Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

What do you think about multi-level marketing business opportunities?

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Are there some legitimate options? Are MLMs recession proof?
First off, no business is recession proof. Every business, no matter what industry or category, experiences ebbs and flows of revenues and profits. The challenge is to prepare for the downturns as best as you can, and reinvest profits during the good times to ride out the inevitable dips.

That said, MLM can be a great business opportunity for new entrepreneurs for a number of reasons. First, you'll learn how to sell, which is important because in business nothing happens until the sale is made.

You'll also learn how to follow a system, and how following a system can be beneficial for your business growth.

One of the biggest advantages to MLMs, however is cost of starting up. In most cases MLM startups are inexpensive compared to the resources you would have to invest up front to get involved in any kind of brick and mortar retail or service business.

A few keys to consider, however, in doing your MLM due diligence:

Number one, learn as much as you can about the people involved in the company, the product and/or service, and finally, the plan.

You will also want to know how long the company has been in business, how many active distributors are currently in the company and how many current customers the company has.

You may have to look at a number of companies before you find the right fit. But I think MLM is one of the most underrated and most overlooked opportunities out there for would-be entrepreneurs.

You'll learn very quickly if selling and building a business through direct sales is right for you. And if it isn't, you'll learn a valuable (if relatively inexpensive) lesson in the school of "Entrepreneur 101."

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks