How many of you joined Network Marketing fresh out of school? I would suggest, very few. The vast majority of us started our Network Marketing businesses having had many years of experience, employment, business building (non MLM), study, and don’t forget the University of life in general.

If you think about it, when you were first introduced to MLM the chances are the person who spoke to you asked you information about your life, your work, your experiences. They may have been particularly interested if your experience, skills and knowledge would be a ‘great fit’ for building a successful business. But what happens as soon as you are on the inside (joined up)… all your skills, expertise and knowledge get ignored or passed over in favour of the ‘system’. The more you try to bring your skills and expertise into your business and try to apply them your ‘Upline’ becomes more and more adamant that all you need to do is follow the system. In many cases your Upline will become quite defensive and it may start to cause friction and in some cases, if you are independent enough and not prepared to ‘toe the line’ as they see it, the relationship can break down completely and you are no longer ‘supported’ by them or welcome within ‘team activities’ or there is simply an overwhelming sense of confusion.

I come across this every time I meet other Network Marketers.

This is what puzzles me about this approach, several facts that are overlooked:

  1. NM is sales and marketing and team building.
  2. Everyone has the same contractual relationship with their NM company no matter how successful they become.
  3. NM was designed to be an equal, system where everyone who joins has the same opportunity to grow their business and be successful and to take responsibility for that –  it wasn’t designed to be hierarchical where the person who introduced you had control or power over you. (That’s employment)
  4. Your Network Marketing Business is your Business (feel free to read that statement in several ways) – yes you are under the umbrella of a parent company but you are Self-Employed and your Parent Company is your Supplier and Client (I’m not an accountant so may not have the terminology quite right… but you understand what I mean)

Let’s return to all those skills and all that knowledge expertise and experience you already have, and let’s face it, invested years of your life developing and acquiring in many cases, not forgetting blood sweat and tears!  

What if you applied all that directly or indirectly to your business.?

What if, instead of coming up against “The Hand” every time you suggested a different way, or something that you knew had a very good chance of working, and you already had the skills and expertise to apply it (or would happily develop those skills if it meant enhancing your business), you went ahead anyway?

What if you were surrounded by like-minded people who brought their own skills to the table and through sharing, collaborating, filling the expertise and experience gaps easily and openly, with a common aim – to make everyone’s business successful and to learn and grow? And as you grow, your community grows and your organisation grows the pot of skills, knowledge and experience available to you grows with it.

What difference would that make to how you felt about building your business. If you took back the autonomy you needed. Built on who you already are rather than feeling like a square peg in a round hole or frustrated and unheard.

The principles of Network Marketing remain: A product or service needs to be sold on to customers / clients and the volume and income is built through developing successful teams of people all working to those same principles and you are paid in several different ways. This is a business model with benefits. So treat it like a business, understand the principles and learn to apply what YOU need to make it work for YOU.

Finally, if you aren’t getting the support you need from your Upline, it is not their fault. They are caught up in the system. That’s not your responsibility. Your responsibility is to build your own business and to use all the resources available, starting with YOU and providing the environment for a network of equally autonomous businesses in your organisation.

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 or connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter @MichTD,  Facebook  or check out the rest of this website

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