Did you wake up in the morning thinking: Today I’m going to join a Network Marketing / MLM company?

Did you wake up in the morning thinking: Today I’m going to join a Network Marketing / MLM company?

Seriously, how many people do that…

In over 12 years working in and around Network Marketing / Multilevel Marketing, one of the things that fascinates me is the prevalence and reliance on a recruitment methodology which, it seems to me, is flawed from the very get go.

The question I often ask people is: When you woke up that morning, you know the morning of the day that you were first introduced to Network Marketing, did you already know that you wanted to start a business or more specifically a Network Marketing business?

Unsurprisingly nearly everyone answers: “No”.

The challenge, as I see it, is that from then on everything that happens is about convincing a person that

1) they have some lifestyle / work-life balance problem that could do with being solved

2) they need network marketing to be the solution

3) the company that you represent is the right company and solution for them

Now of course, this isn’t how it plays out exactly. There’s often a conversation, a call, a message or a text about having a catch up, meeting for coffee. Over a coffee (or online) the conversation is kept very light and chatty about what’s going on in their lives, what are some of the problems “challenges” they face, what’s holding them back, what if they had more money, time, what difference would that make etc etc – sound familiar?

Then there’s the conversation about, “if I could show you something that would … (solve the problem)… would you at least be interested in taking a look?” Or “That’s very interesting, I may have something for you…”

And so on and so forth until they sign in the magic box which means they are now a fully joined up Independent Distributor embarking on their new business.

At this point the goals and aspirations have been changed somewhat and are now considerably bigger than earlier in the day (and certainly bigger than when they woke up) and there’s a new glint in their eye – is it excitement or madness?

Now, I could talk in some detail about the journey that they will embark on, but let’s get back to my first question. When they woke up that morning (ok by now it may have been a few mornings ago, but it may actually have been that very morning!) did they wake up knowing that’s what they wanted to do?

Anyone who has started in any business knows that it is not a decision to take lightly.  Most people spend some weeks, months and even years working out that that’s what they want to do and what they need to put into place to embark on and work through those early weeks, months, even years before their business gives them anything tangible in return.

So the conundrum here is why do Network Marketers constantly approach people who weren’t looking to start a business? Why do Network Marketers spend so much time and energy learning skills to cleverly convince people that they have problems and that Network Marketing is the way to solve them, Why do Network Marketers then spend so much time and energy motivating these people to stay on track to achieve their new goals and aspirations, and why do Network Marketers spend so much time and energy creating and implementing a training system to teach their new team members to do exactly the same thing?

Here is just a small sample of articles available about the recent rise in business startups:

Britain hits record number of startups as more aspiring entrepreneurs take the plunge

FSB small business statistics

More Young Entrepreneurs launch startups in the wake of recession

Why, when the facts are clear that more and more people are starting up new businesses, and looking for the right business opportunity and DID wake up that morning thinking about starting a business and possibly even a network marketing business, do Network Marketers ignore this and set about convincing a whole load of the wrong people to do something that it is highly likely at some point they will work out it’s not what they want at all (or that what is needed to make it work, isn’t for them)

Contrast that with those (few) Network Marketers who answer yes to my question – these are the ones who are committed to the journey including the ‘apprenticeship’ because they were already looking for something, when the right opportunity was brought to their door.  

So much time, effort, energy, blood, sweat and tears is wasted focusing on the wrong people, and then teaching those wrong people to focus on the wrong people…

Surely,  as in any business, those resources would be better focused on sourcing a more targeted group of people such as:

  • Those looking to and/or thinking about the idea of starting their own business
  • Those who have already worked out that they would like to find an additional income stream, and are researching their options

And how about providing ALL the relevant information, making it readily available (no ‘gate keepers’) very easy to access, plenty of opportunities to get questions answered – with no ties – before signing up to anything. The Network Marketing model IS a very sound business model. 

That seems a much more sustainable and business-like place to focus time and resources… particularly as there are clearly a huge number of people out there, right now, looking to start a business.

Now, maybe that IS something to wake up thinking about? Or is that just me…

Michelle Turner-Davidson is a speaker, trainer and mentor specialising in developing people and teams and taking the fear, hype and struggle out of network marketing. 

