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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.

Mary Kay

Mary Kay has been around for decades and is known for its makeup and beauty products which are affordable and very high quality. It's also known for how well they take care of their representatives and the financial incentives they offer along with the company. Sales force members really do have the opportunity to earn the use of the iconic Mary Kay Pink Cadillac, and some actually even qualify for their Pink Escalade. Within a few short days of signing your Agreement, you'll receive enough products and samples to share with 30 friends at parties, plus quick and easy how-to tips and the education you need to get started - all for just $100 (plus shipping, handling and tax). They earn 50 percent on whatever they sell. Each Mary Kay independent beauty consultant buys the product directly from Mary Kay Inc. at a fixed wholesale price and then sells the product directly to their customers at a retail price.

Pampered Chef

Pampered Chef is about food, but it's also for those who love the lifestyle of entertaining people. They make entertaining easy and fashionable and make cooking more doable. With Pampered Chef, you have the opportunity of hosting parties in your own home or other people's homes to show off the product, and there are even cooking parties where you're actually preparing delicious and budget friendly recipes. Pampered Chef Consultants can start their own businesses for $80 or $155. We offer two starter kit options. The difference between the full Consultant Kit and the New Consultant Mini Kit is the products included. The New Consultant Kit ($155) includes more than 25 products and business supplies; everything you need to start your business. This kit is valued at more than $550. The Consultant Mini Kit ($80) includes a selection of their best-selling products and business supplies and everything you need for your first six cooking shows. Regarding the commission structure, it starts at 20 percent and increases up to 31 percent when you build a team and promote.

Etcetera

Etcetera is known for being ranked in Money Magazine's Top 5 "Best Jobs in America for Parents Returning to Work" and among their Top 5 Sales Representative Jobs. It's perfect for the woman who loves fashion. They really position themselves with affordable, classic fashion that's not over-the-top trendy. It's clothing that works from season to season, year to year. Etcetera has an interviewing process to ensure they are hiring women as consultants that will succeed. If they are a good fit -- there is a sign-on fee that essentially gives them all of the racks that match, hangers that match, marketing materials, access to their tracking and inventory management system and more. It is $1250 paid in two parts -- and sellers usually do more than recoup this within their first show. Now they have all the materials they need at low cost (courtesy of Etcetera) to be up and running their boutique. They need their own computer, a phone, a place to showcase the line and a strong connection to the community to build their client base. After the initial payment, sellers never have to purchase inventory, it is sent to them each season and then when they are finished with their trunk show they ship it back. Etcetera is owned by The Connaught Group, which has been a leader in direct sales couture and high-end fashion for over 29 years. The commission for Etcetera products is 25 percent plus there are other great perks and discounts on their clothing available to people who become a part of their team. It is also a newer company with a lot of press and innovation so there is a lot of opportunity to grow quickly.

Shaklee

The key thing to know about Shaklee is that it is the No. 1 natural nutrition company in the US and is focused on creating the most sustainable and effective whole health product on the planet. To get started, Shaklee offers a full kit of products for $600. They also have a less expensive kit at $300 (with slightly fewer products), but there's also the ability for new distributors to start for $40...but for that price they only receive business materials (no products). Under their compensation plan, people earn between 20-50 percent and have the ability to participate in a car payment program, trips and other cash bonuses. Their sweet spot is women aged 35-45 that have come out of the workplace or want to come out of the workplace and create their own businesses. These are people that have a passion for healthy living and understand that the things they put in, on and around their bodies make a difference in their long term health. Their key product categories include Healthy Nutrition (core and targeted health solutions), Healthy Weight (weight management), Healthy Home (natural non toxic cleaning products) and Healthy Beauty (personal care products).