Tuesday, October 16, 2012

8 Alternatives to Working a Regular Job You Don't Like

By Winston Wu



In America and Asia, we are conditioned to "live to work". But unless you have a job that you love and are proud of, having to go to a job everyday can feel like a prison. It becomes a mind numbing routine where your life is controlled and in submission, while your mind is indoctrinated to "live for the company" you work for rather than for your heart.

The result of this is that your life and mind are stripped of freedom and you live an inauthentic life, like a robot or automaton. You are supposed to love to work and love your job of course, but not everyone is fortunate enough to do something they love. Many have to work solely to pay their bills, and their heart is not in it.

This workaholic culture (which is at its most extreme in America and Asia) is especially bad in Asia, where employers are allowed to make their employees work long hours, sometimes even requiring them to work 6 or 7 days a week, on a fixed monthly salary. (Ironically, Chinese bosses and workers forget that ancient Chinese wisdom says that extremes are never good, and that everything must be in moderation. But of course, money is more important than wisdom in the insanity of modern society.)

Some are able to tolerate this, but those who are freespirits, nonconformists, Bohemians, artists and creative types tend to be unable to endure this for long. They become restless and feel trapped, like they are not living true to themselves. They begin getting up late everyday and subconsciously sabotaging their work in order to get themselves fired, because deep down, they want out. It is for these types that this article is written for.

If you can't find a good job that you love, or do not like the enslaving routine of a 9 to 5 regular job, here are some alternative options and choices to consider:

1. Self-employment doing what you love, such as making money online with a website or blog. Consider working for yourself doing something you love by starting some type of business. This is not an easy route and not everyone can make it, but some people can, and so it's an option to consider. The best and most mobile scenario is to have an online business, where little to no investment capital is required, and hence not much risk involved. (This is what I do)

A mentor of mine named Walt Goodridge wrote a great book on how to make a living in self-employment doing what you love, called "Turn Your Passion into Profit". I highly recommend it as it is very empowering, awakening and informative. You can get it at his website: http://www.passionprofit.com

He and I recommend a portable type of business, such as an online business you can work from home or while traveling, rather than a traditional "brick and mortar" business which requires investment capital and risk, along with a high failure rate which could result in you losing money. I've also written a basic overview guide on making money online at: http://blog.happierabroad.com/2012/01/how-to-make-money-online-myth-vs.html

If you don't have any web design skills, you can consider using SBI to build, launch, promote and manage your web business. They handle all the complicated technical aspects for you. All you need to do is work hard in promoting your passion. Check out their Passion page or their easy-to-understand Video Tour that explains how they can help you and what they can do for you.

Steve Pavlina has some good advice about making money from your website or blog and building traffic for it at the links below:
http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2006/01/how-to-build-a-high-traffic-web-site-or-blog/
http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2006/05/how-to-make-money-from-your-blog/
http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/11/stevepavlinacom-podcast-006-how-to-make-money-without-a-job/

2. Adopt a more minimalist lifestyle focused more on spirituality, interpersonal relationships, frugality and richness of experiences, rather than on materialism and status. What this means is that you stop buying useless junk and trying to acquire luxury items that you don't need. Stop judging your life and others by materialistic standards. Adopt a more spiritual perspective rather than a materialistic one. Be satisfied with having what you need, without having to attain a nice car and house, which requires work and debt to pay off. This will allow you to be more debt free and so you can focus on higher aspirations.

Here are some tips:

- Stop wasteful spending and buying useless junk you don't need to show off or fill your emptiness. Try to fill your emptiness with more wholesome things that enrich your soul and spirit, rather than leave you flat. Material things cannot fill your void. The rich are not happier than everyone else. Experienced travelers will tell you that the happiest people in the world are not those who have too little or too much, but just enough.

- Evaluate your life based on the richness of your experiences, rather than material acquisition and career status. In this way, life becomes more conscious, meaningful and authentic. The happiest people learn how to do this.

- Live more frugally and economically. There are many ways to live frugally so that you spend a lot less to meet your needs. There are many books and websites with tips and tricks on living more frugally. (Google "frugal living" to see a list) You'd be surprised of all the ways you can cut costs and live more economically. It's easier than you think. This way, you reduce your expenses and hence your dependence on money so that you can live more freely and seeking higher purposes of your true calling.

- Minimize your attachments. Try to sever unnecessary attachments to people and things you don't really need or don't serve your life purpose, that are causing a drain on you. Remember that the more attachments you have, the more expenses and burden you will bear, which will impede your freedom and make you more dependent on money. Keep only the attachments that are necessary or special that you deem are of worthy value and quality. (What this means of course, is that it's better not to have children, if your goal is to be less dependent on money, since raising children requires big long term expenses. But of course, that's a personal decision that only you (and your partner) can make.)

