My mentor, Roni, and I were catching up after 8 years. We met when she was doing at show at the professional theatre connected to my University, and I was her dresser. One day before rehearsal, she asked if she could take me to breakfast and tell me about her day job. Since she was basically my hero at this point, I said yes. At this breakfast, she gave me a deliciously smelling body butter, and let me through a presentation, then on index cards (because this was before iPads y’all!). I listened, and it all sounded so great--earning money by leveraging your network, having a day job that made me a non-starving actor when I graduate, having a white Mercedes, etc. When I talked to my dad about it he said ‘Well, Katie it sounds like one of those things where you put a lot of effort in at first and don’t make a lot of money.’ And College Katie did not like the idea of devoting more time to something to keep her as broke as college students are so… I passed. Fast forward eight years, I’m an actor in New York, miserable at my serving job, and someone else prospects me for the same company. I tell them I know someone who does that, she asks who, and when I tell her Roni’s name, her eyes light up and she tells me, ‘She’s doing really well! She’s at the top of the company and retired her husband.’ Even though I was still wary of this venture, I set up the meeting anyway and caught up with Roni. It was true. She had ‘retired’ her husband after he lost his job a second time (this was all after the 2008 recession.) She was a mom, a wife, an actor, a producer, and… a successful network marketer. She was living proof that this industry works. And I looked at her and said, ‘This is all great, but I still think it’s a pyramid scheme.’
I don’t know where in my life I gained this knowledge or opinions about pyramid schemes. I have never had a bad experience with one, I’ve never personally known someone to lose thousands of dollars by being manipulated into the business. My guess is it’s just cultural osmosis. Pyramid schemes are quick and easy jokes for sitcoms. Look, the deadbeat character just bought 100 blenders and now they have to sell them off! Look, that guy is trying to pitch his business opportunity while they’re saving the planet, hilarious! Some of these are funny, but some of them make my blood boil. So! I’m here to clear the air once and for all. Before I joined my company, I did research about the industry itself and my company in particular. I encourage you to do the same. As you start your research journey, here's what I've learned.
First, let’s give a little history. Network Marketing first came to be in the 1940s. Before that, traditional direct sales worked a little differently. Sales people would have a particular region they were responsible for, and a high quota to reach each month. So, if a company wanted to sell $500,000 in product, they would hire 100 salespeople with a monthly quota of $5,000 of product a month. You only make money on commissions, and not by bringing anyone into the company. Somewhere along the way, a company realized they could create total chaos, and exponential growth, by incentivizing employees to recruit new salespeople by offering them a 2% commission on revenue new recruits. They would also allow anyone to begin recruiting from day one. So, if you bring on on person one day, then the next day you each bring on one and so on and so on, that leads to exponential growth. It essentially flipped the number on its head. 5,000 salespeople were now selling $100 a month, and the company grew exponentially. This idea caught on, and Network Marketing hit its major heyday in the 80s and 90s. This is also when a lot of companies pretending to be legitimate Network Marketing Companies created pyramid or ponzi schemes for profit. Now, the industry of direct sales is a lot more regulated to help combat these companies. Since then, legitimate companies have been working diligently to rebuild the reputation of what can truly be a powerful industry.
