“So what do you do?”
I had just sat on the couch at a party and was asked this question.
“I have an online business.”
That usually catches people’s attention.
I guess it’s because most realise the opportunities the internet has provided us with.
A few more questions followed before he blurted out:
“Oh! One of those Pyramid things!”
The guy next to him perked up.
“So is it a Pyramid Scheme?”
It always requires effort not to point out how rude that statement is, but I didn’t, and still don’t, because I realise it comes from ignorance more than malice.
“No, it’s not a Pyramid scheme.”
“Yeah they all say that…”
I’d known these guys for roughly 30 seconds, and they were accusing me of operating an illegal business scamming people.
Essentially calling me a criminal, with no more background information than knowing I ran a network marketing business in the beauty industry.
Some people make it hard to be friends with…
I’ve often wondered how many times I’d be punched in the face if I made similar remarks about their chosen careers.
“Oh, you’re a Tailor.
Cool, so you run a sweatshop right?”
To the one who worked in advertising:
“Oh, so you manipulate people’s weaknesses to sell them products they don’t really want or need, with money they don’t have.”
Or for the mortgage broker.
“Right, so you’re responsible for the 2008 financial crisis.”
These sorts of statements are not only rude and incorrect, but damaging, gross generalisations.
Just because there have been minority cases of all of the above (including actual pyramid schemes) does not mean it’s the case for the person standing before you.
Psychology has highlighted our tendancy to discard specifics in favour of generalities, a cognitive bias that affects us all.
So I CAN understand where their perspectives come from.
Once I was invited for coffee with an Accountant I’d recently met at a business networking event.
As I was driving to the meeting I received a text asking to meet at her friends place instead of the cafe…
It felt weird, but I agreed and went to the apartment building she mentioned.
At the door I noticed the logo of a network marketing company displayed on their doormat (an odd place to promote, if you ask me).
My heart sank.
I felt like I’d been conned.
The door opened to a man wearing a lot of badges that said things like:
“Want to lose weight? Ask me how!”
Whoops, I’m not exactly the client they’re looking for.
I sipped their tea and listened to their pitch. They were friendly, but it was too late.
They’d lost my trust by not being transparent with their intentions.
No matter how amazing their business proposition could have been, I never would have entered into it with them.
I was shocked by how much of a bad taste that experience left in my mouth.
I hadn’t lost any money.
I wasn’t physically mistreated or harmed, in fact it was all very pleasant…
…besides the whole trust thing.
The irony is that I would have gladly met if she’d said “look I’m starting this new venture and want to get your thoughts, are you open to that?”
Sure I wasn’t the best prospect for her, but perhaps I could help with referrals.
But instead, I’m sharing this story now, which is what happens to most people who’ve had their trust abused.
And this brings us closer to the core issue.
You see, in a traditional business your trust is violated on an almost daily basis, it’s simply from a faceless corporation or government deaf to your indignation.
The pharmaceutical company that promoted a misleading drug.
That petrol station that charged 20cents a litre more than everywhere else.
Or the bank that increased their rates sending thousands bankrupt.
With network marketers though, it’s personal.
Because the individual you’re dealing with is someone you know, probably even a good friend or family member.
Even if the actual “losses” are lower with these types of micro interactions
(I lost half an hour listening to their pitch…half an hour I’d already set aside for the meeting)
they tend to cut to a deeper emotional level.
Which creates some serious scar tissue in society.
So much so that when I was presented with the idea of building a network marketing business, I was reluctant to even take a look.
Even though I knew nothing about the industry, company or products…I was simply reacting to some collective stigma around the unknown.
What I discovered once I was open enough to take a look, is that of all the entrepreneurial endeavours I’ve explored, network marketing is LOGICALLY the superior business vehicle.
With low start up costs, minimal risk, unique and exclusive products already researched and produced, no inventory, no overheads, logistics and infrastructure already in place, accounting taken care of, tax benefits, built in training and support, and leverage being a core feature…
All of which means nothing to someone who has never gone through the growing pains of setting up and building a business.
The catch is that in other industries there are filters and criteria that ensure a certain standard of behaviour and people.
Whether that be education, communication skills, dress code, or finances, there’s a minimum applicable standard.
However there are no barriers to entry for our industry.
Anyone can sign up with a company and start opening their mouths, or more accurate for today’s environment, start typing their fingers, burning relationships and irritating the shit out of people!
Which highlights one of the interesting aspects of this business.
Yes there are no barriers to entry.
Yes that does attract some people who would traditionally never operate a business.
HOWEVER, it also provides a vehicle for everyday people to transform their lives through the development of the skills necessary to succeed in this business.
The beauty is that these skills are totally transferable.
And seeming as life is often an unpredictable rollercoaster, it simply makes sense to develop yourself so that you’re able to approach any situation with the quiet confidence that you can handle it.
Building a network marketing business is the most financially and psychologically rewarding vehicle for doing exactly that