BOISE -- Making thousands of dollars working part-time sounds too good to be true right?
Two local women say they've done just that by working for network marketing companies. Both women told their stories to KTVB's Kim Fields, and shared their secrets to success and how to avoid being scammed.
Aspen Morrow is a mother of three and a Legal Shield consultant.
In five years, I've made hundreds of thousands of dollars, said Morrow.
Scentsy consultant Amy Darrington is a stay-at-home mom.
As soon as I saw how much potential there was, I decided to go for the gusto, said Darrington.
Morrow and Darrington are just two of the estimated 16 million network, or multi-level marketers, in America. Marketers in their industry sell everything from juice and jerky to life insurance and lotions.
It's everything that I've ever wanted it to be because I've never wanted to be away from my kids, said Darrington.
Darrington sells Scentsy candle products out of her home, where she can work any time of day for as many hours as she chooses. She is now at the top level of the company's compensation plan. That's a goal she accomplished in just four years.
When I started I never expected to be the person to pay all of the bills and take care of all the vacations and all the extras in our house, but that's where I'm at now, said Darrington.
While she enjoys flexible hours and top earnings, some might wonder what the secret to her success is.
I put in hours to get where I'm at, Darrington said. And I know that it does take effort and work.
Morrow would agree. She works three days a week selling identity theft protection for a company called Legal Shield.
I think people who run around telling people they're going to make a lot of money quick -- I think that's the problem with the industry, said Morrow.
Morrow has worked for a handful of network marketing companies. She says her six years with Legal Shield have been very successful.
It's about being able to design my life the way I want to design it, said Morrow.
However, her first attempts at network marketing -- selling scrapbook supplies and acne treatment products -- were failures.
I didn't make hardly any money, Morrow said. In that company, I spent more money than I made. It was a great company, I was just a novice.
Morrow believes most people fail at network marketing because they give up too early.
Honestly, most people, when they get in, don't hardly make any money the first three months, said Morrow.
KTVB found similar advice at the Consumer Protection Division, an office that investigates consumer complaints.
When you're being promised to make a lot of money, boat load of money, and all you've got to do is get some other people or just sell a few things, that's a bad sign, said Brett DeLange, Deputy Attorney General.
Deputy Attorney General DeLange says one of the oldest and most common consumer scams is the pyramid scheme.
Pyramid schemes often disguise themselves as network marketing companies.
One of the best ways to tell them apart is that pyramid schemes focus more on recruiting others into the company, where legitimate network marketing companies emphasize selling products or services.
Those aren't the ones that we're concerned about because there's wealth to be made and products to be obtained, said DeLange.
Other signs of a legitimate network marketing company:
- The ability to make money without recruiting anyone to sell for you.
- Products are reasonable priced.
- Training is provided at cost.
- And if it doesn't work out, the company repurchases unsold inventory for at least 75 percent of your cost.
The biggest thing, the most important thing to find success in these companies is to find something that you're truly passionate, something that you can get behind, and a company that you can be really proud of, said Darrington.
I think network marketing is about encouraging people to dream, said Morrow. It's about showing them what's possible, but telling them the truth about what it takes.
There is no way to tell how many legitimate multi level marketing companies are operating in Idaho, since the attorney general's office says there is no regulation for them.