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Ranking the 25 best home based businesses of 2017

What up, Jeremy here.

You’re here to get the best home based business ideas.

Before diving in, watch this video. It summarizes it perfectly:

Also, be sure to check out my other rankings as well:

Online business ideas
Small business ideas
Work from home ideas
MLM companies

I love those “coolest office” articles out there lol.

The coolest offices in the world? Come on. I can assure you from experience that the beaches of Brazil, a coffee shop that reeks like a terrible Sundance film, or the comfort of your home—these are the coolest offices in the world.

Thanks to the thriving digital economy, you can work where you want and how you want. And don’t think for a second you have to trade bank for the luxury. I’m a true digital nomad, and I make a lot more money than most traditional office-goers.

This post will help you get there, too.

PART 1: ranks the top 25 home-based businesses

PART 2: takes a closer look at home-based business trends

So, let’s dive in. Using potential income, projected growth, scalability, and, of course, fun, here are the top 25 home-based businesses:

25. Virtual meditation guru

Namaste.

Don’t laugh. I’m serious. If you want to get in on the ground floor of a booming industry, then meditation is a good place to be. In 2015, the industry raked in over $1 billion (1). That doesn’t even include mindfulness apps and wearable tech, which are proliferating faster than the number of Angelina Jolie’s children.

Looking at the surge of public interest, it’s not hard to see why.

Here’s a graph showing the interest over time of the Google search: “YouTube Meditation.” There’s no doubt the public craves virtual meditation guidance.

But unless someone lives in a big market, the opportunities for learning meditation are scarce. But you could supply that demand—virtually—with no training required. Just make sure you study meditation in its various forms, believe in its benefits, and master a calm, smooth voice. The last thing you wanna do is come off as some online bamboozler.

The potential income is unlimited. Why? The business is crazy scalable. Start with a guided meditations YouTube channel and individual appointments via Skype. Once you have a following, create a virtual ashram and hire on other teachers, taking a cut of their earnings. Maybe there’s even a mindfulness app in your future. The founder of the virtual meditation empire, Headspace, went from broke to bling in a few short years (2).

24. Graphic designer

If meditation’s not for you, but you’re still looking for something uber chill, you may want to check out graphic design.

There’s some training involved. You’ll need to learn software like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, but if you’ve got innate talent, you could make a killing creating logos, websites, collateral or advertisements.

One word of caution: earning potential has suffered thanks to wholesale cloudwork sites like UpWork and Freelancer, mainly populated by hack designers from South Asia who charge pennies on the dollar. But if you’re a Poindexter with pixels, you can still live large.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows graphic designers at the top of their game can earn about $78K a year and up (3).

23. Massage therapist

If you don’t mind kneading nude strangers—maybe you even enjoy it!—massage can be a profitable home business. The $12.1 billion industry is projected to grow even more at the rate of 3.6% a year (4).

You do need to be certified, but massage therapists can charge an average of $68 an hour and up (5). And there’s plenty of room to expand. Yuppy pet owners want their fur-bearing friends lose and loving life, too, and the pet massage industry is expected to boom a full 15% in the next five or so years (6)

22. Software or web developer

If $160K a year sounds good, start a home business as a developer (7).

Behind all the apps, websites, and software we love are baller code writers, and they can work anywhere with a good wireless connection and plentiful source of caffeine. Virtual collaboration tools like Slack, Github, and Basecamp make it easy to work with a remote team.

Some say, “Code is the new literacy.” Whether they’re right or not, the potential to turn code into cash is killer right now.

21. Personal concierge

What’s the scarcest commodity in today’s fast-paced world? Time. People are time poor, and those with the means will pay almost anything to get just a little more of it. That’s where a personal concierge steps in. But you’ll have to be stellar at building and maintaining a valuable personal network.

A personal concierge is more than a personal assistant, and the difference is in connections. An assistant’s job is to save their boss time, too, but ask an everyday assistant to get reservations at Talulah’s Table or to book last-minute a villa in St. Barth’s, and they’ll be useless. But a concierge who’s developed a priceless personal network—well, that’s a different story.

And priceless is the operative word. Depending on what you and your network can wrangle, the earning potential is boundless.

20. App designer

Just five years ago, worldwide mobile app downloads were 2.52 billion. By next year, they’re expected to break 268 billion (9). This is a fast-growing industry, and if you have the technical know-how (remember code is the new literacy?), then you’d do well to climb onboard.

Doing so is likely to thicken your wallet. Mobile app designers make up to about $100K a year in base pay, and the bonuses and profit sharing can be huge (10).

19. Pet sitting and grooming

Talk about juicy! Demand for pet care providers is nuclear. In the next three years alone, the industry is expected to break $92 billion in sales (11).

