Online Business Opportunities - Real or Scam?

How do you know what is a real online business opportunity?

You’ve heard the pitches and there are many different companies out there offering to sell you an online business opportunity that will allow you to work from home, set your own hours and be your own boss.  Ours included.  But, how do you tell the difference between the real opportunities and the scams?  You need to do your research.

There are many legitimate online business opportunities and there also a lot of companies out to take your money.  If you do your research you can protect yourself from heartache and protect your wallet.  Reputable companies will provide you with lots of information.  They’ll answer your questions honestly and offer references for you to contact.  If you encounter a seller who is very vague and short on details, you should ask yourself why and count it as a warning sign.

The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) in a post on Starting an Internet Business recommends asking yourself some critical questions like:

  • “What should you be selling or doing?”
  • “How and why shoppers would find your website?” 
  •  “How would the business generate income and what are your specific expenses?”

We all want the dream of starting a business, investing little money and effort and reaping in the big money.  Unfortunately, that is not how it works.  An online business opportunity is no different than starting any other business venture.  You have to work it.  It’s not the field of dreams where if you build it they will come.  You have to promote your online business for it to be found by the search engines and by customers.  A company offering a real online business opportunity will tell you this. 
Real online business opportunities will in most cases offer you consulting or training.  Starting an online business requires some capital, though not as much as a traditional business venture.  

Reputable sellers will educate you on what you can realistically expect these costs to be and how to plan for them.  They’ll recommend you have a business plan and explain to you how to market your business so you will be found.  Legitimate sellers will not need to employ high pressure tactics.  Buy today or you will lose this opportunity!  You will not hear this from someone who believes in their product and will stand behind it.  They know if the opportunity is good today it will be good next week and next month as well.  

Often scammers will offer a “no risk” guarantee saying they’ll completely refund your money if you’re not satisfied.  Good luck with that!  They’ll find the loophole that allows them to keep your money.  A reputable seller of online business opportunities will never offer you a guarantee for the performance of the business.  They can’t because there are no guarantees in life.  If you started a franchise, the franchisor will not offer you a guarantee of success.  If you open a store at the mall, the mall will not guarantee your profitability.  Online businesses are no different.  There are too many variables and your success will be determined by you!  Are you dedicated enough to work every day on your business?  Will you promote it on all the social media channels?  Will you write blogs, develop relationships with vendors, and offer fantastic products that people want to buy?  All of these are determined by you, the business owner.  Not by the company who sells you the business opportunity.  

Real online business opportunities will come with a contract.  All details will be laid out in black and white – what the seller offers, what the seller expects in return.  They want ask for money up front before you can even get all the information you need to make a decision.  Scammers want your money in their hot little hands and will apply pressure tactics to get all the while promising no risk and you can get a refund.  Legitimate sellers want you to be comfortable with the deal.  They want you to come into it with your eyes wide open and they don’t like surprises.  They will encourage you to do your research and contact their references.  They want you to understand there are no get rich schemes and your success will not happen overnight.

Online business opportunities do offer the ability to work from home or anywhere in the world for that matter.  You can set your own hours and be your own boss.  They also require time, effort, capital and a willingness to learn new things.  You may not have to have any experience, but if you don’t, you need to be sure that the company will train you on what you need to know.  You will need to learn about search engine optimization and search engine marketing if you are to be successful online.  If the company you’re buying from doesn’t offer this training and you’re not a SEO pro, you better have a plan in place to learn it.   You will need to learn how to operate the back end of your site so you can run your store effectively.  You will need to learn how to work with credit card processors and how to manage the financial end of your business.  All of this can be done if you have no experience but you will have to have a way to learn it.

There are real online business opportunities and there are scams.  Protect yourself and your wallet.  Do your research.  Search online for reviews on the company selling the online business.  Ask for and contact references.  Ask questions – you’ll be glad you did!

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