There are enough examples for this… A trained electrician who had been earning extra money as a farmer has built an empire of hundreds of thousands of representatives. Next to his castle-like house, there is also a horse stud, which is a sort of a showcase of success.
A former skiing teacher also stands in awe in front of his sales organization, which has now spread to over a dozen European countries. Ten thousand sales representatives recently met at the quarterly convention in Eastern Europe. He and his wife find peace and relaxation in a luxurious refuge they have provided themselves with at a Country Club with a golf course. Meanwhile, their neighbors—wealthy members of the country’s economic elite—are puzzling over how such a young family has accumulated so much wealth.
MLM is not a male-dominated business, as evidenced by the example of a woman with hospitality education, who has achieved great success within a few years, along with a high position in her company. She is now raking in a turnover of millions and belongs to an international group of top sellers.
Everyday poison. Enemies of success
A couple working in the network marketing system were recently dealing with such unpleasant nuisances as moving from a tax haven in Monaco to the tranquil Tuscany. There, they devote not only to the further development of their international sales organization, but also to the blossoming olive trees on their vast estate. The list of remarkably successful people in network marketing includes people of all professional backgrounds, members of all social groups, very young people as well as pensioners, families, single people, those with secondary education or those with higher education. For an outside observer who only knows the industry from stories or negative media coverage, this situation is completely disruptive. After all, everyone knows that success is possible only through higher education, official permits, seals, inherited assets, high bank loans or following a difficult climb up the career ladder in a company’s unclear structures. And another thing: network marketing starts in one’s own home, with a telephone, Internet, a small briefcase containing documents and a few product samples.
Is this what real business looks like? It may—as numerous examples show. It is also a fact that many, if not most people, are not building a huge and therefore profitable sales organization here. Admittedly, sometimes we hear breathtaking stories about new companies which, just a year after starting their business in the country, have gathered tens of thousands of consultants in their database. There are also talks about large gatherings organized in sports halls attended by thousands of people from all over the country. The question is: have all the people who are struggling to find a parking spot for their Mercedes S-Class in the square in front of the hall, and who balance the weight of their briefcase with an awesome Rolex watch, have already achieved incredible success in network marketing? Of course not. This business is first and foremost an opportunity—no more and no less. The extent to which one uses this opportunity depends on one’s personal commitment. There are no guarantees. This may be another reason for doubts and the lack of trust that certain parts of society have in this form of entrepreneurship.
In fact, criticism comes from those who wish to deny an individual’s right to be responsible for one’s own success in life.
And many consultants enter this business to provide themselves with an option. Their motto is: “Just take part in it!” They sign the application and pay the entry fee with the same attitude as when they bought the Lotto coupon a week ago. “Maybe one day I’ll make it.” They have the illusion that the system will somehow lift them up if they find a couple idiots to do their work for them. But they will never stand out among the highest-earners in this system.
An equally large group of people joining this idea are those who did so because a best friend, or merely an acquaintance, from whom they would never expect it, also decided to join the business. They were at a party, saw a presentation, gave in to the mood of delight and the number of people present—and did what so many others did. They followed the crowd, in line with the slogan:
Eat poop, people! After all, ten billion flies can’t be wrong.
However, for a long time they have not made a decision to consistently work on building their business. They simply didn’t want to miss out on anything—be it network marketing or a sports event. They, too, will never have to deal with preparing tax returns showing high income.
Other co-workers, on the other hand, think that the products they offer are simply interesting and cannot be bought in any store. They enjoy discounts that they can get as company partners. They buy products at wholesale price and use them. And if a neighbor or colleague orders a few products or even becomes a regular customer, there is an opportunity to earn additional income. With the number of sellers reaching several thousand, the volume of their organization’s turnover increases. Of course, customers working as consumers will not be among the top earners. That is not their purpose, after all. They are happy and content with what they do and what they have.
