When we hear the words network marketing, most people cringe. They often recall a friend or family member making them feel uncomfortable while shoving a “business opportunity” down their throat. The confusing sales pitches and diagrams. The success story about how Joe Blow quit his job at the factory and now makes one million dollars at home the easy way.
My Terrible Past MLM Experiences
My first experience in being drafted into an at home business opportunity was during a simple elevator ride. I was 17 years old. A woman wearing a Mary Kay gold pin hopped on the elevator with me. She immediately started asking me about how I was able to afford my college tuition. I was working three part time jobs at the time and just started as a freshman in college. As we arrived at the lobby level, she had delivered the most amazing two minute pitch I ever heard. We continued to sit in the lobby and talk about how to throw a party, do facials and apply simple make-up. The orders write themselves. For $180.00 I could have my own business. We walked outside to her pink Cadillac. She popped open her make-up cases and made it all seem so easy. I enrolled with Mary Kay. I approached everyone I knew with catalogs, gave out samples, and threw parties. This business just wasn’t for me. I found that I had to spend too much money to maintain my commitment to the company. I was not able to sell enough make-up and ended up buying inventory that never got sold. One Sunday afternoon, a friend from college invited me to his home for lunch. Lunch turned into an Amway presentation. His up line dropped in to say hello and showed off his $45,000 paycheck. He said I could be earning this much per month. I didn’t understand the payout matrix. He said not to worry. He would be my mentor and show me the way. He would even cover my enrollment fee if I dropped Mary Kay and followed him. I do not remember much else about my experience with Amway. I received one catalog and placed an order for laundry detergent that came in a small bottle. It was very effective, but also very expensive compared to store brands. I couldn’t sell a thing. While getting my hair done at the salon, my stylist introduced me to NUskin. “It contains real animal protein”; “it makes you look young “. I applied the product to my skin, it felt so soft. I really liked the products. I paid the $100.00 enrollment fee. I enrolled two other customers. I was running into the problem of not selling enough products to maintain my distributorship. I didn’t want to fall into the inventory trap. “You don’t have to carry inventory with Melaleuca”, chimed my friend Michelle. “You can maintain your business for just $35.00 per month”. I was hooked. I learned everything I could about Melaleuca Oil. Melaleuca is also known as tea tree oil. This company made products for all over your body as well as home cleaning products. I did not have to carry inventory, I received $30.00 in product a month, which I used. I enrolled 5 people under me of which I earned 5 percent of their monthly enrollment. There was a still a problem. I wasn’t making much money. I was now age 23 and about to be a new mom. I decided to give up the MLM scene. I decided to re-focus my life and dedicate it to writing and research for the alternative health industry. I wanted to help people by arming them with knowledge to help themselves.
Finally a Way to Make Money and Love What I do
June of 2009, I had a very stressful event in my life. I was watching the news about Burr Oak Cemetery in Chicago. I saw the footage of the cemetery rows being dug up and graves being missing. My father was buried there in 1977. I saw the area where the graves had been tampered with was where he had been laid to rest. A sharp pain ran up my head and down my left arm. I fell to the ground. I was rushed to the hospital where I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. My blood pressure was 200/102. When I left the hospital it was 180/90. Prior to this event, I had normal blood pressure. This stressful event shot me down hard.
My blood pressure would not normalize, even with my medication. I was frustrated and reached out to my friends on Facebook. I came across a new friend Shannon, who was making postings about her success with helping people with keeping their hearts healthy. I sent her a message asking her if she had any suggestions to help me with my high blood pressure. She consulted with me over the phone and answered my questions. She took me on a tour of her website and explained to me how the products she sold were researched at Mark Hughes UCLA lab and endorsed by a Nobel Prize winning cardiologist. Her company was Herbalife. I have heard of Herbalife throughout the years. I told her I just wanted to try the products she recommended to see if they would work. I did not want to enroll. I really liked her approach. She told me only about what I needed. No more and no less. She told me there was no risk with a 30 day return policy. I ordered Niteworks and Core Complex. My total order was $86.00. However, I did a cost comparison of ordering the same ingredients (which tasted bad) from an online vitamin store, my cost was $236.00. I was amazed at the cost savings. I wondered if I was receiving good quality.
I tried the products. The Niteworks tasted very good like cool lemonade. The Core Complex box was a very interesting read. I realized I was taking my Omega 3 the wrong way. In combination with the other supplements in the package, it made taking Omega 3 more effective. After being on the products for six days, my blood pressure went down to 151/84. My headache was gone, my chest felt lighter. Two weeks into taking the products, I woke up one morning feeling especially good. My blood pressure was 124/80. I jumped for joy.
I have to write a disclaimer at this point. This is my own personal honest experience. Keep in mind; I started supplementation soon after my diagnosis. The ingredients are safe and did not interfere with my medication. I made a decision with my doctor to stop taking my medication. My blood pressure has been in normal range for the past 14 months with supplementation alone.
