Considerations before you become an insurance, mutual funds or MLM agent

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I am sure that many of you have attended business opportunity presentation. A long time friend who you have never seen in years suddenly contact you and invite you out for tea or a meal. Then over casual chats, he talked about how he is in this business and now he is having a very easy life earning passive income. You are intrigued- as he seemed to know that you are very stressed up in your job (but, so are most people who are stressed or dissatisfied with their day jobs). He asked you to see someone or to attend a meeting to see for yourself.

You went- and find out that the ‘own business’ that he is talking about is actually either as a direct selling (multi level marketing), insurance or mutual funds agent. It’s either you feel very cheesed off with him for misleading you and would avoid his calls from then on; or you are already so fed up with your work that you decide to give it a try…on part time basis first.

People who try to talk you into being their downline are not conman or trying to cheat you. Most of them, with all honesty believe that the business model may work- that is why they are probably into it full time. And there are those who become a true success in what they are doing. At the top, these people are more relaxed and giving- and earn heaps more than your tensed faced GM. They believed that they are selling a lifestyle to benefit recruits and the job enables you to have a better quality of life and be a master of your own destiny, instead of company at the mercy of the moods and silly ideas of your company’s management.

In the next article, I will speak on how this line is not for all and the hidden downside of the passive income line. It’s not for everyone, but it’s suitable for some. Being an agent is suitable for:

1. Those who are really looking for a way out of the stress working environment.

When you are very stressed out, it’s bad for your health. There are effective ways to deal with stress but not many can master the skills required especially if you spend 8 hours a day or more doing a job that is not your interest or vocation.

If you want to give a new venture a try, and you have kept aside some savings for rainy days, why not? If you have marketable skills, the worst that can happen is that you don’t make it and need to go back to the job market. No big deal, rite?

2. Someone who have been managed out or made redundant after years of being in service for the same company

You know how it is- you’ve spent years slaving for the company- working late hours, not having a life because you love the job. Suddenly, a new management comes in and take over (or maybe your boss who is your biggest supporter resigns).

Somehow, the new fellas do not like your face or the way you do things and set up deliberately to manage you out. You are too old to go for another job- other company may be reluctant to take you in because you salary capping is already very high.

Also you feel too disillusioned and burnt by the bureaucracy and changing conditions of the working world- you decide to do your own business for a change. And being an agent generally has low startup because ‘the system’, goods/services have been well defined. The company may also have a reputation in the market.

3. A partner who is looking to make extra income to supplement the family

I’ve seen a few cases- one spouse focus on a successful and often stressful corporate career that earns heaps of fixed income every month. While the other become an agent- either part time or full time bringing in extra and passive income. The partner who is an agent would also be able to devote more time for the kids, fetch/send kids to school/ tuition because he/she is not bound by office hours and annual leave entitlement.

Eventually, the agent may gradually become successful and outlearn his/her corporate spouse- sometimes the spouse follow the followsteps or be able to quit the day job and support the successful agent. Because it takes years to build up a network of downlines, having an understanding and supportive spouse who is bringing in the dough while the other is left to explore may be a viable idea.

4. A fresh graduate who is unable to find a job in the market

Working experience matters when you initially want to enter the job market. Sometimes, you don’t know why you seemed not to be able to find a job after graduation. While you are looking for jobs, you can also consider enrolling with either a direct selling through insurance/ mutual funds.

Why this is beneficial is because:

    • You learn new skills- most insurance and mutual funds company invest heavily in training and equipping you with the skills to learn to groom yourself well, persuade, sell and have confidence in yourself. You get to sit for examinations in which is subsized and usually there are training conducted prior to exam in which is either free or have a very low fee- something that would cost you much more if you were to go and sit for the paper as an independent candidate.
    • Because of the soft skills that you’ve acquired and with guidance from a good upline, you’ll learn to be more extrovert, engaging- and if you feel that this line is not for you and would like to go to the working world, you can fare better at interviews because of more impressive interpersonal skills. Plus, the qualification (choose something that you need to sit for an exam and get a cert) can be value added if you are going back to the same industry.


5. Your day job is not that demanding/ don’t pay well enough and you’re exploring some additional income to do in your spare time.

It’s a good option because as per above point, if you are discerning in your selection of the company, you can find one that requires you to sit for an exam before you can qualify to sell their products (like CUTE for unit trust agents or GI exam for those selling general insurance). At worst case, if things don’t work out, it’s an additional qualification that can help in your next job search. Also, it’s an easy part time route compared to selling products and goods at the weekend bazaar or night market as the initial investment cost is lower.


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