I tooootally get it. Things that are different are often perceived as WEIRD and maybe even wrong. Like those strange toe shoes…they look crazy right? But hey, that is the JAM for some folks. Isn’t that one of the coolest things in life – different strokes for different folks?
You might like pepperoni on your pizza and I might like veggies. I’m not going to hate you if you offer me a slice. I’ll just politely decline and appreciate that you even thought of me. Yet, there is a really big STIGMA attached to something nowadays that has got some folks undies in a bunch, and I’m hoping to deflate that a little in this article.
I’m talking about Network Marketing, aka MLM. I come across people who swear against it and even go so far as to advise others to “never do that”. There are sources that slam it and individuals who claim negative things about it. It has come to be synonymous with the word “scheme” and for this reason; there are many people who refuse to acknowledge their family, friends, or acquaintances if there is even a hint of that nasty thing called MLM.
Let’s get one thing out of the way, first of all. Anything in life, and I mean Anything, has 2 sides to it. Opportunities and life all come with benefits, and also some downsides. So with that being said, I wanna take a look at the 3 main moving parts of MLM and hopefully give you a new perspective – if you happen to be one who thinks this gig is shady AF.
Network Marketing is, in a nutshell, an opportunity for individuals to be entrepreneurs on their own terms. These individuals are not whack-jobs, they are people just like you and me. And I promise you, we don’t set out on a mission to bug or irritate you. I don’t think there is an entrepreneur out there who wakes up in the morning thinking, “I wonder who I can annoy today”. TV commercials are so 1980s. The way companies are finding success is through word of mouth. Just like how I raved about my new 2019 planner, several girlfriends thought it was so cool; they went and bought it themselves. We buy things that people we know and trust are loving!
This is the same with network marketing. Your friends have experienced a product or service that they love, and it has changed the game for them; so they really want to share with you. If I have a killer poke bowl somewhere, I’m totally gonna give that spot a shout out so other people can go and enjoy it. That’s it. Now, I will admit, there are some Network Marketers out there running around with less than savvy methods. I know because I used to be one of them. I would copy and paste messages, or keep on contacting people beyond where I should have stopped. To be fair, most of us aren’t professionally trained in this type of business. We come from all sorts of backgrounds and, if not mentored properly, may go through some “fails” until we really grasp the best way to do it. Here is where I’d implore you…please be gracious with your MLM people. They really are trying.
These are regular human beings who, at the heart of it, are trying to do better for themselves and likely, for their families. For some, this may be their only option to create or supplement income. Life is expensive y'all, and I know lots of moms who are home with small children, who find this is the most viable option for them to be a contributing part of their family, while being present for their littles.
Ooohhh Lord help me not get on a soapbox here. The bottom line regarding products and services offered through network marketing is this…
They are going to be as good as, if not better than what you’ll find out in the market or on a shelf in a store. It is so odd to me that some people will refuse to take a look at a friend’s supplement, but drive on over to GNC and purchase something off the shelf. Guys, c’mon. We aren’t selling garbage. We just aren’t. We are just using a different platform than a brick and mortar store.
Please tell me why you trust Kylie Jenner more than your classmate from high school?
People will go BANANAS over celebrity-endorsed products just because it’s a pretty face. You do realize they are getting paid millions of dollars to use and promote those products right? Without knowing about ingredients, manufacturing, and typically no refund guarantee, girls with RUSH to buy a Kylie lip kit or Rihanna perfume. I mean if you think that lip kit will turn you into a Jenner, by all means. I’m just saying…
Your girlfriend might actually have a pretty fabulous lipstick. Don’t knock her cause she’s not a Reality TV sensation. I actually think that makes her more credible. These network marketers would still use the products and services they sell, even if they weren’t making a commission off of that. That is HUGE. So next time your cousin asks if you want to sample his shake, just give it a shot. You might actually like it! And how cool to support your buddies rather than a corporate mogul.
The Business Model
Ah, I think this is the part where most people get tripped up. “Isn’t that a pyramid scheme? That is so BOGUS. Keep your weird triangle away from me.” LMBO
Seriously. Can someone show me a corporate business model that isn’t, virtually, in the shape of a pyramid?
Your executives are there at the top of the food chain, while your bosses and managers come down a few steps, followed by the average-working employees. The pay levels go accordingly. And guess what, there are many many cases where folks are just not getting paid what they’re worth. Some of you aren’t getting paid enough for all that you do (ahem, teachers I see you). And some of your co-workers are getting paid for work they aren’t doing. That’s kinda sucky y'all. What bums me out the most; is that for all the time, energy, and work folks will invest in their careers; quite often there is a cap where they just wont be able to advance any further. Maybe not without another degree, more years of experience, or the right connections. Nine to Five jobs have limits. They definitely offer security in a sense, but for sure, limits.
Let’s talk about security for a minute. My dad was laid off after serving a company for 25 years. Our government just shut down, and my girlfriend wasn’t receiving a paycheck for almost a month. She couldn’t even know for sure when she’d get it, during that time. It’s kinda scary and unsettling. While traditional careers come with great benefits, there is still the possibility of losing that all, in an instant.
This is why having something on the side is such a great idea. Do what you want, how you want, but having the ability to create income ON YOUR OWN TERMS, is simply a no brainer. It’s like a safety net that can be as big or small as you want it to be. No time to work on a “business”? cool, enjoy sharing on occasion while being backed up with the option to build when you want.
It really is genius. And I never heard it put so well, as I did last week by my girlfriend Skye. I’m going to put my twist on her explanation.
There are 3 basic business models
“If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die”
Let's Wrap It Up
So your MLM friends might be a little strange. But if you think about it, they are also a little brilliant. Give them a small break. Try listening to what they have to share or let them send you a sample. You may fall in love. And if not, just like that slice of pizza, it’s easy to politely decline. When folks approach me with their business, if I’m not open to hear at the time, I’ll say “no thank you, but thanks so much for thinking of me”. I respect their hustle. My hat is off to people trying to improve their lives. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s really really hard to get up the courage to share with people. Pretty much everyone I know is terrified of being “sale-y”. So don’t ghost your friends, people. I’m pretty sure they have something really neat to share with you, and if it’s not your jam, it just isn’t. No worries.
I do hope I’ve helped some of you to have a bit more positive view on Network Marketing. I believe in it. I personally know men and women who have built significant wealth doing this and, while it’s not for everyone, it’s really not as bad as some folks might think.
And if this has sparked your interest, I’d love to chat with you. I can definitely point you in the direction of some really cool companies I’m familiar with.
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Malia was born and raised in Kaneohe, Hawaii and graduated from Azusa Pacific University. She spent the majority of her career as an Early Childhood Education Teacher/Administrator.