Okay, that was boring, let’s get to the fun stuff. So what exactly IS a pyramid scheme, and why is it not the same as a network marketing company? Network Marketing companies are legal when three guidelines are followed. First, the company’s main objective has to be selling legitimate products at a market driven price. Pyramid schemes will sell a fake product, or a product of extremely poor quality and masquerade it as a great product. Second, Network Marketing Companies cannot promise or guarantee incomes. It is against compliance for any company to guarantee you’ll make a certain amount. In fact, if you want to see what your friend really makes doing their network marketing business, each company is required to release an annual Income Disclosure Statement. Google your favorite company and prepare for your jaw to hit the floor… or, ya know, just gain some insight. This statement will show how much the average person earns and how long it takes them to earn it. Lastly, and most importantly, distributors are not paid for the act of recruiting others. Pyramid schemes only profit off of new distributors buying an exorbitant amount of product, and the amount of product actually sold to customers is immaterial. This is the most dangerous and personally anger-inducing aspect of those companies. If you are only rewarded for bringing warm bodies onto your team, you will not care if they win, lose, or succeed, and thus some not so great people will lie, cheat, and steal to take advantage of folks looking for a way out of their current situation. The easiest way to tell if a Network Marketing company is truly legitimate is whether people still use their products even after leaving the business, or use their products without doing the business. There are a lot of people that sign up for a company, later quit, and still use those products every day. I see this personally in my own sales stats every month. (Shout out to those old consultants who still love and use the products. #fizzforlife)
So now that you know that the words pyramid scheme and network marketing are not in fact interchangeable in all situations, I want to address some other common objections. Please know, that even though companies are now regulated by the Direct Selling Association, there are still companies in existence that are flagrant abusers of the above guidelines. I am in no way endorsing every company in the industry. So if you are looking into a company, please do your own due diligence and research. Not all network marketing companies are created equal. When I got off the phone with Roni after our 8 year catchup, I googled my company’s name and ‘pyramid scheme.’ It sounds silly, but I did! I read the articles and reviews and watched a funny video with talking bears Roni sent to me, and I still decided to join this company. And anyone who knows me, knows I am no fool for anybody. Okay, so now to the ‘Yes, buts’ that come after I explain how I’m not operating within an illegal ponzi scheme.
No one makes any money doing this.
Well, if my story above is true we, know that there are in fact people that are making a legitimate income with this business. The truth is, not a lot do. If you look at an income disclosure statement for any company, you’ll see that only about 10% of the distributors are making more than about $1,000 a month. And usually only about 1-2% are making the coveted six figure income. It’s true! I’ll also tell you that if you look at the income distribution of any entrepreneurial field, like maybe my former industry of performing, those numbers are the same or even worse. That’s the reality of entrepreneurship. It is an effort based business. You will only get out what you put in. Network marketing can sound so easy when you say the words ‘working part time from home.’ But a lot of people ignore the word ‘work’ and get excited about the ‘part time’ aspect. I’m here to tell you the god’s honest truth. This business requires hard work. People roll their eyes at me and my ‘little skincare business’ not realizing the skills I develop daily: marketing, leadership, discipline, coaching, connection, follow-up, customer service, public speaking, resilience, tenacity, not giving a f*ck what people think. To name a few… And the lovely magic of the industry is that whatever you need to work on in life shows up in your business. Oh, you have a problem with follow through? You’re about to learn that lesson hardcore, girl! You care too much what people think? Here’s an opportunity to learn this lesson again and again until you have a barren field of fucks to give! To some people this may sound absolutely awful, and I get that. For me, it was exciting to know I’d have a toolbox filled with things I’d worked on to bring into every part of my life. I knew being a successful network marketer would make me a better friend, a better wife, and a better artist.
You have to sell to your friends. Ew.
This was my major hesitation when I first started. Let me tell you a little about commerce. It’s based on word of mouth and your network. If a friend starts a hair salon, you go. If a friend opens a restaurant, you go. If you liked them, you tell your friends. Same diff. Now, if you don’t like that friend’s salon, or the food they’re serving, you don’t have to go. I probably did get some pity buys from friends when I first started my business. That’s okay, I really appreciated the support at the time. But the decision to keep purchasing the product is entirely on them, and our friendship is not based around whether they buy from me or not. A lot of other self marketers like real estate agents, coaches, or financial advisors have no problem mixing friends with business, because that’s the way their business works as well. Not everyone’s down with that, and I get it. The idea is to grow your business beyond your first circle, and you do that through referrals and continually expanding your network. Like any other business. If someone has their head on straight, they know that their success does not solely depend on a friend’s support of their business. But the hope is that their product or service is of value to their community. If it is, you’ll have friends who every time they see you gush about how much they love their skin before continuing with friend time. And if not, you just go back to being friends. Easy peasy.
I’ve had a terrible experience because of [X].
