There's always going to be someone out there with a great idea for making a living without actually having to do too much work. More often than not, those people are loath to hand out the trade secrets that allow them to live the good life, but from time to time, some smooth talker gets it in his or her head to make their living selling that idea to others instead of putting it into action for themselves. They might write a book about it, or franchise the idea and sell subsidiaries in that manner, or they might be the sort of people who hold conferences that inspire and motivate people like you, who are only looking for a way to make their own American dream come true. Unfortunately, for every one person who does this for purely altruistic reasons, there are at least five who are just doing it to separate you from your money.
Less scrupulous business people often prey on people who wouldn’t otherwise fall for such gimmicks. They are great sales people, and usually extremely friendly. In fact, they may even make you feel as though you’ll be best friends after the business transaction is done. Sure, there are laws to protect consumers from blatantly illegal practices, such as pyramid schemes and Ponzi schemes, but there are a ton of barely legitimate businesses out there that operate within the confines of the law, but still seek to alleviate people like you of as much hard-earned money as they can before moving on to the next sucker down the line so they can bleed them dry. The question is then, how do you tell one from the other? It isn't always easy, and you have to remember that the schemer's bread and butter is making you believe that they're entirely on the up and up. “Caveat emptor” is the phrase you should always bear in mind when dealing with what might be a scam. Let the buyer beware.
Business and entrepreneurship conferences are one place that unscrupulous people find victims. After all, the conferences appear to be on the up and up, they're often held in large hotels or convention centers, and the speakers might be celebrities or even sometimes people of faith. The point is, they want to give you every reason to trust them, rather than being suspicious. They want you to let your guard down. Of course, those are the times that you should always be on your guard. Many times, these conferences are held at big-name hotels and resorts to make you feel more comfortable with them. However, you have to remember that the hotels themselves don’t care what conferences they have at their centers. They only care that they got rooms booked and food sold. It’s a payday for them, particularly since the point of some of these conferences is to make you feel rich, or that you’ll soon be rich, so chances are you’ll be spending a bit more on dinners, drinks, and even tipping a bit heavier than you might otherwise.
The scams themselves are endless in scope. There are insurance schemes that seek to have you buy insurance, and then sell insurance to all your friends (in barely disguised pyramid schemes,) investment conferences, and work at home conferences all abound, but here’s a quick tip that will help you avoid any conference that just skirts the law and may not be on the up-and-up: Question everything, pay nothing, be skeptical. Remember that the organizers aren’t your friends, they’re salespeople. They want you to spend money with them so that they can make more money. You’ll never rise to their level because you just can’t. Ever, so don’t bother trying, and above all, DO NOT write them a check. Sure, buy a book, take some literature home to peruse, but don’t give them money. If you can make money doing this thing they want you to do, it shouldn’t require an investment up front. Got questions? Look them up with the better business bureau. You might be surprised what you learn!
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