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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why Are You So Negative About MLM and Network Marketing?

Question: Marc, I've been a long time follower. I loved your Profit Center Dispatch articles, as well as your columns in Early to Rise and The Liberty Street Letter. But I was wondering why you're so negative about multi-level marketing (MLM) and network marketing?
R.N. New York NY


Answer Marc Charles:

Most entrepreneurs love the idea of having other people sell products for them, especially on a commission-only basis.

This concept typically leads people to the enticing concept of network marketing, also known as multi-level marketing, or MLM.

There’s nothing wrong the “concept” of network marketing or MLM, or the people who start those types of businesses.

But here’s the reality........

I reviewed hundreds of MLM and network marketing companies over the past 26 years…

The people who start or launch network marketing companies are typically the ones who make out like bandits.

And in most cases the “members” ......who are typically two, three, or four levels down from the originating level fare much worse!

The good news is…

There are other ways to leverage an army of eager, experienced sales people to work for you – working on a commission-only basis without succumbing to network marketing or MLM.

This is probably a good time to cover the basics of network marketing and MLM.

Network marketing is a recurring theme in the e-mails I receive from entrepreneurs. And there are a lot myths out there.

I’d like to share what I’ve learned so you don’t get involved in a bad business opportunity.

Here's How Network Marketing and MLM Work in the Real World

The payouts or commissions in a network marketing structure occur on more than one level.

For example, let’s say you sign up five people to (a) sell products for you and (b) recruit new network members. Those five people would be considered your "first level".

Then, let’s say the five people on your first level each sign up five new members.

In this example, there would now be five people on your first level and 25 people on your second level. There would be a total of 30 people in your group or “down-line” who are presumably selling products.

You should make a commission on the products they sell... and you would often receive some type of bonus or compensation for recruiting other salespeople.

By the time you get to a third level, money should start falling from the sky – in theory.

In fact, you’ve probably heard network marketing business opportunity pitches which are supposed to work just like this.

But in order for the money to start falling from the sky, the people you sign up – and the people they sign up – need to buy and sell the company’s products.

What usually happens is that the so-called “heavy hitters” in network marketing do not waste their time on trying to sell the company’s (typically overpriced) products to their friends and neighbors.

Instead, the “heavy hitters” focus on getting sign-up bonuses by training people to recruit and train others.

One of the downsides to many network marketing (and MLM) opportunities is the payment schedule and minimum sales requirements can be (and often are) changed on a moment’s notice.

I've known a boatload of entrepreneurs....(more than 30).....who have been screwed by last minute payment schedule changes, commission changes.....or by companies vaporising (bankrupt).

This means you could have 100 people in your down-line and be earning a couple of thousand dollars a month – and without notice the payment structure can change.

What’s more, in order for you to earn bonuses or commissions, your group is required to produce X number of sales – or you don’t qualify.

I’ve seen this happen more times than not.

Another downside of network marketing is a payment structure called the Forced Matrix. This is the most popular network marketing pay structure.

The Forced Matrix limits the width of a network marketing group – usually to five. The depth of the group is limited as well – usually to three to five levels.

The problem with the Forced Matrix approach is what is commonly referred to as a pyramid or “Ponzi” scheme.

This means in order for a Forced Matrix to work new members must be recruited into eternity. We all know this will never happen. It’s like a chain letter.

The attractiveness of network marketing is simple: Recruit people to do all the work for you so you can live a life of luxury, wealth, and abundance – without lifting a finger.

It might be fun to daydream about all the money you’ll make by signing on with a network marketing company.

But the fact remains that most people who join one do next to nothing.

The “heavy hitters” in network marketing understand this and leverage it to the hilt. That’s why they often build networks at light speed… and walk away to the next venture.

This means your chances of earning bonuses and commissions are very low.

In addition, most network marketing companies make huge sums of money from sales literature, motivational tapes, seminars, and motivational conferences sold to their members. Product sales are secondary.

It’s important to remember most network marketing companies have almost no advertising and marketing costs – these costs are passed on to the company’s recruits.

Here’s another dirty secret…

Network marketing companies often acquire products at deep discounts and “wholesale” them to their members at huge markups over what they paid.

Is this legal?

If the structure of a network marketing company is primarily designed to compensate people for recruiting others, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) considers it to be an illegal pyramid or Ponzi scheme.

In other words, if a network marketing company’s main revenue comes from signing up new salespeople instead of selling products, the FTC will eventually close them down.