Remember the part in the little history lesson about ‘total chaos’? Yea, this is what I mean. The lovely part about this industry is anyone can do it! You don’t need a diploma, degree, or any qualifications. The crazy part about this industry is… anyone can do it. So not only is the incredibly motivated small-town mom with no college degree going to build a life-changing, legacy leaving empire, but so is that whackadoo with zero social skills or training. So yes, some crazies sneak in there. They usually don’t last, and they most definitely can’t grow a long term business. But would you let one rude server ruin your opinion of restaurants forever? I don’t think so. If you take issue with what people are doing from the same company, then you can start to recognize that you aren’t aligned with the culture of that company. And that’s totally fine! There are great companies and there are not great companies! Also understand that if someone near and dear to you messed up and gave you a bad experience when they started their business, that they’re still learning. No one starts their first network marketing company with all their skills neatly developed. There are some things I did early on that I totally cringe about now. It’s part of the learning process. So, forgive your friend! And if that person was a stranger, they’re fine! Let them go, too!
I hope this cleared some things up. Unless you’ve been in a network marketing company or have known someone directly, you don’t always get to see the beauty and power of what this industry can do for people. But I promise you (as much as I can compliantly), with grit, and tenacity, and a desire to help others, you can change your life with this powerful opportunity.
Stay tuned for a future blog post about how to spot a legit, awesome Network Marketing Company!
Most of my information for the history of Network Marketing came from
The Four Year Career by Richard Bliss Brooke
If you want to see the talking bears video, check it out here.
I haven’t always considered myself a very disciplined person. When I first moved to New York, I put my alarm on snooze and skipped a lot of auditions that would require me to wait outside at 5:30am. I skipped warming up and practicing because it was zero fun. (I later learned everyone hates practicing, but the professionals do it anyway…whoops) But once I was my own boss, I had to get super disciplined and super consistent if I wanted my business to succeed. And the secret sauce is and will always be… how you start your morning.
I’ve read a lot of books on the subject, and over the last few years have found the routine that works for me. It keeps me energized, focused, and checking off my to do list--which is so fun and satisfying that it’s almost embarrassing. Truly. Don’t worry, this article is not me telling you that you need to get up at 5AM to win the day. I just want to point out a few steps you can take to start your morning in an empowered place.
Keep your cellphone out of your bedroom
For anyone who argues that they don’t have time in the morning for meditation, or writing goals, or whatever I’m about to suggest, I want to see exactly how they spend their first fifteen minutes. (In a non-creepy way) My guess is, they’re on their phone checking emails or scrolling social media. I’m sure your correspondence is extremely important. I’m sure someone commented on a post and you just have to read it. But I’m also sure that it is a time and energy suck. Ever been in bed checking your phone without realizing 30 minutes have gone by? I thought so. Me too. Studies have also shown that people check their phone in the middle of the night. It’s even messing with your sleep! So quit it!
Also, everything coming at you from your phone involves someone else’s needs and someone else’s priorities. It does not involve you or your dreams. What if you took your first fifteen minutes of the day to quickly center yourself, remember what’s most important to you, and jot down your goals and/or to dos for the day? What if you waited to check email until after your morning coffee? Wouldn’t you be more centered, more intentional, and way less reactive? Also, imagine you get a rude email response or perhaps are just… reading the news. Are you really going to let that set the tone for the day? You have life changing dreams to think about and make possible! So please, I beg you to put your phone outside of your bedroom, and give yourself at least 15-30 minutes of ‘me’ time before letting the world in.
If you’re a parent or an on-call doctor and need your children and/or work to be available to you, I suggest doing what Mel Robbins does. She puts her phone in her bathroom on Do Not Disturb. If there’s an emergency, her kids’ numbers come through and her phone will ring. Ta-da! If your phone is your alarm, you can still keep it in the bathroom. If you don’t have an ensuite bathroom (yet) invest in a traditional alarm. Now they make these lovely alarms that mimic the sunrise to gently coax you awake. The extra fancy ones even have birds chirping as the alarm tone. Can you imagine the peacefulness of waking up to that? I love that my alarm is never startling me awake. With the light slowly brightening, my body is ready to get up by the time the alarm rings.
