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.