Network Marketing is a business model in which a person (known as a distributor or representative) can build an income from their efforts, and the efforts of a team. Usually a distributor sells products from a Network Marketing company, and attains partners to join them in the business, and receives compensation for all of this.
Network Marketing is also known as Direct Selling, or Multi-level Marketing (MLM).
Since the 19th century, Network Marketing companies such as Avon have depended on word-of-mouth marketing from distributors. Today this tradition lives on. Network Marketing is no different than sharing your favorite restaurant, or a deal you just discovered – except that you do get compensated for your referral.
Today, distributors can now promote through private social media groups, Facebook live presentations and Instagram posts to make sales and attain attendees for “parties.”
And while old-school MLMs such as Tupperware, Mary Kay and Avon are still alive and well, a host of new companies have sprung up in recent years. Among the most popular are makeup and skincare brands Younique and Arbonne, diet and wellness companies Plexus and Beachbody, essential oils sellers DoTerraand Young Living, and the wellness company Modere.
What is the article & why is it dumb?
Recently I came across an article about Network Marketing that seemed to be wildly inaccurate and slanted in it’s presentation. As someone who has made a lot of money in Network Marketing (and helped others do the same), I was a bit annoyed (to say the least). I’ve also used my Network Marketing businesses to help countless individuals solve their problems – not just financially, but also physically and emotionally with the products I share.
The disgusting article was posted by a connection of mine on Facebook. She’s a blogger and has “tried” Network Marketing with no success. What I discovered is that she put in very little effort and made many of the same mistakes as the women in this article. I’ll share more about those women and their mistakes in a moment.
False facts and leading the reader
Let’s talk more about why this article gets it all wrong. The article from the Huffington Post gives once-sided opinions and is leading the reader to make conclusions and assumptions. This infuriates me because the writer is assuming we are so dumb that we will fall for this timeless scheme otherwise known as “slippery slope.” Slippery slope is one form of a fallacy. It is an argument that suggests taking a minor action will lead to major and sometimes ludicrous consequences. Take this for example.
The article says “What is not emphasized is that only a handful of recruiters are successful; one study by AARP found 73% percent of participants either don’t make money or lose money. That number could be as high as 99%, according to a report by a longtime consumer advocate who studied MLMs.” Reading this, we can assume they are suggesting Network Marketing is bad, right? But what the article refuses to mention is that most people who join an Network Marketing company do not actually work the business. In other words, they sign up, they talk to a handful of people and they quit. That’s like joining a gym, working out a couple of times, and complaining you’re not losing weight so you quit the gym.
This article primarily focuses on a few women who made dumb decisions
The article from the Huff Post also focuses around the situations of just three women. I’m going to share a brief background of each woman and how she could have been a success story. In other words, I am going to share what these women could have done right,.. and what they did very wrong.
The first woman is Angela. She’s a stay-at-home mom of three living in Reno, Nevada. Angela was clearly misguided and I feel sad for her. She also made some huge mistakes.
She started for the wrong reasons
She says she was pressured into starting a business, which is kind of crazy because usually there’s paperwork that goes with staring a business, but okay. Bottom line, start your business for the right reasons. Whether your business is Network Marketing, Blogging or just making extra money. Start your business because you seriously love the products and or company. Do your research if you are partnering with a company. Don’t join blindly.
She got in with the wrong crowd
The fact that those people told her to use her mother’s cancer as a selling technique is unspeakable. The lesson to learn here is if you’re going to start ANY business, make sure you know who you are joining! Again do your research!!
She didn’t do her tax research
In the article the woman Angela says “On my 1099, it looked like I made thousands of dollars, when in reality, most of that money went to buy samples, catalogs, items for the parties and things like that,” but here’s the thing Angela, all of that IS tax deductable. Anyone in Network Marketing can write off samples, catalogs, items for parties and even gas mileage and travel. The lesson here is to again do your research, and get information from an accountant who specializes in work-at-home businesses. The truth is that you have to spend a bit of money to make money, but you can get reimbursed for a portion of what you spend. It’s worth it to take time and research so you don’t lose money.
55-year-old Houston resident Sandra, who, after battling breast cancer in 2015 and then being laid off from her high-paying position in the instructional design industry, decided she no longer wanted to be a cog in corporate America. She desired the ability to build her own business while maintaining enough flexibility to join her husband, a professional sommelier, on international trips. “I wanted to be my own boss,” she said.
A neighbor seemed to be raking it in as a Beachbody coach, and as a fitness enthusiast, Sandra saw it as a fun opportunity to change career paths. As a bonus, it cost less than $20 to get started.
These are the mistakes Sandra made….
She wanted someone else to build her business
The article mentions how Sandra reached out to her upline and her upline “refused” to help her. First of all, shame on that upline because honestly everyone in a business makes money together. But conversely Sandra shouldn’t rely on someone else to build her business. The first step any successful Network Marketer makes is to “fire their upline” and take full responsibility for what they do and the success and failures they create. This is one of the top lessons learned in the book Go Pro by Eric Worre.