Quit hitting that snooze button
One of my dearest friends and former roommates is a chronic snoozer. It’s been a sore subject for us, as I passionately tried to convince her to stop, and she owned that crap out of snoozing, and still lives a fabulous life. (See? Own your morning routine!) That being said, it can really kill your productivity in the morning. If you hit the snooze and go back to sleep, your body actually starts another REM cycle, which can take 45-90 minutes to complete. If you’re woken up in the middle of that cycle, your body is startled awake, and you’re in a sort of ‘sleep fog.’ It can take hours to get your brain to fire on all cylinders, meaning the first few hours of the day are wasted on playing catch up. This is particularly dangerous, because your brain is most productive within a few hours of waking, so don’t miss out! The best trick to keep yourself from snoozing is to keep your alarm away from your bed (which hopefully you're doing anyway). It will force you immediately on your feet. Second, down a 16 oz. glass of water. Your body is dehydrated from not drinking for the last eight hours, and this can be surprisingly effective in restoring your energy.
Work on your big goal in the morning
My restaurant job has crazy long hours. I have to be at work sometimes as early as 6:30am, and I’m there sometimes as late as 5pm. Once I’m home and sitting down, I do not feel like working my online business. So for awhile… I didn’t. As you can imagine, that didn’t turn out well, and it also didn’t feel good. Then, in a stroke of brilliance, I decided to add just 15 minutes of work in my morning routine before heading to the restaurant. Whatever your lifelong goal/dream is, I bet you can boil it down to one small action you should be doing daily to move your life forward. For me, it’s ‘asks.’ For you, it may be writing a few pages, doing a quick workout, sending out your resume, whatever. What’s that thing you know you need to do every day that you never end up doing? That’s what those fifteen minutes are for. So, I started asking people to take a look at my business for fifteen minutes in the morning (don’t worry, I wasn’t calling them on the phone, I’m not a monster). And then I’d head off to work. And here’s the amazing thing: my entire mood changed. I had already gotten the most important thing done for the day! I would get responses from my reach outs, and have a quick scheduling session when I got home, and then I was done. If I wanted to spend the rest of the night having dinner and relaxing with my fiancé, I could! And because my business now felt in control, I felt empowered and was attracting a lot more business.
If you’re having trouble knowing what the one tiny thing for your goal is, work from the big thing to the tiniest thing. So you want to have a best-selling novel? Great, you’ll probably need a novel to be written in the first place. So what’s a daily action to complete that? Write a little bit every day. Voila. It’s that simple. Even doing 15 minutes of exercise every day can significantly change your health. Pick your thing, and stick with it.
Experiment with your routine
I’m so grateful to Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner, because every three months, you write your morning and evening routines anew. It gives me a chance to reflect on what worked and what didn’t last quarter and adjust accordingly. I’m not saying you have to buy his planner, but I am saying map out what you want your morning routine to be. And then try it. Try it for at least a month. If it’s not working for you, then change it. Miracle Morning is a great jumping off point. It is a fantastic book that lays out the secret to becoming a superhero in your morning routine. It uses the acronym SAVERS to layout its suggested routine. Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing. All of these are incredible ways to start your morning. But this can also end up being a rather long morning routine that hasn't worked for my early work days… I’ve combined and condensed my routine to always include silence/visualization, and affirmations/scribing. The rest, I fit in when I can. It took a long time to find what works, and what works this season may not work the next, but it took experimentation. A great place to start is with some guided meditation, and writing down your current goals. From there, try something else, switch it up, and then own whatever you choose.
I’m so excited for all of you to start your day feeling more centered and empowered. As they say in Mulan “Once you find your center, you are sure to win.” I’d love to hear about your own morning routines and how the experimentation goes! (And yes, I did just quote Mulan.)
If you want to go deeper into what to have in your morning routine, or if you’re not sure where to start, check out these books:
Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod (they have book specific to each industry as well, so check those out)
5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins (Most facts about phone use/morning brain come from this baby)
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis
I’m writing this blog in the airport, on my way to Arbonne’s Global Training Conference in Las Vegas. It’s a fun weekend filled with some of the best trainings, new product launches, and a chance to celebrate all of the inspiring leaders who had an amazing year. It’s also a reunion with some of my favorite people on the entire planet. Like almost anyone, I started my business for the money. Who doesn’t need an extra couple hundred a month, or some more free time? But when the going has gotten tough (which it inevitably does because… ya know, life), it’s not the money that keeps me going. It’s the community.
