That's right. I said it.
The two words that invokes instant connotations of negativity. It certainly did for me. I've had a few people try to recruit me into their chosen opportunity, pushing me to buy packages of...who-know-what. Pressure to start a business, pay money, with promises of riches beyond imagination - shrouded with the most ambiguous information possible, was not for this girl. No way.
And just about every similar approach started with the words - Network Marketing. So naturally, by the third approach in my life, I've written off the pitch before it can begin. I hate wasting time. Not interested. Next?
Because so many of us have been burned by these business opportunities, defined as network marketing, based on flakey products and questionable services, it's no wonder the network marketing industry as a whole is equated with a pyramid set up.
MLM vs. Pyramid Set-upLet's get some clarity. What exactly is the difference between Network Marketing (MLM) and Pyramid Schemes? An MLM is a system of retailing where products are sold by independent representatives for a commission. Products and sometimes marketing resources are supplied by the company. In an MLM, independent representatives can build their own sales force by recruiting other distributors to their team.
A pyramid scheme is a business model that recruits members by a promise of payment for recruitments, rather than services or products. Also known as franchise fraud or chain referral schemes, this model is illegal in most countries because these "companies" don't have a real product to sell.
A Mix of BothSome MLM plans have been classified as pyramid schemes and some pyramid schemes purport to sell a product or service but use this to hide their pyramid model.
Service, Service and More Service
Some of these opportunities hail products and services that are so sub par that they need a motivating recruiting angle that looks past that. That angle comes in various forms of getting rich...and getting rich quickly. Got bills? Baby mamas and children to feed? Give us $500 and get a 1000% return on your money in two weeks!!!``
Don't get me wrong. I've purchased and used a service from a multi-level marketing company before and I was a pretty happy customer. The difference was obvious - quality, real and legit service.
THAT was my personal epiphany. A network marketing company should have a legit, quality service or product. They should have a legit business built upon a product or service and should offer a legit business opportunity - in other words a compensation plan in addition to tools and resources needed to capitalize the product and services.
After being an Independent Miessence Representative for a few years - there is one major component that a defines a bona fide network marketing opportunity...service.
The company you are interested in investing your time and money, should train you for, and emphasize service as a foundation for your business.
Think about it. Everyone needs assistance with something. Nowadays everyone pays for a service. From lawn maintenance to home remodeling. You simply cannot build a business without offering a service of some sort. Even if you are just selling a product. And in that case, your offered product is a service. This is why the customer is always right. Even when they're wrong, they're right. Why? Without a customer to provide solutions to, you have no business.
This is what service is paramount to...solutions.
If you meet an "opportunity" that offers no service or solutions...plain and simple...there is no opportunity. It's best to keep looking. You cannot build a business on nothing.
If you meet an "opportunity" that offers poor or low-quality solutions - i.e. ineffective products, low-demand service - it's best to keep looking. You don't want to stake your personal reputation on poor products or build a business that is likely unstainable.
"Change your focus from making money to serving more people makes the money come in." - Robert KiyosakiIn essence, providing service and solutions require work and problem-solving initiatives. It always takes time and effort.
Here's as simple guideline to avoid pitfalls...
1. You should be willing to provide a SERVICE = Work
2. The company has a legit PRODUCT/SERVICE = Solutions
3. The company offers a LEGIT COMPENSATION PLAN = Sustainable Pay
4. Your business, the company, and its products are of QUALITY. = Usable & Effective
All four guidelines require research. Sometimes extensive research and questions. Just like any startup requires...and here's why network marketing is a good idea...the product/service and business tools are already provided for you. When you find that service you want to provide, you are ahead of the game!
What a Pyramid Model Really Looks LikeMore than likely the job you are working at is based on a pyramid model. Typically, in a company, there is a CEO. That CEO can earn millions of dollars. It's safe to say, no one in that company earns more than the CEO. We don't call this a pyramid scheme, yet it looks a lot like one!
Is it sustainable? Yes, it often offers a legitimate product or service that keeps the pyramid running smoothly for years. Is it fair? There are many debates on that! Many lower-level employees struggle because the income isn't necessarily sustainable for them. Consider this...
Nigel Travis, CEO of the Dunkin Donut brand called a $15 minimum wage hike "outrageous"(3) yet earned 5.4 million in 2015.(4)
My point is this - our traditional economic industry offers positives and negatives just as well as the network market industry does - both require self-assertive, analytical wisdom before any sleeves are rolled up.
Network marketing can be an empowered choice if you've done your homework. Here are four ways, it has been a blessing for me.
1. It has provided the business tools and products without major startup costs. On average, small startups invest $30,000.(5) Compare that to the average MLM start package of $500.
2. Provides autonomy. While there are some guidelines to follow, my personal experience has been very positive. The freedom to invent my business around a standing product has been very liberating and confident-inspiring!
3. Promotes Creativity.
3. Encourages learning which can evolve into highly sought-after skills!
So, yes, network marketing can be an empowered path for those who find that particular calling to service and are ready to work!
Stay tuned on why Miessence, the creator of the world's 1st certified organic skin and body care products, is the wave of the future for powerful, small business ownership.
1 - http://www.bbb.org/phoenix/news-events/consumer-tips/2015/03/opportunity-or-scam-multi-level-marketing-vs.-pyramid-schemes/
2 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_scheme
3 - http://money.cnn.com/2015/11/12/investing/fast-food-minimum-wage-popeyes/
4 - http://www1.salary.com/Nigel-Travis-Salary-Bonus-Stock-Options-for-DUNKIN-BRANDS-GROUP-INC.html
5 - https://www.sba.gov/blogs/how-estimate-cost-starting-business-scratch