This article is going to ruffle some feathers, I guarantee it. Some of you are going to read it, roll your eyes, and immediately look for the unsubscribe button.
I'm sharing this information with you because I wish someone would have genuinely, and without an ulterior motive, shared this with me years ago ... but I wasn't open to it.
If you're not open to it right now, all that I'm asking is for you to read this article for the sake of learning another way to make income in your business, so that you can keep doing what you have a passion for. You don't have to action it, just file it away under "good to know" and move on with your day.
I realize that this introduction sounds super defensive, and it's only because I know how I used to think about ...
duh, duh, duhhhhhhhhh ...
NETWORK MARKETING. I despised it. I avoided it like the plague. I dismissed anyone who approached me about joining their team, esppecially when they phrased it as "an incredible opportunity". To be fair, it might have been the way that they were approaching me, with a cold e-mail from someone who I've never met, asking me if I've ever heard of "nutritional cleansing" or "the best supplements on the market today".
There was no genuine want to know more about me. The trust was broken before it even had a chance to grow. There was no "hey, I've been following your business for months and I dig your vibe! I just wanted to introduce myself" or "Hey, in your last blog/Instagram/Facebook post, you mentioned how you've been struggling with _____. I came across this article and it made me think of you. I thought I'd pass it on ... enjoy!". Just a cold, hard business pitch when I was already overwhelmed in my business and working 24/7.
No thank you.
We all know those people, whose lives become consumed with parties, placement structures, cash bonuses, and the promise of new cars. The people whose social media feeds turn into one big sales pitch. Maybe people even think that about me, which I hope is not true, but I have to consider that it's a least a possibility.
The thing is, if you have your own holistic business, your feed is already going to be all about your business. It's a major part of who you are, what makes you (hopefully) jump out of bed in the morning with a burning desire to change the world, one person at a time. Even if you're doing your business part-time, you introduce yourself FIRST as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, RMT, or yoga instructor who "also happens to work at a bank/coffee shop/runs a home daycare".
Believe me when I say that used to be me, working at one of the biggest banks in Canada full-time and doing my business one day a week, with my totally unused Geophysics degree hanging from my office wall. Nutrition was my way of merging my love for science, the human body, and helping people, all into one.
But I wasn't making enough money to quit my job. Not even close. Because completing all my fancy degrees left me with $24,000 worth of student debt that wasn't going to pay itself off, and my basic business expenses (like web hosting, newsletter provider, and online shopping cart software) were costing me about $500 a month.
Then I started investing in business coaches to help me make more money, and teach me all the things about business that I didn't know. I used some inheritance money so at least I felt somewhat guilt-free about spending $5,000 for 6 months of business coaching, but not everyone has an inheritance or a line of credit with an available balance to do that.
I wouldn't have changed my business path for the world, as all my struggles and triumphs have turned me into someone who feels confident enough to share what she knows with all of you. On one hand, I kind of wish that someone would have introduced me to a reputable network marketing company sooner, but in all fairness, I would have ended up on a team that wasn't able to support me in the way that I needed, and I wasn't skilled enough on my own to have made it work.
After one whole year of incorporating network marketing into my holistic nutrition business (my anniversary was Oct 18th), I've learned a thing or two, not only from my own business, but from how my direct upline has seamlessly incorporated network marketing into her holistic nutrition biz.
I want to share these with you to shed a little light on how you can authentically use network marketing to create another stream of income in your business, without feeling salesy, pushy, or sleazy. Because that's just not cool.
Here are 5 ways to smoothly add network marketing into your holistic biz:
1. Pick a company whose products match your beliefs
If you haven't already gathered by any of my previous posts or webinars, you need to have a point-of-view in your business. Are you all about raw vegan food or paleo? Traditional ways of preparing whole grains or gluten free? Using weight loss products to jumpstart a plan or only using food? Cleansing with herbal supplements or fasting? Supplements or no supplements at all? What makes you you? Then, find a company who matches your beliefs. Don't choose to rep a tea company if you are a coffee drinker. Don't sign up with a supplement company if you hate using supplements with your clients. The closer the network marketing company's products match your already existing belief system, the more authentic it will feel incorporating it into your marketing message. People will be able to tell if you're doing something from a place of service, of really wanting to help others, versus just trying to make a quick buck. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
Also, the first rule of repping a company is do you use the product yourself? You can't become successful with anything you do, whether it's associated with network marketing or not, if you don't walk the walk. Follow your own recommendations for your clients. Continually make yourself better. Believe me, people can detect a phoney from a mile away, and you'll just end up frustrated and feel like network marketing companies are all evil pyramid schemes.
2. Pick a company whose products match something you're already recommending
While my body reacts horribly to 99% of nutritional supplements, I do recommend targeted supplements to my clients based on scientific research. Things like probiotics, omega-3's, and gut-supporting nutrients, since I work with a lot of clients with gut issues and food allergies. I also recommend supplements to help up-regulate the natural cleansing actions of the liver for my clients who have hormone issues.
In an ideal world. the products we recommend help balance the root issue of why our clients are unhealthy in the first place, but depending on the company, they can also provide symptom support while you're using other steps to correct the root issue.
Before I joined my network marketing (NM) company, I sent these clients to the local health food store with a few names of brands and products that I trusted. The clients got better, of course, but the store profited. I'm all about supporting local business ... but not if it means I can't afford to continue my business because I'm not making enough money. Now, I can personally recommend the probiotics, omega 3's, and liver cleansing products that my NM company carries, and spend my income on what I personally need at the health food store.