I’m also curious though why Sandra didn’t plug into company trainings. Most Network Marketing companies WANT their distributors to succeed because that in turn means more money and more consumers using their products. Therefore companies usually have training online with documents, video and/or audio. They will also generally have monthly, bi-annual and annual events. Most Network Marketing companies will also have a weekly team or company call.
She made poor decisions
Sandra tells the reader of how she didn’t have a large network to pull from. So instead of doing the hard work of actually networking, talking with people, building up relationships and enjoying the process – she sunk over $5,000 into the problem to try and cheat and get results faster. This is a poor business decision for anyone to do!! If your business isn’t making money, don’t spend a bunch of money!!
She didn’t do the work
Yes Sandra threw a ton of money at the problem but she didn’t do the actual work. I grew both of my Network Marketing businesses spending $0 on ads or schemes to pull people in. I created incomes of $6k/mo and $2k/mo by simply working and doing the same steps again and again. I created genuine connections, held public classes and used social media the right way.
Traci, a 28-year-old real estate agent living in rural Louisiana, saw an MLM as a potential opportunity to make good money on the side. She learned about LuLaRoe in 2015, when another woman in her community began selling it. She started off as a customer, but was soon enticed into becoming a consultant (today, LuLaRoe consultants are referred to as “independent fashion retailers”). Though she knew the company was an MLM and the startup cost would end up close to $8,000 for basic inventory, additional packages, racks, hangers and other miscellaneous needs, the profit margins on the clothes and the success of other consultants made the opportunity seem like a no-brainer.
She chose the wrong opportunity
Personally I would never even consider any work at home business that cost $8,000 to get started. Why? Because it’s kind of dumb considering how many free or low-cost opportunities are out there to work from home and earn extra cash.
She made excuses
The article talks about how Traci was the first distributor in her area and did great, until other distributors came on board. She says that by November, the market had dried up. We have a saying in our home “don’t get bitter, get better.” In other words, don’t make excuses. Yes. The market grew to include more distributors, but if Traci was really supporting her customers and asking for referrals from them to get new customers, then she would have maintained her business.
Kylene, a 28-year-old mother of two who lives in Mesa, Arizona. She joined Younique shortly after her daughter was born in 2017 as a way to earn income while staying home with her baby. “I was stressed,” she said. “I wondered, how am I going to go back to work? Because I don’t trust anyone to babysit my kids … there are too many horror stories about daycare for infants.”
When Kylene saw a Facebook live feature with a woman who claimed it was possible to achieve financial freedom and be a successful stay-at-home mom just by playing with makeup, she jumped at the opportunity.
Here’s what Kylene did wrong…
She didn’t see the vision & have the right mindset
Part of building your own business is seeing the vision of what you can create. The article says “What Kylene didn’t realize is that the woman on Facebook was financially successful because she had a massive downline.” This is another Slippery Slope fallacy leading us to believe this is somehow a bad thing. Is it?…
This women who has the massive downline didn’t just magically wake up one day with a downline. She worked for it. She grew it and it’s proof that the system works. The only bad thing here is that Kylene lacked vision. Instead of thinking “wow look what this woman created, I can do it too,” she chose to see it as something she could never attain. Her mindset was broken.
She didn’t nurture relationships
Instead of taking the time to first reconnect with people and then eventually bring up her opportunity, Kylene jumped in and started cold messaging people. Instead of treating people like humans, she treated them like commissions. Of course she would fail because she had commission-breathe and everyone could smell it.
She played the blame game
Kylene was given scripts by her sponsor to copy/paste. She says they didn’t work and people unfriended her. Honey I’ve been there too but after the 10th response of crickets, I changed my tactics. Again, we can either get bitter or get better. This is true with any business. In any business if you are using a strategy that is not producing results, then you need to change what you are doing. (PS, I don’t know of any other work at home business that will give you a blueprint of how to get started.)
Why this article breaks my heart
I could go on and on even more about how this article is wildly misleading and one-sided and filled with fallacies. From how it talks about companies “preying” on lonely women, to attacking Mormons, to putting up barriers between genders. But I won’t, primarily because I have businesses to run.
Honestly this article is only a fine example of one thing,.. poor journalism. It’s a hit piece designed to raise fear in women and keep them small. There’s a reason that Huffington Post doesn’t have a “comments” area turned on below their posts – especially this one – because it doesn’t want anyone commenting and calling out the truth.
The truth is that yes there are good MLM companies out there and then there are some bad ones too – just like anything in life. Yes there are lots of people that have failed in it, and lots that have succeeded. Of the women (and men) who actually put in the effort, and learn and implement best practices, Network Marketing can easily be a very good thing, and is a tremendous blessing to the modern family.