ACN–formerly known as American Communication Network–was founded in 1993 by Greg Provenzano, Robert Stevanovski, Mike Cupisz, and Anthony Cupisz. Based in North Carolina, the company claims on its website to be the largest direct selling telecommunications company in the world. They provide local and long distance calling, internet, wireless, home security any satellite TV. They also offer digital phone service and a video phone.
My intention here is not to form a judgment either for or against this company, its management, products, or business model. Rather, it’s my goal to provide information to interested readers who may be searching for a reliable work at home opportunity in order to make a significant income at home. Some of theadvantages of working from home include the following:
1. Freedom from the demands of a boss telling you what to do
2. Freedom from fighting rush hour traffic
3. Work where and when you like
4. Freedom from office backbiting and snippy comments
5. Determine your own work attire (warm-up suits and walking shoes are often okay)
6. Tax advantages that are granted to having a home office
7. Your earnings depend on how hard you choose to work
These advantages are part of any work at home business, including ACN.
ACN claims to help its customers save money on telecommunication services that they already use. One service offered is VOIP technology-Voice Over Internet Protocol. This technology utilizes an internet connection for routing telephone calls, that can be more efficient and less costly than other methods. Most reports suggest that their products and services are excellent. Their video phone allows voice and video communication between two people who use this service.
As with other multilevel marketing (MLM) companies, sales for ACN are generated primarily by independent contractors known as sales representatives. Representatives report that the company discourages cold calling and “selling.” They suggest that their reps sell to their “warm” market-consisting of friends and family. They also stress the importance of teaching those “sold” customers to then do the same in return with their own friends and family. This form of network marketing depends upon word of mouth advertising, thereby reducing advertising costs. ACN also secured an agreement with Mr. Donald Trump to endorse their products and services. An endorsement of this magnitude may be unique in the multilevel marketing industry.
Let’s look at the business opportunity from an independent contractor’s view. To join ACNcosts between $400 and $500, and then there are yearly charges of around $275 ($149/year plus $10/month.) The commissions earned appear to be quite small, based roughly on 1% of each customer’s monthly service charges. Some estimates are that a new sales rep must recruit and retain 40 regular customers in order to recoup their initial investment and annual fees-that is, to break even. (Commission on a monthly service bill of $100, for example = $4. Securing 40 customers at this level generates a gross commission of $160 per month, or $1920 per year before taxes and expenses. If a customer’s monthly bill is $150, the commission at 1% = $6. Securing 40 customers at this level would generate a commission of $240 per month, or $2880 per year.) These estimates compare quite well to a reported $40 gross average monthly income for distributors in the largest multilevel marketing company-Amway. It appears that a significant portion of the commissions paid to the top 0.5% of representatives comes from hopeful new sales reps, rather than from loyal customers.
The business paradigm of multilevel marketing–also known as network marketing-has been around for many years. One attraction is the small investment required to open your business. Many observers feel that the marketplace is oversaturated with multilevel marketers. Thousands of companies exist, selling all sorts of things. People who know about MLM typically resist invitations to go to sales presentations thinly disguised as “opportunity” meetings. This is true whether the presentations take place in someone’s home or a rented meeting room. Stores about such meetings may have contributed to the reasons wnythe MLM business model has become stale and worn.
The majority of homebusiness owners do not like selling. Unfortunately, this is exactly what it takes to become successful in ACN or any form of multilevel marketing. Attempting to recruit and sell family members or loyal friends can permanently damage these relationships. Many find it mentally and emotionally exhausting to have tocontinually serve as a cheerleader for others. This requirement is essential so that new representatives will repeat the process and sell others on the products or services as well as the business opportunity.
This observation is not limited to ACN, but is typical of all businesses that use the network marketing model. Your income in MLM depends not only upon your personal efforts, butalsoupon how effectively you encourage others to work who are in your downline. Thus, your job becomes to 1) convince people to become your customers, 2) teach them about the products and services, 3) show them how to sell, and then to 4) keep them motivated on a daily basis. Estimates are that approximately 70% of all “distributors” or reps in MLM businesses drop out within their first twelve months.
In recent years, many home business owners have reported greater success by marketing their products or services across the Internet. Their own efforts determine their success to a much greater degree than with MLM. This new business model provides internet entrepreneurs with a great deal more control of their income and work conditions.