All Posts by Kyle

Is Raging Bull a Scam? – Read Before Investing

Can you trust the investment recommendations made? Will they make you money? Or is Raging Bull a scam?

We aren't talking about the 1980 sports film nor are we talking about the Raging Bull roller coaster at Six Flags amusement park. What we are talking about is the heavily promoted Raging Bull investment advisory service that is often promoted in misleading ways and leads one to believe that they are sure to make money, and lots of it.

However, things aren't always as they seem and in this review we'll be going over a few things you should know about this place beforehand... including what all they have to offer, complaints, concerns, refund policy, pros v cons and more.

Overview of Raging Bull

RagingBull.com
  • Website: ragingbull.com
  • Type: Educational website for stock trading
  • Founders: Jason Bond & Jeff Bishop
  • Services: Trade recommendation services
  • Social Media: Facebook, Twitter
What is Raging Bull?

RagingBull is a stock-trading educational website designed for both new and experienced traders who are looking for expert stock-pick recommendations, ideas, and training on various trading methods. 

The website was founded in 2010 by the collaboration of Jeff Bishop and Jason Bond, both self-made millionaire traders.

It is mostly geared towards the beginner trader and offers a handful of different follow-along trading programs where members are told when and what to invest in, some affordable and some very expensive for those looking for a more guided hands-on approach... and they offer a free 7-day trader bootcamp...

screenshot

*Be warned that if you sign up for their free bootcamp you will be bombarded with promotions from them trying to get you to buy into their paid trading programs.

The company is not BBB accredited but do have a B rating, neither bad nor good. However, they do have quite a bit of negative complaints from members who have not been pleased with their experience, which we'll be covering later in this review.

Overall it seems that joining could very well be of financial benefit, but due to lack of transparency and trustworthiness, and other reasons we cannot recommend joining.

Products/Services

There are a variety of different trading services offered at RagingBull.com. They vary with the focuses and methods of trading, but are all laid out in a "follow-along" style where members are told what to invest in and when, which makes it easy for those without even the slightest bit of experience.

Below we'll be breaking down the different trading services by the "experts" that run them, which include Kyle Dennis, Jason Bond, Jeff Bishop, Petra Hess, Jeff Williams, and Davis Martin--followed by their top-notch and ultra-expensive VIP trading services.

*Note: The prices listed below are as they are listed on their respective websites. Some claim to be discounted yet are likely never sold at the "full price".

Kyle Dennis
Kyle Dennis RagingBull.com

[Source: RagingBull.com]

Kyle Dennis is one of the younger experts at RagingBull.com but has had quite the success story, having went from $80k in student loan debt to making over $1 million in trading profits while working in real-estate.

He is the founder of Biotech Breakouts, a trading program that he developed himself that focuses on investment opportunities in the biotech industry, which is offered at RagingBull.

He doesn't have decades of experience on the NYSE trading floor nor has he managed multi-million dollar hedge funds... but he has been very successful with his investment picks to date and this is why he's on the team.

His trading services at RagingBull.com include:

Dollar Ace - A membership for Dollar Ace provides you with trade recommendations for option contracts trading under $1. Kyle developed a scanner that hunts down these low-priced contracts and he picks the ones he feels have the most potential. Members will receive video trade alerts via email, SMS, and in the members area... and will be able to view the model portfolio live.

  • Price:
    • $7,497 $4,997 - lifetime membership
    • $3,997 $2,497 - 1 year membership

FDA Insider Alerts - FDA Insider provides members with stock recommendations that have potential to increase in price due to FDA approval, disapproval, rules/regulations, etc. Here Kyle and his team look for catalyst events, pair them with a bull-ish looking price chart, and do additional research into potential investment opportunities. Members will receive commentary, tips, educational materials, and... of course... buy/sell alerts for specific recommendations.

  • Price:
    • $399/quarterly

Sniper Report - Kyle claims that this is "the most valuable newsletter I have ever created" and is primarily focused on finding trades that have the potential for large returns of 100 - 300%, whether they be short day trades or longer-term swing trades. Like his other services, subscribers are told what to invest in and when, as well as stop loss, target prices, and exit alerts. 

  • Price:
    • $199/yr

Option Rocket - As the name suggests, this service is all about providing options investment recommendations. Here Kyle uses what he calls his I.G.N.I.T.E strategy where he looks at what Insiders are trading, at Growth prospects of a company, at News (both past and future catalyst potential), Institutions and what the "big money" is investing in, Technicals and what the price charts say, and lastly the Earnings to predict catalysts and future growth. Members are told what to trade and when; and this takes place in a 3-step process: 1) Place option trade with 50% stop loss, 2) Sell 1/2 of the position after it hits the target price, and 3) Ride out the price with hopes of big returns.

  • Price:
    • $3,999/yr
Jason Bond
Jason Bond RagingBull.com

[Source: RagingBull.com]

Jason Bond is one of the most well known on the RagingBull.com team. He is a professional trader, an entrepreneur, and the founder of Jason Bond Picks, which is his most popular trading service.

Coming out of $250k in student loan debt (similar story to Kyle Dennis listed above), he was able to trade his way out of the hole and go much higher, making millions.

As mentioned, he is one of the co-founders of RagingBull.com and has his own Jason Bond Picks service, which is promoted through the Raging Bull website.

Jason Bond Picks - This is his baby. Jason Bond Picks is a very large subscription-based trade alert service that offers recommendations for different kinds of trades, meaning that different types of traders may find value in it. Members get access to a chatroom of "intra-day" trades, up to 10 larger swing trade alerts each week, and longer-term trades as well via email and SMS alerts. The main focus here is on small-cap stocks and penny stocks, which let us remind you can be very volatile.

  • Price:
    • $1,497/yr (includes a free video training collection supposedly worth over $4k)

Weekly Windfalls - This is a newer trade recommendation service by Jason Bond that focuses on options trading... and that he claims is "the most consistent options strategy on the market". So far there isn't too much history with it. Members will get alerts for trades, information about stocks on the watch list, access to the model portfolio, education and more.

  • Price:
    • $1,999 for a year membership
    • $2,999 for a lifetime membership
Jeff Bishop
Jeff Bishop RagingBull.com

[Source: RagingBull.com]

Jeff Bishop is the other co-founder of RagingBull.com and also founded the Weekly Money Multiplier website. He has more experience than most of the other experts with over 20 years of trading experience, and he was a mentor for Jason Bond in his early days.

Besides all of that, Jeff is very proud to be a member of the elite MENSA society, which is a society for people with IQ's above a certain level that very few people get into (he loves to mention (brag about) this).

Bullseye Trades - Members of Bullseye Trades receive just one good trade per week. This is nice because too many trades can be a little overwhelming. The goal is for Jeff to find trades that will bring in at least 100% profits, and the focus is on options contracts. Members are told what to invest in and when.

  • Price:
    • $3,499 $599 for a lifetime membership
    • $1,197 $399 for a year membership
    • $158 $49 for a week trial

Total Alpha - This trading service is also focused on options trading because this is what Jeff excels in. In particular, with Total Alpha Jeff recommends volatility bets, in which you are long and short on a stock at the same time. It's not a directional bet, you just want the price to move. Members are provided with recommendations and instructions on exactly how to place their bets.

  • Price:
    • Not listed
Petra Hess
Petra Hess RagingBull.com

[Source: RagingBull.com]

Petra Hess started her trading service as recent as 2017 after starting trading in 2009 and having much success.

She comes from an incredibly diverse background, and not the type of background you may expect from someone offering a trading service, some of which includes apprenticing a blacksmith, trading horses in Europe, and running an Ostrich farm in Canada.

Some promotions of hers state that she has made over $2.6 million trading stocks, but according to TradingSchools.org there hasn't been any evidence of this.

Petra Picks Gold - With a Petra Picks Gold subscription members receive daily updates on stock watch lists as well as video updates. Petra is a user of technical analysis to find her recommended trades, but other than that there isn't much information provided on her process. Recommended buys/sells are communicated via email and SMS message.

  • Price:
    • $1,497 $797 for yearly subscription
    • $399 $297 for quarterly subscription
Jeff Williams
Jeff Williams RagingBull.com

[Source: RagingBull.com]

Jeff Williams has over 15 years of experience trading with most of his expertise in penny stocks, small caps, and options. Before this he was a school teacher in New York, which may not seem very relevant, but provides him with the skills needed to help teach newbie traders his methods.

Penny Pro - Penny Pro, as the name hints at, is all about trading penny stocks. Here Jeff uses technical analysis and news to find good recommendations and provides lets members know about them via watch lists and alerts for specific buys/sells... and additionally there is a scanner. All in all there are lots of trades to potentially make here and members will be able to watch him make live trades. Members are also provided with educational material such as a video library and webinars.

  • Price:
    • $1,598 for a yearly subscription

Profit Prism - This service is for people who have very small accounts and would like to increase them fast. Here he teaches members a 5-step trading method that takes a conservative approach. The goal is to find small consistent wins, not risky large potential trades. Members are provided with real-time alerts on trade recommendations and over 100 educational videos teaching his method to trading.

  • Price
    • Not listed

Supernova - Another service geared toward small-caps trading, a membership for SuperNova will provide you with about 1-3 trade recommendations per day, most variations of swing trades. Members will be alerted for new trades and also provided with educational material on this particular trading method.

  • Price:
    • Not listed
Davis Martin
Davis Martin RagingBull.com

[Source: RagingBull.com]

And the last expert on the list at RagingBull.com is Davis Martin. He isn't all that well known but apparently has done very well for himself. His specialty is trading options, SPY options more specifically.

Daily Profit Machine - With this trading service subscribers get access to an educational video library going over analysis, adjusting to pullbacks, taking profits, etc. Members also get trade alerts in real-time and daily swing-trade videos where Davis provides insight on the market and potential upcoming trades. The focus is, like many here at RagingBull.com, on options trading and supposedly the recommendations provided in this membership have been surprisingly accurate, although the exact track record is unknown.

  • Price:
    • $1,599/yr
VIP Trading Services

If you are looking to go all-in and really want some serious guidance with your trading then you may want to look at the various 1-on-1 VIP trading services offered, which you can imagine cost a lot more than the membership listed above.

These services include:

RagingBull Elite

This is the most expensive and elite service that they offer and includes the most. Not only will members get access to all the trading services listed above and all the VIP trading services listed below, but they will also be granted access to all the live mastermind meetups around the US. Members will also get access to any new services that become available in the future. Here you get everything they have to offer.

  • Price: Not listed; must call RagingBull at 833-795-5547 to get a quote.

Millionaire Roadmap 

This is Jason Bond's premium service, which provides more of a hands-on experience than his other services. Members will get access to three of the expert traders on the team's live-streaming accounts as they make trades in real-time (includes Jason Bond, Nathan Bear, Kyle Dennis, Bart Van, and Taylor Conway), and also receive trade alerts and access to the daily watch list of potential trades on their radar.

The different experts have different techniques which allow members to learn more than one method, such as using TPS to trade large cap stocks, vertical spreads with options, finding catalysts in the market, etc.

  • Price: $4,999

Traders Council - This service is advertised as a way "to triple your account almost overnight". A membership for Traders Council will provide one with a 12-week educational bootcamp, over 150 videos on trading strategy, access to the premium chat room where trade ideas are shared and lots can be learned, trade alerts, and personal mentoring from Davis Martin and Jeff Williams.

  • Price: $3,997/yr

Kyle Dennis' Nucleus Program

Here members get direct access to the expert, Kyle Dennis, via the live chat room, weekly live trading, live market talk and more. Of course members are also provided with alerts on what to buy/sell and when.

The level of access one gets to communicate with Kyle is what makes this program a VIP service. Members can actually ask the expert questions via the chatroom and get answers directly from him.

Additionally, members that buy into his Nucleus program also get a full membership for his FDA Insider Alerts program

  • Price: Not listed
Thoughts on Services Provided:

The trading services provided are of good quality in some ways. They have nice layouts and make it easy for anyone to follow along with. However, our concern is the lack of professional backgrounds coming from the "experts".

Many of the experts here at Raging Bull have no formal trading background and/or much of any relevant background in the trading world, which is the opposite of what you find with investment advisement agencies that provide similar services, like Mauldin Economics and St. Paul Research.

That said, there certainly doesn't mean that they aren't successful with what they do.

Track Record

What are the track records like for these trading services? This is the question that everyone wants answered, or at least should want answered. However, there is no clear answer.

Due to a lack of transparency, we don't know the full track-record of the various trading services offered by Raging Bull. 

Of course in the promotions they always talk about trades that went according to plan, big winners, but what about all the losers?

Well, what we do know is this:

screenshot

[Source: Trustpilot]

However, what's strange is that the overall rating on trustpilot is extremely high and most ratings are overly positive...

screenshot
screenshot

[Source: Trustpilot]

screenshot

[Source: Trustpilot]

*Fake or encouraged positive reviews? This is always a possibility.

But anyways... moving on...

  • Kyle Dennis' Sniper Report has a 3 out of 5 star rating for investment performance, also on Stock Gumshoe.
  • Davis Martin's Daily Profit Machine program has received complaints on Trustpilot from members who have lost money from his recommendations...
screenshot

[Source: Trustpilot]

screenshot

[Source: Trustpilot]

And there are several other sources of negative performance reviews we came across, such as this review from the BBB's website in which the person complaining claims that they "lost money with each and every one of their [RagingBull's] services"...

screenshot

[Source: BBB]

But this is about all we know about the track record. All we can do is piece together some information like this... and unfortunately it doesn't paint a very clear picture.

Some people claim the services have made them all kinds of money while others claim they have lost all kinds of money. Which is it?

There have been some attempts to get RagingBull to disclose performance data, but they have fallen short...

screenshot

[Source: Stock Gumshoe]

*Note: We'll also be going over some complaints that members have with performance of recommended investments.

Concerns/Complaints

#1 - Their trade recommendations are "not intended to be investment advice"...?

If you've read the disclaimer you may have been alarmed by what is stated. 

They state that they are "not registered as a securities broker-dealer", which is expected... but they also state that "we are neither licensed nor qualified to provide investment advice" and that what they do provide is "not intended to be investment advice"...

screenshot

Whoooah.... what???

It seems to me that providing investment advice is the MAIN THING that they do at RagingBull.com with their various trading services... and they are telling use that this isn't true?

Well, believe it or not, this isn't as alarming as it seems and every investment advisory agency like this has similar statements in their disclaimers. This is just to cover their a**es legally in case someone tries to sue them over a losing recommendation and things like this.

It's nothing to worry about.

Pump & dump concerns

Then there are the pump & dump concerns, which are serious especially when dealing with the small-cap stocks and penny stocks that are often recommended in the various services.

screenshot

[Source: Stock gumshoe]

And here is another complaint from someone who claims they are front running the microcap stocks that are often recommended...

screenshot

[Source: Stock gumshoe]

Now is there any proof that they are doing any of this? No, not really. BUT there are complaints about people having trouble getting into trades early enough that claim it is impossible to get in when the experts do... which would mean that the experts are benefiting from all of their subscribers buying in after they do.

