What to know before you go into MLM
After my second child was born, I had decided to stay home with kids and "just be a Mom." It was not long before the MLM community found me. I said no to them until being contacted by one that intrigued me. This company was going to be different, or so I thought. They were mission-driven and community focused. Quickly, however, products were added and they started to look like everyone else.
Being a good speaker, I was running the local meetings and people were signing up like hotcakes. The pitch that I had been taught to say was that this was a "part-time / spare-time" business with very little money down. My husband groaned every time I said this as the little expenses added up. I was making money, but not enough to cover the "start up costs."
My conscience was bothered at one meeting where, after I spoke, an older unemployed woman fighting bankruptcy turned to me and said, "I'm going to put down my last $600 because, if you say its a good business decision, I trust that it is!" I looked at her and thought to myself, "Who is going to be able to say the same thing to her?" To sell MLM, you need to be someone who can attract good people to your team...someone of whom people say, "I want to be in business with HER!"
Although I was $10,000 in the hole, the people were lots of fun and we were all excited about the fortune we were going to make. We went on the big company ski trip.
I had made a name for myself because I did such a good job selling from the stage. My husband and I found ourselves on a ski lift with the two top guys in the company. As our chair hung in the air and crept up the steep slope, I asked these top dogs, "This part time/spare time thing...has that been true for you?" They scoffed, "Of course not! You see us crisscrossing the globe. We treat this as a more-than-full-time job." Then I asked, "What about the spare change? How much have you spent getting your business successful?" The leader said, "My partner and I have spent over $400,000 on our business. That is what would be expected to start any worthwhile firm." My final question was, "How did you finance that?" The leader rolled his eyes at my stupidity and answered, "on credit cards, of course." I felt fortunate that I was only out $10,000.
That was a fun ski trip. I quit immediately after that. It was one thing to introduce a business opportunity, but quite another thing to misrepresent the expectations. My local MLM friends called and begged me to come back to "the family." I told them I had a family...one that missed me very much since I started with this company. A few years later, the whole company imploded as the owners and top guys took their money and hand-picked individuals from their organizations and started a new MLM, leaving others out in the cold.
I know people who are financially independent and wealthy from their MLM experience. Listening to the true stories of liberation from oppression garnered by seed money and hard work is inspiring. People have gotten out of human trafficking, bought homes, and put their kids through college with their MLM business income.
I also know people who were completely burned.
To me there are keys to success in MLM:
1. Be the kind of person that people want to follow. This requires continuous improvement and good coaching.
2. Don't believe the rhetoric. Know that this is business, It requires large investments of time and/or money to get started.
3. Be ready to go the distance. Invest fully and it can pay off richly.
4. Pitch up! Go for the people who are better than you. Recruit people that you would want on your team, no matter what business you started.
5. You must be willing to recruit heavily in your own network of friends and family. If this bothers you, pass.
6. Be passionate about the product. I know a Naturepath who sells vitamins that he believes are the key to longterm health. Belief in the product goes a long way toward bringing you new clients.
7. Research the company like you would any other investment or job. There are great organizations out there. You just have to find them.
8. Stay positive and sell your heart out. Your emotional state is EVERYTHING!