I heard a quote the other day that said, “Vision is seeing opportunities before the masses see them.” We are entering a time when more and more people are beginning to warm up to the very real potential that network marketing holds. The gig economy (aka YouEconomy or freelance economy) is 100% on the upswing. If you don’t agree with me, take a look at your Facebook timeline! More people now have side hustles, and I think it’s absolutely amazing. In fact, it’s projected that by the year 2020, 50% of the US adult population will be earning income through the YouEconomy
. People are, en mass, starting to take the first step to owning their own futures. It’s a beautiful thing!
But I think the big questions that stand out to so many are:
- “What does taking the leap into the YouEconomy even look like? I’m not a business person. This is scary!”
- If network marketing is the route they choose, people then ask, “How do I figure out what company is right for me? What should I even look for when comparing companies?”
Although network marketing is by no means the only entry point into the YouEconomy, I am obviously a huge proponent of it when done correctly. I think it’s pretty clear that it can be done poorly…which is where a lot of peoples’ immediate bias come from. Blog post to come on that can of worms lol. That said, I truly think network marketing can be one of the most accessible forms of entrepreneurship in many ways. But as with anything else in life, the decision is not cut and dry. In fact, there is a lot of nuance when it comes to determining which company might be the best for you.
In my experience, there are 3 key categories to take into consideration when deciding whether or not to join a network marketing company, and correspondingly, when figuring out which one is the best fit.
First, you have to look at the facts. This in and of itself is probably a series of posts, but I’m going to pack it all in here. Secondly, you have to consider the X factor. Hint – that’s YOU and your unique situation. And thirdly, I think you should take into account my opinion, based on my years of entrepreneurial experience and work within this industry. If I didn’t think my opinion held value, I wouldn’t write this, would I? ; p
So, enough of the chit-chat…let’s go through each of these one by one!
#1. The Facts.
The facts are the facts. You can’t argue with them. All you can do is decide how much weight you are going to give them when making your decision. In order to get the facts, you need to do research on the companies that pique your interest. When conducting due diligence (aka research) on various opportunities in a traditional business setting, there are a few key things to look at. We’ll use that outline here, because it’s smart to apply it in this situation as well.
First (and easiest), let’s look at the product: is it unique to the market, or is it one of many? To really judge this, you need to look a little deeper than the surface level. Ask questions like:
- Is it patented?
- Is there research or are there independent clinical trials that prove it to be safe or effective?
- Can it be copied? Is there some aspect of it that makes it differentiable from other seemingly similar things in the market?
For example, Nerium’s
first product was an anti-aging night cream
. Yeah, yeah…big deal, right? Okay, but it actually is
a big deal for a few reasons. First, the active ingredient is patented and exclusive to Nerium. Second, clinical trials showed it to be more effective than drugstore, department store, and medical grade products. And third, the biggie: it is one product, one step that addresses all 5 signs of aging.
So, it’s different because you don’t need a complex regimen and you don’t have to pick between different product lines if you have multiple skin concerns. It’s totally streamlined so that one product will address most everyone’s skin concerns. We can see just how revolutionary this actually is when looking at sales and customer testimonials – this product sold $100M in it’s first year in business. Guys, that’s unheard of…for pretty much any industry.
If your company’s product is one of many, can be copied, is not protected, or is not novel in some way, proceed with caution. Your products build your business – if they aren’t strong enough to stand on, you should be wary of moving forward to the next question.
Initial + Ongoing Investments
The next thing you want to look at when evaluating a company is capital expenditure. What does it look like to operate the business, investment-wise? Consider both the upfront cost, and MORE IMPORTANTLY, any continual, on-going costs.