As part of my 6-month one-on-one program and my 8-week online program, I was already educating my clients on reducing the toxins going into their bodies by choosing clean skincare and cleaning products, and recommended which brand name and products to start buying when their existing products ran out. My NM company carries skincare that I've personally rated on the Environmental Working Group's SkinDeep Database and compared to other well-known "clean" products (FYI: my NM company's products were cleaner) if my clients don't feel like making their own. As part of my bigger team, we also provide 100% natural, homemade recipes for everyone to make their own skincare and cleaning products that are just as, if not more, effective as the chemical-laden stuff, and way less expensive. I continue to make long-term income from recommending products I trust and have personally researched, and my clients continue to feel healthy as they're not loading their body with toxins. In fact, over time, my NM company's products also have therapeutic benefits, so my clients' health just keeps getting better and better after we stopped working together. It's truly a win-win-win.
If you pick a company with products you already recommend in your programs, just switch out what you were previously recommending with the NM ones. If you believe in the product, you won't feel sleazy about doing this, or like you're taking advantage. When you client goes to the health food store with a huge list in hand, all that they want is someone they trust to tell them what to buy. They already trust you, and you're making their life easier. It's easier for everyone.
3. Pick an enroller or sponsor who can support your business
I had no idea until I joined my NM company how important the person who enrolled/sponsors you is. In my NM company, your sponsor is the person directly above you who, when you're wanting to produce income, mentors you regularly, whether that's every week, bi-weekly, or once a month. The mentoring sessions that I've had with my upline cover everything from personal problems that are interfering with my business, supporting my team in the most effective way, specific strategies to share my business on social media, and everything in between. Depending on who enrolls you, you might have the best mentoring relationship ever OR one where the person won't even answer your e-mails or questions.
It's your direct sponsor, as well as those several levels above them, who determines what kind of support you'll get when building income with your NM business. For example, my team provides you with a tried-and-tested 3-month training program to help you get started, as well as an 8-week mastery program for advanced topics. These are like "businesses in a box", where different strategies to grow your NM business has already been tried, and the most successful ones are shared with you in an easy to understand way to help you start making an income the fastest.
It's truly your sponsor who will help you have the most seamless transition of incorporating your NM company into your already existing business. They can be like the best business coach you've ever had, but for free! Be sure to pick someone to support you who has experience in your specific niche, and who has grown their business in the way you want to grow yours. If you live in a small town and know that you'll have to learn online strategies, don't choose someone to sponsor you who can't even open an e-mail. Have several meetings with your potential sponsor beforehand, and ask lots of questions so that you know they're a good fit. Research them online, look up their website and social media accounts. At some point, you'll start considering this person like a member of your family, so choose wisely! My litmus test is "would I want to have a glass of wine with this person?". This question, plus my own gut feelings, has never led me wrong!
Let's get this one thing straight: if you're treating a NM company as the magic answer to why you're not making enough money in your business, it's going to fail. You still have to learn all the business lessons you need to market yourself properly and expand your circle of influence. Your sponsor could be your mentor in this area, and teach you more things than paying for another online course ever could ... but only if they walk the walk themselves and are successful. Don't get caught up in the promises, but ask what they've actually done and achieve themselves.
4. Pick a company whose financial commitment is within, or slightly outside of, your comfort zone
Since I've only ever been in one NM company, I wasn't aware of the range of financial commitments you have to make if you want to build a business with them. Some require you to purchase a starter kit that could cost you thousands of dollars, and some cost less than $100. Most require you to be on a monthly shipment program, with the minimum of $100. If the person who you are considering enrolling with is telling you that the only option is a multi-thousand dollar kit, ask them if that's the only option, because you may be able to start with a smaller kit. You could also try Googling it! If your enroller keeps insisting that you choose a larger kit and pressuring you, do you really want to work with this person? To be fair, if you're starting on a new business venture and investing your money, it's going to feel uncomfortable. However, worrying about investing so much that you feel like you're going to throw up for the next month isn't just slightly outside your comfort zone, it was probably a bad decision for you. Choose a number that if you weren't able to make that back within 3-6 months, it wouldn't ruin you financially.
Whether it's in your NM business OR you regular holistic practice, if you are desperate to make money because you invested a ton in something that isn't giving you returns quickly, people will be able to tell. You won't be able to teach and share from an authentic place because you'll be worried about making enough money this month to pay back you initial investment. You can always start small and build. In my company, the smallest kit I'd recommend starting with as a potential business builder is $159 U.S., and the requirement to collect commissions is a minimum monthly order of $100 U.S. I started with this smallest kit, and was still able to grow my business to a few people short of 400 in one year.
5. Pick a company who is here to stay
This point isn't really how to incorporate anything into your business, but I need to point out that there are lots of NM companies who go under every year, taking your investment and your source of income with them. Choose a reputable company who is a leader in their industry. Look up the company financials. Are they heavily in debt or do they have lots of cash reserves? Where do they sit in the industry as a whole? Are they the biggest company in that niche? If a company is heavily in debt, despite having a large reach, they could easily go bankrupt (we learned from the 2008 recession that seemingly unsinkable and huge companies can and do fail when they are floundering in debt, depend on an ever increasing cash flow every month, or are based on made up investments). If a company has cash reserves, operates in the black, and is an industry leader, chances are that they'll be around for a long time to come ... and so will your paycheques.
I never thought a year ago that I'd be recommending that holistic biz owners incorporate a network marketing company into their income streams, but never say never! Whether you consider it or not, network marketing offers a way to create sustainable income to keep you in your place of genius.
Do you want to know more about the biz opportunity in my organization? Click below to read my top 10 reasons for incorporating network marketing into your holistic health business, including why I chose my NM company, and how you can connect with me to see if we'd be a good fit.
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I wanna know: did you learn something new about network marketing companies in this article? Are you for or against them? Have you had a horrible experience? Share your answers in the comments below.