With a passion for pets and a little ingenuity, you can hustle some real cash.

It’s easy to run a pet care business from your home, but if you want to retire early, consider growing with a grooming truck. They’re all the rage right now.

18. Video game tester

When you’re talking about home-based dream businesses, testing video games has got to be on the list. But it’s a lot harder than you’d expect.

You won’t be sitting around all day smoking doobies in your pajamas and playing your favorite games. That’s not a business; that’s heaven. You will be playing cool games, but the catch is, you don’t get to play them like a normal person.

Instead, you play them according to specific tests. For example, all fighting games go through “matrix testing,” where you have to fight every character against every other character on every stage to make sure they’re no bugs.

But, dang! You’re still playing games for a living, right? Well, game companies know that. So the pay for this gig is luke warm. Lead testers average $58K a year (12).

17. On-demand property renter

Did you think on-demand rental platforms were limited to Airbnb and vacation houses? You thought wrong. You can build a business around renting almost anything. Cars, boats, tools, RVs, and even parking spaces—they’re all fair game.

Here’s a list of sites to help you.

Like most entrepreneurial businesses, you’re only limited by your willingness to work (you’ll have to do a lot of online marketing) and the schwag you have to rent. Some Airbnb hosts, for example, make more than $10 grand a week (13)!

16. Clutter consultant

Consumers are looking to max out on minimalism. We all know about the hoarding reality shows, but that’s the extreme. The truth is, tons of regular folks are tired of living in a sh*t storm, and professional organizers—or “clutter consultants”—are in high demand.

The job is just like it sounds: you help people minimize material chaos and maximize space. Imagine a personal trainer for “stuff.” Clutter consultants analyze client’s lives, possessions, and environments and help curb the disorder. And the pay ain’t bad: clutter consultants can bill $90 per hour or more (14).

Thinking bigger? Good! With the advent of mass virtual reality and 360-degree video, it’s possible to work with clutter clients six time zones away. Now that’s scale.

15. Specialist photographer

I know. I say photographer, and you think of the scraggly dude who takes pictures of kids with Santa at the mall. I’m not trying to bust any balls—just truth talking. But take it from me, not all photographers are broke. In fact, some specialist photographers rake it in.

What do I mean by “specialist?” I mean don’t be a jack-of-all-trades; be a master of one. Be a wedding photographer, or an executive headshot photographer, or a pet photographer—not all of the above. This kind of focus is the only way to develop a competitive edge.

You’ll need to do some cramming on how to attract customers, and I don’t mean a cheesy Instagram account. Create a blog, foster community partnerships, and build a killer digital portfolio.

If you do, you can earn upwards of $90K a year (15).

14. Party planner

I know a truckload of wedding and event planners that run their businesses from home. They kill it, financially, and their gig is pretty darn fun. I mean, who doesn’t like parties?

They do exactly what you’d imagine: manage all elements of an event from choosing and procuring locations, to transportation, entertainment, food, and drinks, and the list goes on.

Depending on the niche and the clientele, event managers can average from $40 to $70K a year (16). Some event planners, like Jennifer Gilbert, have built multimillion-dollar party empires.

13. Network marketer

Okay. I’m not oblivious to the irony here. Yes, this blog takes jabs at network marketing every chance it gets, but network marketing is still a lot better than pretty much any 9-to-5 grind. Plus, network marketing is perfectly suited for a home business.

Here’s what to do:

1) Find a product-based MLM. Make sure you’ll be peddling a product you already use regularly, this way you can preach its value from first-hand experience.

2) Use the Internet (display ads, blogging, social media, partnerships) to draw in customers.

Don’t rely on 3-way calls with your up-level sponsor. That’s tasteless. And don’t try to get family and friends to drink the Kool-Aid. That’s shameless. And don’t you dare go hitting up well-dressed marks at the Super Target. That’s tasteless and shameless.

Be clever. Be innovative. And be aware. This business isn’t for everyone. But it beats some flaccid office job any day. In the last two years, this blog and our private coaching offering have proven that.

12. Interior designer

I know a bunch of interior designers. All of them have an incredible sense of inborn style. Most of them run their businesses from home. A handful of them drives Bentley’s, always flies first class, and lives in the fattest houses I’ve ever seen.

Interior designers (not decorators—they hate that word) do just that: they design interiors. From selecting furniture, artwork, materials, and colors, to executing layout design and sometimes even architecture, interior design can be surprisingly exciting.

But it’s not easy. You don’t need formal training, per se, but you do need impeccable taste, and that can’t be learned. Plus, the big money is with wealthy clients and commercial design (restaurants, offices, etc.), and high-dollar, high-stress projects like that can take their toll.

