Military Finance Report: June 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Military Spouses At-Home Business Success Stories

I’ve recently discovered that our military spouses are finding success and wealth with in-home businesses. Being stationed in Germany for four years, where jobs for our spouses are typically hard to come by, I noticed the direct-sell companies like “Pampered Chef” and “Stampin’ Up” were prevalent. Success often brought huge discounts and free products within the company. I’ve also noticed more military spouses are finding success in Multi-Level Marketing businesses too. Even more recently, I’ve noticed military spouses involved in photography, graphic design and craft businesses.

Companies like “Pampered Chef” are considered direct-sell companies. The companies, and the spouses who work for them, focus on selling the products first and foremost. The workers will host cooking shows to showcase the products. As a military husband, I was pleased to be the benefactor for some of these shows with all the leftover food. As a secondary money-making venture, you can invite friends to become Pampered Chef consultants and earn money from recruiting. I personally know a spouse of an E-5 who is now known as an Advanced Director. We haven’t talked about annual income, but according to the Pampered Chef compensation plan, she could be making anywhere between $10K and $80K a year. (http://new.pamperedchef.com/make-money#)

Companies like “*Wake Up Now” are considered Multi-Level Marketing companies. These companies focus on recruiting people to become Independent Business Owners (IBO) first and foremost while a secondary emphasis is placed on their proprietary products. They require monthly subscription costs from each IBO and then your upline makes money, but the company ultimately makes the money on these subscription costs. Now, while they’re literally pyramid schemes, many spouses have done well and are making a lot of money with them. A military spouse I know is making $1K a month passively after recruiting several people under him (military spouses can be males too). (https://hub.wakeupnow.com/resources/cmsHubResources/286.compensation_guide.pdf) 

Small businesses like photography, graphic design and crafting are great. There are usually no start-up costs and the owner is in full control. Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are great ways to advertise and there are low barriers of entry, unless there are many spouses in your circle operating the same type of business.
The downside to these businesses, and can also be found with any small business, is when you’re starting out you usually depend on your immediate friends and family to support you. As one of my friends eloquently put it, it then becomes a Friend-2-Friend or Family-2-Family business and you’ll quickly notice that no one will want to talk to you anymore. If the business doesn’t start well, you’ll become desperate as the monthly costs go up and you’re not earning the income you’d hoped you would. Most at-home businesses fail because people jump in too quickly and have unreasonable expectations. For every one success story there are three failures with some spouses having hundreds of dollars of unused product they have to ship every PCS, reminding them of their failure.
Regardless, our military careers often uproot our military spouses and sometimes bring them to places where job opportunities are hard to find.

A lot of spouses have found wealth and success in starting at-home businesses. Do you have any success stories from your at-home business? Are you currently an MLM operator or want to use my blog to advertise? E-mail me at bjone6@gmail.com and we can discuss advertising space.

Here are some interesting Military Spouse success stories:
Spouse hosts “Trunk Shows” for artists:
http://www.military.com/spouse/career-advancement/military-spouse-jobs/spouse-owns-successful-home-based-business.html

A Spouse’s Article on Forbes about MLM success:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/chicceo/2012/09/27/is-mlm-a-bad-word/

A Military Spouse’s Success Story about Rodan + Fields:
http://www.militaryspouse.com/articles/money-maker/

*FULL DISCLOSURE: I’ve been researching and contemplating running a Wake Up Now MLM.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Power of Referrals

Being in the military means dealing with change. Frequent moving around involves frequently opening up new accounts with banks, service providers and utility companies. But do you know there is a way to cash in on all this?

Several companies often offer referrals to benefit the existing customer and the new customer. If everyone in the military started taking more advantage of these referrals, then we could really start making some money off our frequent moves.

In 2014, my family and I moved to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. We bought a house and established our utilities by using the ones recommended to us by friends. But if the Housing Office or some private organization on every installation had a running list of referrals, then once you inprocessed, you could choose your service providers and then you would be provided a "referrer's" name to use, so both people make money. This list would be even more beneficial to those coming back from an overseas assignment since they would have to establish all new accounts versus transferring like CONUS-to-CONUS moves.

Here are two examples of what I'm talking about. But review the services you currently use and then look up the potential referral money you can pursue.

Dish Network: My family loves Dish Network. If someone refers a friend to Dish Network, they both get $50 off their next bill.

Internet Service Providers: Our local area uses Sudden Link for cable modem service (faster/cheaper than the DSL offered here). Their refer a friend gives $25 to both the referrer and the one being referred (is that considered a referee?).

Referral programs are important outside of frequent military moves too. Most banks and brokerage companies offer referral programs too. Here is an example from one of the banks I use:

Capital One 360: This is a separate bank I use solely for my emergency savings account. This bank, formerly known as ING Direct, pays both people $20 if customers open a bank account with $250 or more. If you are interested in this bank while reading this post, use this link to set an account with $250 or more: https://r.capitalone360.com/V1AVDPYTUb

I'm going to see if one of the private organizations I regularly participate in would allow me to establish this program. A new member to a unit could simply choose the service providers they would like to use, contact me, and I could provide a name, on a first in/first out basis, and both would benefit.