*Note: Investment advisory agencies like Agora Financial and St Johns Research require their expert advisors to wait a period of time before buying in on a recommended investment, but it doesn't seem that RagingBull has any such policy in place.

Trouble getting into trades

There have been multiple complaints about this...

screenshot

[Source: Stock Gumshoe]

screenshot

[Source: BBB]

Misleading sales pitch

And, as we should expect, there are some subscribers that don't care for the "misleading sales pitch"(s) that make these trading services seem like some sure-fire way to strike it rich...

screenshot

[Source: Trustpilot]

Lack of transparency

The lack of transparency when it comes to the investment performance of the different trading services they offer is definitely a noteworthy complaint.

That said, just about every company out there in this business lacks in this area.

No Refunds

As if all that is listed above isn't bad enough, they also don't offer any refunds...

Refunds

RagingBulls refund policy is cut and dry... there are NO REFUNDS no matter what. It doesn't matter if you no longer like the trading service you signed up for or if it isn't performing well... there are no refunds.

screenshot

So be certain that you want to subscribe before actually doing so.

You should also be aware that when you sign up for any of the services offered your payment will be placed on auto-renewal, meaning that if you buy a 1-year subscription it will renew automatically the following year.

If you do want to fight tooth & nail for a refund you can try by contacting them:

  • Email: support@ragingbull.com
  • Phone: 1-833-265-1270
  • Contact page where you can submit a contact form

Pros v Cons

Pros
  • Well laid-out trading programs; easy to follow
  • Provide educational material in addition to just trade alerts
  • No experience needed to follow along (although it's never a good idea to just blindly follow advice)
  • Different trading services offered with a variety of different trading methods
Cons
  • Lack of transparency; we don't know the historical track-record of the services offered
  • Misleading marketing material
  • The "experts" lack professional backgrounds in trading (some may not see this as being a con)
  • No refunds whatsoever
  • Can be difficult to get into trades fast enough after alerts for them to be very profitable
  • Risk involved (as with any sort of investment opportunity)

Is RagingBull.com a Scam?

No, it wouldn't be right to call RagingBull a flat-out scam. However, we can all agree that they are involved in some shady activity.

  • First: They should tone-down their marketing material. It misleads people into thinking they struck it rich and most of the time ends in disappointment.
  • Second: They need to be more transparent with the performance of the different trading programs offered.
  • Third: They should have some sort of policy in place that doesn't allow experts to place trades before blasting out recommendations to thousands of subscribers... which they are obviously making lots of money from.

Yes, if they took action in this manner they would not make as much money... but this is the right thing to do.

Conclusion - Worth Your Money?

This is a question that largely depends on individual experience. If you were to join one of the trading programs and profit handsomely from the recommendations made then of course it would be worth it, but if not then it would be disappointing and not worth the money.

Unfortunately there is always risk involved with investing and, because the lack of a transparent track-record, there is no very good way to predict how well your investments might do if you do join RagingBull's services.

Ultimately the decision is yours to make and we hope that the information provided in this review will help you make that decision.

RagingBull isn't a scam, but certainly doesn't seem to be the most trustworthy source of investment advice either.

Please leave your comments/questions down below and be sure to share this post if you found it helpful 🙂

The Oxford Income Letter – Scam or a Godsend for Investors? [REVIEW]

Is it worthwhile financially to subscribe to Marc Lichtenfeld's The Oxford Income Letter? Is this a scam?

In this review we'll be going over what exactly The Oxford Income Letter is, what it offers to subscribers, the cost, track record, concerns/complaints and more.

Before you decide whether or not to subscribe, continue reading to get a better idea of what it's all about.

What Is The Oxford Income Letter?

The Oxford Income Letter
  • Name: The Oxford Income Letter
  • Product Type: Investment newsletter
  • Editor: Mark Lichtenfeld
  • Publisher: The Oxford Club
  • Cost: $49/y - $129/yr (depending on subscription)

The Oxford Income letter is a subscription investment newsletter service that, in a nutshell, allows subscribers to follow along with professionally recommended investment choices from Marc Lichtenfeld, the editor. 

Information, such as stock recommendations and market analysis, is delivered via the main newsletter as well as updates and alerts.

In particular, with this newsletter Marc Lichtenfeld specifically focuses on dividend stocks for investment opportunities, which are investments in stocks that pay out cash payments quarterly based on company performance.

The publisher behind it all is The Oxford Club, which is one of the longest running publishers of financial information in the country... and is very similar to other other investment advisories like Mauldin Economics and St. Paul Research.

Overall the newsletter is pretty good and get's good reviews, although there are some complaints from subscribers who aren't too happy (which I'll be going over).

Promotions

Promotions for The Oxford Income Letter can be pretty misleading. There is one floating around the internet right now that lures in new subscribers with the idea of "The Perfect Retirement Business"...

screenshot

Readers are told that there is some small group of people collecting extra paychecks each week... as if this is some secret opportunity that not many people know about.

screenshot

And it is also said that "you" can "rake in $1,038 or more each week... and easily clear $54,000 per year"...

screenshot

But... of course it isn't quite that easy nor is it this straightforward.

The real opportunity being teased here is to subscribe to Marc's newsletter service, The Oxford Income Letter of course, and potentially collect hefty dividend checks from the investment recommendations he makes.

What You Get as a Subscriber

  • Monthly Issues of The Oxford Income Letter

This is the meat of what you get here. The monthly newsletter issues will include all the recommendations and plays that Marc thinks are worthwhile. These issues will go into a heavy amount of detail on different opportunities and show you why Marc thinks they are so great.

  • Weekly Issues of Oxford Income Weekly

Each week you will also get updates on current recommendations so that you know where the market is going and how that may effect the recommended investments.

  • Oxford Income Blasts for Urgent Updates

And lastly, you will be updated at any time when Marc thinks that there is something that can not wait, such as some amazing investment window that just opened up or maybe when to sell a certain stock.

The layout of this subscription service is common with follow-along investment subscriptions of this kind. What you are getting, in a nutshell,  is investment recommendations and alerts from Chief Income Strategist Mark Lichtenfeld so that you can follow along and make professionally guided investments without needed any experience or knowledge of your own... although of course I would never recommend just blindly following advice.

Bonus Reports: There is also bonus material that is provided to subscribers. This includes "special reports" by Mark, such as "Start Collecting Weekly Payouts With the Retirement Cash Calendar", which goes along with the promotional teaser I went over, "How to Claim an Extra $130,000 in Social Security", and "How to Achieve a Seven-Figure Retirement Account... Even if You Think It’s Too Late".

Cost

There are 3 different subscription levels that you can choose from...

  • ($249) $79 for Premium Subscription
    • Digital and print subscription
    • All 3 bonus reports
    • Hardcover copy of Marc's best-selling Amazon.com book
  • $129 for Standard Subscription
    • Digital and print subscription
    • All 3 bonus reports
  • $49 for Basic Subscription
    • Digital only subscription
    • All 3 bonus reports

The Premium Subscription is obviously the best. It includes everything and you even get a free hard-cover best-selling book from Marc... but I doubt it is ever the "full price" of $249. This is likely just a marketing stunt. 

And the Standard Subscription for $129 is likely another marketing stunt. It's what you call a "dummy option" that is obviously worse of a purchase than the Premium Subscription, but is placed there to make the Premium Subscription look more valuable.

Refunds

The Oxford Income Letter does come with a 100% money-back guarantee.

You will be able to get your money back at anytime within the next 12 months if you are unhappy with what you've received.

*It seems that they have extended the refund policy. Older reviews state that there is only a 90-day money-back guarantee.

screenshot

However, I'm a bit unsure if you have to return the hard-cover book that you get if you become a Premium Subscriber. If you do, then this will just create a hassle for getting returns (and I'd imagine the book would have to be in perfect condition).

You can submit a request or get more information about refunds by contacting them in several ways:

  • Call 866-237-0436 (or 443-353-4540 for international)
    • *Easiest option
  • Mail them at:
    • The Oxford Club
      Attn: Member Services
      105 W. Monument St.
      Baltimore, MD 21201
      USA
  • Submit a request on their Contact Us page

Who Is Marc Lichtenfeld?

Marc Lichtenfeld The Oxford Income Letter

I probably should have went over this earlier, but better late than never.

Who is the guy behind it all and can you really trust his advice?

Well, there is always risk involved when it comes to investing, and not all of his recommendations are winners, but Marc does have the kind of background you would want from someone providing investment advice.

He's the author of the highly-rated "Get Rich With Dividends" book; he has studied the market for over two decades working at a trading desk, a senior analyst, and a senior columnist; and now it seems his main gig is providing investment recommendations via his newsletter services.

His knowledge of the market and expert opinions have landed him on CNBC, Fox Business, Yahoo Finance... and his commentary has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and other publications.

Is he qualified to make such recommendations? It appears so.

Performance Ratings

The big question... how well do his recommendations provided in The Oxford Income Letter actually do?

Sure, in the promotions they show you a bunch of winning trades and tell you that you can make big money... but what about all the losing recommendations?

The problem here is that there is a lack of transparency. We don't know the historical performance of all the recommendations made.

However, we do know that The Oxford Income Letter has over a 3 out of 5 star rating for investment performance on Stock Gumshoe...

screenshot

*This rating is based on the average left by subscribers.

And considering the fact that people are more likely to leave bad/negative ratings and reviews than positive ones, this is actually a fairly good overall rating.

That said, you should never invest more than you can afford to lose, even when following a professional's advice. 

Below is a review from someone who paid for an even more expensive subscription service by Marc Lichtenfeld and claims "recently his picks suck badly"...

screenshot

And here is another review from someone that claims he has "been burned many times" by Marcs recommendations, and now only follows very few of them...

screenshot

It's investing people!

We don't know the past win percentage that The Oxford Income Letter has, but the bottom line is that you shouldn't ever invest more than you can afford to lose.

Complaints/Concerns

They Don't Offer Financial Advice...???

You may find it concerning that in The Oxford Club's disclaimer it states that they do not provide advice nor do they advocate the purchase or sale of any security or investment...

screenshot

After all... it seems that this is ALL they do.

So what's going on here?

Well, believe it or not this is of no concern. They say this for legal reasons so that people can't come back and sue them when an investment recommendation doesn't go as planned, which does happen due to the nature of investing and it's unpredictability.

Every financial newsletter publisher has a disclaimer of something to this effect.

"Pump & Dump" Concerns

With newsletters like this that provide investment recommendations there is also the concern of "pump & dump".

However, The Oxford Club forbids it's writers, in this case Marc Lichtenfeld, from having financial interest in the recommendations made. They must wait at least 24 hours after making a recommendation before following it themselves... meaning that carrying out a profitable pump & dump wouldn't really be possible.

screenshot

Losing Recommendations

As you've already seen earlier in this review, not all recommendations are winners and there is the real possibility that you could lose money, and when this happens to people they aren't too thrilled, understandably so.

Misleading Marketing

There are also quite a few complaints with the BBB and on other sites about the misleading nature of the promotions, not just for The Oxford Income Letter but for other subscription services as well.

If you fall for the marketing hype then you will likely be disappointed.

Pros v Cons

Pros
  • Well laid out and easy to follow along with
  • No experience or knowledge needed - can follow professionally recommended trades without being a professional (although of course I don't recommend blindly following it)
  • Editor, Marc Lichtenfeld, is highly qualified and respected
  • Good refund policy (although you may be forced to return the free book given in the Premium Subscription)
  • Decent overall rating
Cons
  • Risk involved (as with any investment opportunity)
  • Misleading marketing 
  • Lack of transparency with track record

Is The Oxford Income Letter a Scam?

This may seem like a silly questions to answer, but some people are asking it and so answer it I will.

The Oxford Income Letter is not a scam. It is a legitimate subscription newsletter services published by a legitimate company, and it has a well respected analyst/editor behind it.

That said, I can understand how some people may view it as being a scam after being lured in from some of the deceptive marketing techniques being used.

But the bottom line is that it does have real value and isn't a scam in of itself.

Conclusion - Worth Subscribing to or Not?

The question of whether or not this newsletter is worth subscribing to is something that you will have to answer individually.

Are you interested in investing in professionally recommended stocks that pay dividends? Are you interested in following someone's advice that has over two decades of relevant experience and knowledge in the industry?

If yes, then it may be for you... but I would recommend, as one person did in a review left online, to use the recommended investments as guidance but to do your own research before investing in anything.

I hope this review has given you a better perspective of what The Oxford Income Letter actually is and how it all works.

Please leave any comments or questions below and I'll get back to you soon.

Return the favor: Share this post on social media and I'll be forever grateful 🙂

“The Great American Wealth Project” – Scam? [Review]

Bill O' Reilly has teamed up with Alexander Green and they claim that they want to help make Americans rich... but what is really going on here?

Is "The Great American Wealth Project" a scam that they are teasing? What is it really?

You've probably come across the video presentation with O'Reilly and Green...

The Great American Wealth Project

Of course we'd like to think that such a legendary TV host like Bill O' Reilly would never risk his reputation backing a scam... but when an opportunity sounds too good to be true and in the video we are told things like... "you'll be able to live out the retirement of your dreams"... it makes you questions things.

screenshot

[Yes, this is from the video presentation!]

So anyways... in this review we'll be breaking down what the heck this "Great American Wealth Project" really is that they are talking about.

Prepare yourself because things can get pretty confusing in this mess of marketing shenanigans.

Let's begin...

What Is "The Great American Wealth Project"?

The Great American Wealth Project

In a nutshell, "The Great American Wealth Project" (aka the "Great American Wealth Blueprint") is a set of investment materials including free ebooks, a book, and a newsletter subscription.

The lure of "The Great American Wealth Project" is that you will be able to make professionally recommended investments and earn good money for retirement, with stocks such as the "#1 5G Megastock" being teased. But the purpose behind all the teasing and hoopla is to get subscribers to buy into Alexander Green's paid newsletter service.

This entire marketing stunt is by The Oxford Club, which is an investment advisory and publisher of the newsletter that we are being funneled into here. It may appear that Bill O' Reilly is the guy running things, but he seems to be more of a paid endorsement... how much he was paid we do not know.

The Men Behind It

Bill O' Reilly

We all know Bill O Reilly. He's multi-best-selling author, an American journalist, and a former TV host. Although he has received quite a bit of negative publicity from his sexual harassment claim, and was fired from Fox News over it, he is still one of the most respected political commentators out there... in particular for the conservative audience.

But... O' Reilly isn't the main guy behind this thing. As stated, he likely is a paid endorsement, not much different than George Clooney's mega-million dollar endorsement with Nespresso.

Alexander Green

Mr. Green is the main guy behind it all, and he is one of the chief investment strategists for The Oxford Club and edits various newsletters including The Oxford Communique, The Insider Alert, The Momentum Alert, and The True Value Alert.

He is known for making some quite remarkable investment recommendations over the years... such as to invest in Apple, Intuitive Surgical, Netflix, Celgene, and Amazon in the early days.

Bill claims that if you'd followed Green's recommendations since 2001 you could have turned a $150k investment into $1,082,241, which would be a $600k+ difference between the performance of the S&P 500.

