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When Passion Meets Profit: Is MLM right for you?

When I first encountered network marketing, I had no idea what it was all about.  Sure, I had attended Tupperware® parties over the years, and had even hosted some of my own.  It was fun attending parties with my mother’s friends while enjoying a Mary Kay® facial.  My mother, kindergarten teacher and expert in early childhood development, sold Discovery Toys® during the years I was in college.  But I never had any thought about selling products myself.  And I certainly never thought I would become involved in a network marketing company- and LOVE it.

I was securely ensconced in the employee mindset: go to school and make good grades in order to have a safe, secure job.  I worked for 23 years in a laboratory as a research technician, enrolling participants, coordinating and implementing research on inflammatory diseases.   I enjoyed the science and meeting new people, so the job fit my interests.  In 2004 a family crisis caused me to take a step back and look harder at my job.  I was needed at home to care for my son and heading off to work each day just wasn’t going to happen.    That year a friend introduced me to my current business.  It was in the Health and Wellness industry and had a business plan known as MLM (multilevel marketing).  After careful research on the products, I was impressed with their high quality.   I eagerly started my new business: it allowed me the flexibility to care for my son, and allowed me to keep my interests active- science and meeting new people.

I started slowly, enrolling customers and a few business partners.  My sponsor encouraged and trained me every step of the way, and I began to see the benefits of my work.  Sure, I made plenty of mistakes along the way.  But fortunately I never quit.  I read as much as I could find about this unique industry, MLM.   I dissected books and audio CDs, listened to trainings, studying the experts for tips and hints.

One thing I learned along the way is that network marketing is just not for everyone.  Some of the greatest benefits of having your own business are also some of the greatest pitfalls.  Because it is so easy to get started in network marketing it is also easy to give up.  Start-up costs are generally quite low for most network marketing companies, and there are no educational or professional requirements necessary.   Most network marketers add a home-based business to an already full life, building their business on a part-time basis. Network marketers also come from many different backgrounds.  In my company, the top income-earners include a single mom of five, a former carpet installer, a minister, a fashion designer, a pharmacist, and a former retail manager.  They all come from different educational, cultural and economic beginnings, as well as different countries, but they all have certain qualities in common.  No one can predetermine whether you will succeed in network marketing, but these characteristics certainly help.   Do you recognize yourself here?

1. Strong Motivation and Driveclimbing mountain

Think about past projects.  How do you feel when you have achieved something?  Do you relax, resting on your laurels, or do you feel stimulated to strive higher?  What happens when things don’t go the way you planned?  Do you deflate and give up easily, or do you see it as a learning process to improve and grow?   Do you have the determination to run a successful business, or do you feel like if it happens, it happens?  No business of ANY kind becomes successful without the commitment to take action, even if you only have time for one or two hours a day.  Time is not an issue- many network marketers have built   hugely successful businesses during their lunch hour.

2. Communication and Relationship Skillsfriends at a restaurant

How well do you resonate with others?  Are you trustworthy, honest, and sincere?  Are you sensitive and understanding of other people’s thoughts, feelings and experiences?  Do you have a sincere interest in helping others accomplish their tasks and reach their dreams?   Network marketing is all about the relationships you develop.  Whether you are working with friends, family members, or business groups, face to face or online, personal connections are crucial.  The best network marketers work hard  to make their network successful,  for only through helping others does one develop a strong network “family”.  This not only makes more money for everyone, but is a lot of fun in the process.

3.  Business Skills:  Are you Teachable? computer and notebook

Smart network marketers invest in themselves.  Most people who start a network marketing business have never before been in business for themselves.   Remember, I was a science nerd, a lab rat, who had zero experience in marketing or sales.  And, no matter what anyone tells you, network marketing IS marketing.  When you are not marketing products, you are marketing yourself as a leader and role model.

But never fear- these are all skills that can be learned.  You need to be open-minded and willing to attend trainings which will improve your skills.  An excellent company will provide training in many ways to accommodate different learning styles and schedules.  Your sponsor should be your personal coach and guide helping you find the right training in order to develop skills needed to become a leader.  The company that I am affiliated with provides an award-winning online interactive training, monthly audio    CDs and MP3 recordings from both corporate representatives and successful associates, bi-weekly telephone conferences, and multiple web-conferences.

The best sponsors set up a training schedule for new associates, keeping in touch by phone or email to walk through the key training topics and to ensure understanding.  The responsibility of the new associate is to keep those appointments and do what is asked of them.  I have found that no matter the previous experience- or lack of experience- the willingness to learn and the responsibility to act on that training is key to success.