As our lives become more and more digital, we are missing a hugely important aspect of human existence. Community. We used to find it in churches, neighborhoods, clubs, etc. Those still exist, but they aren’t as ubiquitous or engrained in our American culture as they once were. And the isolation, in my humble opinion, is dangerous and damaging to our mental health. I find a lot of people actually love joining companies like this specifically because they find a community of people with common interests and desires.
Community of some sort can be found in any job. But I was always a little dissatisfied with the communities within restaurants and performing. The general culture can be highly competitive, snarky, and judgmental. I’m sad to say I used to buy into this attitude. I loved snark (it’s a pretty effective defense mechanism if you haven’t tried it.). At the time, I didn’t even realize I was craving a group of people that would cheer on my successes without qualifying or diminishing them behind my back.
The culture for most network marketing companies highly stresses the importance of personal development. The top leaders are always reading and/or listening to something that will improve their mindset, interpersonal relationships, or industry-related skills. The expectation is that we are all working daily towards improving ourselves, because improving one area of your life usually tends to bleed into others. Learning to take sales rejections less personally leads to taking cryptic texts from tinder dates less personally. Building a habit of meditating every morning can keep you present and focused, and thus you become a super-listener. What fun! So the wonderful side effect of all this growth is that the community is filled with superheroes that want nothing more than to see you succeed and celebrate that success. It doesn’t even sound real, but y’all. It is.
One of my dear colleagues recently promoted to the level of Regional Vice President. In our company, it means she gets a full time income (working part time) and a snazzy Mercedes. It’s the level most sought after and most coveted… and a level I’ve been trying to get to for over three years. When she promoted, the strangest thing happened… I was genuinely and wholeheartedly happy for her. I wasn’t jealous, I didn’t think she had some leg up or advantage I didn’t. I just acknowledged she did the work with bravery and grace, and deserved every bit of her success. I cheered my face off when she was honored at our conference last year. I’m embarrassed to admit it was a strange and new feeling, to have happiness for a friend supersede the once familiar feeling of jealousy. I truly believe it’s because of the work I’ve been doing for the last few years.
Also, there is a mentorship program already built into these companies. The person who signs you on gets a teeny tiny percentage (smaller than yours) of the sales you do. So, it’s in their best interest to help you succeed. I think it’s the most misunderstood part of our industry. I don’t have a boss who doesn’t work while I toil away to make them money. I have a mentor, a coach, and a friend all wrapped up into one human helping me navigate this industry. They’ve been through it all. They are at the top of the mountain, and they are reaching down and showing me the way. Sometimes she gives me tough love, and sometimes she lets me take a seat. And guess what? She supports me no matter what. I’ve had some of my most vulnerable and most empowering conversations with my leaders. This is the culture instilled in most companies.
So, maybe you’re not craving money or time freedom. Maybe you’re just looking for a group of people that can hold space, cheer you on, and work with you. This was something I didn’t even know I was looking for, but I’m so glad I found it.
On September 10th, 2010, I moved to New York City to become a famous actress. To pay for this new thing in my life called ‘rent,’ I got my first serving gig. And luckily…or not so luckily… I was very good at it. For better or worse, serving has been my day job for the past 9 years. In a lot of ways, it’s great. It’s incredibly flexible, and offers one of the highest hourly rates of any ‘day job’ I know. Plus, you get to learn the difference between Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay and flaunt that knowledge to your friends. But, is it fulfilling? Not for me.
I’ve noticed that in the US, particularly in large cities, Food Service and Hospitality is an industry of necessity, not necessarily a chosen career path. Most servers, even the ones making six figures at a fine dining establishment, have something else they do on the side. I’ve worked with the most fascinating people: poetry translators, authors, comedians, reiki healers, clothing designers, you name it. But because this job hasn’t been my passion, it has been very easy for me to despise it.
I’ve hated my job on and off for nine years. Serving is not that fun once the thrill of nightly cash tips wears off. It’s hard on your body, people are incredibly rude, and it’s not very mentally stimulating unless you have a table willing to nerd out about the various Beaujolais Appellations. On top of that, a lot of management has fallen into the job without any leadership training, which can change the nature of your day job for the worse very quickly. (I learned recently from a leadership coach friend of mine that this lack of leadership is a common problem in almost every industry, go figure!). Anyway… the money is great, and usually the colleagues are awesome. But frankly… the job sucks.
I first looked for an escape in 2015 when I started my network marketing business. I had found that secret job that could, with work and dedication, pay me more money than bartending! Huzzah! But I was impatient to leave. And I was miserable and mean. I was single during this period, and some men I’d been dating would say they might stop by the bar to say ‘hi’ while I was working. I’d beg them not to, for fear they’d take one look at ‘Katie Rage’ and run right out the door, justifiably ghosting me for life. Katie Rage is a legit term that has been coined for me by my coworkers in not one, but TWO restaurants. Y’all. I get grumpy.
My network marketing business was the beacon of hope carrying myself through these shifts. Knowing my days were numbered certainly helped. And finally, just under a year after launching my side hustle, I put my notice in at my restaurant. The last day of work I triumphantly threw away my Danskos, vowing never to return to food service. Some bar regulars bought me a bottle of Dom Pérignon and we drank it together while I had steak tartare on the other side of the bar for once.
I have a secret. My business had not replaced my income yet. I was doing a big, crazy leap hoping it would motivate me to work harder and reach my desired income. And unfortunately… motivate, it did not. To close that gap, I worked at a barre studio instead, making about half of what I made at the restaurant. It was even less mentally stimulating, and… it was barre. This is my least favorite workout. Isn’t the point of group fitness that it’s supposed to be fun? I remember being in the middle of class, white knuckling the ballet barre as we pulsed our thighs. I looked over at the women next to me, and we all had the exact same horribly miserable expression on our face. What happened to Jazzercise and Zumba?! This seemed like something pulled right out of Guantanamo Bay. I quickly realized I hated this job, too! And what’s worse, it didn’t even help me make rent.
Then guess what I did? In the fall of 2016, I also quit that job before my measly bit of income had been replaced. I had had two great months, and I thought surely my business would do nothing but keep growing. We’d elect our first woman president, and I would promote to Regional Vice President. A flashy title with a flashy Mercedes, and a flashy paycheck to boot. What a time to be alive! Well, we all know that didn’t happen… (yet). My business sadly did not grow.
I tried other odd jobs, like walking for Wag and catering. Both incredibly flexible, but again never really paying enough. I just kept hustling and kept ignoring my rising credit card statement. Finally, a year after leaving my first restaurant job, I realized I was close to the limit on my multiple credit cards, and I had gotten into ca-razy debt. Like, a number I’m too embarrassed to write here. I had basically lived in a deficit in New York and ignored that fact until I was crying in my room at the end of my financial rope. I was so far in the hole, it made me want to slap my friends crying over their $5,000 credit card problems. (I’ll just spoil it for everyone here, I find a way out of debt, so don’t worry about me!)
So, I went back to the only thing I knew could fix the problem quickly. I bought some new Danskos, and landed a job back in food service. Oh joy. This was super humbling and incredibly depressing at first. But here’s the thing I didn’t know until this time around. You can be grateful for a job you don’t like. You’re probably reading this going… ‘Wait, you seriously didn’t know this was an option, Katie?’ Nope! I thought you had to hate any job that wasn’t your passion or directly related to your dreams. You had to ooze from your very pores that this job was beneath you in every way, that you could be creating ART or making a DIFFERENCE, but you showed up ANYWAY because you’re not a MONSTER. (And because this serving job has given you a taste for expensive White Burgundy Wines…) I didn’t realize I could just clock in, do my work, kiss my paycheck gratefully each week, and go build my dreams once I clock out. It’s not taking time or energy away from my creativity, like I thought. It was providing the foundation and the stability for my creativity and passions to thrive.