Key indicators of ongoing costs are whether or not you, as the distributor, have to:
- purchase and hold initial inventory to sell
- pay for a monthly recurring order to stay active
- buy a new inventory set each season (regardless of what you have on hand from last season)
- pay to maintain a website
- pay to process orders
All of these continual costs will eat away at your profits. So, even if the initial investment looks affordable, make sure you understand how monthly, quarterly, or yearly payments will affect your bottom line. This is where a lot of companies will get you. Running this kind of business can be very discouraging because your profits are continually poured back into maintenance of the business. Aka you don’t really profit.
Personally, I want to make one investment and then RUN with the profits I make. That’s part of the reason I love Nerium! I paid for my kit at the beginning, which included a bunch of product at 50% off, my website, and other business-building materials. I earn up to $270 in free product every month – which means that I have never once had to pay for anything I use personally (and I use every product). I never have to hold inventory, and in fact, I am able to earn even more free product from a program called Nerium Gives Back. My website is free, I don’t have to take care of any payment processing, and the company takes care of all orders for me. I do, however, have the option to keep a monthly subscription to other business-building tools, which I do choose to do. I always have the choice to buy more product, new product when it comes out, or more marketing materials…but at the core of the business, once I purchased my kit, I was never required to pay more to keep my business running (outside of the shipping for my free product each month, which is a deal I’ll take any day).
If you are certain you can afford to start and maintain your business and that the product is solid, you 100% need to research compensation plans next. Ah, comp plans. This is where the rubber meets the road! I mean, you need to know how are you actually going to get paid!
I am not a compensation plan expert by any means, but you need to do what you can to gather the plans of the companies you are interested in, and then talk to people within each company so they can explain the plan to you. Look into things like:
- How many ways can you get paid? (In Nerium, it’s 13.)
- What sales quotas or activities, if any, are you required to maintain to get paid? For example, some companies will require a certain amount of sales volume or that you host a certain number of parties before you get your earned payout – Nerium does neither.
- What does rank advancement look like? Is advancement dictated (or capped) by those above you? (In Nerium, you can outrank your sponsor.)
- How complex is building your organization? I’ve been told to stay away from charted organizations from those who have been in them…definitely not an expert there, but I valued the experience of those I have talked to. Make sure it’s a system where everyone can get promoted and move up in the plan. What I mean by that is this: there are some companies where there are essentially a limited number of “top” positions, and you can get knocked out by another person. There are other companies where, if you don’t hit your rank two months in a row, you lose your entire book of business (all the customers you’ve gained, every other member you’ve added to your team) and it goes to your upline. WHAT?! Talk about soul-crushing…that does not sound like time freedom to me! You should be able to build your business, and once you attain a rank, you should be able to keep it if your numbers keep aligning, rather than be artificially knocked out by someone else. But maybe that’s just me…
- Do some bonuses expire after a certain time, or if they are lifelong?
What it comes down to is this: how generous is the company, and how much do they want their distributors to succeed? You’d be surprised at how stingy some can be. You want to pick the company that gives as much as it possibly can to its distributors, no strings attached.
Accolades + Intangibles
To me, the previous three sections are the most important aspects to look at when choosing a company. They determine the strength of your business and how likely you are to make (and keep) profits. There are other factors and ratings
, of course, that could make running your business easier or harder, depending. Things like:
- whether you have to process orders and ship them out versus if the company processes orders and ships to customers for you
- if you have to hold and manage inventory versus the company holding all inventory
- if you personally have to accept returns or if the company itself accepts returns
- if the company provides payment processing or if you have to invoice people and hound them to collect payment
It’s also important to look at the success record of the executive team – who are they? What are their reputations? What have they done in the industry? Have they had success within the industry before? Gut check – do you trust them?
Look at the accolades and reviews of your company’s products. Have the products earned any awards? Is the company recognized in important industry resources like the DSA Top 100, Top 40, or Top 20
Another factor many people consider is the “heart” of the company. Does the company have corporate giving initiatives? How involved in charity is the company or are the distributors as a whole? Does the company provide business-specific training? Does the company help to develop you as a person, with access to personal development resources, life training, and support?