But the business has a relatively low cost of entry, and while the average designer pulls down about $48K a year, if you’re good and know how to play the part, the income potential is endless.

11. Landscape designer or architect

For outdoor lovers, there’s probably no better home-based business than landscaping.

Landscape design is the art of selecting and arranging features of a yard or garden. Landscape architecture, however, involves creating large public spaces and making sure they work with things like big buildings or roads.

Like interior designers, the top-tier pay comes with the big, commercial projects. Generally, landscape designers and architects average around $55K a year (17), but for those who love nature, the joy of the work can far exceed the benefits of the salary, anyway.

10. Personal chef

Love to cook? Good at it, too? This home-based business may be the one for you.

A personal chef—unlike a private chef, who serves one client full-time—handles multiple clients and delivers meals that can be stored and consumed at the client’s leisure. There’s virtually no start-up cost, and personal chefs can make between $200 and $500 on average per day.

9. Online teacher

Talk about disruption. The digital economy is changing the landscape of education forever. I don’t have to tell you about the swarm of colleges and universities moving toward tele-education—you’ve seen all the online courses—and it’s only getting trendier.

From grad school to kindergarten, the opportunities to teach from the comfort of your home are endless. One warning, though: online or in class, the pay for teachers is abysmal at best. K-12 online teachers average about $40K per year; online college professors average around $60k (18), (19). But remember, that’s for only three-quarters of the year. Summers off? That’s hard to beat.

8. YouTube personality

If you can trend-spot and have a sixth sense about what’s going to go viral, then you can clean up as a YouTube personality. Marketers call them “influencers,” but whatever you call them, video makers who can amass a big following can also amass a big payday.

The concept is simple. It’s just like TV. The more popular a TV show, the more expensive it is to advertise during it. The more popular a YouTube channel… well, you get it.

This is, however, a business of feast or famine. But if you can crush it and go viral, then you can cash in. Felix Kjellberg, the top YouTube earner of 2016 so far and creator of the channel PewDiePie, has around 47 million subscribers, racks up roughly 3 million views a day, and pulls down about $1 million a month from ad revenue alone (20).

7. Video producer

YouTube’s CBO made waves when he declared that by 2020, 90% of all Internet traffic would be video. He undershot! Cisco projects by 2019, the 90% mark will be breached (21). The point is video is f’ing huge, and if you’re creative and good at project management, video production is a home-based business with killer potential returns.

So what does a producer do? Everything. You oversee the development of the script, manage the budget and schedule, cast the actors, hire the screenwriter and director—basically nurse the video creation process from beginning to end. It’s hard work, but it pays well, too. The average salary of a video producer is around $86K (22)

6. Personal stylist

Think a career in fashion requires a 212 area code? Wrong. Folks everywhere from Montecito to Manila are looking for good advice on what to wear. And thanks to the digital economy, you can biz dev and service clients with little more than a knack for trends, a flair for fashion, and an iPhone.

The U.S. average for a personal stylist is up to around $81K (23), but be warned: you better be sick with style. This isn’t something you can fake, and the great clients will spot an impassionate poser from terabytes away.

5. Yoga instructor

You can’t pee without hitting a yoga studio these days. The trend is undeniable. From Bikram to vinyasa, clothed to nude, yoga is an industry that continues to grow at a break-neck pace. But as the studios become more and more crowded, workaday yogis are looking for a boutique feel. That’s where you come in.

Certification is relatively cheap, and all you need is some space at home to lay out the mats. You can go digital on your downward dog, too. Start a yoga YouTube channel to promote your business and earn a little ad revenue. The demand is there.

4. Freelance content writer

Want to ride a money wave? Providing quality content is one way to do it. Of all the internet-centric businesses on this list, content writing may be the one in highest demand. Why?

Content marketing makes companies big bucks. There’s no getting around that. But notice earlier I said quality content. There’s plenty of crappy content out there. In fact, finding good content has been a huge challenge for building out my own companies, so I know.

If you have a talent for storytelling and can write well, you might want to give this a try. It can be stressful (crazy deadlines), and it’s sometimes dull (can you give me 3,000 words on health care reconciliation software?), but after you’ve built a reputation, you get to write more of what you want, and the pay is pretty darn good.

You can bill $5,000+ for some long-form content or $200 an hour teaching brands how to tell their stories. Thanks to the price-skewering gig platforms I mentioned earlier, most content writers average anywhere between about $30 and $70 an hour (24).

