Do you want to work from home? I can understand your sentiments, and there could be any number of reasons why. It might be you're sick of your job. It might be you must stay at home because you can't accomodate the restrictions of corporate life for one reason or another. It might be that you want to take care of your own kids and generate an income too.
But how do you go about that best? You could join an MLM, but my personal experiences with them lead me to believe they will involve more expense than you anticipate. If this doesn't appeal to you, or you happen to be short on money, you should consider becoming an affiliate marketer.
What's affiliate marketing? The short version is that it's freelance sales work. You promote other merchant's products and services for commissions. These could be for getting that merchant sales, clicks, or leads, depending on what they want. You earn the skills required, join an affiliate program, and then go to it.
What are the advantages of affiliate marketing, as opposed to some other home business opportunity?
-You don't need your own product or service: This is a big one. It's not even 'You work as a distributor for this or that company, so you dropship their products which you still must buy'. There are no products or services involved with you selling products or services as an affiliate marketer. You promote other people's products or services and get commissions. They deal with the shipping, inventory, customer service, and so forth. You don't have to buy, ship, maintain inventory minimums, or otherwise endure the hassles of doing it yourself.
-You can find a program to promote regardless of your interests: All manner of companies promote affiliate programs because affiliate marketers are an extremely cost-effective way to advertise. They don't get paid unless they produce. So many merchants and companies with an online presence have gotten in on the act. I've seen companies that sell everything from metallic coatings for statues to women's accessories with affiliate programs. At Commission Junction, the listings are so numerous they sort them by category and provide a search engine besides. So it's likely a merchant that sells something you find interesting has a program you can join.
-No direct customer interaction: You can do direct interaction if you want, but it's otherwise optional. This is a big difference between affiliate marketing and something like a home distributorship or office. You don't actually have to deal with customers, because that's the merchant's job. You promote the merchants and give them customers, and they pay you.
-The opportunities are free to join: While promoting them is another matter entirely, merchants with affiliate marketing programs rarely charge you for membership. They have the sense to realize that your success will help make them wealthy, and will help you with things like marketing material, links, and support for FREE. I've been a member of two MLM's before, and they charge for things they won't necessarily mention when they try to recruit you.
-It's truly work from home: It's not work from home until you have to make a house call. It's not work from home until you have to mail a package, attend meetings, or do something else not at home. You affiliate market from your computer, at your computer desk, in your home or wherever else you want to be.
Affiliate marketing isn't nearly as much of a hassle as other home business opportunities. You don't need your own product or service to make money. Most programs are free to join. And best of all, you don't have to deal directly with customers, either in face-to-face meetings or with cold calling. This is why I believe affiliate marketing is a good way to build a home business with the least trouble to you.
Ryan Ambrose is the web master of Financial Self-Reliance, a web site about how to actually make money online. You can learn more about affiliate marketing and get what you need to start in the Affiliate Marketing section there.
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