Great "turnkey" companies for women

Want to be an entrepreneur, but not sure you're up to the challenge of owning your own business?

Actually, women own and operate 40 percent of all the businesses in America.

But the idea of starting your own business can be a little intimidating.

That's where "turnkey companies" come in.

They don't require much of a financial investment and most of the set-up work has already been done.

Think Avon or Mary Kay.

But these companies cover lots of different areas, and on "The Early Show" Monday, Jen Groover, author of "What If? and Why Not?: How to Transform Your Fears Into Action and Start the Business of Your Dreams," filled viewers in on some of what she deems well-worthy of consideration.

She says making money and starting your own business in your spare time doesn't have to be daunting.

Groover explains that a turnkey company "is essentially a company that is already set up for you. The operations and the products are ready to go. You have all of the tools and technology at your fingertips, so essentially, you are given everything and just have to "turn the key" to get started. These companies are very low risk because you're working with brands that have been built over generations, so you already have the brand-value there which is one of the biggest concerns for a new business owner to create. You'll also get personal discounts on the product you're selling and, many have web support, education support and meetings with other people who are working with the organization who can help you learn and grow.

"They're really for anyone. Why I love all of the companies I'm going to talk about so much is because they can work for you and how well you do at them really depends upon the amount of time you want to put into them. You could start one of these businesses as a stay-at-home mom, but then it can turn into something that makes you a lot of money where you're doing it full time if you want to, building yourself a true business for decades to come. You could even start one of these companies as a hobby. People that go at these companies aggressively have built their own empires, hiring their own sales forces and are making good money.

Groover says there are three things every woman should consider before choosing a turnkey company: No. 1, choose something you're passionate about. You can't sell something you don't believe in. Choose a company whose mission you believe in. No. 2, know what it takes to get involved. For some, it's $25. For others, it might be $250. You really need to consider the costs. Third, you really want to assess the tools that will be available to you that you feel you'll need to support you in getting things done.

The companies Groover spotlighted:

Usborne Books & More

Usborne Books & More is really a mom-marketed company and is perfect for moms with young children. The unique part about it is that you can really incorporate your kids into the company. You're selling books, so many reps have success partnering with- schools, libraries, book fairs, booth events, reading incentives, and grant programs. When you hold a sales event, it's really a party geared towards kids and includes activities. If you're a new mom and don't want to have to leave your young children at home, or can't afford babysitters but would like to make some extra cash, it's a great way to do that. You can get a mini kit to start selling books for $64 and a full kit is just $150. If you start with the mini kit which has fewer samples, it's okay because you'll have a catalogue available to you from which people can order additional titles. Usborne consultants earn 25 percent commission from home shows, with the opportunity to earn exponentially more as you build your business, as well as potentially earning incentives, contest prizes and trips.

Silpada

Silpada has been really successful for people because the jewelry they're offering is affordable and upscale looking. It's cool and it's hip and allows women to look fashionable at an affordable price point. A lot of women love the idea of running their own jewelry company, so Silpada allows them to do just that. To get started, a representative purchases a Silpada Designs kit. The average cost of a Silpada Designs kit is $200 plus 50 percent off any jewelry purchased. The more jewelry an individual purchases the lower the $200 fee becomes. The $200 fee includes your choice of one of three "looks" kits, enough business supplies for the first five home shows, personalized business cards, a representative ID stamp, 50 Silpada Designs catalogs, a polishing cloth, a ring sizer and a belt sizer. Also, Silpada reps receive their own customizable Silpada Web site and access to enrollment in Silpada Designs' Lead Program along with a variety of training materials as part of the kit fee including a Silpada Sales coach. In the direct selling industry, at the average home show a vender sells between $350-$400, but with Silpada they sell more than $950. On a $950 show, a representative earns $285 which equates to three to four hours of work.

Avon

Avon is the grandmother of turnkey companies and is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. As an Avon representative, you're selling Avon beauty products. Avon is most well-known for their empowerment of women. What I love about them is that they've been really aggressive at helping girls start businesses too. It's really good for mothers who want to teach their daughters about business and has products geared towards young girls who want to start their own business and includes a brand called "Mark" that does just that. For just $10, you get a starter kit which includes three brochures from which you can sell products. If you want 10 additional brochures, it is $5.90 in addition to the $10 starter kit. Avon helps you sell online as well. For $7.50 every two weeks, they'll help you set up a web site and if you sell at least one product within those two weeks, you're not charged for the web site at all. Avon Representatives can earn anywhere from 20 percent-50 percent depending on their order size. Earnings increase as sales increase.

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