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Working From Home Without Handling Inventory

Updated on September 1, 2012

Sick of the same old same old

A lot of people are looking for alternative forms of income, especially with the economy being as unstable as it has been over the past several years. Employers are putting holds on salary increases, and some are even asking their employees to take a pay cut. On top of that, layoffs have been widespread across the nation, and our most recent graduates are having a hard time finding work for the first time. It's no wonder so many people have been looking elsewhere for a back up plan. But what happens when Plan B doesn't work, either? And what about those people who didn't have a Plan B to begin with?

By the way, if you want to skip the "what doesn't work", just go to the end where it says "No More Stuff". But if you're really interested in seeing what I've tried and failed, take a moment to peruse through the list on the way to the bottom of the screen.

Do you want to sell stuff?

There are plenty of companies who are looking for independent sales reps, but most of them require you to sell products, or even keep a stock of products. Not only do you have to make a large investment, you have to purchase, handle, maintain and distribute merchandise that you may not even want yourself. Don't get me wrong, there are probably a lot of people out there who want Tupperware, Scentsy, Avon, Tastefully Simple and Herbalife, but with the economy the way it is, how many people really NEED all of these things? And if it's not a necessity, how are you going to get people to buy your stockpile? And if they don't buy it, what are you going to do with all of this stuff when the distributing company doesn't buy it back?

I'll share with you my own personal experience with these things. First, let's look at Herbalife. My sister got into this business a while back, and purchased at least two of every kind of product that they sold. Any time I would visit her, she made me try something new, and always told me how much I "need" it. I kept telling her that I don't need any of it, kept resisting, and although I allowed her to give me a free sample of some cranberry pills (which I never tried), I never once purchased anything from her. I even avoided her phone calls for months because I didn't want to hear anything else about something that I did not want. She spent so much time trying to push these products onto her friends and family that she just pushed us away. So, the lesson to be learned here is; if you're going to sell something, make sure it's something that people want.

Selling stuff without selling stuff. Not my cup of tea.

A friend of mine joined Market America, which is similar to Amway, which I had no idea what it was until someone explained it to me, so I'll explain it to you. Basically, it's an online store, so you can buy a whole bunch of things online that you could also buy anywhere else, but the perk is that they have a point system (similar to grocery store bonus cards) that you can rack up in order to get some free stuff or money back or whatever they come up with. My friend kept inviting me out to his hotel meetings to learn more about the business in the effort to get me to join it. I said that I don't like selling things, and he kept saying that classic phrase, "it sells itself". Ugh... Not where I want to spend my time, and I'm not really keen on buying toilet paper online and waiting for it to be delivered just so I can wipe my butt. Hey, maybe it's good for some people, but it's just not my cup of tea. Oh yeah, and just so you know, my sister did something similar to this, too, but her company sells only organic and natural stuff, so of course she started telling me that all of the products that I use are bad for me and I should stop using them and start buying from her online store. Lesson #2 - If you're going to sell something that people want, make sure that it's just as convenient as how they were previously purchasing these things.

As for the rest of them, some friends who got into selling these things decided to throw parties here and there just to show off their products. I don't think I ever attended any of them. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here, too...

Work from home attempts

This has been a tough economy, and like many others, I have tried numerous home based businesses and lost a lot of money in the process. Hopefully, if you are looking for something, this can help you to understand what is involved in some of these opportunities. Here is a list of my failures:


This is a "pay per click" program where you write articles on their suggested websites and you get paid a very small amount every time someone clicks on an ad posted on your article page. The main problem is that there is not enough traffic even if you have a kick-ass article that everyone wants to read, so in order to generate traffic you have to pay for advertisements on other pages. So, you're paying for advertisements to get people to view your article so you can get paid for advertisements. Seriously...

Selling items on eBay

I didn't want to manage any inventory, so I found a company that allows you to sell stuff from other companies. I had to pay a few hundred dollars just to view the information, then I had to wait until they sent me a binder in the mail with the rest of the information. It took me 2 weeks after that just to get through it all (they won't allow you to start doing anything until you have completed the "training"), and when I finally got to the point where they would allow me to see what I could post, I found that all of the available items were crappy things that I didn't want to sell. On top of that, I would have to pay that company for each item that I posted, and if it didn't sell, then I was out of luck. - and out of more money!

