Beware of Business Scum, eh em Scams!

My partner has insisted I begin to write a weekly blog so today is my first official blog post...

Last week I was asked to attend a meeting and to my surprise it was a direct marketing sales meeting, which let's just be clear -- I am not a fan of. I was forced to watch an 18-minute pitch video which felt like 8 hours. By the end of watching this video I was still clueless as to what exactly they were selling or what service they truly provided.  All I saw was a slew of images of people beaming with joy, money, big houses, and fancy cars to obviously  lure me in with envy.  Ok, to be honest with you, they offered credit monitoring, self- empowerment books, online coupons, and the opportunity to be part of this exclusive club. With the exception of the so-called exclusive membership and books, what they were offering as a value-added service, I received for free as benefits on my American Express card. The books can easily be purchased on Amazon for $10. 

Following the video, I was asked for my thoughts(which they probably wish they hadn't, see below) and then they went on to explain how the fee structure worked if one was interested in joining their elite group:  Silver package was $50 monthly, Gold $100 monthly, Platinum $150 monthly.  However, if I brought in 3 of my friends to join, the monthly dues would be waived. 

After hearing all of this I could no longer hold back my emotions and asked them to justify the $150 monthly dues to which they repeatedly replied, " If I recruit 3 of my friends, then I don't pay!" I said to myself, "How dare you ask me to invite my friends to watch a video that is less entertaining than watching paint dry!"

At that point, I flat out told the entire group,  as politely as I could of course, that THIS IS A PYRAMID SCHEME --with a few caveats to disguise its true intentions.

All this to say everyone, when you are pitched to be a part of something, please ask yourself the following questions before putting your name and reputation on the line.  Sadly, I know people personally that have found themselves involved in illegal activities without even knowing it was a scam. How would you feel being in jail for a crime you did not even know you were committing? Here are a few tips to help you avoid falling prey to such scams:

1. Ask yourself what is the service/product they are providing? 

2. Does the service / product have true value?

3. Does this company have any real success stories? And, I don't mean someone telling you how rich you will be or how successful they claim to be. Probe a little and ask for concrete evidence of their success. To date, I have yet to meet anyone that is a millionaire from network / direct marketing type businesses or was able to quit their job.

4. What is the reputation of the person recruiting me, is it one of integrity, trustworthiness or    completely the opposite?

5. Have I researched this company?  Check out feedback online, Better Business Bureau, etc?

6. Do they try to pressure you to commit on the spot?

7. Do you fully understand the pay structure?

Hey, I feel,  if you are a fan of direct marketing / networking and have the influence to convince a few of your friends to sign up why don't you start your own investment group with those same peers and invest in something more tangible like REAL ESTATE!!

Take care of yourself and your money,