- Eject people who are a bad influence on your life. People who try to bring you down, cause stress and conflict, and drain you like energy vampires, will only impede you. You are better off without them. Instead, cultivate quality interpersonal relationships with those you have real synergy with.

- Consider relocating to areas with a lower cost of living which will allow you to live on less. For example, Oregon, Nevada and New Mexico have lower costs of living compared to states such as California or New York. In such areas, one can live on less, amidst more beautiful and naturesque surroundings which are more conducive to relaxation and stress-free living. (Relocating overseas is another option with great benefits, which I will cover later below.)

- Consider selling your home and live in a trailer in the desert, forest or mountains. There are plenty of trailer parks available that are very cheap to live in. Or you can travel around the country in an RV, with all the necessities of living inside, which allows you mobility as well as the ability to camp in a trailer park or RV park whenever you like. (Contrary to the stereotype, not all people who live in trailer parks are "trailer trash". Some are very friendly, down to earth and talkative, and not as snobby as people in suburban neighborhoods. But it depends on the area of course.)

If you do all this well, you can greatly reduce your dependence on money and survive by working less, even part time, or on small self-employment income doing something you love, as suggested in option #1. Making these changes may make you look poorer, but being poor and free and living stress free and having more free time is better than looking well off but having no freedom, lots of stress and no free time. You just have to learn to not care what others think, if you truly want to be free.

Remember this important lesson: Making less money while having more peace of mind, more free time, and less stress is BETTER than making more money but with more stress, less free time and less peace of mind. There's simply no comparison. Don't let the materialistic values of your culture fool you. Remember that old saying, "No one on their death bed wishes they had spent more time at the office."

3. Find a rich partner to date or marry. Well I guess that's an option that some people may pursue, but I'm not here to give advice on it. :P There are dating sites for finding sugar daddies and sugar babies though, such as: http://www.seekingarrangement.com

4. Live with your parents. This is another option of course, but it carries a negative loser stigma in Western society. In Asia, it is the norm though, as one usually lives with their parents, even in adulthood, until they are married or have an occupation that requires relocation. Regardless though, there are many adults in America who live with their parents, more than you might think, but they don't draw public attention to it.

In any case, living with your parents definitely saves you money, and as long as you have a good relationship with your folks and are doing something productive with your life, it shouldn't matter what other people think. You do not have to conform to other people's standards. They don't own you and you don't owe them anything. As long as you are not hurting anyone, it's none of other people's business.

5. Live and work in in an eco-village. There are eco-minded communities, aka "intentional communities", which live and work on organic farms and settlements that promote environmentally conscious living. Joining one costs little or nothing and requires commitment to working on the farm or other community projects. Although this is work, it is "happy work" which gives you a sense of belonging and fellowship with others that humans had in ancient times, which was lost by the regimentation and isolationism of modern society. If you this might be your thing, here is more information.

Global EcoVillage Network
http://gen.ecovillage.org

Directory of EcoVillages
http://directory.ic.org/records/ecovillages.php

Wikipedia Resources
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecovillage
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intentional_communities

6. Travel by hitchhiking and using free accommodation websites. You might think it's impossible to travel with little or no money, but some have done exactly that. I knew a woman once who traveled the world with her partner for 5 years, starting with only 600 dollars, by using hitchhiking and free accommodation clubs like Servas (http://www.servas.org). She went by the name "Kinga Freespirit" and was well known in hitchhiking circles, though sadly she passed away in Africa of cerebral malaria. Her website still stands though, as a tribute to her inspiring journeys around the world: http://www.hitchhiketheworld.com

I also know a guy named Charles DiBella, a cycling enthusiast, who has traveled around Asia in areas such as Thailand and Cambodia on little or no money, by simplying cycling around. He says it is one of life's greatest experiences. In doing so, he has made friends with local villagers and monks in Buddhist monasteries, who give him free accommodation in exchange for English lessons and his volunteer work in helping poor kids in the community acquire skills and education. His website is at: http://www.bikepaths.org

There are also popular free accommodation websites with many members from every country, such as http://www.hospitalityclub.org and http://www.couchsurfing.org . You can join them and find warm hosts who will accommodate you when you travel, which saves you from big hotel expenses. However, this is not just a free hotel, but more of like a "culture exchange" between open minded people. So you have to be a real people person in order to participate, as staying in stranger's homes requires a very open mind. It is very safe though, as these sites have feedback and references for each member from other members.

If you don't like staying in stranger's homes, you can stay in backpacking hostels. There are plenty of hostels in every country and region, which start as low as $20 a night. But these are dorm rooms which require sharing with other backpackers. Private rooms are available, but they cost more. You can find a directory listing of hostels at: http://www.hostels.com

Fortunately, food expenses are controllable in that there are always cheap and expensive options for eating everywhere you go. You may not always be able to eat well if you are on a tight budget, but you can always eat cheap at least.

7. Consider living overseas in a country where cost of living is lower. Now this might be a more taboo and unconventional option, but it makes sense and many expats are happy doing it. The truth is, in most countries outside the USA, cost of living is much less, so your money is worth more, which gives you more freedom and free time in addition to buying power. Great hot spots for lower cost of living include Eastern Europe, Central Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Southeast Asia, China, Latin America and many small lesser known islands such as Saipan.

There are 200 countries in the world, and you do not have to limit yourself to one. US citizens (and those of first world countries) are allowed to immigrate to most foreign countries, as long as they meet the visa requirements and laws of that country. This is one of the biggest secrets not considered by the mainstream, simply because it runs against our belief that America is the best place in the world with the greatest lifestyle and opportunity.

But the truth is, many facts make this a viable option to the high cost of living in America. These facts are an advantage to the expat that transcend any notion of patriotism or pride. Here is a list of some of the major advantages and benefits of living overseas:

a) Lower cost of living in most foreign countries. In most foreign countries, living expenses are lower than in America. Healthcare is also much more affordable and reasonable, not outrageous like in the US. But this doesn't mean that you have to live in a third world shithole in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. You can always find a middle ground. For example, Poland and Hungary are clean and modernized, yet the cost of living there costs less than in the US, and healthcare is much more affordable too. There are many options between the most expensive countries (USA, UK, Western Europe, Japan, etc.) and the poorest countries.

The important thing is that the majority of foreign countries do have a lower cost of living than in America. That is a real fact to consider. What this means is that you can work less, live on less money, or live on self-employment more easily, than you can in the US. English teaching jobs are also always available in most countries.

b) Healthy living. Food is more natural with less chemicals and artificial ingredients. In Europe for example, one does not need to go to an organic health food store to eat healthy. Mainstream food there, even in restaurants, is mostly natural and organic already. You also don't need a car in Europe, where public transportation is much more available and convenient. And walking gives you more exercise than driving everyday, which is one reason why people in other countries are much more slim and less obese than in America.

c) Dating and relationships. This is especially good news for males, and even for females too. American males who live overseas usually report that foreign females usually treat them better and are more feminine. They also are not as hateful or defensive toward men. Instead, they seem to have an innocence and naturalness that is long gone in the US. American females also report that men overseas seem different in that they don't have the inferiority complexes, dysfunctional personalities, and need for bragging that males in the US tend to have. All of this is more conducive to natural wholesome relationships, for both genders (based on my experiences and those of many that I know).

Of course, foreign countries have their downsides as well, depending on the country. Every culture has its pros and cons, so you have to find a combination of pros and cons that work best for you. The point is, as a US citizen (or first world citizen), you have OPTIONS and are not limited to only living in 1 out of 200 countries. You don't have to ignore or neglect the advantages other countries offer. Don't let patriotic pride get in the way of your happiness.

There are many expat websites with info and advice on relocating overseas. I have compiled a list of them here: http://www.happierabroad.com/travelexpat.htm

If you can't or don't want to live overseas, you can consider relocating to other US states where cost of living is lower, sell your home and live in a trailer park out in nature, or buy an RV to travel around in, as explained earlier in option #2.

8. Extra work in films and promotional gigs through talent agencies

If you are near a major city, you can be an extra in films, TV shows, commercials and corporate videos. This kind of work is easy to get. No experience is necessary. You just have to show up, follow directions and bring several sets of clothes. The pay is minimum wage, but it's fun and easy. I know from personal experience since I used to work for a talent agency in Reno, NV.

Most of the time as an extra is spent waiting in the lounge with the other extras. They feed you meals, provide snacks in the waiting lounge, and call you when they are ready to shoot the scene. The people who show up as extras are usually very social and friendly with each other. They tend to be wannabe actors who don't like working regular jobs. For some reason, those types are very social with strangers. You can make a lot of friends talking to other extras in the waiting area. Even the girls there are friendly and will talk to you, though that doesn't mean they will go out with you.

Local talent agencies cast for extra work. It is easy to get. Just call all the talent agencies in your local yellow pages, or find them online via Google. Then call them or email them for submission procedures. When I did this in the 1990's, I called all the ones in the phone book. Nowadays you can just contact them online or apply online probably. There are even online agencies nowadays. Just Google "Talent agencies in *your city*" or "Extra work in films in *your city*". There is probably a national website that handles it all nowadays.

