Owners: Tony, Mike, Greg & Robert
Startup Cost: $495 +
In this article I’m going to talk about whether the ACN mlm business opportunity is a scam and if it’s genuinely worth your time and money as a business venture.
I’ll give you an unbiased look at the real costs involved, how you are taught to build your business and what it all means for you. I am NOT a rep for this company now and I am not trying to sell you anything here.
I used to be an IBO (Independent Business Owner) with this company and I will share my thoughts and experiences to help you decide. With so many reviews either trying to get you to sign up or trying to slam the business opportunity to promote their own business… it’s hard to know what to believe. I’m just going to tell it like it is.
About The Company
ACN stands for the American Communications Network and was started in 1993 by brothers Tony and Mike Cupiz along with Greg Provenzano and Robert Stevanovski. They specialise in essential services from Internet and phone plans to home energy solutions through the mlm business model and boast over 800 million dollars per year in Global revenue.
The ACN Opportunity
The business opportunity is marketed as a way for you to gain financial freedom by helping people save money on their essential services that they would need anyway. Simply get three people and teach them to do the same and you’re in line to creating a huge passive income.
Apparently it’s a ‘self development course with a compensation plan attached’. But is this REALLY the case?
They have a range of products that actually aren’t too bad overall. When I signed up for the mobile phone and Internet plans I actually found the prices to be quite reasonable and the service performed as promised.
I will say that the customer service was pretty horrendous though and the prices were not always cheaper, not at all. In some cases the prices are better but it’s very hit and miss and a lot of people do not want to cancel their current plan and be slapped with cancellation fees for marginal savings from a company they’ve never heard of.
This makes trying to get customers pretty difficult so the focus was and probably always will be on recruiting.
Out of all the mlm’s I’ve seen, I like ACN’s products the most and I like how they are essential services people need and use every day. A LOT of mlm companies flog the most ridiculous health and wellness products that are pretty much just clever marketing and some unsubstantiated health claims. So this is a definite plus in my opinion.
The ACN Compensation Plan Explained
Personally I found the ACN compensation plan to be pretty simple and straightforward, in fact probably one of the best one’s I’ve seen after reviewing quite a few mlm companies.
It is based on a points system where services attribute a certain amount of ‘customer points’. These points go towards qualifying you and earning you commissions. I’m primarily looking at the US system here but other countries are somewhat similar, you may want to Google your own countries comp plan to find out more specifics.
Ways You Can Earn
Customer Commissions: You can earn a monthly commission of between 1-10% based on how many customer points you have accumulated. Each time you sign up a new customer, you get x amount of points based on whatever service it is. The more points you accumulate, the higher the commission rate becomes, the more services are commissionable and the more money you can make as a result.
Customer Acquisition Bonuses (CAB’s): Basically when someone you recruit becomes a customer you receive a bonus based on them becoming qualified within their first 60 days. This amount varies.
Building Your Downline Organisation: This is the bread and butter of the compensation plan and where the majority of your attention should be focussed if you join. Getting customers is one thing but the real money is made with recruiting, plain and simple. There are 7 levels of status within the company and the more people you recruit and customers you get, the higher in the company you will travel.
Becoming a ‘Qualified Team Trainer’ is a matter of paying the $500 to join and getting 7 customer points from 4 different services. At least 2 of those need to be outside your household in the US. I am not sure how strict they are with this, maybe ‘outside your household’ is open to interpretation to some extent. You would have to check with ACN on that one.
Once your qualified you are eligible to recruit and earn commissions throughout the company.
Maintaining Your Business
To stay in business at the base level you’ll need to keep your 7 customer points and pay the $149 annual fee. There is also a website that handles all of your selling, tracking and other important activities and it comes in at about $40 per month. While it’s not mandatory, the website is an essential tool for doing business in my opinion.
First Year Cost Estimate
This is an estimate of what the average person might expect to pay in their first year of trying to build their ACN business. This is not indicative of everyone and is simply my own personal opinion based on my experience.
Joining Fee= $495
Renewal Fee= $149
YBA (Your Business Assistant) Replicated Website= $480
Seminars & Conventions= $100’s plus hotels and associated travel costs to attend, these are stated as being so important you won’t succeed without attending
Maintaining Points= Varies could easily be $50 + per month for a basic service
Total 1st Year Estimate= $1724 +
Important: This really depends on how strict they are with reps having to have 2 services outside of their home and exactly what that means. If you can get all of the 7 required customer points yourself to qualify, like it was when I joined, then I imagine most reps would be doing this. If that is the case then this cost element would be increased significantly as you buy more services yourself to qualify. If however you just get 2 services yourself and find a customer to take on the other 2 services, the above $50 may be about right. Again, this is just an estimate though.
What I Liked About ACN
There are definitely a few good points about ACN as a company and an opportunity.
Firstly I like the concept of selling essential services rather than just trying to flog bogus health and wellness products that have no scientific backing whatsoever. At least you know what you are getting and the products are overall reasonably priced.
I also like that the comp plan is simple and fairly straight forward. There are some good personal development materials in the back office which can help people learn about achieving their business goals with the right mindset. My sponsor was actually a really decent guy also, he was super helpful and really went out of his way for me. You won’t always get that lucky but in my case that was a positive thing.
I think as far as mlm’s go this one is reasonable but like anything, there are some drawbacks.
What I Didn’t Like About ACN
I now want to point out some of the drawbacks with this business that the rep signing you up probably won’t be telling you. These are the 2 main things I don’t like about ACN as a whole. First of all though, I want to state that unlike some people are claiming, ACN is not some kind of pyramid scheme. They are operating a legitimate company.
Warm Market Approach
The first and foremost biggest drawback with this company, and most mlm’s for that matter, is their warm market approach. They literally tell you to sign up and buy all this great product and then simply share it with a few people and help them do the same.
Apparently this is all you need to do to be successful… WRONG.
This might sound nice in theory but in the real world it’s just not how it works. Most people quit these kinds of things long before they ever make any money so the aim the game is to constantly be recruiting people into your downline. It’s pretty hard to do that by chasing down family and friends let me tell you. The truth is you won’t build a decent downline this way and most people don’t, plain and simple.
Your family and friends will only take you so far. Then what? No leads= no business.
ACN severely restricts any form of marketing other than warm market so this is a real barrier to success. I was never ok with this concept of trying to lean on family and friends just to make sales and recruit. ACN tells you to ‘ask people for a favour’… AKA leverage trusted relationships for the benefit of your bottom line. No thanks.
I was never shown anything other than “write out a list of everyone you know and call them… make friends with randoms to try and get them into your business”. So go around making fake friends to lure them into my downline and badger existing family and friends. Cool. Personally, I’d much rather generate targeted leads with a website and help people that are already looking for a solution than annoy everyone I’ve ever met.
There was a serious lack of real nuts and bolts training about building your business. Most of what I was given was pie in the sky hype and success stories without ever actually getting my hands on real business training. The conventions are not so much about training as they are getting people hyped. I get how this is important to get people motivated and all but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea let me tell you.
There’s a lot of clapping, hand raising and standing ovations… that’s fine and all but where’s the real training? In reality this is the case with almost all mlm companies I’ve ever come across.
I think ACN is a pretty good company and opportunity all things considered. In my opinion ACN is not a scam but it does have some drawbacks that may create a barrier to achieving the kind of success you are wanting. In reality, most people will probably never get more than a couple of recruits before leaving the company. Unfortunately this is overwhelmingly the case with mlm and I don’t think ACN is any different.