Now I have no idea where he gets these numbers from, but the bottom line is that Alexander Green does have quite an impressive background and knows what he is doing... with over 16 years of experience as an investment advisor, research analyst, and portfolio manager on Wall Street.

BUT... even though these gentlemen do have impressive backgrounds and reputations... the information being presented here is a bit misleading.

The Purpose of This Teaser

I'm calling this a teaser for a reason. The reason is because this is one big marketing stunt to lure in new subscribers to a newsletter by The Oxford Club, as mentioned. 

This is the same type of thing going on with St. Paul Research's "7-Day Weed Contracts" that lures subscribers into the Dollar Trade Club newsletter.

The "#1 5G Megastock" is the main teaser at the moment, but there may be others.

*More information on what exactly this stock is soon.

The way it works is they tease a bunch of great opportunities and really hype them up... but of course in order to find out what exactly these opportunities are you will first have to subscribe to the newsletter being offered, in this case it is The Oxford Communiqué.

The Oxford Communique

Yes... you can get all of the following for "free"...

  • How to Profit From The #1 5G Megastock (ebook)
  • The United States of Trump (book)
  • Three Steps to a Seven-Figure Portfolio (ebook)
screenshot

[source: The Oxford Club]

... and more... but you have to become a subscriber first.

What You Get

You will get all the "free" bonuses like The United States of Trump and the ebook that provides information on the "#1 5G Megastock", but the core of what you get is the newsletter. 

The Oxford Communique provides subscribers with...

  • Monthly newsletter that provides detailed information on new opportunities, the market, and anything else related that Mr. Green finds shareworthy.
  • Access to the Oxford Trading Portfolio so that you can see how recommended stocks are performing as well as the portfolio as a whole
  • Weekly model portfolio updates
  • Weekly informative videos from strategists at The Oxford Club and other experts in the industry

It is a type of follow-along investment newsletter where people with no experience can get in on the action and follow the professional recommendations of Mr. Alexander Green... similar to a lot of other follow-along newsletters out there like Alpha Investor Report and Money Map Report.

The Cost

The cost to subscribe to The Oxford Communique is $49 for a year. They claim that it is normally $249/yr but who knows how true this is... it's likely never sold at that price.

Refunds

They have a 365-day money-back guarantee in place but this gets a bit tricky.

screenshot

Yes, they say you can get a refund "no questions asked", but actually getting a refund is going to require some work on your part.

If you read the policy you will see that they state that you can keep everything you've received and get a refund... "with the exception of your copy of The United States of Trump"... meaning that you are going to have to return your copy of The United States of Trump book.

I've seen this sort of thing plenty of times before and almost wonder if giving subscribers some sort of physical gift, in this case a book, is just a sneaky little way of making refunds more difficult to obtain.

But anyways, it is what it is. If you want a refund of your $49 then you need to return the book... which I'm guessing you will have to pay postage for.

What Is The "#1 5G Megastock" Being Teased?

Now... to what everyone has been waiting for...

The main teaser floating around right now is for this "#1 5G Megastock". Alexander Green claims that if there was ever one single stock to retire on, this is it.

Everything you need to know about it is revealed in his book...

... but, as mentioned, to get this "free" ebook you have to pay to subscribe to his newsletter.

So let's figure out what exactly the stock is that he is teasing without subscribing.

We know that the company has a role in the 5G revolution. This is a given.

And for those that don't know, 5G is the fifth generation of cellular network technology. There was the first generation, then 2G, 3G, 4G, and now 5G, which is expected to bring about massive changes due to the massive increases in data speeds... up to 100x faster than 4G.

The company, as Alexander Green puts it, meets his criteria for a "perfect stock", which is that it...

  1. Has to be a leader in cutting-edge technology
  2. Needs to have breakthrough products being used all over the world
  3. Needs patents and trademarks for protection
  4. Needs contractually guaranteed profits
  5. Should be relatively unknown to the general public

And the hints given about the company include that:

  • "It makes the 5G microchips necessary for the entire system to work"
    • This tells us it's in the semiconductor business and has a role in 5G, but other than that not much. There are lots of companies in the area.
  • "you'll find this company's microchips in Google's 5G Chromecast... Samsung's Galaxy 5G smartphones..."
    • Still doesn't tell us much. 
  • The company made a big deal with SoftBank Group
    • Again... it's a clue but doesn't tell us much.
  • The founder was quoted saying that we're not even in the "first inning yet"
    • This might be the most pointless statement made about the company, yet the most revealing!

Now a lot of what is being teased here doesn't tell us much, which is the whole point. They want to tease us... but of course we need to join to get the free "How to Profit from the #1 5G Megastock" book.

If we put all of what we are told together, and with a little help from our friends over at StockGumshoe, it seems that the stock being teased here is Marvell Technology Group (MRVL).

MRVL matches up with the hints in every way. They are a global semiconductor company that makes chips for Google's Chromecast; they have a partnership with Samsung to deploy 5G networks; they have a partnership with Softbank Group; and Yes... their CEO Matt Murphy was recently quoted saying that the 5G cycle is "not even in the first inning yet" on CNBC's Mad Money with Jim Cramer.

The stock price has seen some ups and downs over the past 5 years, but has been holding high recently... and who knows how high the coming 5G revolution could take it.

screenshot

Pros v Cons

Pros
  • Free investment advice provided in the free ebooks given
  • Backed by Bill O' Reilly (may be a con for some)
  • Professional advice provided from someone with plenty of qualifications
  • Newsletter is laid out in a very easy-to-follow manner
  • No investment knowledge needed to follow along (although of course I'd never recommend just blindly following advice)
  • Potential to earn good money on investments (potential... definitely not guaranteed)
Cons
  • Misleading opportunity & claims
  • Have to pay to get the "free" ebooks and book
  • Likely have to ship the free book back in order to get a refund
  • Risk involved (as with any investment opportunity)

Is "The Great American Wealth Project" a Scam?

I think the picture is pretty clear at this point, but I know people are asking so I'll answer.

No, this is not a scam... just a bit misleading. 

What you are provided with, which consists of the free ebooks and newsletter subscription, is of good quality and definitely does have value.

Conclusion - To Join or Not to Join?

Let's do a quick recap here:

  • "The Great American Wealth Project" is part of a marketing campaign to bring in new subscribers to Alexander Green's The Oxford Communique newsletter
  • You can get free ebooks and the free book by Bill O' Reilly, all in one package (which is what "The Great American Wealth Project" is), but you first need to pay for the newsletter subscription

Hopefully this clears the air some for those of you who were unclear what was really going on here... which is likely most people due to the misleading nature of the marketing behind this.

This is far from being a scam, but I can potentially see how some people may feel scammed after being lured into subscribing in such a way.

Subscribe if you with to, just know what you are getting yourself into... that's all.

Comments or questions? Leave them below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can 🙂

Utility Warehouse Discount Club – Scam Opportunity? [REVIEWED!]

The Utility Warehouse Discount Club has grown to massive proportions, but is this because it is actually a good opportunity? Or is it because their agents are just really good at getting people to sign up and recruiting in other agents?

Is Utility Warehouse Discount Club a scam in disguise?

In this review we'll explore what exactly Utility Warehouse Discount Club is and what all they offer, the business opportunity they provide, complaints, pros v cons and more.

Whether you are just looking to join as a customer or join the business opportunity... read this first.

What Is The Utility Warehouse Discount Club?

Utility Warehouse Discount Club

Utility Warehouse (UW) (aka Utility Warehouse Discount Club) is a brand of the Telecom Plus company. The UW brand was launched in 2002 and has since become one of the largest independent energy suppliers in the UK, with over 600,000 customer accounts and over 40,000 independent distributors. But besides just energy, they also supply a range of other utilities.

The idea is that with UW you can manage all of your utilities on one single bill, and of course get discounts.

There is no big consumer watchdog group like the BBB in the UK, so No they are not BBB accredited, but the company does have a good reputation and the fact that they were named one of the 2018 utility brands of the year reflects this.

Lastly, in addition to the utility services provided they have a business opportunity that anyone can join as an independent distributor to earn money selling UW services and recruiting in other distributors--which is where some of the scam complaints come from.

Products/Services

Broadband and Landline

Their broadband and landline services will supposedly provide you with "guaranteed savings on landline calls". Some of the highlights include:

  • Unlimited downloads on the main and fibre optic broadband networks
  • A free wireless router

Landline services start out at £18/mo and the lowest cost Standard Broadband starts at £27.99/mo, which has a download speed of 11Mbps (not very great) and has no minimum contract (now this is good).

They make a big deal about providing free landline and mobile calls to other Utility Warehouse members but I don't see why this is such a great benefit. How often are you really going to pick up the phone and chat with other members anyhow? Probably not much.

Mobile Coverage

Mobile plans run on 4G connectivity and start at just £10/mo, but this only provides 1GB of data, 450 minutes, and unlimited text messages. However, that is very cheap and even their most expensive plan that provides 20GB, unlimited minutes & text messages, is only £25/mo.

  • £10/mo
    • 1GB
    • 450 minutes
    • Unlimited texts
  • £12.50/mo
    • 2.5GB
    • 900 min
    • Unlimited texts
  • £15/mo
    • 5GB
    • 1800 minutes
    • Unlimited texts
  • £20/mo
    • 10GB
    • 3000 minutes
    • Unlimited texts
  • £25/mo
    • 20GB
    • Unlimited minutes
    • Unlimited texts

There is no doubt the rates are low here, and they claim so much so that they are 70% less than competitors.

In addition to the service plans they also offer a number of iPhones available for purchase through them where you will pay a low monthly fee until they are paid off.

Energy

Energy Warehouse also provides gas and electricity at discount prices. They make the claim that their prices are lower than the "big 6" and from what we can tell this has been, and is, true.

However, there are cheaper deals out there from other discount companies that aren't part of the "big 6".

Some highlights of their energy deals include:

  • Guaranteed savings. They guarantee that their rates will be lower than that of the 'big 6' suppliers on average.
  • Fixed prices. Right now they have a "Double Gold" fixed tariff available that provides guaranteed prices for over a year.

Bundles

One of the most attractive benefits of UW is that you can manage all of your utilities on one bill. They offer 3 different utility bundles that you can choose from, which not only provide you with this benefit but also have some added savings.

  • Double Gold
    • Phone & Broadband + Mobile + Energy
    • Potential to save up to £682/yr
  • Gold Energy
    • Phone & Broadband + Energy
    • Potential to save up to £348/yr
  • Gold Talks
    • Phone & Broadband + Mobile
    • Potential to save up to £466/yr

With the Double Gold & Gold Energy bundles that provide energy they also offer free light bulb replacement services where they will replace all your home's lights with LED lights typically worth £300 - £500. This is said to be able to save you around 15% annually on your electricity bill.

Other Services
  • Cashback

And, as an added benefit of being a member, you will also be able to save money at over 2,000 retail partners when shopping online. 

What I'm talking about here is the cashback program they have, similar to the CoinOut App, where you will get a small percentage of money back (1-4% usually) if you shop at... Argos, Hotels.com, Expedia, Sainsbury's halfords, Thortons, and about 2k other places. 

  • Home Insurance

The home insurance offered here has been rated at 5 stars by defaqto and Moneyfacts, and is said to provide an average savings of £115 per year compared to other insurance policies.

  • Bill Protector

Their bill protector service covers accidental death up to £10,000 and also covers utility bills up to £250/mo if you are hurt and unable to work due to something that was not your fault.

  • Mobile Broadband

The mobile broadband services come with a Pocket Wireless Router and allow you to connect up to 14 devices.

  • Additional Benefits

And lastly, some additional benefits of being a member that I will briefly mention include the Gourmet Society Card that can save you money when eating out, and the cashback card that saves you 1% everywhere you used it and up to 7% at over 50 top retailers.

Business Opportunity

As mentioned, the UW does not run any advertisements and relies completely on an independent sales force to do all the marketing and selling.

Anyone can join the opportunity as an ID (independent distributor) to make money selling UW services as well as recruiting in other distributors.

Cost to Join

The cost is £100 or £50 if you join as a customer as well, or if you are already a customer.

This startup cost provides you with training and a Starter Pack, which contains marketing materials for you to get your independent UW business up off the ground.

Requirements

There are no educational requirements or anything like this to get started. However, new distributors are required to go through free online training provided by UW before they can start earning money.

This training includes the College of Excellence (COE) online training and the Getting Started Classroom online training, as well as the Team Building course that qualifies distributors to earn Group Residual Income.

In addition to the online training, new distributors will also be able to have experienced distributors accompany them for the first 45 days in the real world, which will help newbies gain confidence and experience.

Compensation Plan

The compensation plan is pretty typical of MLMs. There are various ranks, lots of bonuses and of course there is big incentive to recruit in other distributors beneath you and earn commissions from their efforts.

1. Customer Gathering Bonus (CGB)

The CGB is paid for every new customer that you get to enroll in at least 1 of the eligible services offered, but the more the better.

This bonus will range from £2.50 to £40 depending on the amount of services bought.

  • 1 service - £2.50
  • 2 services - £5
  • 3 services - £10
  • 4 services - £20
  • 5 services - £40

2. Fast Start Bonus

Just like pretty much every MLM out there, UW offers a fast start bonus where new distributors can hopefully earn some quick cash.

There are 4 different levels of this bonus (4 different payouts) and you can achieve just some or all of them.

  • £100 bonus if you enroll 3 Gold Customers in 30 days
  • £150 if you enroll 6 Gold Customers in 90 days
  • £250 if you enroll 20 customers in 180 days
  • £500 if you enroll 50 customers in 365 days

*Gold Customers are people who purchase one of the Gold utility bundles we went over above.

3. Residual Income

The residual income is the income that comes in on a monthly basis from the people that you have personally enrolled as well as those that IDs recruited in beneath you have enrolled. This is where the money really starts to add up and as you grow your business and customers stay with UW.

  • Personal Residual Income
    • This is the recurring income that you earn each month from the customers you have enrolled. They say that you can expect to earn an average of £30 - £60 per year for each Gold Customer that you have personally enrolled. 
    • Must have at least 3 personal customers to quality
  • Group Residual Income
    • This is where the MLM part of the business opportunity starts to come into play. Here you earn monthly income from the money that IDs recruited in beneath you earn.
    • Must complete the Team Building training course online to qualify

Example: You recruit in Rob (level 1). He then goes out and recruits Bill (level 2). then Bill recruits Sally (level 3), and so on. This continues down multiple levels.

unilevel comp plan

*The % commissions you will be paid here vary a lot depending on the service.

4. Supporter Bonus (SB)

The supporter bonus pays distributors that assist new distributors in getting customers in their first 45 days.

The idea is that you will get help from an experienced distributors when you join and then you will pay it forward after you have experience of your own.

5. Leadership Development Bonus (LDB)

The LDB gives leaders incentive to support promotions withing their "teams", aka downlines. What this means is that you want to help other people in your downline move up the ranks, which I'll talk about in more detail soon.