There are also associates who, in principle, really want to be successful—but unfortunately only in principle. They were just about to introduce the first people to their structure, but after hearing the fifth “no!” suddenly other things took priority. After all, money can’t buy happiness and they can always try again next month.
Sure, one day they, too, wish to stand on stage and hear the crowd cheer while having their dream pin attached to their jacket lapel. But do you really need to attend boring meetings every week for that? After all, they are not a bit more interesting than during the first weeks. Is it really necessary to talk on the phone every evening?
After all, there is always tomorrow. Apart from that, you still have your primary job and therefore don’t really need all that…
This category of sellers are looking in vain for a letter with a check for a handsome sum in their mailbox. The group of dreamers is also interesting to observe—although they do not achieve any successes worth mention. If you meet one at a network party, you’ll think you’ve met the star that lights up all of the network marketing. These people are positive through and through, so kind and downright unbearably motivated. They talk constantly about their dreams and what they will do in the distant future. They rush from one motivational seminar to another and emphasize the importance of having a goal. That is why they visit all car dealerships in their area, permanently in search of their “dream car”. The same reasoning leads them to showings of ready-made houses, where they look for their “dream home”. They are also regulars at a nearby travel agency, where they ask for new brochures offering long-distance trips every month, looking for their “dream trip”.
Guests visiting their homes would discover that the owners have arranged a sort of an altar: the walls are plastered with photos of “dream objects” and various motivational slogans. On the chest of drawers there would be plastic miniatures of luxurious cars, right next to a cardboard model of the future “dream villa”. Dreamers regularly spend a lot of time in front of their shrine of life’s success, to visualize their goals. After all, it is very important, as their “guru” persuaded them at the last Mind-Building seminar, actually sending them for a walk on red-hot coals or shattered glass.
Obviously, building mockups of houses or car models takes many hours, which are then not spent on building a sales organization. “That’s okay,” the dreamer thinks. With deep meditation, we build up new energy, strengthen the power of persuasion, and can magically conduct successful recruitment or sales talks in the next days.
Usually, however, these never happen at all—the reality is too cruel for the dreamer: interested persons do not show up on the agreed date, and if they do, they react very negatively. There are customers who doubt the product’s quality and refuse to buy. The everyday reality shows that success in network marketing must be earned, not dreamed up. It turns out that dreams only come true with consistent, tireless work, with perseverance and endurance. A dreamer finds it much more important to feel good than to work hard. So their bank account is usually empty. The rather tragic stories include those about the industry’s seasoned dark horses. They are eager to call themselves professionals, because over the past fifteen years they have signed up for every MLM company advertising loudly in small ads: “Beat everyone else to a brand new super-mega-hyper-system. The best spots are still available!”
They’ve seen everything, lived through it, heard it all, but they haven’t earned anything yet. They stand carelessly around the hotel’s conference hall, bored, stirring their coffee and waiting for the training to end—to participate in it would be beneath them. The last handful of their entourage eventually moved on to another company. And they had followed them faithfully through five successive companies. Now patience has run thin and they were mocked as losers. Meanwhile, the primary rule of the self-proclaimed professional is also failing: recruiting people from other MLM organizations. Nobody takes them seriously anymore, they are ridiculed in the industry—and they are the only ones who do not realize that. Also, their photo has long been gone from among portraits in the hall of fame, and the copy of the last check has faded considerably over the years. They are not ready to take the crown off their heads, face the facts and try to start anew.
If we take away the representatives of the above factions from the total number of sellers, in reality there will not be many left to count among the winners or who are well on their way to being a winner.
Yet they are there—without them this business would not function at all. These are people fascinated by this form of trading. They enjoy dealing with people and love everyday challenges. Above all, however, they are aware of the fact that they have become entrepreneurs in quite a normal business. They accept the fact that the rules that apply here are the same that lead to success in other industries as well. They are less concerned about themselves than about their prospective clients and colleagues. They see nothing wrong with problems and perceive them only as tasks that need to be done.
On the other side of all self-centered mental acrobatics, they do the work that needs doing—day after day, month after month, and if necessary, year after year. They know their goal and therefore do not care whether or not they are properly motivated today. They are active even when they are not in the best of moods, since they are driven by the result they need to reach. At the same time, they constantly discover that being active is what puts them in a good mood. They are not disappointed when a potential customer has not signed up or when a new colleague has stopped working again. They are aware that their business partners are not serfs tasked with multiplying the hiring manager’s fortune. They serve the organization—not the other way around.
As you know, network marketing works according to the law of large numbers: “no” is followed by “yes”, and after a few inactive associates, there comes an active one. They just keep working until they reach their goal. They take responsibility and don’t waste time making excuses or looking to assign guilt. They are open-minded and willing to learn. They are not prideful and do not have an exaggerated idea of what knowledge they have acquired earlier in their lives. They are persistent and patient. They don’t give up when the first commission check doesn’t buy them a new car. They are aware that in this business, the big does not devour the small, the fast does not outpace the slow; instead, the persistent beats the shaky and fickle.
Anyone can do this, but not everyone reaches the top, not everyone is successful, and not everyone becomes rich.
Does this speak against network marketing? Or are those friends, colleagues, neighbors and family members right in their regaling a future networker with their good advice, scathing mockery and warnings? Is it right to paralyze a hopeful person who starts work in an MLM with the poison of doubt? Is the network marketing system bad because there is no 100% guarantee of success?
A business concept can only guarantee one thing: people who are interested in it are given a tool with which they will be more successful in business than without it. What is brilliant about this program is the division of labor between the company offering the products and its salespeople. As long as the company takes care of all administrative, logistics and financial matters, its traders can concentrate on their task: expanding the sales network.
At the same time, this sector also offers a real chance to those who are neither educated traders nor have the capital adequate for the establishment of a traditional company. It is a type of business that a layman can join without risking their home. Both the costs of joining and the economic risk are so low that the mere joining and resigning from such business takes place without major losses. Anyone can try, and many do. It doesn’t take any big decisions to become an associate. Thus, in an MLM you will meet all those people you meet everywhere else—in factories, offices, in the neighborhood, in your own family, in your social circle, among your friends, in politics, on vacation and on the street: the persistent and exploiters, lady-killers and buffoons, nodders and lamenters, the brilliant and posers, charismatics and those without character, the persistent and talkative, inventive and naive, hardworking and lazy, wonderful and megalomaniacs, generous and mean, approachable and boring, loyal and hypocritical, organizers and enthusiasts, brave and ignorant, resourceful and mischievous, entrepreneurs and neglectful, those pursuing their goals and those shying away from it.
Network Marketing is a neutral sales system and business concept. It is just as good or as bad as people who work in it. As in any other field, there are those who are very successful or moderately successful, and those who are not. Those who make money and those who merely earn some extra cash on top of their salary—and as in any other business and profession, through our thoughts and actions, each of us decides individually, which group they want to belong to. Is it that simple or rather that difficult—this is a matter of one’s individual perception.
Anyone can be successful—but not everyone is. Will you be successful?
This article is based on an excerpt from the bestseller “Everyday Poison. Enemies of success” by Michael Strachowitz. The author is one of the world’s leading speakers. He started his MLM career in 1977. Within 5 years, together with his wife Gabriele, he built an organization of more than 22,000 partners who pursue this profession as an additional or main job, active throughout Europe and beyond. In 1982, he reached the highest point in his career in his company’s distribution system. Since the late 1980s, Strachowitz has been enjoying the fruits of the work he had put into building his organization, and since then he has been working exclusively as an advisor, trainer, inspector and coach in the field of direct sales and network marketing. Already over one hundred thousand distribution partners of various companies and organizations in 17 European countries benefited from his professional and reliable lectures. Strachowitz’s clients include all the leading MLM companies in the world, who appreciate his amazing knowledge and invigorating humor.