So you've probably seen that Southwestern Advantage could be a great way to make some money in the summer out of college. But you're probably still wondering... is Southwestern Advantage a scam?
First of all, I want to congratulate you in spending some time to research the company.
So many people fall into scams just because they don't Google it! It's good to know there are legit ways you can make money on your own terms though.
This honest Southwestern Advantage review, with videos, will explain exactly what to expect from the company. I'll share the hidden pros and cons of joining so that you can make an informed decision.
Southwestern Advantage Review
The overview and rankings
Name: Southwestern Advantage
Founder: Rev. JR Graves in 1855
Type: Book + Online system for preschool to college prep Direct Sales company (door to door & remote sales)
Products (Including Pricing): 75 out of 100
Success Stories: 20 out of 100
Price To Join: Free- but you will need to allow for travel costs and living expenses (99 out of 100)
Summary: Southwestern Advantage offers a door to door sales "job" selling educational resources like books or online learning systems. The sales reps will receive intensive training and live with a host family in another location.
You only get paid commission for sales you do make so it's possible to work long hours every day for no pay.
It's not for everyone, but the skills the reps learn can help them throughout the rest of their life and provide an opportunity to make some money at the same time!
Make Time Online Rating: 66 out of 100
Recommended: No (there are other skills that college students can learn and earn from)
What is Southwestern Advantage?
Southwestern Advantage is a Direct Sales company that only consists of selling education resources. There is no compensation for people recruiting others into the company, unlike many other direct sales companies.
It was founded in 1855 and has developed a lot over the years.
The company offers sales training to help students work as door to door reps in their summers out of college.
The 30 second video below gives an insight to what to expect from the company...
So it may be starting to sound like an interesting opportunity.
But you may still be wondering...
Is Southwestern Advantage a pyramid scheme?
No, Southwestern Advantage is not a pyramid scheme in any way.
I actually saw someone write this on a forum, so I was intrigued to learn more about the opportunity.
However, sales reps can only make commission from sales they make. They do not make any money from recruiting other people into Southwestern Advantage.
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What is a pyramid scheme?
A company that promises payment to its members for recruiting people rather than selling a product or service.
They are illegal in most countries because it's impossible for everyone to earn money inside this business structure.
Just see the Wikipedia diagram below to see why...
Many MLM (multi-level-marketing) companies offer legit products or services so they cannot be called outright pyramid schemes. But some of them have a heavy focus on recruiting to get paid.
Southwestern Advantage is not a scam and does not reward their reps for recruiting people into the company at all. It is a direct sales company without the MLM side.
You can learn how to spot these pyramid schemes in disguise in the 5 minute video below...
How does Southwestern Advantage Work?
Southwestern Advantage sells books that accompany its online learning system for preschool to college prep.
They save money on advertising and marketing because they get everyday people to help sell these products.
Typically they try to recruit college students in their summer breaks to sell the products by knocking on people's doors and working through recommendations and referrals. In return, the students receive some great sales skills and can receive a commission for anything they sell.
The 3 minute video gives you an insight into the requirements of a Southwestern Advantage door to door salesperson so you can tell it's not a scam...
Southwestern Advantage products
If you are interested in joining any direct sales opportunity then it's crucial to understand more about their products, as this is what you will be selling.
Their tagline is:
Conquer homework, tests and quizzes for kids Pre-K through 12.
There are a number of products under a few different categories:
- Pre-K through 2nd Grade- fun words, reading, shapes, colors and number books
- 2nd Grade through 6th Grade- explore and learn
- 6th Grade through 12th Grade- college entrance advantage
- Just for parents- ideas, advice and inspiration
There are online tools and loads of physical books on offer with DVDs...
Southwestern Advantage Books- flagship product
Southwestern Advantage's main products are their books and website.
It's very hard to tell how much these all cost as there is no information for that on their website. I guess the reason is because the only way to to buy them is by ordering through the sales reps.
The online learning service is a $19.95 monthly subscription (I still don't know what this is for).
You can also find a lot of their products on Amazon or eBay like the ones below...
However, the books and online service are designed to work together, and the student rep consults with the family on how to use their products. This is something not available to these second hand books online.
Some of the main features of the books for the older students is that it helps to save time with research and preparing for exams.
- Easy to use table of contents
- Website links for online videos for anything you don't understand
- Links to sources and citations for reports
- Condensed information for easier research
- DVD included
- Practice exams
The 4 minute video below explains more about some of the education books and resources on offer...
Can you make money with Southwestern Advantage?
You absolutely can make money by selling these educational resources and making a commission.
However, it's also possible to spend a 12 hour day without making any sales.
The people that tend to do the best from Southwestern Advantage are those that dive in and commit to developing sales skills.
Note that you don't have to be great at sales already, but being more extroverted will certainly help. These are skills you can learn though so don't worry if you feel you are extremely introverted (I'd actually recommend this more for introverted people so they can learn these sales skills!)
Here's a very honest review from a former sales rep. She had a lot of concerns and wasn't comfortable doing door to door sales but has learnt a lot from it...
How to make money with Southwestern Advantage
You can only make money by selling Southwestern Advantage products to people to earn a commission.
How much does it cost to join Southwestern Advantage?
It's free to join, but keep in mind you will have costs such as travel and general living expenses as you will live with a host family in a new location.
Southwestern Advantage compensation plan
There is a 40% commission on sales made as you can see in the review below...
It's not a typical MLM company though so there isn't a compensation plan as such.
But Southwestern Advantage also provides a five day training "camp" before sending the students out to knock on doors.
Typically the sales reps are connected with former sales reps (alumni) to find a host family to live with in a new area. This could all be seen as compensation as this training and accomodation would typically need to be paid for.
Is Southwestern Advantage a scam?
No Southwestern Advantage is not a scam.
They sell legit products and pay their reps exactly like they say they will.
The first expectation is that it takes all summer to have a great summer. Students who do not complete the full selling season, and drop out in their first few days or weeks, make little to no sales income and often end up leaving scam reviews over the internet.
The rest of this Southwestern Advantage review will show you the pros and cons of joining so you can make an informed decision if it's right for you or not.
Just to be fully transparent with you, I am not a distributor myself and I do not endorse Southwestern Advantage in any way.
I have researched the website, testimonials and information on the Internet to get to the bottom of what this program genuinely does. I have also had the help from emailing a Southwestern employee to ensure this information is accurate.This is because I have been burnt from programs just like this in the past and I want to prevent others from making the same mistakes.
What I like about Southwestern Advantage
There are some points that I personally really like about Southwestern Advantage.
I think this makes it stand out compared to a normal "summer job" and other MLM companies...
- Pyramid Scheme – recruits members via a promise for payment from referring others to the service rather than providing a product
- Affiliate Marketing- Connecting a customer to a product they are looking for and receiving a commission for doing so
- Red Flag - A warning sign
#1 Established company
It's been going for over 160 years!...
It's changed and adapted but the basic skills taught are still valuable today.
This is a great sign that Southwestern Advantage is not a scam and it won't disappear tomorrow!
#2 Positive product reviews
There are places online that you can find what people think about a company, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Some of the most common pros that people say are:
- Wonderful company
- The books are great quality
- Products has been very helpful to my children already
- The representative from the company was kind and considerate
There are over 600 reviews on there with many of them being positive so it does make me wonder if people are encouraged to leave good reviews on here.
Typically you only find complaints on websites like the BBB!
#3 Develop important skills
This is without doubt the BIGGEST pro!
You can learn some skills that most people will have to pay for...
- Sales skills
- And the ability to speak to new people!
Just listen to what this former Southwestern Advantage rep has to say...
He's debt free after just leaving college and has some amazing sales skills that he can use in any future business or work.
#4 Southwestern Advantage is not a pyramid scheme
Many people throw the phrase "pyramid scheme" around.
However, there is no compensation for people to recruit others into Southwestern Advantage. Therefore it's not a pyramid scheme or scam.
What I don't like about Southwestern Advantage
There are some hidden truths that I think everyone should learn before jumping in...
#1 Misleading advertising
Truth in Advertising found 9 occasions where Southwestern Advantage has used misleading income claims to advertise the company...
Yes, some people will be able to pay off their debt.
But this will take working each summer with 12 hour days 6 days a week and real hustle.
It's not the norm!
#2 It's pretty intense & hard work
You can find plenty of reviews on other places like Glassdoor that just shows how hard the reps work...
80+ hour work weeks sounds pretty standard in this company during the summer.
If you're willing to give it your all then you could make good money. If not, then you may make the odd sale here and there.
#3 Living with a host family
For some people this is a pro! You can experience living in a new place and see it as an adventure.
But for many college students they look forward to spending time back home with friends and family.
It's just something to be aware of before you decide.
#4 Negative Southwestern Advantage reviews
The BBB has a lot of good reviews but it also has over 100 complaints. Just remember this is out of millions of sales but here are some of the common concerns...
Some of the most common complaints were:
- Horrible customer service
- Scammed out of $60-$600 for books I didn't want
- This is a company of liars and thieves
- I wasted almost $600 for 14 books
- I got charged a monthly fee of $19.95 and I wasn't aware of this
If you do become a sales rep, then make sure you are totally honest and upfront about what you are selling and any monthly costs.
If you don't you are actually being a scam artist!
#5 Trading time for money- there is another way!
The main concern for me is that reps are still being taught to trade their time for money. Southwestern Advantage reps are taught how to sell to families both in-person and online through video consultations.
But there is another way to make money that is simply not taught in schools or colleges and it nearly always has to do with the power of the internet!
The internet never sleeps and can work for you 24/7 if you know how to "sell online" without trading your time for money.
There are shady ways of selling online and then there are completely white hat and ethical ways that genuinely helps people.
The thing is, people are still not being taught this!
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My opinion - Southwestern Advantage
Southwestern Advantage is not a scam but some people do join believing it is a typical job earning $10+ per hour.
It's purely commission based selling. But sales reps will also learn some vital skills that can help them for the rest of their life!
However, what do I think about the method of making money to build income long term?...
As soon as you stop knocking on doors your income will stop. Sure you can sell some monthly online subscriptions, but how long will people keep that up for? 1 year? Maybe 2 if you're lucky!
What if there was a way to learn some crucial skills that every business needs and create an income stream that will continue to grow over time?...
How I make passive income online
Direct sales jobs are not scams or illegal. However, I'm not a fan of them because of the restrictions to the products you have to promote and that you have to trade time for money still.
Once I learnt about affiliate marketing, I realised it's a far superior business model because:
- You can promote anything you want and truly own the business
- You never need to sell face to face
- It's completely free to start
In 2018 I had no idea what affiliate marketing was.
But I went from a full time PE teacher to making a passive income online within one year...
If you want to discover how I did it then check out this special video I created which explains exactly how. You can also get your free 7-day bootcamp to get started.