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??
Please comment below or message – I would LOVE to know!
Mother of all things holy – the pitch week has been insane.
I decided before I talked to anyone – there would need to be a set of guidelines that I had to follow. Any pitch needed to be well executed and informed; I would feel comfortable with the person I would need to be my mentor. What follows are things I really need to pay attention to before I can join any team of independent distributors and mixed in with that is a bunch of things I am committing to myself as I go forward with the project:
- I need to pick an MLM that I am genuinely interested in the products. It must be products that I will honestly use. It is important that it is vegan (for personal and long term business reasons)
- I need to commit to reading everything about the company. The good, the bad and the ugly – all the stuff. Take notes. Be informed – don’t make egregious stupid claims about products that aren’t true. (Yesterday while doing online research I listen to a girl talk about how big companies take the fat from road kill and put it in makeup and that is what you are putting on your face – this, friends, is why most people think MLM people are crazy)
- Track money in vs money out (keep track as visuals) – everything you spend vs everything you make. It is important to track to see how much you are making vs. losing.
- 3-6 months. The premise is that I actually work the program. If I am making money perhaps I will continue on – Who knows where this will take me?!
- Find a thriving supportive upline that can help me build my “business” – I have always struggled when women have called their independent consultant business’ as there “own company” – the culture of preying on women as weak and trying to show them that success is growth is scary. But i’ll dive into that later.
- I will commit to regular Friday posts to update how the project is going – how dealing with the public as a person that works for an MLM is going. Do I feel like I am putting a strain on personal relationships?
- Have a ‘why’ – why did I pick this particular company. What was the decision-making process? Why do you think their products are good?
- Exit clause – can you bail? If after 3 months you are just spending money. Can you bail?
- Actually test the products. Use them. Decide for yourself. Things that might benefit you.
With all the above in mind ….. Asking anyone that is actively trying to make money in an Multi Level Marketing company to pitch me their best pitch opened up a world of crazy that I didn’t really realize was going to evoke so many opinions and so much attitude. It has been an exhausting few days to say the least.
Multi-level marketing (MLM), also called pyramid selling, network marketing, and referral marketing, is a marketing strategy for the sale of products or services where the revenue of the MLM company is derived from a non-salaried workforce selling the company’s products/services, while the earnings of the participants are derived from a pyramid-shaped or binary compensation commission system. – Wikipedia
Ladies have been coming at me. People I haven’t ever talked to online have come out of the woodwork. I learned that some of you guys love these companies and some of you fucking hate them. There have been some VERY strong opinions. It is pretty damn interesting the amount of ‘super for’ or ‘super against’ opinions that are circling around the web.
I have been curious about this kind of money making for some time. I have always inherently thought it was wrong. And I am not so certain I changed that opinion but I realized while talking to people that: a lot of women don’t love the products they are trying to push, a lot of women are angry that other women haven’t changed their products – their everyday routine to support their multi level marketing business. Women are angry that other women didn’t sign up to be a part of their business – even if the products are not aligned to then, their ethics or even if the products are possibly out of their price range. There are some women that have drank in so much of the culture they have failed to see anything aside from you not purchasing from them makes you a bad person. Friends, this is just week one.
Before I got to far on this journey I really needed to know so many things but most important to me:
What are the startup costs? What is my monthly and yearly financial contribution? Can I opt out after 3 months or six months? Can I get out if I need to?
As someone who has spent a lot of time trying to dig themselves out of a financial hole the last thing I want is to get myself on the hook for something financially that I can’t really afford. I don’t want to commit to a company for a year of spending hordes of money that I can’t get back.
So I let people pitch me in any way they wanted to – I had Amway, Young Living, Valentus, Arbonne … some were good – some where bloody awful.
Stay tuned for next Friday when we talk about which company I am choosing to get involved with and …
In the meantime – are you or have you been part of any MLM? I would love to hear from you about your experience? Please comment below what you think about it – are you making money? Why did you get involved?