Making the decision to build or lead a Network Marketing company should not be weighed nonchalantly. Sure there is a business aspect to it, but the reality is that being in the Network Marketing or Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) business means that you are in the people business. Being in the people business means that you must be willing to embrace people where they live and hopefully inspire them, build them up and give them the proper training resources/tools so that they can become the best version of themselves that they can be.
This certainly flies in the face of the Corporate-America mindset at large; for one thing its filled with a bunch of managers. The probability of the typical manager having any experience wherein he/she has actually built something from nothing (entrepreneurship), or taken any real risk with their on name and resources on the line is slim to none. So you can see how absurd it is that this type of person would ask others like them to “come and take a chance on entrepreneurship… oh and by the way, invite your mother, brother, sister, pastor and neighbor to come along for the ride”. This is absurdity at its finest – the script and phrases that these companies recite to bring you into the deal are the polar-opposite of the phrases and scripts used when they have decided to shut it down, or perhaps just to shut you down or a certain demographic down. Either way, my point here is the law of impartation – you cannot give what you don’t have.
I was asked the past year to please advise, consult and/or hold an office with at least 6 different new network marketing companies. I am amazed at the pace at which new MLM companies emerge each year, only to have them disappear 1 or 2 years later. I don’t say that with any type of Cheshire-Grin or a hidden jab at business failure. Hell building a traditional start-up business is hard enough; building a start up MLM business is easily twice as difficult. My real point here is that I wish these decision makers would carefully weigh the cost when choosing to go into the network marketing industry. This is where the commoditization and even the dehumanization of people begin and this is where and why I believe the entire industry is on a slippery slope.
The reality is that most people look at entrepreneurship almost in the same manner in which they view becoming a rock star or star athlete – but the reality is that very few people can ever actually become these things. Better stated, the overwhelming majority of people will never become these things. So along comes a vehicle like network marketing and the once out-of-reach dream appears to be within reach. With the proper mindset, tools, fair compensation plan, time horizon, proper expectations, genuine owners, good business timing and good/sincere leadership – coupled together with someone’s hard work ethic, it can become a reality. However, it’s very difficult to get all of these items in good working order; especially because the network marketing representative really only controls a couple of those attributes. Ask any representative who’s ever had the rug pulled out from under them, such as being wrongfully terminated, or the company decides to pull out of a market or product line without giving any notice or back up plan for their representatives – they will tell you something along the lines of “the reality is you’re still just a rep for a big company who dictates what you do”. This flies in the face of the original compact – that of be your own boss, own your own business, take control of your life and start living the dream.
I know, I know – it sounds overly negative – but it’s true. If it were not true, then you’d find a lot more individuals with only 1 or 2 companies on their MLM resume over the past 10 years; instead you find most people have one company per year.
Here’s the reality of it all – Just like the overwhelming majority of people out there are not going to get signed to the Denver Broncos, Golden State Warriors, Kansas City Royals, Interscope Records or American Idol…. The same group of people don’t have the ability to pick up the phone raise a few million dollars and go and start their own business. So they turn to Network Marketing as the vehicle to get them there – and rightfully so.
How can you find the right company to partner with? Here’s what I’ve learned… I don’t know everything and I don’t know everyone… but I know this; it’s all about the “WHY”. Go to the very top of the company and work your way down with this question:
“Why are you building a network marketing company?”
What do I mean by go all the way to “the top”, I mean the guys/gals who call the shots – not the employees or officers. The employees and officers may have one opinion, but if they don’t really call the shots – then when the fit hits the shan, that employees’ opinion, heart and desires can’t even get you a cup of coffee.
Most MLM companies motivate you to get out of bed and show up on the conference-call or at the meeting by reminding you of your WHY. Some of them expect you to sell their inferior, higher priced products to all of your friends and family by reminding you of your WHY… Okay, maybe the product is superior. They expect you to work a full-time job and then work their gig on all of your off time/family time by reminding you of your WHY. They expect you to get to the weekly hotel meeting, even if you have to borrow gas money or a Metro Card (Hello New York) to make it by reminding you of your WHY. All that you are doing is using this same time-proven formula to make your own decision as to whether your not you should put your name, your reputation and those of your friends and family into their hands – by asking them the same question.
To be clear, let me elaborate with a few examples of what I mean:
- When the numbers aren’t there Company, will your WHY keep you in the game?
- If we need more training and development Company, will your WHY ensure that we get those things?
- When we have to go through 2 or 3 phases of field leadership Company, will your WHY give you the patience to allow this to happen?
- When we have too much of one demographic Company, will your WHY allow us to diversify in an honorable and respectful manner?
- When the newness of network marketing disappears Company, will your WHY keep you engaged?
Their “WHY” reveals the true intention, the motive and the condition of the heart (DNA) of the company/owners/shareholders. It reveals the exit strategy (if any), it reveals the culture or potential future culture… if you listen hard enough, it will reveal to you whether or not you can make a long term home with that respective company. It will tell you whether or not they value people… after all being in the network marketing business is indeed to be in the people business.
It’s not easy. Moreover, this ability to decipher and discern only comes with experience… so I am just sharing my experience with you in the hopes that it can help you achieve the entrepreneurial dream.
The picture below is of personal friends, network marketers, entrepreneurs and people whom I respect greatly and with whom we chased the dream together once.
NAUP, North American Utility Partners, NAUP Capital, Alex Rodriguez, Stream Energy, Ignite, 5LINX, landa, 5LINX energy, energy broker, commercial broker, advisory, epiq energy, diversegy