Are you thinking about network marketing? Have you been approached by people to join their team and company so you can build a business and become financially free? Or maybe you’re already involved but new to the game and are trying to suss things out.
Getting an honest account about network marketing can be difficult. There are the clear haters out there who have so much venom in their blood when it comes to anything MLM, you’d think that they’d been forced to sell their organs when in fact a lot of them haven’t even been involved. Then there are the ‘this business will change your life’ types. Who for the most part really do think it will because for them it probably has. But obviously it’s not as straightforward as they might make out.
Having recently stepped out of the MLM arena I wanted to share my experience and give you some pros and cons so you can take these into consideration when choosing to jump in…or jump out. The thoughts and opinions that follow are from three ex consultants (myself included) who were all within the same company. Myself and Ella joined I think at about the same time and were in the same wider team. As was Lauren (not her real name) although she had joined a few months before we did. This post is purely for guidance and advice and something we ourselves would have found useful before we stepped in.
You’ll be asked this question over and over. What is your why? Why are you here? Why do you want this? Now this is a very important question because it isn’t easy so when the going gets tough you need a pretty solid reason to keep pushing you through. However, when you are struggling or your business isn’t growing as well as you’d like you might also be told that your why isn’t big enough. That your why should make you cry. When you first hear this it’s powerful and it’s a great motivator. But just be mindful that your reasons to be there are your reasons. You don’t need to change them to suit anybody but yourself.
OPINIONS OF OTHERS
This is a really hard one. And I personally think, and I know Ella and Lauren agree that you really need to shut off the outside noise. Everyone is going to have an opinion or a bit of advice when you join. You’ll be told by your mentors that these people and their opinions won’t pay your bills so don’t listen to them. That is of course true, but I think what I would suggest is that you gather as much genuine and factual evidence that you can. Find out the source of these opinions, do your research but ultimately go with your gut. If something doesn’t sit right with you or you’re unsure, then hold off. Wait until you are really sure. Because you’ll be told not to wait, what’s the big deal, it’s not even a big risk. But once you’re in things change very quickly. So just jump in if and when YOU want to.
No matter what you see, hear or experience. Keep your feet fully on the ground at all times. We cannot stress how important this is. The lifestyle that is offered is by no means out of reach and it is the stuff of dreams. Big massive fuck off dreams. But take one foot of the ground even slightly and you will get swept up in it all. Your ego will take over and before you know it you’ll have forgotten your ‘why’ and will see nothing more than fancy brunch meetings, taking selfies from your poolside ‘office’, walking the stage at annual conferences, flashy cars and 5 star holidays. Don’t get me wrong, that shit can and does happen…but only for a small perecentage. I’m talking less than 2%. Yep….really! And here’s why…
THE LEVEL PLAYING FIELD
It looks level. They tell you it’s level. But it’s only really level on the surface. You can absolutely promote above your sponsor and anyone else above you because you can obviously make more sales and build a bigger team than them. BUT, the important factor I didn’t take into account (because I was told numerous times it wasn’t an issue) is your existing network of people when you join. We were told that our warm network was the best place to start for reaching out about the business and the products. By warm they mean, not your nearest and dearest but friends of friends, old acquaintances, people you see from time to time, the waitress you are always chatting to in your local coffee shop, your nail lady. Now it sounds cringey as hell but at the end of the day the business model does work and you never know who will benefit from the business or the products unless you ask. However if your warm network are not at all interested this is when the playing field starts to slope.
Going off my experience I joined when I had recently left my full time job, I had a fairly non existent social circle and I really didn’t have that many people to reach out to. So, after annoying my warm network for several months I had to go wider. And for me that meant total strangers, which again isn’t a bad thing but building up a relationship with someone new takes time so to avoid being spammy Sammy you can’t just shove the business in someone’s face as soon as you start chatting. So my advice is take a look at your network. If you are living a socialite life in a big city you will probably get off to a good start. If not, you can still make it work but be prepared for it to take longer and potentially reduce your sleeping hours to 5 hours a night.