If you are reliable, they will tend to give you more extra work, or ask you to call an extras hotline for directions to the next gig. They also seem to like casting minorities for some reason, especially Asians, probably to give the video a multicultural look. There are not many Asians in acting or trying to get extra work, so any Asian that comes along will be perceived as extra valuable. (I know this from personal experience since I'm Asian) Some people even work as regular extras everyday in TV series.

If you are lucky, sometimes the director will bump up an extra to a speaking role, which means big bucks and makes you eligible to join SAG (Screen Actors Guild) if you work three days in a speaking role. This happens rarely, but it did happen to a hot Asian chick on Nash Bridges one time, with Don Johnson.

The easiest extra work to get is for blockbuster movies, small budget local commercials, and corporate videos, aka industrial videos. For example, in Seattle or Redmond WA, Microsoft casts for corporate videos regularly through talent agencies and casting agencies. It's easy work. You just sit in the background and do what they say, and they give you a hundred dollar bill in an envelope afterward.

Talent agencies also assign promotional work as well. Companies are always trying to promote new products. So they contract with marketing agencies, who in turn contract with talent agencies to find actors and models to do temporary promotional work. In these gigs, they have you stand in public streets or malls and pass out flyers or give out samples of a company's new product. It's easy work with no pressure. You don't have to sell anything. You just have to approach people and put flyers in their hands or get them to sample the product you're promoting.

You don't have to look like a model though. They can't always get models to do this kind of work, so they will often just settle for an average looking person. They gave me tons of this kind of work after all. I was really good at it because I enjoyed approaching women every minute, and this gave me a legitimate excuse to do so. :)

These promotional gigs pay about $10 an hour and are very easy. I did it for years. As long as you're reliable and do your job cheerfully, they will always have promotional gigs for you because companies are always trying to promote new products. So the work can be very regular, if you want to work regularly that is. Summer, when people are outdoors, is the peak season for this kind of work. It's also fun in that you promote a different product every week and get to stand outside and enjoy the sun.

This is all independent contractor work with no commitment. You can quit anytime. But if you are reliable they will give you regular work. I did lots of extra work and promotion gigs through talent agencies. Call all the ones you in your area and ask how to apply. Or email them if they have a website. It's easy and fun.

I did this kind of work a lot in San Francisco and Seattle, so if any of you are in that area, I can tell you who to contact. I also worked for a talent agency in Reno, NV, so I can tell you who to call for that area too.

Warning: Beware of talent agencies who quickly try to sell you expensive acting classes. Many of them do this. When you come in, they tell you that you have a lot of potential and all you need is some training, so they try to sweet talk you into paying $900 for their acting classes or modeling classes. Or they will require you to get new headshots from only their photographer.

These are considered scams by the industry, but many lower end agencies profit mainly from this kind of thing, so they don't have much choice. Some of these lower end agencies who try to sell you classes do give you real work. But you should try to see if they will give you work without paying for their classes or paying for new headshots from their photographer. Be firm about it and see if they will give in. You should also ask around to see which agencies are more legit, or try to Google their reputation.

To learn more about becoming an extra in films, see the links below:
http://www.wikihow.com/Become-an-Extra-in-a-Movie
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-10557/How-movie-extra.html
http://www.entertainmentcareers.net/resources/becoming-an-extra/
http://beinamovie.com/extra/index.php

To see a list of national casting calls for extras, check here:
https://www.backstage.com/casting/open-casting-calls/extras-casting/

Conclusion

Thanks for reading. Hope these above options will give you alternatives to consider. Of course, you can do a combination of the above options too. Always remember, "where there's a will, there's a way." And most importantly, remember to always live TRUE to yourself and live authentically. So I recommend this book by Walt Goodridge: http://www.livingtruetoyourself.com

Thanks for reading.

Sincerely,
Winston Wu

See also:
How to Make Money Online So You Can Live and Travel Freely
How to be Free and Conscious in a Society of Enslavement and Fear

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Market America Exposed: Misleading False Claims

* Note: This is NOT another Market America shill article spreading propaganda. This is a genuine no-nonsense criticism of Market America's business opportunity using logic, facts and common sense. 

"It can be very difficult, if not impossible, for most individuals to make a lot of money through the direct sale of products to consumers. And big money is what recruiters often allude to in their pitches."
"You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone making over $1.50 an hour. The primary product is opportunity. The strongest, most powerful motivational force today is false hope."
 
USA Today article on MLM's (2/10/2011) 


 


To whom it may concern: 

Back in 2000, I responded to a "business opportunity" ad in a newspaper in Bellingham, WA. It turned out to be for Market America, which touted itself as being one of the best business opportunities in America. I attended these overly enthusiastic meetings which employed cult-like brainwashing techniques, group pressure, and sensational promises. 

