One viable way to create income from home is working within a Multi-level Marketing company (MLM) or Direct Sales company like Avon, Tupperware, etc. I’ve worked within three such companies with varying degrees of success. Ultimately, I found that I crave more control over my business than to work within a mini-franchise system. However, I do feel that for the right people, this type of business model can bring much success.
Unfortunately, many people get suckered into these businesses without realizing it’s a business. You need to learn about the business itself: the products, the procedures, as well as marketing and recruiting techniques. In a MLM, you are not only a business owner, but also a mentor to others who want to join in the business with you.
I have encountered many people who say that they are committed, who say that they want to make a change in their lives, but never really follow through. These people amaze me, as I’m pretty much a “you see what you get” kinda gal. I’m always honest and if I say I’m going to do something, you can guarantee that I’ll do it.
I remember the very first person I sponsored was an older gentleman who was not computer literate. Ted spun wonderful tales about how he worked for the Chamber of Commerce, and had all of these contacts, and he was really excited about the business, which entailed e-commerce. Ted wasn’t really familiar with the Internet, he didn’t use email, and he had never shopped online.
This should have been a huge red flag, but he was eager and interested, and I was excited to have my first recruit. So, not knowing any better, I signed him up.
After working with Ted for a few months, I realized that he believed in my enthusiasm more than he believed in the company. Ted never attended business meetings or training phone calls. He never contacted those 600+ people he knew in the Chamber. He expected to just sit and watch me sponsor person after person. Even though the business was based on e-commerce, he never once bought from himself. He thought I was his free meal ticket and would create success for him. Of course, Ted never earned a profit and ultimately, he left the business.
The second person I sponsored was a single woman with three kids. Learning from my trials with Ted, I made sure that she had some kind of computer savvy and was interested in the business itself. Amanda had sales experience, and was eager to get started. She certainly sold me on her willingness and commitment to do the work.
But then the excuses started to come. Amanda came up with every reason under the sun why she couldn’t do this or that. She was constantly complaining about everything, and how she couldn’t get a break. The whole world was against her, and it wasn’t her fault.
That particular MLM was a conglomeration of several, so there are many opportunities depending where your interest lies. There were health products, telephone services, legal services, and more. While working with Amanda, I learned that instead of working the business, she went out and signed on with the same companies independently! She thought that there was better opportunity elsewhere, not even realizing that she was already a distributor of those companies. Amanda didn’t take the time to get to know the business before jumping to the next big opportunity.
After working with these two, I realized that I had some serious thinking to do about who I wanted to work with. I sat down and I made a list of qualities, skills, and attributes of people I thought would be successful in the industry. I created a questionnaire, and made people put together a business and marketing plan. If they didn’t know where to start, I could guide them, but from this simple exercise, I could tell who was ready to put in the effort to make a profit. I no longer focused on people who were “dreamers”, and instead worked with people who were “do-ers.”
Successful people make a commitment: they outline achievable goals and discipline themselves to reach them. They follow-through with customers, prospects, and their upline (those who train them). And most importantly, they are willing to change what isn’t working, and learn from others who have already walked the path.