Are you searching for a way to make extra income to help support your family? Perhaps there was a medical emergency or unexpected car repair that quickly depleted your hard-earned savings. We know it can be stressful to try to make ends meet to ensure that your loved ones are provided for. Fortunately, there are many entry-level side gigs and part-time work that can be performed remotely and independently to best fit your schedule and availability.
Yet, like many jobs and positions, not every remote job posting that is advertised is legitimate. We’ll help you spot the difference between a trustworthy and fake remote job posting, define what a multi-level marketing scheme (MLM) is (and why they’re so popular), and how to best find profitable and well-paying remote work to help support your family.
How do you know the difference between a legitimate WFH posting and a scam one?
It is understandable—and responsible—to be concerned about potential job scams. And it’s important to know the key warning signs of illegitimate scammers seeking to make a quick profit.
Some key warning signs that a posting is a scam include:
Being asked for your personal financial information. This can include your social security number, or your bank account numbers. Be mindful if you are asked to disclose your home address, date of birth, or driver’s license number very early on in the application or interview process.
The pay rate seems too good to be true. If a posting advertises a large pay rate for very little work, it is unlikely it is true.
The job posting contains obvious grammatical or spelling errors.
The job posting claims that it can change your life overnight and provide large profits in a matter of days.
The contact information of the job poster appears to be personal or eerily close to a large corporation.
You are not asked to verify or validate your prior work experience or job history. The hiring manager or recruiter does not ask for any references.
Be extremely cautious if:
The job requires up-front expenses from applicants.
Your compensation is directly tied to how many people you can recruit and bring into the business or brand—not based on sales from the products sold.
Additionally, if the point of contact is demanding or aggressive, it’s best to trust your gut. It is more than okay to walk away from a job that gives you any doubts or concerns. Always make sure to do your research and pay attention to keywords including, “quick money,” “unlimited earning potential,” or, “free work from home jobs.”
An MLM is a type of business called multi-level marketing or network marketing. They are often positioned as a business opportunity that involves selling products to family and friends and recruiting other people to do the same. MLM companies sell their products through person-to-person sales either from your home, a customer or friends home, or online.
If you join an MLM program, the company may refer to you as an independent “distributor,” “participant,” or “contractor.” But at the core, you are a salesperson. It is ultimately your job to sell the company’s product and to convince others to join, invest, and sell.
Most MLMs state that you can make money two ways:
Selling the MLM’s products yourself to “retail” customers who are not already involved in the MLM
Recruiting new distributors and earning commissions based on what they buy and their sales to retail customers.
Many MLM’s claim “easier, more aspirational, or enviable” lifestyles and sell products or goods that are often overpriced or expensive. You may have even been sold products from an MLM without realizing it. Some popular MLMs include Arbonne (skincare and cosmetics), doTerra (essential oils), and Mary Kay (skincare, cosmetics, and beauty).
They are extremely popular with women, mothers, or primary caregivers—and are often the target audience—because they allow for flexible hours and promise an easy, additional income simply by selling “wonderful, life-changing” products to close friends and family. Yet, they should be approached with caution largely because of how they operate.
For many MLM’s the way in which they function is the main issue and problem. Unlike a traditional business model where products or services generate revenue and sales, MLM’s are entirely dependent on the commissions made from the people you successfully recruit—rather than your profit coming from the actual products you sell.
Your recruits, the people they recruit, and so on, become your sales network, or “downline.”
In most all MLM’s, you are required to first buy the products you wish to sell upfront and with your own money. Then in order to remain a seller or make a commission, you need to make a minimum number of sales or recruit a certain number of people within a given (often unattainable) time period. You could also be encouraged to buy a certain amount of product yourself before you are even eligible to be paid.
Many MLMs are risky and are often thinly disguised as a pyramid scheme. In most MLM’s, your income is based on the number of people you recruit, not how much product you sell. Pyramid schemes are set up to encourage recruitment to keep a constant stream of new distributors—and their money—flowing into the business.
While there are certainly success stories and displays of lavish vacations or luxury vehicles, most distributors or contractors discover that despite how hard they work, they simply cannot sell enough inventory or recruit enough people to make money. They also can’t keep up with the required fees or the inventory purchases they need to make to qualify for rewards, and they can’t earn enough money to cover their expenses. According to the Federal Trade Commission, “50% of all representatives drop out in the first year of operation.” In the end, most people run out of money, have to quit, and lose everything they invested.
Granted, not all MLM’s are dangerous and there are few select people who have found long-term success. But there are many important factors to first consider including: if you have a wide network of potential buyers for the product, if you are a natural salesperson, whether you sincerely care and believe in the product you’re selling, and if you have the available finances to support it. And while MLM’s are attractive because of their flexibility and accessibility, there are more stable and prosperous remote positions available.
It is best to be cautious upfront rather than suffer the consequences later on. Even with limited experience, there are still many legitimate positions available to make an additional income to help support you and your family.