By the way…

There’s also a big difference between a “direct-sales organization” like Pre Paid Legal, Inc. and Mary Kay Cosmetics and most MLM companies. The most significant difference is members are not paid

A direct-sales organization does not typically compensate salespeople for recruiting other salespeople.

However, there are direct-sales companies that promote their salespeople to management positions – and then compensate them for the increased responsibility with sales bonuses and overrides. This is perfectly legal... and can be quite profitable for the salespeople.

But direct-sales organizations do not have multiple levels of sales agents who are compensated for recruiting others and thus benefit from sales made on every level.

What’s more, direct-sales organizations tend to sell higher-priced, one-time-purchase products like water purifiers, artwork, home siding, log homes, etc.

Network marketing and MLM companies tend to sell lower-priced, consumable products like vitamins, household cleaners, oxygenated water, and so on. It’s easier to sell these things... and to recruit others to sell them.

Of course, not all network marketing companies and MLMs are bogus or illegal.

But, as I said before, it’s the people who start these companies who make most of the money. The founders also control the commission and down-line structure.

A Viable Alternative to Network Marketing

There are a lot of alternatives to MLM and network marketing.

One of which is Clickbank.com. Clickbank.com is one of the largest digital marketplaces on the Internet. The site only handles digital information products.

As a vendor or developer of a product you can have up to 100,000 "affiliates" selling products for you on a commission only basis.

I'll talk about Clickbank at another time....but it's a viable alternative to network marketing and YOU own your product and company.

I hope that helps.

Regards,

Marc Charles

Friday, March 26, 2010

What is the Fastest Way to Make $500 with Commodity Options?

Question: I've heard you speak on making money with commodity options. I really appreciated the fact you were not pitching some stupid course, product or trading software. Could you explain (again) one of the fastest ways to make money with commodity options?

Answer: Marc Charles:

Sure! Thanks for the compliment too.

I've always been frustrated by people who dangle carrots in front of entrepreneurs in order to "get them" to buy products, services, and back-end stuff.

There's NOTHING wrong with selling back-end products. But I don't like deception or smoke and mirrors!

So I try to help business owners and entrepreneurs unconditionally...it's worked for me.

Anyway............

Some of you will love this.......

Most people will just shake it off....

But when I applied this commodity option strategy the first time in 1994 -- I was hooked.

I've taught hundreds of entrepreneurs and money managers how to apply this strategy since then.

Let's go....

The financial markets are a multi-trillion dollar wellspring of cash. Everyday trillions of dollars in transactions are completed in the stock, commodity, precious metals, derivative and interest rate markets.

But most people do not understand how to tap into these markets for quick cash profits.

One of the fastest ways to make money and have it deposited into your brokerage account is by “writing options”.
Writing options on commodity futures is a relatively easy thing to do.

Granted, you should never enter a transaction or commodity trade with money or capital you are unwilling or unable to lose. Risk management is the lifeblood of the most successful (and richest) traders in the world.

However, I’ll explain a simple tactic trader’s utilize to acquire money quickly.

The tactic is writing “out of the money” options on agriculture commodity futures.

An option contract gives a buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a specified quantity of a commodity at a specific price within a specified period of time, regardless of the market price of that instrument.

An option buyer is a person who buys a call or put option, or any combination of calls and puts.

An option writer is a person who originates an option contract by promising to perform a certain obligation in return for the price or premium of the option. They are also known as an option grantor or option seller.

There are only two types of options: put and call.

A put option contract gives the holder the right but not the obligation to sell a specified quantity of a commodity at a given price (the "strike price") prior to or on a future date. An investor or trader would buy a put option if they believed the price of a particular commodity was going down.

A call option contract gives the buyer the right but not the obligation to purchase a commodity or to enter into a long futures position. An investor or trader would buy a call option if they believed the price of a particular commodity was going up.

Most investors and traders understand the concept of buying put or call options.

But the tactic of selling (or “writing” as it is often referred) a put or call option is often missed.

Here is how to apply this tactic in real time….

Review the commodity futures prices on your favorite financial website. I like BarChart.com because it’s easy, fast and concise, and includes charts.

I’m simplifying this example.

There is a risk when trading commodity futures. You should never trade with money you are unwilling to lose. Every investor must perform the proper due diligence whenever they trade commodity futures and/or options.

We’re going to “write” an “out-of-the-money” call option on the September Soybean futures contract.

