One of the statements you often hear in the investment world is “spotting a trend.” Some may think it only relates to a stock chart with all the ups and downs of company’s share price, but as with many skills in the financial world, finding trends is also important in the “real” world. Social media has become a great tool for spotting trends because you can see what types of clothes people are buying, where they are eating, if they are getting or losing jobs, and many more things. Social media gives us the one thing that all the math and government reports cannot give; a chance to look into the mind of the consumer. However, this blog is not about the power of social media, but it is about a trend I have noticed through social media…working from home.
We all have friends that sell makeup, cookware, storage boxes, jewelry, diet supplements, etc., but in the past 8 months, it seems like this trend has exploded! My Facebook newsfeed has gone from family pictures and fun announcements to the market from Disney’s Aladdin! All I see is buy this, join this, or promote this. I never thought I would say this, but I actually miss the “my child used the potty” announcements. Before I get push back from my friends doing these businesses, let me be clear: I am extremely proud of you for doing this and making extra money. You should be very proud of your success and I wish you the best.
However, I have 2 concerns. First, for those that haven’t started selling anything, please understand that these businesses are designed to be supplemental income at first. Yes, there are many people who are successful and sell Avon or whatever as their full time job, but there are many more who realize this isn’t the job they hoped it would be. Usually, the ones that are successful have a spouse with steady income and health insurance, so they can afford to give the time needed to build a business.
I look at these programs like investing in that a person should never invest until they are already financially stable to a point. For example, if you have $2,000 in credit card debt and $100 in your savings, I can promise you that investing that $100 will not give you the huge return you see in movies. There are actually very good odds you will lose that $100. In the same case, you have a high risk of loss if you spend your last $100 on a starter kit for product sales. You may make a fortune, but part of my job is to help my clients understand risk and there are risks to starting these programs. Granted you all aren’t my clients, but you are my friends and I’m still going to look out for your best interests.
Second, for those who are selling, as you probably already know, selling is hard! While you may start off making a lot because the product is new and your friends want to try it, eventually that well dries up. It’s not that your friends don’t want to support you, it’s that there are so many things pulling at our wallets each day. So what do you do? Plan for these rainy days! If you had a great month where you made $5,000, save enough of it to survive the month where you don’t make a dime.
I will be glad to create a plan with you where we can help you have success and stability.