To find out how Michelle can help you, or if anything in this article resonates with you, do get in touch. You can fill out the comments below, email her at michelle@laterthanyouthink.co.uk or connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter @MichTD,  Facebook  or check out the rest of this website MichelleTurnerDavidson.com 

University of life? You bet! You ARE the expert – so start there…

University of life? You bet! You ARE the expert – so start there…

Are you anxious about where to start, whether you know enough or who’s even interested?

Let’s not make life harder than it needs to be when getting started with Content Marketing and Attraction Marketing.

Start with the one thing you really are an EXPERT in… 

YOU

No matter how others may see you or your life, only you lived it and lived it as you. People may have an opinion, but as far as your perspective on your life, that’s yours alone and is something you can own from the outset and something you know about inside out and backwards. 

By starting with ’you’ it doesn’t take long to find a range of topics you can confidently talk about and, nobody can argue with! More importantly it naturally opens connections with like-minded people making it easier to build confidence and develop skills and tools to expand these connections and relationships whilst maintaining your personal values.

Our journey to where we are now is unique and everyone of us has had a different path, and different experiences, yet when we start to talk about our stories, people naturally pick out similarities or familiarities with their own life, experience, thinking or approach. 

Attraction marketing is about people connecting with you because they like what they see, they relate to you in some way or are interested in your perspective. In my experience it is the life stuff that helps us to relate best. Wherever we are, it’s the things about people that are either similar to our own experiences or something we’re personally interested in that breaks down barriers and opens up a world of connection. And it can be something seemingly insignificant to us that is the trigger for a connection in someone else

Attraction marketing is not about convincing people, it’s about being in a place where people who are interested in what you have to ‘say’ (write, video) want to connect with you.

This video is about getting started by starting with you, your life and your experience, keeping it simple with some easy ideas and remembering your thoughts and experience are a valuable and valid platform to build upon.

Michelle Turner-Davidson is a speaker, trainer and mentor specialising in developing people and teams and taking the fear, hype and struggle out of network marketing. 

To find out how Michelle can help you, or if anything in this article resonates with you, do get in touch. You can fill out the comments below, email her at michelle@laterthanyouthink.co.ukor connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter @MichTD,  Facebook  or check out the rest of this websiteMichelleTurnerDavidson.com 

Is the 24/7 work ethic in Network Marketing / MLM healthy or effective?

Is the 24/7 work ethic in Network Marketing / MLM healthy or effective?

To make any business work a good work ethic is vital. Putting in the time and effort to establish your business, market it, build relationships and your reputation, learn the ropes and skills needed to make it work, review, reflect, rebuild and so on. All of this takes time and effort.

In Network Marketing / MLM the myth that it is ‘easy’ or ‘too good to be true’ can be readily overcome because of the consistent and persistent effort that is required to make it work.

Increasingly it seems though that an extreme work ethic is being given way more kudos than it deserves and undermining not enhancing the business model and it’s efficacy for most ‘normal’ human beings.

In a recent conversation I heard an established Network Marketer say to a team member that in order to build a business, the team member ‘just had to get on with it’ – which of course is true! – however the conversation continued and the Team Member explained that she understood this and that she wanted to move her business forward, however was suffering from anxiety (a phrase which suggested it was more than just feeling anxious occasionally) and therefore she had to manage her business activity around her illness. To which the established Networker Marketer said, “Well, I only get 3-4 hours sleep a night and if you want to make your business work like I have then you just have to do it….”

This is not at all the first time I have heard an established Network Marketers ‘boasting’ about their 24/7 work ethic. And that to achieve everything that they have achieved then you have to do the same….

Really?!?

So what happened to the ‘This is a business you can work around your other commitments’ and ‘This is a Lifestyle business where you you can put your personal values first’

Most people join Network Marketing as a way to enhance their lifestyle not kill it. It is a real concern that so many people who speak about their success appear to be quite unaware of the effect their words have on others, especially as they don’t seem to stop this 24/7 approach even after they have achieved considerable financial success…. Why? Surely the personal values, time and relationships you were working hard for have become the priority now that the finances are there to support this.

