Multitudes of people are stampeding to new income opportunities to generate dollars from a source outside of their traditional jobs. For some, what was Plan Z has become Plan A, especially in regards to the industry of multi-level marketing, also referred to as network marketing. In this article, we will take a look into a world that is attracting everyday people in search of a different path.The ConceptMulti-level marketing and network marketing are often used interchangeably. For this article we will use them that way as well. Network marketing is quite possibly the most simple to grasp business model in the world. If you have ever told a friend about a cable deal in order to receive a free month of service, or, raved about a movie that led to someone going to see it, or perhaps referred your neighbor to a great chiropractor, than you have participated in a type of network marketing.When you're network marketing, your essentially informing your peers about products and services that you endorse. We do it all the time without realizing it. However, the difference between your regular conversations and the industry of network marketing is that you can be compensated with the latter.How so?By sharing information with people about products and services that you promote, they may decide to buy those goods from you directly. Not only will you be sharing your message with them, but they will likely share the message with their circles as well if they have received benefits from what they have used as satisfied customers. Thus you would be multiplying exposures to your product or service and greatly improving your chances of earning more money, without necessarily having to spend more money to do so.Some of these satisfied customers may want to cash in on the opportunity as well and will join you as teammates. Your objective will be to train them to profit through their existing and newly formed networks. You will be helping them earn money while you get a residual income from their sales activities in addition to your own.This type of marketing system is heralded by many in the network marketing industry as the most viable means to generate wealth within community. Just realizing that each person that you sale products and services to could eventually represent 10 or 20 other sales through them can make your heart skip a beat. Indeed, as it can be said in many fields, the larger your network, the greater potential of your net worth. This is a certainty in network marketing.The IndustryNetwork marketing is part of a larger conglomerate, namely direct selling, which include such popular companies as Mary Kay, Amway and Avon. Direct selling is designed to cut out the middle man and provide independent representatives with an opportunity to deliver goods and services to the marketplace directly. In other words, people are the franchises instead of buildings -- and in contrast to a traditional franchise, you wont need nearly the equity to invest and you won't encounter a steep overhead to keep your business operating. It’s a novel idea and big business too.According to the Direst Sales Association, direct sales reached over $117 billion in 2010 with 74 million people involved in the industry worldwide, most operating out of their homes part time.The industry presents the option to market a myriad of products and services. Everything from cosmetics, to home décor items, to health and wellness products, to legal services and more. Network marketing is composed of people of all types of socioeconomic statuses and have both novices and veterans alike working shoulder to shoulder. Women represent the vast majority of the individuals in the industry.The Great DebateMany people believe that network marketing is the best way for the average person to create wealth. While there are clear examples of people who have done very well financially in the industry, there can be a lot of hype associated with financial success stories and exaggerated income claims to say the least.While the industry is helping a lot of people establish better financial situations, ranging from securing monthly mortgage payments, to quitting their jobs to becoming millionaires, the income deception over the years from some of those within the network marketing field has contributed to heavy criticisms of the business model.There are also several other reasons that a lot of people have a negative attitude towards network marketing. Some people think that the industry is designed for those with a limited education, or for people who don’t have a clear career agenda. This is not factual, as the industry has attracted people from all types of lifestyles and affluent professional statuses.In addition, the industry has developed a reputation as being a scam or, pyramid scheme, in which people at “the top” make a ton of cash, while those at “the bottom” don’t make much at all.By this description, life in many ways can be seen a pyramid. Some of that evidence can be noted when working for a huge corporation and looking at the dramatic differences in income between executives and entry-level workers.Nevertheless, in multi-level marketing, the idea is to start every entry-level person at the top of their own pyramid, thus creating a continuous chain of owners in the aim of eliminating a bottom. The concept is exciting and some participants have seen this come to fruition. But there are several reasons that most network marketing cases are not overflowing with success stories like this.Why The Long Face?One reason is that most people in the industry are not dedicated to the process of operating a business, neither have they been properly educated on evaluating business opportunities. Meanwhile, others believe that the compass that they used to direct them to success in another industry will effectively guide them to achievement in network marketing. And an even larger part of the community simply associate the cost of enrollment with the value of the opportunity.Furthermore, what many people in the industry fail to realize is that the biggest moving part to the success of their venture is to have a sales