Coming back to serving was a huge hit to the ego. But it was a necessary lesson in the fact that success is almost never linear. There are peaks and valleys. And in my new restaurant, there are lots of entrepreneurs, just like me! It’s awesome! I still totally hate it at the end of a long shift when my body is about to turn to actual dust, and I suddenly have to make a Ramos Fizz. Or five. But I am so so grateful for this job. I’m so grateful I only have to work three days a week and afford to live in New York City. I’m grateful it leaves me with enough mental energy to pursue everything else. Case in point, I’m writing this article at the end of a loooong day in a SweetGreen before I head to a networking event to pursue my passion. And you know what? There is absolutely no shame in working another job while you’re dream takes off. A lot of writers, artists, and entrepreneurs did it in their day. And when this day job finally gets fired forever, I’ll look back on this time with a bit of reverent nostalgia. So to all the servers folding napkins after a long and hard shift, I raise my glass of Chablis Premier Cru to you. Cheers.
Network Marketing is sweeping the nation. After its rough patch of some shady pyramid schemes in the 80s and 90s that ruined the image of network marketing for most people, the digital age is bringing it back—with better companies, and better products. I started my network marketing business almost four years ago. And if you’ve been my friend during that time, I’ve probably asked you to take a look at my business. And if I haven’t, someone else in your life probably has asked for your participation or support in some way. Whatever your opinion is, there are things I wish people could know when I’m approaching them about what I do. So, I’m taking it to the blog! Here are just a few things I wish you could know when I ask you to take a look at the business.
I’m probably terrified to ask you.
The network marketing model is based on utilizing your network for referrals of clients and potential business partners. Most business is actually done this way, but it’s not necessarily hitting your newsfeed on the daily. When anyone first starts their network marketing business, they’re most likely told to put together a list of 100 names of people in their network that they will ask to take a look at the business or products. This is just a starting off point. The ideal hope is that their friends will support them, love the products, and introduce them to other product lovers. When I first started my business, I had a wonderful set of friends who were super supportive that led to my initial success (Thanks, guys!). And then, six months later, I needed more appointments, and I went back to the 100 person list I had made. There were totally a few names I had not checked off because they were ‘scary.’ I still have people I ask to this day that give me the flop sweats. Whether I care what they think or not, I do care that they understand where the ask is coming from. I can’t control how someone is going to react to my ‘ask.’ Some people may see it as a golden opportunity, like I did (…eventually), or they may see it as a shit sandwich! The fear that friends will take that shit sandwich and rearrange their entire judgement of my character around it is very real and very present every time I ask someone. As brave as I try to be, there are almost always flickers of terrified heartbeats as I press send on a message or ask someone in person.
I like you
Even if you scare me… I like you. The really cool part of this gig is that you get to choose your coworkers. No miserable Tanya who complains all day and forces you to look at photos of her cats. Just a fun group of friends that you yourself hand picked! How snazzy! Most of my asks are based around the thought that we will be going on trips paid for by the company for the rest of our lives. So, if I can see us drinking mojitos watching the sunset over an exotic ocean, I will probably screw up the courage to ask you. I wish everyone would know that my ask is just a way to give a little shoutout to their awesome style, or vibrant character. Even if they’re not down, I’m just inviting them to this rad party that’s always happening if they change their mind!
I ask a lot of people
Let me tell you an inside secret about our industry. Most companies train you to invite one person a day to take a look at the business. That’s 365 people a year. Remember that 100 person list? Yea, if you’re doing that, you burn through that list pretty quickly. And, you can’t even count the invitation unless the person responds! So if you’re not asking face to face, you have to reach out to even more people. Now, if someone’s just trying to hit their numbers, this can result in some bad copy/paste jobs. It’s not something I condone, but it is a mistake I made (and a lot of others, too) earlier in my career. Spamming is no fun, and not the intention of most people doing the biz. Since then, I really have made an effort to make each ask unique, authentic, and personal, as it should be. But also know, I do ask a lot of people. Not to make you feel any less special. Because if I really didn’t think you were great, I wouldn’t ask you (see above). But yes, you may hear from me about my business at some point. Just like your real estate agent and financial advisor friends may ask you for a referral, or your friend doing a show in New York may ask you to come out and see it. We are all trying to share what we do with our network. I like to think of it as a restaurant opening. When a restaurant first opens, they usually have a soft opening to invite all of their friends and family. Ideally, they’ll be a little nicer than strangers if any kinks are still being worked out. And if they love it, they’ll tell their friends about this awesome new restaurant they simply have to check out. But no restaurant would expect their friends and family to be their only guests forever. That restaurant would CLOSE. So, if you’re being invited to take a look at my ‘restaurant’ it’s not with the expectation that the success of my business all lands on you. It’s just with the hope that if you like it, you’ll share it with other people. That’s it!
