It is easy to get sick of the grind: the dismal 9-5 system. Maybe you spend too much time for too little money. This is so ingrained in our minds that any alternative way of making money or becoming our own bosses seems to be a Herculean task. However, this difficulty is illusory. The secret to being your own boss and making decent money relatively easily away from traditional work may just lie in network marketing.
What’s Network Marketing?
Network marketing is a popular method of business and an alternative form of product distribution.1 The traditional method of distributing products to customers is one we’re all pretty familiar with. Products are manufactured somewhere, then sent to a distributor who sends it to stores to be brought by customers. Its relatively straightforward and lots of people profit along the way. However, network marketing provides a different system.
With network marketing the distribution is done through a network of agents who market the products to other individuals. These agents may have other people under their leadership who market goods to others. Profit is made via direct sales and distribution of the products.
“Wait. Is this a….?” I know what you’re thinking. “Pyramid scheme”, right? While they are admittedly similar systems, there is one crucial difference.
Pyramid schemes focus on the money being made through the recruitment of others. These people may be duped into thinking that through the pyramid scheme they will easily find their fortune, when really they are just the means for others to make money. With network marketing the focus is on selling and distributing the products- not the recruiting of others.
It can be such an effective system that some very well-known companies operate and sell their products through network marketing. One of the most well-known examples of this is Tupperware.
The good things about network marketing:
- Why should you consider network marketing? For a start, it gives you a degree of freedom that an ordinary 9-5 job can’t possibly offer.2 To an extent (meaning you’ll still need to get things done), you will be able to tailor your marketing around your life, working from home as you do so. There is no income cap. If you get really good at selling you will earn more money.
- You’ll be your own boss without worrying about hiring and firing because there will be no employees. Whilst you may form relationships with other agents and marketers, you won’t need to worry about paying wages and all of the other responsibilities the boss of a regular business must handle.
- Even when you’re not on the clock you will still be able to generate income. Network marketing relies on it.3 You’ll be able to benefit from residual income if you help others start in the business.
- Many of us have had to suffer the pains of being laid off or fired.
Assuming you are successful at getting your network marketing business off the ground, you will have unbeatable job security. You’re your own boss after all!
The not-so-good things about network marketing:
Now before you think I’ve drunk the cool-aid and am now off to start a pyramid scheme, there are some negatives that are very much worth consideration. The most obvious is the clear similarity to pyramid schemes. If you do plan to involve yourself, you need to be sure that you are engaging in a legitimate network marketing system – not a pyramid scheme which is illegal. This will require significant diligence and research on your part to be sure, but a good rule of thumb is to note how the money is made.
The Federal Trade commission says the following about the difference between network marketing and pyramid schemes:
“They all share one overriding characteristic. They promise consumers or investors large profits based primarily on recruiting others to join their program- not based on profits from any real investment or real sale of goods to the public.”
However, with direct marketing, the focus is money made via sales – not recruitment. When it works, network marketing can be hugely beneficial for all parties involved.
There are other considerations too:
- Most sales you’ll make will be face to face.5 Only a small fraction of sales through network marketing occur online and instead will be face to face or over the phone. This is something you’ll need to be comfortable with.
- Even if you are comfortable with selling face to face, you will have to get used to rejection.
- It is not usually a get rich quick scheme. It can take time and some investment to set up and even then you’ll be competing somewhat with other agents. Although it’s possible to make a lot of money, it probably will not happen fast.
So, how do you start?
The good news is that getting started in network marketing is a relatively simple process.6
Firstly you need to decide on a product that you want to sell.
A popular choice is nutritional products.7 Initially you will have to invest some money to register with the company and buy the product you wish to sell.
These prices can vary but often begin around $100. Companies like Tupperware, who are built around network marketing, offer down payments. Considering the amount of money they charge to get started is crucial because whatever is required you will have to recoup before you can make a profit.8
Many people are experienced and successful in network marketing and can serve as mentors.
It is advisable to listen to what they say. Companies experienced with network marketing will likely have systems in place to help you get started. After all, you’re part of the way they will make money.
Spread the word that you are in business.
You should consider building a website, or market through social media, classified ads, and even to friends and family. (We’ve all heard of Tupperware parties which for all intents and purposes, are super-casual trade shows.)
After considering this information, all you need to do is select your company and get selling!