Anyone in self-employment will know that 9-5 goes out of the window. You work long hours, yes. But most people go into self-employment for much more than the money it’s the flexibility, the achievement, the independence and so on.

Working too hard too many hours for an extended period has a huge impact on all of those personal values and relationships that we generally go into business because of and also personal health. ‘Make your children your reason not your excuse’ is something else I’ve heard for many years – in Network Marketing a way to ‘encourage’ and ‘motivate’ you to work longer and harder than you really want to. This to me is unhelpful at best and manipulative at worst. If you are a parent the likelihood is that everything you do is for your children. They are your reason. To make your children a ‘guilty excuse’ for not working even harder in your business, seems quite abusive to me on the part of those who use the phrase. Time with your children is so important – while they are still children. Quality not quantity is key, yes, but that’s for you to decide not someone else. You can’t get that time back and parent’s have enough to feel guilty about.

Does having a 24-7  work ethic actually relate to ‘success’? In order to work effectively, there has to be a balance of work and relaxation. If you have to work 24-7 then something is wrong.

To achieve success in Network Marketing you don’t have to work 24/7 or put your personal values, relationships and health on the line. There are many ways to build your network marketing business which really do work with the time you have available.

More and more we hear of ‘burnout’ in network marketing… don’t make that you. If your upline wants to work 24-7 that’s their CHOICE. Remember why you started your business, stick to your values, keep your personal relationships strong and hold your health high – find a way that means you can build your business in a way that works for you. Yes you will have to work hard, but working smart is far more important.

Michelle Turner-Davidson is a speaker, trainer and mentor specialising in developing people and teams and taking the fear, hype and struggle out of network marketing. 

To find out how Michelle can help you, or if anything in this article resonates with you, do get in touch. You can fill out the comments below, email her at michelle@laterthanyouthink.co.uk or connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter @MichTD,  Facebook  or check out the rest of this website MichelleTurnerDavidson.com 

 

 

Why are Independent Businesses in Network Marketing / MLM so dependent?

Why are Independent Businesses in Network Marketing / MLM so dependent?

When you join a Network Marketing or Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) company you start as an Independent Distributor / Business owner. That terminology or the word ‘Independent’ is usually part of the contractual description in your joining form. Network Marketing is described as an independent business where you are on your own but don’t work alone. In other words it’s your business with support and guidance around you from people who have already successfully built their business. Network Marketing also goes by the term Team Marketing because building TEAMs and being part of a TEAM is integral to the development of the NETWORK of independent businesses that make up your organisation, and are the basis on which the Income and Marketing Plan are derived.  

TEAM =

Together

Everyone

Achieves

More

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Aristotle

In this context each team member (Independent business owner) has their own reason for building their business and their own, goals and their own idea of success but the combination of all of the (Independent Businesses) team members, and the collaboration and support derived from the collective leads to the overall Success of the independent businesses and even more so for the entire organisation or originator TEAM Member (Upline). Which is also within a larger organisation and a larger organisation. And so on.

The premise in Network Marketing is that through collaboration and support (TEAM work) each Independent Business Owner can develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to build their own network. Leaders emerge naturally as those people who develop a stronger TEAM community, who proactively support the TEAM members and provide an environment where those TEAMS (and their TEAMS ) can flourish.   

In my experience, the reality is somewhat different. Independent Business Owners are very quickly deemed dependent and then this is perpetuated by the Leadership system.

From the very beginning of your journey In Network Marketing / MLM the developing Leaders is given high importance.

From your upline becoming your Leader, and their upline and so on to the Leaders you see all over Facebook and on the stage. From the moment you start your business you are primed as the Leader in your own business.

There is mindset training, personal development and success training. In recent times we have seen many new Leaders emerging and getting centre stage and huge audiences watching every move they make and hanging on to every word they say.

In many cases now the idolisation of Leaders in Network Marketing has created a power-based style of Leadership and this is fed so well by a traditional approach which seems to overlook some of the fundamentals and undermine why people see Network Marketing as attractive and effective.

Why is dependency so endemic?