After using my first month of product, I made the decision to join Herbalife for $66.00 in order to obtain 25% off discount of my order. There were no required minimums or a commitment from me; I just ordered what I needed.
I never expected this to be the business that grew.
My doctor was my first customer. He saw my progress as my blood pressure normalized. He bought products to try. He became a regular customer. He didn’t want to enroll, because he hates MLMs. He told one of his patients who called me to try the products. His patient referred me to her chiropractic clinic that was looking for products to carry. After a meeting with the clinic and sharing my personal experience, they invited me to come in as a volunteer wellness consultant. I volunteered once a week to speak to patients that had questions about taking natural products. My business skyrocketed. I do not have to sell. I share my story and ask people to try the products for 30 days. Every 30 days they re-order. Without looking, I raised the ranks in Herbalife and became a supervisor.
I Became Recession Proof
With the rising costs of health care and health care insurance; people are seeking ways to take care of themselves and their family in a safe and cost effective manner. I took the time to seek out medical experts in the areas of women’s and men’s health, heart health, and weight loss. I shared in depth reports and evaluations with patients, friends, and family. I demonstrated how they could save money and receive benefit from the products.
People wanted to listen. They wanted options to discuss with their doctors. Herbalife offers many training videos and seminars given by top doctors. I passed along expert information for them to bring on their next physician appointment.
Sharing facts turned into increasing my income. I now consult with an average of 92 people per month. They are not required to buy anything. My wellness consultations are not skewed towards buying only Herbalife products, they encompass all health research for people who need help finding solutions. Some people just buy 1-2 products which average between $13-$26. On average 90% of the people I consult with place an order, and they re-order. The average order ranges around $65.00. I work one day a week for 8 hours.
I haven’t had to sell anyone on being a distributor. They enroll to save money off the retail cost of their products, and then they start ordering for family and friends.
Network Marketing Horror Stories
Herbalife is just one of those businesses that practically everyone and their sister has had exposure to. I have met several people who have had bad product experiences. There are also people who were unduly pressured by their up lines to meet certain goals to climb the ranks of the company. This company has several ways to approach a business model. There are some distributors who know absolutely nothing about the health industry and just approach this as a model to enroll people who then in turn who enroll other people. They fast track their way up the ladder by mass enrollments. It is one way that can be done, as long as you and the people you are enrolling share your vision. There are others who see this as an opportunity to help people on a one to one basis. They may climb the ladder more slowly. I run into people all the time who have had bad experiences with this company. Most network marketing companies have both good and bad stories. It is very important to do your homework before you decide to join.
7 Steps For Success in Network Marketing
1) Does the company mission, products or purpose interest you?
The old saying, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” applies here. Most people that are successful with network marketing are distributors with companies where they use the product or service on a frequent basis. If you own a business or you need a great deal of legal advice, there are network marketing opportunities that relate to pre-paid legal. There are health products, services, and now even certain utility companies have formed opportunities to be an affiliate or distributor.
2) What is the cost?
Can you afford to join and maintain the upkeep? Is there a monthly minimum requirement? Do you have to carry inventory? Will they drop ship to your customers? Is the cost of the product or service a value or an unjustified expense? I would never advise to buy in on a hope and a dream without knowing how to pay your bills. Only join if you can truly afford it.
3) How do they make it easy for me to run the business?
The larger the company, the greater recognition they have acquired. It can be easy to make money when you enroll under a business that already has a solid national or international presence. It also makes it easy to run a business is they offer automated order processing, distribution, and accounting systems.
4) How much money will I make?
Most opportunities offer a 25% commission at entry level. Some have opportunities based upon their participation where they can receive as much as 50% or more in commission. There are also opportunities which offer ongoing compensation for people you recruit as distributors.
5) How much do I have to work?
Network marketing gives people the opportunity to set their own hours and work from home.
6) Evaluate yourself
Are you right for network marketing? Can you work well with or without moral support? Can you learn from people that are more successful than you? Do you like training people? Are you comfortable talking about the company? Are you persistent? Can you deal with rejection?
7) Make it legal
Make sure you are allowed to have a home based business and there are no zoning restrictions in your area. Obtain a local business license or assumed name certificate. Decide on a legal form of ownership. Learn about sole proprietorships, S Corporations, LLC’s, and C corporations. Choose a name for your distributorship. Select your marketing materials. Ask your tax expert questions about paying taxes and bookkeeping.
Take your time to investigate any company before you sign on. Make sure they are not illegal in your state by checking with the Better Business Bureau and States Attorney’s office. Do not be afraid to be upfront and ask if a company is legitimate. Do not rely upon a distributor’s word alone.
Make sure the company offers good training that is convenient for you to participate in. Get to know other distributors. Try the products or service to make sure you like it before proceeding.
Make sure you have found a business you believe in that you can share confidently with others.