3. Blogger

In #4, we saw one way to monetize internet content. Blogging is another way. A blogger—short for “Web logger”—creates content, too, but unlike a freelance writer who sells that content one-off, a blogger uses content to accumulate a following, then sells the resulting leads to brands and the eyeballs to advertisers.

You’ll need to have a good understanding of all types of content from written posts to video to social media, and you’ll need to have a gift for knowing what makes content “go viral.”

It’s tough, I know. But if you pull it off, it can be a cash cow. Some top blogs earn over $100 grand a month (25).

2. Social strategy consultant

Is your Facebook page on fire with likes and shares? Do your tweets top feeds? If you have a gift for social media, you can bring in big bread with this home-based business.

It’s not enough for companies to merely reach consumers these days. Companies have to engage with consumers—talk to them not at them. That’s where the social media strategy consultant comes in.

It’s not complicated. You advise companies on the types of posts and platforms to best achieve their goals. In some cases, you may even manage a company’s social profiles. In either case, demand is booming: 

The pay is nothing to sneeze at, either. In the U.S., social strategists bring in an average of $102K annually.

1. Local lead-provider

Okay. We’re down to number one. And while every home-based business on this list is an amaze-balls option for killing the office grind, not every option is right for everyone. So, here’s the truth: if someone I cared about said to me, “Forget this top 25 BS… tell me what you think the best home-based business of 2017 is…

(and I wouldn’t hesitate)

“”Online lead generation.”

Don’t judge. My answer would have nothing to do with the fact that local internet leads are my business, too. Facts are facts, and when it comes to automation, scalability, and earning potential, you’re not gonna find a better home-based gig. 

I My digital $$$ comes in two ways:

1) Building blogs that bank on affiliate sales and partnerships (like this blog, as HuffPost reported)

2) websites I lease to local lead-seekers.

Leasing sites to local businesses is the cream because it’s like taking candy from a baby. There’s no competition!

So how can you start leasing sites?

Step 1) Build a website. Obvious, I know, but you can’t create just any site. Local is the name of the game, so you’ll want to develop a site optimized for catching local leads. One example might be a website about pet apparel for folks in Miami.

(Miami spends more on pet threads than any other city) (26).

Step 2) Sell the leads to local businesses per acquisition (you get a cut of each sale you refer) or per lead (a set fee for each lead).

The cost per acquisition (CPA) model is the easiest to sell. No business worth its salt says no to leads they only pay for when the lead pans out.

It’s common sense. Marketing isn’t as simple as it used to be, and few businesses have time to market while they’re out there peddling pet clothes, or water bongs, or whatever.

This trend ain’t going anywhere, either. Think about it: there are over 19,000 cities and towns in the U.S. alone (27). Multiply that by an infinite number of niche industries, and you’ve got a never-saturated market.

And believe me, it works. I’ve can’t count the number of people in our private coaching group that have successfully killed their day jobs with this home-based boon.

Part 2: Home Based Business Trends

Do you know what Apple, Ford, Mary Kay, and Hershey’s have in common? That’s right. All businesses that started at home. Today, more than half of all U.S. businesses are home-based (28). And while they don’t all end up like Apple, a lot of them are doing pretty darn well.

Here’s the skinny. At the time of the last census there were:

  • over 30,000 million-dollar home-based businesses run by solopreneurs;
  • over 200,000 with sales between $500K and $999K;
  • and over 400,000 day job killers raking in $250-$499 grand a year from home.

Smart entrepreneurs are taking advantage, and not just for the cash. In fact, studies show that working from home decreases stress and increases productivity, creativity, and most importantly, happiness.

45% of home-based workers say they love what they do; only 25% of office jockeys say the same (29).

Home-based professionals enjoy a 70% increase in productivity (30).

Those that do business from home eat better by 42% and sleep better by 45% (31).

And when it comes to the mainstays of successful entrepreneurism, studies (which are scarce) show that home-based businesspeople are up to 20% more creative and innovative (32).

One last thing: If you’re still on the fence about giving up the office grind, I understand. It’s a daunting thing to risk the (perceived) security of a 9 to 5 gig for the chance at a home-based homerun. But I believe you can make the right choice by answering one, simple question:

Am I professionally fulfilled right now? Or, in other words, does my office job make me happy?

If the answer is yes, great. Keep crushing it.

But if the answer is no, chances are you’re not making the choice at all. Fear is. And living fearful isn’t living. I think I can help.

Peace.

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Tai Lopez a scam? My full review

You’re here to get the “scoop” on Tai Lopez.

Not mad at ya.

First, though, how about that time I interviewed him at my house?

Lol. Good times.

That’s actually my lil bro.

But, anyways, back to the review.

I first met Tai Lopez at a “make money online” event in early 2016.