  • It makes it easier for the Upline to Manage their organisation if everyone in their organisation is doing the same thing.
  • Creating Leaders helps to keep this process streamlined. People like being called Leaders.
  • If it’s easier to ‘streamline’ the process then this speeds up perceived success. If the Upline is doing what their Upline has told them (to make it easier for their Upline to Manage…) the ‘success’ is ‘inevitable’
  • It is easier to give attention and focus to the people who are ‘in the system’’
  • It takes a huge amount of energy to motivate people so it’s much easier to work with the ones who have bought into ‘The system’ and to let the others fend for themselves, unless they decide to change their minds and prove their commitment.  
  • Those people who are not ‘In’ decide that NM doesn’t work for them or that they are failures because they aren’t the right fit and no longer ‘belong’
  • The Upline’s Upline is doing the same to them so they have to tow the line too… an undertone of fear and guilt is often present.
  • The energy needed to keep everyone motivated and on message is intoxicating (and exhausting) but worth it because it is encouraged and comes with kudos. ‘Leaders’ emerge emulating their Leaders. People like being called a Leader.
  • People are attracted to Kudos and that builds more Kudos and more momentum. It’s then even easier to say it works (and it does) if you have a massive tribe of people looking up at you. If all the other ‘Leaders’ are talking about you. It is impossible to work with everyone so only working with the ones that work THE way and the emerging ‘Leaders’ in your organisation to keep ‘THE way’ the right way is the focus. Only people that fit can stay in the community that has been created.
  • People need to belong, often at all costs. It’s a basic human need. They’ll jump through hoops to stay ‘In’.  So the Kudos wins.

And this does seems to work for some people. However, for many, it doesn’t which is why the turnover of people is so high.

Leadership is not about being in charge, Leadership is about taking care of people in your charge

Simon Sinek

Leadership is about creating a healthy environment in which those people around you can thrive. Building a supportive and collaborative community where everyone is valued and has value.

Leadership is about creating the space where the knowledge and experience you share allows people to grow in a way that works for them.

There is no hierarchy in Leadership. A Leader isn’t better than anyone else, they are just good at seeing the bigger picture and helping others to find their way.

A Leader trusts that people already have what they need in themselves and their job is to help them find it.

Leadership is not managing people or motivating people. Leadership is leading by example  and with integrity and allowing people to take what they need.   

You don’t need pedestals in Leadership.

Leadership is about creating good energy not high energy.

And let’s return to the definition of ‘Independent’ from the Oxford Dictionaries:

  • Free from outside control; not subject to another’s authority, self-governing
  • Not belonging to or supported by an external part
  • Not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence
  • Capable of thinking or acting for oneself
  • Not influenced by others; impartial
  • Not connected with another or with each other; separate:treating each part as an independent unit of production
  • Not depending on something else for strength or effectiveness

Hmmm interesting, so you are an ‘Independent’ distributor/business owner by contract, yet the approach in many companies is to ignore this the minute you sign up and step through the door.  

So are you dependent or independent? Are your Leaders really leading you?

Without a doubt, and with all the pizazz out there it is certain that Success is being achieved by some.

For most, the world of dependency leaves them getting high, then struggling with the downer and looking for their next magic fix. Which before long doesn’t really give them the same kick or they recognise that the rest of their world feels quite empty and disconnected.

Network Marketing is about INDEPENDENT businesses working in a community of collaboration support and with a TEAM approach.

Independent businesses are run by people who bring their own set of skills, experience, strengths and personality and take responsibility for their own development and growth, with the support and help around and available to them and seeking out what else they need. Independent business owners choose a way of working that really does work with their values and lifestyle and are optimistic about how this may evolve over time.

Strong Independent businesses may take longer to build, but they are sustainable, healthy and lead to strong sustainable networks with no need for hype, struggle and pedestals or burnout.

Whilst your upline has a key support role to play, ‘Independent’ means it’s YOUR business and your choice not their’s …

Michelle Turner-Davidson is a speaker, trainer and mentor specialising in developing people and teams and taking the fear, hype and struggle out of network marketing. 

To find out how Michelle can help you, or if anything in this article resonates with you, do get in touch. You can fill out the comments below, email her at michelle@laterthanyouthink.co.uk or connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter @MichTD,  Facebook  or check out the rest of this website MichelleTurnerDavidson.com