By Bethany Ivie
What it looks like to be a working mom is changing drastically. Increasingly, women have more opportunities than ever to support their families from home. There are tons of opportunities out there. Starting your own business, freelancing, monetizing a blog and (dun-dun-dun) NETWORK MARKETING; also known as direct sales or multi-level marketing. For some reason, while women are making leaps and bounds in the business world, this particular sector maintains a stigma among us.
We all know hundreds of people who are currently working it or have tried it in the past. So, why are we so skeptical? Why is there a shadow cast on each Facebook invite or Instagram post? Why do we continually doubt those who claim to have success in this industry?
Why? Because people are not adequately informed.
In his book, Go Pro, Eric Worre explores this skepticism, and more importantly, the idea that our economic landscape is changing. In the near future, we will begin to see more and more industries exploring performance-based pay. To keep up in a super competitive market, people are going to have to learn a new skill set. Those in network marketing will lead the way.
With five years of experience, I have learned the basics of building a successful network marketing business. It is a very viable option for those who are looking for a flexible job with unlimited income. It is a great opportunity for someone who wants to be their own boss.
However, let’s not forget, it is a job. Some people are great employees. Some people get fired. Just like with any job, you must do your research before deciding whether or not it is the right fit for you. Here are some questions to help you decide if you would be a successful network marketing professional:
1. Will you work your business?
When you are your own boss, there is no one to tell you what to do and when to do it. You have to take the initiative and be self-motivated. If you don’t do it, it will not get done. When you are your own boss, you never want to fire yourself. But, in reality, if you are not experiencing success, the only one to blame for your failure is you.
2. Can you handle negativity?
This is very important. You will hear “No,” A LOT. You will have to realize that most of the time, it’s not personal. Network marketing makes people uncomfortable, and by association, you make people uncomfortable. Unless you can work around people’s objections (and sometimes your own excuses) in order to educate them about what you do, network marketing is probably not for you.
3. Are you willing to learn?
If we're honest, most successful people in the network marketing industry just copy what some other successful person has already done. We call it duplicability. An eagerness to learn and try new things is essential to success as a network marketing entrepreneur.
Another important aspect is attending training and becoming part of a team. Most likely, you are required to attend seminars and conferences for your current job. So, why would it be any different for your network marketing job? Training is where you learn the tricks of the trade. Seeking out these opportunities (and eventually sharing them with your team) is pivotal. Developing a team is one of the most difficult yet rewarding parts of this job, but to experience true success in this type of business model, you are also going to have to be able to recruit and train like-minded individuals.
4. What are you willing to invest in your business?
There are two main things that you will have to invest in your business: time and money. Much like the first question, you need to be realistic about what you are willing to put in versus what you are expecting to get out.
The great thing about network marketing is flexibility. The downside to that is that sometimes we are tempted to expect a lot of gains even when we are putting in minimal effort. Also, most network marketing plans involve some type of monetary investment. Just because you have to pay does not mean that it is a scam. Most of the time you are getting actual product and other intangible services for that money.
However, there is a ton of marketing plans out there, and it can be quite confusing. To help clarify things, you can ask yourself these questions to determine what company is right for you:
5. How much do you get paid?
Obviously, this is the first question on everyone’s mind. Commission rates and payment plans vary widely across the industry. There are several things you need to think about:
- Do I get paid in real money, points or products?
- Do I have to meet certain goals before I earn the desired commission?
- How often can I expect to get paid?
- What is the average price of the product?
- Does my commission vary based on my status with the company?
- Are there promotions, awards or other perks I can earn?
6. What does the company represent?
This one can be tricky. There are so many start-ups. While it is great in theory to get in on the ground-floor of something, it is more important to get into something stable. Over just the last year, the industry has seen multiple companies come and go. You may want to consider these things:
- How long has the company been around?
- Does the company have a good reputation?
- Will I be marketing a quality product or service that I will stand behind?
- Do my values align with the company’s philosophy?
7. How flexible is it, really?
Flexibility is the draw to network marketing for so many people; yet, many companies end up being “not-so-flexible.” To get a better feel, you could ask about the following:
- Are there quotas? If so, how much and how often?
- Am I limited to a specific market or area?
- How often is my status with the company re-evaluated?
- What has to be done to maintain a status or commission level?
8. Is it transparent?
If a company is worth getting into, it is worth looking into. You should be able to ask questions and be directed to someone with real evidence of success.
- Will someone show me their bank account?
- Do I have access to speak with someone who has reached a high level in the company?
- Is it easy to contact and speak with someone at the main office?
- Does the company stand behind its product?
There are some things to contemplate if you are considering network marketing as an opportunity to work from home. Even after you have all the answers, you will most likely just have to take a risk and jump in, willing to work. Those who find the right company and work diligently are bound to experience success.
That’s the thing: Network marketing is a job. Some people are good employees. Some people get fired. My husband sells cell phones. I sell jewelry. He thrives in a fast-paced, scheduled and competitive environment. I do my best work when I am in control and can determine my own schedule. Is network marketing for everybody? No way. Is network marketing for you? I don’t know. Since you’re reading this, it might be.
Is network marketing for real? Absolutely. In fact, these ladies are making six figures a year in the direct sales industry!
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A network marketing professional and Life Coach, Bethany Ivie is an entrepreneurially-minded mom boss working to change the world one person at a time through encouragement, personal enrichment and helping the excellent become elite. You can read more by visiting her blog, www.theivieleague.com.
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