  • £300 bonus if team members is promoted to Team Leader
  • £500 bonus if team members is promoted to Senior Team Leader
  • £2,000 bonus if team members is promoted to Group Leader
  • £5,000 bonus if team members is promoted to Senior Group Leader

6. Promotion Bonuses (PB)

These bonuses reward IDs for reaching higher ranks within certain amounts of time. The higher you go the higher the bonus is, starting at £300 when you reach Team Leader up to £20,000 when you reach National Network Leader.

If you are one of the very few people who are able to climb up all the ranks and earn all of these bonuses you could earn £38,500 just from this.

  • £300 if you reach Team Leader with 6 months of reaching Qualified Distributor
  • £500 if you reach Senior Team Leader within 9 months of reaching Team Leader
  • £2,000 if you reach Group Leader within 12 months of reaching Senior Team Leader
  • £5,000 if you reach Senior Group Leader within 24 months of reaching Group Leader
  • £10,000 if you reach National Group Leader within 36 months of reaching Senior Group Leader
  • £20,000 if you reach National Network Leader within 48 months of reaching National Group Leader

7. Plus Clubs

If you are able to enroll high amounts of personal customers you will be promoted to Plus Clubs and will earn higher amounts of Personal Residual Income.

There are different levels of Plus Clubs that you can be promoted to starting at 50 personal enrolled customers and going up to 1,000.

Additionally, you will also earn some bonuses, ranging from a simple pin to all expenses paid vacations.

8. Distributor Car Plan

The car plan is designed to help lower the cost of owning a brand new BMW Mini.

You must have an average monthly Residual Income of at least £200 over the past 3 months to quality.

9. HomeStarter

This is a bonus for distributors looking to buy a house. Here UW will provide a loan for a new house of £25,000.

In order to qualify you need to have enrolled at least 40 customers per year for the past 4 years

*If an ID gathers an average of 4 customers per month for the next 5 years after receiving the lone then it will not need to be paid back.

10. Retirement Plan

IDs who make it to the rank of Senior Group Leader and above are able to "retire" from the business and continue to collect Residual Income, which could continue to come in for years and years to come, depending on the activity of your group, aka downline, or course.

Ranks

[Source: utilitywarehouse.co.uk]

Like all MLMs there are various ranks within the company that you can climb up as a distributor, 8 in total. As you move up the ranks you will get more access to the compensation plan and be able to earn more and more money as your downline, aka team, grows and you earn money from them.

How do you move up the ranks?

As you will see below, it all comes down to 3 things:

  1. Enrolling Personal Customers
  2. Recruiting in Distributors
  3. and Helping Distributors move up the ranks, which is all about enrolling customers and recruiting distributors as well.
  • Distributor
    • Starting rank
  • Qualified Distributor
    • Need to enroll 3 customers
  • Team Leader
    • Need to have 10 personally enrolled customers and you need at least 3 Qualified Distributors that form 3 separate legs, and that have made it to the Qualified Distributor rank

[Source: utilitywarehouse.co.uk]

  • Senior Team Leader
    • To make it to this rank you are going to need at least 5 separate qualified distributor legs or higher. Plus you will need a minimum of 15 personally enrolled customers and at least 250 group customers
    • In the example below you can see that some legs are made of Qualified Distributors and others are Team Leaders. Anything qualified or above is good.

[Source: utilitywarehouse.co.uk]

Next we have the Group Leadership positions. In order to move up to these ranks you will need to focus on team building. The goal is to help others in your team move up the ranks by gathering customers and recruiting in distributors.

  • Group Leader
    • Need a minimum of 20 Personal Customers, 750 total Group Customers, 2 Qualified Distributors, 3 Team Leaders, and 1 Senior Team Leader.
  • Senior Group Leader
    • Need a minimum of 25 Personal Customers, 2,000 total Group Customers, 3 Team Leaders, 2 Senior Team Leaders, and 1 Group Leader.
  • National Group Leader
    • Need a minimum of 50 Personal Customers, 7,000 total Group Customers, 1 Team Leader, 2 Senior Team Leaders, 2 Group Leaders, and 2 Senior Group Leaders.
  • National Network Leader
    • Need a minimum of 100 Personal Customers, 25,000 total Group Customers, 2 Senior Team Leaders, 3 Group Leaders, 2 Senior Group Leaders, and 1 National Group Leader.

The Comp Plan In a Nutshell:

Every MLM compensation plan will vary, but they are all the same at their core. It is MLM (multi-level marketing), so the goal is to sell products personally as well as to recruit other distributors in to sell products and build a downline to grow the business. 

Every MLM has the basic pyramid structure at its core, where the incentive to recruit more people into the business is that you can earn commissions from their efforts.

Is Utility Warehouse a Pyramid Scheme?

There is no doubt about it... Utility Warehouse has a compensation plan with a pyramid structure where distributors earn money by recruiting in other distributors.

However, all MLM's have this basic structure and not all are illegal pyramid schemes.

Utility Warehouse is actually far from being a pyramid scheme and I'll explain why.

The difference between a pyramid scheme and a legit MLM is that the pyramid scheme relies too much on recruitment. A legit MLM's revenue comes largely from real customers buying their products whereas a pyramid scheme (often disguised as a legit MLM) will bring in much of its revenue from recruitment of others into the business and usually forcing them to purchase products.

So, the big question is: how much revenue does Utility Warehouse bring in from recruitment of new distributors... and the answer is not all that much in comparison to the revenue coming in from real customers.

While we don't have access to all the numbers, the fact of the matter is that they have over 600,000 customer accounts and over 40,000 independent distributors, which is a massive difference.

Over 600,000 people have bought into UW as regular old customers... and haven't joined the business opportunity.

So yes, the compensation plan does have a pyramid structure, but this is far from being considered an illegal pyramid scheme. There are many still legitimate MLMs out there, like HempWorx and Avon for example, that lean much further to the pyramid scheme side of things.

That said... don't think because of this it is a great business opportunity. Earning good money isn't as easy as people are often led to believe.

Earning Potential

The problem with MLM opportunities is that their failure rates are extremely high. This is due to the very structure (the pyramid) that they have in place, which funnels money from the bottom to the top, usually resulting in only the top few percent making high amounts of money.

Unfortunately Utility Warehouse doesn't publish any sort of earnings disclosure or any distributor earnings statistics. So, we have to look at other sources.

You do find some salaries posted on Indeed from distributors, which claim to earn around £25k per year, but these stats don't give you the big picture.

screenshot

On Indeed anyone can post their salaries, which is the reason there are so many different job titles listed above.

The problem with this is that it is not even close to being representative of the distributor sales force as a whole. This is particularly true when it comes to MLMs.

In an article published by The Guardian they break down distributor earnings pretty well. The article is a couple years old but there is no reason to believe the stats would change all that much. Here's what they found:

  • Commissions paid to distributors for the year was £21.1 million
  • There were 41,717 distributors total
  • This means the average earnings per distributor was £505 for the year

That's not too pretty of a number. Yes, they do provide incentive for veteran distributors to help out new distributors, and they do place a good deal of focus on enrolling customers rather than just recruiting... but the bottom line is that it is still a MLM and numbers like this are not atypical.

BUT... of course this number doesn't take into account all of the distributors that give up to early and just don't really try much.

The takeaway here: Don't fall for the hyped-up promotions of being able to live some extravagant dream life as a Utility Warehouse distributor.

Complaints

The average rating on Trustpilot for Utility Warehouse is about 4 out of 5 stars... and this is with thousands of reviews left by customers and distributors alike.

trustpilot rating

So overall the company is well-liked. However, there are complaints.

Some of the complaints on Trustpilot that are actually worth bringing to attention include ones like that shown below, where a customer was pressured into signing up for UW services and experienced terrible reception with their mobile service...

screenshot

There were also multiple complaints I came across similar to that shown below here, which is about being monthly prices skyrocketing without the consumer knowing...

screenshot

And there are quite a few complaints about the broadband not being all that great of a service...

screenshot

However, we don't know the stories behind these complaints so you have to take them with a grain of salt. 

For example, the AT&T mobile phone service is absolutely horrible where I live... but does this mean it sucks? Absolutely not... coverage just isn't that great in my area.

Some people complain about broadband, mobile, and their energy services... but the majority don't. Just keep this in mind because sometimes reading a bunch of complaints can be misleading in a negative way.

Pros v Cons

Pros
  • Provide good quality utility services that most people can save with
  • One bill for all your utilities
  • Business opportunity available
  • Far from being a pyramid scheme
Cons
  • Cheaper rates available elsewhere for some services offered
  • Broadband and mobile coverage might not be that great (would depend on your area just like it would with any provider)
  • Hard to make money with business opportunity due to MLM structure

Is Utility Warehouse a Scam?

The short answer is No. They are a legitimate company that provides legitimate services.

But then why are some people calling the place a scam? There are different reasons for this, some of the more notable ones being...

  • Pushy distributors getting people to join
  • Poor broadband and/or mobile coverage
  • Rising prices

With any MLM there will be pushy distributors that aren't ideal for the company image, but this just happens. And the poor broadband and/or mobile coverage, as mentioned, is going to depend on where you live but generally speaking they seem to provide good quality services in this area.

The complaints from people who claim to have had no idea that rates would go up are the only big concern here... but information about these complaints is lacking.

All in all, UW is far from being a scam.

Conclusion - Worth Joining?

Okay, so let's do a quick recap here.

Utility Warehouse Discount Club is one of the largest independent energy providers in the UK and provides a range of utilities, which customers can bundle together and potentially save decent amounts of money on. Additionally, they offer a business opportunity in which anyone can join the business as a distributor.

Now whether or not it is worth joining is completely dependent on what you are looking for. Are you looking to save money on your utilities? Or are you looking to earn money with your own home-based UW business?

If you are just looking to become a customer then it couldn't hurt to get a quote and see what you can save. But if you are looking into the business opportunity this is something you are going to want to think long and hard about.

Alternatively, if it is the home-based business opportunity you are interested in, then I'd suggest taking a look at what I do to make money from home... which is something I've been doing since 2015 and it works great.

Anyways... I hope you enjoyed this review and found it helpful.

Comments or questions? I like to hear back from my readers 🙂 Just leave them below...

Work from Home Scams List – 20+ Scams to Avoid Like the Plague!

If you are looking for work that can be done from home but want to avoid the scams, which I imagine you do, then you are in the right place.

In this work from home scams list I will be going over a handful of scams I have either come across personally over the years as well as some other popular ones worthy of attention.

But first... let's take a look at the definition of a scam, which according to Google is "a dishonest scheme; a fraud"...

screenshot

This is a pretty vague definition, which is the point of me bringing it up. What one person deems dishonest another may seem as being just a sleight of the tongue. 

One person may see the overly-salesy salesman as a scammer while another may just see him as something doing his job.

So with this in mind, these scams in this list are largely based on my opinion... but I believe that any reasonable person would also see them as being such.

Mega-List of 22 Disgusting Work from Home Scams You Need to Avoid

1. "Link Posting" Scams

"Link posting" scams are very common. They lure people in with the hopes of making easy money just posting links for companies.

These scams are basically a spin-off of the legitimate opportunity called affiliate marketing, which is when you promote products for companies online via affiliate links and earn commissions, but they are completely fake. The reason the opportunity sounds so convincing is because they are loosely based on a real opportunity.

A common type of these scams floating around the internet presents itself like this...

link posting scam

There are many variations, and they certainly aren't limited to this exact type, but this is commonly seen... and the way they scam people is by presenting the opportunity to make easy money posting links and then pushing unsuspecting individuals to purchase some sort of training package to get going, which includes outdated and pretty much useless training.

2. Paid Survey Scams

There are legitimate paid survey sites out there like Swagbucks, Inbox Dollars, etc... these sites will pay you small amounts of money to share your opinion. However, there are also scams.

Survey Voices and Survey Sheep are two that come to mind.

Survey opportunities like this are sometimes presented as ways to make large amounts of easy money, such as up to $300, but are entirely different then they first appear.

At first glance they may seem like they are the ones that will be paying you, but in reality they just push people to join other paid survey sites and earn referral bonuses for doing so. Rather than actually being survey opportunities they just push you to join other survey opportunities.

screenshot
3. Fake Worksheet Processor Jobs

Worksheet processing jobs are another fake opportunity that we have seen pop up quite a bit recently. They are presented as easy ways to earn money by just filling out worksheets, a type of data entry job.

Of course there are plenty of real and legitimate data entry jobs out there, but be careful what you get involved with.

It seems that the opportunity to process worksheets to help people claim "unclaimed money" is pretty popular, such as that presented with UBA Tracers...

UBA Tracers

This particular scam provides training to new worksheet processors and everything, but requires them to pay for their worksheets, which they are supposed to get paid for completing. But of course this never actually happens.

4. "Push Button" & "Done-For-You" Scams

There is a romantic idea that one can make heaps of cash online with just the push of a button. And while it is true that many of the processes involved with making money online can be automated, a real, fully "push-button" system is far from being realistic.

Yet, these "push button", "done-for-you" scams are some of the most common out there and scam many.

If you ever come across an opportunity where you are told that the creators have already done everything for you, such as they already "set up your money making account" or they already "built your money making website" then it's probably best to run for the hills.

As an example, the DMM System is one of these scams...

DMM System

Money Sucking Websites is another popular scam of these sorts that continues to evolve... which is presented as a way to "earn $500 per day just by pressing a button"...

Money Sucking Websites
5. Fake Sweepstakes Opportunities

While you wouldn't normally think of an opportunity to win sweepstakes as  "job", some of these are presented as ways to earn very high amounts of income, which may lead one to believe it could replace a job.

These are extremely common and very easy for scammers to set up. All you usually have to do is enter your email address and maybe a phone number to get a chance to win the prize, such as up to $1,000,000 like that shown on the scammy WinLoot website...

winloot

Then of course you either never win or you do win and it's impossible to actually get the money. ​

One of the scams is that they steal your contact information and then sell it online... so be prepared to be bombarded with spam emails and phone calls if you sign up for one of these fake sweepstakes competitions.

Another type of sweepstakes scam is that of check cashing, which I'll talk more about in a bit. This is when they send out a fake check in the mail.

6. MLM Opportunities

Mary Kay, Herbalife, Amway, Younique, HempWorx, etc... these are all large MLM companies. But although failure rates with MLMs are extremely high, and pretty much guaranteed to be that way because of their pyramid multi-level marketing structure... these are not scams.

The scam MLM opportunities that I'm talking about in particular here are those that are presented as real, normal, salary jobs. This is usually due to representatives of the MLMs trying to recruit in new reps by posting job opportunities on Craigslist, and other sites.

MLMs aren't my cup of tea by any means, but they can be legitimate companies... but when reps present the opportunities in a misleading way just to recruit in other reps... this is scammy.

7. Pyramid Schemes

A close relative of the MLM opportunity is the pyramid scheme... and this is its illegal cousin.

Pyramid schemes are often disguised as MLMs to keep from being shut down by governments for legal reasons... and the difference is that legitimate MLMs sell real products to consumers while pyramid schemes rely overwhelmingly on new recruits... whom are often forced to purchase products.

Both can sell products... but the pyramid scheme relies almost solely on new recruits rather than sales to real customers.