IT WORKS IF YOU WORK
Sorry but I call bullshit. I personally worked my ass off and for me things just didn’t take off. Yes I had clients, yes I had interest in the business but ultimately it wasn’t enough. So you can put in all the effort you want but if you don’t come across the right kind of people, aren’t in the position financially to buy products for your own use as well as for people to try at product parties etc then you are already heading towards struggle town. They will tell you luck doesn’t come into it, but I’m afraid it does. I am sure every successful consultant paid their dues and put in some serious hustle but the second you have got an instagram profile that is influencer worthy and you can be seen dining in high end restaurants, holidaying on yachts then of course people will want what you have. And the strangers you personally reach out to are likely to watch from the sidelines for a while and inevitably go join a more successful looking consultant.
I WILL GUIDE YOU
This one is a funny one and I can’t say it was something that I was told. But I see a lot of consultants telling people that it doesn’t matter if they don’t understand how it all works or if they’ve never been involved in sales because they will ‘hold your hand’ and guide you every step of the way. This may happen in some teams, it did not happen in mine. Did I receive training and guidance, yes absolutely. Did anyone hold my hand, ummm not quite.
Not long after I joined the wider team WhatsApp group was restricted so only those who were admins in the group could post in the group. As a new consultant who obviously had lots of questions to ask this was a bit frustrating and I know I wasn’t the only one who thought this. We were also told that we should direct questions to our 3 way chat with our sponsor and mentor. This may have worked for some but my sponsor was based in Australia and my mentor very rarely read the messages let alone had time to respond. So when you needed a prompt answer the big group was ideal, but only for the admins. And in order to become an admin you had to have promoted to the first level. Yes I know, alarm bells should have been ringing at this point. Wait, it gets better. After chatting to a few of the other new consultants I thought it might be nice to start our own WhatsApp group so we could at least support each other and bounce ideas off of one another. This group was kindly reported to the head mistress…sorry I mean my mentor and she gave me a call to basically tell me off. At this point the alarm bell was being bashed against my head and yet I still continued.
Lauren makes a good point in that you were only really ever contacted directly by your mentor to see if you had signed up the latest training, booked in enough product parties etc. And Ella was told by her mentor that as she wasn’t reaching out to 50 new people a day she wasn’t worth giving the time and support to. What I think is evident is that the relationship you have with you mentor and upline makes a huge difference. I clearly didn’t have the best relationship with mine because when I asked if she would do an instagram live with me to help promote the business she declined and told me they were a waste of time. But I also know there are some excellent mentors out there. Approachable, supportive and don’t make you feel like just another number. Find them and you are edging closer to that 2% already.
If you have got this far I applaud your commitment. And you are probably wondering if there’s anything good about network marketing or if it’s all a big lie. It’s not, it can work and I know consultants that are killing it. In fact there are consultants I connected with when I started who were also new to the game and they are not only doing well but they are genuinely lovely people who I am still in touch with now. And Lauren also agrees that you really can meet some incredible people and build some fantastic friendships.
But our biggest contender in the positive corner is the self development journey you will go on. You will be encouraged to read and absorb as much personal growth material you can and I think that all three of us will say that none of this is a waste of time. How can it be? Working on your mindset, gaining perspective, thinking outside of the box and opening up your mind is never going to be a bad thing. You will learn things about yourself that will change the game. Whether that’s the game of network marketing or just the game in general. Either are respectable. For all three of us we learned enough to know that the company we were with was not for us. But we also learned a lot from our time with that company and that has allowed us to go in different directions which may not have happened had we not dipped our toe into network marketing at all.
So I think it’s safe to say none of us regret our decision to join. Nor do we regret our decision to leave. It was just a stepping stone in our journey that we are grateful for, each with our own reasons.
I write this post in the hope that someone reads it and takes the advice on board. It might just get lost in the blogging blackhole or it may find its way to someone who is struggling to decide and just needs some first hand knowledge.
Thank you and goodnight!