With the uncertainty of our current economy, many people are looking for a way to create an additional revenue stream. With this fact in mind, I've had a number of requests for more information on Network Marketing organizations, also known as Multi-Level Marketing.

Joining an MLM initiative can, indeed, generate revenue for your household. But don't invest until you put plenty of time and research into your choices. Also know that it's highly unlikely that you will recoup your investment of time and money very quickly. Starting your own network marketing business is like any other business venture, it doesn't pay off overnight.

With that said, there are people all over the world enjoying many benefits and rewards for their efforts in network marketing. If you jump in with two well-informed feet, remain patient, and consider some of the points in this article, you could be one of them!

- First, realize that to make a living-wage you must treat this venture like a true business. You won't get very far devoting 5-10 hours a week to it, in spite of what they inspire you to believe in conference calls, presentations, meetings or conventions. The money does not come easily or overnight.

- Choose a product line that you are passionate about, otherwise you not feel good about yourself as you attempt to sell to and/or recruit people. It's important to believe in what you're doing.

- Carefully look at, and compare, bonus and commission plans. They differ greatly and you might prefer the small upfront investment that some companies require. Watch out for companies that ask for more than $350 in upfront investment money. That investment should also include quite a bit of product, not just sales and marketing tools.

- IMPORTANT: Make sure that your upline (the person who recruits you) is already very successful in the company. Also look for signs of leadership ability in your upline and talk to them about how the time and resources they plan on investing to help you become successful. Interview them — get to know them. Ask them outright about how much money they make in the organization and how long it has taken them. Having a bad upline is the kiss of death unless you know absolutely everything you need to know already. If your direct upline is not achieving a high level of success, ask to meet their upline and discuss these same issues with them.

- Look at the support and tools that the company offers. Do they offer reasonably priced websites, marketing supplies, conferences, etc. Are the sales tools friendly and designed in a way that will empower you to teach others about your product and opportunity?

- Ask about your obligation to spend a certain amount of money on a monthly basis in order to collect your commissions. Most companies have a monthly "auto-ship" program and you are required to join to receive full benefit. Make sure the product line is something that is very useful to you and won't hurt the pocket book if you have to place orders for yourself each month.

If you have time, determination, relationship skills, and you've done your homework, you might just love the endless possibilities found in the world of Network Marketing. The greatest benefit, in my opinion, is that once you've invested your years in building a strong company, the financial rewards keep on giving. I have a dear friend who, after 20+ years of business building, is quickly approaching a 6-figure income and works only about 20 hours/week on an average. Her income will continue to flow during her retirement years and she certainly won't have to bank on social security!