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Signs your income opportunity is going to fail really soon, and you really should get out now

Updated on July 13, 2012
Warning sign: do not walk, by Gene Hunt
Warning sign: do not walk, by Gene Hunt | Source


Everybody has a guide on what to look for in an income opportunity. Well, here's a list that suggests you should NOT proceed in this "opportunity" ASAP.

Keep in mind this list is somewhat snarky, with a bit of tongue-in-cheek feel, as it is meant to be humorous, sarcastic, and potentially offensive to people who REALLY REALLY believe in their pet scheme. However, rest assured, no specific scheme is being targeted. I am an equal opportunity offender.

Any way, on to the show...

Warning Signs about the Products

You should get out of (or never get into) a scheme when...

... the margin on the product is so low, there is no profit for you (but there is some for the company and your upline)

... the product is a "meatball sundae", i.e. a horrible combination that no one in their right mind would buy

... the product is untested and who knows what it'll do if you use it long-term (esp. anything you ingest or apply to your body)

... the product is so generic anybody can make it (and indeed, many are already in the market)

... the product is so boring, nobody cares about it, even you

... the product is bleh, it's just the compensation plan that's exciting

... you're not selling the products... you are BUYING the products and giving them away in order to get paid. (i.e. you're spending money to make money, not working for money)

Warning Signs about the compensation plan

You should get out of (or never get into) a scheme when...

... the compensation plan is so complicated, even your upline doesn't understand it (neither do you)

... the comp plan pays you to recruit, not for selling things (that's a pyramid scheme)

... the comp plan makes no distinction between recruiting and selling (i.e. you are selling "membership")

... the comp plan rewards you for putting in money (often, for "buying things") (that's a Ponzi scheme, "pay to play")

... the comp plan is cribbed from a convicted scam shut down by the government

... the comp plan requires you to do something incredibly simple, like clicking on ads, watching videos, or posting an ad, but promises miraculous pay

Warning Signs about your fellow affiliates

You should get out of (or never get into) a scheme when...

... your upline joined 24 hours before you did (and his upline joined 24 hours before him)

... your upline knows even less about the company than you do

... your upline is a complete n00b and totally clueless on what to do

... your upline's only reason for you to join is "You can make a ton of money!"

... your upline automatically assumes the company's right, even when it isn't

... your fellow uplines and downlines are refugees from a convicted Ponzi scheme or pyramid scheme

... your downlines are not selling, just recruiting more downlines

... your upline is cross-recruiting people into his OTHER schemes (i.e. poaching)

... your upline has a long history of failures in picking legal and legitimate opportunities to join

... your upline is family or friend (if this doesn't work out your relationship is doomed)

Warning Signs about the company

You should get out of (or never get into) a scheme when...

... one or more government agencies had already warned the public against your industry, or a current "leader" in the same industry

... the company's location is unknown

... the company is registered in multiple states, or registered in one, operate out of another

... the company is registered in some off-shore island in the middle of nowhere

... the company address is a P.O. Box, a UPS Store or similar "mail drop", or a virtual office

... the company refuse to pick up the phone, or doesn't even list a phone number

... the company worries about compliance with the law... 12-24 months AFTER launch

... the company logo looks like it came out of a generic design package... or drawn by a 6-year old.

... the company runs on software system cobbled together from proprietary systems from years ago in previous ventures that was never properly tested

... the company IT is the owner's ______... one guy, and only he knows the system. If he got run over by a bus one day, the company's done.

... the company can deal with only ONE credit card processor... somewhere on the other side of the world. Couldn't find any one else.

... the company banks with some place across the ocean, as no reputable bank would touch them

... the company use eWallet providers that's NOT PayPal, because PayPal don't deal with the company's industry overall.

... the company copied their pay plan from some other company not related to them

... the company's website copied stuff from some other website not owned by them

... the company doesn't come close to invest enough in support, leaving affiliates grasping at straws for answers (and then was chastised by the company for being dumb)

Warning Signs about the Management

You should get out of (or never get into) a scheme when...

... the management is so top heavy, out of a dozen people in the company half are executives (CEO, COO, CIO, CFO, CMO...)

... the management was found to have engaged in some REALLY shady business before this current opportunity (like convicted for fraud...)

... the management cannot own up to mistakes, but instead blames someone else (another company, customers, affiliates, government, critics, etc.)

... the management talks to affiliates as if the affiliates are unruly kids in junior high (i.e. "shut up and get in line!")

... the management are also the top affiliates in the company (are they making decision as managers, or as affiliates?)

... the management told affiliates who complain about lack of service to stop complaining, or leave

... the management is mostly family members, and they are not really doing their jobs (i.e. the company has other problems) (worse if the company's small too, like "top heavy")

... the management has a "positive comments" only policy, and hides majority of comments on company website(s)

... the management sounds like generic Hollywood names or CIA cover names

... the management is unknown (no name or photo shown, or worse, FAKE names and photos)


While these "signs" are not, in themselves, enough to make you quit anything, when you see more and more of them start to pop-up, it may be time to pull up stakes and get out of town.

Do you have a couple more to add? Feel free to add them in comments and I'll credit you. (Use a "clean" screenname).

Thanks to "Cashed Out" for a couple contributions!


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    • kschang profile image

      kschang 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA

      ZR article is temporarily offline because someone filed a fake DMCA takedown on the hub. Visit for more discussions on Zeek.

    • profile image

      Totalscholar 5 years ago

      didnt you have a post about zeek rewards? i cant find it and wanted to show my sister because she is thinking about doing it.

    • monicamelendez profile image

      monicamelendez 5 years ago from Salt Lake City

      Solid advice. Making money does and will always take a lot of work. I personally am not attracted at all to schemes that promise otherwise. It's interesting how people run after the gold pot even though there are so many red flags with so many 'opportunities'.

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Solid advice for anyone attracted to the ubiquitous "Earn Big Money" ads. Voted up and interesting.

    • profile image

      Gajafa 5 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      Anybody in Zeek Rewards or thinking of joining would benefit greatly by reading this hub before joining. Zeek fails in every category. Nice job.