But what I found out eventually is that in truth, Market America's business opportunity was just another MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) scheme, aka Network Marketing, dressed up in fancy terms in an attempt to disassociate itself from the negative stigma of MLM's. Here are some of its core misleading false claims vs. reality. 

1. Market America claims to not be an MLM and argues that it is different from one. They call their system "the binomial system of linear marketing" or "The UnFranchise System" and use terms such as "vertical downline" to disassociate themselves from the negative stigma of MLM. They claim that their downline structure is vertical, like a skyscraper, rather than horizontal or pyramidal. Here is a short video by one of its distributors that explains how their downline structure is different and better than that of a pyramidal MLM: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JX4a9Yl7eFE 

This video is a bit misleading in a number of ways. First, even if there is a vertical downline of commissions, still, the system says that in order for everyone in your downline to benefit, everyone must recruit at least two people (which of course cannot go on forever, so someone is guaranteed to lose out), so if you recruit two people and they recruit two others and so forth, of course the downline is going to have a pyramidal structure, regardless of the commission structure. 

Second, notice that the presenter put "100 percent" next to every level of the downline to make it look tantalizing. He said that everyone in your downline, including yourself, receives 100 percent of the BV (commission points) generated by the person at the bottom level. But this is a mere mind trick to make it look big. 100 percent can apply to anything, for example, 100 percent of $1 is $1 - it does not make $1 bigger than it actually is. Let's use some common sense here. There is no free lunch and no free money. Even if Market America's commission structure was a little better than Amway or other MLM's, it can't be that much better, or else the company would lose money. They cannot pay everyone more than the net profit earned, or else they would lose money. This is common sense. 

Third, note how he says that Market America has to cap everyone's earnings at $3600 per week, indirectly implying that it is so easy to reach $3600 per week, that they have had to cap it to make it fair, lest a ton of people exceed it, as if this cap really made a difference. Yeah right. It's as if we are supposed to think "Awww shucks, the most I can make is $3600 a week. Darn. I was hoping to make more!" Uh huh. It's a cheesy psychological trick to make you think that $3600 a week is easy to achieve, without directly telling you so. My gosh. Even though I can see through it, it's too bad there are many suckers out there who will not. In reality, less than one percent of distributors make anywhere near that amount. Most of them make little or nothing, or end up losing money (see the sourced statistics from Wikipedia below). 

In any case, the point is, just because Market America has a slightly different commission structure, or even downline structure, that still does NOT make it "not an MLM" as it claims, for it still fits the DEFINITION of an MLM. You still have to sell products and recruit people to earn money, regardless of the downline structure or commission plan. Here is a bare bones definition of an MLM from Wikipedia: 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-level_marketing 

"Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of the other salespeople that they recruit. This recruited sales force is referred to as the participant's downline, and can provide multiple levels of compensation." 

As you can see, this definition fits Market America to a T at the nuts and bolts level. NOTHING in Market America's business plan, downline structure or commission plan differentiates itself from this. Changing or altering a downline structure or commission plan, or repackaging itself with new terms and labels does NOT change that. Thus, Market America has no right to say that it is not an MLM. It's only doing so to avoid the negative public stigma of MLM's and of course to make itself look "special". 

So when you break it down, it's the same nuts and bolts as a standard MLM in that: You have to recruit a minimum of two great salespeople who then have to be trained to recruit a minimum of two more great salespeople, and so forth, and of course, the products have to be sold by all of you in order to earn commissions (known as BV in Market America). All MLM's work that way, regardless of how they dress themselves up. It's not anymore complicated than that. So in reality, they are really no different because they all work the same way at the nuts and bolts level - and at that level the system is fundamentally flawed (more on that below). Thus, their claim of not being an MLM is unsubstantiated. 

Furthermore, Wikipedia cites these common criticisms of MLM's: 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-level_marketing 

"MLM companies have been a frequent subject of criticism as well as the target of lawsuits. Criticism has focused on their similarity to illegal pyramid schemes, price fixing of products, high initial start-up costs, emphasis on recruitment of lower-tiered salespeople over actual sales, encouraging if not requiring salespeople to purchase and use the company's products, potential exploitation of personal relationships which are used as new sales and recruiting targets, complex and sometimes exaggerated compensation schemes, and cult-like techniques which some groups use to enhance their members' enthusiasm and devotion." 

Sound familiar? Again, that fits Market America to a T, and the video above of its compensation plan is an example of an "exaggerated compensation scheme". It's no wonder that Market America is desperate to disassociate itself from the term MLM due to this bad rap. 