4. Strong Beliefman on mountaintop

“Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.”  Henry David Thoreau

Belief in Your Product

The basis of network marketing is recommending products or services to others.  If you do not have a firm belief in those products or services, it shows in your speech, your body posture, and your overall presentation.  A friend recently encouraged me to look into a different network marketing business.  He was doing extremely well with a company that sold a prepaid cell phone service.  I saw his enthusiasm and understood the value of what he offered, but I just don’t get excited about cell phones.  I  couldn’t see myself recommending different cell phone plans when I am someone who only uses a cell phone when traveling ( I am unable to access any cell service at my home)  My passion is health- so it makes perfect sense for me to affiliate myself with a health and wellness company.

Belief in Your Company

The same is true for belief in the company you choose:  take a good close look at the founder, the CEO, and individuals who make up the management team.  Do they share your own values?  What is the history of the company?  Integrity and accountability is vital, especially in today’s economy.  What is being said by outside business organizations?  Ratings by both Better Business Bureau and Dun & Bradstreet  are a good place to start.  Is the company publically traded?  It is not necessary for a MLM company to be publically traded, but it does lend a certain transparency and accountability.   Wall Street analysts keep their eyes on the  profitability of publically traded companies.  Through these third party sources, you can determine whether your company has a proven track record of consistent growth and profitability.

Belief in the Industry

What about the industry of network marketing?  A lot of people come with preconceived ideas about network marketing- not all of them positive.  If you have any doubts or any feelings of disbelief about the network marketing industry, that will be a block for you.   Again, education is crucial:  reading books and listening to audios will keep you focused and will help you develop a mindset of success.  Network marketing has come of age, and there are many examples of personal success.  My favorites include Jim Rohn and Eric Worre.  You can also follow the successes of other associates in your own company.  A natural feature of network marketing is the training you receive from other associates.  Many of my team-members get a huge boost from listening to our monthly audio MP3s recorded by other successful associates.  Just listening to an audio or reading a couple of pages every day can make a huge difference in your state of mind.

Belief in Yourself
This is probably the most important belief of all.  If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.  This is also one of the most difficult for all of us.  Life is full of challenges, and there are many things in life that are out of your control.  I’ve heard it said that life is simply a game of obstacle courses. Self-doubt, insecurity, and fear are your handicaps.  Frequently you are your own block to success.  That does not mean that you are “stuck” forever, though.  Become solution oriented rather than problem oriented. Shift your inner voice from where you are to where you want to be.  Keep self-doubt at bay through simple daily actions.  Become in the habit of looking for the good in the people around you, in yourself, and in your business-deliberately focusing on what is going right.  Surround yourself with positive people:  choose your sponsor and business associates wisely.   Take responsibility for your own reactions to challenges in your life.  And above all, use gratitude to lift yourself up.    Gratitude strengthens faith and renews purpose.  Affirm your ability to believe in yourself.  You deserve it!

5. Your Vision or Your Whyman and sky

Having a clear motivation will help you over the challenges of this business.  You cannot move forward – without a path and a clear direction.  Your hopes and dreams- your VISION- will be your personal motivation.  Your “why” will give you the energy to overcome and persevere, putting immediate comfort aside.   Successful people see beyond their current circumstances to dream big.  They write down their personal vision statement in order to be clear about what they are striving toward.   Visualization using all their senses makes their dream real.   Reviewing their vision daily keeps it on the forefront of their mind.  They begin to truly believe in both themselves and in their dreams, and through hard work and dedication, make those dreams a reality.

A strong “Why” will help you get “unstuck” in your life.  If you can’t accept that you deserve abundance, it won’t matter how hard you strive.  You will find every reason to sabotage every blessing that comes into your life.  Many of us feel guilty for wanting more.  We must make the emotional and physical shift to believe we’re worthy knowing that we were put here to let our light shine, to radiate prosperity, and give back to others.  The past does not equal the future.  Your fears and insecurities do not define who you are.  We are all worthy of our dreams.

Most people reading through these qualities have mixed emotions about whether they can meet these expectations.  Honestly, I doubt anyone is born without insecurities and self-doubt.  You only need to be honest with yourself about your willingness to make changes in your life.  Each one of the above successful qualities CAN BE LEARNED.  Your job is to work on yourself day by day, and be open to CHANGE.

Truly, when you start seeing these qualities emerge in yourself, a whole new world opens around you.  Network Marketing is a natural model for teamwork- teaching and sharing resources for a common purpose.  Through teamwork, the strengths of individuals shine while at the same time they add new skills.  With the right team and the right company, Network Marketing provides a vehicle for both personal growth and financial independence.  I invite you to talk a careful look at the Network Marketing industry again and see if you find it fitting into your life today.

Are you ready to make a positive change in your life?   I’m ready to help.

Robin Thomas

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