In short this is a one word answer and that is …
No – you do not have your own company!!
If you are selling services and products for another larger company – you are not an entrepreneur and you do not own your own company. You are an independent consultant or independent contractor for said company. Those are very different things.
Here is the thing – as some of you following might know – I decided as part of this journey and to really dive into multi level marketing I needed to become an independent consultant and for that I chose Arbonne. I wanted to really be able to understand how this kind of business works and the best way I knew how to do that was to become actively involved. (Be aware that I know the financial ramifications of this AND I will be outlining this in a different post.)
By no means is this my intro to the world about me being an independent consultant with Arbonne because quite frankly I know nothing about it – I am still going through materials and information and elearning type stuff to figure out what it is really all about. I am trying out the 30 days to healthy living because it is something I wanted to do for a while AND quite honestly I have nothing but time these days. I feel a bit like if you want to share a product you need to know the product. So down the hatches goes hoards of protein powders and greens and fiber and detox teas – spoiler alert but my body is feeling different. Honestly – there are a lot of people involved in this type of marketing that could really use a crash course in understanding the products they are trying to sell. If you want to sell something you need to know what exactly your a trying to sell – what kind of lifestyle are you trying to get people involved in?! The real truth is that selling isn’t about the product but about the lifestyle the product can potentially offer you!
I grew up with a parent that had their own company and it seemed obvious to me that at some point I would figure that out. I have no idea what that will be – but the entrepreneurial spirit has always been in me. I have always seen this type of marketing (network marketing) as something different than being an entrepreneur. In my line of work, in aviation, pretty much every pairing (shift or schedule of flights) someone tells you they have their own business – then you later find out it is a MLM. Every time I kind of chuckle and this crazy thought that these woman think they have their “own” business. Clearly the market – your people – your target audience for this stuff wants to see you as a consultant understand the difference. If you don’t – you just sound unintelligent and therefore anything else you have to says doesn’t sink in.
It got me really thinking: Why do people get so wrapped up in the #girlboss bullshit and why do they feel like they need to walk around saying they have their own company? As far as I can tell it is simple – it is because that is exactly what they are being told.
See these types of independent contractors straddle the line of what the idea of the entrepreneur is – they are building their own thing – because no one is doing those DMs and product talks for them. They need to take the initiative to get it all going. Their success depends on how well they do in their own sales and recruiting. However – somewhere along the line the information they are getting fed makes them feel like they are an entrepreneur and that by selling someone else’s products that they in fact have their own business. Quite frankly it is kind of insulting to all the people out there that have a startup or a company or a skill that the have created into something all by themselves.
So I guess what I am trying to say is:
Ladies (and Gentlemen) – just get your language right. Understand what you are getting yourself into and feed that information out to the world as it so appropriately should be fed to the world. There are a lot of people out in the world that do affiliate marketing. They join forces and promote someone else’s product. There is in fact nothing wrong with that – but if you want people to take you seriously you need to have a serious understanding of what you are doing.
I would love to know – what is the most egregious claim that someone selling their online multi level marketing stuff has tried to tell you or convince you??