2. Market America distributors claim that you don't have to be good at selling to succeed in their business. They tell this to all new recruits in order to not discourage them when they object "But I'm not good at selling". It's a total lie and a stupid one at that. Of course the product has to be SOLD. Where else is the money going to come from? Duh. Do you think your commissions are going to grow on trees? One way or another, the products have to be SOLD, and that involves SELLING. So this lie by Market America is an insult to human intelligence. In fact, you not only have to be good in sales, but also in RECRUITING and TRAINING as well, since you have to recruit people and train them. And all this for a low probability venture in which most people fail. (See stats below) Is that really worth it? Think about it. 

In fact, selling in MLM is harder than usual sales jobs. Here's why: 

a) Retail sales jobs are easy, because you are in a store where people come to buy stuff. All you have to do is be friendly and helpful and provide good customer service and they will buy stuff. That's why retail jobs tend to be minimum wage, because they are easy. You are selling to people who want something. But when you are selling to people who do NOT want what you are offering, that's a whole different ballgame. And Market America is just that. With Market America, you are not selling to real customers who are seeking your product. You are selling to people who are NOT seeking your product - everyone you can find out there, including your friends and family, who may start to avoid you if you keep pressuring them, needless to say. 

Most people do not want to join an MLM and find its products to be overly priced, so it's a huge uphill battle. In order to recruit people, you have to use some deception and illusion, which is what MLM schemes always do, because the system can't sell itself at its nuts and bolts level. Regardless, you have to be an incredible sales person and a great recruiter, but even then, you will get a lot of rejections, and you will have to use exaggerations and misleading claims as well. Common sense should tell you that if a system is good, it will not need to exaggerate or mislead, only bad systems need to employ such tactics. 

b) If you are selling something of value that is worth its price, then those who need it will buy it, if you can get it to them. In that case, you do not need to be good at sales. You just need to be friendly and helpful and provide good customer service. But in Market America's case, its products are overly priced, which is the usual case with MLM products, and therefore in order to sell overly priced products, one must have exceptional sales ability, or the ability to use deception, illusion and misleading tactics. 

c) In Market America, you are not just selling a product, which is hard enough as already explained, you are selling a DREAM as well - the dream of becoming self-employed and financially independent. That's how you recruit people and create a downline to try to multiply your commissions, by selling them a dream. Needless to say, dreams are a concept and therefore harder to sell than products are. 

"You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone making over $1.50 an hour. The primary product is opportunity. The strongest, most powerful motivational force today is false hope." 
USA Today article on MLM's (2/10/2011) 

Either way you look at it, you have to SELL the products and RECRUIT others to SELL the product as well. There's no way around it. That's a fact, even if Market America denies it. After all, your commissions are not going to come from the tooth fairy. Come on now. In order to sell and recruit, you have two options: Start with your friends and family and social network. If that fails, then you have to go out and talk to random strangers or place "business opportunity" ads in newspaper classifieds. 

Now ask yourself: Do you really want to do that? Do you want to harass strangers like that and try to mislead them into some vague "business opportunity" that you can't even be upfront about? Do you want to put vague "business opportunity" ads in newspaper classifieds to lure people in? Isn't that all very shady and predatory and unnatural? How does your conscience feel about that? And all this for a low probability venture in which most people fail too. (See stats below) Is that really worth it? Think about it. 

"It can be very difficult, if not impossible, for most individuals to make a lot of money through the direct sale of products to consumers. And big money is what recruiters often allude to in their pitches." 
USA Today article on MLM's (2/10/2011) 

3. Market America claims that if you work hard and follow their formula/teachings, you are guaranteed to succeed. This is also not true, and anyone with real entrepreneurial experience can tell you that. Business and reality don't work that way. Let me explain why. 

First: 

1) Not everyone can be at the top in a niche. There isn’t room. 
2) You can’t succeed by just following a formula. It doesn’t work that way. Too many other factors come into play, such as talent, passion, drive, dedication, luck, timing, market demand and availability, your network, social skills, personal charisma, karma, destiny, divine will, and other intangibles. 

You see, you can’t just emulate a successful person by doing what he/she did and get the same results, at least not in business. Do you think you can just copy everything Bill Gates did and get the same results he did, especially since he beat you to it and is already at the top of the pyramid? 

Let me give you another example. Can an Olympic gold medalist teach you how to win a gold medal? Even if he/she tried, can you just do everything he/she did and win a gold medal yourself? Nope. It doesn’t work that way, because there are many other factors that caused the athlete to win a gold medal, and formulas are not it. Besides hard work, talent, luck, timing, karma, divine will, etc. also affect the outcome. Some people are also good and talented at a certain niche, while others aren't. The same applies in business. 