If you do not fully understand commodity futures or options trading you should stop reading and take time to educate yourself. The space in this month’s issue does not allow me to go into greater depth or detail.

We’re selecting an “out-of-the-money” call option in the September Soybean futures contract because the likelihood this option will be exercised in the next few weeks is very low.

On BarChart.com we locate the September Soybean Meal Futures contract – the symbol is ZMU09.
This is what you will see:
September '09 (ZMU09) 302.4 -8.1 312.0 318.8 301.6 8230 26490

You can grab a chart of the September Soybean Meal Futures contract at BarChart.com.

When of the tricks to trading commodity futures is to understand charts so you can determine the “likelihood” or “probable” direction prices should take.

Another trick is to have a basic understanding of cycles in the market.

One of the best cycles with regards to soybean futures are prices tend to fall into the harvest.

So, keeping this in mind we’re going to “write” (sell) five “360” September Soybean Meal call options at the market.
The strike price “360” means $360 per bushel.

The premium or price you receive for selling one “360” call option is currently $160. By selling five “360” September Soybean Meal call options you would receive $800 into your account immediately (less brokerage commission and exchange fees – or about $25).

If the September Soybean Meal Futures contract does not reach $360 by September 14th you get to keep the entire premium (less brokerage commission and exchange fees – or about $25).

Think about this strategy for a few minutes......and you'll see the beauty of it.

Grab a copy of George Angell's Agriculture Options too. It's a GREAT primer for this type of trading.

I hope that helps!

Later..........

Marc Charles

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Are There Alternatives to Google AdWords?

Question: In know Google AdWords are effective. I've used them for several years. The learning curve has been super steep. But they can be effective. The problem is once you buy into Google AdWords, you are history. You become a part of the Google billing system, no matter what. Can you recommend any alternatives to Google AdWords?


Answer Marc Charles:

Absolutely! I've written and talked about this for years.

Actually, the first time I mentioned "viable" alternatives was in 2005.

Here's a list a viable Google AdWords alternatives:

7Search.com

AdBrite.com

Clicksor.com

Bidvertiser.com

InfoLinks.com

ExitJunction.com

Chitika.com

AdToll.com

Yahoo Publisher Network

TargetPoint.com

Fastclick.com

ExactSeek.com

LookSmart.com

miva.com

Just Google it........or check out WarriorForum.com (insiders choice).

I hope that helps.

MC


Monday, March 22, 2010

Question: How do you determine if a business or money making opportunity is “legitimate” or not?

Question: How do you determine if a business or money making opportunity is “legitimate” or not?
B.Y. Shelburne VT


Answer Marc Charles:
My rule of thumb is there’s nothing new under the sun.

The “essence” of a profitable or legitimate business or money making opportunity has been around since the beginning of time.

However, there will always be new ways of doing things, or variations on ideas.

Whenever an entrepreneur seeks my advice regarding a new business opportunity, I ask them to give me two or three examples of someone already doing it.

Whenever an entrepreneur says, “Oh, you don’t understand. Our product or service is brand new, the market is wide open, and no one is doing it!” 

I usually shrug and suggest they’re probably in the wrong business or market

In other words, let’s say you’ve designed a “new” paperclip. You want all of the office supply chains to carry it, as well as megastores like Walmart or Target. The time, energy and money it would take to educate chain store buyers on a “new” paperclip would be onerous…in fact it would be close to impossible.

Granted, thousands of products and services are being invented every day.

But most of these inventions are not “new” but rather new ways of doing something, or a variation on an old idea.

In my experience a “legitimate” business or money making opportunity would be something already generating cash or sales…somewhere.

Google did not invent, or try to educate the public on search engines. Search engines were not “new” when Google came along.

In fact, Google didn’t become the torrent of cash it is today (more than $2 billion in revenue last quarter) until it included keyword advertising in the search results (AdWords) and became a publicly traded company. Both of these areas were not “new”.

Align your business, product or service with something which is already making money. You’ll save a lot of time and money in the process.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Do You Think Medical Supplies is a Good Business to Get Into?

Question: It seems medical supplies would be a viable business in just about any economic cycle. What do you think?
T.K. Las Vegas NV


Answer Marc Charles:

My only problem with medical supplies would be the incredible liabilities associated with it. But, you're right....medical supplies can be a viable business even during a depression.

Medical supplies includes oxygen, IV supplies, home health care supplies, equipment, and emergency equipment like a defibrillator,

In addition, this business requires a great deal of expertise, overhead, regulation and there is a ton of red tape.

