First, let me say that I LOVE network marketing and am involved in several companies myself. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that network marketing is fully endorsed by the financial powerhouses Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki in their book “Why We Want You to Be Rich.” This article is meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek, a bit serious, and hopefully, a “lot” insightful for those wanting to seriously pursue a network marketing business.
My personal recommendation is that a person can have up to three network marketing involvements. One strictly for fun or because it is something you are passionate about. If that’s the case, then you are simply enjoying the discount and that’s perfectly OK. The second one can be for the residual income. Once a person signs up for your product or service, whether it’s a $1, $10 or $100, the money keeps rolling in. Nothing wrong with that, either. The third one is where you’re not just getting residual income, you’re also building a team. It’s the “sink your teeth into” company where your objective is “unlimited income.”
It is this third one that I will focus on because I think it is the one that as Christian entrepreneurs we need to be the most thoughtful about because of potential spiritual “land mines.”
In Business For Yourself but not By Yourself?
So often in network marketing we hear that “you are in business for yourself but not by yourself.” Much is made out of replacing your current J-O-B with your particular networking marketing venture. In addition, much is made out of how you are merely “trading time for dollars” in your current position versus the “unlimited income” you could obtain from such and such company.
For sure, networking marketing has evolved considerably from back in the day when people would chase you down to come to meetings to sign up for something that you really didn’t need or want but felt obligated to join because your sponsor was a relative, friend or suddenly “new friend.”
With modern technology, there are fancily titled meetings, conference calls, flash presentations, webinars and of course, the almighty DVD (how did we live without those things?). Nowadays, you don’t even need to meet or personally know someone to sign them up. Just buy some Internet leads and you’re set to expand into Antarctica, by golly!
Networking marketing today is slick and sophisticated. Even Magic Johnson and Warren Buffet have major stakes in network marketing.
Your upline is likely to call himself or herself a coach (hey, you’re likely to call your own self a coach). Information packets after sign up ask for your goals, how much you want to make, how much time you’re willing to put into your business and other roadmap type questions. Then, there is an endless slew of meetings and conference calls. There are even accountability partners, weekly and monthly check-ins. What’s next? Performance reviews? 360-Degree assessments? Myers-Briggs?
Still Trading Time for Dollars
As a result of all this, it occurred to me that the being in business for yourself but not by yourself, suddenly seems like the ole J-O-B except now, you have NO steady income, NO benefits and NO vacation. On top of that, you’re probably involved in some type of autoship or monthly subscription. Nevertheless, it is a known fact that most people in network marketing don’t even earn enough to cover their monthly expenses associated with the company. These days, if you’re not serious about working your tail off, then you’re probably better off not even signing up for a network marketing company no matter how dazzling the opportunity may seem.
From my own experience and observations, the people who are the MOST successful in network marketing are those who virtually eat, drink, sleep, dream and WEAR network marketing, just like someone who is climbing the proverbial corporate ladder. I meet people who may be making plenty of money in network marketing, but when are they really relaxing and enjoying the fruit of their labor when there is call after call, training after training, and meeting after meeting, including on Sundays, presumably a day of rest.
Simple brochures and easels have been replaced with LCD projectors and DVD players so now there is equipment to lug around and get tangled up with. Are these network marketing diamonds and bionic-diamonds REALLY enjoying a better life outside of the brick and mortar workplace when they seem to be consumed by their network marketing advancement? Still sounds like trading “time for dollars” to me.
Business Meeting or Revival?
As Christians, we are reminded to keep our focus on God and not to be distracted by other gods. Go to some network marketing meetings and you might wonder if you’re at a business meeting or at church. In my opinion, just as “The Secret” for all intents and purposes took “religion” out of the equation, just because religion is placed “into the equation” doesn’t necessarily make it “holy” either. “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.” (2 Cor. 2:17)
As you look at various network marketing opportunities, especially the one in which you will be “sinking your teeth into” remember to apply the same rules that you would to any other major investment.
1. Pray about it. There is no need to jump into anything, no matter how groundfloor it may be. It has to be the right opportunity for YOU. Of course, you can’t beat a GOOD groundfloor opportunity, either, so don’t be the perpetual “hem and hawer,” either. People DO make lots of money in network marketing, but it was to be the right company and at the proper position in the product life cycle.
2. Use your discernment about the people involved. Remember, actions speak louder words, no matter WHAT is being “preached.” Observe the leaders and others in the organization and make sure their actions are congruent with what they say. It will be hard to stay enthusiastic if you have an unresponsive or uninspiring sponsor. Network marketing is about building relationships and they have to be good all around.
3. Is the venture in line with your own spiritual gifts? If it doesn’t align with what you’re good at or what have a passion for, then it’s probably not a good fit in the first place. And remember, just because it’s someone else’s passion doesn’t mean it has to be yours. It doesn’t matter WHAT status Sally has obtained in XYZ company, if you’re not excited about “thing-a-ma-jigs,” then you’re probably not going to do very well. Donald Trump, Martha Stewart and Barbara Corcoran are just some of the many people who advise on how important it is to have a passion for your business.
4. Will the time commitment allow you adequate down time for Bible study, prayer and meditation or will you be consumed with meetings five to seven days a week? What is your threshold? Will you still be able to go to church and do meetings on Sundays? Remember, God wants us to keep him first. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all of these things shall be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33)
5. If you are a business owner, will the time commitment of network marketing allow you to fully maintain, develop and nourish your own business? It’s so easy to find yourself shifting over to the network marketing side and spending less time on your own business if you are not careful. If that happens, then you’re not even business FOR yourself.
6. There are only 24 hours in a day and at least eight of them should be spent on sleep. The body truly does need time to rejuvenate itself and it does this when we are sleeping. Make sure you’re getting the proper rest so that you can be a HEALTHY entrepreneur!
7. Have fun! Remember the Lord said he came so that we “may have life … more abundantly,” (John 10:10) and not be stressed out, tired and overworked.
In conclusion, using the above guidelines, I wish you the very best of luck and may your network marketing business turn out to be all you hope for and much, much more. See you down the road apiece in our new Cadillac or Benz or Mustang!
©2007 by Paula Quick. This article may be forwarded, copied or distributed to others only if it contains the title and author as shown above, along with the websites of reference: The Faithpreneur and The Lemonade Coach.