Dude had an entourage following him around at the Mandalay Bay and just like any curious cat, I walked up and struck a convo with his right-hand (and cousin) Mai.

It didn’t matter that he probably used me for some Snapchat promo, he took a few minutes to say whats up and didn’t waste any time telling me that he’d recently kicked it with Chris Paul.

Tai Lopez is an internet coach, mentor, author, and speaker on ‘how to live the good life’.

Short story?

Dude kills it. Probably one of the sharpest minds speaking to the younger generation, IMO.

He also has one of the biggest book clubs in the world.

His roots lie in the financial world, where he worked as an investor for GE Capital before creating several multi-million dollar businesses, including nightclubs and some dating sites.

He now offers private coaching, and there are a few products he puts out, as well.

After watching him speak, people either hate or love Tai Lopez. That in and of itself is a testament to his skill as a speaker. Dude can spit straight from the dome. Allll day. It’s impressive. He’s literally read so many books that he has a depository of quotes and tid-bits that he literally freestyles behind a camera.

No way I’ll throw shade at that. He knows his stuff.

There’s a ‘rags to riches’ story here, involving an almost-empty bank account and crying alone in a car at night out of despair. He also ran a farm and (separately) lived with the Amish.

Long story short, he eventually find mentors (Joel Salatin), starts reading a lot, becomes a member of Mensa, becomes a multiple million-dollar business owner, and literally pulled off becoming one of the biggest social media names on the internet.

Dude is now trending up there with Gary V and Tim Ferriss:

He made some solid brand moves before blowing up on social media. VICE has done a piece on him, he’s done a Ted Talk, too.

But what to others think?

His promotional video for “67 Steps Program to the Good Life” earned him some criticism for stashing a Lambo in his garage, yet encouraging his listeners to value knowledge over materialism.

Haters even love to accuse Lopez of renting his famous Lamborghini and Ferrari as well as his stunning Hollywood home, but it’s simply not true…he owns them all, according to his assistant who spoke to the VICE writer.

Is owning a fancy car really exclusive to valuing knowledge?  For the record, it’s totally possible (and common) to do both.

How good is Tai Lopez at waking up people’s brains and motivating them to be successful?

Criticisms of Tai don’t seem to hold together and don’t amount to much once you look a little more closely. Most of the criticisms appear to merely be hate, jealousy, or opportunism.

Products

67 Steps is everything Tai Lopez has to offer from his illustrious career, copious book-reading, and work with other mentors.

You get:

1) Video archive vault: access to over 100 hours of Tai Lopez videos, which are coaching calls. He distills what he learns from 150 of the most important books he’s read on achieving the Good Life

2) VIP Membership to his twice-a-month live coaching calls

3) Direct access to Tai so you can ask questions

4) Bonus audios and videos: book-of-the-Day summarized for you

5) Bonus content: investment secrets, speed reading, app list, and access to private the Facebook group

There is a 60-day money-back guarantee, full refund, no questions asked. It costs $67 per month.

The Accelerator is a more exclusive program which offers you a one-on-one call with a top consultant from the Tai Lopez group. He’s set aside 5 to 10 of his top people to handle the mentorship, which covers setting goals and more.

You also get access to The Vault which includes over 50 hours of Tai’s Advanced Business Calls. Members get to interact with Tai in a group setting.

You learn in 3 levels, each of which has 67 mini lessons:

1) Money – learn how finances work, how to manage them and how to achieve financial freedom (think Ramit Sethi material)

2) Entrepreneur – how to build a business

3) Persuasion – learn about influence and sales

This is a program that’s limited to just 300 people at a time. It costs $997 to apply.

The Inner Circle will set you back $3500. You get a one-on-one call with one of Tai’s top consultants. There is a money-back guarantee (30 days). The call is meant to help you focus your goals so you can plan a course of action for success.

In early 2017, he launched a Social Media Agency course that helps people start their own marketing agency. That coaching lasts 4 months and is $997.

Recap

Tai Lopez is a gifted speaker who draws from history, science, psychology, religion, and other intellectual realms to deliver basic principles of motivation and success which might otherwise be boring or trite.

He’s good at communicating because he draws from a world much larger than his own.

He is always caught saying “a mind full of conclusions has no room for expansion”.

I dig it.

Look, you dig Tai’s stuff? Buy all his programs. Serious. I think you should buy all of them. I bet you’ll get 10x on your investment.

But remember, you’re going to need a scalable business to feed that 10x. That’s where I believe our coaching helps.

Yes, the same coaching that gave my 10k months a wet-willy.

You can double-down on your Tai Lopez “knowwwwledge and learn from our 2 millionaire coaches here.