But entrepreneurs are making money in this business -- and the door is wide open with regards to developing a franchise concept.

Maybe "tweaking" the concept would make it more attractive. For example, U.S. Medical Supplies offers medical equipment, supplies and home health supplies on the web. This business model would eliminate a lot of the red tape, actual home visits and other factors.

Just a thought....here's a link to U.S. Medical Supplies

I hope that helps!

Later.........

Marc Charles

Friday, March 19, 2010

What's The Deal with Cash Flow Notes?

Question: What's the deal with cash flow notes? The stupid things are all over late nite TV. I've Googled the crap out of it. All I can find is one bogus scam after the next. I know you've written about them before, and I trust your opinion.
T.D. Manchester NH


Answer Marc Charles:

I'm glad you trust my opinion. A man's reputation is worth more than anything he could produce in a business!

You can make money with cash flow notes. But the key is finding "legitimate" notes and "qualified" buyers.

Russ Dalbey and others claim to have a "network of buyers and sellers". But from what I've seen it's not that impressive. Heck you can find cash flow notes by running ads on TV yourself, posting on CraigsList, or hundreds of other places. You could do the same to find buyer!

Here's the deal.......

Cash flow notes are IOUs. They are essentially an agreement to pay someone a specific amount of money, with interest, over a specified period of time.

The most popular cash flow notes are commercial paper (mortgages) and residential mortgages.

There are cash flow notes available in almost every conceivable real estate investment. And most of these are secured with a title deed.

You can find cash flow notes for everything from accounts payable, structured settlements, royalties, leases, pre-construction, and more.

Here’s an example of a simple cash flow note…

The Johnsons sell their $250,000 home with owner financing.

The Johnsons ask for $25,000 down and finance the balance of $225,000 at 10 percent interest. The Johnsons receive monthly payments on this note until it’s paid off.

This is where the “cash flow” part comes in.

An entrepreneur calls the Johnsons and offers them $220,000 for the note on their home. The Johnsons agree. The entrepreneur buys the note and then resells it to another buyer who is willing to pay $225,000 for it.

The first entrepreneur keeps the $5,000 difference and the Johnsons get $220,000.

The process is contingent upon locating note sellers and brokering these notes to willing buyers. And in the real world it takes a lot of time, energy, and money to build a network of qualified cash flow note sellers and buyers.

Entrepreneurs are making money in this business.

But remember there are already sharks in the water....bankers, lawyers, and other real estate investors!

So if you're new to the business and market....be patient. Give yourself some time to learn how savvy entrepreneurs are making money.

On top of that, keep it simple and take action....do one deal as quickly as possible.

Too many entrepreneurs ask way too many questions. They also exert way too much energy making sure everything is in place!

What's more, most entrepreneurs spend too much time talking to losers (people who have NEVER made any money in real estate or the cash flow business).

So...bring yourself up to speed, and then act. Don't discount Google.

I know you "Googled the heck" out of this thing. But believe me....Google is the one tool you can't live without. Become a master at using Google.

I hope that helps!

Later.......

MC

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What's Your Take on Financing a Business?

Question: I'm a big fan of your insight and business "savvy. I've read your articles in Early To Rise, and dozens of other places. But you haven't talked a lot about the pros and cons of financing a business. What's your take on financing a business?
W.G. Houston TX


Answer Marc Charles:
Hi. Thanks for the compliment. I've learned to take compliments and insults in stride over the years. It seems like 80% will benefit from what you say and 20% will not. I hope my wife and kids are in the 80%!


Actually, I'm surprised you haven't heard me talk about borrowing money to start a business before. This is in my DNA....as they say.


I've never liked the idea of financing a business. But the realty is sometimes its needed.


Have you read Richard Dennis's book How to Get Rich? If not, pick up a copy. It's really good.


In his book Dennis talks about different ways to finance a business. You can obtain money from sharks, dolphins or the little fishes.....I'm paraphrasing off the top of my head. 


The sharks are like venture capitalists, the dolphins are like banks and investment firms, and the little fishes are high net worth people, friends, family and the like.


I'm sure I've botched this up....but the principles hold true.

Anyway, you should avoid VC, investment firms and banks. Focus on high net worth individuals, friends and family. But all of these have unique shortcomings.


When I was starting out as an entrepreneur I never took out a loan or financed a business.