You want to surround yourself with people who value things in the way you do. You want to be around people who will lift you up, inspire you to be a better version of you, and support you inside and outside of the business. The whole point of this section is to be as informed as possible about what life within the company is like, because you want to be comfortable and confident in what you are promoting. Make sure you cover all your bases, and if there’s something that is super important to you, make sure to ask whoever your sponsor in the business may be the hard questions.
#2. The X Factor.
While the facts are important, the “X Factor” will make a huge difference. In fact, it may be the only thing some people make their decision on. And that’s okay! As long as you recognize what the implications may be should you chose a company that is sup-par in any of the categories above. ; )
The X Factor is YOU. It’s your passions, your family situation, what you’re looking for, what your goals and desires in getting started with a network marketing company are. It’s your gut instinct about whether something is a fit or not. It’s being on fire for a certain mission. It’s wanting products at a discount (potentially), regardless of whether or not anyone else buys them from you.
So, if you wouldn’t be able to sleep at night knowing that you really wanted to share the mission of a certain company, but chose another company…go with what you are called to. If the products have changed your life and you want to spread that goodness with others, go with that company. If there’s a huge emotional pull and it would just feel weird to do anything else…well, you have your answer for what direction to head.
If this is the case for you, that’s awesome and I respect your decision! The fact that we all go our own ways means that there is opportunity for everyone. And heck, if you have the thing I’m looking for, I will 100% support you in your business through a purchase as well!
#3. My Opinion.
Now it’s time for the kicker. If you want my true opinion, here’s what I think. There are a lot of companies whose mission I think is worthy and important. There are many companies whose products I love, share, and purchase.
But when it comes down to it, I’m moving towards OPPORTUNITY and POTENTIAL.
I didn’t join a network marketing company just for the heck of it or because I thought a product was pretty cool. I joined a network marketing company because I saw and continue to see it as a vehicle to change my future for the better, to create the life I dream of, and to impact and empower others along the way.
To me, the only opportunity to even consider sits at the crossroads of the most generous compensation plan in the industry; the leanest possible investment (initial and continual); products that work, are differentiable, patented, first to market, and based in the best science there is; an executive team I can believe in; and uncharacteristically fast growth within a decades old industry. These are the things that will lead to a solid base of business with the best potential payout. Period. This is where you will make money. (Side note…if you are making money, it’s probably because you are doing the right things and actually helping others in some way.) Plus, the company I chose won in the emotional category, too. It’s a company that is built on spreading happiness and positive psychology, and was created to “make people better” in every aspect of life. Those are the things I am truly passionate about.
But was I passionate about skincare when I started? No…I was and still am passionate about entrepreneurship and helping others to find the path to owning their own future. But as I used the products, saw my own results, got to help others, and became ingrained in the company culture, I became passionate about the products, too.
So, what now?
The industry as a whole is on the rise, and that is going to spell true wealth and financial freedom for the group of people that ACTS. Not enough people take that first step to changing their futures. So, if you see this vision and have that desire, I assure you, you are in the minority for the better. If everyone saw it, there wouldn’t be an opportunity to be had. But if you see it – even just a glimpse – and if, deep down in your heart of hearts, you want it (even if you’re afraid to admit it), you’d do yourself a great disservice if you don’t act. Even when taking the first step is scary, you can’t get anywhere without it.
So I encourage you to reach out to the people you know in the industry and figure out where you fit. Look at the facts. Figure out what you want. And if that ends up leading you to Nerium, I’d love to help you out and answer any questions you have. My first love is always going to be empowering would-be business owners to take that first step, then coaching them along their journey. That’s where I excel…and I would love to work with you and help you along your own business-building journey if any of this resonates with you.
If you have any questions about Nerium, entrepreneurship, or the network marketing industry as a whole, please reach out and let me know – I’d love to chat. Otherwise, best of luck on your journey to owning your own future!