and recruiting training system that is so simple and effective, that it can be copied and pasted for virtually anyone involved in the business. The system should be able to project realistic and measurable results for those who follow it as well.Then of course, before some can even get started on their path, an overwhelming number of people are introduced to the industry by people who simply have selfish agendas in business.And Action!A former co-worker calls you on a Monday night pumped up about a new business opportunity. You are interested in learning more, so a couple of days later, they stop by your house to give you some details.Everything sounds good, but you still want more confirmation that other people besides your former co-worker is doing well within this opportunity. So, you go to a hotel meeting and meet some nice people who share their testimonials about how their life has changed since getting started with the opportunity and you listen to a presentation that answers all of your questions. You start dreaming again, and the prospect of getting out of credit card debt, buying that new car and taking a vacation to Hawaii gets your juices flowing. This opportunity seems like the ticket to making it all happen.You are still a bit reluctant, but you see the great potential and you trust your former co-worker. You fill out some paperwork, hand over your debit card and congratulations, you’re in business! But wait! Over the next few weeks, the person who signed you up is becoming less accessible and you have a lot of questions that they simply cannot answer about the business.You soon realize that their business philosophy was just to make a quick buck off of you instead of assisting you in launching a business. Now your modest investment that had a potential for a return has turned into a waste of money on something that you were not that confident in to begin with. You are now stuck with pamphlets and merchandise that you’ll never use, hoping to simply break even somehow. You have a bitter taste in your mouth towards these types of operations.Choosing WiselyIf you are considering getting started in network marketing, understand that choosing a business opportunity that resonates with you is critical. When you learn the details of a product or service, it can make all the sense in the world, but if you don’t have a true belief that it will work for you, your lack of enthusiasm will be evident and you will fail.Evaluate opportunities in accordance with your personal values and resources, but also keep in mind that while you'll have to analyze some things, you don't want to remain stuck on making a decision for long and drawn out periods of time if you want a shot at accelerating success. This applies not just to multi-level marketing, but any business. Being receptive to new ideas will help you with that, as most entrepreneurs will tell you that trying to figure everything out and waiting on all the answers is often the handicap of productivity.For example. Decades ago, if a person wanted to strike it big in a new opportunity, they may have chosen mobile communications. But at that time, the future influence of cell phones was not yet realized by the masses, and investing into such an idea would have meant encountering a tremendous amount of rejection by most people.This would have been when companies were building towers and cell phones were the size of an iron. It would have taken a certain amount of guts and vision to stick through that phase, but those who did have undoubtedly received unprecedented generational profits.To that end, it may be beneficial to consider an opportunity that is in a phase of business that is still growing and not one that has its best days past them.Many investors believe in putting their resources into an emerging industry before it penetrates the marketplace and becomes popular. They believe that when the evolving idea becomes evident to the masses, everyone who doubted will catch the drift just in time to become customers.In network marketing, there are opportunities to do this with many younger companies. What younger companies may lack in a long standing reputation, they may make up for in an exciting future.Give consideration as well to established companies that have been doing the right things for a long time. More often then not, you will find that leadership is a very big indicator for future success with any company. Whatever you decide, keep in mind that it is normal to have wet feet when exploring a network marketing opportunity -- but understand that timing and positioning is to business, as location is to real estate.RelationshipsMany network marketers run into issues with people, when they don't exercise responsibility towards those who they introduce to the industry. In the role of recruiter, the attitude should be as that of a sponsor.Think of a sponsor during a broadcast. The sponsor provides the resources for the television network to host programming and in return, the sponsor can air commercials that promote their products and services. It's one force helping another. So when you seek to help a person reach their goals, you in turn reach yours too.A person cannot be successful if they handle the business selfishly, and many who have done selfish business have experienced resentment by the entire team that they've built. Some have ruined otherwise meaningful personal relationships for good.If you are introduced to a network marketing opportunity by someone you know but don't feel the most comfortable doing business with, you have no obligation to lock arms with that person. If they uncomfortably push you to be recruited by them, it can be all the information that you need, to know the type of business relationship that you can expect from them.When making a decision as to what company to join and what person to join with, you should have exposure to people that are doing well within the opportunity through your direct line of leadership, such as, your sponsors’ sponsor and so on.This person or group of people in your line of leadership should be equipped with what it takes to assist you