My primary focus was making the first sale and improving the direct marketing.


One business generated more than $200,000 a year in sales practically from the back of my car!


Almost every viable business can self finance!


What's more, when it comes to digital businesses or doing business online, its even more true.


The reality is most people who start a business focus on getting financing or a loan. I think the focus should be on making the first sale and then the second! The second objective should be improving the direct marketing.

If your business takes off...and makes money hand over fist....you can SELL IT, and have the money you need for your next venture! It's fairly simple to sell a business that is making money and has no debt, with super low overhead expenses.

But try selling a business with a boatload of debt, slowing sales, massive inventory and overhead expenses.

Well.....I hope that helps! Focus on making sales and improving the direct marketing strategy.

Later.....


MC

Monday, March 15, 2010

Can You Recommend Any Web-Based Businesses for Kids?


Question: Can you recommend any web-based businesses for kids?
W.M. Brunswick GA 

  Answer Marc Charles:
For kids 8-12 years old I think buying and selling video games and consoles online can be a lot of fun and a wonderful small business. My 8 year-old started doing this last year. He’s making a few extra dollars each week and is having a blast doing it.
This business consists of selling games you already have on sites like Amazon.com, eBay, Yahoo! Marketplace and Half.com. You can buy video games and consoles at deep discounts locally or online and then sell them online at a markup.
Another fun web-based business for younger kids is building a website, blog or Facebook page around something they really enjoy, and running Google AdSense (or similar ad network) advertisements on it. My daughter’s site is built around the popular TV show American Idol. She runs Google AdSense and TextLinkBrokers.com on the site and makes about $50 each month. Granted, it’s not big money but for a 14 year-old it’s not bad and more than covers her iTune expenses each month.
But really, there are dozens of web-based business opportunities available for kids. I’m working on a special report on the topic. Drop me a note if you’d like a copy when it’s completed.
For older kids with basic Internet, search engine and PC (or Mac) skills an entire universe of opportunity is available to them. There are fantastic opportunities in basic search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), article marketing, social network marketing (on sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter), as well as blog updating.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Can Your Recommend Any Places to Live "Off the Grid"?

Question: Can you recommend any places to live “off the grid”?
M.S. San Diego CA


Answer Marc Charles:
I’d like to define “off the grid”.
I’ve lived “off the grid” four times in past 27 years in places like New Mexico, Minnesota, Maine, and Mexico.
To me “off the grid” means no connection to the conventional electrical, telephone, water or cable TV networks.

It’s much harder to live this way than you might think.

The benefits are far reaching. But two benefits are the satisfaction of being self sufficient, and an appreciation of real things and values.

Watch the movie “Into the Wild”.

What do you need to live “off the grid”?

Here’s a revised list I used when I lived off the grid in New Mexico:
1)    Access to clean water
2)    Access to a legitimate food source or be able to easily transport food to your location (hunting and fishing are not always
3)    Shelter. Building a shelter while getting established is not realistic. I rented a hunting cabin.
4)    High-quality plastic covered topographic maps. Understand how to use a map and a compass before you go.
5)    Firearms. Forget about bows and arrows, snags and traps. Bring a gun.
6)    Most animals are not your friends. This not a cartoon. I was stalked for several days by a mountain lion until an old timer showed me a secret: always try to appear larger than you are if confronted by one!
7)    Let someone know your exact location. Today with Google Maps and Geo-tags it’s easy.
8)    Make friends in the surrounding area. You’ll need them.
9)    Invest in a state of the art first aid and survival kit (even if you’re Rambo) One of the best is QuakeKare.
10)                       CASH. Cash always works wonders when you’re in the middle of nowhere. Store cash in zip lock bags outside of your shelter, like under a large rock.

My personal preferences as far as geography would be –Maine (especially up north and the islands), Montana, New Mexico and Costa Rica.
 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What's The Deal with the Amazon M Turk Program? Is it Legit?

Question: Yo Marc, thanks for the great insight and "street smart" advice for starting businesses and making moola. What's the deal with Amazon's new MTurk program? I've been to the site but I'd like your two cents.
R.B. Brattleboro VT


Anwser Marc Charles:

Hi -- I heard about Amazon's MTurk program last week .....so believe it or not, I'm still a newbie too!

But, from what I can tell....it's a legitimate way to make money doing stuff for companies, which machines can not do easily.

Here's a link to it:


There are thousands of mundane tasks and projects for people to do. Granted, the pay is pretty low. But on the surface this is a great idea.