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Ranking the top 25 MLM’s of 2019

Wow, this has turned into the most popular MLM article on the internet. 19k+ Facebook shares and over 1 million views – thanks for the love!

Before viewing our rankings, watch this video.

(MLM sponsors hate it, but at least it tells the truth)

Watch the entire video? Cool, you can learn more here.

Here’s the top 25 multi-level marketing companies based on products, trends and your ability to make money in 2019:

#25. Empower Network

Back in 2013, co-founders Dave Wood and Dave Sharpe were like Tupac. Empower Network was cult and their message was unapologetic: “Don’t be a damned wussy and buy all the products”.

Somewhere along the way, they stopped updating their original digital products and the vision was lost.

These days, you can hop on a random Empower Network webinar and still see Dave Wood spitting knowledge from his mansion in Costa Rica. All of the original leaders are gone except for Lawrence Tam and Tracy Walker, but don’t ever count Dave Wood out.

#24. World Ventures

World Ventures makes the list for making network marketing look “fun”. The vacation membership company targets millennials with a sleek campaign which shows people posting travel pictures with “You Should Be Here” signs.

No other MLM’s come close to nailing the younger market minus Wake Up Now and Vemma, both of which went under in 2015. Maybe a bad sign? Still, you’d think more MLMs would catch on to Instagram-centric campaigns. Tacky or not, it seems to be working.

#23. Wealthy Affiliate

Ask any Wealthy Affiliate member if they’re MLM and they’ll probably cuss you out.

Although technically not an MLM, Wealthy Affiliate offers hosting and a solid digital product lineup that draws comparisons to other MLM digital product companies (see: Digital Altitude, Tecademics, MOBE, MLSPEmpower Network).

Give ’em credit, though…they’re still one of the bigger digital communities in 2018.

#22. Nerium

Nerium slipped.

A nasty lawsuit seemed to divide the company (1), but they’re still hanging around as one of the better skin care options in network marketing.

They’ve got badges to prove their worth: Inc. 500, DSA membership and some meh sponsorships.

#21. Usana

Usana makes the list by sheer numbers ($918 million revenue 2015) (2).

Their forecast doesn’t look super pretty, but they’re not tanking, either.

Still, they’ve been voted one of the “50 Best Places to Work” and they’ve partnered with the controversial yet iconic Dr.Oz. Think what you like about Dr.Oz, but that’s actually a modest endorsement in network marketing.

#20. Mary Kay Cosmetics

I know, go high-five your fifty-something aunt right now. Mary Kay has been hanging in the beauty world for a half century and they’re still considered visionary. What other 50 year-old beauty business wins “best website” and “best Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube” awards? (3)

And they’re not merely “hanging on”, either.

In 2014 they did $4 billion sales (4) and their global sales force topped the 3.5 million mark. They are still one of the largest direct sellers of skin care products and cosmetics, no small win for this cutthroat industry driven by fickle consumers.

#19. Nu Skin

Up there with Mary Kay and Amway, Nu skin makes the billion dollar club easily. With over $2 billion in annual sales, they’re a candidate for any top list and they’re the clear-cut veteran skincare network marketing company.

Still, they’re not as hot as they were 5 years ago, and it’s tough to say if they’ll be on this list 5 years from now. They donate lots of money to charity, but they’ve had their fair share of scandal and affairs so it’s hard to say what their image is these days.

One thing I do know: I’ve never met anyone under 30 who promotes Nu Skin, and I lived down the street from them for 5 years.

#18. Avon

The only MLM to rival Amway’s fortune, fame, and size is Avon. With over 6 billion in revenue in 2015 plus worldwide recognition, they’re already in the MLM hall of fame.

They’re sliding, though. Revenue is falling in North America and their sales force is shrinking. Revenue slid 19% in 2013 and 7% in Mexico. Skip ahead to July 2015 and revenue is still spiraling downward, with a 17% drop (5). Analysts blame Avon’s failure to maintain a strong identity for its products as well as the strong dollar. Lesson: Always re-create yourself.

#17. Arbonne

Over three decades selling skincare products, soon Arbonne will be up there with Mary Kay in terms of ancient relics still pushing lotions.

Huge success here, with annual sales topping $502 million. Still, like Nu Skin, trends would show they’re past their glory days.

Their science is tight, management is blue chip, and products are continually renewed and upgraded for new generations. Arbonne represents the best of what other science MLMs should hope to be. A lock to consider for skincare companies.

#16. Herbalife

Rest of the world: Hey, how’s it going?

Herbalife: FINE. NOTHING TO SEE HERE.

Lol. Herbalife is massive. Top 5 in revenue? Alllll day. Top 5 in brand recognition? Probably top 3.

