The Life of A MLM Home Based Business Owner
Over the years I have listened to and read countless articles about why MLM is the worst business in America to get involved in. It is amazing the number of people that have committed themselves to highlighting every perceived negative attribute about the industry, even going labeling every company a MLM scam. Some even take it a step further and attempt to give their “expert” opinion about what it is, what it takes to be successful and their personal reasons why they stay away. I guess that is what’s called Freedom of Speech. Everyone has the right to say what they “feel”, even though “feelings” can often be subjective. Now, before we go any further, let me be the first to say I am not defending the MLM industry, nor I am I am saying it is without it’s fair share of challenges.
My objective is to give you a clear picture of the life of a MLM Home Based Business owner from the perspective of someone who has started and stopped several times with different companies before ultimately becoming a top producer and million-dollar earner. See I believe that anyone can give a “Review” of something, but it’s totally different from someone giving you a historical account. After spending close to 20 years in the MLM world, I think I have a little bit to share to help prepare if this is in fact the road you choose to take. Trust me I get it, there are far more people who have a distaste for MLM and willing to share it than there are success stories.
I think a good starting point would be to explain what MLM is before I take you behind the scenes. I am neutral here so trust me when I say you won’t have to worry about me trying to convince you one way or another. So get ready, because if you are reading this, your eyes and mind will be wide open by the time you finish.
What is Network Marketing? MLM? Direct-Marketing? Relationship Marketing? People have called it many things over the years, but lets be clear on what the concept is first. Whatever you want to call it, this is the concept.
The letters MLM stands for Multi-Level-Marketing. Yes that is the name most people think about, however Network Marketing is another name used as well. They both refer to marketing products and services through your network and then teaching other how to do the same. Look at it this way. Company A has products or services they want to retail in the market place. Company A has a number of ways to accomplish this. Some companies use paid advertising while others use a direct sales approach, but a MLM or Network Marketing company blends the two thus creating the opportunity for individuals to earn income as independent marketing representatives.
This means you would take the products or services Company A markets and sells through your network and in return you get a commission. If you are good at it, you could make money, but you have to close sales. Anyone can choose to do just that part alone, but most people get excited about the lifestyle pitches and the concept of residual income and leverage, which is why many untrained and unskilled novice go out and try to recruit others to do the same. This is where most people get hung up. The goal of marketing is to bring awareness to a product or service. You either spend money with advertising companies, which is fine, however it is a challenge to determine how effective the strategy is or will be. Another option many companies choose is a MLM model where you only pay for performance.
Are you still with me?
If person A is effective at referring the product or service and is willing to show person B (who should be interested in learning) how to do the same thing, then Person A will be compensated for his or her efforts. How much is determined by the MLM company compensation plan. The more you sale the more you make. The more you recruit or show others how to do the same the more you override. It is just that simple. So to be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the concept. The problem most people face is how it is presented to them.
The recruiting pitch in most cases is what taints the opportunity and the industry, but they are not the only one at fault. The prospect on the other end has to take ownership as well. There is no such thing as a get rich quick program, and for that matter, you should be very careful of making decisions to quit your job in less than 30 days because you got excited when you heard some person you just met or for that matter running up your credit card because that same person said that’s how you become successful. If you get nothing else from this article, this is a real business and should be treated as such. Unfortunately most people join with no business experience and have no skills in the areas needed to effectively market the products or influence others. Remember this, just because you can pay the sign up fee does not mean you should be in business.
Now that we got that out the way, I am going to take you one a typical day, week, month and year of a MLM Home Base Business owner and by the time this is over you should have better understanding of what owning a business like that really looks like and hey, if you are decide to take the plunge at least you are doing it with your eyes wide open. If not, then it is not the end of the world because there are more than one-way to get to a destination.
A Typical Day, Week, Month and Year
Hmmm, lets start from the beginning of my career when the business was part time. I had to go to work so lets fast forward past that part. Initially building my business it was pretty much nights and weekends, starting around 7pm and ending around midnight. Since I had to make phone calls to potential customers and business partners in the evenings, 7pm to 9pm was reserved for what I like to call “income-producing” activities. Some days were better than others, but what I lacked in talent, I tried to make up in work ethic. It was my goal to make at least 10 to 20 personal phone calls about my business every night. Sometimes I did it, but most times I fell short. Also, I would use that time to either meet prospects either one on one or conduct or attend a home meeting. Sometimes I got a customer or prospect interested in the business, most times I didn’t. Right around 9:30pm or 10pm I would get ready for the next day and end my night reading or studying a specific skill I needed to get better at.