You can say no
Oh my goodness. Sometimes, I feel like my real job description should be ‘Teaching people to say no.’ People say no to me all. the. time. I am a professional rejection taker. I should have ‘shit-eating-grin’ and ‘taking it in stride’ as special skills on my resume. Some rejections are totally wonderful and kind, and I want to thank those people for that. Others are not so nice, but it doesn’t matter. It stings for a bit and life goes on for both people. But, my success does not hinge on you and only you saying yes to this business. It would be fun if you joined me! I like you! But if it’s not your bag, it’s all good. The worst thing you probably could do is just… say nothing, which leaves a weird pink elephant in the room next time we see each other. We both know I sent you a message you never responded to, and I’m too chicken shit to put you on the spot in person and bring it up. And thus, our relationship suddenly becomes… weird. So, if you can clear the air immediately and just say no, it makes the relationship so much easier moving forward. I mean it. It’s scary for me to ask, and it’s scary for you to say no, but we will be so much stronger doing both of these things.
I really think I’m offering something great
Okay, so if you’ve actually never done your research about this industry, and just think I’m in a cult or scamming you I would really encourage you to take a closer look. Not for my benefit, but for yours. This is a powerful business model that when used with integrity and authenticity can help you grow a legit passive, legit awesome income and lifestyle. Not all companies are created equal, so please do your research before choosing the right company for you. But the industry itself is real, and it’s awesome. If you want a quick education, take a look at the YouTube video or book ‘Four Year Career’ by Richard Bliss Brooke. Even if you still want nothing to do with me or the industry, at least you understand why your friends and I are doing it, and why we're offering it to you. Because here’s the thing you may not see when you’re on the outside. I’ve seen a woman able to work pro-bono in Africa founding a primary school because she had her residual income. I’ve seen a woman able to make up for her partner’s income when he lost his job. I’ve seen an artist use her income and flexibility to create her own web-series about an issue near and dear to her heart. I’ve seen someone foster kids and take annual trips to Haiti to help communities there, all while giving her three kids at home the best life possible. These aren’t urban legends. These are people I know that I have talked to and worked with regularly. This business works if you want to make it work. And most people who are in it—whether they’re earning a couple hundred bucks or twice their annual salary in one month—are grateful for the courageous person who asked them to look at this business model. And so, I approach each person I ask with that same hope. The hope that maybe it would help them or their family in some way. And if they just think it’s a shit sandwich, that’s also fine! But I’d rather have offered in the first place.
So, how can I help?
Alright, so you’ve read through this whole blog post, realize we're all well intentioned whether you agree with our businesses or not. Fabulous. If you’re open to trying the products or hearing a pitch, be a pal and do it! There’s zero obligation just to listen. And for a lot of us, you’re helping us reach a goal of some sort even if you don’t purchase anything. And if you do listen and realize network marketing with the right company is actually pretty rad, you can advocate for your friend if anyone ever tries to throw shade their way. And even better, if someone comes to mind who would love the products or the business, you can be that amazing friend that connected them. If you’d really like nothing to do with this business or this product, that’s also fine. Again, even responding ‘no’ can help that person reach a goal or task for the day. And since this is becoming more digital, maybe throwing a like or a heart on a post here and there can help their algorithmic success without you spending a dollar!
If there’s any last thing I would say, it’s this: give your friend the benefit of the doubt. Most people are starting a business like this because they are looking for more options and choices. And also, most are starting with zero experience. So, they may mess up from time to time. If you as a friend can keep in mind that they’re just trying to do the best they can, that can be the biggest help of all. Something we learn on this side of the business is to not take anything personally. And I promise you, no one is jumping into this business with the intent to scam all of their friends and family out of money just so they can make a quick buck. Most people are genuinely excited about the product and would be sharing it with you for free anyway.
Thank you for reading, and thank you for all the Yeses, and the Nos.