So let’s talk a bit about network marketing, ok?
You know you’ve been seeing all the hype on social media these days from Network Marketers and their products, businesses and stories and you’re either fed up with it or slightly intrigued.
What gives? Why so much hoopla about drinking the Kool-aid in one of these formats? Let me lay it out in terms of my story and what I’ve learned along the way of my doubts and beliefs. Let’s also compare notes on how it measures up to buying into a franchise and/or staying with our current J.O.B.s.
There are countless companies out there to join. You can sign up to be a rep for skincare, nail art, lotions, soaps, wrap things, pills, oils, potions, boomerangs (well, maybe not boomerangs yet but let’s just give it some time!)
In all honesty, it can seem completely ridiculous and overwhelming and honestly a bit noisy, am I right? But let’s dissect it a bit further and why I’ve realized in the past 2 1/2 years that it’s something I believe everyone with a pulse should have their hand in. Here’s my story and why I’m sticking to it! (although I share my experience with Beachbody, feel free to swap your own favorite company here if you have different goals)
- Why are there so many??? The problem with so many options is getting fed up with the noisy people who are scrambling to build their business. Yes, it can be a “problem” but I like to find a new “solution” instead. You with me? So you are getting “invited” to check out these companies right and left, right? You may even be added to these “groups” on Facebook where they promote their products (and then the company too) But how do you know what fits you best? Here’s what to do first…Look into the companies. Check out the products they offer and see if their mission statements stands up to what you can get behind proudly. Look at the compensation plan and follow a few successful reps you can relate with to see how they are running their business models. Does it speak to you? Do you feel that you could do what they are doing? Does it seem simple enough or is it complicated and confusing to you? That’s the first step…finding the right option that fits you and having integrity with the company you represent. If needed, reach out to a few reps and “interview” them and ask how they train new reps. Do they have a training set up? Or do they just sign you up and run? Are there a million meetings to attend weekly and do you enjoy the face to face meetings or do you prefer more online and phone accountability? These will all help you eliminate businesses that don’t fit your “mold”. I chose Beachbody. Simply put, I didn’t do the initial investigating because I joined a zillion years ago when there wasn’t much talk yet about network marketing. I was working as a trainer and had purchased P90X over the infomercial and met my “coach” who helped me get started. The reason I chose this company? Because it was about fitness, health and tons of support. I have since learned that we always evolve and the changes we’ve made (and that I’ve made) are so in line with where and how I want my life to proceed. No regrets and I wouldn’t dream of joining another opportunity. (that’s the type of satisfaction you’ll want to feel after about 3 months in)
- Get started! This was my first hiccup. I did nothing. I actually listened to the steps my upline “coach” set out for me and became excited by her vision and success; but I really didn’t see myself in it quite yet. I hadn’t set up the vision for how I could benefit long term. I was still stuck in the “J.O.B” mentality of a personal trainer. I was busy trading my hours for my income…something most of us become accustomed to doing and never realize if it’s creating a stress in our lives. I started to realize I was feeling overly stressed out with my time spent doing my “J.O.B.” and there was not much room to grow financially…it felt like I was stuck. If you have ever, (or do now) feel like this…pay attention and don’t keep pushing it aside!! Although, I did get started at first, (in the initial training phase); I hit a breaking point when it was time to fly on my own. Time to move to step 3….
- Find your vision. Once I got to my first “breaking point” as a Beachbody coach, I remember telling my upline that I was done. I recall quite vividly telling her “This is not working! I am working so hard on my training job and trying to run this business but it’s not giving me back enough of what I need.” Yes, I said that. And do you know what she replied back with? NOTHING. She said absolutely nothing. She just heard me out and told me she respected my decision either way. Wait a minute. What the WHAAAT? How dare she not fight me back? How DARE she not try to talk me into staying on??? I was so pissed off and hung up the phone thinking I had said my peace and was going to quit. Then the reality of it all came slamming back into my face…this was my business. I had started with no true goals and once I expected something in return…I hadn’t proceeded to make any changes in my daily efforts. I was looking for my upline to treat me like she was my boss and this was not the case. In network marketing, we work with our leaders and our team mates but we never work for them. I realized I needed to put some effort of my own into my business if I was going to succeed or fail accurately. So I did just that.
