This next series of articles will veer off the path of scholastic education and literacy, and venture into the world of financial literacy. This series will take a look at an area rarely explored in print; multi-level network marketing businesses, entities which we have all experienced through personal participation, being recruited or being sold a product or service.
These business models and the people involved with them are already highly scrutinized, thus the intent of this series is not to do more of the same. The goal will be to take an objective look at them from multiple perspectives; the business associate, their prospects, friends, relatives and coworkers.
This topic that will potentially touch multiple people and it is particularly relevant in this era of recessions, further potential government shutdowns and sequestrations where people are being forced to consider alternative ways of earning income. Again the goal here is not to sway anyone to a particular side, but simply to educate readers curious enough to read this series.
“Hey man, I want to talk to you. I’ve been watching you. You look like a serious brother, and I have a business opportunity to turn you onto,” a bus driver told me at the beginning of my commute. “I don’t want to drive this bus forever, and I want to make some real money. Take this brochure and if you text me your number, I’ll invite to one of our meetings so you can get some more information.”
Besides being surprised that one of the metro bus drivers prospected me for recruitment into his business, it brought back memories of my own experiment with multi-level network marketing. Just briefly, multi-level marketing is a marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of the other salespeople they recruit.
What made this bus driver prospect me though? And what made him consider me a “serious brother?” It could have been my regular ridership on his particular route most mornings. Perhaps it was my “serious” appearance and disposition that made me seem like someone who could effectively work in his business and help he and his colleagues achieve their dreams.
My thoughts reflected back to the many network marketers encountered during my travels in person and on social media, and what their motivations were. My motivations at one time for participating in one were; becoming rich, taking advantage of business tax breaks, and being able to walk away from my job.
Since 2005, multiple opportunities have come across my path. The first was from an Indian man in his late twenties in a supermarket late one night. After striking up a friendly conversation with me about my life and aspirations, he started talking about an e-commerce business he was involved in. He encouraged me to learn more about it and to “keep an open mind and get some information,” common phrases used by prospectors. Have you ever experienced anything like this?
Since then there have been numerous offers to participate in businesses involved in e-commerce, financial counseling, travel services, weight loss/health products, legal advice, organic coffee, and health care services. The list goes on.
At their informational meetings, most if not all of the network marketing businesses had elaborate presentations, and marketed dreams of:
• Financial independence
• Making multiple residual passive income streams
• Walking away from jobs
• Taking vacations whenever desired
• Making your own schedule
• Making a full-time income off of part-time hours
This topic will be examined in greater detail in the subsequent articles. People’s motivation for joining this type of enterprise will be examined in part two of this series.