On top of that, it's an Amazon.com project. I feel a lot better doing business with Amazon, then I would hundreds of thousands of scam artists, and so-called "work at home" opportunity promoters.

Believe me........it's always better going to the source, rather than working 10-15 levels deep.

For example, you can get paid to stuff envelopes. There are hundreds of legitimate direct marketing companies who need help and would be willing to pay a decent "per piece" fee.

But on the Internet there are thousands of companies selling envelope stuffing "programs" to unsuspecting buyers.

In many cases, with these envelope stuffing scams you could be working 10-15 levels deep in a MLM type program, or for other commissioned brokers ./ resellers.

So, whenever possible go direct to the source.

I think the Amazon MTurk program is a valid money making program. I think I'll write about it in more depth via and ebook.

Have fun.....and please keep me posted! Feedback is a big deal because it helps me to genuinely help people.

Later......

MC

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Can I Make a Living Writing Online?

Question: I was recently “downsized” (fired) from a national newspaper chain. I’ve known the newspaper industry has been doomed for years, but I was comfortable in my job. Now I’ve got to hustle to find another job or start a business. Do you think a former newspaper writer has any chance of making a living “online”?
T.R. Orlando FL


Answer Marc Charles:
Yes I do.  Will it be easy? It depends on how quickly and easily you adapt to change. And that’s not a trick answer!

In most cases, the transition from a job writing for a large newspaper chain and starting a freelance writing will not easy.

What’s more, most online “news” sites today are actually “news aggregators” sites. In other words, these sites “collect and aggregate” the news So in most cases news aggregator sites do not require a fulltime staff of writers.

That being said, I think you’re headed in the right direction. I’m a big fan of hustling to put things together quickly. I’ve done it more than once.

You can apply your talents, expertise and insight to generating income immediately – whether that’s with a job, sub-contracting opportunity or freelance work.

Once you’ve got income coming in you can start building a freelance writing business “on the side”. The objective should be to replace income from the job.

However, writing “news” is not where the money is today.

My advice is would be to focus on one of four areas if you want to build a writing business. The four areas I would focus on are:

1)    Direct marketing (copywriting, editing, sales letters, Internet landing pages)
2)    Niche publishing (like financial markets, corporate real estate, agricultural futures, etc.)
3)    3) Targeted Information (special reports, ebooks, newsletters, unique premiums, directories, and “How to Guides”)
4)    4) a combination of all these areas!

American Writers & Artists Inc. in Delray Beach FL offers outstanding products, services and courses to help people transition into this “new kind” of writing…..and build a viable “online” business.

I hope that helps!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Is Maine a Good Place to Start a Business?

Question: I know you've talked about living in Maine a lot, and you really love it there. But is it a great place to start a business?
E.L. Delray Beach FL


Answer Marc Charles:

My answer is two-fold. Maine is a great place to live, work and run a "digital business". But its not a great place to start a bricks and mortar type business - or anything retail.

A former governor referred to Maine as the "next Switzerland". Maine is about as far form Switzerland as you can get. The government is fat and lazy, there's almost no privacy when it comes to business or banking, the regulations are absolutely ridiculous, and finding highly skilled workers is almost impossible...unless you live in Portland or Augusta...and even that's pushing it.

When I first moved here in 1993 I traded commodity futures full time. Almost no one I met or hung out with knew what commodity futures were...they thought I sold insurance!

And so the Maine culture always come into play. Most of the people who live in Maine full time are from Maine. The people from "away" who live here are typically here part time...and tend to congregate on the coast.

There's also a segment of Maine which caters to the super-rich. These are not millionaires or multi-millionaires...I'm talking about the super-rich. These people look on Maine residents as "amusements"...kind of like going to LL Bean and hearing someone with a Maine accent.

I know of three super-rich hedge fund managers who recently built mega-estates between Lincolnville Beach and Rockport. One of these guys ruined the view of one of the most breathtaking farms in the country....in order to build his house.

I'm not ranting about the super-rich....or building homes on the ocean. But there is almost 3,500 miles of coastline, and this guy builds right in front of a historic farm.

If the focus of your business is online -- or web-based, in conjunction with phones and teleconfercing, Maine is unlike anywhere else in the world.

However, the untouched beauty is almost too good to be true. The air, lakes and woods are breathtaking, and the weather is fairly mild on the coast.

Well....I hope that helps.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Later......

MC