Still, its Herbalife, which has been universally panned by the media (their fault or not? doesn’t matter, still hurts ’em) and have become nearly synonymous for “pyramid scheme”.

Good news: They’ve recently settled with the FTC and agreed to pay back $200 million to former distributers (6). Probably not a good look, but it hasn’t stopped disciples to keep rolling with ’em.

#15. Beachbody

You’ve probably heard of P90X and Insanity workouts, right? They’re dazzlingly-sweaty workout DVDs sold via network marketing thanks to BeachBody.

Beachbody gets saluted for sky-high revenue and mass recognition of their products. Both are testaments of what MLMs can be: “Great-products-first-and-the-money-will-follow” company.

#14. Scentsy

Wickless, scented candles are blowing up, in case your older sister hasn’t told you already. Product is innovative. Flameless candles. It’s simple: People love their products.

The Meridian, Idaho-based company competes with doTERRA for the most word-of-mouth marketing award (and perhaps the most likely to spam your Facebook timeline award), but their $537 million in annual sales are beast-mode. They’re one of the few companies that I would bet on being around 15 years from now.

#13. Pampered Chef

Will high-end kitchen gadgets ever not be hot? Pampered Chef products were made to be sold at home parties and thats why this company is still putting up numbers.

The unofficial Pampered Chef guide to recruiting:

Step 1: invite your friends to come over and watch Scandal

Step 2: ask them to watch a presentation afterwards and pull out their credit cards

Kidding, kind of. They were super hot, but they’ve cooled off. The Berkshire-Hathaway entity was recently profiled for revenue declines and job layoffs (7).

#12. Forever Living

Forever Living probably deserve a spot because of their long-term dedication to the aloe vera plant and products made from it. Aloe vera is hot right now.

It’s rare you see a plant steadily climb over the years. That screams longevity over the other hundreds of other “full service wellness” companies. Founded in 1978, they’ve made the Forbes 400, the Inc 500 and $2.6 billion in revenue.

#11. Isagenix

Trends search show Isagenix neck-and-neck with Advocare, so they’re buzzing nicely these days.

They’re still one of the hottest network marketing companies, although I’m not sure what makes them different from all the other nutri-MLMs out there. They don’t have the sponsorships like Advocare, but maybe that can be used to say they pay out more to distributors?

Overwhelming-positive product reviews on Amazon, a solid comp plan and strong sales make this a top-15 lock for 2018.

#10. Amway

If revenue numbers were all that mattered, Amway is #1 or #2 (behind Avon).

What a curious run they’ve had. Amway is so universally recognized it’s become a household word and a ponzi scheme joke at the same time. It’s a tough one to shake off. Nevertheless, you can’t deny winning numbers like $9.5 billion (8) and 3 million distributors. Or naming rights to an NBA arena.

Brand upside for Amway? Aaron Gordon blossoms into a poor-mans Blake Griffen, and the Amway Center gets more runs on TNT and ESPN. That’s all I got.

#9. Wor(l)d Global Network

WGN is blazing hot and they’re cashing in on the wearables trend. I’m not mad, it’s actually brilliant.

Not sure if they’ll be around in 5 years, but they’re hot right now. Their latest release is a health-tracking and disease-monitoring wristband called HELO. They also did $157 million in revenue, and they’re just starting to pop off.

Digging the innovation here, but I’m banking these technologies will be in all smart phones 5 years from now. Will they continue to re-create themselves?

Further reading: The page you need to see before joining any MLM

#8. Ambit Energy

Think: ACN but better.

Ambit has hit the Inc 5000 for 3 years in a row (9), and they seem to keep trending. They promise lower, fixed prices for natural gas and electric services, so they’re clearly less sexier than most network companies on this list. And that’s probably why they’ve thrived. No glitz and glamour, just practical savings.

#7. Young Living

Essential oils are still red-hot. And YL was the first in this category. Used for wellness, cleaning and beauty, essential oils are natural, have few side effects, and hundreds of home applications.

Their lavender fields are famous and they control every aspect of production from planting to bottling so quality is a big deal with this line. Founder Gary Young is famous for setting quality standards for the entire essential oils industry.

So, what’s not to like? Uh, lets just say it rhymes with “Moterra”.

#6. Advocare

Last year’s #1-ranked network marketing company, Advocare caught some bad PR and slid a bit.

A recent ESPN report (10) was a borderline hit-piece, covering mostly the negative aspects of network marketing, leaving the reader with ex-distributor quotes like these: “You catch people in a bad spot who maybe have hope that this could be a way for them to pay for their credit card and their kids, and you exploit them.”