LogoWear Direct

This company provides embroidered custom logos on various types of apparel. Again, I didn't want to manage inventory, and they claimed that this was a recession-proof business that anyone could do in their free time. I didn't have to touch any pieces of clothing, I just had to make an initial investment to get the information, then I had to purchase some samples (I thought they said I wouldn't have to handle anything!!) and I had to purchase catalogs, mailers, business cards, etc. I should have done my research on this one, but they made it seem so lucrative and easy. I never made a single sale, and I still have a box full of product catalogs. And by the way, my free time is when most businesses are closed, so I had to take time off from work in order to meet with people to show them my samples and talk to them about the products. All of the companies I met with said that they would not pay for a set-up fee (which the embroidery company said everyone had to pay and was non-negotiable) and the prices for these articles were much more than what the companies were already paying for their products.

Amazon Affiliate

This is similar to the eBay thing, but I didn't have to pay anything to get started, I didn't have to purchase anything to post it, and Amazon would choose what specific items to post as long as I chose the categories. The only down side is that I could not get traffic through my page, because most people go directly to Amazon to search for items.

Commission Junction

Similar to clickbank, but I would choose specific items to place in ads on my article pages, and I would create the ads myself. It still poses the same problem of traffic, and if the company revised their advertisement or removed that item, then I would have to redo the ad. Honestly, I couldn't keep up, and I wasn't making any money off of it anyway. This was another one that I had to pay to get the info.


Big loser. Once again, had to pay to get the info. Many of the surveys would have a "qualification survey" first, which took up to 20 minutes just to see if I was in the proper demographic for taking their survey. I was not qualified for a single one of those. The ones that did not have a qualification survey only paid about $0.00002 per survey, and they would not send a check until you earned a minimum of $20. I completed hundreds of surveys, but if you do the math you will realize why I never received a check.

Secret Shopper

I had a hard time finding places in my area to go to, and even when I found those places, I had a hard time figuring out what it was that the company wanted me to do. And when I figured out what they wanted me to do, I had to qualify for the specific job. And when I qualified for the specific job, I had to write a very long report about the experience, and if they didn't think it was good enough, they wouldn't pay me for it. On top of that, they sent me over 20 e-mails a day, overloading my inbox and driving me crazy. I have heard of some people making money from this, but I have not heard of anyone making big bucks from it - mostly just enough to cover the gas to go to and from the shopping location.

Google Ad Words

This is the only one that I made any money off of, partly because there was a small initial investment, and partly because I wrote one kick-ass article that drove a lot of traffic and generated a lot of comments. This is similar to the Clickbank thing, where you write articles and allow companies to advertise on them. Over the past 3 years I have made about $500 from writing one article. It's kind of nice to keep getting a check every once in a while from something that I did a long time ago, and I'll probably continue to get checks from that same one. It's not going to help me quit my day job, but it's fun to get those from time to time.

No more "stuff"

You may have gathered by now that over the years I have had plenty of people telling me to try this or do that or join them or do something that I don't want to do with something that I wouldn't want to use myself. And when a friend of mine invited me out for coffee one afternoon and whipped out his iPad, my first thought was, "Oh dear god, what is he trying to sell to me now?" As I was scanning the room for the nearest escape, he said, "I just want you to see this, because it is nothing like I have ever seen before. Just trust me, and if you don't find it as interesting as I do, I will never mention it again." I felt a little at ease after that, but still skeptical. He started showing me, quite simply, how to make money from energy bills. But it wasn't just my own energy bill, but thousands of bills in several states across the country. This was like nothing I had ever seen before.

There was no inventory handling

No quotas

No repeat sales

And even better, it was ground floor, so we are still in the beginning. They had an income structure that allowed everyone to make an incredible residual income. It wasn't another one of those "only the guy at the top makes the bucks", and it was a hell of a lot better than the pyramid structure of my current employer. I had the opportunity to make the same, if not more, money than the person who showed me the business. As if it couldn't get better, the company has an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau, they are certified with the Direct Selling Association, and they are certified by the Public Utilities Commission in every state that they do business in.

I wish I could tell you all about it, but I have to be honest by telling you that you have to see it to believe it, and I wouldn't even know how to explain this in words without adding a whole bunch of pictures. If you want to see what my friend had shown to me, send me an e-mail at

You don't need to fill out a form and provide all sorts of personal information, and I'm not going to send you a bunch of daily e-mails with stuff you don't want. You will receive one personal (not automated) e-mail from me with information and a link to view the detailed information. And I'll tell you the same thing that my friend told me; if you don't find this as interesting as I do, I will never mention it again. Why? Because if you don't want to do this, then I don't want to waste your time or mine, because it wouldn't be good for either of us.


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