Timing is crucial in a market. You have to be one of the first in the niche or category to establish a base. If you are not, then it’s much harder for you to compete. If you are the first to start something unique that works, then you have a much better chance. For example, if you had started an online auction before Ebay, you would have had the chance to make it big in a new market. But you can’t start an online auction now and compete with Ebay. No way. To make it, you have to start something that’s not been done before, or improve on an existing niche or specialty, which others have not before. 

So you see, it’s not that simple as following a formula. What you gotta do is this: Figure out what you do best and capitalize on that. Discover what your gifts are. Look for innovative ideas that fulfill what people want. And never quit. That’s what you gotta do. Hope that makes sense to you. 

Furthermore, the MLM formula itself is mathematically guaranteed to fail for the majority of its distributors, as I will explain in the next section below. 

4. Market America insinuates that the majority of its distributors are making money and doing well. (whatever that means) This is one of its BIGGEST LIES. Nothing could be further from the truth. All evidence and statistical research points to the exact OPPOSITE. 

First, the majority in Market America or any MLM scheme for that matter, are mathematically guaranteed to FAIL due to the inherent nature of the system. Whether you have 10 people in your downline or 1 billion, the bottom level will always have MORE people in it than all those above combined. Since the downline levels cannot multiply to infinity (even if everyone in the world were involved) it has to stop at some point. And when it does, the majority at the bottom will end up losing money. In one of my articles, I break it down for you with simple math here: 

http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/Multi-Level-Marketing.htm 

Robert Fitzpatrick, America's leading expert on MLM's, agrees. In a USA Today article, he is quoted as saying: 

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/companies/2010-10-15-multilevelmarketing15_ST3_N.htm 

"Robert FitzPatrick, who runs PyramidSchemeAlert.org and works as an expert witness in lawsuits against multilevel marketing companies, says state and federal government officials simply can't or choose not to police multilevel marketing companies as much as he believes is necessary. FitzPatrick says "virtually all" consumer salespeople who work in multilevel marketing lose because the recruitment-based marketing can only bring in so much money. Each level always has to be bigger than the last level, and the "vast majority always have to be at the bottom."" 

Wikipedia's sourced stats on MLM's show overwhelmingly that most people end up making little or nothing, or losing money. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-level_marketing#Income_levels 

"Several sources have commented on the income level of specific MLMs or MLMs in general: 

* The Times: "The Government investigation claims to have revealed that just 10% of Amway's agents in Britain make any profit, with less than one in ten selling a single item of the group's products."[24] 
* Scheibeler, a high level "Emerald" Amway member: "UK Justice Norris found in 2008 that out of an IBO [Independent Business Owners] population of 33,000, 'only about 90 made sufficient incomes to cover the costs of actively building their business.' That's a 99.7 percent loss rate for investors."[25] 
* Newsweek: based on Mona Vie's own 2007 income disclosure statement "fewer than 1 percent qualified for commissions and of those, only 10 percent made more than $100 a week."[26] 
* Business Students Focus on Ethics: "In the USA, the average annual income from MLM for 90% MLM members is no more than US $5,000, which is far from being a sufficient means of making a living (San Lian Life Weekly 1998)"[27] 

USA Today has had several articles: 

* "While earning potential varies by company and sales ability, DSA says the median annual income for those in direct sales is $2,400."[28] 
* In an October 15, 2010 article, it was stated that documents of a MLM called Fortune reveal that 30 percent of its representatives make no money and that 54 percent of the remaining 70 percent only make $93 a month. The article also states Fortune is under investigation by the Attorneys General of Texas, Kentucky, North Dakota, and North Carolina with Missouri, South Carolina, Illinois, and Florida following up complaints against the company.[29] 
* A February 10, 2011 article stated "It can be very difficult, if not impossible, for most individuals to make a lot of money through the direct sale of products to consumers. And big money is what recruiters often allude to in their pitches." [30] 
* "Roland Whitsell, a former business professor who spent 40 years researching and teaching the pitfalls of multilevel marketing": "You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone making over $1.50 an hour, (t)he primary product is opportunity. The strongest, most powerful motivational force today is false hope."[30]" 

(Sources above are linked at the URL above) 

Of course, if you fail, like most do, they will say that the fault is with YOU, not the system, because the system is proven to work, so if you don't make it, then you must have not put in the right effort. This is the way fanatical followers rationalize to protect their belief system. Every religion with cult-like devotion does the same.

But even if you become one of the less than 5 percent of people who succeed in an MLM like Market America, and make good money, consider this. Your income is UNSTABLE. It's NOT smooth sailing residual income from there, as they claim. Wanna know why? Because even if you have a profitable downline under you, people quit, fail and drop out all the time and at any time. And when that happens, your business is thrown into chaos and you lose money, and have to train your downline to recruit more people again. So it's a neverending struggle that doesn't end even if you get in at the top. 

