Work From Home? Be safe. Be smart.

There is some encouraging news coming out that perhaps, just maybe, indicates there is some light at the end of the tunnel and its not another train coming. Still customers are struggling today to make ends meet.

Over the weekend I saw several work-from-home and start-your-own-internet-business ads. Customers can take steps to help them get value and a good customer experience and not get taken for a ride.

1.When you see these infovideos, sales pages etc take each and every word with a huge grain of salt. Many successful internet marketers are the 21st century's version of snake oil salesman. They have a program for whatever ills you. They have made excellent livings selling "secrets", "special programs", and "revolutionary systems" to an audience desperately looking for some financial security. Some may have merit but a lot do not. Many times its a recording of their musings and thoughts rather than solid, actionable teaching. Understand their job, like a carnival sideshow barker, is to get you to sign up and spend some money. It is very much a buyer beware world.

2.Carefully run the numbers. If you are considering joining a membership site calculate the cost and the breakeven point to do business. I saw an ad for a new program called Affiliate Jump. It seems to have a reasonable monthly fee but newcomers would be wise to wait and see if the payout is there or will this be another flash in the pan program that really never delivers for the majority of its subscribers. Newcomers must understand that so many of the seasoned marketers endorse and hype up programs of fellow marketers with little concern for the customer experience and subsequent results. It's up to the consumer to do the due diligence. It is a sad truth in internet marketing that thousands of people spend $39, $49, $59 or more each month hoping to build an online business only to find themselves swimming in red ink. So what should you do? Get the full story of what is being offered. Try to get references in your area to talk to-- at a minimum get someone from the program on the phone to talk through the details. Lastly, do research online about the offering.

3. Manage YOUR expectations. Even good programs cannot guarantee your success; and, add to that an already busy schedule, it is easy to get flustered if you are not seeing the progress or results you were hoping for. Do not blame the course or someone else, stay the course and keep your focus on being successful. I recently joined the ListBuilding Club and was not impressed with the content and I did not like the amount of up selling I was having to deal with. They charge $97 per month to have access to information I have seen elsewhere for less or free; so, I decided to move on from that club. A good learning experience but a bad program based on my expectations from the sales materials I saw. NO gripes with the company and so long as they process my cancellation properly we will separate and each go our own way. I am sure there are members that consider the club a good value and others that don't--the point is be proactive about getting help and manage your own expectations.

4. Lastly, if you have bought into a program that was more hype than substance, after you have gone through the right procedures to get your money back--win or lose--spread the word about your experience. Send me the details. Get the word out about who has acted poorly or dishonestly? Who is trying to sell a pig in a poke? By being proactive you are going methodically expose the charlatans and help others find legitimate help.

(here is an interesting read on the expression "pig in a poke"--enjoy.