You have to avoid these. They are guaranteed to fail based on their structure and only a very small percentage of people at the top stand a chance of making good money.

8. Cash Gifting

Cash gifting is a very luring scam due to it's potential of making easy money fast... and the fact that these schemes are thought to be legal.

BUT... while giving and receiving large cash gifts is completely legal... it becomes illegal when built into some sort of money-making recruitment scheme, which often times falls into the category of being a pyramid scheme.

For example, the common cash-gifting scheme requires participants to send cash gifts in order to qualify, with the hope of earning large amounts of money getting others to join and send them cash gifts. This is illegal.

*There is a good article on wikiHow that explains how you can send cash gifts legally. But this doesn't include any of the work from home schemes that exist in this area.

9. Fake Social Media Influencer Jobs

These scams have become increasingly popular, which probably means that they have been very successful with scamming people. They have become so popular that I found it reasonable to write a post warning about these influencer scams.

The lure is that you can make very easy money by being an "influencer" on social media... and the job consists of promoting the opportunity by referring others to make easy money... and lots of it.

Paid 4 Clout, Kids Earn Cash, and many other similar variations are some examples...

Paid 4 Clout
kids earn cash

These sites trick people into referring friends in the hopes of making money, yet they never pay. And they also provide a bunch of promotional offers, such as the chance to make money taking surveys or the chance to win $100 gift cards... but these are usually fake offers too... just a way for them to make money getting you to sign up for things.

10. Affiliate System Scams

You also have to watch out for the pre-made affiliate systems that are out there. You can make money with these, and they may not be entirely "scams", but they certainly can be misleading.

What I'm talking about are sales funnel systems that lure people in and then push them to go out and promote the same system to other people.

Usually they are promoted as some "secret" system or formula that someone created for making money, such as that shown here with the Secret Income Formula...

Secret-Income-Formula

These are basically one big cycle of people buying into a system and then getting others to buy in, earning affiliate commissions each time they get someone to buy in.

Scam or not? You decide.

11. Ecommerce Job Scams

And then there are the ecommerce-type job scams. 

In particular, what I'm talking about here are the opportunities presented as ways to make big money with your own ecommerce business.

At the top of scammy ecommerce systems I would rank MyEcomClub, which has been promoted in a number of extremely deceptive and misleading ways, such as that shown below of there being some "mobile money" loophole that anyone can tap into to create a "secret income stream"...

mobile-money-loophole

There have been many scammy promotions for this and it is by no means the only ecommerce opportunity scam out there.

How these work is like this: They lure in people with the hopes and dreams of making boatloads of money with their own ecommerce businesses. But first what they have to buy into is the training and tools to be able to create such businesses... and of course actually being successful with this is something that is much more difficult than it is promoted as being... and much different in general.

The promotions can be incredibly misleading for some, but know that not all ecommerce training courses are scams by any means. 

12. Automated Trading Software Scams

Automated trading scams are fairly common to come across as well. These opportunities are presented as ways to invest a small amount of money and make huge returns using some sort of automated trading system for free. The minimum investment is almost always $250 and you will likely never see that money again.

These scams always exploit popular new trends, such as that shown here that was called Banking on Blockchain and was supposedly a trading system that would make investors tons of money by trading Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies...

Banking-On-Blockchain

There have been similar scams claiming to trade at extremely high win percentages in the area of marijuana stocks, and many other areas, even trading Netflix stocks of all things...

Netflix-Soft

The scammers behind these will try to exploit any opportunity and nothing is off-limits.

They direct investors to unregulated brokers and receive commission kickbacks for luring them in.

Any automated trading system that has a 90%+ win rate and is promoted as being free to use is definitely a scam.

13. The Fake "Ad Flipping" Opportunity

There is another category of scams going around called "ad flipping". The idea is that you can make a ton of easy money by buying banner ads at low prices and then selling them if they do well and increase in price. So for example, you could buy a banner ad for a new pair of Nike shoes early on, and then the ad may do very well and the shoes may become very popular, allowing you to "flip" it for high earnings.

Of course they tell prospects that they can use their super awesome "ad flipping" system for free, which has a 98% win rate of course, but the problem is that you first have to invest money ($250 min) to get started... because the system needs to buy ads first, then flip them. This is similar to the trading system scams.

It's all an elaborate made-up scam and there are plenty to go around. FreeAdCashSystem is just one of many...

free ad cash system

And Daily Banner Profits was another that was heavily promoted for quite some time...

daily banner profits
14. Misleading Online Gaming Job Opportunities

Would you like to make money playing games online? And possibly enough to even live off of?

Wouldn't we all?

There are real ways to make money playing games online, such as testing out new games, but these opportunities are often promoted in incredibly deceptive ways.

There have been some promotions for scammy programs like Gaming Jobs Online that claims "YOU TOO can easily make an average of $39,063 a year" as a video game tester...

make money selling games

BUT... of course here they wanted people to buy their training program to learn how to do it.

15. Fake Job Agencies

Fake job agencies also exist to lure people into scam opportunities, often in the "work-from-home" area.

If you are contacted by a job agency and something seems a bit strange, such as maybe they talk about how much money you will be able to make, always look into things.

Look for their credentials and maybe do a quick Google search.

Fake job agencies often contact people with emails saying that "Hey, we've received your application" when really an application was never submitted in the first place.

16. Job Board Scams

There are tons of job-boards out there that help job seekers search for open positions in various fields... but sometimes even these sites are fake.

For example, there is the "Get Customer Service Jobs" job board (and other variations) that seem to promote misleading or fake job opportunities. This particular one I came across having misleading promotions for the Harvard Risk Management Corporation work-from-home opportunity.

screenshot

Monster, Indeed, Career Builder, etc... these are all reputable and legitimate job boards... stick with them.

*Note: But also be careful with the legitimate job boards. They do a good job at keeping scam job postings off their sites, but sometimes they slip through the cracks.

17. Check Cashing Job Scams

Check cashing scams are a sneaky type of scam that fortunately are being avoided more and more these days, due to increased attention from governments and other organizations.

In a check cashing scam the victim is asked to cash a check, which looks real and is supposed to be real, but is fake. In a well run scam of this kind the check will be such a good fake that the victim's bank will take it and it won't be until later that they realize it is fake. However, at this time the scam is already complete... the victims will have been asked to wire transfer money immediately after cashing the check.

Check cashing scams come in many forms, which just a couple examples including...

  • Mystery shopping jobs - Some scam mystery shopping opportunities will send you a hefty check in the mail to cover the costs of the shopping gig you completed. What you are supposed to do is cash the check, take enough to cover your expenses, and then send the extra money back via wire transfer. But... of course it is fake.
  • Lottery/sweepstakes scams - They claim "You've Won!". Then you get sent a check and the scammer claims the amount, for tax reasons, needs to be sent in. The check however is a fake.
18. Package Processing/Reshipping/Forwarding Scams

Package processing/shipping scams can turn out pretty bad... because you can get in trouble legally. And, these are fairly popular, enough so that law firms like BUKH Law Firm in New York are advertising their reshipping scam defense lawyer services.

These opportunities are presented as jobs where you will receive packages and reship them elsewhere.

Sounds a bit strange... I mean... why can't they just ship them to the destination to begin with, right? But it sounds easy, so a lot of people go for them.

BUT... what often happens in these scams is the transport of illegal or stolen goods. The people running the reshipping schemes don't want to get caught so they hire other unsuspecting and innocent individuals to do it for them... and you can get in trouble with the law.

Often times the scammers will place orders online with stolen credit cards and have them shipped to the innocent reshipper, who will be asked to forward them to some PO box oversees or something like this... often untraceable back to the scammer orchestrating the whole thing.

19. Envelope Stuffing

There are legitimate envelope stuffing jobs that exist... but also a lot of fake opportunities, so much so that the FTC even warns about them.

Here people are lured in with the hopes of making very easy money by simply preparing mailings, which may also involve sealing the envelopes and paying postage.

Sounds easy, and it is easy, but the catch is that you have to pay a small fee for materials and whatnot. However, it is still luring because this fee is nothing compared to the income they claim you will be able to make.

So, in a nutshell, you pay for supplies to stuff envelopes and the whole operation is completely unnecessary and fake... so you never get paid for your work.

20. Fake Assembly Jobs

These go hand-in-hand with the envelope stuffing jobs. Here people are told that they can get paid to assemble products to sell, but first they will be required to purchase a start-up kit of some kind.

In the end, no money will be made.

21. The Popular "You Will Need These Training Materials" Scam

It makes sense that with a work at home job opportunity you might need training materials. After all, you will be staying at home so there will be no one to train you in-person.

What makes these opportunities even more convincing is the fact that legitimate MLM opportunities often require the purchase of some sort of starter kit, which includes training materials.

With the fake jobs you will likely receive nothing after making the purchase, and, even if you do receive something it will be a waste of time.

Sometimes these scams, even more confusingly, are like an added layer over top of a legitimate work-at-home job opportunity. For example, the Postal Job Source scam that I exposed was presented as a way to get a job with the USPS, and seemed like it was actually a staffing agency of the USPS. However, it was really just some dumb program trying to sell people "registration packages" that would provide some training that could hopefully increase their chances of landing a job with the USPS but was not affiliated with them in any way... very misleading.

They come in many different forms.

22. Mystery Shopping Frauds

Besides the mystery shopping scams that sucker people out of their money by getting them to cash fake checks, they also come in other forms.

Similar to the scams mentioned above, some fake mystery shopping gigs will require that you pay a fee to get access to their database of shopping companies and other (supposedly) important information. 

However, legitimate mystery shopping jobs are listed for free as well as companies that hire mystery shoppers. There is no need to pay for such information.

Tips to Avoid The Scams & Stay Safe

Avoiding scams can be difficult. They continue to evolve and scammers will try to scam people in just about any way possible.

The best scams are build around some sort of real, legitimate business opportunity... which makes them all the more convincing.

If something sounds too good to be true then...

If there was only one piece of advice I could give it would be to follow the old saying: "if something sounds too good to be true then it probably is".

The promise of good pay and easy work can be very tempting, but in the real-world opportunities like this are rare. So don't jump in on something without doing your homework.

As a rule of thumb..

As a rule of thumb, a very general rule of thumb, you shouldn't need to pay to get started with a job opportunity.

This is especially true when you will be working for a company. However, it is less true with freelance work where you have to train yourself, buy your own materials, and things like this. In freelance you are on your own.

The work-from-home opportunity I've been with for over 3 years..

If a freelance type of work at home opportunity interests you then I highly suggest taking a look at the guide I put together that details exactly what I do and how complete newbies can get started.

Just know that, because this is freelance, it takes time to get going and you aren't guaranteed a certain amount of pay. It is commission based, which I like because of the potential and freedom, but it has some downsides.

If interested, you can find out more here.

Anyways... I hope you've found this article helpful. Be sure to leave any comments or questions below. I like to hear back from my readers 🙂

St. Paul Research – Scam or Legit Company? [REVIEW]

St. Paul Research's investment advisory services are always promoted as being some amazing new opportunity... but can you really trust this place? Is it a scam company?

These were the types of questions that came to mind and that I set out to answer after coming across some of the promotions for their various newsletters... and in this review I will be answering exactly this.

So, let's get to it...

Overview - What Is St. Paul Research?

St. Paul Research
  • Company: St. Paul Research
  • Type: Financial research firm
  • Websitestpaulresearch.com
  • Products/services: Investment newsletter subscriptions

St. Paul Research, in a nutshell, is an investment advisory firm that employees financial experts to provide investment advice via subscription publication services such as newsletters, very similar to The Oxford Club and Maulden Economics.

The company was founded in 2019 and is a franchise of Agora Financial, the much larger financial advisory firm. 

The name, "St. Paul Research", likely comes from it's location, which is 808 St. Paul Street in Baltimore, Maryland... the same location as Agora Financial.

At this time they are not BBB accredited, but nothing should be assumed by this... although it would be nice to see.

Links:

Contact Information:

  • Phone: 1-844-370-6635
  • Email: feedback@stpaulresearch.com
  • Address: 808 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, MD, 21202

*Or you can submit a support ticket through their Contact Page.

Products

The core of what they offer are financial newsletters. These range in price greatly, some being completely free and others costing a couple grand per year to subscribe to.

No matter what your investment preference or situation you will likely be able to find a newsletter that at least somewhat fits your needs.

They employ a handful of analysts to run their newsletters, all of which have great backgrounds and seem well qualified... some with 25+ years of experience trading on the floor, others with experience managing multi-million dollar hedge funds, etc. A list of their advisors (analysts) can be found on their website here.

Paid Newsletters

  • 42-Day Retirement Plan - The goal here is to help people achieve a good retirement in just 42 days. Subscribers are provided with quarterly reports of "retirement windows" that exist, which are hot investment opportunities.
    • Editor: Alan Knuckman
  • Buyout Millionaire's Club - This subscription is all about helping subscribers get in on opportunities to capitalize on company mergers/acquisitions, which often send stocks soaring in price (the right stocks of course).  
    • Editor: Zach Scheidt
  • Contract Income Alert - This newsletter's focus is on bonds, and not just any bonds... but buying bonds at a discount.
    • Editor: Zach Scheidt
  • Dollar Trade Club - Subscribers here get real-time market analysis, recommendations, and more from two of the analysts here. There is a focus on opportunities that aren't mainstream yet.
    • Editor: Alan Knuckman & Zach Scheidt
  • Family Wealth Circle - The models provided to members with this subscription are comprehensive for managing family investments. There are 3 different models provided to follow along with depending on your approach and situation.
    • Editor: Zach Scheidt
  • Infinity Circle - Here you get information from the 3 professionals: Zach Scheidt, Alan Knuckman, and Beau Henderson. Everything from options trading to asset maximization is covered. Lots of variety here
    • Editor: Matt Insley
  • Income On Demand - The strategy subscribers are guided through here is making money through options trading... and is advertised as selling options.
    • Editor: Zach Scheidt
  • Lifetime Income Report - The focus here is on investing in good companies that pay good dividends. Information on tax reduction strategies is also provided so that subscribers can keep more of what they earn.
    • Editor: Zach Scheidt
  • Lifetime Income Report Pro - This includes the Lifetime Income Report, plus members also get another level of service on top of that... focused on growing income, market trends and opportunities, and more.
    • Editor: Zach Scheidt
  • The Profit Wire - The focus here is on how big news effects stock prices... and more importantly on investing in stocks before the big news hits the media. Dave Gonigam has spend decades running newsrooms for Fox, CBS, ABC, and NBC, and he is the man behind it all.
    • Editor: Dave Gonigam
  • Strategic Retirement - Retirement Beau Henderson runs this newsletter which has the aim of helping retirees make the most of their money. Subscribers are kept up-to-date on laws/rules that can affect retirement as well as provided with information on ways to make more of what money they have.
    • Editor: Beau Henderson
  • Weekly Wealth Alert - If you're looking for recommendations to make fast money then this might be for you. The focus here is on providing subscribers with short-term option recommendations that expire in 2 weeks or less and have the potential for good profit.
    • Editor: Alan Knuckman
  • Zach's Weekly Squawk Box - Subscribers to this get high-level information and recommendations weekly, as well as the ability to submit questions to the team.
    • Editor: Zach Scheidt

Free Newsletters

  • The Daily Edge - This free newsletter provides subscribers with income opportunities of all sorts, such as retirement savings, investment opportunities, and profitable market ideas in general. It has a very broad focus.
  • Whiskey & Gunpowder - Here subscribers get market commentary that can be bold at times, and is said to not be politically correct, which most readers like. This newsletter was ran by Agora Financial for years but was discontinued... and now brought back in 2019.
  • Rich Retirement Letter - As the name suggests, this newsletter is all about retirement. The focus here is broad. Subscriber will get advice on everything from maximizing Social Security to finding purpose in life after retirement. Beau Henderson, certified success coach and financial advisor, is the editor.

Books & "Free" Ebooks

The editors working here at St. Paul Research have also written a number of books and "free" ebooks. These are often given away when you subscribe to certain newsletters and are used for advertising purposes.

Books:

The books, just like any book, can also be purchased independently.

  • Customized Social Security - Written by Beau Henderson, this book teaches readers what to avoid, what all benefits exist that they are entitled to, and provides plenty of examples, worksheets, and checklists. Maximizing Social Security is the goal.
  • 30-Minute Retirement Guide - Zach Scheidt's book here goes hand-in-hand with his Contract Income Alert newsletter and is all about buying corporate bonds at low prices.
  • Congress' Secret $1.17 Trillion Giveaway - Here readers will learn about an opportunity to invest and make money that comes, largely, from legislation passed and amounts to over $1 trillion. Zach Scheidt is the author.
  • Bull Market Manifesto - Alan Knuckman and Zach Scheidt teamed up for this book. 41 trading secrets are provided that they claim you won't hear from the media.
  • Big Book of Income - Yet another book by Zach Scheidt, the Big Book of Income was written to help retirees collect passive income to cover the rising costs of living.

Ebooks:

The ebooks are almost advertised as being "free", yet are only given out when people subscribe to paid newsletters. These cover all sorts of various opportunities and are used to bring in new subscribers from different marketing angles.

Some (of many) include:

  • Seven-Day Weed Contracts: How to Get Rich as America Goes Green (review here)
  • The Blockchain Revolution
  • The Ultimate Retirement Loophole
  • How to Double Your Income During Trading Windows

Recommendation Performance

As a provider of investment advice one of the most important questions you can ask is: "how well does their advice perform?"

Sure, in the promotional material you are always shown winning trades and great predictions, but how often does this actually happen?

There really isn't much information to go off of here because St. Paul Research does not make their recommended portfolio histories available to the public, but here is some of what we do know:

And there are a number of performance complaints with the BBB about newsletter services that have been offered by Agora Financial and are offered by St. Paul Research now too...

screenshot
screenshot

You can also find reviews on Trustpilot that don't have the best things to say when it comes to the recommended investments...

screenshot

That said, there are people who are more than happy with the recommendations provided and the advice given... and you also have to take into account these  two factors:

  1.  People are much more likely to be vocal with complaints and negative opinions than they are if they'd had a positive experience.
  2. Not all trades are winners and many people probably join, lose a trade or two, and then give up and complain.

I wish there was more clear information I could provide here but there isn't.

Complaints

Because St. Paul Research is so new there aren't really any complaints about the services provided.

However, we know that this company is under the umbrella of Agora Financial and some of their newsletters carried over to the new company... which have complaints about investment performance as I just went over above.

The more common complaint, however, seems to stem from the deceptive marketing practices that the companies employ, which often lures in new subscribers in misleading ways.

There also seem to be some people who have had trouble getting refunds through Agora and there is no good reason to doubt that it won't be the same for St. Paul Research.

screenshot

Note: A lot of people do get refunds though, as they should. It seems that if you submit a complaint to the BBB you are pretty much guaranteed to get a refund.

Concerns

They Don't Provide Investment Advice...? 

On their Terms & Conditions page they clearly state that the "content in our publications is for general information only and is not intended to be relied upon by users in making (or not making) specific investment decisions".

screenshot

Now this may come as a surprise... after all, some of their newsletters provide specific investment recommendations.

However, it is common and necessary to see a statement like this from investment advisories. The fact of the matter is that they don't know anyone's personal situations and no one is going to have a 100% success rate... so they have to cover their butts legally.

Is St. Paul Research a Scam?

The only reason I feel the need to answer this question is because I know a lot of people are asking... and the answer is No, St. Paul Research is not a scam.

Just like their parent company Agora Financial, St. Paul Research uses somewhat misleading ways of advertising new opportunities to lure in new subscribers... which is the main reason people call them a scam. However, they are not and what they provide does have real value... although those that have been mislead into subscribing may feel a certain way about things.

The bottom line is this: their marketing is over-the-top and over-hyped... but... they do have highly qualified market analyst professionals working for them that do provide quality advice.

Pros v Cons

Pros
  • Subscribers can follow along and ultimately make professional trades without having any experience (not with all of the newsletters offered, but with many)
  • Simple layout that is easy to follow - often the newsletters consist of 1) a monthly in-depth newsletter, 2) weekly updates, and 3) trade alerts to let subscribers know when to buy/sell.
  • Advisors/editors have good backgrounds and are highly qualified
  • Allow refunds if customers aren't happy
Cons
  • Misleading ads (teasers)
  • Prices can be very high
  • Getting refunds may be difficult
  • Risk involved (as with any investment opportunity) - some people lose money

Conclusion

Okay, so let's do a quick recap here:

  • St. Paul Research is a franchise of Agora Financial.
  • Many of Agora's newsletter services and editors have moved over to St. Paul Research.
  • The core of what they provide is newsletter, which are usually structured so that subscribers can follow along with recommended investments that the analysts make.
  • The performance of investment recommendations seems to be spotty. There are quite a few complaints from newsletter subscribers, but you have to take these with a grain of salt at times because of how people are more likely to leave reviews of negative experiences rather than positive.

Hopefully this review gives you a more clear picture of what exactly St. Paul Research is and whether or not you can trust them.

They definitely aren't a scam, but don't fall for the marketing hype of how you will be able to make this amount of money in this amount of time. And... or course... never invest more money than you can afford to lose. There is definitely risk involved with the recommendations made to subscribers, as there is with any investment opportunity.

Please leave any comments or questions below. I like to hear back from my readers 🙂

Also, be sure to check out the program I've been using since 2015 to earn passive income online... it's something you might be interested in. And also feel free to check out my top income ideas for a list.

What Are “7-Day Weed Contracts”? – REVIEW

The "7-Day Weed Contracts" opportunity that is being teased by Alan Knuckman is a bit misleading. 

What are they? Is this opportunity legit? Is it a scam? 

These questions come up a lot with this sort of over-hyped promotion, which is the point of this review... to provide the answers.

You've probably stumbled across the teaser that starts out like this...

*There might be varying types of promotions out there.

7-Day Weed Contracts

What we are told is that there is some "little-known" regulation and that we now have the opportunity to collect fast profits in short amounts of time... even as much as "$515,000... in just 7 days!".

The reason he calls them "Seven-Day Weed Contracts" is because they are legally required to end each Friday at 4pm, according to CBOE Rule 5.5(d).

Apparently with these weed contracts "extraordinary" gains as high as 10,300% are possible...

screenshot

But... when something sounds too good to be true then it probably is... and I'm guessing this is what led you to do a little extra research and come across my review in the first place.

Massive Income Claims and Lies... This Seems a Bit Scammy

The opportunity already sounds a bit too good to be true, and the fake testimonials we are shown certainly don't help make this seem any more legitimate.

What I'm talking about are the testimonials shown in the teaser, such as "Robert T" who claims he made $220,000, and then "Ana B" who supposedly made $99,076...

fake testimonials

I was a bit suspicious of things to begin with so I decided to do a reverse Google image search for the pictures of "Robert T" and "Ana B" shown above.

Sure enough, they are FAKE.

Below you can see that the "Robert T" fellow's picture is all over the internet on various websites...

screenshot

And the picture of "Ana B" I found on ShutterStock, a stock photo website anyone can purchase photos on.

screenshot

At this point things aren't looking to good. It's starting to look more and more like a scam, or something of this nature.

Alan Knuckman, Who Is This Guy?

It's always important to look into the people promoting opportunities such as this.

The person responsible for the "Seven-Day Weed Contracts" pitch is Alan Knuckman, who suprisingly seems to be the real deal.

Alan Knuckman 7-Day Weed Contracts

Alan has appeared on all sorts of news stations for his expert investment advice, such as on CNBC, Bloomberg TV, Fox News, etc.

He has over 25 years of experience on the trading floor, having started out as a clerk and later working as professional options trader... giving him experience in all aspects of the options markets.

His main job right now seems to be providing analysis and investment advice. He is an editor at a large investment advisory company, Agora Financial (and their franchise St. Paul Research), and writes for subscription newsletters such as Dollar Trade Club, Weekly Wealth Alert, and 42-Day Retirement Plan.

Alan definitely has a solid background and lots of credentials, which is great to see. But this conflicts with the teaser for "Seven-Day Weed Contracts"... which seems a bit scammy.

So Then... What Are Seven-Day Weed Contracts?!

What we know, or I guess it would be more appropriate to say "what we are told", is that these weed contracts trade for very cheap, sometimes as little as 1 cent, and they are little-known because they were created by insiders working for brokerages/exchanges and never really promoted to the public.

The information given about them trading for very cheap can be true, but the idea that they were some sort of secret insider creation is misleading.

After looking through the Rules of CBOE Exchange it appears that this whole "Seven-Day Weed Contracts" strategy he is talking about revolves around short-term options. This is what CBOE Rule 5.5(d) refers to, which is mentioned by Alan Knuckman. And... this makes perfect sense since Alan has a lot of expertise in options trading.

Nothing New Here!

The rule he is referring to hasn't changed in years. It's not like this is some secret that no one knows about... but you could call it a new opportunity because of the explosion of weed investments in this area.

It makes sense that the grandness of this opportunity is exaggerated and overly-hyped up... because the point of this whole teaser is to lure people in to subscribe to one of his paid newsletters... similar to many other teasers floating around the internet, like American Superpower Checks and Mortgage Reimbursement Checks for example.

The Underlying Purpose of This Teaser

Dollar Trade Club is the newsletter that Alan is luring people into.

The term "7-Day Weed Contracts" is just made-up for marketing purposes. It's not like you can actually go invest in something called this.

He has an ebook he is giving away for "free" called "Seven -Day Weed Contracts: How to Get Rich as America Goes Green", which goes over how these contracts work and how you can get in on the opportunity.

Seven Day Weed Contracts ebook

BUT... of course there is a catch... which is that you first have to subscribe to Dollar Trade Club to get this "free" ebook.

So is it really free? Well, you decide. 

*I'll talk about the price here in a minute.

What You Get As a Subscriber

Dollar Trade Club membership

The subscription service for Dollar Trade Club is setup like pretty much every other investment advice newsletter out there. In a nutshell, you are provided with investment recommendations and market analysis so that you can make the trades Alan Knuckman makes... allowing beginners to essentially trade like a pro.

You get:

  • 12 Monthly Issues - This is the meat of the subscription. Here you are provided with in-depth monthly newsletters that provide analysis on the market and opportunities Alan is looking at.
  • Weekly Email Alerts - You will also get alerts every week for new trades.
  • Regular Trade Updates - If something in the recommended portfolio needs to be sold you will receive an update, which could come at any time. Likewise, if there is a good opportunity to make a purchase you will receive an update.

Additionally, you will also get a number of bonus reports in addition to the core Dollar Trade Club membership, such as the "Seven-Day Weed Contracts" ebook and others like "The Blockchain Revolution", which is about investing in blockchain-related opportunities.

Cost

They claim that everything here is worth $954 for a year subscription, but now there is a 95% discount and it is only $49/yr. However, this is likely just a marketing stunt and I doubt it has ever been sold at anywhere even close to $954.

Refunds

They have quite the refund policy in place. You can get a full-refund up to 6 months later if you are not happy with your results.

screenshot

The "free" ebooks such as "Seven-Day Weed Contracts" can also be kept.

HOWEVER, getting them to honor this refund policy may be more difficult than it seems.

The publisher behind this all is St. Paul Research, which is a franchise of Agora Financial that just launched in 2019.

There isn't much information on this company, but Agora Financial has loads of complaints from people having trouble with  refunds and just billing problems in general... for the various newsletter subscriptions they offer. 

I found complaints like those below on the BBB's website (and by the way, Agora Financial is not BBB accredited... not that this matters too much however)...

screenshot

[source: BBB]

screenshot

[source: BBB]

I was also able to find complaints from other sources, such as the complaint board aptly named Pissed Consumer...

screenshot

[source: Pissed Consumer]

*Note: There were also complaints from people who requested a refund and did receive one.

Is "Seven-Day Weed Contracts" a Scam?

Is this teaser just one big scam? Well, you can ultimately be the decider of this question.

The opportunity is misleading I would say. I don't think anyone can argue with that... but there is value provided in the Dollar Trade Club subscription that they are trying to sell us on.

That said, I can definitely understand how how someone might feel scammed after being mislead into subscribing.

Final Thoughts

Okay, so let's do a quick recap here:

  • "7-Day Weed Contracts" is a made-up term
  • The opportunity here seems to be about trading short-term options with weed stocks
  • The only way you can get Alan Knuckman's "free" ebook on how to get in on this "7-Day Weed Contracts" opportunity is to first purchase a subscription for his Dollar Trade Club newsletter.

Misleading? Yes.

Scam? You decide.

The purpose of this review was to provide a more clear explanation as to what this opportunity actually is, because it is so misleading... and I hope I did exactly that. Now you can a more informed decision as to whether or not it is right for you.

*Remember: If you do join Alan's newsletter remember to never just blindly follow investment advice. Always do at least some of your own research. And, of course, never invest more than you can afford to lose. There is always risk involved here.

Also, before you go, since you are interested in making passive income from investments you may also be interested in this program I've been using to earn passive income online. It has nothing to do with investing, and this may be long shot... but at least check it out.

Leave any comments or questions below. I like to hear back from my readers 🙂

What Is The “Weekly Paycheck Indicator”? – What You Should Know

The Weekly Paycheck Indicator, or WPI for short, is supposedly a "patent pending" indicator that can accurately predict future spikes in stock prices... so we are told.

BUT... the information given by Alan Knuckman sounds a bit scammy to say the least.

Is the Weekly Paycheck Indicator a scam that is just going to lead to less money in your portfolio? Or is this the real deal?

You've probably come across the video presentation of a guy sitting at a desk with a massive pile of cash... cash that he claims you can make with this secret indicator...

screenshot

I didn't want to wait for the entire video to drag on for 45+ minutes, so I opted to read the text version... which wasted no time showing massive amounts of money that could be made with this opportunity, such as $1,000 turning into $5,290 in just 4 days...

screenshot

... and even $5,000 turning into as much as $288,550 in 2 weeks...

screenshot

And of course we are shown price charts for different stocks that have supposedly exploded in price shortly after the WPI made a signal.

screenshot

BUT... charts like this don't prove a thing... and how are we to know that this indicator really did predict these price jumps?