Ouch. Still, Brees is still rolling with em, and they have the endorsements, products (Spark), programs (24 day challenge) and revenue to be a top 10 lock.

#5. Tecademics

“Tec-a-who?”, you’re thinking.

Chris Record’s new venture is an “online internet marketing education” that’s still being cooked up, so it’s the calm before the storm. Students can attend a real, classroom setting (I believe in Scottsdale) or study online.

Thing is, dude hasn’t launched a wack venture to date, and he already has a team stacked with internet marketing big-leagues. Yes, this ranking is based on speculation, but Tecademics would be on my short list of MLMs to consider in 2017.

Concept makes too much sense. Just sayin.

#4. Digital Altitude

What happens when you create an e-learning personal development program focused on digital business for budding entrepreneurs? And encourage affiliates to spend up to $25k on programs, masterminds and digital retreats?

Correct answer: A bunch of internet marketers get rich

Digital Altitude is not just a money-grab, though, as their education teaches their distributors how to promote the products, which allows automation and scalability way past making a list of family and friends or approaching well-dressed people at Wal-Mart.

That’s why its hot and will probably stay hot for awhile.

#3. Younique

In early 2017, 60% of Younique was sold to Coty for $600 milly (11), putting their valuation near $1 billion.

Def one of the better cosmetic MLMs. Clap for ’em.

Good news for distributors: Derek Maxfield and the leadership is still in tact, and the social-media driven cosmetics company is still thriving with their $19 lipsticks and $39 moisturizers.

Younique blew up in Utah the last few years, cornering the market with cosmetic home parties for women who want empowerment.  Powerful messaging that works.

#2. Jeunesse

Another winning product line here. Jeunesse products work super, super well. Even MLM-cynics need to show love for a product that rids wrinkles:

This live demo (12) is impressive. People will always want to look younger, and Instantly Ageless cream continues to make waves.

They were the #1 fastest growing Direct Selling Association company on the Inc 500 and poached Alex Morton months before Vemma went under in 2015. Savage AF? Perhaps, but they’re still our number one skincare MLM.

Trending and a product that works really, really well? Thats rare in network marketing.

#1. doTERRA

2018 rank: 1

2018 revenue: 325M

Headquarters: Pleasant Grove, UT

A recent third-party survey (13) said 9 out 10 people that live in the Eastern USA have never heard of “doTERRA”.

Translation: they’re poised for exponential growth.

doTERRA has been cult in Utah for some time, (33% of the consumers in the Rocky Mountain region) but now people all over the world are becoming strangely passionate about using essential oils.

Capitalizing on millennials who love going “all-natural”, doTERRA is buzzing from church parking lots to your married, twenty-something sisters Instagram feed. After only five years in business, they broke ground on a $60 million headquarters in Pleasant Grove, Utah.

A spin-off from Young Living, doTERRA started much later (2008) and manages to have the momentum.

Bottom line: They’re the clear leader in the essential oils market (a trending, distinguished niche), making doTERRA my #1 MLM pick of 2018.

Recap

Look, to be fair, I salute anyone looking at network marketing companies because it shows you’re trying to do something about your current financial situation.

Hard to knock that.

Now, should you join any of the above companies? The short story: MLM has worked for many, but hasn’t for most.

Network marketing companies usually have good intentions, but the industry is flawed.

Lemme explain a few:

1) Low barrier of entry

Simple: companies choose the multi-level marketing model because MLM companies are cheaper to start and cheaper to run. By transferring that job to a distributor, a company saves an average of $1,200 annually per employee (14). That’s just for training.

Now you have thousands of untrained marketers piggy-backing a hot trend and ultimately becoming “middlemen”, with more than half dropping out in less than a year (15).

2) Artificial supply and demand

Simple: network marketing companies get in trouble when most of their sales come from new recruits instead of outside customers.

The FTC continues to go after these companies (see: Herbalife, Vemma). If you have to buy a bunch of product to join an MLM, thats a problem. Thats called manufacturing hype.

Think about it: Why else would so many MLM companies mysteriously re-launch or re-brand? Its all about the new sign-ups.

“Another opportunity to get in at ground level,” the masses think, and artificial demand is created.

==

Obviously, there’s always exceptions, but these flaws apply to most network marketing companies.

If you’re doing it for the money, odds are you’ll make around $1,833 per year (17).

Ask yourself this uncomfortable question:

Am I pretending to like these overpriced products to disguise the truth, which is that I’m selling an opportunity to make money, whereby statistics say that almost no one is?

Too honest?

There’s wayyyyyyyyy better ways to quit your day job and live the good life.

I’ll Paypal you $500 if you show me an “opportunity” better than this method.

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