Consequences 

Besides its misleading claims, Market America is not risk free either. You have to invest a ton of time going to its meetings, which are mostly filled with rhetoric, and you will be pressured to go to seminars and pay for them, which could cost $70 - $100 each, and don't really help but are just pep talk rallies using cult-like techniques to manipulate your emotions and incite enthusiasm and fanatical devotion in you. Then if you join, you have to pay a startup fee which costs at least a few hundred dollars, and then you are required to purchase some product from Market America, and then the pressure is on. You have to sell those products or you lose money. And you have to recruit others as well, who must be good at selling and recruiting, or none of you will make real money. It's a lot of pressure in a low probability venture. 

At its nuts and bolts, the system is discouraging and a low probability venture with many uphill struggles and misleading claims, believable only to the brainwashed. That's why they have to use deception, illusion and misleading tactics to incite your emotions, subdue your logic, and fill you with religious fanaticism, so that you will sell and recruit, even in a losing game. It's all really sick when you think about it. It's no wonder why MLM's have a negative public stigma, which is well deserved. Thus it's no surprise why Market America distributors are trained NOT to tell potential recruitees that their system is an MLM. 

In fact, if you Google "Market America Scam" you will find many shill sites planted by its reps, containing the usual sales cliches and rhetoric. If Market America was such a good system, why would it have to plant shill sites on the internet about it? Honest people and organizations with nothing to hide do not need to use shills, for truth does not need shills. 

Here are some common sense questions to ask yourself: 

- "If Market America's system is so good, why do they need to use deception and misleading claims?" 
- "If Market America's system is so good, why do they need to seek you out and advertise to you?" 
- "Why does Market America need to plant shill sites on the internet to catch Google search terms such as "Market America Scam"? Does truth need shills to protect it?" 
- "Why do you have to pay for seminars and invest in their products? Why do you have to pay a sizable amount to even join?" 
- "Why do you have to recruit others to join in order to make money? Isn't that taking advantage of others? How does your gut and conscience feel about that? Doesn't it feel shady?" 

In any case, check out this article I wrote long ago about MLM's where I use simple math to explain why the MLM system is guaranteed to fail for the MAJORITY of those in it. 

http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/Multi-Level-Marketing.htm 

Alternatives to MLM 

Finally, if MLM is not the answer for you, and you still want an alternative to the enslaving routine of a regular job, or can't find one that you love, here are some alternative options for you to consider from my other article: 

http://blog.happierabroad.com/2012/10/alternatives-working-regular-job.html 

Thanks for reading. 


Recommended links to learn more: 

Robert Fitzpatrick's website, articles, books and audios exposing MLM's at: 

http://www.falseprofits.com 

http://www.pyramidschemealert.org 

His best audio interview exposing MLM's, in which Market America is mentioned by a caller. 

http://www.pyramidschemealert.org/PSAMain/resources/MLMReality.html 

Web pages with sensible info and warnings about Market America: 

http://marketamericasucks.com/market-america-scam/market-america-complaints/ 

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080116152955AAk4bPG 

Scam reports and complaints about Market America on RipoffReport: 

http://www.ripoffreport.com/Search/market%20america.aspx 

Market America's website: 

http://www.marketamerica.com 

News articles exposing MLM's: 

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/2011-02-07-multilevelmarketing03_CV_N.htm 

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/companies/2010-10-15-multilevelmarketing15_ST3_N.htm 

What’s Wrong With Multi-Level Marketing? 

http://www.vandruff.com/mlm.html?FACTNet 

Quatloos article exposing Multi-Level Marketing 

http://www.quatloos.com/mlm/mlm.htm 

Skeptic’s Dictionary entry on Multi-Level Marketing 

http://www.skepdic.com/mlm.html 

Thanks for reading. 


Addendum 

- Upon further research, one of Market America's main products, a natural supplement known as OPC-3 Isotonix, appears to have many high praises and testimonials by virtually all reviewers and users of it. Therefore, this appears to warrant trying out the product to see if it will help you. You can get it at Market America's website above or on Ebay or Amazon.com. However, you can virtually the same thing for cheaper from other manufacturers such as http://www.opcxtra.com or http://www.opc-1-2-3.com  

- Check out the blog of Market America's Founder and CEO, JR Ridinger: http://www.beingjrridinger.com/ Look at his photo in the header with those dark glasses and sleazy outfit. Doesn't he look like some sleazy con artist sociopath from Las Vegas? He has the look of a Jim Jones type cult leader too. What a bad photo. It doesn't make him look credible at all. Does this look like someone you'd trust? No way. 


* Note: Market America distributors and reps are welcome to post their responses and rebuttals below. Comments are not censored except for spam, as I believe in free and open speech.