For all we know these people could have just found charts with large spikes in price and then said that the indicator predicted them... after the fact.

And the story of how this magical indicator came to be sounds a bit fishy.

Supposedly it has been a secret for 16 years and is "patent pending"...

screenshot

We are told that Alan Knuckman learned about the indicator from a guy named "Mike", which is a made-up name for privacy reasons... so we are told.

This is the image shown of the guy...

screenshot

Apparently Alan and "Mike" reached some sort of agreement, but it makes little sense.

We are told that in the agreement he isn't supposed to share this information with anyone else... yet he is basically broadcasting it to the whole world. 

screenshot

So what should you believe and what is a big fat lie? Obviously things aren't really adding up here and this all sounds a bit too good to be true, does it not?

The Truth Behind Weekly Profit Indicator

At first this indicator seemed to predict big spikes by somehow predicting the news. We are told that it allows you to get ahead of big news before it becomes public.

How it is able to predict the future?... well... no one knows.

However, we are then told that the indicator analyzes 3 variables and that the equation is:

WPI = X*options volume + y*open interest + Z*implied volatility

This doesn't really make much sense... it still doesn't explain how the indicator could somehow know news before it becomes public.

But anyways, this is likely mostly marketing hype and has little truth to it. There is still not proof that I see of this "patent pending" "Weekly Paychecks Indicator" being real. I even searched the United States Patent and Trademark Office database for the "DO365193" US patent application but couldn't find anything.

screenshot

What we do know is that this opportunity is presented by Alan Knuckman and that the purpose of the teaser is to lure subscribers into his paid subscription newsletter service.

Who Is Alan Knuckman?

He's been all over the news... on Bloomberg TV, on CNBC, MSN, and others.

Alan Knuckman Weekly Paycheck Indicator

But who is he?

Well, he began his career on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade... as a clerk. And over the past 25+ years he has worked with options markets in all aspects, having transitioned to a floor trader since his early days as a clerk.

But now it seems his main work revolves around providing analysis and investment advice.

Besides being a commentator on the news he also writes the newsletter subscriptions 42-Day Retirement Plan, Dollar Trade Club, Weekly Wealth Alert, and others. Most are published by the investment advisory company Agora Financial, which similar to The Oxford Club, Money Map Press, etc.

He's no fraud and definitely has a good background in the field to provide advice as he does.

What Is He Trying To Get You To Buy?

So basically what's going on here is this:

This whole "Weekly Paycheck Indicator" thing is a teaser to lure new subscribers into his Weekly Wealth Alert newsletter subscription service, similar to the Mortgage Reimbursement Checks and Social Security Catastrophe Plan teasers I exposed.

According to what I've been told, "The Weekly Paycheck Indicator has just registered a spike"... and if I sign up I'll receive an email on how  this play could "put as much as $10,200 in your [my] pocket by next week."

But of course signing up is what all of this information hinges on. You have to join the Weekly Wealth Alert.

What Is Weekly Wealth Alert?

Weekly Wealth Alert

This is a paid newsletter service in which Alan provides investment recommendations to his subscribers so that they can follow along and make pro-recommended trades without needing any knowledge or experience... but of course it is always recommended that you don't just blindly follow investment advice.

As a subscriber you will get:

  • A new trade recommendation weekly - Every Monday he'll recommend a new "fast-cash contract", which is a made-up term for investment opportunities that I'm not going to get into.
  • Weekly video from the trading floor - You'll receive a weekly video from Alan on the trading floor updating you on anything important.
  • 7-video series - This is to help new subscribers get started and contains introductory information.
  • Alerts - You will get email alerts when it's time to make a trade... so you'll need to keep a close eye on this.
  • Portfolio updates - As the model portfolio of all Alan's recommendations is updated you will be notified.
  • And more... including bonuses, guides, etc.

The Cost(s)

It's not cheap. A 1 year subscription to Weekly Wealth Alert is $2,000. 

Now it is supposedly backed by a guarantee that you will be given the chance to double your money at least 20 times over the next year or your money back, but who knows how solid this guarantee actually is.

screenshot

It would be nice if there were a simple 30-day money back guarantee, but with this type of guarantee you would have to wait at least a year for the chance to even get a refund.

And let's not forget about the costs of actually investing. The newsletter costs $2k and then you are going to need money to invest in everything, which will depend on the individual.

Part of the teaser to subscribe is that you will be given the opportunity to "collect a $10,200 paycheck by next week", but of course the ability to do this is completely dependent on the amount of your investment.

Recap

Okay, so we have no proof that the WPI really did predict all of the massive price spikes shown in the teaser, nor do we have any good proof that the indicator even exists... or whether "Mike" is real.

What we do know is very little... but we do know that the point of the whole teaser is to lure in new subscribers to Weekly Wealth Alert. This sort of teaser-lure is pretty common when it comes to financial newsletter subscription services... and it isn't unusual for the information presented to be extremely misleading.

But anyways... I hope this review has given you a better idea of what is going on here. Now you can make a better decision of whether or not joining is the right choice for you.

And before you leave: This has nothing to do with investing, but since you are obviously into generating passive income you may want to take a look at how I've been earning regular paychecks online.

Take care.

How to Create a Sales Funnel with Thrive Themes

Thrive Themes is all about increasing website conversions, which is also what a sales funnel is all about... and in "how to" post we'll be going over how you can create a killer sales funnel with Thrive Themes.

There are lots of different sales funnel creation services out there, and some pretty darn expensive. Thrive Themes is very cheap compared to others, making it a good option for those not looking to spend too much.

What Is a Sales Funnel?

sales funnel

A sales funnel, aka purchase funnel, is the process of leading people to purchase something, whatever it may be.

The reason it is called a funnel is because it starts out broad at the top, and catches many peoples' attention, and then becomes more narrow as the process comes closer to closing a sale, because naturally some people who may have showed interest early on decide they are no longer interested.

If you are selling something on your website then you have a sales funnel, whether you know it or not... it just might not be a very good one if you aren't aware of it.

There are different forms of sales funnels out there, and some people divide up the process into 7 different phases, but let's keep it simple here... with a common 4-step funnel that goes like this:

  1. Attract 
  2. Capture leads 
  3. Convert
  4. Repeat

1) The first step is to attract prospects, or people that might be interested in what you have to offer

2) Second, there is an opt-in page where prospects would be enticed to enter their email address.

3) Third, they would then be directed to a sales page where the conversion happens... whether that means getting them to purchase a product of your own or getting them to purchase an affiliate product.

4) Fourth. Not everyone is going to convert, or buy what you are selling. But since you have their email address you can then follow up with them again and again, and maybe try selling from different angles.

*There of course is a lot more to it than this, but these are the basics.

What You Will Need

Thrive Themes

If you don't have the all-in-one Thrive Membership, which gives you access to all of the Thrive Themes products, then you should at least have the following:

  • Thrive Architect - for designing awesome lead capture pages and sales pages
  • Thrive Leads - for capturing leads

And, you will also want an autoresponder. Thrive Leads can capture leads for you, but it will need integrated with an email service to store those leads. I use Aweber and this is one of the best options out there, but you can also use some free options like MailChimp.

The Creation Process

Step 1: Attract

At this step you are trying to attract prospects who you think may be interested in purchasing what you have to offer. The Thrive Themes products are not part of this step, but it's very important that we go over it.

There are 3 core ways to attract prospects online:

1) SEO - Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is mainly what I do and what many other Thrive Themes users do as well... which is optimizing your website to rank in search engines, thus getting free search traffic.

Example: You could rank for a post on Google about dog nutrition and then promote organic dog food. People searching for better dog nutrition would click on your website and the sales funnel would begin.

2) PPC - Pay-Per Click (PPC) advertising consists of things like Facebook ads, Bings Ads, Google Adwords, etc., and with this method you pay to attract targeted traffic.

Example: You could advertise on Facebook to people over 65 years old who have shown interest in joint pain and promote a joint health supplement.

3) Social Media - Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc... these social media platforms can all be used for free to attract prospects.

Example: You could create an Instagram account about bodybuilding and promote protein supplements on your website.

Targeted Traffic Is Key

Sure, the more sh*t you throw at a wall, the more will stick. So even if you have horribly untargeted traffic you still may get some conversions, but it's better to just target the right people.

  • If you already have a product to sell then you want to target people who might be interested in that product.
  • Alternatively, if you already have traffic coming to your website you can choose a product to sell that this existing traffic might be interested in.

Either way will do. As long as it's targeted.

Step 2: Capture Leads

Now that you have traffic it is time to capture leads, which means it is time to use Thrive Themes' Thrive Leads product. This works perfect for what we'll be doing.

There are 3 different ways to go about this that I'll be going over, starting off with what I personally do most often and have found to be very effective.

Method 1: Capturing Leads from Readers

Okay, so you have a website visitor reading a blog post/article of yours... how do you get this person to give you their email address?

Thrive Leads provides us with a variety of different options (only a small portion of which can be seen in this screenshot)...

screenshot

These are all opt-in forms that appear in different ways, shapes, and forms on your website, where people will be prompted to enter their emails.

Option 1 - Lightbox - These are opt-in forms that focus the reader's attention directly on the form... doing so by popping up and turning the rest of the screen dark. They are the center of attention. 

You will be able to choose from a variety of pre-made and fully customizable templates, as you can with any of the different types of opt-in forms.

screenshot

For example, this template took me about 1 minute to customize into what you see below, which could be used to promote some sort of weight loss supplement.

screenshot

How it could work: You would entice your readers to enter their emails in order to get your free list of 101 tips to lose weight. Then, in your list you could promote your weight-loss supplement.

With the Lightbox opt-in forms you are able to choose when you want them to pop up (after a certain amount of time, immediately, when the reader tries to exit the page, etc.), you can choose the display frequency, and you can choose how you want them to pop up (slide in from the left, rotate onto the page, zoom in, etc.).

Option 2 - In Content - These opt-in forms will appear in your post content. So as the visitor is reading there will be an opt-in form inserted in the content somewhere. You can choose when you want the form to appear to the reader and where at in your articles you want it to appear.

Option 3 - Post Footer - These are opt-in forms that will appear at the bottom of your posts.

Option 4 - Ribbon - A ribbon is a small opt-in form that appears either at the top or bottom of the screen. Readers will still be able to continue reading even as ribbons appear.

*The Lightbox and In-Content options are the most intrusive and disruptive to your readers, yet they often work the best.

*Also, you don't have to choose 1 or the other. In fact, all of the different opt-in forms mentioned above can be active at the same time.

Categorizing Lead Capturing

Inside Thrive Leads you will be setting up what are called "Lead Groups". You can create 1 of each kind of opt-in form per Lead Group.

One very important part of the setup process is choosing the target options.

You will be able to set everything up so that certain lead groups are only shown on certain pages, posts, in certain categories, etc.

I have found categorizing your Lead Groups to be the most effective.

Example: You have a website about dogs. This website has 4 different categories:

  1. Dog food
  2. Dog toys
  3. Dog safety
  4. Dog training

You could then set up 4 different Lead Groups targeting each of the different categories.

One of your Lead Groups would display for readers that are reading posts in the "Dog Food" category and these offers would be relevant to dog food... and so on.

Method 2: Sending Prospects to Lead Capture Pages

Option 1 is great, and is what I do to capture most of my leads, but there is another option... and that is to send people directly to lead capture pages on your site.

This is more for if you are using paid advertising (PPC) or social media to attract prospects. Instead of directing traffic to a blog post (which is still an option, however), you would send them straight to an opt-in page.

So with this method you would simply create a new page in your WordPress website and then open up the Thrive Architect editor to create the page. And, like always, Thrive provides plenty of pre-made and fully customizable templates that you can choose from.

screenshot

You can specifically choose email capture landing pages (lead capture pages) to send traffic to.

Here is one of the many beautiful examples... 

screenshot

Using Lead Magnets

I didn't mention it at all yet, but all of the examples shown above have used what is called a "lead magnet", and this is pretty important.

A lead magnet is nothing more than something used to entice visitors to give you their email address. Some examples include:

  • A free ebook
  • Free training
  • A free trial
  • A free video
  • A free guide and so on...

It's good to give something away for free, something that actually has value and that people will want, because you can make money later on with the product/service you will be selling.

*Note: Value is key. We aren't promoting trickery and deception here.

If you run a cooking blog it could be something as simple as your "top 3 recipes" or if you run a dog website it could be "1 Simple Yet Underrated Trick to Potty-Train Your Dog". It really doesn't have to be a lot.

BUT... it does have to be very relevant. Relevancy is key and you want your "lead magnet" to be relevant to your website niche and to what you will be selling.

Step 3: Convert

At this point you already have targeted traffic and you have some leads. The traffic that visited your website and did not enter their email address was not targeted enough, but the people who did give you their email addresses showed you that they are interested in what you are offering (since your lead magnet should be somewhat related to your product/service).

Now it's time to convert those leads into paying customers, and there are different methods to do this, as always.

Method A: Promote The Product/Service In Your Lead Magnet

Inside your lead magnet that you just gave away for free you could promote your product/service.

For instance, if you are promoting some new baseball bat your lead magnet could be a "Simple Trick to Increase Your Batting Percentage by 30%" and you could promote the baseball bat inside that free info product.

Don't push too hard though. Remember, the lead magnet was about providing value for free. You can just subtly promote at this point and promote more via email follow-up.

Method B: Build Rapport With Your Leads and Then Promote

Maybe you think it would be a better choice to take it slow. This sometimes leads to more conversions... it all depends on your audience and what you are promoting. 

Sometimes it may be better to follow up with your leads and continue to provide them with good tips/tricks, and just try to build a relationship before going for the sale.

Either Way You Choose... a Good Sales Page Is Key

Whether you go for the sale right away or wait a while, a good sales page is paramount to your success... and this is where Thrive Architect comes into play.

Thrive Architect is the drag-and-drop page editor that Thrive Themes has, and this is an excellent tool to create a killer sales page. And, like always, they have a bunch of pre-made but fully customizable templates for you to choose from so that you have a point to start out at.

screenshot

With Thrive Architect you can do so much more than you can with the normal WordPress text editor... and you can do it all pretty easily.

*This is the reason I first became a Thrive Member... back before it was called "Thrive Architect".

What Type of Sales Page Should You Create?

Do you want to get straight to the point or do you want to build more rapport?

Your sales page could be quick and concise, or it could be long and drawn-out. Both are good for certain situations.

A "long-form sales page" relies on a heavy amount of text to convince leads to buy. This would be good if your leads aren't all that familiar with your product yet, where as if they already know a lot about what you are selling then you might not want to bore them by repeating what they know.

If you try to go for the sale right away then you likely are going to need to explain things more, which would require more of a long-form sales page, and vice versa.

Step 4: Repeat

Now you've made some conversions. You've captured leads and you've sent those leads to your sales page... BUT, naturally not all leads are going to convert. This, however, doesn't necessarily mean that they are not interested in what you are offering. It might just mean that they need an extra little push.

