I’ll start of by telling you it took me almost 17 years to wake up in this industry and begin to build it right but that wouldn’t exactly be true. In fact, I only built my business completely wrong for one year…and then repeated those blunders 17 times. After hanging around in the business for what seemed like a lifetime, I woke up one morning and said to my self; “Self, maybe you don’t know everything there is to know about MLM. Maybe you know some stuff but not the important stuff…like how to actually make money in the MLM business.”
I was reading an article in Success Magazine written by then contributing editor, Mark Yarnell, and noticed that he too lived in Reno Nevada (I lived in Reno in the early 90’s for about 5 years). So I picked up the phone book to see if he was listed. Wow, there he was, right there in the “Y” section listed right along side of all the other mere mortals in the phone book. I was shocked! So I called him. Then I got my second shock; Mark answered the phone himself. I had practiced for almost an hour on the message I was going to leave on his voice mail to get him to call me back, and then he went and screwed it all up by answering the phone in person.
I hadn’t even begun to practice what I was going to actually say to this living MLM legend, so I began by very smoothly tripping all over my own tongue several times. He was gracious enough to wait a few minutes while I breathed into a paper bag to stop hyperventilating and then we got started with our conversation. Knowing he would turn me down, I asked him if I could buy him lunch and pick his brain for a couple hours. To my surprise he said yes! I guess even MLM gods like to eat.
Over the next few months, I had the opportunity to meet with Mark on more than one occasion. He really is a nice guy who cares about other peoples’ success. The simple things I learned from him helped me to build an organization of over 11,000 distributors over that next year. It only took another year for my company to completely screw that up and go out of business. So here we are over a decade later and my message to you is; MLM is a career, not a company or a product. If you build your career right, YOU are the company.
Too many distributors live and die by the words and actions of their upline leaders or their company owners. Distributors often believe their success is dependent on a hot product or a strong pay plan or a celebrity endorsement or a company that is now in super momentum. Way too many distributors put their success in the hands of these factors or even fate rather than taking responsibility for their own success.
Well, companies come and go and mere humans who can make mistakes that affect us as distributors often run them. Government authorities seem to take great pleasure in killing evil MLM opportunities. This is often justified, but sometimes it just doesn’t make sense. Sometimes your upline leader decides he or she wants to go to another company and they want to take your organization with them. On occasion, after two years all the bottles of your favorite product explode. It works great for everyone who uses it but if the bottle sits on the shelf for two years and 7 minutes, all of the sudden, it explodes! Of course we can’t have that so we need to shut your MLM opportunity down.
My point is, you can’t control the environment that you work in. The only thing you can control is your own actions. So, I would like to submit to you that from this day forward, YOU are the company. No I don’t mean go start a MLM company. I mean, YOU are in control of your destiny. How would you build your MLM career if you thought of yourself as the company, rather than leaving it up to factors you don’t control or pure fate?
Here are a few things that I do knowing that I am: “The Company”
I work at making friends with good people in the industry. These friends consist of top level and not so top level distributors. They are company owners. They are MLM lawyers on both sides of the isle (corporate and distributor practices). Yes, many are representing the companies in the wrong color jerseys, known as my competition. I do what I can to enhance the careers of my friends, even when they are competing with me. I do this because, as “The company”, I know this enhances my career. It is smart business…and, you can’t have too many friends.
I also look for slightly more conservative pay plans when choosing a MLM company to represent. If they can’t afford the payout, they won’t stay in business (rule of thumb; if they pay out more than 40% or 45% they probably won’t be in business long term). I also look for company owners who don’t view themselves as all knowing and all powerful. Those omni-potent guys scare me. When choosing a company, I also try to align myself with distributor groups that best fit my goals, standards, and ethics. I just don’t want to have to fight with the company, its owner or my own values when it is my job to build an organization.
I also look for products that don’t cure cancer. If they cure cancer they won’t be here in a year. I look for good products that do what they say they will do and people like to use them and buy them on a regular basis…like me, they may be boring. But the Feds don’t often shut down companies with boring products that people use every day.
I write articles, I publish a newsletter, I write books, I speak in public, I write good ad copy, I market on the Internet, I build websites, I understand search engines and one or two other helpful things. I can do all this stuff because I took the time to learn the skills to do them. I am “The Company” and it is important that I do a good job of promoting “The Company” and building it into a household MLM name brand. Developing skills that support your business is important. It doesn’t hurt your bottom line either because you can then sell those skills to those who haven’t taken the time to develop them (multiple streams of income the right way).
To sum it up; if you look at your MLM business as a career and not a company or product, if you see yourself as “The Company” and act accordingly, then you become closer to being bulletproof when personal MLM flame out type disasters come your way…and they will. If you do this, it will become almost impossible for outside circumstances to completely shut down the income that you worked so hard to build (I am sitting here amazed at the moment because my spell check just verified that I spelled circumstances correctly. Sometimes it’s the little pleasures in life that mean the most.). Remember; All greatness is achieved while working outside your comfort zone. It won’t be easy or comfortable to reinvent your MLM career, it will take courage. It is worth it, start today.
Greg Arnold is a successful network marketer with over 30 years experience. During that time he has been a top level distributor, a company CEO, and a consultant. He enjoys being a distributor most of all because of the time and financial freedom it provides.