in meeting your goals and have well-rounded personalities that make them approachable, so that you can communicate with them comfortably and openly. This is critical, because success in network marketing is largely based on relationships with leadership.When you select a solid sponsor, their mentoring to guide you through the ups and downs will be very important. If you want to get started in business with the person that introduced you to the opportunity, but despite their best intentions, you realize that they are not fully equipped with what it takes to assist you in your goals, have them introduce you to someone that can help you.The CultureThe prospect of money and time freedom are what keep most people around long enough to give their business a college try. But the bonds built through the industry is one of the biggest retention magnets. Network marketing can be a very fulfilling industry to be in not just financially, but socially as well. When you truly add value to someone’s life, they appreciate it. When you boost the financial aspect of their life, which is one place we usually all need assistance in at some point, long-lasting friendships can evolve organically.There are meetings and events that most companies have locally, regionally, nationally and even internationally that are meant to motivate and educate representatives to keep striving to refine their business skills.Those in the network marketing industry consider attendance at these meetings and events as part of the way to project their personal success and their team's success. These events can be so uplifting, that even if you don’t want to participate in network marketing, experiencing the energy that goes around at major events can literally revolutionize your life.Events are where people gain their belief and develop the “mindset” to be effective in their pursuits. Speaking of the term mindset, if you decide to explore a network marketing opportunity, it’s probably one of the terms you will fondly grow sick of as it is used exhaustively.The idea is to be constantly reminded that you have to change from an employee mindset, which is based on guarantees, into an entrepreneurial mindset which is based on opportunities. From saying, "I can't," to "I can." From saying, "I wish I could," to "I know I will."An integral part of gaining this mindset is to be immersed in a personal development routine. Improving in areas such as communication and time-management are important in order to do well for yourself. The diet of personal growth that is encouraged can be so hearty that some who get in the industry may view themselves as “profitable" even before they make a dime.This is because they become equipped with the tools to let go of many of their fears and limiting belief systems. Most would agree that this is more valuable that the enrollment fee. There will likely be a recommended reading or listening program from such thought leaders as, John C. Maxwell, Les Brown, Robert Kiyosaki, Zig Ziglar and others.Knowing What To ExpectOne major mistake made by those in network marketing is associating the price of enrollment with the value of the business. In network marketing, you can start a business for a couple of hundred dollars or even less. Because of this, some people do not take the business that seriously. In turn, they display a lackluster performance in their marketing.Treat your network marketing business like a powerful force responsibly working for your financial independence, and be prepared for the long haul. Working a network marketing business is a commitment, and there may be recurring monthly membership expenses that you need to pay into in order to qualify to receive your residuals. Create a checking account for such investments and for tools that will help your business grow, including a budget for attending events and meetings.If you get involved in network marketing, the company you join should have a compensation plan that doesn't rely exclusively on recruiting, such as a retail component. Retail type sales will likely be your foundation for earning income as you improve within your recruiting skills. Also note that some network marketing companies have recruitment minimums that have to be met and maintained in order for members to receive residuals.When you talk to people about your products and services, a lot of people will say no initially, both to being a customer and a partner. With consistent action and a confident attitude though, you will come to appreciate rejection as a means to getting one step closer to the right people. Network marketing can be a numbers game in addition to a game of skill, but when you do find the right people, they will be well worth your effort. Keep a good outlook and have fun with it.It’s also a good idea to avoid becoming so consumed with your business that conversations with your friends and family are now dominated by why they should join your business. If people feel you can’t talk about everyday topics anymore without bringing up your opportunity, they will be turned off. Understand that network marketing is largely an attraction based business. Trying to constantly deliver a sales pitch can make you a nuisance.PerspectiveAs with many things, sometimes the best measuring stick to gauge the value of something, is to examine the overall benefits that you receive from it. In network marketing their can be a host of benefits that don't always show up in dollars and cents immediately.The training and experience you can receive might be likened to obtaining a degree in psychology and business management minus the tuition costs and you can get paid while you learn. Many people have also been able to overcome shyness and combat negative emotions through network marketing training.You may determine that based on your current needs and goals that the industry has something to offer you. For those already involved, you may be able to reevaluate the importance that the industry has in your life. So I ask again, Is network marketing for you?The Happy Entrepreneur: Get Profitable!
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