Some sources say that it takes 5 to 7 touchpoints to close a sale, on average. I don't know how true this statistic is, but follow-up emails can certainly increase conversions.

The good news is that you have the ability to follow up with your leads again and again, because you have their emails. This is why signing up for an email marketing service like Aweber is so important. It will allow you to send out emails to thousands of people at once, and you can set up follow-up emails that go out automatically after someone has opted into your email list.

But don't just send emails with links to the same old sales page.

Try to change things up a bit. They've already seen that sales page so you may want to try converting them from a different angle, or maybe elaborate some a specific aspect or benefit that they may be interested in.

And be sure not to be too salesy. Don't include links to buy with every email you send out. People don't like this, as I'm sure you wouldn't either.

Sales Funnel Method Without Capturing Leads

Maybe you don't want to capture leads. Maybe you don't want to pay for an email marketing service like Aweber.

Fortunately, you can still make a pretty darn nice sales funnel with Thrive Themes.

You can do everything the same, just instead of trying to get people to submit their email address, you will try to get them to click on a button.

So for example, you could still use all of the different Thrive Leads forms, such as the Lightbox form here...

screenshot

... just your forms would have a single button you are trying to get visitors to click on instead of an opt-in form. And this button would direct traffic right to the sales page.

*Note: This can still work good if you are trying to convert readers on your website. However, if you are using paid advertising (PPC) then it would be better to just skip this step and send traffic right to the sales page instead of trying to get them to click some button. After all, they already clicked on your ad.

The Downsides:

  • One-and-done approach. You have no ability to follow up with non-buyers
  • You can't do A/B testing and use the analytics inside of Thrive Themes, as I'll go over

Recap

  • Attract Potential Buyers through SEO, paid advertising, social media
    • Targeted traffic is key
  • Capture Leads with Thrive Leads
    • Or just use a button to drive traffic to sales page (not as good)
  • Send Leads to Beautifully Created Sales Page by Thrive Architect
  • Repeat by following up with non-buyers via email
    • Which you obviously can't do if you didn't capture leads

Why Thrive Themes?

When I first became a Thrive Themes member I wasn't knowingly creating sales funnels. I just really liked the Thrive Architect (old name was Thrive Content Builder) for creating sales pages. It allows you to add all sorts of elements that can increase conversions with a simple visual drag & drop layout, such as buttons like this...

*This button works by the way.

However, now what I've been using it for a while and now that I also use Thrive Leads to create sales funnels, I've realized it's pretty darn good... and a heck of a lot more affordable than a lot of other options out there, such as ClickFunnels.

Besides it's affordability, here are some reasons I like TT so much.

#1 - Analytics

In Thrive Leads you can monitor your success to see how well your forms are converting.

screenshot

You can also do A/B testing which is an absolute must... and can easily increase conversion rates with little work.

#2 - A/B Testing

A/B testing is when you test 2 forms against each other to see which converts better, aka captures more leads.

You'd be surprised how a title change, change of text color, addition of a picture, etc. can boost conversions.

screenshot

You can also test out different types of forms against each other, such as a Lightbox form vs a Ribbon form.

*Note: Thrive Leads only records the leads generated, which is why you can't utilize these features if you aren't collecting leads.

#3 - So Many Sales Funnel Options

TT provides a heck of a lot, including some other plugins that could be part of a sales funnel.

For example, there is the Thrive Quiz Builder which would be another excellent choice for attracting leads and qualifying them. You could set up a quiz for your visitors to take and lead them to purchase a certain product based upon their answers.

Then there is Thrive Ultimatum which allows you to set up urgency timers of different kinds on your website, something proven to boost conversions.

#4 - Good Support

Another reason I'm more than happy with Thrive is because of the team behind it. They provide great support if you ever have technical problems and provide really good service overall.

Alternative Options

Thrive Themes is great for creating sales funnels, but if you are looking for something specifically focused on sales funnel creation it might be a wiser choice to go with a program like ClickFunnels, which provides an autoresponder and shopping cart feature.... all-in-one.

But Thrive Themes works great. You'll just have to go out and get an autoresponder separately. 

Thrive Themes is a great choice for bloggers and people who run content-focused websites, such as me.

So anyways... I hope you found this how-to article helpful... and I hope it can help you increase conversions. 

Want to Support My Blog? You can buy Thrive Themes through my link here. It won't cost you a penny more!

Links & Resources:

Harvard Risk Management Corporation – Scam Opportunity?

Is Harvard Risk Management Corporation a scam?

People all over have been getting contacted by this company for sales positions, and this is a question that has been coming up quite a bit.

After doing a quick Google search you will find many people calling it everything from a SCAM that you should stay far away from to a "cleverly disguised pyramid scheme".

BUT, you do have some people claiming it's the real deal... and the fact that jobs with this company are usually advertised as requiring no experience is a big plus.

So is it a scam? Is it a good opportunity?

In this review I did a lot of digging around to get to the bottom of this somewhat shady looking opportunity.

Beware of the FAKE Job Postings

There have been job postings on Craigslist, people getting emailed about the opportunity where the recruiters supposedly "found my resume online" and are interested in hiring them.

There have been job postings on places like Flex Jobs...

screenshot

... and I was also able to find a bunch of job postings on spammy looking job-boards like "Get Telecommuting Jobs" and "Get Customer Service Jobs"...

screenshot

The reason I bring this up is because there is a good chance you came across a job posting or were contacted by someone trying to get you to join... BUT these job postings are often very misleading... as you will see.

What Is Harvard Risk Management Corporation?

Harvard Risk Management Corporation

Harvard Risk Management Corporation is a privately held employee benefits broker headquartered in Dallas, Texas. 

In a nutshell, they partner with other companies as a broker and help sell various insurances, legal plans, risk protection services and more. The company was started in 1993 by Mark Riches and originally only sold legal plans, but as since broadened their offerings.

According to the BBB's website, where Harvard Risk Management Corporation is accredited by the way, the company has been in business since the year 2000 (I know, the dates don't make sense). However, a quick WHOIS search shows that the harvardbenefits.com website wasn't started until 2007.

Anyone can join the company as a member and have the opportunity to become an agent (aka "certified risk management consultant"), in which you can make money selling their products/services (which aren't really theirs of course). Currently they claim to have over 5,000 agents in the US, with agents in every major city.

screenshot

[Source: harvardbenefits.com]

Note: This job posting is also a bit misleading.

Products

As a member of the HRMC you will have quite a few different products/services that you can sell to make money with, including:

  • Identity theft solutions
  • Legal access plans
  • Voluntary employee benefits
  • Document destruction and shredding
  • Pre-employee investigation and security services
  • Risk management consulting
  • Data break recovery services
  • Individual life & annuities
  • Retirement plans

But the two main product categories you will be dealing with are identity theft solutions and legal access plans. These are at the core of what HRCM offers.

Partner Companies

Remember, these products are not products of the HRMC themselves.

As mentioned, HRMC is a 3rd party broker... and they are currently partnered with the companies Legal Shield and Iron Mountain. The products come from these companies. When you join Harvard you have access to these companies' products/services which you are able to monetize 

Legal Shield - This company was originally founded in 1972 as Prepaid Legal. They provide on-call legal advice and counseling from qualified lawyers. Additionally, it provides a MLM business opportunity anyone can join to earn money selling their services and recruiting in new associates.

They also have a product called ID Shield, which is their ID theft protection service. This is one of the biggest products that members of HRMC sell and more information can be found at the website https://www.idshield.com.

Iron Mountain - This company provides data security and storage solutions. They are not a MLM opportunity and have a different kind of partnership with HRMC. 

HRMC originally started out just marketing Legal Shield legal plans but added life insurance plans to their portfolio in 2009 and partnered with Iron Mountain in 2012 to bring document destruction and shredding services. They were also partnered with OneCall Health Access to provide telemedicine services and Kroll to provide ID theft protection, but it appears they have done away with these partnerships.

The Business Opportunity

This is independent contractor work, meaning that you work on your own schedule without a boss.

The Legal Shield compensation plan is the main opportunity here, but the point of joining HRMC is to get all the training and tools they provide to help you get going. 

*Note: If you were to join Legal Shield directly you would still be provided with training, tools, and support... just not nearly as much.

Supplies, business cards, new agent training... you get all of this by joining through HRMC.

They have over 300 hours of video and audio training available along with a very helpful staff.

And because you are selling legal plans and such, some states will require that you are licensed, in which HRMC will help you with.

Cost to Join

There is no cost to join HRMC, but you will be encouraged to purchase an "Agent Start-up Package" (Basic, Standard, or Premium).

However, there is a cost to doing business even if you don't purchase one.

In order to join the Legal Shield business opportunity you normally have to purchase a Legal Shield customer plan yourself and pay a $149 enrollment fee to become an associate.

Legal Shield legal plans start at $24.95/mo.

However, since HRMC is partnered with Legal Shield as a broker, the cost may differ from if you were to just go sign up at Legal Shield directly.

Requirements

There are no educational requirements or certificates needed to join, but there are some requirements when it comes to selling certain products/services, which will differ depending on where you live.

For example, if you join HRMC and want to sell legal plans (from LegalShield), you may need to be licensed. This depends on your state laws and HRMC can help you find out more on this.

Compensation Plan

Legal Shield's compensation plan is typical of a MLM. Associates are encouraged to sell legal and ID protection plans to customers as well as new associates, helping to build a team in which commissions can be earned from.

MLM stands for "multi-level marketing", and the "multi-level" part of it comes from recruiting in associates, which then recruit in other associates and so on...

*No, this is not an illegal pyramid scheme. You can learn the difference here.

HOWEVER, the way you get paid as a member of HRMC will differ from regular Legal Shield associates. This is because they are a broker of Legal Shield services.

That said, the basics of the comp plan are still the same:

  • Level Compensation - This consists of commissions paid on membership fees. It ranges from 12 - 16%
  • Advanced Compensation - These are commissions paid in advance based on how much a customer/associate will pay for the entire year.
  • Incentive Programs - Cash prizes and trips are also available through different incentive programs

Salary

Since you will be working as an independent contractor there is no salary. You will earn based on your performance.

How much can you actually earn? And how much do members actually earn?

The giant job board/job review site, Indeed.com, shows the average salaries for HRMC sales workers here:

screenshot

[Source: Indeed.com] "Salary estimated from 737 employees, users, and past and present job advertisements on Indeed in the past 36 months."

*Note: Indeed gets its data from people posting their salaries and, as stated, from "job advertisements" which can be misleading as I will discuss.

Now if you do the math here, the average of all these salaries equals out to $69,933/yr. The only reason there are many different titles reported above is because these salaries come mainly from people posting how much they have earned... and while one person may consider their title as "salesperson" another worker for HRMC may call themselves a "sales consultant"... but it's all the same thing they are referring to, which is selling the products we talked about above.

Failure Rates

Considering that most participants who join MLM business opportunities actually lose money, as discussed in a post I wrote here, the salaries that people who work with HRMC are posting are pretty darn impressive. After all, the main revenue stream here is from the MLM Legal Shield, and according to their income disclosure:

  • Associates with 0 - 2 years of experience who made at least 1 sales earned an average of $504 in 2018
  • About 76% of all associates earned less than $1,000 in 2018

Legal Shield isn't too bad compared to others. Some estimates have been made that as much as 99% of people who get involved with MLMs lose money... yet the salaries from HRMC tell a different story.

This is likely due to 2 main reasons:

1) The Training that Harvard Risk Management Corporation Provides

One of the biggest benefits to joining HRMC is the training. It's like joining a separate community that gives you an extra boost, and it seems logical it would increase chances of success.

As we discussed, they have over 300 hours of video/audio training and a very supportive agent support team.

2) The Salaries Are Inaccurate

While most of the salaries posted are from sales reps posting what they have earned themselves, some of the data may come from job advertisements on Indeed... which causes a problem.

The problem is that job advertisements for HRMC are posted by sales reps looking to recruit new people onto their team (this is MLM, remember). This often brings about misleading earning representations to lure in new members... which is commonplace in the world of MLM recruitment.

So the real salaries may be lower than shown.

Member Reviews/Complaints

While you certainly can't trust everything you read on job review sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, etc... they do provide some valuable information at times.

Overall I've found that the reviews are positive, with both sites having average ratings of over 3.7 out of 5.

Glassdoor Rating

Glassdoor Rating

One thing that many of the positive reviews have in common is that they mention the training as being one of the main pros to HRMC, which I was expecting to see.

screenshot

[Source: Glassdoor]

screenshot

[Source: Glassdoor]

screenshot

[Source: Indeed]

But of course not everyone likes this place and there are some complaints, such as this one left by a disappointed member who worked for months and didn't make any money...

screenshot

*Note: This isn't HRMC's fault. It is just the way the Legal Shield compensation plan works.

There are also quite a few people who seem to be upset with the fake job postings and how members go about recruiting people in.

I was able to find this on the Anti MLM subReddit...

... along with a warning on the job search forum Better Jobs Faster that basically says the same thing...

screenshot

[Source: betterjobsfaster.org]

Most Complaints Come from Misleading Recruitment Tactics and the MLM Part of It

Fake job postings are a problem with many MLM opportunities. 

The problem comes from associates, agents, consultants, whatever you want to call them, going out and trying to recruit people in underneath them via posting jobs on various job boards.

This often leads to people joining thinking that they will earn some salary like a "normal" job, but it is far from that.

Couple this with the fact that MLM's are typically extremely difficult to make money in and you have a recipe for future complaints.

Pros v Cons of Joining

Pros
  • Training and support
  • Flexible schedule
  • Legal Shield is not such a bad MLM (associates earn more than with most other MLMs)
Cons
  • 100% commission dependent
  • No health benefits
  • Can be a misleading opportunity

Is Harvard Risk Management Corporation a Scam?

No, this place is definitely not a scam, although you will find some people calling it one.

  • They are BBB accredited
  • They are a partnered broker of Legal Shield, ID Shield and Iron Mountain... all good and legitimate companies

There's really no good reason to call them a scam.

Just be aware that there are some misleading job ads for it, as discussed. These come from members of HRMC, not HRMC the company itself.

Final Thoughts - Should You Join?

Hopefully this review has given you a better understanding of how HRMC works and the opportunity they have.

The question of whether or not you should join this opportunity is completely up to you. MLMs, generally speaking, are horrible opportunities if you look at the statistics and failure rates, but with the extra training and support that HRMC provides you should have a better chance at making good money selling Legal Shield products and recruiting others in.

Overall I would say that HRMC is a pretty good company that holds itself to high standards. I started this review thinking I was going to be exposing some scam but have been pleasantly surprised.

However... it's still a MLM opportunity at its core. So you decide.

Another good option you may be interested in, if you aren't a fan of MLMs, is affiliate marketing. This is what I do to earn an online income. The good news: there is no recruitment and you keep all of your commissions, instead of passing them up to those above you.

If interested then I suggest taking a look at Wealthy Affiliate, which took me from $0 to over $6k/mo online.

Your Turn: What do you think of Harvard Risk Management Corporation? Are you a member? I would love to hear any comments/questions/feedback below 🙂

1 2 3 11