- Fail like a champion. When you first get a new “j.o.b.”; you go through some initial training and then you are set up to clock in and clock out each day and told what you can and cannot do and told how much you will earn by following these rules. Right? I know that as a trainer and group fitness instructor/boot camp owner, I had this crazy notion that you “do more” and you will “receive more”…right? Wrong! Working for someone else is simply working for their vision. Never yours. Let me share a quick story of when this message was seared into my brain…I was working with this one gym/corporation and had done some really amazing work within the company. I traded extra hours when I didn’t have to; I went above and beyond in helping out the members and my clients; I showed up to help out co-workers as they needed; I just gave my all. Now, it does feel good to do more for others but even that good feeling is made better by being rewarded in the long run. You with me? So, here it was…my “10 Year Anniversary” with the company. I felt like a true badass. I had traded so many hours away from my kids, my own training and just out of my comfort level….that I just knew something was coming to pay me back! It had been a few years in that they stopped giving us yearly reviews and raises, so I had summed up that this was going to finally be the time I was given the bigger pay-raise! The morning of my anniversary, (like most every morning at that time) I showed up early and was setting up the room for my fitness class. I was pleasantly surprised when the general manager showed up and whispered in my ear, “When you are ready to start, I’d like to take the mic from you and make an announcement to the class”…he said, quite excitedly. I was soo pumped up! Finally! All my hard work and dedication to stand above others was going to pay off! What would be my reward? What would they be presenting me with today?? It came time to hand the mic over to him as my class members stood watching to see what was going on…(weren’t we going to have class? I could see on their faces) And then the magical moment came. He took the mic and and gave a heartfelt speech of accolades for me and how much time and energy and sacrifice I had given over the past 10 years… and then…(drum roll time!) He said the words I had been anticipated for so long…”We present you with this gift to let you know how much we appreciate you”…and he handed me a plain envelope with my name written on the front. I thanked him profusely, knowing quite well that something spectacular was waiting inside for me and then taught an amazing class! Everyone came up to congratulate me after class and tell me how valuable I was to each and every one of them…and trust me, this was something that got me up in the morning because I came to love and respect these members as my own family! Once everyone had left the room, I decided I’d “peek” inside the envelope to see what awaited my inside. Oh, the anticipation was killing me!!! What could it be? A check? A promotion? Something more? I pulled out the card that said “congratulations” on the front and opened it up as excitedly as a child on would open a gift on Christmas morning. What did I find inside??? A handwritten note of gratitude for 10 years of service and signed by the general manager and the fitness director. Period. I checked inside the envelope because I was sure I had missed the actual gift. Still nothing. It was 10 years of hard work and hours of sweat (literally) given back with nothing more than a signature. That moment was a moment I will never forget and it was in this moment that I knew that working for someone else would only pay me for the hours and the time I put into the work..nothing less and nothing more. It was at this time I started to look for another opportunity. I worked for years to build my own private training business and boot camp franchise business. It failed time and again only because I didn’t have enough time, energy and money to do more than every other fitness professional was doing. I loved the fitness field but it was seriously killing me in spirit, time and passion.
- Grow in your own way. As I said in the step above, I worked on starting my own franchise in a bootcamp business venture but realized the amount of money I would have needed to come up with and the time and energy that would be needed to get the business kicked off from ground zero was more than I wanted to invest with 3 young children and a busier schedule than I was happy with already. I just didn’t have the excitement to spend another 10 or so years, in building up a business and paying back the hundreds of thousands of dollars I would have had to borrow from the bank to start this venture. Defeated in more ways than I was proud of, I settled into my regular “work hours” once again. It was at this time that I was briefly introduced to the Beachbody “coaching” opportunity, but I didn’t truly understand what it meant. Like I mentioned before, Network marketing wasn’t something that I had heard too much about yet and I rationalized that being a “coach” was simply cheering people on who were taking on their own P90x and Insanity programs. I was only half-correct. Also, like I mentioned above, I signed up as a coach just to see what it was all about but not really that interested in seeing the true potential. Cut to 3 years into my business when I was forced into making a decision to continue working 12-15 hours a day in the gym and making the same income as I was already earning in my “part time” business as a coach. This made me do a double take. How could the numbers be right, I wondered? I recalculated the incomes again and again; only to come up with the same answers. It was at this point that I had to decide to give one of the positions up for good. Which would I choose? Option 1: working 12-15 hours a day or Option 2: working whenever I wanted for however long I wanted but generally 4-5 hours a day and ultimately be earning the same amount of money. The deciding factor was also in knowing I had reached my financial “ceiling” at the gym and would have to add more hours to my work day, in order to create more income. With my Beachbody business, I hadn’t even scratched the surface and would be able to create my own residual income as I grew a team. I chose to quit my job and did so that week.
