported to measure carotenoid levels in skin and report them back to the user via a Skin Carotenoid Score. In 2011, Nu Skin bought out LifeGen Technologies, a genomics company based in Madison, Wisconsin. This enabled Nu Skin to launch its ageLOC line of products.
How do you start a Nu Skin business?
Nu Skin does not sell its products in stores. Products can be purchased online, on the Nu Skin website, provided that the customer already knows his/her distributor’s ID. Alternately, one can purchase and/or sell Nu Skin products by applying to become a distributor. To do this, one also needs to know a distributor’s ID.
The price of enrollment is low at just $25. A new distributor is also not obligated to sell any minimal volume of product. However, in order to start earning commissions and bonuses, he will need to purchase inventory at wholesale price and sell it to new customers. He will also need to recruit current customers and non-customers into becoming Nu Skin distributors.
Wholesale inventory is reduced by 25%. So, for example, if you wish to purchase and sell 3 units of ageLOC Future Serum, you’d first need to spend $492.75 on the wholesale order. Then, you would pocket $164.25 for yourself once the customer purchased those units from you.
Nu Skin products are not cheap. Luckily, the company now offers a 30-day 100% money-back guarantee on returns. It also offers 90% monetary compensation on returned products that are over 30 days old.
Nu Skin distributors also earn additional commissions from their downline- provided that their downline meets a given amount of sales. So, as a new distributor with a few recruits, you must ensure that your downline makes $200 in sales before you get that additional $10 commission.
As with any business opportunity, there are pros and cons to signing up with Nu Skin.
Study-based products– While the company has been criticized and even sued for outlandish claims about the benefits of its products, Nu Skin does publish user-based studies of its skincare and other products. These studies are based on the observations of the users after using Nu Skin products for a period of time. Overall, user perceptions of product benefits are positive.
Minimum sales requirements– Nu Skin claims that its distributors aren’t obligated to sell a given amount of product. However, if they wish to earn any kind of commission and bonuses, they must actually purchase and (hopefully) sell a given volume of product. They must also ensure that their downline purchases/sells a set volume of product.
Expensive products– Nu Skin products are expensive. Expensive products mean that potential and even current Nu Skin customers will need extensive proof that these products are good and actually work as claimed. The sales cycle will be longer. Finally, some customers will simply be out-of-reach because they will not have the budget for such expensive purchases.
False product claims– Nu Skin has been sued by five states for overstating the income earned by its distributors and has been called an illegal pyramid scheme by the Attorney General for Connecticut. It’s also gotten in trouble with the FTC and has had to pay out $1 million in 1994 and then another $1.5 million in 1997. More recently, the company was fined $540,000 in 2014 by the Chinese State Administration for Industry & Commerce for illegal sales and deception of consumers.
Exaggerated science claims– When a company publishes “scientific proof” slides like these, even non-scientists like the FTC) raise their eyebrows:
A statement, such as the one provided above, is so vague as to be completely useless. Anti-aging research has, to date, identified a few aging-related genes. It has yet to cause them “to express themselves more youthfully” – except perhaps by caloric restriction. Furthermore, the work was performed on mice and rhesus monkeys, not humans. If such an event has in fact occurred any other way, the data (i.e., journal citations) are not provided here.
And then there is this slide:
Aging research scientists still can’t agree on what is/are the actual cause/s of aging, much less how to target them. Unless LifeGen Technologies stumbled upon a massive breakthrough in aging research, such claims are unsubstantiated and misleading.
Unsavory personal and legal issues– The founders of Nu Skin have attempted to portray the business as wholesome and family-oriented. However, the founders’ personal and professional lives have been anything but. Sandie Tillotson, one of the company’s founders, has had her ex-husbands publish tell-all books that have damaged Nu Skin’s image. Nedra Roney, another Nu Skin founder, was charged with prescription and insurance fraud. Robert Clark McKell, her husband, was accused of committing other (even worse) crimes.
Is a Nu Skin business worth it?
Given the ongoing legal issues with Nu Skin and its products, I cannot recommend this company as a business opportunity. Also, because the company’s products have been overhyped by both its executives and distributors, it’s hard to believe any of the product benefits touted by the company and its published collateral. With so many other (and less scandalized) business opportunities out there, you are better off passing on Nu Skin.
Have you bought or sold Nu Skin products? Please leave a comment about your experiences below.