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WAHM  > How to Start an Internet Business > Pass The Test

Does it Pass the Smell Test?

Every day, thousands of people turn to the internet to find a source of income that will allow them to work from their homes. Every day, many people lose money by investing in scams on the internet. How can you protect yourself?

The one sure-fire way to protect yourself when thinking about online businesses is to assure that the opportunity you are considering passes the smell test. You can use the following checklist to begin to discern the validity of an opportunity.

1. Does the opportunity clearly state a company name and contact information? Business opportunities that require you to make an investment and THEN see a consultant's manual, an income potential statement, or even to know for whom you are working or who you are representing is likely not an opportunity you would select if full information was given.

2. Is the opportunity an actual business opportunity or employment opportunity, or is it simply the purchase of leads to obtain employment? Its one thing to pay for a consultant's kit. Its an entirely different thing to pay for the information that would lead to finding a business opportunity or employment. There are plenty of legitimate resources online for locating work or opportunities to start your own home based business. You DO NOT need to pay for a manual or a list of leads.

3. Is the employer or the direct sales company a member of a reputable organization holding it to some high standards of ethics and morals? Whether it be the Better Business Bureau (,, or a legitimate Chamber of Commerce or the Direct Sales Association (; any legitimate opportunity should be a recognized member of an organization you can verify and utilize as a source of information about the company. Don't waste time or money investing in a company that is going to be here today and gone tomorrow. Check references -- and require them if they are not readily available.

4. Is the sponsoring representative or consultant familiar enough with the opportunity to answer your questions? Many people join direct sales companies and immediately begin recruiting without any solid understanding of the company they represent or the opportunities and risks it poses for its consultants. If your immediate upline representative is new, insist that they give you access to their upline so that you have constant contact with people who can train you to be as successful as possible. Unless you are a gifted sales and recruiting dynamo, you will need upline support.

5. Does the opportunity represent something that you believe in and believe you can sell? This isn't so much a smell test issue as it is a success potential issue. If you wouldn't use the products or services that you would be selling, how can you convince anyone else to? And if you wouldn't use it, how do you know it is any good?

6. Finally, does the opportunity stack up favorably against other opportunities that you have looked at? You don't have to choose the first opportunity that you find. No matter how good it looks, it might very well pale in comparison to other opportunities if you do a little research and homework.

Shannan Hearne is the president of, an online marketing service company and has specialized in working with consultants in direct sales companies for over 6 years.

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