- Treat the business as a franchise made FOR you. Since I was going to commit to my business, I had no other option but to make it work. Like mentioned before, I was working this and my “day job” and both were bringing me the same amount of income but I would have to double up my at home biz to match the full income that was being earned with both positions. So instead of having to work for nothing by buying into a franchise and needing to pay back the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to start it; I would be making all the money and earn all the perks I desired by treating this like a true franchise. As a network marketer (again in any company you decide to get started with), you are able to reach out and distribute a product that has already been established by a reputable company. You benefit from all of the advantages gained as a franchise while overcoming many of the disadvantages…score! You can expect a good network marketing company to have some level of branding in place so that consumers already recognize the product that you are offering and this is half the battle with product knowledge. In Beachbody, I’m sure you’ve seen the many infomercials that they pay for with the variety of workout programs that we offer. They spend millions of dollars each year just to share this information. Brand recognition is not a problem! (although it has been know for most people to call “P90X”…”PX90” but who’s keeping track?) As a coach in a growing network, we have access to the products and programs that Beachbody offers and although we earn commissions on all products sold through our online “stores”; learning to differentiate that we are the brand, and not Beachbody is the make or break it rule of thumb for a successful; versus unsuccessful coach. With so many people working on sharing the same products, our main concern should be how we stand out and offer value to the people who connect with us. And honestly, if this is our biggest challenge, how awesome is that?? We don’t ever have to stock products (been there, done that before in another company); we don’t ever have to ship products; we don’t ever have to deal with customer service (we have our “reps” with the company doing that for us!); we don’t have to rent an office or store front; we don’t have to paint the walls or hire employees or deal with uniforms, etc. We don’t even have to host “home parties” if we don’t like to. There is no start up capital needed if you decide to become a distributor and team builder; versus a franchisee. You simply pay a small fee to join the network (and with Beachbody, it is simply purchasing the products you need to get fit and healthy anyway) and the rest is up to you. In some companies, there may be an annual fee or mandatory conference participation but with Beachbody, it’s up to you if you want to run the biz or keep it as a discount option. No obligations ever. You can work your business like I do, and run it entirely as an online and home based business. You can run it as a community business as other coaches are doing, quite successfully. You can even choose to do a bit of both. This opportunity as a network marketer, allows you to work in your free time if you still work a “J.O.B.” and you are not forced to sacrifice the full-time job that is paying your bills. As the new business venture grows (like mine did), you have the option to to full-time; or to keep both business rolling and know you are in control of your income.
- It’s not “EASY” but it’s worth it if you love it. Like any other true business venture, you will need to invest time and energy into building your new business. You’ll need to dive into training and stay consistent to the basic steps that successful marketers are having. The system itself isn’t challenging in effort, but consistency and faith are going to go a long way as you are starting out in the first year or two. What other business field offers you massive growth in just the first 2 years if you are serious and highly committed? Obviously, you won’t be paid more if you are not doing more. This business venture is much easier to fit into any schedule and the flexibility that is offered by the network marketing model. As a Beachbody coach, we know we fit into the “MLM” model but the difference stands out because we help with the important stages of helping people create happier and more fulfilling lives. It’s not just about the business; we offer a total solution to fitness and health and supplementation and everything else in between. Our CEO, Carl Daikeler, has even offered up his own acronym that differentiates Beachbody from all of the other companies out there. We are a “PHP” company; a “People Helping People” company.Quite simply, not everyone becomes successful in this industry. This is not a “get rich scheme” as most people hope it is. Our income is in direct reflection to the lives we help to change. Period. No more waiting for a promotion outside of our control. No more feeling as though we are being looked over and needing to compete with everyone in our department. We are our own boss and we create our own brand.
So there you have it. Why so many “haters” believe that Network Marketing sucks. This is not the work force taught to us in school. This is not the path that we are given when we are enrolled in school and taught that we should all attend college to earn a degree and follow that degree to lock down the job of our dreams. Nothing is wrong with getting a college degree and working in the desired field of choice…but nothing is wrong with choosing a new and proven way if the need and passion is there either. I believe this mentality will one day be taught in schools too. Until then, this is new territory…and it’s kind of like we are paving the way!
Want some info about Beachbody coaching? My mentorship group kicks off every month and I love to share with anyone who has the desire to learn; no strings attached. I only want those who see this as the fit they have been looking for in their lives…much like I did!