Why? Well lets just say I got a ton of rejection in those days and rightfully so. I was not known as a successful business owner and honestly very few people took me serious. To prepare for the next attempt, I would read about relationship building, following up, how to win friends and influence people and the list goes on and on. There were countless nights I would fall asleep with a book in my hand or headphones in my ears. Did you catch that I did not mention watch TV or catch up with the news. Mind you this was before social media, thank goodness I didn’t have that distraction. Don’t ever let someone convince you that MLM does not take much time.
I did this routine Monday through Thursday and took Friday off because I learned quickly that Friday’s were fun days for a lot of people. Saturday was open for things like home meetings or local trainings to learn more about your business and they typically lasted about three hours or so. Sundays were delicate because people reserved that day for Church during the day, but at night right around 9pm we would have a weekly team call for announcements and to set goals etc. Does it sound fun yet? Is it glamorous like most people sell it? If you think so then keep reading. It gets better.
Depending on your company there will be scheduled local trainings recommended. I remember like yesterday planning to attend one once a month. This experience can be what you make it, but just know it pretty much wipes out your Saturday. For me, it was the perfect opportunity to get my growing team training that I could not provide from senior leadership in the company. To be honest, sometimes the trainings were effective and sometimes they were not, but without a larger exposure your team won’t grow so I sucked it up and added it into my business plan.
Now that you understand the daily, weekly and monthly activities, lets not forget about the national or international conference once, maybe twice a year promoted by the company. These events are sometimes three days and more than likely if you are working you will be either using vacation days or calling in sick to attend. Did you read that right? Yes I used vacation time. I promoted this event to my entire team and we all went to learn and grow together. I encouraged people to be as frugal and economically responsible as humanly possible because it was a business trip, not a vacation. To save money, we would split hotel rooms and use coupons for food. We would drive together it the event was close. This was what top leaders said you had to do to be successful. If you are in business, you have to commit to the process, however you have to have a business plan. MLM is not a regulated industry and therefore people can say pretty much whatever they want, but it is up to you to use discernment, because there are effective and non-effective trainers out there.
This was my life for about 22 months before reaching one of the top positions in the company. Below is one of several national publications that highlight our accomplishments. Some would say I was lucky and in most cases I would not disagree. In any successful business there is a certain amount of luck. Am I saying if you do this you will be successful? No I am not. I just believe if more people knew what they had to commit to upfront and it was spelled out, many people would decide not to get involved because this business is not for everyone and definitely not for the faint of heart. What I gave you was just a snap shot, but also keep in mind this was before I was married and with kids. Everyone’s circumstances will be different but the framework is about the same.
There is no catch, if you are running your business like a business and replacing emotions with action items that can be executed your business will grow. Eventually life changed for me and my routine shifted, especially since the business allowed me to go full time. Essentially when that happened, my days were pretty much mine to do what I wanted to do because the business is still built at night and on the weekend. You can’t just wish it into existence and you can’t be resistant to change. Over the years the countless amount of self-development and leadership books I read were a direct correlation to the business growing. I was able to correct bad behaviors and learn from my mistakes, but when you think about it, isn’t that the case for any business? If you were to interview anyone who has ever had success in MLM, I am willing to bet they can relate. It can be a great experience, but it also can be a nightmare if you are not careful.
There are positives and negatives with a lot of business out there so do your research. Keep in mind you are starting a business, and if you are on your last dime, that is not the time to consider it. Understand that recruiting will have to go beyond your immediate friends and family members, so if learning how to network intimidates you, then this may not be the business for you. Know what you are signing up for. The attrition rate is high, but in my experience it is because people did not understand or they got excited and made an emotional decision only to quickly realize it was easy to sign up, but the hard works comes afterwards.
There are drawbacks to MLM. One risk is that the company you are building could go out of business. Later in my career I thought about that more and more, but I was comforted in the fact that I understood how to build it and knew I could build it again if I had to. Lets face it, there are companies that get it right and some don’t, but that is no reason to be afraid. Companies go out of business every day. Learn how to dig deeper to get questions answered as if you were about to invest a million dollars. If that much money is on the table I am willing to bet more care will go into not only researching the company, but also researching the people you will be in business with. If after all that you find the risk is too high, or it makes sense to move forward, at least you’ve done your due diligence.